Crime

Photo courtesy flickr.com/barmony

The killing of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17 year-old African-American, by self-described neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman, has sparked a national discussion about racial profiling and vigilante justice.

It has also prompted a more critical look at so-called “stand your ground” laws in Florida, the state where the incident took place, and across the nation, including Texas.

Police in the Orlando suburb of Sanford have yet to arrest Zimmerman, as Florida law permits the use of deadly force in self-defense. (Despite reports that he was the party to instigate the confrontation, Zimmerman says he did act in self-defense.)

Prison Radio Show is Inmates' Link to the Outside World

Mar 19, 2012
Photo by Michael Stravato for the Texas Tribune

On Friday nights, in prison cells across East and Southeast Texas, a window opens to the outside world. For two hours, a Houston-based radio show breaks the isolation of the incarcerated, linking inmates to families, friends and life outside lockup.

The Prison Show,” which started in 1980 on KPFT, is part news program and part call-in radio show. Some Texas inmates have listened to their own weddings on the show, with the new spouse and a proxy exchanging vows in the studio. Others have listened to their children grow up on the radio, hearing news of soccer games and report cards from children they never see.

And for inmates who are no longer in prison, the show is familiar in a world that feels foreign.

14 Central Texans are facing federal charges, after being arrested for suspected involvement in what authorities describe as an Austin area cocaine distribution network. At least 6 others are facing state charges in connection with the distribution ring.

“The evidence will suggest that there was over 150 kilos of cocaine involved in the conspiracy and, as such, these individuals were charged at the highest level,” says Robert Pitman, U.S. Attorney with the Department of Justice’s Western District of Texas.

Nasha Lee for KUT

Austin Crime Lab Receives Second Complaint

As reported by The Austin American-Statesman, the Austin Police Department's crime lab has received a second complaint. The complaint comes from an independent lab in North Texas claiming it received different results than the Austin lab when testing the same evidence. 

Austin’s infamous Yogurt Shop Murders may be getting a fresh set of eyes.

The 1991 crime – the assault and murder of four young Austin women at an I Can’t Believe It’s Yogurt! shop in north Austin, which was then set ablaze – has never been solved.

In 1999, Austin Police arrested four suspects in connection with the crime: Robert Springsteen, Michael Scott, Maurice Pierce, and Forrest Wellborn. Charges were dropped against the latter two suspects. Springsteen and Scott were convicted but ultimately released after a DNA swab from one of the victims – not originally available in 1991– confirmed the existence of an unknown suspect the police have been unable to identify.

However, the District Attorney’s office have continued to treat Springsteen and Scott as prime suspects. When the DNA evidence was released in 2009, D.A. Rosemary Lehmberg told The Austin Chronicle the new evidence “does not exonerate anybody."

Photo by manue_aka_crazeecrafteez http://www.flickr.com/photos/manueb/

The legendary East Austin barbeque restaurant Sam’s Bar-B-Cue is having its business license revoked today following allegations the owners purchased meat stolen from H-E-B.  Two other restaurants, La Morinita at 2944 East 12th St. and Willie’s BBQ at 4505 East Martin Luther King Blvd., are also being shut down.

gavel
Image courtesy Keith Burtis http://www.flickr.com/photos/keithburtis/

The two men charged in a string of church fires last year in East Texas have announced their plan to plead guilty, reports the Associated Press. 

Austin police badge
Image courtesy APD

Austin police are dealing with their 30th homicide case of the year. This time last year, there had been 19 recorded murders in Austin.

Someone called police at 10:11 p.m. yesterday to report two men fighting at Pleasant Valley Road and East Riverside Drive. By the time officers arrived, they found a 50-year-old man in the street bleeding from a stab wound. He was rushed to Brackenridge Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police got a description of the alleged attacker from witnesses and arrested him a short while later. Charges are pending.

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