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Former ACSO lieutenant honored with Star of Texas Award
  • Updated

Gov. Greg Abbott presented former Angelina County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Stacy Seymore — who was injured in the line of duty in 2019 — with the Star of Texas Award Friday in Austin.

“Seymore was critically injured in July of 2019 after being involved in a head-on collision with an oncoming vehicle that was making an illegal pass,” said Pct. 1 Constable Tom Selman, who nominated Seymore for the award.

The Star of Texas is awarded to law enforcement officers who are severely injured or die in the line of duty. More than 600 Texans have been honored in this way since the awards were first started in 2003, according to Texas Public Safety Office.

“The Star of Texas Award is aptly named because it honors those whose self-sacrifice serves as a shining example of the very best of the Lone Star State,” Abbott said. “I am proud to humbly recognize 46 remarkable individuals who have demonstrated incredible heroism in the line of duty.”

State Rep. Trent Ashby said he was honored to be on stage to witness Abbott presenting the award to Seymore.

“I have known Lt. Seymore for years and I can emphatically state that he represents the best of what it means to be both a law enforcement officer, as well as a Texan,” Ashby said. “He is so deserving of this recognition, and I wasn’t going to miss being there in person to show my support for him and everything he’s been through since his incident on Highway 69 south in 2019. Lt. Seymore is a modern-day hero, and I hope everyone will take the time to show their support for him as well as all of our first responders who demonstrate on a daily basis the character and courage to repeatedly put their lives on the line for all of us.”

Seymore said he felt bad for the families who attended the ceremony on behalf of individuals who lost their lives in the line of duty.

“So many that had died were so young,” he said. “You had family members walking out because their husband, or son, or brother were killed in the line of duty. My heart goes out to them.”

Seymore said he was humbled to learn he would be receiving the award. It has been a rough few years since his accident, and he said he didn’t really feel worthy of it.

“I was just doing my job and I got hurt,” he said.

He was flown to a Beaumont hospital with severe injuries to both feet and legs. He is still recovering and has undergone several surgeries since the incident. He will have another nerve study to see if he needs another procedure.

“One foot is still numb. I can walk, but it feels like walking on Jell-O because it has no feeling,” he said.

His health was the source of some controversy in the county as Sheriff Greg Sanches asked the court to allow him to terminate Seymore’s employment at the end of 2020. At the time, he was another eight months to a year away from full recovery.

On Dec. 8, 2020, commissioners and Seymore agreed that Seymore would retire and, in return, the county would pay for his COBRA Insurance for one year and pay him directly for 129 hours of vacation and 523 hours of sick time he accrued during his tenure.

Seymore does not believe he will ever fully recover and expects to be in pain the rest of his life.

“I’ve just come to the realization that I will probably have pain for the rest of my life and I’ve got to deal with it as best I can,” he said.

He said he was grateful to Selman nominating him for the award.


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Grand jury hands up 77 indictments
  • Updated

Janaal Dunn

An Angelina County grand jury handed up indictments against 18 people accused of violent crimes, including a Lufkin man implicated in the slaying of 32-year-old Marzell Frost in March 2021.

Someone shot Frost dead during an incident at 2:30 a.m. March 28 at Green Meadows Apartments on Lotus Lane. Witnesses told police they saw a Black male wearing a gray hoodie who left the scene and police connected the crime to 19-year-old Janaal Dunn.

Police sought information on Dunn for a little over a week before he was discovered by U.S. marshals in Collin County.

The marshals arrested Dunn on a murder warrant issued by Justice of the Peace Billy Ball. He has remained in the Angelina County Jail since April 8 on bonds totaling $375,000 on the charge of murder and a charge of unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.

The additional charge was levied against Dunn because he was convicted of the felony offense of aggravated robbery on April 3, 2018, and was in possession of a firearm before parole ended for that conviction, the indictment states.

Another violent indictment includes accusations against 20-year-old Jesse Lum, of Zavalla, who was arrested by an Angelina County Sheriff’s deputy on June 7 on two warrants for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon issued by Justice of the Peace Donnie Puckett.

Lum was indicted on two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, both second-degree felony charges, and deadly conduct, a third-degree felony charge, for discharging a firearm.

On May 30, 2021, Lum allegedly shot two men, Nicholas Mitchell and Dakota Reeves, before then shooting in the direction of a house in a residential neighborhood with no knowledge of the occupancy of surrounding homes, the indictment against Lum states.

Dylan James Whittemore, 20, also was indicted on charges of aggravated assault in retaliation and obstruction or retaliation.

Whittemore allegedly shot at Clinton Meadows in retaliation for Meadows reporting a crime on May 1, 2021, the indictment states. Whittemore also threatened Meadows with assault for reporting the occurrence of a crime, the second charge states.

Other indictments handed down on violent charges include:

■ Pamela Sims, attempting to commit sexual assault on a child and two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

■ Preston Moody, aggravated kidnapping, two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and assault by impeding the breath or circulation of a family member.

■ Scott Fink, continuous violence against the family.

■ Jose Hernandez, assault against a family or household member by impeding breath or circulation.

■ Ricki Butler, assault of a family or household member with a previous conviction.

■ James Medley, assault against a family or household member by impeding breath or circulation.

■ Reece Metcalf, aggravated assault in retaliation.

■ Colby Keller, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

■ Steven Holland, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

■ Antywine Oliphant, unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon and deadly conduct.

■ Travis Mettlen, injury to a child, elderly or disabled person with the intent to cause bodily injury.

■ Jarrad Jacobs, injury to a child, elderly or disabled person with the intent to cause bodily injury.

■ Tukulve Frazier, two counts of aggravated assault against a date, family or household member with a weapon, assault of a family or household member by impeding breath or circulation and two counts of manufacture or delivery of between 4 and 200 grams of a penalty group 1 controlled substance.

■ De’Jaelynn Humphrey, attempted sexual assault.

Indictments of charges dealing with the possession of controlled substances include:

■ Carlos Guerrero, evading arrest or detention with a previous conviction and possession of a penalty group 1 controlled substance.

■ John Jones, possession of a penalty group 1 controlled substance.

■ David Reppond III, bringing a prohibited substance or item into a correctional facility.

■ Clifton Smith, delivery of a penalty group 1 controlled substance and delivery of between 4 and 200 grams of a penalty group 1 controlled substance.

■ Richard Benoit, possession of a penalty group 1 controlled substance and theft of a firearm.

■ Francisco Cordero, possession of a penalty group 1 controlled substance.

■ Brandon Gardner, possession of a penalty group 1 controlled substance.

■ Francis Jackson Sr., possession of a penalty group 1 controlled substance.

■ Edgar Mathews, possession of between 4 and 200 grams of a penalty group 1 controlled substance.

■ Alfonso Padilla, possession of a penalty group 1 controlled substance.

■ Jacob StJohn, possession of a penalty group 1 controlled substance.

■ Tyler Cullum, possession of a penalty group 1 controlled substance.

■ Daison Faver, possession of a penalty group 1 controlled substance and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

■ Anselmo Garcia, possession of a penalty group 1 controlled substance.

■ Jasmyn Hanhart, possession of a penalty group 1 controlled substance.

■ Jorge Lopez, possession of a penalty group 1 controlled substance.

■ Jason Havard, possession of a penalty group 1 controlled substance.

■ Angela Henderson, possession of a penalty group 1 controlled substance.

■ Janet Henson, possession of a penalty group 1 controlled substance and fraudulent use or possession of identifying information.

■ William Honeycutt, possession of a penalty group 1 controlled substance.

■ Earl Howell, possession of a penalty group 1 controlled substance;

■ Jennifer Kelley, possession of a penalty group 1 controlled substance.

■ Mark Mayorga, possession of between 4 and 200 grams of a penalty group 1 controlled substance, two counts of possession of a penalty group 1 controlled substance and tampering or fabricating physical evidence with intent to impair.

■ Burbon McGee Jr., tampering or fabricating physical evidence, possession of a prohibited weapon, two counts of possession of between 4 and 200 grams of a penalty group 1 controlled substance and two counts of possession of a penalty group 1 controlled substance.

■ Beverly Monroe, possession of a penalty group 1 controlled substance.

■ Adam Parrish, possession of a penalty group 1 controlled substance.

■ David Santos-Fajardo, possession of a penalty group 1 controlled substance.

■ Bobby Brown, possession of between 4 and 200 grams of a penalty group 1 controlled substance.

■ Raymond Brown, possession of between 4 and 200 grams of a penalty group 1 controlled substance.

■ Raymond Brown, possession of a penalty group 1 controlled substance.

■ Bonifasio Hernandez, possession of a penalty group 1 controlled substance.

■ Neida Pichardo, possession of a penalty group 1 controlled substance.

■ Nicholas Houston, possession of a penalty group 1 controlled substance.

Indictments handed down on charges related to theft include:

■ Billie Hunter, theft of less than $2,500 of property with two priors.

■ Christopher Chacon, theft of a firearm.

■ Brandon Gardner, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

■ Donica Alexander, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

■ Marvin Greening, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

■ Anthony Hagan, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

■ Jabari Hanes, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

■ Sandra Onwuzuruike, forgery of a financial instrument.

■ Austin Buchleiter, two counts of burglary of vehicles with two or more previous convictions.

■ Levi Duncan, two counts of aggravated robbery.

■ Christopher Glassey, aggravated robbery and property theft between $2,500 and $30,000.

■ John Wilson, property theft between $2,500 and $30,000.

■ Mallory Holcomb, secure execution of documents deception between $1,500 and $20,000.

Other indictments include:

■ Terry Bush Jr., unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.

■ Jimmy Aguilar, driving while intoxicated.

■ Willie Ballard, evading arrest or detention with a previous conviction.

■ Shakea Brooks, evading arrest with a vehicle.

■ Francis Jackson Sr., evading arrest or detention with a previous conviction.

■ Christian Calvin, unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.

■ Brittany Gilardoni, unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.

■ Robert Tamez, evading arrest or detention with a vehicle.

■ Nicholas Houston, evading arrest or detention with a vehicle.


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Forest Festival opens this week
  • Updated

Cooler nights, the return of pumpkin spice to restaurant menus and a smattering of falling leaves mean more than just the approach of fall in East Texas — they are all signs that the Texas State Forest Festival is just around the corner.

The 37th annual festival will take place at the George H. Henderson Jr. Exposition Center from Sept. 16-19. General admission is half-priced this year at $3, as various events such as the Pineywoods Car Show, the Southern Hushpuppy Championships, the Big Axe BBQ Competition and the East Texas Cheerleading & Pom Pon/Dance Championships have been postponed due to rising COVID-19 case numbers.

Despite some events being postponed, there will be plenty of activities and attractions overall for families to enjoy, Lufkin/Angelina County Chamber of Commerce president/CEO Tara Watson-Watkins said. She encourages people to come out and said she expects a great festival this year.

“The Texas State Forest Festival is a long-standing tradition in East Texas where families come together each year to make new memories and enjoy good times,” she said. “It is always fun to visit with families and hear of their memories as a child coming to the festival and now seeing them with their own families making new traditions.”

The carnival, featuring a number of rides and games, will be back at the festival this year.

The festival also will include a number of activities. New attractions making their way to the festival include The Sea Lion Splash Show and Danny Conner’s Reptile Adventures. In the sea lion show, California and South American sea lions will balance balls, shoot hoops, dance and perform handstands during multiple daily performances.

Attendees also can enjoy an attraction filled with crocodiles, snakes, lizards, spiders and scorpions through Danny Conner’s Reptile Adventures. The exhibit will be open to the public all day. For those who prefer to experience animals with a softer texture, there also will be a petting zoo featuring animals such as goats, sheeps and ponies.

he Bear Hollow Wood Carvers will return to the festival, performing with chainsaws and creating wood art throughout the event. Other entertainment will include local musicians on the Swingin’ Axe Stage.

Vendor Market Day will be Sept. 18 with more than 20 commercial vendors available showcasing an array of items.

The second annual Lumber-JACKED 5K & Fun Run is also set for Sept. 18, with the event set to begin at 8 a.m. at Ellen Trout Memorial Lake. The registration fee is $20 for ages 13 and up and $15 for children 12 and younger.

A variety of carnival-staple food items will be available, including spare ribs, funnel cakes, fresh lemonade and the Round Table’s ribeye sandwiches.

The festival will be open from 5-10 p.m. Thursday and Friday, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.


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