Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : April 26, 2015

PS-AR-15 officer Matt Foster
By David Webb
Monitor Correspondent

PAYNE SPRINGS-Following the meeting of the Payne Springs City Council Tuesday, Police Chief Sam Cummino tendered his resignation from the department.
The city accepted his resignation the following day. Assistant Chief Dan Huckabee is currently leading the department, The Monitor learned. Cummino’s letter of resignation did not indicate a reason for his leaving, the city secretary said.
He was with the department for a little less than two years. During the meeting Cummino introduced newly hired officer Matthew Foster to the council.
Council members also noted that all police officers have completed their certification to use the AR-15 rifle, a term used to refer to semiautomatic-only versions.
According to Wikipedia, the AR-15 is a lightweight, intermediate cartridge magazine-fed, air-cooled rifle with a rotating lock bolt, actuated by direct impingement gas operation or long/short stroke piston operation.
The weapon is now on board Payne Springs police patrol vehicles. The Monitor learned other local police officers also tote the AR-15 weapon.
All three rifles were acquired under Chief Lupe Garza in 2013, shortly after the shooting deaths of Kaufman County prosecutors, city secretary Karen Juica explained. More recently, the council was going to sell them, if officers weren’t getting certified to use them, she said.
The main business of the Payne Springs City Council was to take up permit revocation discussions with two businesses, one of which stood up officials Tuesday. However, the owners of another business targeted by city officials reached an agreement with the council.
The owner of the Shell Station on Highway 198 hired a lawyer who wrote a letter to city officials requesting more specific information about alleged ordinance violations. The City Council instructed city staff to refer the letter to the city attorney.
City staff recently sent letters to two businesses instructing them to appear at the meeting to discuss the condition of culverts running under entrances to the businesses where flooding occurred causing damage to city streets.
The letter warned the business owners that their business permits would be revoked unless they complied with city ordinances requiring culvert maintenance.
Tamale Man spokesman Pete Martinez representing the owner said the business, also located on Highway 198, would comply with whatever regulations city officials required. Martinez said Tamale Man, which has operated for more than two decades in Payne Springs, would either close a second entrance to the business that crosses a clogged culvert or replace it within two weeks.
In other action, the council:
• granted a business permit for Jiba Sales to sell fireworks contingent upon the completion of local and state paperwork.
• established an employee review policy at three-month, six-month and one-year evaluations with eligibility for the first raise coming at the six-month interval.
• approved purchasing new flags for City Hall after learning the ones flying for about a year are in need of replacement.
• learned the city is over-budget. Councilman Ron Spahlinger, who serves as treasurer, advised the council and city staff to carefully consider all expenses and capture all of the revenue possible in coming months.
Monitor Staff Writer Pearl Cantrell contributed to this report.



Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : April 16, 2015

By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

MABANK–A tragic traffic death Saturday afternoon is under investigation by Mabank Police.
Motorcycle rider and Cedar Creek Lake resident Paul Davey, 32, was most likely killed instantly when a 2013 Buick Verono failed to yield the right-of-way. The call to first responders was recorded at 1:46 p.m.
“He was DOA, when we arrived,” Police Chief Keith Bradshaw told The Monitor.
Kaufman County Justice of the Peace Patricia Ashcroft was on-call and pronounced the death.
Davey was northbound on State Highway 198 (North Third Street), riding a 2004 Honda RTV-1000 motorcycle.
The white passenger car was driven by an unidentified juvenile operating the vehicle under a learner’s permit with an adult present.
“They were all legal to drive,” Bradshaw said.
The car pulled out of East Jeter Street (close to the U.S. 175 junction), Bradshaw added.



Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : March 19, 2015

Monitor Staff Report

HUNTSVILLE–The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) late Monday stopped the scheduled execution of 55-year-old Randall Wayne Mays.

The court agreed with Mays’ lawyers that additional review is needed to determine if Mays is mentally competent for execution.

Eight years ago in a shootout with police, Mays killed two Henderson County deputies and wounded a third, after the deputies were called to Mays’ residence on a domestic disturbance call in Payne Springs May 17, 2007.

Investigator Paul Habelt and Deputy Tony Ogburn were the first to arrive. They were shot down the same day the county held its annual peace officer memorial.

Mays was set for lethal injection Wednesday evening in Huntsville.

Henderson County District Attorney Scott McKee called the ruling “disappointing for the family and friends of Paul, Tony and Kevin, as well as the entire law enforcement community.”

The law holds that it is unconstitutional to execute a person who does not know why he is to be executed and that the execution is imminent.

“We believe that Mays is fully competent and that the people of Henderson County, through the jury in this case, issued a clear message in its verdict,” McKee said.

Although the court in Austin issued a stay, it has not overturned Judge Carter Tarrance’s Feb. 27 ruling that held Mays had not raised substantial doubt of his competency to be executed, McKee pointed out.

As the judge who handled the case over the past eight years, McKee argues that Tarrance is the most qualified to ascertain May’s competency for execution.

“We certainly hope and advocate for the CCA to uphold his ruling and allow Judge Tarrance to set another execution date,” he said.

If the CCA overturns Tarrances ruling, the court would appoint at least two independent experts to evaluate Mays for competency. After the evaluations, another hearing would then be had and Judge Tarrance would have to rule again. And of course, the CCA would review that ruling, McKee explained.

News sources reported that carrying out the execution would deplete the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s supply of pentobarbital used for lethal injections and now difficult to obtain for capital punishment.
At least four Texas executions are scheduled for April.