“I did not kill my best friend. I did dismember him.”
Robert Durst uttered those words in a state district courtroom during his 2003 trial for the murder of Morris Black, his neighbor at 2213 Avenue K in Galveston. Now, for the first time, people will actually see and hear Durst saying them.
Director Andrew Jarecki and producer Marc Smerling’s HBO documentary miniseries, The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, is built around the filmmakers’s unprecedented present-day access to Durst, the notorious and eccentric New York City real estate heir who’s been a suspect in three murders over the past three-plus decades. But they also managed to assemble never-before-seen footage of the trial, even after learning that Judge Susan Criss did not allow TV crews to shoot sound.
In an attempt to provide justice for a man who was robbed at gunpoint at a Rosenberg apartment complex last week, the local police department has released a sketched facial composite of the suspect in the crime. Unfortunately for everyone involved—except maybe the suspect—the alleged perpetrator was wearing a ski mask at the time of the incident.
The sketch, pictured below, could be useful under one of several conditions: maybe the lips and eyelids are drawn with such stunning accuracy that the man in the picture is recognizable; maybe the ski mask and jersey are permanent fixtures of his likeness and are discerning physical traits; or maybe, just maybe, we’re all being trolled by the Rosenberg Police Department.
The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports compile crime statistics on hundreds of metro areas. The latest numbers—which track the data from 2013—reveal some interesting tidbits about Texas cities. For instance: the most dangerous parts of Texas, generally, are not the largest cities, with only one of the five most populous cities to to place in the top five on the list. Also: West Texas, generally, has a higher violent crime rate than the rest of the state. And: Austin is basically a fairy tale land populated by elves and hobbits, with a violent crime rate roughly ⅓ that of Odessa, the top city on the list. Here are some more facts worth knowing:
Regardless of how you feel about their cartoons, no one has argued that the murder of 12 people in the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo is anything less than a tragedy. But aside from the debate of whether we should all be proud to declare “Je Suis Charlie” or not, another question has emerged here in Texas: How would the cartoonists and editors at the French magazine have fared if they’d all been armed?
The tenure of former Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins was fairly remarkable in its arc. The revered prosecutor went from the Dallas Morning News’ 2008 Texan of the Year (nationally recognized for his commitment to both prosecuting suspects and investigating the potential innocence of people already behind bars) to a scandalized politician and the first Democrat to lose a countywide position in Dallas in a decade.
Now, of course, Susan Hawk is the DA in Dallas, after defeating Watkins in November—and Hawk has a potential scandal of her own to contend with.
The position of Texans—and their leaders—on marijuana has softened as of late. Earlier this year, Governor Perry changed lanes from his “we can win the war on drugs” rhetoric to speak out about the need to “implement policies that start us toward a decriminalization and keeps people from going to prison and destroying their lives.” Polling from 2013, shortly after the legislative session ended, indicated that a substantial majority of Texans feel the same way. And now, if the legislature is interested in doing something about the changed public attitudes toward marijuana, they’ve got a vehicle to do so.
Representative Joe Moody has introduced a bill for the upcoming legislative session that would decriminalize the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana in Texas. Instead of a criminal charge, those cited would face a civil penalty and a $100 fine.
The relationship between police and the people they’re tasked with protecting and serving is strained everywhere right now, after grand juries failed to indict the policemen who caused the deaths of Michael Brown in Missouri and Eric Garner in New York, and an officer shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice moments after arriving on scene. The amount of attention being paid to the interactions between officers who use force on people suspected of crimes seems to have reached a new height.
In that climate it is unsurprising that two Texas stories went viral nationally over the weekend.
Last week, Veronica Dunnachie of Arlington was arrested at Millwood Hospital in Arlington on charges of capital murder. The 35-year-old, police say, drove herself to the mental health facility after fatally shooting her husband and her 20-year-old stepdaughter.
The facts of the story are bleak. Dunnachie had filed for divorce from her husband, 50-year-old Russ Dunnachie, in October, according to the Dallas Morning News. On Wednesday afternoon, however, she allegedly shot him and his daughter, Kimberly Dunnachie, then called a friend, who convinced her to drive to Millwood Hospital, where police took her into custody, the DMN reported.
This July, Thirteenth District Court of Appeals Justice Nora Longoria was arrested on suspicion of DWI. The McAllen police officer who stopped Longoria, and administered the field sobriety tests on the side of the road, claimed that Longoria said at the time of the arrest that he was “ruining her life and career for what he was doing,” because she “worked hard for 25 years to be where [she’s] at today.”
As it turns out, Longoria, who was elected to a six-year term on the bench in November 2012, needn’t have worried too much. Hidalgo County District Attorney Rene Guerra, who was in charge of prosecuting the appeals court judge, dismissed the charges last week, citing a lack of evidence: