During Duane Buck's 1997 murder trial in Harris County, a psychologist told the jury that Buck was more likely to be a danger to society because he was black. This would be a huge deal in pretty much any legal situation, but the statement had more direct life or death ramifications in Buck's trial ... More >>
Not to brag, but I've got a copy of the new Hates album, People's Temple, and it is (as usual) a fantastic little CD that every punk fan in Houston should own. We're still waiting on a confirmed release party at Cactus, but before that happens there's a song on the disc we want to talk about, "Do th ... More >>
Nothing earns an musician instant street cred quite like a night or two in the pokey. It's basically a rite of passage -- a guarantee that if you sign up for the public eye, you will, indeed, screw it up at least once in order to delight us with your antics. From the likes of good ol' boys like Mer ... More >>
Lesley Pehrigo's career as a sex offender seems odd and details are sketchy. But if online records are correct, she went to prison for indecency with a child -- a four-year-old child. The incident, of which there aren't many details handy, happened in 1999. She did her time and got out. On Friday ... More >>
Anyone who has watched TV knows that prisons are seriously screwed up places. They call them "correctional facilities," but very few believe much is being corrected inside the walls. And if you believe TV and movies, prison guards are often corrupt bullies who just want to kick prisoners asses and t ... More >>
For ten years, a Houston attorney told friends and prospective investors he was involved in real estate investment. But the money collected merely fed a Ponzi scheme that federal prosecutors say cost more than 20 victims $7.8 million. On Friday, Davis was sentenced to ten years in prison after he pl ... More >>
The paroled murderer of the owner of a famous, long-lived Texas Gulf Coast beer joint is dead, apparently at his own hand after killing his girlfriend in their Victoria apartment. 51-year-old Bennie Ray Dupnik Jr. and 44-year-old Sandra Rivera were discovered by Rivera's sons. Rivera had been stab ... More >>
In June 2009, Chris Vogel wrote our story "For Their Own Good," detailing the problems created when teens are left in solitary confinement in jail for up to 23 hours a day. We'd like to think we made an impact -- well, we had some effect in Harris County, which is what we concentrated on -- but as ... More >>
During Monday's sentencing hearing for Brian Kerstetter, the 33-year-old white male who was found guilty of targeting a random African-American man at a downtown Houston bus stop, the prison-bound Kerstetter couldn't help himself from blasting a certain loved/loathed NFL franchise. "I'm not a hate ... More >>
Two men received stiff sentences for running an illegal-immigrant smuggling business that was exposed when a Toyota Tundra carrying 17 of their clients crashed, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Houston announced today. Rafael Valles, "a.k.a. El Viejo or Rafa," and Refugio Reyna-Huerta, "a.k.a. Cuco," ... More >>
Talk about every parent's nightmare...Police in Coryell County say that a nine-year-old autistic Abilene boy was molested at a rural Central Texas bluegrass festival. Charged with the crime is registered sex offender Bryan Ray Roe, a parolee from an earlier sex offense. Roe, 33, allegedly lured the ... More >>
Texas is still doing its partAmerica, you just ain't the criminal-killin' place you used to be. A new report from the Death Penalty Information Center says that for the first time since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976, less than 100 executions took place in the U.S. There have bee ... More >>
An expired inspection sticker led to fresh arrests for five of Longview's most frequently busted miscreants Friday. Police say that 48-year-old Howard "Cowboy" Perkins and 47-year-old Clifton Ardry were stopped while riding in a pickup near the home of 54-year-old, Biblically bearded George Cliffor ... More >>
FacebookCharles Cannon won't face hate-crime charges.In a crime that hearkened back to the skinhead days of the early '90s, or modern-day Dallas, four white men remain behind bars today charged with assaulting a black man at a downtown bus stop early Sunday morning. Police want the incident c ... More >>
Kenneth Randle: See ya in 2022A 23-year-old man who sat unarmed as the driver of a bank-robbery car has been sentenced to 11 years without parole mostly, it seems, because his colleagues were violent a-holes. During the $40,000 robbery last October, the three dudes he was working with physic ... More >>
"Frenchfry": Charged with killing an elderly man taking out the garbageTwo months ago, Illinois police used a fingerprint to arrest a man for the 1988 rape of a 12-year-old girl in Orange County, Texas. In another OC-related cold case, police in Orange County last week arrested Frank Ulysses ... More >>
Finally, a chat with our cover subject.
Pay no attention to those men smuggling weedBeing the chief of police in the Valley's Sullivan City is no doubt a prestigious position, but it does have its temptations. And former chief Hernan Guerra admitted to a federal judge that he gave in to them, working busily to make sure no one cau ... More >>
Mandy OaklanderJohn Kinsel sells his wares at the Angola Prison Rodeo.Dooney & Bourke knockoff purses and stainless steel crosses line a long row of picnic tables at the Angola Prison Rodeo craft sale. The artisans wait close behind in a parallel craggy row, separated from their wares by a ch ... More >>
Death Row cases take another hit.George C. Denkowski, the forensic psychologist who's been driving capital-murder defense lawyers crazy for years, is no longer allowed to send convicts to Death Row. Denkowski was reprimanded by the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists and agreed n ... More >>
This week's feature tells the story of John Kinsel, a man who will spend the rest of his life locked up at Angola Prison for a crime his accuser has since said he didn't commit. Alyssa Medlin testified as a nine-year-old that Kinsel -- her mother's boyfriend -- had raped her for years. The gi ... More >>
Does Cleve Foster deserve a death at least as humane as that of a lizard? The ACLU thinks so.The pets of those on death row would be treated more humanely than their owners, if the animals were sitting in the execution chamber instead of them. According to a report released by the American C ... More >>
Despite a history of abuse and bad conditions, private prison corporation GEO keeps getting contracts from the state.
She ain't getting as much use as she's used toHarris County, you used to be cool. You sent more people to Death Row than most countries. And were damn proud of it, too. Now, the death penalty is a forgotten memory of another time, the go-go `80s and `90s when brash prosecutors racked up exec ... More >>
Paul Broussard's killer, up for parole, may not be model prisoner.
Former Geto Boy Willie D, aka William Dennis, has been sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison on wire fraud charges, the U.S. Attorney's office for the Southern District of Texas announced today. Judge Gray Miller also ordered Willie D to pay nearly $200,000 in restitution to the buy ... More >>
Photo by Craig MalisowDavid Kaczynski hasn't heard from Ted latelyOnce you become forever known as "The Unabomber's Brother," there are probably two ways you can go: you can do your best to hide (say, maybe move to a cozy, isolated cabin in Montana?) or you can use your position to further a caus ... More >>
Harris County Jail, looking pristeneThe on-again-off-again court battle to allow Harris County prison inmates to obtain copies of their own medical records while behind bars is starting to steam up once more.In one corner there is Matthew Collazo, who has been sentenced to prison for jumping bond ... More >>
The U.S. Department of Justice recently released a report about state prison populations, and Texas was one of six states with large decreases in the number of people incarcerated. These numbers continue, the report says, "the trend of slower growth observed in the prison population since 2 ... More >>
Texas doesn't make rookie mistakes when it comes to the death penaltyThe Arizona Republic reports today that a planned execution in Ohio almost had to delay a recent execution because of a shortage of thiopental sodium, the drug used for lethal injections. Arizona, it said, might be unable to do ... More >>
Courtesy of Montgomery County Sheriff's OfficeA former psychologist with the Mental Health and Mental Retardation Authority of Harris County, who evaluated defendants in close to 1,000 criminal cases during his time with the agency, recently pled guilty to Medicaid fraud. Matthew Leddy, the ... More >>
Photo by Katharine ShilcuttA death penalty protest march was held last week in downtown Austin.In its 2009 Death Penalty and Executions report released today, Amnesty International calls Texas the "worst offender," because -- with 24 executions -- it leads the country in the number of people ... More >>
Plus: Big new park for Montrose?
Some injured parties in Harris County say plea bargains go on behind their backs and without their approval.
Photo from Montgomery County SOA lot of times when you read a report about a fugitive, that part about how "the subject should be considered armed and dangerous: do not attempt to apprehend" seems like a mere formality. That is decidedly not the case when it comes to 41-year-old Montgomery County ... More >>
They do things different down in the Valley. Like, if you're a police department, you donate some marijuana to inmates at the local state prison.Oh sure, Edinburg police are saying it was all a mistake, and no way did they intend to give 25 pounds of pot to inmates by cleverly concealing it in a ... More >>
Can't find a match on Match.com? Can't get it in tune on eHarmony? Desperate for a young hottie, but not exactly a catch yourself and unable to fly to Russia for a mail order bride? We've got a dating sight for you: Jailbabes.Jailbabes is just like any other dating site, except all of the women ... More >>
A TDCJ guard who had been found guilty of filing a false "use of force" report was sentenced today to what no doubt will be two very uncomfortable years in a federal prison. (Or maybe guards take care of their own? We don't wanna know.)Eugene Morris, 41, had kicked an inmate in the head repeatedl ... More >>
Teens could go to TYC till they're 19, then have another hearing to determine parole or prison after that.
Harris County juveniles certified as adults are jailed in isolation 23 hours a day — without being convicted of a crime.
Amnesty International has just begun a 200-minute vigil outside the Harris County Criminal Courthouse to protest the upcoming 200th execution under Governor Rick Perry.The original rally title, "Help Rick Perry Win The GOP Primary," was apparently discarded.But holding an anti-death-penalty vigil in ... More >>
Thomas Cahill tells Dominique Greens story
Photo courtesy Houston Independent Media CenterJust before noon on Saturday some 50 protesters, including members of Houston's Students for a Democratic Society, gathered at the T. Don Hutto Family Detention Center outside Taylor, Texas, a holding facility for families of undocumented immigrants tha ... More >>
How I turned some newspaper stories into a book which became a movie that caused those two guys to kiss
We first broke the news in October; the Houston Chronicle noticed it earlier this month, and now Time magazine has discovered it: There will be no one sent to Death Row from Harris County this year.Which, in historical terms, is kind of like saying Texas high schools will not be sending anyone to bi ... More >>
Man, the Christmas season really blows for disbarred attorney Tom Zaratti.First, on Christmas Eve 2003, he was arrested for possession of child pornography, which ultimately led to a ten-year, $10,000 sentence. But while fortune smiled in the form of early parole, the anti-Christmas spirit came back ... More >>
A lot of people who read about the epidemic of cell phones in Texas prisons had a basic question -- if you can't discover and confiscate the things, why not just block them? Set it up to jam transmissions in the prison?It turns out TDCJ has thought about that, but it's easier said than done.The pris ... More >>
More than 90 percent of Texas parolees walk away without paying off what the state ordered them to.
Earlier this year, we brought you the story of the hundreds of inmates at the maximum-security federal penitentiary in Beaumont who sued the U.S. government claiming officials did not evacuate them during Hurricane Rita and thereby forced them to endure inhumane, medieval conditions. While that lega ... More >>
After sticking another inmate with a shiv in the showers, there’s nothing better than a tepid cup of apple wine and a smoke. Unfortunately, TDCJ banned all tobacco products in 1994, making it that much more difficult for a prisoner to relax after a hard day of rec-yard baseball or gang rape. ... More >>
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