By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
WWJD? Hit and Run
Driver gives religion, not help
By John Nova Lomax
What would Jesus do if He hit a youth with His car, asked the kid if he was okay and got "no" for an answer?
If you answered, "Toss him a book about Himself, peel out and haul ass like the Dukes of Hazzard," you are cut from the same religious cloth police say Aida Hillen comes from.
According to court documents, the victim, a Milby High School student, told police he was crossing Broadway near the school on October 14 at around 5:15 p.m. when he was struck by the 58-year-old Hillen's 1996 Honda Accord.
As he struggled to his feet, Hillen, of League City, is alleged to have stopped and asked if he was okay. According to the complaint, when the victim said "No," Hillen tossed him a religious pamphlet and attempted to flee, much like her operatic namesake, albeit in her case toward the swamps of Galveston County and not the Egyptian desert.
Another Milby student tried to wave her down, the complaint states, but Hillen only waved "Bye" and kept on driving.
Fortunately this heroic witness was able to scrawl Hillen's license plate number on his arm and waited with the injured victim for police and paramedics to arrive.
The victim was treated by firefighters at the scene and released, but suffered chest pains several days later and visited an emergency room, where he was diagnosed with a bruised rib cage and handed a bill for $730.50.
Meanwhile, using the license plate number, cops tracked down Hillen. The victim later picked her picture out of a photo array. Hillen admits to driving her car down Broadway that day but denies hitting anyone.
A month after the incident, but before police issued the warrant, she posted a sermonette, "To Christian Buddy Warriors," on the "I Love Jesus My Savior" Facebook page.
The gist of her testimony? That worry is the enemy of faith.
"Worry is the Opposite of Faith! You must understand, we all endure challenges. We all face mountains in our lives. Knowing this, it is very important that we live our lives knowing God can and He will. Thought to Ponder: When was the last time your worrying helped you?"
Um, maybe when our conscience bothered us and we admitted some wrong and asked for forgiveness. Perhaps Hillen would do well to set aside her Good Book for however long it takes her to read Crime and Punishment.
And perhaps instead of absolving herself, Aida Hillen should study up on how faith also involves action and an (alleged) sin of this magnitude requires the sort of redemption you can't bestow on yourself.
Children's Museum's Credit Cards Scammed
By John Nova Lomax
Former Children's Museum of Houston assistant gallery director Denise Gonzales used the nonprofit's credit cards to fund more than $13,000 in illicit purchases, court documents say.
According to a criminal complaint, Gonzales, 41, was issued two company-owned Chase MasterCards for business purchases. Gonzales had other plans for the cards, allegedly, and made her first illegal purchase on September 17 of last year. According to the complaint, she continued using the nonprofit's cards illegally until September 25 of this year. On October 5, she was confronted about $500 of the charges by the museum's HR director. Gonzales confessed and was summarily canned. A subsequent in-house audit turned up more than $13,000 in illegal purchases, whereupon her former employer went to the police. She was arrested December 7.
According to the complaint, Gonzales used the cards to buy food, beauty products, clothes, household items, electronics and cameras, some of which she pawned for cash. The complaint also states that Gonzales gave a taped confession to a Houston cop, and even owned up to all of her illegal purchases, receipt by receipt. She stated that she was very sorry for the trouble she'd caused and said that tough financial times compelled her criminal behavior.
Unfortunately for Gonzales, those times just got a lot harder. She's now out of a job and someone in her circle of friends and family had to pay off her $26,357.22 bond, exactly double the dollar amount she is alleged to have stolen. (Whoever it was who bonded her out, we're betting it was not the person who left the following message on her Myspace page last year: "Denise If have something to say to my daughter come and tell her in her face you know where we live but i bet you that you will get a beat down.")
What's more, aggregate theft of between $1,500 and $20,000 is a felony punishable by up to two years in state jail, plus court costs and a potential fine of up to $10,000. And there will be lawyer's fees to boot.
Just goes to show you yet again — crime does not pay.
Unless you work on Wall Street, of course.
Petition Demands Three Meals a Day For Prisoners
By Richard Connelly
The daughter of a Texas inmate is getting thousands of people to sign a petition demanding the state resume feeding its prisoners three times a day seven days a week.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice announced this fall that budget constraints were forcing it to feed prisoners at some units only twice a day on the weekends, a move that raised eyebrows around the country.
Destiny Bowser has collected more than 4,000 signatures in a month on a petition entitled "Give Texas Prisoners Three Meals Day" on the change.org Web site.
"If you cut the budget, the last thing you should cut is food," she tells Hair Balls. "TDCJ is responsible for the health and well-being of its inmates."
Bowser says her father is a TDCJ inmate who has a health condition that forces him to take medicine that causes him to lose weight. (Blake Bowser is serving time for a 1999 Travis County murder.)
"In just a few days, thousands of people have joined my campaign on Change.org, and many more are sure to join in," Bowser said in a release. "As a civilized society, we have an obligation to set an example and protect the human rights of all individuals, even prisoners."
She hopes to put pressure on Texas legislators and also on the American Correctional Association. She's asking the ACA to remove its accreditation of TDCJ.
"What Destiny Bowser has accomplished in just a few days is remarkable," said Change.org's Jon Perri in the release. "With no budget and armed with only a laptop, Ms. Bowser has managed to recruit thousands of supporters from across the country and the endorsement of the Texas Prisoner Family Association. Change.org is about empowering anyone, anywhere to demand action on the issues that matter to them, and it has been incredible to watch Destiny's campaign take off."