McKee upsets Bennett
Monitor Staff Reports
ATHENS–In a bitterly contested race, Athens attorney R. Scott McKee
upset veteran Henderson County District Attorney Donna R. Bennett
Amongst a record turnout, McKee polled 5,699 votes to Bennett’s 3,531,
or nearly 62 percent to just over 38 percent.
During the campaign, both candidates submitted sharply critical
Bennett had been district attorney for more than 13 years, and touted
her experience in her advertisements, noting McKee had only two years
experience as a prosecutor.
In his advertisements, McKee charged Bennett had returned more than
$50,000 to convicted drug dealers over the past four years.
Attempts to reach McKee and Bennett for comment late Tuesday were
Another incumbent, County Attorney James Owen, was also defeated, as
challenger Clint Davis took more than 62 percent of the vote, 5,521 to
In his advertisements, Davis had charged Owen with being a “part-time”
county attorney, saying Owen continued to run a law practice and chose
not to represent the county in at least one major lawsuit.
Brown beats Gent again
By Michael V. Hannigan
Monitor Staff Writer
ATHENS–Betty Brown earned a sixth term in the Texas House
of Representatives by beating back a strong challenge by Wade Gent in
the Republican primary election Tuesday.
It was the second straight win for Brown over Gent, as she also narrowly
defeated him in the 2006 Republican primary.
Although Brown led from start to finish, the contest was in doubt until
the final votes were counted.
Early voting results in the District 4 race mirrored returns the rest of
the night. Brown led 1,927 to 1,375 in Henderson County and 1,765 to
1,516 in Kaufman County.
Brown just slightly edged Gent in the overall vote in Kaufman County,
3,890 to 3,819. The incumbent’s lead was a little larger in Henderson
County, 4,876 to 4,313.
“Hard work always helps, but I know my opponent worked hard as well,”
Brown said Tuesday. “Experience was important. People who have known me
as long as they have, and have seen my voting record, I hope that
influenced a lot of people when they saw that I stuck with my
In a campaign that turned a little chippy at times, Brown had the
backing of several powerful state Republicans, including State Secretary
of Agriculture Todd Staples, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Congressman
Jeb Hensarling and State Sen. Robert Nichols.
“I am grateful to everyone of those endorsements I received,” she said.
Gent, the son of Kaufman County Judge Wayne Gent, ran on a campaign of
what he called classic conservatism.
“I appreciate all my supporters. I am grateful to all the supporters
that helped us come within few hundred votes,” he said Tuesday.
“I think that the closeness of the race illustrates that there really is
a desire for change in the way that the Texas Legislature does
business,” he added.
House Speaker Tom Craddick appointed Brown to serve as Chairman of
Budget Oversight for the Agriculture and Livestock Committee for the
78th, 79th and 80th Legislative Sessions, a position which places her on
the Appropriations Committee.
Allison, Nutt in runoff
Monitor Staff Reports
ATHENS–Veteran law officer Ray Nutt fell just short of winning an
outright majority in Tuesday’s three-man race for the Republican
nomination for Henderson County Sheriff.
A former Texas Ranger, Nutt garnered 4,225 votes, or just under 47
percent of the total.
Two current deputies split the remaining votes between them, as chief
deputy A.W. “Tony” Allison had 2,453 votes (27.28 percent) and patrol
deputy Mitch Baker had 2,314 votes (25.73 percent).
Because none of the three had an outright majority, Nutt and Allison
will face off in a runoff election Tuesday, April 8.
The runoff winner will face Democratic challenger Bill Casey, who was
unopposed in Tuesday’s primary, in the November general election.
Incumbent sheriff Ronny Brownlow announced earlier he will be retiring
at the end of his term, and endorsed Allison.
Tri-County voters go
for Clinton, Huckabee
Monitor Staff Reports
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Voters in the Tri-County area favored Hillary Clinton
and Mike Huckabee in the Democratic and Republican primary elections
Sen. Clinton’s win further tightened an already neck-and-neck race with
Sen. Barak Obama for the Democratic nomination for president, and her
wins in Texas and Ohio broke Obama’s string of 11 straight primary or
At 1 a.m. Wednesday, with 85 percent of Texas precincts reporting,
Clinton held a narrow 51 percent to 47 percent lead over challenger Sen.
Barak Obama, and was projected by national media to win the state’s
Henderson County voters strongly supported Clinton, giving her nearly 64
percent of the vote, 5,260 to 2,815.
Kaufman County voters gave her nearly 56 percent of the vote, 5,457 to
In Van Zandt County, a number of difficulties resulted in a couple of
Democratic boxes being delayed past 1 a.m., and complete results were
not available by presstime.
Although Arizona Sen. John McCain clinched the Republican presidential
nomination Tuesday with strong victories in both Texas and Ohio,
Tri-County voters went for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister, formally dropped out of the GOP
race Tuesday, but outpolled McCain in both Kaufman and Van Zandt
counties, although he trailed McCain in Henderson County.
Huckabee had the best showing in Van Zandt County, where he took 50
percent of the vote, 2,807 to 2,412.
In Kaufman County, Huckabee took 48 percent of the vote, 4,881 to
McCain’s 3,601, but in Henderson County, McCain took nearly 53 percent
of the vote, 4,999 to 3,683.
Republican ballots in all three counties listed eight presidential
candidates, including a few (former New York mayor Rudy Gulliani and
former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson, for example) who had bowed out of
the race weeks or months ago.
Texas Congressman Ron Paul led the other contenders in both Kaufman and
Van Zandt counties, but more Henderson County voters voted “uncommitted”
than voted for Paul.
Body surfaces in Cedar Creek Lake
Monitor Staff Reports
GUN BARREL CITY–Authorities recovered a body Sunday
afternoon floating under near a boat dock in a Gun Barrel City
They believe it is the body of a man family members reported missing two
Neighbors alerted the Gun Barrel City Police Department to the body.
Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Dale Blaylock pronounced the man dead at
the site about 3:30 p.m.
The body is believed to be that of 43-year-old David McVey of Payne
The cause of death is to be determined by an autopsy, Blaylock said.
A source close to the investigation said foul play is not suspected.
Sheriff’s investigator David Vaught hopes to have a positive
identification in the next few days.
McVey is thought to have been a resident of the Leisure Land
in jail after triple slaying
Monitor Staff Reports
EMORY–Three Rains High School students and a 20-year-old man remain in
custody after a triple murder early Saturday that allegedly was carried
out over a forbidden romance.
The murders were discussed between the pair for about a month, according
to a Rains County Sheriff’s report following interviews with the
suspects and the lone survivor of the ordeal Monday.
County law enforcement officials found the bodies of 37-year-old Penny
Caffey and her two sons, ages 13 and 8, in their burning home on Rains
County Road 2370, about halfway between Emory and Alba.
Terry Caffey, father of the family, suffered five gunshot wounds to the
head and upper body, dragging himself over 300 feet through wooded land
to get to his neighbor’s. He was treated at East Texas Medical Center in
The Caffey’s 16-year-old daughter Erin was arrested along with three
others later Saturday, and all were charged with three counts of capital
murder. She is being held at the Hunt County Juvenile Detention Center.
Erin had recently enrolled at Rains High School in January, after years
of being home schooled, according to published reports.
Charlie James Wilkinson, the girl’s 19-year-old boyfriend, and Bobbi
Gale Johnson, 18, were the other two Rains High School students charged
in the murders. Johnson was the girlfriend of Charles Allen Waid, 20,
who was also arrested.
They’re are being held in the Rains County Jail on bonds of $500,000 for
Wilkinson’s police statement said he and Erin had been dating and that
her parents decided they could no longer see each other. He also stated
Erin wanted her parents dead because they would not let her see him, and
they even took away her cell phone. Further, he states discussions to
kill Erin’s parents have been ongoing for about a month.
Wilkinson stated that he and Erin were in love and the only way they
could be together is to kill the parents.
A first attempt was made by Wilkinson and Waid, Feb. 29, but the barking
of the dog held them off. The young men returned to their parked car on
RCR 2370. He continued stating Caffey called and advised them to return
in an hour, so she could keep the dog quiet.
The young men returned and picked up Caffey at the end of the driveway,
then parked down the road while they discussed among them, including
Johnson, on how to do it.
Wilkinson and Waid left the two girls in the car and went to the house,
entering the Caffey’s downstairs master bedroom first carrying a gun.
Wilkinson shot at Mrs. Caffey twice and left the room. He handed the gun
to Waid who returned to the bedroom and shot more at both Caffeys.
The Caffey sons came downstairs hearing the noise and Wilkinson told
them to return to their beds. Afterwards the young men went upstairs and
shot and stabbed the two boys. Then they found the small lock box with
cash inside and opened it, having gotten the location and combination
from Erin. Jewelry, a wallet, purse and clothes were packed earlier and
ready for them to retrieve, Wilkinson stated.
The girls were called to drive the car back to the driveway to pick them
Waid and Wilkinson said they used pocket lighters to set fire to
bedspreads, laundry and furnishings.
Waid admitted assisting Wilkinson and said he was promised about $2,000
for his help in killing Erin’s parents, admitting to the participated in
the shooting and stabbing of the Caffey family.
Terry Caffey swore out a complaint stating Wilkinson broke into his
house and shot him. The attack occurred around 4 a.m. At the time of the
attack, Caffey believed his daughter was also a victim inside the house.
A small-caliber gun and a “sword” were allegedly used in the killings
and the house set on fire in an attempt to cover the murders. When
authorities arrived, having been alerted by a 911 call from Caffey’s
neighbor where the lone survivor landed, the house was fully engaged in
Act of mercy results in death
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer
KAUFMAN COUNTY–An act of mercy by pediatric nurse June Nalls, 41, ended
in her death on State Highway 243, at about 10:45 p.m. Saturday.
Nalls was killed in a head-on collision as she was rushing a wounded
teen to the hospital in Kaufman.
Her teenaged son Devin and a 15-year-old friend were walking across the
yard of a 74-year-old neighbor, W.C. Frosch, who said he saw someone on
his property he didn’t recognize.
The homeowner fired a revolver through his window but was not sure he
had hit anyone.
The friend was hit in his left side and both boys ran to the Nalls home
where the son awakened his parents.
Being a nurse, June Nalls thought it would be quicker to take the boy in
her own pickup truck to the emergency room in Kaufman.
A shooting call was received by the Kaufman Sheriff’s Department at
10:41 p.m. At 10:46 p.m. the call about the accident came in. Only five
minutes separated the two calls.
Her husband Mark Nalls, was quoted as saying, “I didn’t even get to say,
“I love you.”
The couple were married 20 years.
The teen who was shot, Brandon Robinson, was air lifted to Parkland
Memorial in Dallas where he is listed in stable condition.
Robinson explained the circumstances in which he was injured and his
friend’s mother was killed.
He was quoted in the Tuesday edition of the Dallas Morning News.
“We kept hearing music so we wanted to check it out.We walked across
this Dude’s yard. I heard gunfire and we ran.”
The Nalls’ teen was taken by ambulance to Presbyterian Hospital of
Kaufman. He has since been released.
The driver of the 1996 Ford pickup that collided with Nalls, Augustine
Renteria, 27. of Kaufman, was arrested for failure to stop and render
He is currently being held under a $75,000 bond and is in the Kaufman
The shooting remains under investigation by the Kaufman Sheriff’s
The accident is being investigated by the Texas Department of Public
A fund has been set up at the Citizens National Bank of Texas in Kaufman
and in Waxahachie to benefit the family of June Nalls.
Mark Nalls is on disability following an accident in which he was
crushed by an electrical transformer while he was working to restore
power to the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Katrina.