Crime

AM Update
8:28 am
Tue April 3, 2012

AM Update: Shoplifting Ring Busted, Keystone XL Pipeline, New Coach for Lady Longhorns

Police say they've broken up a shoplifting ring that specialized in household items like detergent.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/thetime-line

Austin Shoplifting Ring Busted

The Associated Press reports an Austin shoplifting ring has been caught selling stolen goods and smuggling them to Mexico. The list of stolen goods includes multiple household items: detergents, shampoos, batteries, cosmetics and razors.

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Texas
4:45 pm
Fri March 30, 2012

Interview: Exonerated After 25 Years, Michael Morton Tells His Story

Wrongfully convicted, exonerated Texan Michael Morton.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

Michael Morton has experienced a harrowing, remarkable journey .

Morton served 25 years in a Texas prison, convicted of the murder of his wife in 1987. It wasn’t until 2011 that DNA testing, unavailable at the time of his conviction, proved the innocence he had long maintained.

Morton came to the KUT studios yesterday for an extended interview covering his time in prison, the justice system and wrongful convictions. (An Austin resident before his incarceration, Morton was at UT to discuss the latter topic that day.)

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Media
3:49 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

'Daily Texan' Protest over Trayvon Martin Cartoon

UT students confront members of The Daily Texan's Editorial Board after an offensive cartoon depicting the media's coverage of Travon Martin's death as "yellow journalism."
Photo courtesy of Raymond Thomas

Students and activists assembled outside the offices of The Daily Texan this afternoon, demanding answers about the controversial Trayvon Martin editorial cartoon the student newspaper ran Tuesday. What editorial process vetted the cartoon? Will the firestorm result in any changes at the Texan? And is the cartoon’s publication symptomatic of a broader problem on campus?

About 40 people engaged in a tense discussion with members of the Texan’s editorial staff. Staff members apologized for running the cartoon, promising a formal apology to supplement a terse statement the paper released yesterday and another the cartoonist sent today.

Discussion dwelt on the editorial process that oversaw the comic’s publication. Viviana Aldous, Texan Editor in Chief, said at least five editors at the paper vetted the cartoon before publication – the five members of the editorial team, plus copy editors.

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Austin
6:33 pm
Tue March 27, 2012

Photos: Protesters Gather for Trayvon Martin Rally in Austin

Photo by Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Close to three hundred protesters donned hoodies and gathered at the gates of the State Capitol Tuesday night in remembrance of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. It was a silent protest. It’s one in a series of rallies across the country this week that expressed anger over Martin’s killing by a neighborhood watch volunteer. 

Austin attorney James Nortey helped organize the event. He says the group spread the word about the protest almost exclusively through social media and word-of-mouth. Nortey says he's pleased with the Austin community for showing up.

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Crime
4:58 pm
Tue March 27, 2012

Reports: Yassine Enterprises Funds Channeled to Hezbollah

The properties owned by Yassine Enterprises; all but the Stack Burger Bar are currently closed.
Image courtesy yassineenterprises.com

The local drug and money laundering bust of Yassine Enterprises has taken an international turn, as authorities allege proceeds from the organization’s nightclubs, drugs, and money laundering operations went overseas to fund militant Lebanese group Hezbollah, an organization designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S.

KEYE reports on the arraignment of the Yassine Enterprises defendants this morning:

During bond hearings in federal court in Austin Tuesday, an Internal Revenue Service investigator said Hussein "Mike" Ali Yassine and Mohammed "Steve Austin" Ali Yassine sent money in $2,500 increments to their uncle, Mohammed Ishmael in Lebanon.  Authorities say he is associated with Hezbollah, a militant group and political party in Lebanon. 

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Crime
3:47 pm
Tue March 27, 2012

Austin Police Show Off Seized Cash, Guns and 'A Tremendous Amount of Heroin'

The Austin Police Department seized nearly $8 million worth of drugs in three raids in March.
Photo by Divya Darsi for KUT News

Pounds of pot, kilos of cocaine and bundles of bills were on display at an Austin police station today.

The department’s organized crime division was showing off what it obtained from three major drug seizures over the past month. APD Assistant Chief Sean Mannix said officers also captured more than six-and-a-half pounds of tar heroin.

"In talking to the other officers and detectives, supervisors in the room, none of us in our memories can remember a seizure of heroin that large in the city of Austin,” said Assistant Chief Mannix. “It’s a tremendous amount of heroin."

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Crime
4:00 pm
Fri March 23, 2012

Hays County Searching For Suspect in Assault of Austin Teen

Authorities are searching for a suspect in connection with an assault earlier this month.
Image courtesy Hays County Crime Stoppers

Authorities have released information on a brutal assault and attempted murder of a teen lured from an Austin bus stop, including a sketch of the suspect.

From Hays County Crime Stoppers:

On Thursday, March 15, 2012 at approximately 9:45am, a 17-year-old female was lured into a white vehicle in the area of 51st Street and Manor Road in Austin, Travis County, Texas.  At 11:45am, Hays County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to Highway 290 in the area of CR 165, west of Dripping Springs near the Blanco County border, where the victim had been found on the side of the road by a passing motorist.  The victim was transported to the hospital and treated for injuries she sustained during the incident.  The subsequent investigation revealed that the female victim had been physically and sexually assaulted.

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Special Coverage
4:15 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

After Trayvon Martin Killing, a Closer Look at Texas 'Castle Doctrine'

Participants at a march protesting the killing of Trayvon Martin.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/barmony

The killing of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17 year-old African-American, by self-described neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman, has sparked a national discussion about racial profiling and vigilante justice.

It has also prompted a more critical look at so-called “stand your ground” laws in Florida, the state where the incident took place, and across the nation, including Texas.

Police in the Orlando suburb of Sanford have yet to arrest Zimmerman, as Florida law permits the use of deadly force in self-defense. (Despite reports that he was the party to instigate the confrontation, Zimmerman says he did act in self-defense.)

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Texas
8:38 am
Mon March 19, 2012

Prison Radio Show is Inmates' Link to the Outside World

David Babb, the host of the Prison Show broadcast from KPFT, prepares to go on the ari in Houston Friday Feb 24, 2012.
Photo by Michael Stravato for the Texas Tribune

On Friday nights, in prison cells across East and Southeast Texas, a window opens to the outside world. For two hours, a Houston-based radio show breaks the isolation of the incarcerated, linking inmates to families, friends and life outside lockup.

The Prison Show,” which started in 1980 on KPFT, is part news program and part call-in radio show. Some Texas inmates have listened to their own weddings on the show, with the new spouse and a proxy exchanging vows in the studio. Others have listened to their children grow up on the radio, hearing news of soccer games and report cards from children they never see.

And for inmates who are no longer in prison, the show is familiar in a world that feels foreign.

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Austin
2:19 pm
Wed March 14, 2012

Alleged Austin Cocaine Ring Accused of Distributing Five Kilos a Week

U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman serves the Western District of Texas depicted above.

14 Central Texans are facing federal charges, after being arrested for suspected involvement in what authorities describe as an Austin area cocaine distribution network. At least 6 others are facing state charges in connection with the distribution ring.

“The evidence will suggest that there was over 150 kilos of cocaine involved in the conspiracy and, as such, these individuals were charged at the highest level,” says Robert Pitman, U.S. Attorney with the Department of Justice’s Western District of Texas.

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Austin
9:16 am
Thu February 16, 2012

Top Morning Stories 2/15/12: Another Round of APD Lab Questions, Crime Victim Funds Cut

Another allegation has been levied at the Austin Police Department's crime lab.
Photo by Nasha Lee for KUT News

Austin Crime Lab Receives Second Complaint

As reported by The Austin American-Statesman, the Austin Police Department's crime lab has received a second complaint. The complaint comes from an independent lab in North Texas claiming it received different results than the Austin lab when testing the same evidence. 

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Austin
12:06 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

Outside Review Coming for Yogurt Shop Murders?

Public Safety Commission vice chair Kim Rossmo is asking whether police need an outside review of four 1991 murders at an I Can't Believe It's Yogurt shop.

Austin’s infamous Yogurt Shop Murders may be getting a fresh set of eyes.

The 1991 crime – the assault and murder of four young Austin women at an I Can’t Believe It’s Yogurt! shop in north Austin, which was then set ablaze – has never been solved.

In 1999, Austin Police arrested four suspects in connection with the crime: Robert Springsteen, Michael Scott, Maurice Pierce, and Forrest Wellborn. Charges were dropped against the latter two suspects. Springsteen and Scott were convicted but ultimately released after a DNA swab from one of the victims – not originally available in 1991– confirmed the existence of an unknown suspect the police have been unable to identify.

However, the District Attorney’s office have continued to treat Springsteen and Scott as prime suspects. When the DNA evidence was released in 2009, D.A. Rosemary Lehmberg told The Austin Chronicle the new evidence “does not exonerate anybody."

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Austin
3:51 pm
Thu July 28, 2011

Sam’s Bar-B-Cue To Be Shut Down Amid Meat Theft Allegations

Photo by manue_aka_crazeecrafteez http://www.flickr.com/photos/manueb/

The legendary East Austin barbeque restaurant Sam’s Bar-B-Cue is having its business license revoked today following allegations the owners purchased meat stolen from H-E-B.  Two other restaurants, La Morinita at 2944 East 12th St. and Willie’s BBQ at 4505 East Martin Luther King Blvd., are also being shut down.

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Texas
4:48 pm
Fri December 10, 2010

East Texas Church Arsonists to Plead Guilty

The guilty please are expected December 15th.
Image courtesy Keith Burtis http://www.flickr.com/photos/keithburtis/

The two men charged in a string of church fires last year in East Texas have announced their plan to plead guilty, reports the Associated Press. 

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crime
4:11 pm
Mon November 1, 2010

APD Probe Murder in Southeast Austin

Austin police are investigating the city's 30th murder of the year, a stabbing on the East Side.
Image courtesy APD

Austin police are dealing with their 30th homicide case of the year. This time last year, there had been 19 recorded murders in Austin.

Someone called police at 10:11 p.m. yesterday to report two men fighting at Pleasant Valley Road and East Riverside Drive. By the time officers arrived, they found a 50-year-old man in the street bleeding from a stab wound. He was rushed to Brackenridge Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police got a description of the alleged attacker from witnesses and arrested him a short while later. Charges are pending.

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