AM Update 7/20/12
7:50 am
Fri July 20, 2012

AM Update: Lackland Air Base Sexual Assault Case, Austin Movie Security, Summer Sales Tax Holiday

Lackland Assault Case Nears Conclusion

The case against Staff Sergeant Luis Walker, the trainer accused of sexual assault at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, is wrapping up. Closing arguments got underway this  morning.

Staff Sgt. Walker is accused of 28 counts that include rape and sexual assault.

In three days of testimony, the prosecution presented 14 witnesses, including alleged victims. The defense brought only one witness, a technical sergeant familiar with the video surveillance capabilities throughout the base.

The case was heard before a seven-member jury of military personnel. Walker can be considered guilty by a two-thirds majority. The jury will also decide sentencing. If convicted, Walker could get up to life in prison.

Violence Erupts at ‘Dark Knight’ Screening

Movie theaters in Austin continue to operate after a shooting rampage during a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises in a Denver-area theater left at least 12 dead and dozens injured – but some theaters are increasing their security.

At about 12:30 a.m. MDT, witnesses told Denver police a gas-masked gunman entered the Century 16 Movie Theater in Aurora, Colo., released what witnesses say appeared to be smoke bombs and opened fire.

Police found and arrested 24-year-old suspect James Holmes near a car behind the theater. They have not released any possible motives for the shooting.

Theaters in Austin have showings of The Dark Knight Rises scheduled all day, starting around 8:30 this morning.

John De Los Santos with the Alamo Drafthouse Lake Creek says they have not gotten any orders from the corporate office and plan to keep operating normally, but there might be some changes later in the day.

A spokesman for the Regal Gateway 16 cinema in North Austin says he expects the theater to add more security to showings tonight.

President Barack Obama released a statement saying he and Michelle Obama were “shocked and saddened” by the attack and said his administration “would do everything we can to support the people of Aurora.”

“As we do when confronted by moments of darkness and challenge, we must now come together as one American family,” he said.

Sales Tax Exempt Weekend Approaches

There’s still some summer left before the coming school year, but the State Comptroller’s office has announced Texas’ annual tax free weekend, August 17th through 19th.

Shoppers will find some back-to-school clothing, shoes, and school supplies tax-free, but many sporting goods, like football gear, will still be taxed. To be eligible for the tax break, individual items must be priced under $100.

The tax holiday has been an annual event since 1999.