Suspected Stay Family Killer Awaits Psychiatric Evaluation

Categories: Crime

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Photo from the Harris County Sheriff's Office

Ronald Lee Haskell, who allegedly killed six former in-laws in Spring, Texas, stayed out of sight for Monday's status meeting between his attorney and the prosecutor, the Chron reports.

In his last court appearance on July 11, Haskell dramatically collapsed upon hearing the charges against him. According to the Harris County Sheriff's Office, Haskell posed as a FedEx deliveryman to enter the house of former sister-in-law Katie Stay. Authorities say he then bound all members of the family, interrogated them about the whereabouts of his ex-wife, and shot them execution-style.


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Theresa Roemer Says Some of Jewelry Mailed to the Houston Press Is Hers

Categories: Crime

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Photo and video by Kaitlin Steinberg
A person claiming to be the infamous Woodlands Closet Bandit says these items are all fake

Theresa Roemer has identified some of the jewelry mailed to The Houston Press by a self-proclaimed burglar as belonging to her.

"Mrs. Roemer did come in and identify some of the items as items that were stolen from her residence," Montgomery County Sheriff's Office Spokesman Lt. Brady Fitzgerald told the Press Monday. He could not say which of the items, which the Press received August 15 by an unknown sender, Roemer verified as hers, and if they included a lock of her late son's hair.

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UPDATED Caller Claims to Be Burglar of Theresa Roemer's Closet, Sends Us a Bunch of Jewelry, Wisp of Hair

Categories: Crime

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Photo by Jeff Balke
A caller with a voice modulator says these items came from Roemer's closet.
Update--August 16 11:40 a.m.: Detective Brent Akin of the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office retrieved the package from the Houston Press Friday afternoon. Akin met us in a large conference room where the package was being held, and he asked us about the contents before donning gloves and placing the package in a brown evidence bag. He did not inspect the contents at our office. We'd been contacted by local and national media within minutes of the story going online, and a gaggle of news crews were in our offices by the time Akin arrived; they waited in a hallway and shot footage through the room's windows. Akin did not speak with reporters, but the Press gave several interviews after he left.

A person claiming to be the burglar who plundered socialite Theresa Roemer's closet has sent the Houston Press a cache of what appears to be costume jewelry -- including a locket with a lock of hair he claims was her dead son's.

The person initially called the Press August 12, and, speaking through a voice modulator, said he or she would be sending the items to prove that he is the person who burglarized her highly publicized, three-story closet August 2.

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$1.7 Million Pot Field Raided in Brenham

Categories: Crime

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No word yet on whether the farmers looked like this.
A 50-acre pot farm with nearly 3,450 plants and a street value of $1.75 million was raided by municipal, county and state authorities in Brenham Monday.

No suspects were located in the seizure, which is the sixth "marijuana growing operation shut down in Washington County since January 2013," according to the Montgomery County Police Reporter.

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Suspect in Shooting That Injured Kids Was Awaiting Trial for Murder

Categories: Crime

Courtesy HPD
Wilson (left) and Smith have been charged in connection with the August 6 shooting incidents.
One of two suspects arrested in connection with two shooting incidents August 6 that landed an eight-year-girl and her younger brother in the hospital was previously charged with murder and out on bend, awaiting trial.

Jordan Q. Wilson, 21, was indicted for murder in November 2013 in connection with the killing of Houston rapper Toyurean Young in May 2012. Court records show that he was released on $50,000 bond in March 2014. That shooting took place at a McDonald's at 10777 Beechnut, which appears to be the same McDonald's as in Wednesday's incidents. Wilson's murder trial is scheduled for November 17.

Meanwhile, police are seeking others in the shootings, which stemmed from a drug deal in the 10100 block of Beechnut, according to a Houston Police Department press release.

The girl, who was shot in the leg, remains in stable condition at the hospital; her brother "suffered a grazing wound and was treated and released from the hospital," according to HPD.

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Houston Police Provide Glimpse Into Night Shift With #HPDTweetAlong

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Not quite the same level of action, but interesting nevertheless.
Overnight on Thursday, the Houston Police Department conducted a kind of ride along, which is an actual thing (who knew?), not just something done for comic relief in a movie. But instead of taking a potential son-in-law candidate who is scared shitless by the officer's insane antics on the beat, HPD took along the Twitterverse via its Twitter feed and the hashtag #HPDTweetAlong.

Fortunately for the officers involved in the social media experiment, but unfortunately for those expecting high-speed chases and gunplay, it was a rather quiet night. Nevertheless, it was a glimpse into a world most of us never see, complete with photos and video.

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Know Your Neighborhood Gangbangers by Their Tattoos

Categories: Art, Crime

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Photo by Alice Dubot
It's a fine line between striking fear into the hearts of your enemies and signing a confession of criminal activity on your face. But in a fast-paced city like Houston with little patience for extensive introductions, some large Gothic letters on your forehead could save everybody a bit of time and trouble in a shootout and/or arrest.

"It signifies to the world that you're in a gang, but for law enforcement it's great," said Special Agent Troy Shalloup of the FBI, who has no complaints.

George Rhyne, Texas Anti-Gang Center administrator, said another reason many criminals are willing to risk their freedom for a flashy piece of ink is because they genuinely want to express devotion to the gang as an alternative family in lieu of actual loving families. Damn. That's real.

In any case, both men agreed that Houston's younger gang members tend to be more subtle about tattoos, or are moving away from them altogether. It's probably because they're more attuned to the self-incrimination pitfalls of social media promotion. No one thinks that drug store stickup selfie is cute, except for the cops. Same goes for that neck tat illustrating your entire rap sheet.

The Houston Police Department, DEA, FBI and local anti-gang agencies combined forces to create StopHoustonGangs.org, which aggregates gang identification signs. Here's a look at some of the region's most prominent street gangs and their favorite tattoo archetypes before they go out of style.

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Good Investments: Teaching Texas Inmates About Business Can Turn Criminals Into CEOs

Categories: Cover Story, Crime

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Photos by Troy Fields
"This is not about charity.
This is about opportunity."

-- Jeremy Gregg, chief development officer, 
Prison Entrepreneurship Program

A short while into a 30-month sentence for buying a stolen trailer, James Cornish received a peculiar postcard in his Plainview prison cell.

It was from a group called the Prison Entrepreneurship Program. Even in prison, it seemed, there was no escape from junk mail. Cornish set it aside and didn't think much of it until a guy from that organization named Marcus Hill rolled in with a video and a spiel.

Hill said he had served five and a half years of a 17-year bit for possession of seven pounds of weed. He got that postcard, too. It changed his life. Now he was a recruiter. He went from prison to prison and preached the gospel of business education.

There was no shortage of rehabilitative or educational programs in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Many of them promised to hook you up with Jesus. But PEP was the only one that promised to hook you up with CEOs.

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Armed Gas Mask-Wearing Robbers Hit IHOP on FM 1960 Tuesday Morning

Categories: Crime

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Late night pancakes and gas masks.
The Harris County Sheriff's Office is reporting that three men with guns wearing gas masks burst into an IHOP on FM 1960 and Champions Forest around 3 a.m. Tuesday morning demanding cash and phones from employees and patrons dining at the 24-hour restaurant.

According to a report on ABC13.com, the men were in the restaurant and out with the cash grab in 57 seconds (the print version says 57, but the video report says 58). According to an 85-year-old diner at the restaurant who didn't want to go on camera because he "didn't want his kids to get after him for being out so late," the gunmen appeared to be teenagers and, at times, pointed shotguns in the faces of patrons.

Fortunately, no injuries were reported and the suspects fled.

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Raid Nets Stolen Weapons, Drugs, Tatted Mom

Categories: Crime

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Courtesy HCSO
Angela Garcia, 43
Stolen assault rifles are no joke, and the authorities take it seriously when they find out where those weapons might be. In the case of the Harris County Sheriff's Home Task Force and the High Risk Operation Unit, that meant forcing a mom and her 14-year-old son out of a house last Thursday when searching for both the missing rifles and the prime suspect.

Angela Garcia was inside the home in the 7600 block of Williams in the Woodland Trails West subdivision last Thursday, July 24 when officers arrived to serve a warrant searching for several long-barrel firearms stolen earlier in the week and the suspect in the burglary. Only problem is, Garcia refused to come out.

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