Henderson County 173rd Judicial District Judge Dan Moore on Monday accepted an 18-year prison sentence for a Malakoff man known on the street as “King James.”
James Earl Ray, 40, pleaded guilty to crack cocaine possession and distribution while a jury awaited the prosecution’s first witness in Moore’s court last month.
Henderson County assistant district attorneys Justin Weiner and Nancy Rumar prosecuted the case on behalf of the state. Athens-based attorney Barry Spencer represented Ray.
A little over a year prior to his sentence on December 8, 2011, the Henderson County Drug Task Force and members of the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office Command Staff executed a search warrant on Ray’s residence. Immediately after making entry into the home, Ray was seen fleeing from the bathroom with his hands dripping wet. The toilet was running, which indicated that it had recently been flushed — and leaving officers to speculate that Ray had flushed a quantity of narcotics when he realized that law enforcement was at his home.
During the search of the home, the Task Force located a number of items confirming Ray’s involvement in drug transactions. Crack cocaine was found throughout the house, along with razor blades used to size the rocks, a large amount of cash mostly in small bills and a cell phone with text messages detailing various drug transactions.
The residence was also home to two children. The search revealed digital scales with cocaine residue found sitting on a baby’s highchair.
Ray was the only person present at the time the search warrant was executed.
An additional warrant was also executed to search Ray’s cellular phone, which indicated that he was trafficking in narcotics.
“This is a great example of why it is so important that our office works so hard with law enforcement and continues to fight and investigate these cases on the eve of and throughout trial,” Assistant District Attorney Justin Weiner said.
Malakoff man pleads out as trial kicks off
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The Henderson County Sheriff’s Office reports that a large quantity of fireworks taken from a stand just outside of Athens have been recovered, and arrests are expected in the case.
According to Sheriff Ray Nutt, HCSO learned on Tuesday morning that Jake’s Fireworks Stand on State Highway 19 south had been burglarized.
Chandler to end septic dumping
Several repairs are needed on the lagoon at the Chandler Wastewater Treatment Plant, and as a result, the city council has voted to close the lagoon, effective Jan. 1.
The lagoon is used by several area septic companies for dumping of the sludge from their trucks. Those companies will be notified of the closing.
Brownsboro ISD adding eight courses
House Bill 5 is leading to changes in education across the state, and Brownsboro Independent School District is making sure it is ready.
While all the details of the bill have not been released, Brownsboro ISD approved adding eight courses to its high school curriculum Monday during a regular school board meeting in preparation.
Water authority sues Athens
The Athens Municipal Water Authority filed suit in 173rd District Court on Tuesday concerning bills presented to the AMWA the authority contends were the responsibility of the city.
The AMWA Board voted unanimously to take the action at its meeting Tuesday morning. The suit claims the city had wrongfully charged the AMWA with bills the municipality had been obligated to pay.
School buses collide in Athens
Two Athens Fire Department responders assist students after two buses collided near the bus barn on S. Palestine Street on Wednesday afternoon. The collision sent multiple individuals to East Texas Medical Center with unspecified injuries. Athens Police Department Officer Michael Reynolds said the driver of one of the buses was transported to the hospital with unspecified injuries. AISD officials said none of the students were thought to be seriously injured, but were being taken to the emergency room for evaluation. Two parked, unoccupied, vehicles received minor damage in the indecent.
Henderson County Election Administrator Denise Hernandez wants to alleviate fears of potential voters who believe they may be disenfranchised if the name on their voting card is not an exact match.
Hernandez said her office has received several inquiries concerning the question, and want’s to assure voters that the changes might cause them to spend a few extra seconds in the election process, but will not curtail their rights at the ballot box.
County discusses appointments
The Henderson County Commissioners discussed the appointment of three members to the Regional Fair Park Board at their Tuesday meeting.
Judge Richard Sanders said three positions were expiring on the park board. The positions are currently being held by Bob Myers, Ken Hayes and Martin Davis. Sanders said Bob Myers of Precinct 4 was the only board member who showed an interest in remaining on the Fair Park Board.
Hazardous materials response
The Athens City Council on Monday approved an agreement with Henderson County for hazardous materials response.
Now that the city has approved the document, it will go to the Henderson County Commissioners Court to be approved and signed.
More than 50 people were at the Cain Center on Sunday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the crowning of Athens' own Sharon McCauley as Miss Texas.
The event was attended by dignitaries such as City Administrator Pam Burton, Athens Mayor Jerry Don Vaught, Miss Texas Pageant historian Randy Pruett and Henderson County Judge Richard Sanders. Many of McCauley's family members also were on-hand for the celebration.
Primary filing complete
Filing for the March 2014 primary elections ended Monday for several key positions across Henderson County.
A total of 25 Republicans filed for a county position, while four Democrats filed.
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