TYLER – Crews worked most of the morning to remove a large tree that fell overnight blocking a section of Old Bullard Road in Tyler.

Police say traffic was re-routed between Fair Lane and the Old Jacksonville Highway.

Oncor remains on the scene working to restore power to residents in the area.


MARSHALL – Harrison County Deputies have arrested 30-year-old Bradley Gary-Joe Varnell after he fled from officers following a brief chase into a wooded area.

Deputies were called to a house in rural Harrison County and found a 72-year-old victim who told authorities she was awaken by a white male who had entered her house. He was standing at her bed and was holding a knife demanding to have sex with her. The suspect then fled the scene.

Officers caught up with him a short time later when he fled into the woods east of Blackjack Road.

Varnell is a registered sex offender and was current on his registration. His orginal offense occurred in Louisiana.

He is being held in the Harrison County Jail on charges of sexual assault of the elderly, attempting to take a weapon from a law officer and evading arrest. Bonds total more than $300,000.



Testimony Challenge in Bleach Murder Case

LUFKIN — The attorney for a Lufkin nurse on trial for murder says she was seen drawing bleach into a syringe for cleaning purposes, not to hurt patients. Kimberly Saenz is charged with killing five patients at the Da Vita Clinic in Lufkin by injecting bleach into their dialysis lines.

Attorney Ryan Deaton has challenged the testimony of two patients who say they saw Saenz fill a syringe with bleach.


Four Guilty of Federal Drug Trafficking Violations

Four Kilgore residents have pleaded guilty to federal drug trafficking violations in the Eastern District of Texas.

U.S. Attorney John M. Bales said Matthew Dean Willis, 25, and Terri Young, 51 both pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

David Christopher Wheeler, 30, and Raelene Dawn Ferguson, 27, pleaded guilty to the same charges earlier this week before U.S. Magistrate Judge Guthrie.

The four defendants were involved in a conspiracy responsible for distributing methamphetamine in the Gregg County area of East Texas.

The defendants each face up to 20 years in federal prison. Sentencing dates have not been set.


Henderson Man Guilty of Mail Fraud

TYLER – An Athens man has pleaded guilty to mail fraud and faces up to 20 years in prison.

Court documents show that 56 year old Mark Eugene Thomas who was employed by Argon Medical Devices, Inc. defrauded the company by providing false data to AMD’s parent company and external auditor to make AMD appear more profitable in order to secure capital investments. The fraudulent activity resulted in a financial loss of between $1 million and $2.5 million dollars.


Father Whose Children Were Living in Bus Responds

SPLENDORA — The father of two children found living in an abandoned school bus says the home was only meant to be temporary. Mark Shorten who is jailed for embezzlement says he planned to build a house on a wooded lot near Houston before he and his wife were arrested in 2010.

Child welfare officials took custody of the children earlier this week.