Murder charge follows fatal wreck
Monitor Staff Reports
ATHENS–An Ennis man was indicted for Murder/Intoxication Manslaughter
and two indictments for Injury to a Child in connection with a June 7
wreck that killed a Gun Barrel City man and seriously injured his two
Tracey DeWayne Johnson, 29, was also seriously injured in a Saturday
night collision on U.S. Highway 175, between Athens and Eustace, June 7.
Gun Barrel City resident Billy Eric Thompson, 33, and his daughters,
aged 2 and 4, were in a 1999 Mercury sedan heading west (toward Eustace)
when an eastbound Chevrolet Blazer swerved into the westbound lane,
striking the Thompson vehicle head-on.
Thompson, who was wearing a seat belt, died at the scene, and his
daughters were flown to Children’s Medical Center in Dallas with serious
Johnson was indicted for Murder/Intoxication Manslaughter in connection
with Thompson’s death, and also named on two indictments for
Intoxication Assault/ Injury to a Child.
The indictments against Johnson were among 34 True Bills returned by the
Henderson County Grand Jury Wednesday, according to information released
by District Attorney Donna R. Bennett.
Indictments were also returned against:
• John Edwin Vickers, w/m (white male), 73, from Trinidad, indicted for
Promotion of Child Pornography/Possession of Child
• Daniel Villalba Parras, w/m, 46, from Gun Barrel City, indicted for
Assault Against a Public Servant/Harassment on a Public Servant.
• Donald Poindexter, w/m, 36, from Trinidad, indicted for Aggravated
Assault with a Deadly Weapon.
• Camisha Cofer, b/f (black female), 24, from Larue, indicted for
Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon.
• Jimmy Clarence Dale, w/m, 34, from Payne Springs, indicted for Assault
Family Violence with Prior Conviction.
• Dusty Rhodes, w/m, 21, from Gun Barrel City, indicted for
Abandoning/Endangering a Child.
• Jeremy James Strawn, w/m, 29, from Malakoff, indicted for Assault
Family Violence with a Prior Assault Conviction.
• Paul Wayne Simpson, w/m, 50, from Brownsboro, indicted for Stalking
(repeat offender enhancement).
• Tracy Diane Lyda, w/f (white female), 23, from Athens, indicted for
Possession of a Controlled Substance.
• Jarrod Lee Watson, w/m, 27, from Garland, indicted for Possession of a
• Christopher Neal Weatherford, w/m, 26, from Mabank, indicted for
Possession of a Firearm by a Felon.
• Nelson Keith Fleming, w/m, 39, from Mesquite, indicted for
Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle.
• Sherdell Pierce Shelton, w/m, 19, from Mabank, indicted for Burglary
of a Habitation.
• Marianne Carnell Pelland, w/f, 37, from Gun Barrel City, indicted for
Burglary of a Habitation.
• Randall Louis McCoy, w/m, 31, from Athens, indicted for Burglary of a
• Darrell Glen Allison, w/m, 27, from Athens, indicted for Fraud by
Prescription (two indictments).
• Jeremy Paul Craft, w/m, 28, from Eustace, indicted for Possession of a
• Richard Allen McFadden Jr., w/m, 37, from Sanger, indicted for
Possession of a Controlled Substance.
• Willie B. Williams, b/m, 53, from Trinidad, indicted for
Manufacture/Delivery of a Controlled Substance (habitual criminal
• Heath Wade Bohannon, w/m, 19, from Eustace, indicted for Burglary of
Building; also indicted for Theft of Copper Wire.
• Larry Gene Duncan, w/m, 31, from Eustace, indicted for Evading Arrest
with a Deadly Weapon.
• Fritz Lamar Wedgeworth, w/m, 32, from Dallas, indicted for Failure to
Comply with Registration Requirements.
• Shurhonda Rae Anderson, b/f, 29, from Athens, indicted for Criminal
Mischief over $1,500.
• Evelyn Cary Robinson, b/f, 53, from Jacksonville, indicted for Forgery
by Passing (three indictments).
• Terry Lee Painter, w/m, 44, from Mesquite, indicted for Possession of
a Controlled Substance.
• Lloyd Raymond Whaley, w/m, 66, from Malakoff, indicted for Driving
• Paul Wayne Simpson, w/m, 50, from Brownsboro, indicted for Possession
of a Controlled Substance.
Why not adopt?
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
ATHENS–About 30 people crowded into the First State Bank on the square
in Athens to honor National Adoption Month Tuesday.
A display featured the photos and stories of some of the 40 children in
Henderson County now waiting for their “forever homes.” Some have been
waiting a long time.
Last year in Texas, 1,400 such children aged out of the foster care
system without ever being adopted. Nationally, that number was 19,000
children without a family of their own.
“If every church had just one family who would adopt a child, we
wouldn’t be facing this adoption crisis,” Pastor Buddy Hazell told the
gathering of CASA volunteers, case workers, media members and a few of
the adoptive parents present.
Hazell and his wife, well into their retirement years, still take in
babies needing special care as foster parents.
He had many stories to tell of sadness, joy and triumph. It soon becomes
obvious that if “true and undefiled religion before God is to visit
widows and orphans in their distress,” than the Hazells are indeed
“About 16 or 17 years ago, Child Protective Services brought us a
3-month old girl with a tube in her stomach because they didn’t want her
to die in a hospital,” Hazell said with tears brimming. “She’s alive
today! And every Christmas, spring break and summer vacation she visits
us. She lives in Paris with her grandmother.
“You see the young lady was hurt by her mother’s live-in boyfriend. Much
abuse is due to live-in boyfriends,” he said.
“She’s asked us why we didn’t adopt her. Well, she had a grandmother,
who met all the qualifications, and she lets her come and call us on the
phone,” he said.
Foster care is not about taking babies away from people, he said. “It’s
all about taking care of children until their families can work out
their problems.” Sadly, some of these families are beyond repair and
thus the need for adoption or long-term foster care.
“We owe our most vulnerable citizens protection,” Protective Service
program director Tammy Stedham read from the governor’s proclamation of
National Adoption Day in Texas.
Stedham oversees the adoptive and foster care programs of 10 counties,
including Henderson County. Fully half of the children awaiting adoption
are older children, she said.
“But every child deserves to belong to a family of their own,” she said.
“I encourage all of you to learn more about the children who wait. One
family at a time we can make an enormous difference.”
The East Texas Heart Gallery, a traveling exhibit, profiles these
children in photos and by brief introductions. Their photos and stories
can also be viewed online at www. adoptchildren.org.
There you can meet children like Colton, 15, an enthusiastic young man
who wants to attend Tyler Junior college and play basketball. He says
his best asset is his “ability to meet and feel comfortable with all
kinds of people.”
Or, Raina, a 10-year-old girl who makes all As and Bs, her best subjects
being math and English. Her outgoing personality makes her easy to love.
She is a respectful young lady who likes to cook and help out around the
house. She says she’d love to have a dad to play sports with and a mom
to shop with.
Among the speakers during the event was 173rd District Judge Dan Moore,
who said the availability of foster care families justifies courts’
decisions to remove a child from his own biological parents.
“Foster care gives kids a chance to get out of the conflict and relax
the tension,” Moore said. “What would we do without foster care? We’d
have to put them into an institution. I don’t feel this option justifies
removing them. It doesn’t provide anything better for the child.”
He explained how foster care homes provide protection and an opportunity
for the child to learn he can depend on someone else and be someone upon
whom others can depend.
This is what families are all about, he said. They set guidelines and
consequences. The children learn to be responsible for chores, to
function in school, to love and to be loved.
“There’s not enough foster care families. We need more, and we need more
parents willing to adopt,” Moore pleaded.
“Be a foster care family. Better yet, be an adoptive parent. If you
can’t see how either is possible, be an advocate for foster kids by
volunteering with CASA.
“There is a pressing need for foster families for these children to go
to, so they can learn how to live in a family and be at peace,” he said.
“You’re what justifies taking those kids. Judges can’t function without
you. Encourage everyone to get involved for the children’s sake,” Moore
To learn more about becoming a foster care family, go to
To look into volunteering with CASA go to
Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
The East Texas Caring Hearts Gallery was on display as part of the
inaugural Adoption Day
event Tuesday at the First State Bank in Athens. Older children are
waiting to be adopted, 40
of them in Henderson County.
New subdivision rules in play
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
ATHENS–Those filing plats and replats involving four or more lots will
be paying a slightly higher cost for that service under the new
subdivision regulations approved by Henderson County Commissioners
A preliminary plat, involving the creation of four lots that do not
require a flood plain review would generate an application fee of $400,
with the flood plain review – $800.
A replat involving four affected lots within the subdivision has an
application fee of $240, which includes a $10 per lot fee.
Commissioners approved the 40-page document with several amendments due
to comments from the Texas Water Development Board and at least one
Chris Weeks, consulting engineer on the new regulations, itemized those
for commissioners. Of the six proposed amendments, just two prompted
A 200-foot buffer zone around historical places, such as cemeteries, was
amended to 20 feet.
Precinct 2 Commissioner Wade McKinney said the zone was set at 200 feet
to line up with the Texas Historical Commission.
“That could be up to eight acres of land for a small cemetery in the
middle,” County Judge David Holstein pointed out.
If the 200-foot zone is not required by law, the amendment to 20 feet
will stand, commissioners agreed.
The second amendment involved a change in the plat size from 18x22
inches to 18x24, a standard sizing. However, County Clerk Gwen Moffeitt
nixed that change, since her file draws can not easily accommodate the
Some of the other amendments addressed the construction bond phase
ending with the beginning of a maintenance bond and final inspection
Wanted most by developers was the amendment allowing for a construction
bond in lieu of a complete buildout of all infrastructure before sales
of lots can begin.
A clause was also included to insure that these rules bow to
municipality authority for developments within corporate and
Weeks explained, ideally designated county engineer would work with
developers throughout the process to comply with the new subdivision
“I don’t want to scare off any developers interested in building in the
county,” Precinct 4 Commissioner Jerry West said. “But otherwise, I
think this will be good.”
“It levels the playing field for everybody and you’re going to end up
with a higher-quality development, especially around the lakes,” Weeks
In other business, commissioners:
• entered into interlocal agreements with Denton County Juvenile Board
for the housing of county juveniles and with Tarrant County to
participate in a Cooperative Purchasing Program.
This co-op will help the county get competitive pricing on certain road
materials, and save money on office supplies, tires and vehicles for the
Sheriff’s Department, Purchasing director Sherrie Carmichael said.
Membership in the co-op is free, she added.
• approved a purchasing agreement with National Joint Powers Alliance to
save money on the purchase and licensing of certain computer software.
• entered into an interlocal agreement with the city of Murchison for
assistance with road maintenance and repairs.
• accepted three replats for filing purposes; two from The Pinnacle Club
and one from Key Ranch Estates.
• approved an agreement with T Core Services of Rosser to service the
Jail’s grease traps. The provider recycles the grease removed from the
trap for use by a dog food manufacturer, Lt. Ben Kinder explained.
The switch in services will reduce the maintenance cost from $310 to $35