FORT HOOD SHOOTING
Judge sets Fort Hood suspect trial for July 9
FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) - Jury selection will start July 9 in the murder trial of the Army psychiatrist charged in the deadly 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage.
The judge set the date after rejecting Maj. Nidal Hasan's request for a three-month trial delay.
Col. Tara Osborn, the judge, says testimony will start Aug. 6 at the earliest.
Jury selection might be put on hold briefly if a jury consultant hired for Hasan's defense has to work on another case for a week. Right now he's scheduled to be working on another trial in mid-July.
Hasan faces the death penalty or life in prison without parole if convicted in the attack that left 13 dead on the Texas Army post.
Texas Senate drops abortion ban after 20 weeks
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The Republican-led Texas Senate has voted to place new restrictions on abortion, but abandoned an effort to ban the procedure after 20 weeks into pregnancy.
The bill's sponsor, Sen. Glenn Hegar, R-Katy, said he wanted to keep the 20-week restriction, but worried there wasn't enough time to pass it with just one week left in the special session.
Republicans are likely counting on the House to restore the 20-weeks limit.
No abortion bills made it to the Senate floor during the regular session, and Republicans had urged Gov. Rick Perry to add the issue to the special session agenda.
The bill would allow abortions only in surgical facilities and place greater restrictions on abortion-inducing medications.
Abortion rights groups complain the new restrictions could shut down 90% of the abortion clinics in the state and will reduce the effectiveness of medications.
The bill still needs a final Senate vote to send the bill to the House.
South Texas county sued over jail abuse
GEORGE WEST, Texas (AP) - A South Texas county has been sued in federal court for the second time in a year over the sexual abuse of women in its jail.
Also named in the lawsuit filed earlier this month in Corpus Christi are three former guards from the Live Oak County jail who were previously convicted of improper sexual contact with prisoners.
Attorney Ron Armstrong, who filed the lawsuit, said Tuesday he has told the district attorney about the new allegations contained in the suit brought by two women.
The suit alleges a pattern of sexual assaults from 2007 to 2010. It follows another federal lawsuit filed last year by two other women who were assaulted there.
Live Oak Sheriff Larry Busby did not immediately return a call for comment.
SNAKES SMUGGLED ON PLANES
Man pleads guilty to smuggling snakes on planes
TYLER, Texas (AP) - Samuel L. Jackson would have been cursing up a storm.
An East Texas man has pleaded guilty to smuggling snakes on several planes from South America to the United States.
During a court hearing Tuesday in Tyler, William Lamar pleaded guilty to importing wildlife taken in violation of foreign law.
Prosecutors say the 63-year-old eco-tourism guide bought the seven live snakes in August 2012 in a market in Lima, Peru, and smuggled them in his jacket on flights from Lima to Miami and then to Dallas.
Game wardens seized the snakes from Lamar's home in Tyler.
Peruvian law prohibits the exportation of wild live animals coming from the forest or jungle unless the exporter has the proper paperwork.
Lamar faces up to five years in prison.
AIRMAN'S WIFE-TODDLER DEATH
Probe prompts child welfare workers to resign
ABILENE, Texas (AP) - The Texas child welfare agency under investigation for its mishandling of a toddler's death last year has disciplined two caseworkers after discovering that 1 of them had "an inappropriate relationship" with the child's father.
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services spokesman Patrick Crimmins said Tuesday that officials were tipped in May that the relationship started after the investigation into the Aug. 28 death of 22-month-old Tamryn Klapheke began.
Crimmins said the two women who resigned were investigators in the case. Two others not handling the case were reassigned.
The agency remains under scrutiny on charges of evidence tampering. That investigation is ongoing.
The toddler's mother claimed she was too stressed by her military spouse's deployment to care for her children. She faces a charge of injury to a child.
CAR RUNS OVER DRIVER
Police: South Texas teen run over by own car
RIO GRANDE CITY, Texas (AP) - Police are investigating the death of a South Texas teenager who appears to have been run over by her own vehicle.
The Monitor of McAllen reports (http://bit.ly/19gPUhN ) authorities in Rio Grande City were called to a home around 8:10 a.m. Tuesday.
Police Chief Dutch Piper says that responding officers found a 17-year-old girl who had died after her car had run her over.
While police are still investigating, it appears the teenager exited her vehicle, which then moved and went over her.
The name of the victim was not immediately released.
Rio Grande City is located about 40 miles west of McAllen.
Office manager sent to prison for embezzlement
SAN ANTONIO (AP) - A dental office manager has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for embezzling $353,000 from her employer and using the money for such things as Beyonce and Lil Wayne concert tickets, a limousine rental to take her to church and replenishment of her boyfriend's prison commissary account.
The San Antonio Express-News reports (http://bit.ly/16FgcJz ) Misty Casanova had previously pleaded no contest to a first-degree felony theft charge.
Authorities say the 34-year-old stole from dentist Fred Seitz about 600 times from 2006 to 2010.
Prosecutors had asked for a 20 year prison term. Casanova had sought probation.
Casanova's attorney, Jesus Lopez, said at a court hearing Tuesday his client was remorseful for her actions.
Seitz said the thefts were "devastating" and have caused him to lose respect from family and colleagues.
Boy bitten by shark now good at Houston hospital
HOUSTON (AP) - A 15-year-old boy recovering after a shark bit 2 of his limbs at a Southeast Texas beach has been upgraded to good condition.
Officials at Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston on Tuesday provided an update on Garrett Sebesta.
Authorities say the youth on Monday afternoon was in waist-deep water at Surfside Beach with a church group when he was attacked. Police say the shark bit Garrett on the left leg, then bit the boy's left hand as the teen hit the shark.
Officials aren't sure what type of shark bit Garrett. Hospital officials declined to release additional details about the teen.
Surfside Beach is about 60 miles south of Houston.
East Texas fire kills more than 200 exotic birds
KILGORE, Texas (AP) - An apparent electrical fire at an East Texas man's animal sanctuary has killed more than 200 exotic birds.
Kilgore Fire Marshal Brandon Bigos says investigators believe problems with misuse of an extension court caused the weekend blaze.
Owner Tommy Hayes said Monday that he's devastated about the fire. Hayes says he raises the birds to protect them but occasionally sells some of the creatures to offset the $2,800 monthly cost for sanctuary food.
Hayes and his family members were at home next door to the sanctuary when the fire broke out Sunday afternoon. They managed to save some animals.
Investigators say Hayes had about $25,000 worth of birds and other creatures at the site in Kilgore, about 115 miles southeast of Dallas.
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