Thursday, October 4, 2007






  Neighbor charged with hanging, rape of 6-year-old
By Mary Landrie
Monitor Staff Writer

NAVARRO MILLS-Authorities have charged a neighbor man with the Sept. 10 rape and murder of 6-year-old Hanna Mack of Navarro County.
Shaun Earl Arender, 19, who lived less than a mile from the Mack residence near Navarro Mills Lake at the time was a match for DNA evidence from the murder scene.
He was arrested on Sept. 12 for alleged burglary and marijuana possession charges and was already in the Navarro County Justice Center on unrelated charges.
“The good Lord works in strange ways,” Navarro County Chief Deputy Mike Cox said Friday, describing how detectives learned Arender was already in custody, after matching the DNA evidence.
Arender’s DNA was on file with the State Department of Criminal Justice An autopsy confirmed the girl had been sexually assaulted. She was found hanging in a metal garage beside her home.
Arender’s bond was set at $2.5 million. Capital murder carries the death penalty.
Although arrest records list a Corsicana address for Arender, the affidavit said he lived in a mobile home near Purdon, just east of Navarro Mills Lake.
In the past two years, Arender was convicted in Navarro County of a misdemeanor charge of criminal mischief, a felony charge of evidence tampering and two counts of burglary.
Last October, after the burglary convictions, his five-year probation sentence for evidence tampering was revoked.
He was ordered to go to prison for three years. It is still unclear why he wasn’t in prison.
Arender also had a juvenile criminal record, one serious enough to land him in Texas Youth Commission custody.
An official close to the investigation said Arender was released four years ago from the agency’s Corsicana Residential Treatment Center-the TYC facility reserved for youthful offenders with serious mental health problems.
The official also indicated Arender was admitted to a state mental hospital sometime after he left TYC custody.
A spokesman for TYC declined to comment, saying only that state law forbids disclosure of any information about youth in custody.
The arrest affidavit said Arender caused “the death of Hanna Mack by asphyxiation by a manner and means unknown” while in the act of sexually assaulting her.
The affidavit also said his DNA, kept in the DCJ database, was a “possible match” with a biological sample taken from Hanna’s shirt.
Chief Deputy Cox issued a news release calling the comparison a “positive match.”
Navarro County District Judge Sam Bournias ordered a new blood sample from Arender for further testing.
Bournias also allowed deputies to search Arender’s trailer home for a necklace and pendant.
The affidavit quoted Dana Mack as saying Hanna “always wore” the jewelry, which was missing when her body was discovered.
Deputies also were to search for several household items Ms. Mack said were missing.
Kevin Wayne Anders, the live-in boyfriend of Hanna’s mother, was originally named the prime suspect in the case, and is still being held on unrelated child pornography charges.
His bond of $100,000 has not been reduced.

Thunderbird Shores area sewer rehab bid rejected
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY–The bid was just too much, almost double the estimated cost, so directors at East Cedar Creek Fresh Water Supply District did not accept the bid.
Thursday, in a special meeting directors rejected a bid of $492,095.30 from McKinney, Newman & McMillan, Inc. for sewer rehabilitation for Thunderbird Shores, Indian Harbor and Mac’s Oaks subdivisions for the Texas Community Development Program project.
In the same motion, they authorized Chris Weeks of Velvin and Weeks, Engineers, to reconfigure the original project into four alternates and rebid them.
Weeks had looked at the only bid and decided to begin preparations for an alternative solution.
“The grinder pumps are the most significant. I have reconfigured the specs to start with 57 pumps,” Weeks said.
The original bid specifications two years ago, when oil was $65 a barrel,” he reminded directors.
By bidding the grinders separately, the door will be opened for other manufacturers.
“Technology has developed better pumps. We are going to open the doors to more vendors,” general manager Bill Goheen said.
In other business, directors:
• approved the Memorandum of Understanding with Gun Barrel City for the TCDP grant for the Tamarack subdivision sewer rehab project.
The document was presented by Gary Traylor & Associates, grant writers representative Wanda Vance.
The document must now be approved by the city council of Gun Barrel City.
The document identifies the responsibilities of the district and of the city, Vance explained.
• appointed two directors to serve on the operations committee: new directors Harry McCune and Dick Watkins.
Board president David Burch is an ad hoc member of the committee.

The Habitat house that Mabank ISD built
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

MABANK–Move over, “Extreme Home Make-over.”
In just four days, the Mabank Independent School District students, teachers, administrators and food service workers raised enough funds and in-kind donations to build a Habitat for Humanity house for one of their own.
This year’s Spirit Week campaign raised $57,439.50, nearly doubling last year’s feat of $30,015.49 for the American Diabetes Association.
“That was fantastic,” local Habitat founder and building director Ron Close told The Monitor.
“We are so excited and absolutely amazed,” Cedar Creek Habitat vice president Sue Cardin added. “We were hoping to get $30,000. We got tears in our eyes when the announcement was made. It took our breath away.”
Cardin and Close were on the Panther Stadium field just prior to the homecoming game against Wills Point to participate in the check unveiling.
Wills Point also raised funds as a memorial to junior Justin Dugger, who died tragically in May.
The only child of Darrel and Sherri Dugger was also was a member of the Wills Point Tigers varsity football team. The funds will build a pavilion at Lester Park in Wills Point, where Justin loved to play soccer.
Mabank ISD had solicited applications for the Habitat House since March. Shelley Sparks is the happy recipient.
Sparks has worked for Mabank High School for two years in a new program that helps students make better decisions and assist them in dealing with the consequences of past actions.
She has a 12-year-old daughter and a 14-year-old son.
“I think it’s just amazing that such a small community was able to raise such a large amount,” Sparks said. “We’re really excited.”
Her friends and coworkers rejoice with her and feel she is most deserving of this hand-up.
“We’re excited that a person of such fine quality has accepted the tremendous responsibility of home ownership,” MISD Superintendent Dr. Russell Marshall said.
A Habitat house owner agrees to pay a no-interest mortgage to pay for the house. Habitat then uses those funds and mortgages from other Habitat homeowners to build more decent, affordable homes.
The home owner also invests “sweat equity” by putting in 300 to 500 hours of work helping to build their home, Cardin explained. “This way everyone wins, including the community,” she added.
Close met with Sparks and the MHS building trades teacher to present a choice of floor plans for a house with three bedrooms and 1.5 baths.
MHS students and staff will also assist in building the house in a field located next to the stadium.
Once finished, the building will be moved to an a house lot in Mabank, Spirit Week coordinator Tonya Chapman explained.
“We still have money coming in. Today I took in $1,500 bid for in-kind services, and a little girl brought me a dollar,” Chapman said.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if we went over $60,000,” Marshall commented. “This year was so special because we were helping someone we knew, someone who is a part of our community. Spirit Week teaches our kids that education isn’t just about the three ‘Rs,’ it’s also about giving back to the community.
“I hope this inspires others to give to Habitat for Humanity,” Marshall added. “It’s such a great cause.”