Nov

17

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : November 17, 2017

Special to The Monitor
ATHENS–After entering a plea of guilty in October, James Ray Cryer, Jr., 42, was sentenced by Judge Dan Moore of the 173rd District Court in Athens, to life in prison for Aggravated Sexual Assault. Cryer was also convicted of Unlawful Restraint, for which he received a sentence of 10 years.
Henderson County Sheriff’s Deputy Keon Mack, Jailers Clayton Teel and Brittney Owens, along with the victim testified at the Nov. 8 sentencing hearing
On Aug. 10, 2016, Cryer was “working security” at the Exxon game room in Dogwood City located in Smith County. Also present at the game room was a 60-year-old Frankston woman, who Cryer approached, asking for a ride home. After directing her into the Briarwood Bay subdivision, he directed her to a darkened street, where he grabbed her by the hair and held a knife to her throat, forcing her perform a sexual act. He then ordered her to drive to a different location, where he intended to abuse her further.
As she drove slowly down the street, Henderson County Sheriff’s deputy Keon Mack passed the car going the opposite direction and noticed the car’s slow speed and failure to lower its lights from high beam. After turning around he also observed a defective tail light for which he initiated a traffic stop. When he got alongside the driver’s side window, Mack noticed the woman was extremely nervous and when asked if everything was OK, she whispered the words, “Help me.”
Recognizing the woman was possibly in danger, Mack had her step out and move to the rear of the vehicle, so she could tell him what was taking place. Shortly after that, he got Cryer out of the car, removed the knife and placed him under arrest.
The woman, visibly shaken and upset, told the deputy several times that he had saved her life, a belief which she reiterated to the court.
Both Teel and Owens testified about threats Cryer had made while in the Henderson County Jail. In particular, he had made the statement that if he got a life sentence, he would kill one of the [expletive] guards.
Assistant District Attorney Jessica Bargmann, who prosecuted the case for the State, introduced Cryer’s prior convictions for Aggravated Criminal Mischief, Sexual Assault, Unlawful Possession of a Deadly Weapon in a Penal Institution, and Possession of a Prohibited Item in a Correctional Facility. He was sentenced to 15 years for his first Sexual Assault in 1993 and while in prison, he received two additional felonies, resulting in his incarceration for a total of 23 years.
Cryer had been out for only 10 weeks before committing this assault.
Bargmann said that the sentence brought peace to the victim and justice for the community. “James Cryer has a long violent history, and a life sentence is the only way to ensure the continued safety of the public,” she said.
District Attorney Mark Hall commended Bargmann for an excellent job presenting the case, and was gratified that the court assessed a sentence that will keep Cryer in prison, and away from other potential victims for at least 30 years.
“When a person has been in prison over half his life, and then commits another violent crime immediately after getting out, you know that he can’t adapt to society. James Cryer is back where he belongs.”

Nov

17

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : November 17, 2017


By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
KEMP–The Kemp ISD School Board agreed to pay for a band student’s trip to Carnegie Hall in New York City during its November meeting Monday. The board agreed to pay up to $3,500 for the February trip. The deadline for full payment is Dec. 29.
Drum Major Donna Hyde was invited to participate in the High School Honors Performance Series. Hyde plays the trumpet. She and tuba player Stephen Duvall made school history by being the first KHS juniors to make the ATSSB All-State band. From there they both qualified to audition for the Performance Series open to 9-12 grade students in the 2017-18 school year, and both auditioned.
Then Hyde received her letter of acceptance. “Your acceptance to this elite group is a direct result of the talent, dedication, and achievements demonstrated in your application,” it stated. “Recognition as a Finalist is the first step toward performing trumpet with the Honors Band at Carnegie Hall under the direction of renowned conductor, Kirt Mosier,” the letter adds. Hyde will compete on another level once she arrives in New York City.
“We are happy to support a student who performs at such a high caliber,” Trustee Charissa Roberts said.said. “She’s probably perfect to represent our district.”
In other business, Nov. 13, board trustees:
• resolved to nominate Rusty Freeman to represent the district on the Kaufman County Appraisal District Board. When confirmed, Freeman will replace Jackie Self.
• approved an amendment to the janitorial services contract to take in additional square footage.
• took no action to officially require transfer students to the district to pay a tuition.
• accepted updates to TSBE Policy 109, due to 85th Legislative action.
• approved the hire of a new special education teacher and accepted the resignation of the former one and set SBEC sanctions for abandoning her contract.

Nov

15

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : November 15, 2017


Special to The Monitor
KEMP—An outstanding Kemp band student is trying to get to Carnegie Hall in New York City. Diligent practice and constant improvement have already qualified her to perform; now it’s a matter of financing the trip.
Trumpet player Donna Hyde and tuba player Stephen Duvall were invited to submit video of their performances for consideration. They were both juniors at Kemp High School when they made school history by being the first KHS juniors to make the ATSSB All-State band.
“This is a really big deal,” band director Marc Christy said. “Most are not familiar with how large an accomplishment this is. The last time somebody from Kemp made this band was over two decades ago. This senior student’s primary instrument was a flute.”
Donna has been invited to perform as part of the Honors Performance Series open to 9-12 grade students in the 2017-18 school year, being held Feb. 1-5, 2018.
“We are extremely pleased to notify you that you have been accepted as a Finalist for the 2018 High School Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall. The Selection Board has reviewed your application and chosen you to represent the finest high school performers internationally by performing at Carnegie Hall. Your acceptance to this elite group is a direct result of the talent, dedication, and achievements demonstrated in your application,” are the words from an acceptance letter she received recently.
“Recognition as a Finalist is the first step toward performing trumpet with the Honors Band at Carnegie Hall under the direction of renowned conductor, Kirt Mosier,” the letter adds. So she will compete on another level once she arrives.
Both students have paid nearly $300 just for the recorded audition. Donna, now a senior, lacks about $2,000 more. The funds are due Dec. 29. That’s a lot of money for a high school senior to come up with.
“My entire life’s purpose, I feel is music,” Donna said. “Since I picked up the trumpet, seven years ago, it has provided me with so much joy and relief from my struggles.” Though Stephen didn’t make the final, he agrees with Donna about what music means to him. “Due to personal issues, I was unable to play my instrument for two years. During that time, I always felt like something was missing,” he said. “When I was finally able to take up my tuba again, everything suddenly fell into place.”
After high school, both students plan to continue their education and major in music. Stephen plans to study music performance and music education. Donna plans to study music therapy and music education. Both students view the opportunity to play at Carnegie Hall as a boost to their future and a chance to perform with some of the very best.
It would be a great disappointment, not just to Donna, but to Kemp High School as well, if the only reason she did not make the Carnegie Hall Performance Series was for lack of funding, her band directors agree.
The Kemp High School Band Boosters is accepting donations to assist Donna meet the deadline. If you would like to help support an exemplary student musician, please send a donation to the high school office c/o the band boosters for Donna Hyde. No donation is too small or too large.
“Both of these young people will be working to help raise these funds,” Kemp High School Principal Marietta Maxwell said. “These students are hard workers, diligent about their education and their academic responsibilities. Any help you might give them is well-deserved.”