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If you’re one of those people who expected the grand opening of Krispy Kreme to take place next week…I have bad news.

While the return to Houston is still happening for the donut shop it has been stalled a bit by permitting issues which has held up the completion of the structure on Highway 6 in Northwest Houston.

We’re told the anticipating opening date for the store will be during the Spring of 2015.

So let’s just keep our fingers crossed!

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Press Release from Montgomery County Precinct 4:

Around 5:30 p.m. Thursday, a Montgomery County Precinct 4 Deputy Constable responded to a call at the Porter Walmart regarding a welfare concern.

The reportee said a white man was asleep in his pickup truck, with the vehicle running and in reverse. The caller had tried unsuccessfully to wake the man, later identified as 20-year-old Christopher Shirley of Conroe.
Montgomery County Hospital District medics also responded, and were already on scene when the deputy arrived. As the deputy approached the scene, he saw a silver pickup had backed into the rear of a Honda sedan. By then, Shirley was out of the truck and according to medics, said he was “high.”

The deputy made contact with Shirley and noticed he was squinting and his speech was very slurred. Shirley also had difficulty walking. The deputy administered the Standardized Field Sobriety Test, which Shirley failed.  He admitted he was already impaired when he drove to Walmart.

The deputy had EMS check Shirley for health concerns before transporting him to the Precinct 4 office to begin the booking process. Shirley was so impaired, he appeared to be dozing off while standing when the deputy took his photograph as part of the office booking process. The on-duty supervisor then transported Shirley to Kingwood ER for a blood draw and then to the Montgomery County Jail in Conroe.

Christopher Jordan Shirley is charged with Driving While Intoxicated.
Citizens are urged to contact law enforcement as someone did in the situation, which prevented an extremely impaired driver from leaving the parking lot and may have saved a life or lives.

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Representative Gene Wu (D-Houston) filed a bill to create a new Class C misdemeanor penalty range for the possession of small amounts of Marijuana. House Bill 325 will make possession of up to 0.35 ounces or 9.9222 grams of Marijuana punishable by a fine of no more than $500.

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“Arrests for very small amounts of Marijuana drain law enforcement resources and divert valuable time away from addressing more serious public safety concerns, like Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) and Domestic Violence offenses, ” said Wu. “Defendants serving time for low-level Marijuana possession add to jail overcrowding and deplete county coffers without adding to overall community safety. Counties must also provide attorneys to all indigent defendants charged with Class B Marijuana possession; but not for defendants in Class C cases.”

Currently in Texas, possession of up to two ounces or less of Marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor; punishable by up to 6-months in jail, and a fine of up to $2,000. In 2013 alone, Texas law enforcement made over 70,000 arrests for Marijuana possession, accounting for over half of all drug arrests and nearly 8% of all arrests.

HB 325 would lower the penalty ladder for the smallest amounts of Marijuana possession creating a sensible distinction between possession of very small amounts of Marijuana and larger amounts. The bill would also give police officers the option to either arrest or issue a ticket to a person possessing a small amount of Marijuana. Officers would still retain the ability to arrest and search if they choose. Like other Class C offenses, repeat offenses (4 or more) would elevate the charge to a Class B misdemeanor.

“Texas has one of the highest rates in the nation in terms of people arrested for marijuana possession, and some of the harshest penalties,” said Wu. “This bill takes a sensible and cost-effective approach to low-level Marijuana possession, and provides a fiscally responsible solution to an overloaded criminal justice system. I invite my colleagues to support this measure and sign on as co-authors.”

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Fox 26 news has learned the Harris County District Attorney has instituted a policy in hopes of keeping innocent people from entering guilty pleas.

The DA’s office confirms they are no longer accepting guilty pleas on drug cases before the substance is tested by a crime lab. 

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This policy change comes after several defendants found themselves exonerated last year after pleading guilty to substances that weren’t actually drugs. 

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Opponents to this policy change say defendants could find themselves in limbo for long periods of time depending on how long the drug testing policy takes. 

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It could also cause a backlog of defendants who can’t afford bail. 

Jeff McShan with the DA’s office confirms this change with the Factor. 

SERIAL RAPIST?

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Attorneys for 43 year old Herman Whitfield will be back in court Wednesday for an update and conference on his case.

The man who was already serving prison time for an older kidnapping case has now been charged with 5 sexual assaults through DNA testing.
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A reliable source says the Sunny Side resident came back positive with hits on at least 21 rape cases dating back to the 1990s. 

We’re told 19 of the victims are still alive and could be waiting on a day of justice.

Whitfield is currently being held in the Harris County jail after he was ordered removed to face the new growing list of charges by the state.

So far we have not heard back from Whitfield’s defense attorney.

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Houston police have released surveillance video and photos of a suspect wanted in the robbery of a business at 3501 Jensen about 1:50 p.m. on January 26.

The suspect, armed with a revolver, is described as a Hispanic male, about 5 feet 5 inches tall and 140 pounds. He has short hair and was wearing a gray sweatshirt with the word NEWPORT on the front. Surveillance video of the suspect is posted on the HPD YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACXR05S-Hl0.

The male walked into the Church’s Chicken restaurant at the above address and approached the counter. He pulled a weapon and demanded money from the employee working the register. Employees retreated to the back of the restaurant. The suspect fired at least one shot as he was leaving the restaurant. No one was injured.

Anyone with information on the identity of the suspect is urged to contact the HPD Robbery Division at 713-308-0700 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.

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It was late last year when the Factor first reported there were several thefts under investigation at Metro Rail Operations center.

Now we have learned two employees have been arrested.

Metro officials and court records show one employee was arrested for theft of the transportation company’s wood rail cross ties and another has been charged with stealing a welder generator. 

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Those employees are identified as 45 year old Reginald Ratcliff who worked as a Metro’s track chief. 

Also charged was 57 year old Fred Anthony Burton. 

He served as a track maintenance supervisor at the operations center on West Bellfort. 

Metro’s own police force investigated this case.

Metro:
“I want to thank the METRO employees who came forward to help with the MPD investigation into missing surplus rail ties and tools at the Rail Operations Center. That investigation resulted in the termination of two employees. This type of conduct will not be tolerated at METRO and we commend the District Attorney’s Office for filing charges against the two former METRO employees.”

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Charges have been filed against a suspect arrested in the death of a woman found at 1617 Marlin #10 about 2:20 p.m. on Sunday (February 8). 

The suspect, Richard N. Fisher (b/m, 50), is charged with murder in the 174th State District Court.  He is accused in the killing of Fadrian Starling, 27.  Ms. Starling suffered blunt force trauma to the head and died at the scene. 

A photo of suspect Fisher is attached to this news release.  

HPD Homicide Division Sergeant C. Hassig and Officer T. Ferguson reported: 

HPD patrol officers and HFD paramedics responded to the above address regarding a possible deceased female inside a residence.  Paramedics forced entry into the residence and found Ms. Starling deceased in the living room.  No other persons were present at the time.  It was determined Starling did not live at the residence. 

Further investigation identified Fisher as the suspect in this case.  On Monday (February 9) he turned himself in to police without incident and was subsequently charged. 

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A group of students who stood up for their rights are learning the hard way that being proactive is not always welcomed with open arms.

Jolanda Jones confirms just over a half dozen students who walked out of Jack Yates High School recently have been suspended.
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Jones says those students have received various forms of punishment from in school suspension to home suspension.

The students walked out of Jack Yates because they felt the school was dangerous and the district failed to address the problem of gang violence.

Jones tells the Factor: My role is to make sure that regardless of how you feel about any of the parents of any of the students who walked out that the only thing that matters is the students and whether HISD treated them equally to other students in HISD who have walked out for whatever reason. It’s important to remember that these students have said that they walked out because they want to have a safe learning environment. I don’t understand how anyone can begrudge them for that.

HISD Statement:

The safety of students and staff at Yates High School is a top priority for campus and district administrators, as well as HISD Police. We have strong monitoring systems in place that allow officials to keep a close eye on students, and we are working together to ensure everyone feels safe and teaching and learning continue, uninterrupted.

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Know Your Rights Seminar is set for February 25th at Rice University. It will be held from 7 pm to 8:30 pm in Sewell 307.

For many of us, the idea of getting stopped by the police can be intimidating. One reason is that many of us do not know our rights and how to properly respond to police. This training is intended to teach you how to respond to police, and know your rights during your interactions with police.
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Presented by Ashton P. Woods & Featuring training by Jolanda “Jo” Jones Jolanda Jones

*************************Disclaimer************************

This event is a course on learning how to handle possible harassment by the police, it is NOT an open forum. To any organizations in attendance, if you would like to give information to the attendees please bring information for them to take as they are entering or leaving this event. There will be NO announcements or unannounced guests speaking with the exception of those I have listed in this event’s information. Please note that elected officials will not be recognized, but are encouraged to attend and support their community.

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It’s cop versus cop in the small college town of Prairie View.  It was back in 2013 when former Prairie View A&M officer Carita Holmes was arrested for felony theft.  The police chief at Prairie View alleges Holmes stole her coworkers wedding band valued at $6,000. 

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Sgt. Howard Sylve working a scene

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Sgt. Howard Sylve from LinkedIn

That co-worker, fellow officer Sgt. Howard Sylve, says he left his wedding ring in the restroom at the Prairie View police station and it disappeared.

He says when he remembered to retrieve it the wedding band was gone. 

Police Chief Zena Stephens says when she arrived at Prairie View as the new top cop she immediately confronted Holmes who admitted to having the ring but said she found it outside of the police department.
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The 42 year old former cop was charged with a felony and arrested. 

Her trial was scheduled to get underway this month but was put on hold because the court could not find enough jurors.

A new trial has not been set. 

We’ll keep you update.