Matt Largey

News Editor

Matt has been a reporter at KUT off and on since 2006.  He came to Austin from Boston, then went back for a while--but couldn't stand to be away--so he came back to Austin.  Matt grew up in Maine (but hates lobster), and while it might sound hard to believe, he thinks Maine and Texas are remarkably similar.

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TDCJ via Texas Tribune

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has halted tonight's scheduled execution of Scott Louis Panetti, who killed his wife's parents in Fredricksburg more than 20 years ago.

His attorneys argued his mental illness has worsened and he needs to undergo new mental competency tests because he's too delusional to understand why he's being punished.

Panetti represented himself at his trial and attempted to subpoena the Pope and Jesus. A group of prominent conservatives, including former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli asked Governor Perry to intervene. 

Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

Austin Police are giving more details of what they've found so far in their investigation of Friday's early morning shootings in downtown Austin.

Larry McQuilliams, 49, shot at several downtown buildings, including the Mexican Consulate and APD headquarters, before he was fatally shot by Sgt. Adam Johnson at approximately 2:32am Friday.

McQuilliams had the words "Let me die" written on his chest at the time of his death.

APD Chief Art Acevedo commended Johnson, saying the officer took only one shot from 312 feet away, to end the incident. 

Adam Voorhes

UPDATE 12/03/14: After this story received national media attention, UT Austin now says the 100 brains that were unaccounted for are not missing. In fact, they were deemed unsuitable for research or teaching and were destroyed sometime around 2002. The University says it will continue to investigate the circumstances of their destruction

ORIGINAL STORY 11/21/14: For decades, a rare collection of human remains sat in a basement at the University of Texas at Austin. Now, it is getting renewed attention, thanks in part, to Austin photographer Adam Voorhes.

Back in 2011, Voorhes went to take a picture of a brain for a magazine cover. He went to see a guy at UT named Professor Tim Schallert. While they were there, Schallert asked if Voorhes wanted to see his collection. 

So, they made their way to a storage closet in the back of Schallert's lab. What was inside set Voorhes on a months long quest for answers about a group of people who died decades earlier — answers that largely remain elusive.

Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

The judge in the abuse of power case against Governor Rick Perry is overruling objections from Perry's legal team over the way the special prosecutor was sworn in. 

Perry's attorneys argued that special prosecutor Michael McCrum had not taken the oath of office and filed a required document in the proper way. The defense said because the oath wasn't done properly, McCrum was not authorized to act as prosecutor and everything he had done to this point -- including overseeing grand jury proceedings that produced the indictments against Perry -- were invalid.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Current Austin City Council Member Chris Riley is withdrawing from a runoff election with another current Council Member, Kathie Tovo.

In Tuesday's election for the District 9 seat, Tovo won 49.05 percent of the vote -- just shy of the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff. Riley earned 40.41 percent and the third candidate, Erin McGann, won 10.53 percent.

In a statement announcing his withdrawal, Riley congratulated Tovo on a hard-fought campaign.

It's Election Day.

Voters in Travis County can vote at any polling place -- not just their precinct location. This map from the Travis County Clerk shows all voting locations in Travis County. 

Marjorie Kamys Cotera & Bob Daemmrich via Texas Tribune

The words a political candidate uses mean a lot. But how those candidates say those words can make a big difference, too. Especially in a place like Texas.

UT linguist Lars Hinrichs studies the Texas accent. He and some students wanted to see how the two leading candidates for Texas governor match up when it comes to sounding Texan.

A Georgetown man is being closely monitored, Williamson County health officials say, after sitting near Dallas nurse Amber Vinson on a flight from Cleveland to Dallas earlier this week.

Vinson was among those treating Thomas Eric Duncan, the man from Liberia who began exhibiting symptoms of Ebola shortly after he arrived in Dallas earlier this month. Duncan died eight days after being admitted to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.

Eric Schlegel, Texas Tribune

The U.S. Supreme Court has halted the enforcement of two provisions of Texas' new abortion law, known as House Bill 2, for now.

"Tonight, our reality in Texas was recognized by SCOTUS and they ruled on the side of Texan Women," said Amy Hagstrom Miller in a statement. Miller is the president and CEO of Whole Woman's Health, which is a plaintiff in the case against the provisions. "We are so proud to have led this fight."

KUT News

A federal appeals is allowing a Texas' voter ID to go ahead for the November election. The law requires voters to show an approved photo ID before casting a ballot.

The ruling comes after a federal judge in Corpus Christi struck down the law last Thursday, calling it an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote, and adding that it intentionally discriminated against Hispanics and African-Americans.


UPDATE (Saturday 2:30pm): The judge in the Texas Voter ID case has formally issued an injunction barring the state from enforcing the new photo identification requirements under Senate Bill 14. 


Unless an appeals court intervenes, the ID requirement will not be in effect for the November election.


UPDATE (Friday, 2pm): Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott wants a federal judge who struck down the state's voter ID law to clarify her ruling by the end of today.

In a filing Friday, Abbott writes:

The scope of the planned injunction appears to be quite broad (much broader than it should be, even assuming the Court is correct regarding the merits of this case), but it is not described in any detail. Nor does the Court’s opinion announce the anticipated timing of its injunction. It is not clear if the Court’s injunction will apply to this election. 

Abbott also says the judge should allow the ID requirement to stay in effect for the upcoming November election, as the case is appealed.


EARLIER: A federal judge in Corpus Christi has struck down a Texas law requiring voters to show ID before casting a ballot, calling it an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote.

The law was passed by the 2011 Texas Legislature, and has been the subject of plenty of legal wrangling ever since. Republican leaders call it a protection against voter fraud. Democrats say it's aimed at discouraging minorities from voting.

Several groups representing Hispanic voters -- along with the Justice Department -- sued the state.

In her ruling today, Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos largely agrees with the plaintiffs. She cites the limited number of accepted forms of ID as an unconstitutional barrier to the right to vote, and saying it intentionally discriminates against blacks and Hispanics.

Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

KUT continued its Ballot Boxing series of in-district Austin City Council forums Wednesday night in District 10. The candidates met at the LCRA's Red Bud Center on Lake Austin Blvd.

Our Ballot Boxing forums will continue with the mayoral candidates on Wednesday Oct. 15 in the Moody Auditorium at the Belo Center for New Media at UT Austin. 

Below you can listen to the full audio of last night's forum and view a photo gallery above.

Mengwen Cao/KUT News

KUT continued its Ballot Boxing series of in-district Austin City Council forums Thursday night in District 7. Eight candidates joined moderators KXAN's Shannon Wolfson and Mike Kanin of the Austin Monitor at the Alamo Drafthouse Village on Anderson Lane.

Our Ballot Boxing forums will continue this Monday Oct. 6 in KUT's Studio 1a with the forum for District 9.

Matt Largey, KUT News

The state’s highest criminal appeals court is refusing to reinstate the 2010 convictions of former House Majority Leader Tom Delay on money laundering and conspiracy charges.

Prosecutors alleged Delay illegally funneled $190,000 in corporate campaign contributions to several candidates for the Texas Legislature in 2002.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

The Ballot Boxing series continued last night with the Austin City Council candidate forum for District 5 in South Austin. Seven candidates gathered at Austin Community College's South Austin campus with moderators Michael Kanin of the Austin Monitor and Mary Tuma of the Austin Chronicle.

You can view a photo gallery above and listen to the full audio of the forum below.

Texas State Senator and Democratic Lieutenant Governor nominee Leticia Van de Putte released her first two campaign television ads, one in English and one in Spanish this morning.

In “Twice”, Van de Putte calls out Republican Lieutenant Governor nominee Dan Patrick for the cuts to the education system he supported in past budget sessions:

The ad points to Patrick’s 2011 vote to cut more than $5 billion from public education in Texas. The cuts came on the tail end of the Great Recession, which dramatically lowered state tax collections. Patrick has defended his vote, saying the state had to balance the budget and no choice but to cut spending to do it. Van de Putte voted against the cuts in 2011.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

A federal judge in Austin has struck down several parts of House Bill 2, the controversial abortion law passed by the Texas Legislature last year.

The provisions were set to go into effect on Monday.

Join KUT, the Austin Monitor, Univision 62, KXAN and the Austin Chronicle for our series of in-district Austin City Council candidate forums. All forums begin at 7 P.M. They are free and open to the public.
RSVP is recommended. 

Flickr user David Ingram,

Mount Bonnell and Barton Springs are two of Austin's eternal treasures –unblemished reminders of Austin's natural beauty.

But to a handful of reviewers on Yelp, they're totally overrated.

Mount Bonnell's scenic overlook rates a solid four stars on Yelp; Austin's crown jewel, Barton Springs Pool, clocks in at four-and-a-half.  But proving you can't please everyone, a collection of contrary reviews offer an antithetical take on these two Austin institutions.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

What do you think of when you think of Austin?

Live music, hot summers, breakfast tacos and the people come to mind for starters. But spend a little time here, and another thing jumps out at you – the "Austin correct" pronunciation of local streets and landmarks.

Take Guadalupe Street across from the UT Campus ­– pronounced Gwad-a-loop by generations of students and residents.