Courthouse reporter Melody McDonald and her editor, Lee Williams, take a look back at the
trial of John Hummel, the Kennedale man sentenced to death after killing his pregnant wife, her disabled father and his 5-year-old daughter in 2009.
A lot of this content is behind the paywall, which makes me wonder if I should even be providing the links. But it's good journalism either way, and the reporters and editors and photographers who rounded it all up deserve major props.
Arlington police issued this news release on Friday afternoon:
Two people have been charged with murder for the death of an Arlington man, whose body remains missing. On Friday, May 6, 2011, the family of Jerry Roberts, 62, asked the Arlington Police Department to conduct a welfare check at Mr. Roberts’s home in the 700 block of Sanford Street.
Officers arrived at the location and learned the man’s pickup was missing. Inside the house, officers discovered blood stains on a chair and the refrigerator missing from the location.
At least one witness saw Mr. Roberts and his roommate, Erin Leanne Guthrie, 38, involved in an argument the day before Mr. Roberts disappeared. Guthrie was seen on surveillance footage using Mr. Roberts debit card at a Fort Worth convenience store on May 7, 2011.
On June 7, 2011, Guthrie’s boyfriend, Thomas Eugene Dunham, 43, was stopped by police officers in Alamosa, Colorado, while driving Mr. Roberts’s truck, which had been listed as stolen.
Investigators discovered evidence that there had been blood in the bed of the truck.
Guthrie was located at a nearby Colorado homeless shelter, and also taken into police custody. Based on the totality of the circumstances of this incident and interviews with the suspects, Arlington police investigators consulted with the Tarrant County district attorney’s office and are now proceeding with murder charges.
Guthrie and Dunham have both been charged with murder and remain in custody in the Alamosa County Jail in Colorado. Bail has been set at $500,000 for each suspect.
Reno police officer Thomas Kirby is counting his blessings, and all 10 of his fingers, after a shooting mishap June 20.
“During an examination of a new duty handgun, the weapon accidentally discharged, grazing his right pinky finger,” Public Safety Director Joe Polino said. “Officer Kirby was treated and released at JPS Hospital in Fort Worth.”
Kirby, a patrolman, returned to work the following day.
Selwyn Crawford of The Dallas Morning News has a story today about that triple homicide in Arlington over the weekend. Police say two women were killed by the estranged husband of one of them, leaving eight children without mothers.
The story is behind the paper's paywall, but in short, the pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church, which the victims attended, says that the church is seeking help for the children, who range in age from 1 to 12. Seven of the children were in the apartment in the 3500 block of Wakefield Circle when the shooting occurred.
The husband, Dalton James Bennett Jr., was arrested at his mother's home nearby after the 1:30 a.m. shooting. Bennett's estranged wife, Sheryl Bennett, 31, was shot in the neck and right shoulder, according to the Tarrant County medical examiner.
Her sister-in-law, Tana Todd, 25, was also killed, as was a male friend, Crawford reports. Sheryl Bennett's brother, Todd's husband, was critically wounded but survived.
A 7-year-old Michigan boy intent on seeing his father in a neighboring town jumped into his stepfather's Pontiac Sunfire Monday morning while his mother slept and drove about 20 miles before authorities were able to pull him over, according to a report in the Detroit Free Press.
Supposedly the youngster, barefoot and in his pajamas, could barely see over the steering wheel and had to stand on the floorboard to reach the gas pedal.
It's another busy week at the Tim Curry Criminal Justice Center in downtown Fort Worth with at least four notable trials underway.
In Judge Ruben Gonzalez’s 432nd District Court, John “Johnny” Hummel, 35, is accused of killing his pregnant wife; disabled father-in-law; and 5-year-old daughter on Dec. 17, 2009, and then setting their Kennedale house on fire. If convicted of capital murder, Hummel will face the death penalty.
Directly next door, in Judge Scott Wisch’s 372nd District Court, a 1986 cold-case capital murder trial is going on: Jay Thayer Williams, 66, a Dallas real estate agent, is accused of fatally shooting and trying to rape 27-year-old Sandra Martin inside her southwest Fort Worth home almost 25 years ago as her two children played elsewhere in the house.
Meanwhile, in Trial Room B on the seventh floor, Larry Kirk Pointer is accused in the 2009 stabbing death of Michael Wells at the Presbyterian Night Shelter in Fort Worth, where both men were staying. (Update: this case ended in mistrial. http://bit.ly/jLLnFe)
And finally, in Judge Robb Catalano’s Criminal District Court No. 3, jurors are hearing an intoxication manslaughter trial. Dennis Wayne Blanchard is accused of driving drunk and causing a wreck in unincorporated Tarrant County in 2009 that killed Denise Montague, 47, a passenger in his vehicle.
There are other trials going on, of course, but those are the ones with the most public interest. The Star-Telegram has been providing daily coverage on the Hummel and Williams trials, which began last week.
All courtrooms are open to the public. - Melody McDonald
Some behavior is criminal, even though it doesn't qualify for jail time.
Case in point: A woman talking loudly on her cellphone on an NY subway line is told by a conductor to quiet down and quit using profanity.
The woman responds by saying, "Excuse me, do you know what schools I've been to and how well-educated I am?"
Evidently, a good education exempts you from rude and disorderly conduct.
That said, she refuses to let it go and goes on a rant, reminding again of her educational background. Threatened with being kicked off the subway, she demands a refund and to be let off at the next stop.
It's captured on video and goes viral. Watch the video, and judge for yourself.