Thursday, October 31, 2019

Stolen: $190,000 from Azleway Boy's Ranch


Don't be fooled. Charities and faith based non-profits are cookie jars for Cherokee County and neighboring locals. No one cares where the money goes because of the fraudulent tax write-offs.

 

Troup, TX:
Azleway Boy's Ranch QC Administrator Toni Rambo, 54, has been charged with stealing nearly $190,000 over a 5 year period. Rambo lives in Troup, TX located in northeastern Cherokee County bordering Smith County. The 50-acre child services facility housed at-risk boys ranging in ages 6 to 17 years-old and has operated for the last 40 years in the Tyler area. According to Smith County investigators, Rambo altered charity allowance records and pocketed the children's funds beginning in 2015. (Source: KLTV)

Azleway, Inc. operates as a tax-exempt 501c3 nonprofit charity. The IRS allows donors to take a tax deduction for contributions of goods, cash and other assets. Cash pledges donated to the children living at the ranch were to be disbursed weekly based on good behavior. Cash receipts were provided to donating businesses and entities for tax purposes, while Rambo oversaw the agency bookkeeping.
One example given was a sheet showing a resident earned $7. Rambo then added $75 for an amount totaling $82 and kept the $75. (Source: Longview News Journal)
Forensic documents allege that Rambo misappropriated $48,049 in 2015, $53,546 in 2016, $42,969 in 2017, and $26,437 in 2018 (Source: KETX)
Rambo admitted to the scheme during an interview with administrators and attorneys. (Source: Tyler Paper) She is charged with 1st Degree Felony Theft and on out on a $300,000 bond.




Toni Marie Rambo

Azleway Boy's Ranch has been under legal scrutiny after allegations of abuse and inappropriate relationships between the staff and children were reported to State Protective Services.  (Source: CBS 19) HHSC conducted 103 investigations between December 2016 and 2018 as the money poured in.
Among the documents are several allegations where residents were reported to have "sexually act out", including an incident on November 12, 2018 where, “a child in care at the ranch was accused of raping another child.” There's also several claims of boys being left unsupervised, resulting in injuries to some of the residents.
In one case, less than a month ago, "a child in care was able to gain access of a butcher knife in order to make threats of bodily harm." Also among the claims investigated by HHSC are allegations into inappropriate behavior by caregivers at the ranch.
Caregivers are accused of exposing the boys to drugs like marijuana and to pornographic materials. In addition to that, several reports allege inappropriate punishment, threats of physical harm, and verbal abuse by the caregivers towards the residents. (Source: CBS 19)
Executive Director Gary Duke is leaving his post in January 2019. Azleway has since transitioned to a foster care facility and changed it name to Azleway Valley View. (Source: CBS 19)


Thursday, September 19, 2019

Repeat Jacksonville, TX sex offender pleads guilty to sex assault of a child circa 1989; gets time served

When law enforcement, prosecutors, and investigators conduct themselves in an unlawful manner, violent criminals can get away with murder. Cherokee County sex offenders and drug addicts are paid to be the "source" of information obtained illegally by the Sheriff Department and district attorney's office.

Being a wanted sex offender puts them at the top of the Grand Jury Pool and tax dollar handouts. Tommy Stricklen of Jacksonville fell into the good graces of his Cherokee County in-laws who used his handicapped daughter to solicit donations in the local newspapers. His name was also found routinely on the District Court Clerk's revolving grand jury list, despite being a registered sex offender.

   
Thomas Ward Stricklen, Jr. (Courtesty: DPS)

After molesting his underage handicapped cousin in 1989, Tommy Stricklen, Jr. moved from Ector County to Jacksonville, TX as a registered sex offender. Stricklen had remained the number one suspect in the cold case murder of a 15-year old girl during this time period.

In 2015 Odessa authorities were finally able to match semen samples taken from the girl's dead body to Stricklen's DNA taken as part of his sex offender registration. Stricklen was arrested in Jacksonville and transported back to Ector County where he faced a murder trial and hung jury in 2018.
Thompson Ward Stricklen Jr., 55, [was ] accused of fatally cutting open the throat of 15-year-old Wendy Burdette in 1989.
He was indicted in 2015 on the charge of murder after semen found inside of Burdette matched his DNA, but that wasn’t enough to convince the entire [Ector County, TX ] jury.
The jury deliberated for more than seven hours until District 358 Judge W. Stacy Trotter declared a mistrial. (Source: Odessa American, July 19, 2018)

 
Ector County murder trial 2018

A second murder trial was slated for the summer of 2019 while Stricklen remained incarcerated on felony bond when murder charges were dropped by Ector County prosecutors. Stricklen was offered 4 years credited jail time when Odessa Police misconduct during the investigation was raised by court appointed attorneys. The Odessa American reports:
A 56-year-old man pled guilty to sexual assault of a child from a case dating back to 1989.
Thompson Stricklen Jr. was sentenced to four years in prison after he pled guilty. Stricklen was previously tried in July 2018 for the 1989 murder of 15-year-old Wendy Burdette, an Ector County District Attorney’s affidavit detailed.
That case resulted in a mistrial with hung jury. Stricklen’s charges of murder and a second sexual assault were dismissed due to the termination of the lead investigator for the Odessa Police Department for dishonesty and violating department policy, court records show.
Stricklen was credited with 1,458 days of jail time, court records show. (Source: Odessa American, July 19, 2019)
Which means Tommy Stricklen was given time served (1458 days = 3.99 years).  He is now under sex offender supervision in Gregg County, TX.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Rape and murder of 10-year old girl in Cherokee County gets national coverage, short shrift from locals

From Breitbart News Texas Aug 27, 2019:

A previously deported illegal alien has pleaded guilty to strangling and drowning his ten-year-old cousin in Cherokee County, TX after attempting to sexually assault her in 2016. He had been arrested TWICE before in Smith County for ASSAULT OF A FAMILY MEMBER.

 

Gustavo Zavala-Garcia, an illegal alien from Mexico living in Cherokee County, pleaded guilty on Aug. 22, 2019 to murdering his cousin Kayla Gomez-Orozco in 2016, after the 10-year old girl went missing, CBS Austin reports.

Kayla’s body was found Nov. 5, 2016 four days after her abduction, in a well on the property where Zavala-Garcia lived in the 22100 block of Farm-to-Market Road 2493 (Old Jacksonville Highway) in Bullard, TX. He had been living there and working in the area for 2 years after being deported on domestic violence abuse charges.

As reported in the region, Cherokee County, TX law enforcement assisted in the search for Kayla Gomez-Orozco and released multiple statements upon discovering her body. However after the indictment of Gustavo Zavala-Garcia and details of his immigration status and the sex assault were revealed, local media buried the story.





"We've caught this guy twice before."

The Cherokee County Sheriff's Department was placed front and center during the FBI search, then dropped after the sex assault and cause of death became public. Even though the abduction, Amber Alert, and homicide all occurred in Cherokee County, TX, the case was handled in neighboring Smith County. Why? Because Zavala-Garcia returned to his Cherokee County employer after his deportation orders even though he had been charged with multiple violent crimes 20 minutes away in Tyler, TX. He had a house, a job, and transportation waiting for him in Cherokee County, supplied by a local farmer everyone knows and everyone is related to. (Source: Jacksonville Progress)

A timeline was constructed based on witness accounts, evidence located at Zavala-Garcia's place and his cell phone records.
Investigators believe he took Gomez-Orozco in his vehicle as he left the church Nov. 1, and sometime between the time he arrived home and the time when his wife told law enforcement agents he entered their residence “is when (the) suspected party concealed the victim in the well,” the affidavit states.
Cell phone records also revealed that Zavala-Garcia contacted his employer by cell phone that evening, “requesting to borrow one of the business vehicles to assist with the search” for the girl after his wife told him she was missing from the church, the affidavit added.
Although the employer did not answer the call, he text messaged Zavala-Garcia the next morning, Nov. 2, “asking what was needed,” according to the affidavit, which added that his employer was not aware if a company vehicle was used.
However, footage from a local convenience store surveillance camera shows Zavala-Garcia and his wife on Nov. 1 at the gas pump in one of the company trucks and places them inside the store between 8:12 p.m. and 8:18 p.m., the affidavit noted. (Warrant Affidavit reaveals timeline of child's death, Nov 12, 2016 Jackonville Progress)

The illegal alien's name was widely reported as his alias "Gustavo Gonzalez," the name he used working in Cherokee County, TX. His previous assault arrests and charges have been conveniently ignored. Cherokee County hires the cheapest ranch hands in East Texas, no questions asked.

 

Court records released after the murder reveal gruesome details where Zavala-Garcia kidnapped Gomez-Orozco from a church service and attempted to sexually assault her. According to Smith County prosecutors, the illegal alien struck the girl in the head with a blunt object, then strangled and drowned her. Gomez-Orozco’s body was found days later in a water well at the home where Zavala-Garcia had been living.

 

As Breitbart News reported in 2016, Zavala-Garcia crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally sometime after 2014, when he was first deported for violent crime charges, having been arrested TWICE for domestic abuse/ assault of a family member that year.

 
Gustavo Zavala-Garcia arrested in June 2014 for Assault Bodily Injury to a Family (Courtesy Smith County)

 
Gustavo Zavala-Garcia arrested in October 2014 for Assault Bodily Injury to a Family (Courtesy Smith County)

Zavala-Garcia will serve a life sentence without the possibility of parole for the murder. (Courtesty Breitbart News and CBS 19)

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Jacksonville, TX sex offender faces murder retrial in Odessa cold case

Local papers used their news platforms for donation requests to financially help a convicted sex offender now on trial for murder.

How does a child molester get called for jury duty? First, the Sheriff Department uses drugs and taxpayer money to recruit the unemployable convicted pedophile (and family members) into the county drug informant ring. The stoolpigeons supply the dirt on their neighbors in exchange for grubby little handouts from narcotics officers. Annual sex offender registrations are ignored, while the Good Ol’ Boys and Gals promote the child rapist in local newspapers. Typically, the child molester or family member is cast as the victim of some extraordinary circumstance to make the story palatable and sympathetic; forgotten sex offender registration is buried and never mentioned in the articles.

In Cherokee County, registered sex offenders have their mailing address published in the newspapers to solicit donations. Their names are deliberately misspelled on juror forms in order to be called for jury duty and law enforcement officials can deny working hand-in-hand with them. They could be disqualified on a petit jury, but on a grand jury they get a free ride to the courthouse and a free meal courtesy of District Attorney investigators.

Also, in Cherokee County, the sex offender/informant is paraded around the schools during athletic and holiday events to keep them in constant contact with hand-picked jury pools. The district attorney enlists the district clerk to keep child predators on the revolving door jury summons. They know the Attorney General’s office would never go back decades to verify falsified jury selection questionnaires and contaminated juries. Who knows what they would unravel? 500 miles away the City of Odessa Police Department found matching DNA of a murder suspect who was also a paroled child sex offender living the high life in Jacksonville, TX courtesy of Cherokee County taxpayers. (East Texas man arrested for 1989 slaying of West Texas teen, CBS 19 TV)











  

Tommy Stricklen, Jr. registered sex offender circa 2011 (CBS 19)

Jacksonville, TX: 
26 years later, the 1989 cold case murder of Wendy Burdette of Odessa, TX led to a DNA match and the 2015 arrest of 58-year old Jacksonville resident Tommy Stricklen, Jr. (Source: Washington Times ) The Texas Department of Public Safety reportedly matched semen with DNA samples taken from Stricklen's long overdue sex offender registration in Cherokee County. Stricklen and his family are well-known in local newspapers as charity cases via his handicapped daughter who attended Jacksonville ISD. With the help of local media, the Stricklen family set up donation pages for his daughter's wheelchairs. Back in Ector County circa 1989, the underage victim Wendy Burdette was 15-years old when Stricklen admitted to having sex with her; he was 27 at the time. He was charged during the same time period for the molestation of his handicapped 11-year old relative.

 
Stricklen in court courtesty Odessa-American

Tommy Stricklen moved to Jacksonville, TX in 1998; his sex offender registry had not been updated since 2011. In 2015, the Odessa Police Department requested DNA results from semen samples taken in 1989 from Wendy Burdette's body. Stricklen had remained the number one suspect after Burdette's body was found. She was stabbed multiple times, her throat cut and body dumped according to investigators. (Source: Odessa-American)

Stricklen was charged by Odessa Police in July 2015 with underage sex assault and murder and transported back to Odessa where was indicted in October of that year. Three years later, he faced an Ector County trial jury in June 2018 resulting in a mistrial after 7 hours of deliberation. Stricklen had told police he remembered Burdette as a prostitute and sought her out for for an unpaid drug deal; he has denied killing her.


 
Wendy Burdette

Ector County prosecutors announced a retrial of the 1989 murder of Wendy Burdette to go forward in the 358th District Court later in 2019, 30 years later after the homicide. (Source: Odessa-American) East Texas media has dropped the story after a decade and half of lauding Tommy Stricklen and family with stories of delightful high school spirit and freebies for his wheelchair-bound daughter. When setting up donation pages for the Stricklen family, they did not include his lifetime sex offender status and parole from the molestation of a disabled 11-year old female relative back in 1989. Instead, he was encouraged to work around Cherokee County children and volunteer at schools while ignoring his sex offender restrictions.

Stricklen remains in Ector County custody on $650,000 in bonds.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

16-year Veteran Cherokee County Deputy indicted on 5 felony counts of Indecency with a Minor




(Courtesy KETK)

You can tell it’s going to be a Pretend Slow News week when local media refuses to cover what’s under their and their cousins’ noses.
Then again the news is worse than the fiction.


Cherokee County Deputy Sergeant Jonathan Bryan Shobert, 47 of Jacksonville, TX is out on his original $50,000 bond after being formally indicted on 5 separate felony counts of Indecency with a Minor, stemming from alleged incidents occuring in the Fall and Winter of 2018 (not in early January this year as previously reported). Deputy Shobert has been ordered to stay away from the victim, his wife, and nearby schools. Deputy Shobert has been in Cherokee County law enforcement since 2002. In fact he remained employed after being arrested by the Texas Rangers in Febuary 2019.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Cuney, Texas police chief charged with falsifying police cadet form


 
Cuney, TX is a town located in northwest Cherokee County, Texas.
Cuney, TX operates the 6th worst offending speed trap in Texas, generating an annual average of $319,117, or $2,279 per town resident, from speeding citations issued along a small stretch of U.S. Highway 175. Cuney was the only "wet" town in Cherokee County from the mid-1980s until 2009, when voters in Rusk came out in favor of beer/wine sales. After that result, voters in Jacksonville and Frankston have since voted in favor of beer/wine sales, and Rusk voters returned to the polls to vote in favor of liquor sales. As of 2017, there is only one liquor store remaining in Cuney. (Courtesy: Wikipedia)


 Police Chief Gregory Sinkfield, booked courtesy Gregg County Jail

Cuney, TX Police Chief Gregory Sinkfield, an 18-year law enforcement veteran, has been released without bond from the Gregg County jail on tampering with a government record allegations. The charges stem from a female cadet's admission form he falsely certified to the East Texas Police Academy, in which he claimed she had been working for the Cuney Police Department. (Source: KLTV) The Pay to Play case is being handled by TECLOE and Criminal Justice Information Services, a division of the FBI. (Source: Longview News-Journal) The East Texas Police Academy is located in Kilgore, TX.

 The City of Cuney made national news in 2016 when its entire police force quit over disagreements with the new mayor over police policy they deemed "harrassing." (Source: KLTV, Cuney police force resigns, May 31, 2016 )

 
Cherokee County, TX deputies speak with outgoing Cuney, TX mayor after entire police force resigns. (Courtesy: Daily Progress)

The Cherokee County Sheriff's Department took over patrol duties until June 2016, when Chief Gregory Sinkfield was hired along with three other parttime reserve officers to watch the town with a population of 140 on a busy day.

[Reprinted from Daily Progress] Cuney: Small town hires new police chief ( Jun 23, 2016 )
Gregory Sinkfield Sr., a 16-year law enforcement veteran, is now the top cop in Cuney. Sinkfield, a 44-year-old native of Atlanta, Georgia, was sworn into office Monday as the new Cuney Police Chief after being hired June 16 to succeed Michael Trawick, who stepped down from the position on May 31. The new chief said he's looking forward to serving as the city's top officer, having recently served as a lieutenant on the Coffee City police force.

“My police chief pulled me aside and said he thought this would be a good opportunity,” and so he applied, he said. Sinkfield's career includes stints with the Morris Brown College police department in Atlanta and the City of Pine Lake, Georgia, before moving to Texas in 2005. Here, he served as a police sergeant in Lone Oak, as well as a field training officer and investigator with the Dallas Community College District in El Centro and Richland, before returning to Georgia in 2007 as deputy police chief with Atlanta College.

Sinkfield held that position for more than two years before becoming supervisor over the criminal investigation division at Clark Atlanta University, he said. Having earned a doctorate in divinity, Sinkfield began pastoring full-time in 2011 at Empowering Life Christian Church in Atlanta, until his family's return to Texas in 2013, where he subsequently joined the police force in Coffee City. Additionally, the chief is a certified training instructor for firearms as well as a law enforcement educator. Sinkfield and his wife, a first-grade teacher for Mesquite ISD, have five children.

They will continue to live in the Metroplex, where Sinkfield is a pastor at Empowering Life Church in Mesquite. “I'm looking for a home here, where I'll be staying during the week,” he said, adding that he doesn't think the arrangement will pose a challenge. “I plan to hold a town hall meeting, where I can listen to the concerns of the citizens,” he said. “From there, we can be a more community-oriented police department, who is more (attuned) to the community's needs.”

Along with the meeting, future plans including a back-to-school initiative featuring a backpack drive for students, participating in National Night Out and helping to ensure the safety of local children through participation in different programs. His background as parent, pastor and police officer spurs him to focus on youths. “It's a combination of them all, of being a concerned parent, of being a pastor and (being married to an educator). I feel the community can benefit from that,” Sinkfield said. He oversees a force of 11 officers, who primarily are reserves.

Sinkfield is the only full-time officer, while his second in command, Sergeant Allan Richardson – a five-year Coffee City police veteran who was hired Monday – is a part-time city employee. Other part-time employees on the force include Investigator Lamont Hughes of the Van Zandt County Sheriff's Office and Kelan Logan, who graduates from the Cedar Valley College Law Enforcement Academy on Thursday. Until Sinkfield's hire, the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office provided service in Cuney after the city's force quit in late May, leaving the town of 140 without police protection.  (Source: Daily Progress, June 26, 2016)

Thursday, February 14, 2019

16-year Veteran Cherokee County Deputy arrested for Indecency with a Child


Indecency with a Child: under Texas Law, the intentional exposure of genitals to a child or having a child expose themself for sexual purposes, including touching or simulated intercourse- Texas Penal Code Section 21.11 





















Cherokee County Deputy Sergeant Jonathan Bryan Shobert, 46, of Jacksonville, Texas was arrested by the Texas Rangers on February 13, 2019 on indecency with a minor charges. (Source: KETK )

A long-time resident of Jacksonville, Texas, Deputy Jon Shobert formally introduced himself to the community in 2002 when he began working as a reserve dispatch officer with the Jacksonville Police Department. In 2005, Shobert became a full-time Patrol Officer with the JPD and in 2012 received a 10-year service award from the Jacksonville City Council (Source: Jacksonville Progress, Cop's Corner Oct. 24, 2006) He later transferred to the Cherokee County Sheriff's Department where he is still employed according to sparse reporting.

Deputy Shobert has worked in Cherokee County, TX law enforcement since November of 2002, his exploits reported on and written about since the early 2000's; even had his engagement and wedding announcements running for months in the local papers, yet no further information is available on this particular incident. IF he were an unknown caught doing something like this, then the victim's age and relationship would be published accordingly. Cherokee County is a haven for this kind of deviant criminal behavior because there is rarely any legal consequences for those in the Sheriff Department's or District Attorney's circle of friends. Then again as the political season heats up towards the March primaries, false sexual accusations are traded like Pez candy by the Good Ol' Boys and Gals of Cherokee County.

   
Patrolman Jon Shobert 10-year service award circa 2012 (Source: Jacksonville Progress; Nov. 15, 2012)

Deputy Jon Shobert was released on $50,000 bond. The incident he is accused of allegedly occurred in late January 2019. Indecency with a child by contact is a second degree Felony punishable by a fine up to $10,000, between 2 and 20 years in prison, or both. If convicted, Deputy Shobert will have to register as a sex offender for life and scratch out a living in Cherokee County, Texas with the other child molesters and pedophiles on the Sheriff Department's dole.


Sunday, May 20, 2018

Is there a serial killer sitting in the Rusk, TX jail for a few weeks?

 

Larry Pugh


Offender Name: Larry Max Pugh, Jr.
Custody Status: In Custody
Age: 45
Location: CHEROKEE COUNTY JAIL
Race: White
Offender ID: 18051113362144
Gender: Male
Date of Birth: 10/18/1972
Aliases: Larry Pugh

Cherokee County, TX:
Former City of Jacksonville police officer and accused serial rapist Larry Pugh is back in town for the next few weeks doing a short stint in the county jail. According to the Daily Progress and reports from the district attorney himself, Pugh has completed his federal sentence and can quietly sit out Elmer Beckworth’s 2006 “assault with a deadly weapon” charge through August, courtesy of the Rusk, Texas jail.

Pugh's "assault" crime: trying to kidnap and murder a woman in a makeshift police van before she could testify in federal court about being raped at gunpoint in the Jacksonville City Cemetery.  The deadly weapon: a belt around her neck and his service revolver. (Source: Daily Progress)

No mention of the $300,000 civil suit settlement the City of Jacksonville was facing from nine (9) different women who were also raped on the side of the road by Officer Pugh while he was on duty. (Source: US Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit) If Pugh were brought up on actual murder charges, then the Federal Courts, the FBI and the City of Jacksonville would be proven "deliberately indifferent" to the testimony of 25 to 30 witnesses. (Source: KLTV)

The public is supposed to believe the reprinted lie that Larry Pugh tracked down his rape victims by "open records via the Freedom of Information Act" after they filed complaints. The FOIA has denied these reports.  In fact, he was told by investigators the names of those who came forward to testify. They were named in his indictment and went missing before his trial. (Source: The Pugh Connection, KLTV)



Jacksonville Police Officer Larry Pugh

Are the families of missing Jacksonville women going to have closure with the release of former J'ville Police Officer Larry Pugh from federal prison?

Not according to Elmer Beckworth, even though two missing Jacksonville women's remains have been identified as Pugh’s FBI complainants set to testify against him. Why the blasé attitude about a federally convicted rapist and the number one murder suspect? It’s simple: East Texas authorities want to protect the City of Jacksonville from more potential civil right suits and public scrutiny. Elmer Beckworth works with the same Jacksonville law firm that represents the City and County during Pugh's civil rights violation cases. They want his crimes buried the same way they discard his victims. They write them off as "prostitutes" and transient "drug addicts," while reminding us Cherokee County's halfway homes are whorehouses frequented by law enforcement.

Remember: these women went missing AFTER Pugh's indictment and before his trial.

According to the Jacksonville Police Department there is no connection between Pugh and MISSING FBI COMPLAINANT TERRI REYES, even though she is one of several named victims in Pugh's original sex assault indictment. They removed her name after she went "missing" as reported by KLTV to avoid "speculation," i.e. civil rights lawsuits against the city. The US District Court, along with every other incestuous agency in the region would rather bury civil rights violations than have the City of Jacksonville held responsible for their hiring practices. They would rather delete the names of the deceased in the Indictment than close the multiple homicide cases resulting in their cover up.
When Larry Pugh was indicted last February. One of his accusers was an unidentified woman with the initials T.R.  Those are the same initials as Terri Reyes, an Athens woman who went missing last May and whose body was found in the Angelina National Forest in September.
The original indictment against Pugh says he sexually assaulted T.R., depriving her of her constiutional right to liberty and bodily integrity, but in the subsequent indictments, issued after Reyes went missing, T.R. is never mentioned. 
The Nacogdoches attorney in a recent civil lawsuit against Pugh told us by phone he would have called Terri Reyes as a witness in the trial, but she disappeared before he had a chance. (Source: The Pugh Connection: KLTV 7 Investigates)

If they wanted to charge him for the disappearance of federal witnesses, then they would.

 If they wanted to exonerate him, they could do that to.

What Larry Pugh did in 2005 only scratches the surface of the sexual misconduct going on by Cherokee County, TX law enforcement. We have a district attorney’s office that uses the wives and in-laws of investigators to blackmail political rivals and contaminate jury pools.  We have a Sheriff Department that has engaged in illegal wiretapping for decades, with the blessing of federal and DEA agents. A rapist cop is another lowlife they own. Be on the lookout when he moves back in next door to the local brothel shelter.

Pugh has remained a suspect in several missing women’s homicides, even though authorities have tried to keep the cases closed. (Source: KTBS) These possible homicide cases remain 'unsolved' solely because they were witnesses against Pugh.

Reprinted from the Tyler Paper dated June 20, 2014 “Remains identified as 2006 missing person: Woman was possible witness against former J'Ville officer

The remains of a woman who disappeared eight years ago after making outcries of sexual abuse against a former Jacksonville police officer have been found, officials reported on Friday. Skeletal remains of Shunte M. Coleman, who was last seen July 3, 2006, were found on March 12 by a forester in a thickly wooded area in San Augustine County, east of the "T" intersection of Farm-to-Market Road 1196 and County Road 347, officials said Friday in a news release. In 2007, Alvin Boykin talked to the Tyler Morning Telegraph about the day his friend, Ms. Coleman, left his Jacksonville home on foot. He said then that his home was an ad hoc shelter, offered to anyone needing a place to stay.


Shunte M. Coleman

Ms. Coleman, a mother of two, had freely come and gone from his residence — but so had a handful of other women needing a boost. So when Ms. Coleman said she was leaving for a while, Boykin watched her go. She didn't come back. Neither did another frequenter, Terri Renee Troublefield Reyes, who disappeared around the same time as Ms. Coleman. The 38-year-old Athens woman was last seen alive on May 21, 2006, and was found dead and unclothed in Angelina National Forest in fall 2006.


Terri Reyes

The women knew each other from Boykin's home, and both were pinpointed as potential witnesses to testify against former Jacksonville police officer Larry Pugh. In 2006, Pugh was sentenced to 12 years in prison for the sexual assault of women while on duty and retaliating against a woman for reporting the crime. Ms. Coleman and Ms. Reyes both went missing while Pugh was out of jail on bond — between February 2006 and August 2006. In 2007, Pugh pleaded guilty to perjury for lying about sexually assaulting women while on duty. The next year, he was sentenced to 18 months for perjury. He was sued in two additional lawsuits by eight women claiming they also were sexually assaulted by him while he was an officer.





































According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Pugh, 41, is incarcerated in Marianna, Florida, in a medium-security federal correctional institution with an adjacent minimum security satellite camp. His release date is listed as May 13, 2018. Shortly after Ms. Reyes' remains were identified through DNA testing in 2007, attorney Curtis Stuckey told the Tyler Morning Telegraph that he might have used Ms. Reyes as a witness in the civil trial, but he never had an opportunity to talk to her because she disappeared. "She had made an outcry" to law enforcement, like several other women, he said. Stuckey represented a 43-year-old Jacksonville woman who was raped and retaliated against by Pugh in a civil lawsuit against the former officer. Stuckey said he also would have been interested in talking to Ms. Coleman as a possible witness against Pugh if she had not disappeared.

San Augustine Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Gary Cunningham said Friday that at this point, law enforcement cannot connect Pugh to Ms. Coleman's disappearance and death, but officials are not ruling out any potential suspects. He said an active investigation is being continued by the San Augustine County Sheriff's Office, the Texas Rangers and the FBI. The San Augustine County Sheriff's Office, with assistance from the Angelina County Sheriff's Office, the Texas Rangers and the FBI, recovered the remains, which were examined by a forensic anthropologist at Sam Houston State University and then delivered to the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification, where DNA extracted from the remains were entered into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), officials said.

On Thursday, the San Augustine County Sheriff's Office and the Jacksonville Police Department were notified that the remains belonged to Ms. Coleman. The woman who won the civil lawsuit against Pugh in 2007 testified in federal court that she was walking one night in March 2005 when Pugh offered her a courtesy ride in his police car. Instead of taking her where she wanted to go, he took her to a dark, empty trailer house. "He raped me," she said crying. "I was too scared to do anything." She said Pugh drove her back to the neighborhood and dropped her off. In August 2006, after Pugh had been indicted on federal charges, the woman was again walking at night when a man in a van who was wearing sunglasses approached and offered her a ride. She said she recognized Pugh's voice and declined. As she walked away, Pugh got out of the vehicle and took his belt off. The two struggled and the victim tried to fight him, but he put his belt around her neck, she said. Pugh began dragging her toward his van and "by the grace of God," the belt snapped and she escaped. The woman admitted she had a criminal record and was fighting a crack addiction, she said. Pugh pleaded guilty to the charges but denied ever having sex with her or any of the other women.

Joe Evans, an investigator for the Cherokee County District Attorney's Office, testified at the time that the plaintiff was the first of many women who made outcries claiming they were sexually assaulted by Pugh. Evans said he talked to 25 to 30 witnesses, including women who claimed they had been raped by Pugh and people they had told, including ministers and police officers, who substantiated their claims. He said the witnesses were from Athens, Tyler and other areas. Evans said Pugh preyed on vulnerable women who lived on the street and had drug or legal problems. One-third of them had pending charges, one-third of them were on parole or probation and one-third of them had no criminal charges, he said.  

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Drug Deals and Insurance Pay Offs for all

Bascom Bentley's bailiff was sent to federal prison for selling crystal meth. (Source: Jacksonville Progress)

Pct. 3 Constable Randall “Randy” Lee Thompson, was arrested by the FBI January 12, 2006 on federal charges of possession and distribution of pseudoephedrine, a component of methamphetamine. According to official reports “on or about Nov. 7, 2005,” Thompson “did knowingly and intentionally possess and distribute approximately 108 grams of a pseudoephedrine” which is a List 1 chemical used to create the schedule II controlled substance methamphetamine.

FBI agents had videotape footage of Thompson dealing drugs out of his Jacksonville, TX residence. (Source: Jacksonville Progress)

 Prior to Thompson formally being charged in Tyler's federal court, District Judge Bascom Bentley ordered an official removal hearing in Rusk with claims that Thompson never performed his elected duties despite Thompson signing for Pct. 3's and the district court's certified mail for years while employed full time at the TDCJ Hodge's Unit. Constable Thompson (who was appointed by County Commissioners with everyone's blessing) was ousted from office because of his looming federal drug case that was deliberately squelched in Bentley's hearing. (Source: Jacksonville Progress)

In other words, they lied to keep Thompson's well-known and ongoing drug dealing off the record; they claimed he wasn't showing up to work. Bascom Bentley's hearing was an orchestrated whitewash, not immediately but weeks after Thompson's arrest and resignation. Thompson pleaded guilty in federal court on March 6, 2006. (Source: Jacksonville Progress) He was released in September 2013.

Why so much corruption in such a small place?

 
I have been doing internet research on East Texas corruption and came across the interview of Joe Gray from Henderson, TX posted in 2001.  Mr. Gray gives detailed accounts of his experiences in nearby Anderson County and his theories about District Judge Bascom Bentley.
 
Judge Bentley also operates in neighboring Cherokee County and Leon County.

Joe Gray's article states East Texas officials have generationally benefited from the ongoing narcotics trade by being involved in it at every level. Not only are federal monies under the Byrne grants siphoned off by these corrupt small town law enforcement agencies, but local officials use the Tulia Laws to grab up foreclosed property of supposed drug dealers. One of Mr. Gray's talking points is that Bascom Bentley III owned over 600 acres in Anderson County; land he apparently did not inherit but accumulated over the years to sell off. Tulia law injustices are common and even more common are Byrne grant monies being swindled to family members and political allies.

Mr. Gray's para-military/militia preoccupation would make his wild claims of "black helicopters" and DNA theft at the county jail seem laughable to the outside media and the US Attorney's office, thus making him, in the eyes of local officials, the ideal candidate for property foreclosure. Those who publicly complain about the corruption have been met with law suits, police raids, and death.

In Bentley v. Bunton- Texas, in 1996 Judge Bascom Bentley successfully filed a defamation suit against a Palestine radio talk show host who called the judge "corrupt" among other things on air. If that were the case then the South East Texas Political Review whose radio talk show host calls by name the entire judiciary in Beaumont "corrupt and incompetent" would be liable (libel?) Who knows? Bentley may have just benefited by being in the system when the thousands of acres in Palestine and surrounding areas were seized and put up for sale. Being a district judge may have given him first shot at low bid at the Sheriff's Auction.

Whatever the basis of Joe Buntly's "personal vendetta" against the Anderson/Cherokee County judge, the fact remains the legal and law enforcement system operating with the corrupt Dogwood Narcotics Task Force out of Palestine, has branched into drug dealing. And under Tulia laws, a simple accusation results in forfeiture of property. The rest of Texas is shying away from this practice and there is now legislation to reign in these rouge anti-drug task forces. It took Governor Rick Perry to pardon 35 innocent defendants convicted under Tulia laws, while the good ol' boys who prosecuted them 'retire' to Lake Palestine and Lake Jacksonville (with a little extra cash and land).(Source: CBS News)

The drug trade in neighboring Cherokee County involves local constable precincts, not the district courts per se. The district courts are involved in more personal enrichment schemes, like sexual blackmail of enemies and phone tapping. Typically Anderson County probably does not operate the same as its twin sister Cherokee County. I would call Cherokee County the genetically defunct second cousin to Anderson County. Judge Bentley behaves one way on the record in Anderson County court and completely different in Cherokee County because he knows he is unaccountable in the Rusk, TX courthouse.

Cherokee County is simply not astute enough in its own self-worship to produce an official who would clean up the mess, without being extorted or blackmailed by the District Attorney's office. God knows they hate people talking about them, i.e. they have convinced themselves that it is moral, albeit illegal, to tape record phone calls of citizens throughout the county. They will collectively smear and repeat any propaganda that the District Attorney tells them, not matter how ludicrous or unrealistic, for job security. Mind you 90% of them are related. What a way to make an East Texas living.

Cherokee County law enforcement turns a blind eye to its own internal drug activity while at the same time paying off drug mules and jail house snitches. It is the usual suspects, one being a former DEA agent out of the Dogwood Narco-Force and a recently "retired" Cherokee County District Attorney Investigator.

Readers should applaud that the corrupt Dogwood Narcotics Task Force, based out of Palestine is no more. The only thing the unchecked Tulia Laws created with this pseudo-agency was the ongoing drug trade by Cherokee County law enforcement. There is a vacuum of drug dealing to fill, now that these good ol' Christian men have "retired." It takes neighboring Smith County and the US Attorney to file charges on the current culprits while at the same time relying on the same people for drug bust quotas.

In regards to the drug dealing of law enforcement in Cherokee County; let me give you some info on Cherokee County's unscrupulous activity to be found on the internet. These news articles list the illegal activity in Cherokee County just this year alone, in 2006!!! The firing of Constable Precinct 3 Randall Thompson who was also the Cherokee County District court's bailiff for Judge Bascom Bentley III. Fired for not showing up for his bailiff post. Local media portrays Thompson as missing for 6 months, then gathered a constable's hearing together the day before Thompson was indicted in federal court. Ostensibly, the district court did not know that Constable Randy Thompson had been making and selling speed, if you believe such nonsense. Details can be found at the US Department of Justice news releases. Constable Randall Thompson had participated in all his assigned duties up to and after posting bond.
  • Chief of Police Chester Kennedy of Troup and Sgt. Mark Turner arrested by Smith County Sheriff Department for selling drugs. NO arrests by Cherokee County officials.
  • Jacksonville, TX police officer Larry Pugh molesting women during traffic stops; it takes the FBI to arrest him and charge him on 9 counts of rape and assault. AND when the guy is out on bond he tries to kill one of victims to keep from testifying.
  • More on Troup, Texas Police Chief Chester Kennedy caught tampering with drug evidence in future posts.
  • In New Summerfield, north of Rusk on Hwy 84. Chief of Police and city treasurer fired; mayor resigns after cleaning house.
  • A Jacksonville, TX woman is run down and killed in her own apartment complex. No investigation required according to current Cherokee County District Attorney Elmer C. Beckworth, Jr. The victim was a drunk 'passed out in the parking lot.' Beckworth offered no explanation for not bringing the case to trial; why bother to convene a formal grand jury when you know the outcome. Why even bother to NO-Bill the culprit, it's easier to smear a hit-and-run fatality to the media.
To combat the systemic corruption, HB 1239 was written in 2004 and debated after the Tulia debacle, when 46 people were rounded up in Swisher County Texas during a drug sting and put on trial. Their properties were seized and several quick convictions handed down. The Dogwood Trails Narcotic Task Force was quietly dissolved after bad publicity leaked out about 72 indigent defendants with court appointed Anderson County lawyers being set free after their properties were seized. 60 Minutes did an expose' in 2004 of the sham arrests in Tulia, TX.

The televised interview tells it all. Complete with gypsy cops with criminal records.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djMlDW0IUgA]

There were never any official arrests on record in Cherokee County by the Dogwood Task Force, though they conducted numerous raids. One botched raid simultaneously occurred in Jacksonville and Alto, TX, when the Force raided the wrong homes in an obvious attempt at "asset seizure." The Department of Justice documented that the Dogwood Trails Narcotic Task Force operating under the radar in Cherokee and Anderson County reported no seized assets during the year 2002, despite having conducted numerous raids. And no arrests to back up the raids. Where did the seized drugs and money go???

In neighboring Cherokee County, the get rich scheme of choice is insurance fraud. This trend started decades ago. Fire insurance policies are underwritten as quickly as property is destroyed. Unlicensed insurance agents have frequently set up shop in small towns like Alto, TX and Rusk, TX. Any 'claims adjustment' is done by local law enforcement. The county has been operated for over 30 years by family members and in-laws of the Cherokee County District Attorney's office. Namely, former District Attorney Charles Holcomb, who is now a sitting Justice on the Court of Criminal Appeals in Austin.

 
Judge Charles Holcomb has deliberately omitted some factual tidbits from his State Bar profile about his "last big case in Alto, TX" back in 1990, in which Holcomb convicted an innocent man. Holcomb fails to mention in his profile that the 12th Court of Criminal Appeals in Tyler, which Holcomb was sitting on, reversed this conviction in 1993.

Charles Holcomb's state bar profile on "his last colorful case in Alto, TX" should accurately read:

In 1990, Cherokee County District Attorney Charles Holcomb succeeded in convincing a biased jury to convict an innocent man of murder. The victim's CPA, Terry Watkins of Nacogdoches, was sentenced to life in prison by relatives of the deceased who were planted on the trial jury. And lied during voir dire to be seated on the case--a typical Cherokee County maneuver. Holcomb also refused to recuse himself.

After intense public outcry and scrutiny, Watkins' attorney John Heath, Sr. (also of Nacogdoches, TX) was able to successfully petition the Tyler Court of Appeals and had Terry Watkins released 5 years into his life sentence. It was shown that "the sheriff deputy first on the scene," as Holcomb's publicist recalls, and the widow shared the "$800K" life insurance policy with the Cherokee County District Attorney's Office "to hire outside state witnesses" and according to Holcomb's statements to KTRE an investigator paid "not to solve the case."

District Attorney Charles Holcomb not only accepted money from the deceased’s father to hire an expert witness, Holcomb also accepted money from the murder victim’s widow to hire a private investigator. In an obvious attempt at shifting the onus of suspicion away from anyone other than Mr. Terry Watkins. Or in defense attorney John Heath, Sr.’s comments to hire an investigator but “not to solve the case.” However the investigator was not allowed by Holcomb to interview the widow nor the Cherokee County Constable first on the scene. Eventually this private investigator came to Terry Watkins' defense during resentencing. As stated earlier, the sheriff deputy as Holcomb 'vaguely' recalls was actually a Cherokee County Constable Precinct 2 who formally married the victim's wife months after the murder.

 
 
The widow and Cherokee County Constable live happily ever after, splitting a murdered man's estate, the recipients of an accurately reported $650,000 life insurance payout to everyone involved. As if Charles Holcomb, the prosecutor and now a sitting Justice did not remember. Well preserved news article of the murder trial speak volumes.

 
Back to Justice Charles Holcomb's state bar profile, especially the part where he discusses "his last big case in Alto" from 1990. Charles Holcomb, as District Attorney, accepted monies from the widow of murdered business owner Jackie Hicks of Alto, TX as reported by KTRE and the Lufkin News, ostensibly to send a private investigator on a wild goose chase to south Texas. Even though Holcomb had the coffers of the state of Texas at his disposal. Even though the number one suspect would have normally been the promiscuous widow receiving the $600- $800K insurance policy taken out on her estranged husband, Jackie Hicks. Of course the widow and her lover (a Cherokee County Constable "first on the scene") were never formally questioned nor deposed by the then District Attorney Charles Holcomb nor by his 'investigator.'

Holcomb gives his version of events to the State Bar in an attempt to rewrite history. The fact is an innocent man was released after 5 years on the above mentioned technicalities because of Charles Holcomb's handling of the case. The question on the jurors' and the community's mind was why was the District Attorney Charles Holcomb accepting money to "hire state witnesses" when he had the coffers of the State of Texas and Cherokee County at his disposal? A double indemnity policy pays out for accidental deaths and would not have paid out in case of a homicide, another misdirection of the Cherokee County District Attorney's office even then. Holcomb's quick recap of the case in his State Bar profile quotes the widow "was rumored to have multiple affairs" throughout the community. Because of the number of multiple lovers of the widow that the defense called, State v. Terry Watkins (1990) was the longest running criminal trial in Cherokee County history.

 
 
Cherokeean Herald August 2, 1990

District Attorney Charles Holcomb was elected to the 12th Court of Appeals in Tyler, TX and his assistant Cherokee County District Attorney, Elmer C. Beckworth, Jr. continued the façade that the murder of Jackie Hicks was thoroughly "investigated." The case against Terry Watkins received so much public outcry and so many people cried foul, that the next-in-line Alto, TX police chief Thomas Griffith was called to a grand jury.

Tyler Morning Telegraph article about former Alto, Texas police chief Thomas Griffith predicting the conviction of Terry Watkins for the murder of Alto, TX business owner Jackie Hicks would be reversed and the case reopened because:

“there are people in this area who possess information that would be very useful in this case.” Chief Griffith would eventually be drummed out of his position by Charles Holcomb's relatives on the Alto, TX city council. Thomas Griffith had publicly maintained his belief that Terry Watkins was in fact innocent and had evidence to back up his statements. Holcomb's former investigator would eventually become the police chief of Alto, TX, a revolving door position. Any evidence maintaining Watkins' innocence would be ignored by Beckworth, et al, until Watkins' conviction was overturned.

Elmer Beckworth argued for the State and against Watkins' early release which was eventually granted. The 12th Court of Appeals reversed that conviction and acquitted Watkins in 1992 of capital murder. At a 1995 resentencing, Watkins was denied an early release and sentenced to five years for murder (he had already served over 4 years) as reported in 1996 by Charles Holcomb's hometown paper The Cherokeean Herald.

Cherokeean Herald Feb. 22, 1996

Terry Watkins was freed by the Texas 12th Court of Appeals, with a commuted murder sentence, thereby closing the door on a local 'investigation' into the murder of Jackie Hicks of Alto. However, the statute of limitations is always open for the State's Attorney to seek murder charges. If any reader has information on this conspiracy, they should contact the Attorney General’s office. Those guilty of this crime should not go unpunished, no matter whose wing they may be under and no matter how long it takes.

It may be commonplace in East Texas for innocent people to be charged with crimes committed by law enforcement, however a sitting Justice on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals lying to the State Bar about a murder case he prosecuted and lost on appeal is another thing all together. Good luck on your website and your expose' of East Texan politics both good and bad. The narco-trade is alive and well in Cherokee County. Each time I read about one, I'll post it for the world to see. Who knows, maybe a 6th grader in Rusk, TX might want to do a book report on local corruption or the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Or a kid in China might want to find out what's going on in East Texas. Or a Houston or Dallas/FW based entrepreneur might have second thoughts about doing business in a county that has an entrenched history of drug dealers, rapists and murderers on the payroll.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Texas Rangers investigate Commissioners' Court




Do you believe the County Judge doesn't know the results of the Texas Rangers investigation into the Pct. 4 commissioner, as he's told the Jacksonville Progress? Even though Byron Underwood still attends Commissioners' Court without a leave of absence and L.H. Crockett's job is on the chopping block?

Because County Judge Chris Davis allows a couple of his buddies on Commissioners' Court to buy tractor parts without an authorized Purchase Order, the Texas Rangers have been called in to sign off on Commissioner Byron Underwood's recent equipment purchases. Will they disclose the fact the local John Deere supplier billed Underwood's hay baler part directly to his Precinct? Will they admit the part description was altered to slip in on the agenda? Or will they instead concoct a reason to blame the 80-year old County Auditor (who's up for retirement) and shuffle them both off into the sunset with their pensions? Everything will be back to normal unless Underwood, who is still employed, decides not to go voluntarily when his election comes up. Nonetheless, it will all go away soon with the help of the local Rangers, with minimum explanation, minimum local reporting, and zero exposure or closure.

Who fires the bookkeeper during a Texas Rangers investigation unless it is agreed to keep county billing off the record?



Nothing to see here folks, keep it moving and believe someone up for retirement (who had nothing to do with the fraud) made a tiny mistake...a little oversight that happens all the time, just not worth prosecuting, that's all. We're out of here.

Cherokee County residents are not supposed to care how their property taxes are spent or if Commissioners use their positions to establish credit lines around town. And they damn sure aren't supposed to be talking about it on the phones being tapped that keep these people in office. Imagine if previous Pct. 3 Commissioner Katherine Pinotti had "mistakenly" placed a personal item on the agenda for payment consideration.



County Government Civics 101 

It is Chris Davis' elected responsibility to monitor the county's expenses and keep Commissioners' family tractor parts from being paid for by taxpayers and OFF THE CONSENT AGENDA. County Judges are the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the county who authorize payment of the bills; County Auditors are the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) who record the transactions. L. H. Crockett's job over the years is to act as a checks-and-balance by monitoring the county's adopted budget. After the Texas Rangers conclude their "investigation" of the Cherokee County Commissioners' Court, guess which one will be up for retirement and scapegoated. Guess which one will be shuffled off so local news can bury the controversy? Who gets to keep their job this time?

Is County Judge Chris Davis up for "retirement?"
 
From The 2016 Guide to Texas Laws for County Officials 
 
The main duty of a County Judge is to serve as the chief purchasing officer presiding over the Commissioners' Court in counties with less than 225,000 residents. Other duties include:
  • overseeing capital and community-based projects;
  • serve as authorized signatory on contracts and agreements for the County;
  • propose and adopt the County budget for each fiscal year.
The County Auditor in Texas has oversight of all financial books and records of all officers of the County and is charged with administering the budget. Other duties include:
  • auditing the financial records of various County departments;
  • appropriation of tax funds to pay the County bills including payroll. [Source: county.org]
Cherokee County Government 101

Precinct 4 Commissioner Byron Underwood is under Texas Ranger investigation because a fellow commissioner spoke out about his $800 hay baler part being included for payment during the July 24 consent to pay agenda. In fact it was the first item on the list. L.H. Crockett did not attend the recorded commissioners' court meeting, yet they hope you are stupid enough to believe that he is somehow responsible. He may even be willing to fall on the sword for them in order to enjoy his retirement and his standing in the beloved little community. (Source: Jacksonville Progress)

That's how Texas Ranger investigations into Cherokee County corruption usually end up and lifetime county employees martyr themselves, with pensions and health benefits included.


Remember in 2011 when the Cherokee County Auditor admitted that Commissioners' Court borrowed $500,000 in illegal lease-purchase equipment loans? (Source: Cherokee County admits to borrowing almost $500K in illegal loans- KTRE) That public admission was not enough for heads to roll, yet you are to believe justice will be served over an $800 personal expense.
CHEROKEE COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - For years, Cherokee County officials say they were buying equipment with illegal loans. County Auditor L. H. Crockett says they are now doing whatever they can to fix the high dollar mistake.  
Texas statute does not give counties the authority to borrow money, but that's exactly how some commissioners, and even the sheriff, were paying for tractors, mac trucks, even patrol cars. The loans totaled almost $500,000.00. About $115,000 will be paid off immediately by transferring money from reserve budgets.  
The county is working with banks to refinance the rest through lease-purchase agreements. "Recently a couple of our commissioners went to a seminar. During the course one of the speakers mentioned that counties could not merely borrow money. They came back and one of them went to see our county attorney... He dug into it and called it to my attention," said Crockett.  
Lease-purchase agreements are allowed since the lender owns the merchandise until it's completely paid for. The county auditor says the rates being offered so far are actually better than they had with the regular bank loans. (KTRE- June 16, 2011)


(KETK)