Posted by : April 20, 2014
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Monitor Photo/Robyn Wheeler
Seven Points Volunteer Fire and Rescue responds to a 9-1-1 call received by Henderson County Sheriff’s Department the morning of April 16 to rescue a boating accident survivor and search for a missing person. Seven Points VFD launches its pontoon rescue boat from Causeway Marina and an hour later locates the nephew of the missing man at the wildlife refuge island, close to the first bridge crossing Cedar Creek Lake between Kemp and Mabank.
Local fisherman surprised by waves,boat capsizes,vests float away
By Susan Harrison
Monitor Staff Reporter
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–After searching for more than a day and half, game wardens located the drowned body of Darin Karl, 42, of Kemp, Thursday. He was found by the wildlife refuge island, close to the first set of bridges going across the lake from Kemp to Mabank.
On Wednesday morning, Karl and his nephew, a 24-year-old college student from Mabank, put Karl’s 14-foot boat with an eight-horsepower motor in the lake at the public boat ramp at Tom Finley Park to fish that day.
According to Game Warden Captain Tony Norton with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Law Enforcement Division, who oversaw the search, Karl and his nephew kept close to the shoreline. They attempted to make their way to the upper northwest end of the lake to catch fish from the mouth of Kings Creek.
The nephew indicated the men fished frequently and were pretty experienced fishermen, Norton reported.
“The nephew said that once they encountered stumps in the low water area, they moved into more open water and a high wave hit the boat and started filling it with water,” Norton said. “He then said another wave hit the boat and it began to sink, then it capsized.”
Norton said the nephew went to retrieve the life jackets that floated out of the boat and when he returned to the boat, he could not find his uncle.
“They were in water anywhere between six and 12 feet deep,” Norton said.
The nephew was able to call 9-1-1 with his cell phone, to which Henderson County’s system answered and dispatched Seven Points Volunteer Fire Department. They launched a pontoon boat to locate and retrieve the nephew. About an hour later, they found the nephew who had made his way to the island.
The nephew was treated for hypothermia, but was not injured and is at home recovering.
The game warden first initialized a rescue search for Karl in the area where the nephew was found. Shortly after 3 p.m. Wednesday, the Kemp Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue found Karl’s boat on the other side of the island from where the nephew was located.
Sometime during the early evening Wednesday, the search became a recovery mission and the search teams stayed out on the lake until about 11 p.m.
About 8 a.m. Thursday, the game warden had three boats with scanners and sonar equipment resuming the search.
“We have mapped out grids to search the lake floor based on where the boat was found and taking into account the flow of the water,” Norton explained. Two of the search boats were equipped with Hummingbird scanners and one boat had equipment worth between $60K and $70K that is capable of producing pictures of the bottom of the lake, he explained.
At about 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Karl’s body was found and retrieved by a diver.
“The body was found not too far from where the boat was found.” Norton said.
“We notified the family and the Justice of the Peace, Johnny Adams.”
Posted by : April 6, 2014
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Lake Tawakoni search brings to light two guns and mask
Monitor Staff Reports
KAUFMAN–Investigators turned up a key piece of evidence in the capital murder case against former Kaufman County Justice of the Peace Eric Williams, 47. For months, state police have searched Lake Tawakoni to recover weapons suspected of being used in the slaying of Kaufman County prosecutor Mark Hasse, 57, and District Attorney Michael McLelland, 63, and his wife, Cynthia, 65.
According to warrant documents procured by WFAA News 8, state police divers recovered two guns and a black mask in the “two-mile bridge” area, along State Highway 276 in Hunt County.
Kaufman County Sheriff’s Sgt. Mark Woodall swore out an affidavit attesting to the forensic test results of one of the guns, found March 5. “Affiant has learned that recent forensic testing of this Ruger pistol has revealed that this pistol was the same pistol from which that bullets that killed Mark Hasse were fired,” states the affidavit. The search warrant identifies a Ruger .357 as capable of firing .38-caliber special rounds. Hasse was killed by .38-caliber rounds, as he walked from his car to his office in downtown Kaufman Jan. 31, 2013.
With the help of federal agents from Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, purchase records of the second gun track back to Kim Williams, Eric Williams’ wife, as the gun’s buyer many years ago.
Last year, a search of a Seagoville storage unit turned up about a dozen weapons, ammunition and a Ford Crown Victoria sedan, believed to have been driven to the McLelland’s Forney home, where the couple was sprayed with bullets going into the Easter weekend. WFAA reports that investigators found the car title during a search of the Williams’ home, last year.
A friend of Eric’s had agreed to rent the storage unit on his behalf. Woodall’s warrant also attested to the finding of “two jars believed to be filled with homemade napalm” inside the unit “capable of, and believed intended for, evidence destruction.”
Prosecutors believe the couple began planning the murders after McLelland and Hasse successfully prosecuted Eric Williams in a theft and burglary case in 2012 that resulted in the loss of his public office and law license. A judge sentenced him to probation in the case, which outcome Williams appealed.
Attorneys for the defense were successful in having the trial moved to Rockwall, in hopes of finding unbiased jurors and have sought to delay the trial’s start, citing the massive amounts of evidence in the case.
The five-month jury selection process began last week with the summoning of some 3,000 potential jurors. Dallas County District Judge Mike Snipes is using a “big panel” approach to jury selection, which begins with a 28-page questionnaire for each one. Attorneys will begin whittling that list down beginning in May, with a panel picked by August. The trial is slated to begin Oct. 20.
Both defendants are being held in the Kaufman County Law Enforcement Center. Bail was set at $10 million for Kim Williams and $13 million for Eric Williams.
Posted by : March 27, 2014
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By David Webb
TOOL–The Tool City Council approved raises for all municipal employees to be funded from the city’s reserve fund account during a meeting March 20.
City staff surveyed adjacent cities recently to determine average salaries being paid employees for similar work. Mayor Tamra Brickey recommended raises be given to city employees to bring them in line with employees of other area cities.
The total amount of the salary increases including the city’s liability for payroll taxes for the fiscal year will be $28,061. Salaries increased by $5,331 or 9.2 percent from $57,668 to $62,999 for administrative employees, by $15,102 or 4.4 percent from $345,826 to $360,928 for police employees, by $1,702 or 1.7 percent from $94,673 to $96,375 for maintenance employees and by $3,931 or 6.6 percent from $59,510 to $63,441 for court employees. The payroll tax increase liability for the fiscal year amounted to $1,995.
The council approved the salary increases by a 3-2 vote with Brickey, Fran Sonka and Donny Daniel voting yes and Nathan Reeder and Rick Williams opposed
In other action, council members:
• heard a proposal from Mike Reneau about his plans to start a scrap metal recycling center that would be enclosed by a solid metal fence and contained in a storage building. Reneau said he wanted feedback from the council and public before continuing with the project.
• approved a resident’s request for a variance of setback restrictions to allow the construction of a carport on Hardy Road.
• denied a request for the city to make repairs for damages to a resident’s concrete decking caused by a faulty culvert. The culvert is on private subdivision property, and it is not the responsibility of the city, the council noted.
• approved seeking assistance from Henderson County for labor and equipment use in the repair of one mile of roadway at Old Indian Trail and Utopia.
• approved a 1.4 percent increase by Allied Waste to become effective April 1. Residential rates will increase 20 cents per month to $14.35.
• appointed Virginia and Jack Smithers as presiding and alternate election judge for the May 10 election.
• appointed Wesley Flaherty of Malakoff High School as student election clerk for the May 10 election.
• rejected a donation of a lot in Westwood Beach Subdivision by owner Alma Sue Smith.
• introduced all of the candidates in the May 10 election to the public in three-minute speech allotments.