Another Victim Dies in Senseless SXSW Tragedy

Categories: Crime

Photo by Marco Torres
One of the youngest people injured in the tragedy at SXSW two weeks ago has died reports Austin TV station KXAN and a host of other media outlets. An Austin police spokeswoman wouldn't officially confirm confirmed but KXAN says it confirmedthe news to us that 18-year-old DeAndre Tatum died in the hospital from his injuries.

The Fort Worth teen had been in critical condition since the March 13 incident. His girlfriend Curtisha Davis was also injured at SXSW.

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Stand Your Ground, or Murder?

Categories: Crime, Texas

Photo by jacq_kellie
How many people have to die before we take a hard look at the stand-your-ground defense in Texas? How long before the message gets out that this will-nilly shooting of people on your property is a bad thing?

Stand your ground is intertwined with The Castle Doctrine, which was a Texas law revised in 2007 to include the right to use deadly force. It means a person doesn't have to retreat if placed in a situation where they need to protect themselves or someone else.

The Texas Penal Code ยง9.32 explains when you have to right to stand your ground:

(1) to protect the actor against the other's use or attempted use of unlawful deadly force; or
(2) to prevent the other's imminent commission of aggravated kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated robbery.
(1) knew or had reason to believe that the person against whom the deadly force was used:
(2) unlawfully and with force entered, or was attempting to enter unlawfully and with force, the actor's occupied habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment.

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Ryan Sumstad: Alleged Con Man Gets 20 Years for Wife's Death

Categories: Crime

Ryan Sumstad, never a great businessman, finally took a wise deal.
A Montgomery County man charged with killing his wife in 2011 was sentenced to 20 years in prison March 20 as part of a plea agreement, according to the Montgomery County Police Reporter.

Prosecutors said Ryan Sumstad strangled his wife, Christie, in the couple's bedroom after an argument, while their three children slept in their rooms.

Sumstad had said his wife committed suicide. After his arrest four months later, Sumstad's history of allegedly crooked business deals and financial problems came to light.

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Robbery Suspect Catches Beat-Down in Attempted Purse Snatching Inside Bar

Categories: Crime

Julian Marino, top left, and Kethus Byrd escaped a beat-down, but got nabbed by Harris County Sheriff's Department.
Patrick Ridioux was probably wondering where his friends went while patrons were beating his face in for allegedly trying to steal a woman's purse at Draft Picks Sports Bar on FM 529.

Harris County Sheriff's Deputies were called to the bar just before midnight Wednesday when they said Ridioux, 21, and two other suspects grabbed a woman's purse and struck her. "She grabbed it at the same time," said Thomas Gilliland, an HCSO spokesman. "A struggle ensued and he punched the victim in the face and the chest."

It's not clear how many bar patrons intervened, but they held Ridioux until deputies arrived. The other suspects, Kethus Byrd, 24, and Julian Marino, 25, got away and allegedly took deputies on a vehicle chase before stopping near Fry Road and F.M. 529, fleeing on foot through a local subdivision.

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UPDATED: Protest Today in Spring in Case of Teen Killed in Girl's Bedroom

Categories: Crime

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Protest planned for teen shot.
UPDATE: The protest/press conference has been canceled. According to the latest press release from Quanell X, Zakia McCormick, Johran's adoptive mother, "had to leave immediately for New Orleans, due to a family emergency. It appears that the young man's mother..who is from New Orleans, has taken control over the body, and is not allowing the family in Houston to proceed with the services at this time. The family will [reschedule] the press conference after the funeral services."

Family and friends of a 17-year-old boy who was fatally shot by the father of a girl he was allegedly dating plan a protest today outside the Spring home where he was killed.

Zakia McCormick wants the 16-year-old girl charged with "accessory to murder or involuntary manslaughter" in the death of Johran McCormick, according to a press release from activist Quanell X.

Harris County Sheriff's investigators say McCormick was killed after the girl's father discovered the teenager in his daughter's bedroom at about 2:30 a.m. March 13.

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Update: Third Person Dies; Man, 21, Charged With Capital Murder in SXSW Fatal Crash

Categories: Crime

Rashad Charjuan Owens
Update: 3/17 Sandy Thuy Le, 26, who had previously been listed in critical condition after Rashad Charjuan Owens allegedly drove into a crowd of SXSW festival-goers has been pronounced dead, according to Austin police. She's the third person to die in the incident.

Update from Austin Police on 3/14, with a list of victims on Page 2: Rashad Charjuan Owens of Killeen has been charged with one count of capital murder after police say he fatally struck two people at the SXSW festival in Austin. He's being held in the Travis County jail on $3 million bail.

According to a preliminary investigation by the Austin Police Department, Owens was attempting to flee a traffic stop early Thursday and drove at a high rate of speed against the flow of traffic on 9th Street, and then turned right onto a barricaded Red River Street. Police said Owens crashed through the barricades and into a crowd, sending festival-goers in the air and injuring nearly two dozen people.

READ: Safety and SXSW: Was the Mohawk Tragedy a Tipping Point?

Police said Owens hit a moped, a taxicab and a bicyclist, ran up on a sidewalk and struck a van. He took off on foot, and two Austin cops tased him and arrested him.

Of the injured victims, Gracie Nguyen remains in serious condition, while DeAndre Tatum and Sandy Thuy Le both are in critical condition. All three are being treated at UMC Brackenridge hospital, according to Austin police.

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Update: No Motive Yet in Murder of Gay Houston Couple in Galveston

Categories: Crime

James Larry Cosby
Update 3/13, 5p.m.: Galveston County Sheriff's Deputies today arrested the father of one of the murder victims, Britney Cosby, at the home the victims shared with him and his mother. Sheriff Henry Trochesset said there is a strong possibility James Larry Cosby could be charged with capital murder.

"We went to his residence last night and we started noticing evidence, and it became a secondary crime scene, said Trochesset. He wouldn't elaborate on the type of evidence that was found since this is an ongoing investigation.

Investigators have said they believe the bodies of the two women were transported from another location to the area in Port Bolivar where they were discovered over the weekend.

Cosby,46, was charged with two counts of tampering with evidence in connection with the death of his daughter and Crystal Jackson. He has not been charged with murder. He's being held in the Galveston County Jail on a $500,000 bond.

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Credit Card Numbers, Checks, Cash Stolen From Megachurch

Categories: Crime

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Lakewood Church was hit for over half a million in donations this weekend, say reports.
Joel Osteen's megachurch became more than a half-million dollars less prosperous, according to reports, following a theft from the Lakewood Church coffers over the weekend.

The church sent out a letter to churchgoers on Monday, the Houston Chronicle reports, telling them about the theft of cash, checks and donation slips with written credit card numbers. A small-print link on the church's website leads you to an "important message" about the theft.

Investigators with the Houston Police Department are still looking into the incident, in which funds donated during the Saturday and Sunday church services were lifted from a safe.

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HPD Officer Wakes Up, Takes on Three Burglars, Killing One

Categories: Crime
Screengrab from
Even a cop in his underclothes can be dangerous.
Wearing only his underclothes, an off-duty Houston Police Department officer took on three burglars Thursday morning, fatally wounding one of them, according to the Harris County Sheriff's Department.

The unnamed officer was asleep in his townhouse in the 500 block of West Road near I-45 when he was awakened by breaking glass. The officer got out of bed and grabbed his service weapon when he encountered the three men in his home and shot one of them.

The suspects fled and the officer gave chase, still in his skivvies, and fired more shots at the burglars outside in the townhouse complex. 
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HCSO Looks for Trio Suspected in Mexican Market Burglary Spree

Categories: Crime

HCSOTexas on
Crawling suspects have hit up several La Michoacana stores, according to HCSO.
A group of thieves has been focusing their attention on a local Mexican market chain, attempting to knock over about 17 La Michoacana stores in the Houston area. Harris County Sheriff's Office investigators are looking for the public's help in identifying the suspected burglars, known as the "The Crawlers".

Three suspects have been repeatedly caught on video crawling on their stomachs as they make their way across the floor into store offices in an attempt to steal money. One of the videos taken Jan. 21 shows them inside a store at 1424 Spring Cypress Rd. in north Harris County.

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