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Leading Off (4/27/16)

All the most awful news in one convenient place. Investigators believe the Midlothian fitness trainer murdered in a church nine days ago was in fact targeted, but by whom they do not know. Up north, the Collin County medical examiner concluded that a Frisco mom, found dead in her car with her three children still alive, died of an intentional overdose of antihistamine medication. Finally, out west, a Haltom City grandma was booked in the Tarrant County jail on charges relating to the scalding death of the toddler CPS had put in her custody.

Local man’s son still not doing so hot in primaries. In spite of Sunday’s announcement that Ted Cruz and John Kasich were joining forces to stop the Republican front-runner, Donald Trump went on to sweep all five states in Tuesday’s primaries. Cruz was also Twitter-pummeled for using the words “basketball ring” in the Hoosier State yesterday. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton lost only Rhode Island to Bernie Sanders.

Johnny Manziel indicted, enjoys bieber show. The former football pro was officially indicted yesterday on a misdemeanor assault charge. Manziel allegedly restrained, assaulted, and kidnapped his ex-girlfriend in Dallas in January. Last night, he was seen at a Justin Bieber concert in Cleveland.

“Hail no” headlines abound during storm threat. Ok, I only spotted one, but last night’s much-hyped storm deserved more. Grayson County was hit by tornadoes, but thankfully the grapefruit-sized hail meteorologists feared never appeared in Dallas. News outlets posted pic after pic of the extreme measures North Texas car owners took to avoid hail damage yesterday. Now what I’d really like to see is coverage of those folks as they peel sopping mattresses and pick bits of wet cardboard off their Hondas this morning. Send it my way! [email protected]

Leading Off (4/26/16)

Jury seated for Mexican drug cartel murder case. A jury in Fort Worth will hear opening statements today in a trial of the men charged in the murder of a Mexican drug cartel lawyer. Jesus Gerardo Ledezma Cepeda and Jose Luis Cepeda Cortes are on trial for gunning down Juan Jesus Guerrero Chapa in 2013 in Southlake. They were charged with interstate stalking and conspiracy to commit murder for hire.

Johnny Manziel indicted, will plead “not guilty.” A Dallas County grand jury voted to indict Manziel on misdemeanor domestic violence charges. The indictment will become official today, and Manziel’s attorney, Bob Hinton, says that his client will plead “not guilty” to assaulting his ex-girlfriend, Colleen Crowley.

Mavs done in playoffs. A 118-104 loss to Oklahoma City yesterday means that the Mavs have stopped short of the second playoff round for the fifth year in a row. The combined injuries on the team added up, and their efforts just weren’t enough to surpass the Thunder. But I’ll always be hopeful for the coming year.

This afternoon brings severe weather threat. Storms are expected later today throughout North Texas with the possibility of hail and tornadoes. Stay safe out there.

Leading Off (4/22/16)

Ex-DISD Executive Sues District. Tonya Sadler Grayson, who was fired last July, claims in a lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court that she was wrongfully terminated, sexually harassed by trustee Lew Blackburn, and discriminated against because of her race. Grayson’s dismissal from her job came after an internal DISD audit determined she had taken part in a deception, lied about her criminal history, and bullied another employee.

Johnny Manziel Likely Indicted. The Dallas County district attorney’s office will announce indictments by the grand jury that was hearing the domestic violence charges against the former Texas A&M and Cleveland Browns quarterback on Monday. Prosecutors had previously said a decision not to indict Manziel would be announced on Thursday but a formal indictment would come Monday. So it’s not looking good for Johnny Football. (Are we still calling him that?)

Frisco Mother’s Death Ruled Suicide. Christine Woo was found dead — and her three young children alive — in an SUV in a Target parking lot earlier this month. She and her kids had apparently been in the vehicle a few days. Yesterday the medical examiner revealed that Woo had killed herself via a drug overdose. Furthermore, Frisco Police say their investigation determined that Woo had “no deliberate plan” to harm her own children with what she did. Deliberate or not, let’s hope there are no long-term repercussions for these kids.

Mavs Lose Game 3. A contingent of D Magazine staffers was on hand to witness the Mavericks’ 131-102 loss to Oklahoma City, which gave the Thunder a 2-1 lead in the first-round NBA playoff series. It was my first time attending a Mavs game in about 25 years. If they had to lose, I’m glad it was in a blowout because that led Tim (my ride) to leave the game early, which got me back to D Magazine World Headquarters in time to watch the bottom of the ninth as former Plano East Senior High School and TCU baseball player Jake Arrieta (now the ace of the Chicago Cubs) finished a no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds. My apologies to the poor maintenance guy I frightened when I hooted and hollered in what he had assumed was an empty office.

The Texas Rangers saluted musical artist Prince, who died Thursday, on the video board at Globe Life Park as the team completed a sweep of the Houston Astros.

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Leading Off (4/20/16)

Rain. And lots of it. Keep an eye on weather reports, folks, and avoid those flood waters.

Video released of Midlothian fitness instructor’s killer. Police released surveillance video of the person suspected of murdering Terri “Missy” Bevers in a Midlothian church. Students arriving for Bevers’ Camp Gladiator class discovered her body early Monday morning. The videos show the suspect walking through the halls of the church wearing a head-to-toe, SWAT-like getup. Reports say the suspect vandalized the property for a half-hour before Bevers arrived, but nothing appeared to be stolen. The suspect’s distinctive gait will hopefully lead to a quick capture.

Manziel had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad yesterday. It all started when Johnny Football got word that a Dallas county grand jury will hear his domestic violence case on Thursday. Then his second agent of the year—who, granted, gave Manziel an ultimatum that wasn’t met—officially dropped the 2012 Heisman winner. Sponsorships from Nike and a sports trading card company quickly followed, leaving the Cowboys reject with zero endorsement deals. Manziel must have seen this coming because reports reveal the Tyler native was laying low and getting some alone time over the weekend. Ooooh, he was laying low…alone…in a Coachella ball pit? Gotcha. Ok. Hmm. So, this is what rock bottom looks like.

Local man’s son loses big time in New York. Even John Kasich got more delegates than Ted Cruz in Tuesday’s New York primary. Trump and Clinton won the state by landslides.

Rangers beat Astros. But the real winner was Beltre’s Andrus-directed stink eye.

Would-be gun thieves foiled by pillar. Surveillance video shows three men attempting the ol’ smash‘n’grab at a Garland gun store. The truck momentarily gets stuck on a waist-high pillar. The best part of this news segment, however, is at the 20-second mark when a man walks out of the shop at just the right time. It’s slightly entertaining. Definitely eat that bagel first, though. Then the news segment. And coffee. I mean, start with coffee. You know what, do coffee, bagel, the Beltre thing, theeennn this video.

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Leading Off (4/19/16)

Continental Avenue bridge might be renamed. Soon, the pedestrian bridge might be called the Ronald Kirk Pedestrian Bridge, after the former Dallas mayor. The name change will be voted on next month.

Dallas not doing well in water conservation contest. Two years ago, the city won a national water conservation contest. Now, we’re ranked 12 out of 26. It’s true that water was more scarce then than it is now, but still.

Judge will rule on Exxxotica case. Was the City Council within its rights to ban the sex expo from the convention center? U.S. District Judge Sidney Fitzwater will decide. If Fitzwater rules in Exxxotica’s favor before the end of the week, the expo could still happen. If not, it would be too late this time. We’ll have to wait and see.

How ’bout them mavs? Their 85-84 victory over the Thunder in Game 2 yesterday was pretty crazy after the previous game’s intense humiliation. The rookies had a big night, and defense was strong. It’ll be tough to keep this going in the next game, but, hey, the Mavs have surprised us before.

Leading Off (4/15/16)

Dallas Has First Confirmed Male-to-Male Zika Transmission. The Centers For Disease Control determined that a man who had contracted the virus during a recent trip to Venezuela passed it on to his partner through sexual contact.

CPS Workers Lied About Visiting Endangered Children. Some of those kids subsequently died from abuse or neglect. Awful, just awful.

Morning News Seeks National Buzz For Cartel Story. The article, which went up online yesterday afternoon, does a fine job of revealing how the Mexican lawyer executed by a gunman in Southlake Town Square in 2013 was a U.S. government informant allowed to carry on with his involvement in trafficking drugs into the country even as he was being watched over by U.S. handlers. Even more importantly, the DMN draws a connection between Juan Jesús Guerrero Chapa’s cooperation with American authorities and the explosion of cartel-related violence that has plagued Mexico during much of the last decade. Still, it’s amusing to visit the website of my local daily newspaper and read a phrase like “the quiet Dallas suburb of Southlake” that’s clearly written for an audience outside North Texas. Not to mention the story’s inclusion of a map that displays Southlake’s location relative to Fort Worth and Dallas.

Stars Win Playoff Opener. They dominated Game 1 against the Minnesota Wild, 4-0. Yes, I watched.

2 Men Indicted For Ripping Off TxDOT. Kevin Bollman and Wade Blackburn are accused of having purchased parcels of land along Interstate 35E between Lewisville and Denton, and pretending the land was under development, expressly in order to sell it to the Texas Department of Transportation at an inflated price.

Do We Have to Talk About Football Already? The Dallas Cowboys 2016 schedule has been released. It’s the fourth-easiest in the league, according to their opponents’ winning percentages from last year. Vegas has the over/under for the team at nine wins.

Enjoy the Outdoors Friday. Because it’s about to rain through much of next week.

It’s April 15. But your taxes aren’t due yet. You have until Monday because of a holiday, Emancipation Day, that’s observed in Washington, D.C.

Leading Off (4/13/16)

Funeral held for food reporter Stacey Fawcett and her two sons. More than 2,000 people filled Prestonwood Baptist Church yesterday to pay their respects to popular WFAA food reporter Fawcett and her sons. News broke Friday morning that Fawcett’s eldest son, 19-year old McCann Utu, Jr., murdered the reporter and her younger son, 17-year-old Josiah Utu, before turning the knife on himself. Friends and family say McCann’s mental health suffered after two concussions. His brain was donated for research.

Two dead in Southlake murder-suicide. Police found Anil and Neeta Kharabanda dead in a bedroom. Authorities believe the man shot the woman before killing himself, however they could not confirm how the two were related. This marks the city’s first murder since Mexican lawyer, and possible cartel leader, Juan Jesus Guerrero Chapa was gunned down in the Southlake Town Square.

Ethan Couch to appear in adult court. The “affluenza” teen who killed four people while driving under the influence, who then cost taxpayers a hefty $200K in rehab bills, who then skipped out on his cush probation sentence, is scheduled to appear in adult court for the first time today. He celebrated his 19th birthday in solitary confinement on Monday. Today’s hearing could keep Couch in jail for another four months. Fingers crossed.

Dallas woman caught riding dirty. Real dirty. Like, $1.6-million-worth-of-meth-hidden-inside-custom-tires-on-a-Chevy-Trailblazer kind of dirty. Eat her dust, Chamillionaire.

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Taxpayers Paid Most of Ethan Couch’s $200K Rehab Bill

The Star-T reported as much today, based on court documents that became available this week as “affluenza” teen Ethan Couch was transferred to the adult court system on the occasion of his 19th birthday. He violated his probation — for killing four people while intoxicated in 2013 — by fleeing to Mexico.

As part of his original punishment, Couch was ordered to undergo rehabilitation at the North Texas State Hospital in Vernon, at a cost $20,000 month:

Couch’s parents, Fred and Tonya Couch, were found to be “financially unable to pay” for the full cost of Couch’s stay, according to the documents. They were ordered to pay a monthly cost of $1,170 from February 2014 through the end of Couch’s stay in Vernon, the documents stated.

Couch left the Vernon facility in November 2014. He was then placed in The Next Step Program in Amarillo at a daily cost of $103.08, according to case documents.

Couch’s parents were ordered by the court to pay for the full cost of Couch’s stay in Amarillo through February 2015, totaling about $11,000.

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Leading Off (4/12/16)

U.S. requests extradition for Brenda Delgado. Now that 33-year-old Brenda Delgado, the woman accused of plotting the murder of the dentist who was dating her ex-boyfriend, has been arrested in Mexico, the U.S. wants her back on American soil to face her charges of capital murder and unlawful flight. If Delgado doesn’t appeal this, it could only be two or three months before she is extradited.

Tent city to be closed by May 4. Last week, the Tent City situation seemed more uncertain, but now the homeless encampment near downtown is set to be closed by May 4. Residents who refuse to move to a shelter or other housing by then will be arrested. Dallas city officials have divided Tent City into five parts, and the first two will be closed next week. After these two have been closed, officials will decide when to close the others.

Mavs secure playoff spot. The Mavs’ 101-92 victory against the Utah Jazz last night put them in the NBA playoffs. Now Dirk and the Mavs can’t finish any lower than seventh in the Western Conference, but I’m always stubbornly hopeful for a 2011 repeat.

Softball-sized hail hits North Texas yesterday. Hail measuring 4.5 inches landed across North Texas yesterday. Wylie was one of the areas to be hardest hit; Wylie ISD cancelled all classes for today due to storm damage. Hopefully these spring storms are on their way out. Good riddance.

Leading Off (4/8/16)

Mayor Blames Himself For Crime Wave. At a joint press conference with Dallas Police Chief David Brown, Mayor Mike Rawlings declared his support for Brown’s (significantly revised) plans to fight the disturbing uptick in violent crime in the city since the beginning of the year. “This is on my watch,” Rawlings said, striking his finest buck-stopping pose. The mayor said it’s time for the city council to consider hiring 50 more officers. Last week, Brown had to back off his initial plans to reassign hundreds of officers to new shifts and task forces, due to strong objections by the police unions (including calls for Brown’s resignation). Then Gov. Greg Abbott offered to have state troopers made available to assist the DPD. The chief said state and county law enforcers will help serve domestic violence and drug warrants that had piled up as cops were deployed elsewhere to address the surge. Dallas Police Association president Ron Pinkston was not impressed by what he heard at the press conference, which he referred to as a “dog-and-pony show.”

Stars Play For Conference No. 1 Seed Saturday. Both Dallas and the St. Louis Blues have 107 points on the season with one game left to play this weekend before the NHL playoffs begin. The Stars hold the tiebreaker, so either a Stars win against Nashville (7 p.m. tomorrow at the AAC) or a Blues loss will secure home-ice advantage throughout the conference playoffs for Dallas. I’d gladly jump on the bandwagon/zamboni if I could ever follow the damn puck whenever I try to watch a game on TV.

Jordan Spieth Leads at Masters. After the first round at this year’s tournament in Augusta, the impossibly good young Dallas golfer is at the top of the leaderboard, at 6-under with a two-stroke lead, as play resumes today. Spieth is aiming for his second straight green jacket.

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Leading Off (4/7/16)

Lewisville lake dam receives funding for improvements. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Congress members announced yesterday that $100-$200 million worth of construction to control water leakage under the troublesome dam will begin in 2018. In progress currently are repairs to the 160-foot-long hole in the dam, expected to be completed by summer’s end. Officials still insist that the “high-risk” dam—for which repairs have been significantly moved up—is safe, but hey, what do I know.

Tent city closure unresolved. The homeless encampment near downtown was set to be closed by May 4, but that’s looking unlikely now. The City Council could not come to an agreement about where the 200 people who live there would go. City Manager Gonzalez said he wants to begin gradually closing it in May, but I’m not sure how you go about gradually closing a homeless encampment.

FBI Pays a visit to investment firm. CDK Realty Advisors used to advise the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System, but now the pension system claims that the firm gave “reckless and improper” advice and charged fees that were inflated. The outcome of the investigation remains to be seen.

105-year-old throws out first pitch at Rangers game. Fort Worth resident Elizabeth Sullivan got to fulfill her baseball dream by throwing the first pitch yesterday. If only the Rangers had pulled out a win against the Mariners. I guess the group of D Magazine staffers that were in attendance didn’t bring quite enough good luck with them.

Leading Off (4/6/16)

FBI TO ADD MASTERMIND OF UPTOWN DENTIST’S SLAYING TO MOST WANTED LIST. Brenda Delgado has been on the run since September, shortly after her ex’s girlfriend, dentist Kendra Hatcher, was shot dead in a parking garage. The hitman and getaway driver she allegedly hired are behind bars, but authorities believe Delgado is hiding in Mexico. The FBI is now making her capture a priority.

NORTH TEXAS’ TOP CPS OFFICIAL LEAVES BROKEN SYSTEM. Jackie Freeman, the director of Child Protective Services in the Dallas region, announced her retirement yesterday. This comes after some grim reports: children spending the night in CPS offices due to the lack of foster homes, a 57 percent turnover rate among child-abuse investigators, and the likely preventable, fatal beating of a 4-year-old girl in Grand Prairie.

LOCAL MAN’S SON WINS WISCONSIN. Ted Cruz pulls ahead of Donald Trump in the Badger State’s primary. Cruz says the victory is a “turning point” in the Republican race, while Trump’s campaign released a statement calling Cruz a “Trojan horse, being used by the party bosses attempting to steal the nomination…”  On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton took to Twitter to congratulate Bernie Sanders on his win.

THE BOSS ROCKS DALLAS. Bruce Springsteen crowd surfed and played the entirety of his 20-song, 1980 album The River at American Airlines Center last night.

POLICE DOG TRACKS DOWN RUNAWAY TWEEN. This. This is why all dogs go to heaven.

Leading Off (4/1/2016)

Kingston Vs. Dallas Police & Fire Pension. Last week, the pension board had planned to censure Dallas City Councilman Philip Kingston (also himself a board member) for speaking to WFAA about the possibility of a sale of the troubled Museum Tower. But that was prevented from happening when it was revealed that Kingston had not been properly notified in advance. A special board meeting is scheduled for this morning expressly for the purpose of taking action against Kingston. However, on Thursday afternoon Kingston took steps to forestall those efforts by filing a petition in Dallas County court saying that he has not received documents that he has requested from the pension system that are related to the claims other board members have made that Kingston breached his fiduciary duty by making comments to the media.

Frisco Woman Found Dead. Police located the body of Christine Woo, who’d been missing since Monday, inside her SUV in the parking lot of a Target store in McKinney on Thursday evening. Woo’s three children were in the car, severely dehydrated and reportedly having been in the vehicle for a few days. The Collin County Medical Examiner will determine her cause of death, but police have said there were no obvious signs of foul play. The Target is about 2 miles from Woo’s home.

American Airlines to Offer 24-Hour Refunds. Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport’s dominant carrier is bringing its ticketing policies in line with most other major competitors. Starting today it will offer passengers full refunds up to 24 hours after purchase. Previously American had permitted tickets to be placed on hold for 24 hours without requiring a purchase, which was the other of two options that a 2012 federal Department of Transportation rule gave airlines.

Denton Ranked 2nd-Best Place to Raise a Child If You Want Him to Amount to Nothing. Not sure what to make of this national publication’s assessment that my hometown is an “unsung haven for anyone whose kid has ‘underachiever’ written all over them.” Seriously, is this some sort of joke?