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Chris Kyle’s Accused Killer Won’t Face Death Penalty

Erath County prosecutors have decided to seek a life sentence without parole for Eddie Routh:

Routh is accused of shooting Chris Kyle, 38, and Chad Littlefield, 35, both of Midlothian, on Feb. 2, 2013, at the shooting range at Rough Creek Lodge, an upscale resort outside Glen Rose in Erath County. The lodge is about 77 miles southwest of Fort Worth.

Area police reports documented Routh’s mental problems well before the killings at the gun range.

As her son’s condition worsened, Jodi Leigh Routh contacted Kyle and asked him to help. Kyle is considered one of the deadliest snipers in U.S. military history.

By now you’ve surely heard on this blog or elsewhere about Kyle. His memoir, American Sniper, has been made into a film that will be released on Christmas.

Maybe your stomach for executing someone as so clearly mentally disturbed as Routh has been reported to be — especially someone whose mental ills may stem in part from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of serving his country — is stronger than mine, but this seems like the right call.

The trial is set to begin Feb. 9 in Stephenville.

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Leading Off (10/31/14)

Last Day of Early Voting. Dallas County Republicans got off to a strong start, but Democrats are scrambling to close the gap. In the most closely watched county race, district attorney Craig Watkins has been outspent by GOP challenger Susan Hawk. If you care about the outcome, get to the polls.

Bentley to Reunite With Nina Pham. The former Ebola patient/nurse’s dog has tested negative for the virus, and will be returned to Pham on Saturday. He’s been kept in quarantine since Pham’s apartment was decontaminated by health officials.

Last Man Seen With Missing Woman Says He’s Being Harassed. Enrique Arochi made the rounds of the local newscasts to publicly state that he had nothing to do with the disappearance of Christina Morris. Arochi was the last person spotted with Morris, who has not been seen since Labor Day weekend at the Shops at Legacy in Plano. He says he’s lost his job as a result of the police investigation into the case and that he’s being harassed by friends and family of Morris, who have been protesting outside his parents’ home.

Kissing Bugs in North Texas Carry Deadly Disease. Welcome to your new nightmare: “Little did she know then, she had just met a kissing bug. So named because it attacks exposed skin — sometimes near the mouth or eyes — while you’re sleeping. You may get swelling at the site of the bite, or you may not know what happened. But the kissing bug can carry something called Chagas disease, a potentially deadly condition, which attacks the heart. It may be decades before the damage is done. But much like mosquitoes and West Nile, not every kissing bug carries Chagas disease, sometimes called the ‘silent killer.'”

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Meet the Antigay Bully Arrested at DFW Airport in Last Week’s Viral Video

The man pictured above is identified on a police report as 27-year-old McCleish Christmas Benham. He is the man who was arrested for the assault depicted in the video that went viral on Friday, and who was not taken down by actor Paul Rudd.

Are you most surprised to learn that:

A) He was apparently drunk at the time of the incident.

or

B) His middle name is Christmas

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Whoa, Paul Rudd Was (UPDATE: Not) One of the Airport Heroes Who Took Down the Homophobe

You remember the video we posted about late Friday? When I put that item up, the video had a little more than 10,000 views. Now it’s got more than 1.7 million.

Well, turns out that one of the onlookers who rushed to the defense of the man attacked by an antigay bigot at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport was Paul Rudd. The actor. You know, this guy. He was probably on a connecting flight from Kansas City.

UPDATE, 3:05 p.m.: The Internet appears to have let us all down, folks. Jezebel reports that Rudd’s publicist says it’s not him.

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VIDEO: Crowd Stops Antigay Attack at DFW Airport

The video above depicts a drunk?/drugged?/crazy? antigay bigot harassing and then physically attacking a man in a pink shirt at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. It’s dated 10/23/2014.

The crowd around the bully forces him to the ground, which might give Rudy Bush another reason to celebrate the fact that western civilization has not declined as badly as some like to portray it.  Of course, if Rudy then reads the comments on the YouTube page for the video, they might well reverse his position.

I don’t understand why this was being filmed initially. Maybe the guy had already done something to attract attention before filming began?

(H/T Raw Story)

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Brendan Higgins Issues Statement on Aspen Arrest

You’ll recall that former CBS 11 morning anchor and noted Irishman Brendan Higgins got into a bit of trouble in Aspen awhile back. Here comes an official statement about where things stand:

I have entered a deferred prosecution agreement with the City of Aspen that will ensure all the municipal court charges against me will be dropped within six months. As I said shortly after my arrest, I am deeply sorry for the negative attention this situation brought to my family, our friends, my coworkers and the hard-working authorities in Aspen. While unfortunate, this incident has provided a valuable lesson that I will not soon forget, and I dearly appreciate the many messages of support sent to my family and me over the past couple months. We are looking forward to moving on to bigger, brighter things.

Could have used an expletive or two. Maybe a metaphor about riding horses. But otherwise, it’s a fine statement.

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Nina Pham Is Ebola-Free. Is She a Hero?

News this morning is that the first Dallas nurse to contract Ebola is now free of the virus and will be discharged from the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center today. This is, of course, great news.

Over on the Morning News site, Rudy Bush opines that Pham, along with the other Ebola nurse/patient, Amber Vinson, and sergeant-of-arms of the Canadian Parliament Kevin Vickers, who killed a terrorist gunman, should give us hope for western civilization:

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D Magazine’s 40 Greatest Stories: The Saga of Priscilla and T. Cullen Davis

This week we’ve got the first (and only) double feature of our series celebrating the 40 greatest stories ever published in D Magazine. Together they recount the scandalous lives of wealthy Fort Worth socialites  Priscilla and T. Cullen Davis. One night in 1976, someone entered the mansion of the estranged couple and killed Priscilla’s 12-year-old daughter and live-in lover, as well as wounded two others, including Priscilla herself. Each of the surviving eyewitnesses said Cullen was the perpetrator.

The trial was just about to begin at the time Tom Stephenson’s March 1977 story was published. Ultimately, Cullen was acquitted of the murder of his stepdaughter, but that wasn’t the end of his legal troubles. An FBI sting operation resulted in incriminating tapes in which Cullen was heard arranging to have the presiding judge and witnesses in his murder trial killed. But his defense attorney again managed to argue that Cullen had been framed, and he got off.

The story of the multimillionaire who once famously hosted a screening of Deep Throat in a Winnebago at the Colonial golf tournament then took an odd turn.

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Leading Off (10/10/14)

Baylor Hospital Could Lose Hundreds of Millions in Federal Funds. Inspectors for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently found several instances of psychiatric patients walking away from the emergency department at Baylor University Medical Center. The violations potentially could cost the hospital up to $300 million in annual revenue it receives from Medicare, though Baylor is devising a plan to fix its problems, which it will submit to Texas Department of State Health Services by Monday.

Judge Rules Texas Voter ID Law Unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos issued an opinion late Thursday holding that the 2011 bill requiring photo identification for anyone to cast a valid election ballot places an undue burden on the right to vote and has a discriminatory effect on Hispanics and African-Americans. Attorney general Greg Abbott, who is also running for governor (in case you haven’t heard), announced immediately that his office would appeal the decision. It’s not clear yet how the ruling will affect the election that’s only a few weeks away.

Dallas Stars Lose Season Opener. They played great against a great team, but fell to the Chicago Blackhawks in a shootout.

Scam Targets Morning News Subscribers. Do not send $600 to an Oregon post office box to get the newspaper.

Today is Double Tenth National Day in Taiwan. It commemorates the start of the 1911 uprising that led to the collapse of the Qing Dynasty and establishment of the Republic of China. It’s also an office holiday for D Magazine Partners, celebrated in lieu of Columbus Day this weekend because of the horrific crimes Christopher Columbus committed against the native peoples of the Americas. (To be honest, I think it’s just because we decided we preferred getting a Friday off to getting a Monday off.)

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Apparently the Apparently Kid Has Been Taken Into Dallas Police Custody

Told you last week that Noah Ritter of viral video fame was going to be visiting the State Fair of Texas on behalf of Ellen DeGeneres’ daytime TV talk show. Well, it appears he’s run into some police resistance. This just went out on the Dallas Police Twitter account:

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Blind Item: People Are Attracted To This D Staffer

Yesterday afternoon, the majority of the D Magazine editorial staff — Tim Rogers, Brad Pearson, Liz Johnstone, Michael “2 Chainz” Mooney, and myself — took a trip to the State Fair of Texas. During a stop to exchange coupons for beers, a young woman, judged by the group to be in the neighborhood of 14 years of age, came up to one member of our party, poked said staffer in the shoulder area, and said, “You’re cute,” before walking out of our lives again, forever. After much gentle ribbing, the staffer in question said, “You would literally be surprised at how often that happens.”

So — who was the author of that incredibly cocky statement?

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D Magazine’s 40 Greatest Stories: Akin vs. Dahl

It’s fitting that we’re posting this story during the annual run of the State Fair of Texas, since it concerns the later years of George Dahl, the architect who deserves much of the credit for the acclaimed Art Deco buildings at Fair Park. Unfortunately, the article doesn’t focus on the legacy of Dahl’s work but instead the unhappy family saga that consumed much of the final decade-plus of his life.

The facts, as presented in David Bauer’s article in the April 1979 issue of D Magazine (one of the 40 greatest stories we’ve ever published), are that Dahl’s daughter Gloria and her husband, Ted Akin, filed for guardianship of the then-83-year-old Dahl in April 1978. They said they’d done it because of their concerns about Dahl’s failing mental competency in business matters. Dahl believed they were motivated by greed, looking to take control of the millions of dollars in the trust that had been established in the name of his late wife, Lillie, of which Dahl himself was the sole trustee. They also were seeking to prevent him from marrying Joan Renfro, a much-younger woman whom they suspected of being only after Dahl’s money.

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Leading Off (9/26/14)

Wylys Must Pay More than $300M in SEC Case. In May, a jury found that brothers Sam and Charles Wyly, founders of Irving-based Michaels Stores Inc., were guilty of fraud. They were found to have hidden their holdings in offshore trusts and to have engaged in illegal trading. On Thursday, a federal judge ruled that Sam and the estate of Charles (who died in 2011) must pay $187.7 plus interest, which could bring their total obligation to between $300 million and $400 million. The Wylys had argued their total net worth is only $119 million and that any punishment greater than that amount would bankrupt them. Tough, said the judge.

Need to Borrow Millions? Gov. Perry Can Help. You don’t even need to ask. The Texas Enterprise Fund, which the governor’s office oversees, even awarded $170 million to recipients who never officially applied for it. That’s just one of a number of troubling findings in a state audit report released Thursday.

UT Dallas Repaid State $4.3 Million. The university’s calculation error related to employee benefits is similar to the same one recently discovered at UNT, which has to repay almost $76 million. Maybe the Texas Enterprise Fund can help them out?

Enterovirus-D68 Cases Confirmed in Dallas County. Ten cases of the respiratory illness have been detected in children, which has symptoms much like those of the flu or a cold. Wash your hands regularly. Hand sanitizer is powerless against it, apparently.

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