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April 23, 2018 - The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) executed multiple search warrants on April 19, 2018, throughout Shelby County.

James Cody Fleming

The search warrants were issued after several months of investigations into a rash of burglaries. 

Execution of the search warrants uncovered a multitude of suspected stolen property including power tools, firearms, hunting and fishing equipment, electronics and numerous other items.

Marijuana, prescription pills and 46+ grams of methamphetamines were also found at a location along with $5,600 in currency.

James Melvin Fleming

James Cody Fleming, 34, of Center was arrested and charged with Manufacturing/Delivery of a Controlled Substance (F-1) $50,000 Bond; Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by Felon (F-3) $15,000 Bond and Violation of Parole – No Bond.

James Melvin Fleming, 64, of Center was arrested and charged with Prohibited Weapon (F-3) $15,000 Bond and Tampering with Identification Numbers (M-A) $5,000 Bond.

Stephen McCoyStephen McCoy, 24, of Joaquin was arrested and charged with Violation of Probation- No Bond.

Rebecca Simmonds, 21, of Center, was arrested and charged with POM (M-B) $2,500 Bond; POCS (SJF) $2,000 Bond; POCS (M-A) $5,000 Bond and Abandoning/Endangering a Child (SJF) $15,000 Bond.

Rebecca Simmonds

Lillian Jernigan, 19, of Center was arrested and charged with Manufacturing/Delivery of a Controlled Substance (F-1) $50,000 Bond.

Bruce Cohoon, 39, of Joaquin was arrested and charged with Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by Felon (F-3)$15,000 Bond and Tampering with Identification Numbers (M-A) $5,000 Bond.

Lillian Jernigan

The six suspects were booked into the Shelby County Jail without incident and all remain in custody at this time. More charges will be added.

Officers involved in the search warrants included Sheriff Willis Blackwell, Chief Deputy Kevin Windham, Lieutenant Del Birdwell, Investigators Chad Brown, Mandy Fears and Adam Renfro, SCSO Deputies Ruth Gonzales, Jordan Long, Jim Ed Matthews, Roy Bailey and Taylor Fanguy

Bruce Cohoon

Sheriff Willis Blackwell would like to thank DPS Officer Taylor Buster and Jessie Fountain, Constable Zack Warr and Shelby County District Attorney Investigator Joey Haley for their assistance with the execution of the search warrants.

Leah Chase, SCSO Media Relations

 

April 18, 2018 - The following criminal defendants failed to appear for a felony arraignment hearing on Wednesday, April 18, 2018:

Tristen Javan Durden
Darren Askew
Eric Jerome Nobles
Ruben Munez Soto

Judge LeAnn Rafferty, presiding judge of the 123rd Judicial District Court, issued warrants for each defendant's arrest and further, forfeited each defendant's bond. 

Each defendant needs to immediately contact the Court Manager, Karen Warr, at 936-598-9928 to schedule a court appearance.

April 17, 2018 - The Internal Revenue Service announced today that it is providing taxpayers an additional day to file and pay their taxes following system issues that surfaced early on the April 17 tax deadline. Individuals and businesses with a filing or payment due date of April 17 will now have until midnight on Wednesday, April 18. Taxpayers do not need to do anything to receive this extra time.

The IRS encountered system issues Tuesday morning. Throughout the system outage, taxpayers were still able to file their tax returns electronically through their software providers and Free File. Taxpayers using paper to file and pay their taxes at the deadline were not affected by the system issue.

“This is the busiest tax day of the year, and the IRS apologizes for the inconvenience this system issue caused for taxpayers,” said Acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter. “The IRS appreciates everyone’s patience during this period. The extra time will help taxpayers affected by this situation.”

The IRS advised taxpayers to continue to file their taxes as normal Tuesday evening – whether electronically or on paper. Automatic six-month extensions are available to taxpayers who need additional time to file can visit https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/extension-of-time-to-file-your-tax-return.

April 13, 2018 - SWEPCO is ramping up its workforce and making other preparations to respond to power outages that may be caused by the forecasted storm across most of SWEPCO’s three-state service territory. The storms are forecasted to bring wind gusts of up to 60 mph late Friday and early Saturday morning.

SWEPCO has closely monitored the developing storm system for several days; crews are positioned to safely restore power to customers as quickly as possible.

Always assume that any downed utility line is energized. Stay away from any downed line. Report it immediately to SWEPCO at 1-888-218-3919, or call 911.

How to report, track outages

  • Use the SWEPCO app, available for download via the App Store or Google Play.
  • Call 1-888-218-3919 to report your outage.
  • Sign up for text and email updates, including estimated time of restoration, at SWEPCO.com/Alerts.
  • Visit SWEPCO.com/OutageMap to find detailed information without logging into your account

For updates and photos, follow SWEPCO on Facebook and Twitter.

April 13, 2018 - A Shelby County Grand Jury handed down 44 indictments involving 29 individuals on Wednesday, March 28, 2018. The grand jury was impaneled for the January 2018 term of the 273rd Judicial District Court.

Included in the list of cases presented to the grand jury involved the shooting death of Louis Troy Risinger by Shelby County Sheriff's Deputy Jeff Gogolewski on March 6, 2018. The grand jury no billed the case, meaning there was not sufficient evidence presented to seek prosecution against Gogolewski for the death of Risinger. One other case presented to the grand jury received a no-bill.

Lisa Renea Cordova was indicted for murder, first degree felony. The indictment alleges, on March 5, 2017, Cordova caused the death of Michael Lane Cordova by stabbing him with a knife. Related article: Joaquin Woman Arrested for Murder, Sheriff's Office Investigating Murde

William Christopher Stutts was indicted for theft, state jail felony. The indictment alleges, on February 14, 2017 Stutts took a 2.5 horsepower Mercury outboard motor valued at $750 or more, but less than $2,500 from O.L. Hendricks, the owner. Hendricks was also an elderly individual and did not give effective consent to Stutts.

Florentine Ramos was indicted for theft, state jail felony. The indictment alleges, on February 14, 2017, Ramos took a 2.5 horsepower Mercury outboard motor valued at $750 or more, but less than $2,500 from O.L. Hendricks, the owner. Hendricks was also an elderly individual and did not give effective consent to Ramos.

Robert Kolten Rhoudes was indicted for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, state jail felony. The indictment alleges, on February 6, 2017, Rhoudes operated an automobile without the consent of Larry Jack Hughes, the owner.

Jacqueline Evonne Ingram was indicted for theft, enhanced third degree felony. The indictment alleges, on March 28, 2017, Ingram took U.S. Currency valued at $2,500 or more but less than $30,000 from Maricelly Retamar, the owner. The indictment further alleges Ingram did this without consent of Retamar and with intent to deprive her of the property. The indictment further shows Ingram had been previously convicted on two occasions for theft.

Dalton Grant Miller was indicted for violation of certain court orders or conditions of bond in a family violence, child abuse or neglect, sexual assault or abuse, stalking, or trafficking case. The indictment alleges, on January 3, 2018, Miller committed family violence against Alexis Nicole Haley (f/k/a Alexis Nicole Haley-Miller) in violation of an order of the 123rd District Court of Shelby County, Texas. The order was entitled "Final Protective Order," and/or intentionally or knowingly committed an act in furtherance of an offense under Texas Penal Code Ann. §42.072 (Beckham 2018), and/or intentionally or knowingly communicate in a manner with Alexis Nicole Haley that was in violation of the order.

Teresa Raylean Smith was indicted for hindering apprehension or prosecution, third degree felony. The indictment alleges, on February 23, 2017, Smith had intent to hinder the arrest, prosecution, conviction, or punishment of John Cody McDaniel for an offense. The indictment further alleges Smith harbored or concealed McDaniel and provided or aided in providing McDaniel with a means of avoiding arrest or effecting escape, or warn McDaniel of impending discovery or apprehension.

Richard Nelson Dickerson was indicted for burglary of a habitation, second degree felony. The indictment alleges, on May 13, 2017, Dickerson entered a habitation without the consent of R.E. Shofner, the owner. The indictment further alleges Dickerson attempted to commit or committed theft of a mossburg 12 gauge shotgun, Marlin bolt action single shot .22 long rifle, and Winchester bolt action 30-06 rifle, owned by Shofner.

Richard Nelson Dickerson was indicted for burglary of a habitation, second degree felony. The indictment alleges, on May 13, 2017, Dickerson enterede a habitation without the consent of Wesley Permenter, the owner. The indictment further alleges Dickerson attempted to commit or committed theft of fishing tackle, including approximately 10 rod and reels, tackle boxes containing lures and other items used for fishing, a 40-42 inch Sanyo flat screen TV with sound bar attached, a pink Barbie, 19 inch TV, portable battery booster/charger, Black and Decker electric weed eater, marine batteries, solar battery charger, pink in color soft bag containing miscellaneous tools, a black plastic box containing ratchets and sockets, 1/4-3/8 inch drive Dewalt skill saw with a bad electric cord, and other miscellaneous items owned by Permenter.

Darren Askew was indicted for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, state jail felony. The indictment alleges, on March 7, 2017, Askew operated an automobile without the consent of Henry Askew, the owner.

Jennifer Graves Jones was indicted for stalking, third degree felony. The indictment alleges, on May 1, 2016, Jones engaged in conduct directed specifically toward Pamela Doggett that Jones knew or reasonably believed Doggett would regard as threatening bodily injury to Doggett. The indictment goes on to allege, on three occasions Jones got into Doggett's vehicle and refused to get out while showing extreme obsessive behavior, and Jones' conduct would have causes a reasonable person to fear, and did cause Doggett to fear bodily injury for herself. 

The indictment further alleges, on June 11, 2016, Jones sent a private message to Doggett stating there was a bomb in Doggett's mailbox, and this conduct would cause a reasonable person to fear, and did cause Doggett to fear bodily injury for herself. The indictment goes on to allege, on December 15, 2016, Jones physically shoved Doggett from behind while shopping at Wal-Mart, and did cause Doggett to fear bodily injury.

Luis Alberto Ruiz was indicted for sexual assault of a child, second degree felony. The indictment alleges, on June 21, 2017, Ruiz caused the penetration of the sexual organ of DP, a child who was then and there younger than 17 years of age and not the spouse of Ruiz, by Ruiz's sexual organ.

Luis Alberto Ruiz was indicted for failure to comply with registration requirements, third degree felony. The indictment alleges, on May 13, 2017, while being a person required to register with the local law enforcement authority in the county (Shelby County) where Ruiz resides or intended to reside for more than seven days because of a reportable conviction of the opffense of aggravated sexual assault, Ruiz intentionally or knowingly failed to register with the local law enforcement authority.

Erik Christopher Killen was indicted for aggravated sexual assault, first degree felony. The indictment alleges, on November 18, 2016, Killen caused the penetration of the sexual organ of B.K., a child who was then and there younger than 14 years of age, and not the spouse of Killen, with his finger.

Tristen Javan Duren was indicted for theft, state jail felony. The indictment alleges, on February 23, 2017, Durden took five iPhones valued at $2,500 or more but less than $30,000 from Wal-Mart, the owner, without consent of Wal-Mart.

Jamison Rashard Swindle was indicted for fraudulent use or possession of identifying information, state jail felony. The indictment alleges, on May 1, 2017, Swindle, without the consent of Connie Hargrove, obtained, possessed and/or used the identifying information of Hargrove. The indictment further alleges, the following items included were a Farmers State Bank Debit Card, Mastercard, Texas Drivers' license and Farmers State Bank check.

Jamison Rashard Swindle was indicted for burglary of a habitation, second degree felony. The indictment alleges, on March 27, 2017, Swindle entered a habitation without the consent of Lasandra Davis, the owner, and attempted to commit or committed theft of $200 in cash, a Lone Star card and a Visa card, owned by Davis.

Andrea Janise Chadwick was indicted for burglary of habitation, second degree felony. The indictment alleges, on December 6, 2017, Chadwick entered a habitation without the consent of Charles Dearing, the owner, and attempted to commit or committed theft of a Yamaha boat motor, laptop computer, handsaw, drill, sander, grinder, flat screen TV and/or other miscellaneous tools, owned by Dearing.

Andrea Janise Chadwick was indicted for theft, third degree felony. The indictment alleges, on December 6, 2017, Chadwick took a laptop computer, blue suit case, queen size sheet sets, misc. tools, boat motor, large flat screen TV, and chainsaws all valued at $2,500 or more but less than $30,000 from Dearing, the owner, who was then and there an elderly individual.

Andrea Janise Chadwick was indicted for theft of livestock, state jail felony. The indictment alleges, on December 6, 2017, Chadwick took 10 head of goats valued at less than $30,000 from Dearing, the owner, and without his consent.

Andrea Janise Chadwick was indicted for fraudulent use or possession of identifying information, second degree felony. The indictment alleges, on December 6, 2017 Chadwick, without the consent of Charles Dearing, obtained, possessed, transferred, or used 10 or more but less than 50 items of identifying information of Dearing. The alleged items included Dearing's passport, Texas Driver's license, bank account information, and/or vehicle registration documentation.

Joseph Vernon Matthews was indicted for forgery, state jail felony. The indictment alleges, on March 17, 2017, Matthews executed a writing so it purported to be the act of James Matthews, who did not authorize the act, and said writing being a fictitious letter with James Matthews' forged signature, used by Joseph Matthews to withdraw funds from James Matthews' bank account at Shelby Savings Bank.

Joseph Vernon Matthews was indicted for forgery, state jail felony. The indictment alleges, on March 20, 2017, Matthews executed a writing so it purported to be the act of James Matthews, who did not authorize the act, and said writing being a fictitious letter with James Matthews' forged signature, used by Joseph Matthews to withdraw funds from James Matthews' bank account at Shelby Savings Bank.

Joseph Vernon Matthews was indicted for fraudulent use or possession of identifying information, third degree felony. The indictment alleges, on April 1, 2017, Matthews without the consent of James Matthews, obtained, possessed, or used the identifying information of James Matthews, an elderly individual. It's further alleged the identifying information was James Matthews' Texas Driver's license.

Victor Manuel Aguilar was indicted for hindering apprehension or prosecution, third degree felony. The indictment alleges, on February 9, 2017, Aguilar with intent to hinder the arrest, prosecution, conviction, or punishment of Antonio Aguilar for an offense, then and there harbored or concealed Antonio Aguilar. The indictement further alleges, Victor Aguilar provided or aided in providing Antonio Aguilar with a means of avoiding arrest or effecting escape, or warned Antonio Aguilar of impending discovery or apprehension.

Dacallier Lamont McClure was indicted for tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, state jail felony. The indictment alleges, on February 9, 2017, McClure with the specific intent to commit the offense of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, did then and there commit an act amounting to more than mere preparation that tended but failed to effect the commission of the intended offense of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence. The indictment further alleges, McClure knew an investigation was in progress involving a traffic stop and/or a narcotics investigation, and he attempted to alter, conceal, or destroy two plastic bags with one containing alprazolam and one containing cocaine by throwing them out a car window while a police officer was not looking.

Naquetha Donnisha Smith was indicted for criminal attempt: tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, third degree felony. The indictment alleges on February 9, 2017, Smith with the specific intent to commit the offense of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, did then and there commit an act amounting to more than mere preparation that tended but failed to effect the commission of the intended offense of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence. The indictment further alleges, Smith knew an investigation was in progress involving a traffic stop and/or a narcotics investigation, and he attempted to alter, conceal, or destroy two plastic bags with one containing alprazolam and one containing cocaine by throwing them out a car window while a police officer was not looking.

Arnold Dejesus Esparza was indicted for evading arrest with vehicle, third degree felony. The indictment alleges, on February 7, 2017, Esparza used a vehicle to intentionally flee Jacob Gross, a person Esparza knew was a peace officer, who was attempting to lawfully arrest or detain him.

(Dates in parenthesis indicate the date of the alleged incident):

  • John Escobedo, delivery of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), second degree felony (August 23, 2017).
  • Margie Nicole Stahl, prohibited substance in a correctional facility (methamphetamine), third degree felony (February 27, 2017).
  • John Escobedo, possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), third degree felony (August 24, 2017).
  • John Escobedo, possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), state jail felony (August 24, 2017).
  • John Escobedo, possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver (methamphetamine), first degree felony (August 24, 2017).
  • Richard Nelson Dickerson, unlawful possession of firearm, third degree felony (March 13, 2017).
  • Caleb Lee Harville, possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), state jail felony (February 1, 2017). 
  • Ruben Munez Soto, Jr., driving while intoxicated - 3rd or more, third degree felony (August 4, 2017).
  • Dacallier Lamont McClure, possession of a controlled substance (cocaine), third degree felony (February 9, 2017).
  • Naquetha Donnisha Smith, possession of a controlled substance (cocaine), third degree felony (February 9, 2017).
  • Addie Ann Boyd, possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), second degree felony (March 10, 2017).
  • Teresa Lynn Jones, possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver (methamphetamine), first degree felony (February 2, 2017).
  • Eric Jermome Nobles, possession of a controlled substance (phencyclidine), second degree felony (February 26, 2018).
  • Kenith Koby Yeager, unlawful possession of firearm, third degree felony (December 5, 2016).
  • Kelsea Golson, possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), state jail felony (April 15, 2017). 

April 13, 2018 - Tornado watch outline for at 40 NWS Storm Prediction Center, Norman, Ok 1:50pm CDT Friday, April 13, 2018.

Tornado watch 40 is in effect until 10pm CDT for the following locations:

Texas Counties included are: Angelina, Bowie, Camp, Cass, Cherokee, Franklin, Gregg, Harrison, Marion, Morris, Nacogdoches, Panola, Red River, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, Shelby, Smith, Titus, Upshur, Wood.

Submitted by Cindy Durham

April 12, 2018 - Joaquin was the scene of a house fire Thursday, April 12, 2018 off Haslam Strip (U.S. Highway 84). 

The Joaquin Volunteer Fire Department (JVFD) was dispatched to the scene at 12:15pm and the DeSoto Fire Department responded to the scene due to a mutual aid agreement with JVFD.

Submitted by Cindy Durham

Flames breached the roof and were emanating from the middle of it when the firemen arrived. The firemen from both departments were able to extinguish the flames and prevent the fire from destroying the entire home.

At this time it's unknown what caused the fire. Additional information is pending from the Joaquin Volunteer Fire Department.

April 7, 2018 - According to the Sheriff's Department, Mr. Whitton has been located. More details concerning this will be issued at a later date. No further information is available at this time.


April 7, 2018 - The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) is actively seeking the whereabouts of Luther David Whitton, 66, of Joaquin, TX.

Whitton is a described as a white male, 5’6” inches tall, 160 lbs, with thinning brown hair and blue eyes. Whitton also has numerous medical issues.

Whitton was last seen at his residence on County Road 3853 in Joaquin around 1 p.m. on April 6. He was wearing Dickie brand blue jeans, work boots, glasses, hat and an unknown colored shirt. He normally wears solid colored cotton t-shirts.

Whitton owns a 2011 Dodge Ram1500 4-Door Extended Cab Truck, gold in color and bears Texas plate BL79648. The driver side running board is missing and there is a small dent in the tailgate.

If you have any information on the whereabouts of Whitton or his vehicle, you are asked to immediately contact the SCSO at 936-598-5601.

April 6, 2018 - A Shelby County Justice of the Peace is currently under investigation by the Texas Rangers and District Attorney's Office.

According to information provided to Shelby County Today by Stephen Shires, Shelby County District Attorney through an open records request, Jenny Hicks - Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace has been under investigation by the Texas Rangers for the alleged offense of Theft by Public Servant/Official Misconduct.

The information provided by the District Attorney goes on to explain the then-Mayor Carl Jernigan and then-City Marshal Jimmy Wagstaff discovered what they believed were certain suspicious resolutions of a handful of traffic violation cases handled by Judge Hicks while she was City of Tenaha Municipal Court Judge.

According to Shires, when the matter was brought to his attention, he referred the matter to the Texas Ranger Public Integrity Unit for investigation. This was followed by a preliminary investigation conducted by the Rangers.

The collection of additional information is anticipated by the DA, which he says is germane to the investigation, and once it has been collected it will be shared with the Rangers who will then finalize their investigation. At that time Shires can move forward with whatever action may be necessary.

Shelby County Today has been seeking confirmation on the allegations for several months from all agencies and public entities involved including the City of Tenaha, Shelby County District Attorney's Office, and Texas Department of Public Safety. 

Since the case is still under investigation, it is the right of law enforcement entities to withold information until an investigation has been completed; however, a point of argument for Shelby County Today has been the basic information of the investigation can't be witheld and this was confirmed by the Texas Attorney General's office. 

Although the City of Tenaha attorney's did not agree with the Texas Attorney General ruling and did not provide the requested information, the Shelby County District Attorney complied with the rule of law and shared the requested information with Shelby County Today.

At this time it's unknown how much money is in question regarding the "suspicious resolutions."

Hicks was Municipal Court Judge in Tenaha from June 11, 2009 until 2016 when Elizabeth Swint was sworn in as her replacement November 1 of that year.

More information on this investigation will be provided as it is made available.

9:12pm CDT, Friday, April 6, 2018

April 6, 2018 - The National Weather Service in Shreveport has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Southwestern De Soto Parish in northwestern Louisiana, Western Sabine Parish in northwestern Louisiana, Southwestern Panola County in northeastern Texas, Southeastern Rusk County in northeastern Texas, Nacogdoches County in eastern Texas, Shelby County in eastern Texas, North central Angelina County in eastern Texas, San Augustine County in eastern Texas, and Sabine County in eastern Texas until 10:00pm CDT.

At 9:11 PM CDT, a severe thunderstorm was located near Garrison, or 20 miles southwest of Carthage, moving southeast at 35 mph.

HAZARD...60 mph wind gusts and half dollar size hail.
SOURCE...Radar indicated.
IMPACT...Hail damage to vehicles is expected. Expect wind damage to roofs, siding, and trees.

Locations impacted include Nacogdoches, Center, Milam, San Augustine, Hemphill, Tenaha, Timpson, Garrison, Pineland, Melrose, Patroon, Martinsville, Bland Lake, Neuville, Woden, Rosevine, Etoile, Macune, Shelbyville and Appleby.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... For your protection move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a building.

A tornado watch remains in effect until 11:00 PM CDT for northwestern Louisiana and eastern and northeastern Texas.

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