Sep

02

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : September 2, 2016

Monitor Staff Reports
ATHENS–A Henderson County Jury found Raheem Mark Miller, 20, guilty of capital murder in theJune 8, 2014 death of Cedric Alvin Collins, 23. of Malakoff. Jurors returned the guilty verdict Tuesday, after two hours of deliberations.
This conviction has a mandatory life sentence in prison without parole.
The State of Texas and the defense rested on Monday, Aug. 29 in a trial which began with jury selection only a week prior. The defense rested without calling any witnesses.
According to reports, Collins was found lying beside his vehicle in the 700 block of Robbins Road, near the intersection of Lantana and Robbins, with what appeared to be a gunshot wound. The victim was transported to East Texas Medical Center where he later died.
Witnesses had reported seeing two men fleeing the scene.
The jurors heard five days of testimony in which the Henderson County prosecutor tried to prove Miller had murdered Collins after robbing him. Evidence included videotaped interviews with the defendant.

The third videotape contained an interview conducted by Bobby Rachel, a reserve deputy from Navarro County who had been asked to interview Miller at the request of Texas Ranger Michael Adcock. During the interview, which jurors watched, Miller said he and another man made a plan to rob Collins after arranging a drug deal selling fake drugs.
Miller told Rachel he didn’t plan on using a gun. Miller said that Collins was killed after the other person pulled a gun on Collins and they fought over it. Investigators cleared the other person mentioned in Miller’s testimony of any wrongdoing in the murder case.
Miller had denied having a gun but eventually admitted to Rachel that he did have one. When Rachel asked if he shot Collins, Miller denied ever pulling the trigger. Miller has denied being the one who pulled the trigger since his arrest.
Miller had been held on a $2,000,000 bond in the Henderson County Justice Center since the 2014 murder. Defense attorneys John Youngblood and James Mills represented Miller. Assistant District Attorney Danny Cox assisted District Attorney Scott McKee with the prosecution.
In closing arguments, District Attorney Scott McKee reviewed the evidence as presented by the state. McKee stated that Miller killed Collins while committing the felony crime of robbery, making this a capital murder.
Judge Carter Tarrance had informed the jury they could find Miller guilty of captial murder, felony murder, aggravated robbery or robbery.
While the defendent showed little emotion when the verdict was read, the families of the victim and defendant were emotional.

Aug

31

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : August 31, 2016

Monitor Staff Reports
ATHENS–Raheem Mark Miller, 20, declined to testify in his capital murder trial in the 392nd District Court, Judge Carter Tarrance presiding. Miller is accused of killing Cedric Alvin Collins, 23 of Malakoff on June 8, 2014. The State of Texas and the defense rested on Monday, Aug. 29 in a trial which began with jury selection only a week prior. The defense rested without calling any witnesses.
According to reports, Collins was found lying beside his vehicle in the 700 block of Robbins Road, near the intersection of Lantana and Robbins, with what appeared to be a gunshot wound.
The victim was transported to East Texas Medical Center, where he later died.
Witnesses had reported seeing two men fleeing the scene.
Det. Adam Parkins was assigned the case and obtained information that pointed to Miller.
The jurors heard five days of testimony in which the Henderson County prosecutor tried to prove Miller had murdered Collins after robbing him, making this a capital murder offense.
Evidence included videotaped interviews with the defendant.
The third videotape contained an interview conducted by Bobby Rachel, a reserve deputy from Navarro County who had been asked to interview Miller at the request of Texas Ranger Michael Adcock. During the interview, which jurors watched, Miller said he and another man made a plan to rob Collins after arranging a drug deal selling fake drugs.
Miller told Rachel he didn’t plan on using a gun. He maintained that Collins was killed after the other person pulled a gun on Collins and the two of them fought over it.
Investigators cleared the other person mentioned in Miller’s testimony of any wrongdoing in the murder case.
Though Miller had denied having a gun, he eventually admitted to Rachel that he did have one
When Rachel asked if he shot Collins, Miller denied ever pulling the trigger. Miller has denied being the one who pulled the trigger since his arrest.
Miller has been held on a $2,000,000 bond in the Henderson County Justice Center since the 2014 murder. He faces life in prison without the possibility of parole, if convicted.
Defense attorneys John Youngblood and James Mills are representing Miller. Assistant District Attorney Danny Cox is assisting District Attorney Scott McKee with the prosecution.
Miller’s fate is in the hands of the jury at the time of this writing.

Aug

24

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : August 24, 2016

Monitor Staff Reports
KAUFMAN–As expected, burn bans in both Kaufman and Henderson counties were rescinded this early this week in view of the last seven days of rainfall throughout North Central Texas. Brush, branches, limbs, leaves and unpainted or untreated lumber are the only items that can be burned on open ground when there is not a burn ban, according to the Kaufman County Fire Marshal’s Office website. Anything else must be burned in barrels with a screen. Outdoor burning should always be attended with the proper safety precautions, such as having the ability to extinguish. No burning after sunset nor under windy conditions.
Kaufman County Commissioners have been reviewing a proposed budget they hope to adopt in September, which includes a $600 pay raise for county employees and funding of several new employee positions.
Public hearings are set for Sept. 6 and Sept. 12.
Though the budget includes nearly $3 million more than last year’s budget, commissioners aren’t proposing an increase in the operations portion of the property tax rate. However, when the county sells the remaining $26 million in voter-approved transportation bonds, the debt service part of the tax rate is expected to rise.
An increase of almost a penny is the “worst case” for the road bonds, depending on the interest rate at the time of its sale. The current debt tax rate is nearly 5 cents per $100 and it could go to nearly 6 cents for a total tax rate of 58.557 cents per $100.
The maintenance and operations tax rate has not seen a rise in the last six years, County Judge Bruce Wood noted at the Aug. 15 Commissioners Court meeting.
The budget also reflects a shift of more funds over to Road and Bridge, or about half a cent of the total property tax rate for a total of 52.65 cents per $100 valuation, same as last year.
Commissioners discussed awarding pay raises on a departmental basis to insure raises were for earned productivity and not just a matter of course, as would be the case if given to all on a certain percentage basis.
The budget has set aside $281,000 for pay raises.
Under the plan, a department that reduced staffing through efficiencies could use the money it saved to redistribute to the remaining employees. However, the plan wasn’t to include distributing funds for vacant positions to be filled. Commissioner Skeet Phillips will head a committee to determine the best way to apply proposed salary hikes.
Employee health insurance adds another $2334,700 to the budget.
New postings include two each in the office of the county clerk and public works and maintenance for six new positions and one each in the fire marshal’s office and district clerk.
As reported last week, the county budget is to include $72,449 to help fund the Star Transit bus and setting aside $250,000 to attract other funding for a county-owned animal shelter. The county’s current contract with the Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake expires Oct. 31. A new contract is proposed at a flat monthly fee of $11,500.