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.
Posted by : August 31, 2016| On :
Monitor Staff Reports
Posted by : August 24, 2016| On :
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.
Posted by : August 19, 2016| On :
By Britne Hammons
Monitor Staff Writer
CANTON–It was tears and cheers during a remembrance event Tuesday for the late Precinct 2 Constable C. B. Wiley. Justice of the Peace Pct. 2 Ronnie Daniell addressed a packed room at the Van Zandt County Courthouse Annex to commemorate Wiley’s service. The commemoration was combined with an open house after extensive restoration work was completed at the Annex.
Wiley was an officer of the law for more than 50 years – first in Dallas and then in Van Zandt County. He and his wife, Mary, moved to Canton in 1972.
A tribute wall has been created in the JP office to honor Wiley and his law enforcement legacy. The date for the open house also honors him, JP Pct. 2 Clerk Sandra Plaster said. Aug. 16 would have been Wiley’s 80th birthday.
About 150 people attended the event with several notable figures having a few words to say to the family about Constable Wiley.
Wiley’s wife, Mary, daughter Pam Hinton and son David Wiley accepted plaques and certificates on behalf of deceased family member.
JP Daniell said that Wiley “fulfilled his call in law enforcement and gave so much to the county. He and his family gave so much of themselves when he was called to service.”
The Rev. Mike Burns of Word of Victory Church in Canton led the invocation, asking for healing and strength for the Wiley family.
Canton Mayor Lou Ann Everett read a proclamation highlighting Wiley’s long service.
“The City of Canton deeply mourns the loss of Constable Wiley. It is with genuine sadness that we join together and commemorate his passing,” Everett said.
County Judge Don Kirkpatrick said that Wiley had been a cornerstone in his own career.
“When I first was elected into office as JP Pct. 1, Constable Wiley helped train me. I knew that at any time, I could call on him and he would offer help. I know in a lot of elected positions; the family also has to sacrifice time with their loved one who is serving the county. I just want to say thank you, to Constable Wiley’s family for sharing him with the county.”
State Constable Association Representative Wayne Pierce, State Rep. Dan Flynn and State Sen. Bob Hall also presented plaques to the Wiley family.
State Sen. Bob Ball read a proclamation designating Aug. 16 as “C. B. Wiley Day.”
Daniell also recognized Judge Don Kirkpatrick, Commissioner Pct. 4 Tim West and Carl Waddell for their help in the restoration efforts of the County Courthouse Annex building.
In closing, Daniell said that Constable Wiley was an original.
“He was just one of a kind,” Daniell said. “We certainly lost a storehouse of information when we lost C.B.”
Pct. 2 Court Clerk Sandra Plaster said Wiley’s concern for his community and the people he served will make him hard to replace. “He truly cared about the people in this precinct and this county,” she said. “You could give him just about any address in the precinct and he would know who lived there. He made it his business to know.”
At the end of the ceremony, a portrait was unveiled of Constable Wiley (at left) that now hangs in the Precinct 2 JP Office, occupied by Justice of the Peace Daniell.
“This was our way of saying thanks to the Wiley family for sharing such an awesome man, husband and father. The court and county is going to miss this man so much. He was a hero to the many people that he helped,” Plaster said.
That kind of service does not go unnoticed. Sen. Hall suggested that “something be done to honor such a devoted man.”
“It was Memorial Day and Senator Hall and I talked about doing something to honor Constable Wiley. At that time, we both decided to put the wheels in motion. So, we planned an honorary event,” Plaster said.
Plaster was not alone in recognizing Wiley, sparking the formation of a committee to honor the lawman.
“Without the committee, we could not have honored him in such a great way. The committee went above and beyond to help put this together for Constable Wiley’s family.”
Plaster said the committee was comprised of Gina Cantrell, Jan Donaldson, Patty Hunter, Sandra Jones and herself.