Sunday, Oct. 15, 2006



  Dollar General Robbed
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

SEVEN POINTS-An unknown gunman robbed the Dollar General Store in Seven Points Monday.
Assistant manager Steven Stewart, 34, had just finished accepting a delivery at the back of the store at 11:30 a.m., and was replacing the delivery door key to the office safe when he felt the muzzle of a handgun pressed against the back of his neck.
"At first, I thought it was somebody playing a joke," Stewart told The Monitor.
When he turned around, he was looking into the business end of a pistol.
The gunman got away with $6,000, he said.
Stewart described the man as being in his 40s, around 6-1, weighing 200 pounds with dark brown hair and a brown mustache and short goatee. 
He was wearing a red and black flannel jacket, dark blue shirt, jeans and a white ball cap with some sort of insignia on the front.
No one else was endangered in the incident, even though the store had a few customers and at least one other employee.
"He told me to close my eyes and count to a thousand," Stewart said.
The Seven Points Police Department set up a crime scene for most the day.
"They searched everything, they even searched me and searched my car," Stewart said.
The store reopened at 3 p.m.
Stewart has lived in Seven Points since 1982 and has been working for the store for the last three years.
"We've never been robbed before," he said.
Last year, the Dollar General reported $1.8 million in sales.
Anyone with information pertaining to this robbery is asked to call the Seven Points Police at (903) 432-3178.

Monitor Photo/by Pearl Cantrell
Seven Points Dollar General Store assistant manager Steven Stewart was robbed at gunpoint Monday. The robber got away with approximately $6,000. 


Murder Suspect Caught in Houston
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

KAUFMAN-The Kaufman County Sheriff's department have arrested murder, kidnapping and rape suspect Daniel Joseph Griffin.
A massive manhunt involving the Texas Rangers, U.S. Marshals, Harris County Sheriff's Department and the Department of Public Safety Criminal Intelligence Division lasted about three days before Kaufman authorities took Griffin into custody sometime near midnight Wednesday in Houston.
Details surrounding the arrest were not released.
Authorities transported Griffin to the Kaufman Law Enforcement Center Thursday.
So far, Griffin has been charged with capital murder and aggravated sexual assault, Kaufman spokesperson Sharlie Davis said during a press conference Thursday.
Late Thursday, Griffin had not yet been formally arraigned on the murder or assault charges, according to jail officials. Arraignment on those charges, and possible kidnapping charges, was to be held early Friday, and bonds set or denied at that time.
The alleged kidnap victim, Christina Harrison, 19, "is in good condition and with her family," Davis said.
Griffin, 34, is reported to have entered a single-wide mobile home in Silverado Estates on Kaufman County Road 101 Monday, where his girlfriend, Harrison, 19, lived with her mother and two teenaged sisters.
According to reports, Griffin was looking for money and became angry. 
At 2 p.m. the Kaufman County Sheriff's Department dispatch received a 9-1-1 call. Upon arrival, officials found the body of Harrison's mother, 38-year-old Cheri Lynn Duggan. 
A press release estimated the time of death to be about 7 a.m. Monday.
The Tyler Morning Telegraph reported Duggan was stabbed in the neck.
Duggan's youngest daughter reported to a neighbor she was raped and tied up with her other sister.
Griffin reportedly forced Harrison to go with him. "Harrison was a kidnapping victim," Davis told the press.
The two other sisters later escaped their bonds and ran to a neighbor's house, where the emergency call was placed.
Harrison's sisters were listed as in "fair to good condition," Davis said Thursday, adding she had no additional information about the arrest.
Davis didn't know if a tip, or the tireless efforts of investigators over the past three days led to Griffin's capture.
"The suspect hasn't even been interviewed yet," Davis said. "This case is very big. It's pretty sensitive, too."


Sniper Gets Life Term
Monitor Staff Reports
ATHENS-A man held in connection with a 2005 sniper attack against a Seven Points man was sentenced to life in prison last week.
A jury deliberated a little more than an hour before finding William Mack Johnson, 39, of rural Seven Points, guilty in the Oct. 13, 2005, shooting of Thomas Dwayne Howard Jr., a rural Kemp resident.
While working on a CD player in his truck at his Rolling Oaks II subdivision home, Howard was struck by seven .22-caliber bullets fired at him from across a pasture.
A fusillade of at least 23 shots was fired at Howard, and investigation showed at least 17 bullet holes in his truck.
After the shooting, Howard drove himself to a friend's home, and was later airlifted to a Tyler hospital.
Johnson, also known as "Wild Bill," was arrested at his home off Farm-to-Market 85 west of Seven Points about a week after the attack, following a CrimeStoppers tip.
During two days of testimony, jurors heard Johnson had been an early suspect, based on a reported dispute with Howard. The CrimeStoppers tip alerted Henderson County authorities to Johnson's whereabouts.
During the trial, Johnson claimed he fired in self-defense, and also claimed Howard was planning to kill him.
Prosecutor Scott McKee called that defense "ridiculous," noting Howard suffered gunshot wounds to the back and legs.
Jurors were told about Johnson's previous felony convictions, and deliberated about 35 minutes before returning the life sentence.


Water Service Disrupted
STEP Grant Work Hits Water Pipes 3 Times This Week
Monitor Staff Reports
PAYNE SPRINGS-Residents along Double Bridge Road have experienced several water outages this week.
"This is the third time," Grandview Terrace resident Ron Walker told The Monitor Thursday.
Walker also claims water service has been interrupted at least once a week since he moved in back in 1997.
At least once, it occurred when he was soaped down in the shower.
A call to East Cedar Creek Fresh Water Supply District confirmed water was unavailable when Walker called The Monitor.
Work being done to lay a sewer line to Cedar Branch Park has hit water lines three times this week, general manager Bill Goheen said.
"We've been going off maps the district inherited from the Engles Water System, and we've been finding many inaccuracies," he said. "We've been updating our mapping information as we've been going along, though."
The residents of Cedar Park Branch have been laying their own pipe for a sanitary sewer as part of a self-help grant since September.
Goheen couldn't answer Walker's other complaints, but planned to get in touch with him and determine what is causing their water interruptions.