Posted by : January 13, 2016
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Robert Spain, Jr., 48, of Ben Wheeler, was arrested Jan. 8 on four counts of Promotion of Child Pornography.
Special to The Monitor
BEN WHEELER–The Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office along with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, executed a search warrant Jan. 8, in the Ben Wheeler area in the 11000 block of FM 773.
Robert Spain, Jr., 48, of Ben Wheeler, a registered sex offender, was arrested and transported to the Van Zandt County Justice Center for booking on four counts of Promotion of Child Pornography.
Spain has a recommended bond of $200,000 and is awaiting arraignment.
The investigation is ongoing and evidence removed from the house is being sent to the forensic lab for analysis.
Posted by : January 13, 2016
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2011 Photo Courtesy/Joyce Marshall
Monitor Staff Reports
TRINIDAD–According to recent news reports a 15-year standoff with the law, came to an end last Wednesday, as a result of a news reporter informing the Henderson County authorities that the Anderson County DA’s Office had dropped the charges. News of the dropped charge came to light in the aftermath of another armed standoff on public lands in Oregon.
The impasse may well be the longest armed standoff in American history, which few knew anything about.
“Being a peace officer, you do have some emotions — that you would like to see him brought before court and the case tried — but on the other hand, was it worth all that it might have cost to do that?” Henderson County Sheriff Ray Nutt was quoted.
John Joe Gray, now 66, was arrested in 1999 for assaulting a state trooper during a traffic stop in Anderson County. Gray said it was his God-given right to carry the pistol he had that day, without a concealed handgun license. When the trooper tried to arrest him, Gray admits getting into a scuffle and biting him.
Gray was eventually charged with assaulting a public servant. But after free on bail, he refused to return to court, and instead, armed himself at home.
“If they come out after us, bring extra body bags. Those who live by the sword will die by the sword,” Gray told ABC News in a 2000 interview.
Since the felony charge in 1999, Gray reportedly hasn’t left his 47 acres along the banks of the Trinity River between Tool and Trinidad.
Instead, Gray, his children, grandchildren, and friends patrol their property with pistols and rifles and refuse to let strangers inside.
The authorities heeded his warning. For more than a decade, Gray was a fugitive hiding in plain sight, never leaving the compound even after the power was cut off and living off the grid there with his wife and an extended family that includes several children. In Texas, a law-and-order state that conducts an annual misdemeanor manhunt called the Great Texas Warrant Roundup, Gray’s standoff was unprecedented, yet it unfolded for the most part without incident.
The Henderson County Sheriff monitored the road outside Gray’s property over the years but left him alone. Gray’s supporters dropped off food and supplies. Reporters pulled up to the main gate. Early in the standoff, Gray even had a visit from the actor Chuck Norris. But there were no major confrontations with law enforcement.
“My nature is to want to go out there and get him every day I’ve been in office, but then you got to start weighing the lives that might be lost over this,” said Sheriff Nutt, a former Texas Ranger who in February 1993 was dispatched to Waco, where a federal raid on the Branch Davidian compound led to a standoff that left about 80 people dead.
Nutt, who inherited the standoff when he took office in 2009, said he hadn’t been told that the Anderson County District Attorney dropped the charges against Gray until he was contacted by a reporter from the New York Times.
“I’m sure the prosecutor that dismissed it didn’t think to notify anybody,” Nutt told a local reporter.
The felony charge of assaulting a peace officer was dismissed in December 2014, when the district attorney left office. But for some reason, no one notified the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office or even the Gray family, until now.
The Grays painted signs posted along their fence. “When people fear the government there is tyranny. When government fears the people there is freedom.”
Sheriff Nutt said he’s glad the charges had been dropped.
“It takes pressure off people. And it may take pressure off them,” the sheriff said. “There’s always been the potential for something bad happening.”
Nutt said he didn’t go get Gray because deputies could have died.
“It wasn’t worth it,” the sheriff said. “Joe Gray has been in prison out there himself, in my opinion, for 14 years.”
Posted by : January 6, 2016
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Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
The Terry Miller family welcomed its newest member, Madison Lee, at 12:07 a.m. New Year’s Day. She is the fourth child of Athens residents Jennifer and Terry Miller. The nursing staff and select businesses provided a gift box for the first baby born in Henderson County in 2016.
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
ATHENS–The first baby born in Henderson County in 2016 made her appearance just seven minutes after midnight, Jennifer and Terry Miller welcomed their fourth child, a little girl, Madison Lee, weighing six pounds 12 ounces and 19 inches long. She has a big sister who’s 2 ½ years old, a big brother, 13 and another sister, 16. Dad is the director of facilities at Long Cove, a residential resort development on Cedar Creek Lake, near Eustace and Malakoff.
Her mother, besides operating a busy household, produces hand-crafted wooden items from home and markets them in area shops and craft fairs.
Her grandparents are Jamie and Ronnie Miller of Corsicana and Sheila Turner and Robert Rowland of Trinidad.
In Texas there was just one other baby born earlier in 2016 and that baby was born right on the stroke of midnight in Houston. Key’Asia Adams weighed in at five pounds and her mom was expecting her appearance on Jan. 15, according to news reports.
In North Texas, another baby girl was born at 12:11 a.m. at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Alliance and the first baby boy born made his appearance at 12:12 a.m. to an Arlington family born at JPS Health Network in Fort Worth. The next baby, a girl, was born at 7:08 a.m. at the Mansfield Medical Center.