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The Brandon Tran jury refuses a Capital Murder verdict and instead returns Felony Murder. The jury wrangled over "Intent to kill". We'll fill you in.

In Mid-County a pickup and dump truck collide. Drivers in hospital. Traffic a mess.

LifeShare puts out an urgent request for O- blood donors.
A woman is in court on charges she killed two sisters and an unborn baby in a auto collision. 

Thieves would like to be you and use your identity. They are in the area. How to protect yourself.

The latest Ebola scare is not the virus-- it's businesses preying on people's fear.

Tune in at 6pm for these stories, weather and lots more.

Jury convicts Tran of felony murder, not capital murder

BEAUMONT - A jury has convicted a man of felony murder, not capital murder, in the death of a Port Arthur nightclub owner.

KFDM's Jennifer Gordy is covering the Brandon Tran trial. Watch KFDM News and stay with kfdm.com for updates.

The jury in Judge Larry Gist's courtroom returned with the verdict in Brandon Tran's trial shortly after 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Tran faces 5 to 99 years or life in prison. He'd have to serve at least half the sentence before he would become eligible for parole. The punishment phase begins Thursday morning.

Tran robbed and murdered Port Arthur nightclub owner Hieu Huynh in September of 2012.

Tran was charged with capital murder but the District Attorney's Office wasn't seeking the death penalty. If convicted of capital murder he would have received an automatic life sentence.

The trial began last week and the jury began deliberating Tuesday. During deliberations the jury sent back several notes raising questions and asking to look at evidence, including surveillance video from a camera outside the nightclub during the shooting.

Crystal Boyett back in court

HARDIN COUNTY - Crystal Boyett is back in court for a status hearing Wednesday morning in Hardin County.

She's charged with manslaughter and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in connection with a February collision in Lumberton that killed two sisters, the unborn child of the older sister, and injured the girls' mother.

A pre-trial hearing is set for December 1.

KFDM's Haley Bull is covering the hearing. Watch KFDM and stay with kfdm.com for updates.

 

(Previous coverage) BEAUMONT (August 22) - KFDM News was at the Hardin County Courthouse for Crystal Boyett's arraignment on manslaughter and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charges in connection with a crash that killed two sisters and the older girl's unborn son.

Judge Steven Thomas set a number of restrictions on Boyett if she is able to post the $2 million bond and get out of jail.

Boyett surrendered at about 6:45 p.m. Thursday in Hardin County. Her bond is $500,000 for each of the three manslaughter charges in connection with a February 3 crash in Lumberton that killed 20-year-old Connely Burns, her unborn son she'd named Tyson, and Burns' 15-year-old sister, Courtney Sterling. The girls' mother, Dawn Sterling, was seriously injured. If convicted, Boyett could face punishment ranging from probation to 20 years in prison.

District Attorney David Sheffield asked Judge Steven Thomas to place restrictions on Boyett if she's able to post bond and is released from jail.

Among the restrictions the judge set: Boyett can't drive in Hardin County; she can't have contact with the victims' relatives; she must abstain from alcohol; report to the Community Supervisions Department once a month; and pay a bond supervision fee of $40 a month.

Sheffield says she's expected back in court October 22.

(Earlier report) HARDIN COUNTY (August 21) - KFDM News has learned Crystal Boyett surrendered Thursday night at the Hardin County jail and her total bond is $2 million following her grand jury indictment Thursday afternoon for manslaughter and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in connection with a crash that killed a woman, her unborn son and the woman's sister, and seriously injured the sisters' mother.

Sheriff Ed Cain confirms to KFDM News Boyett surrendered at the jail at about 6:45 p.m. Thursday. A judge set her bond at $500,000 for the aggravated assault indictment. A judge had previously set her total bond at $1.5 million, or $500,000 for each of the three manslaughter charges. Boyett was charged soon after the collision and released on $1.5 million bond in June.

The grand jury Thursday indicted Boyett, 40, of Kirbyville, on three counts of manslaughter for the deaths of two sisters and the unborn child of the older sister, and one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for the injury to the sisters' mother.

Connely Burns, 20, her unborn son, Tyson, and Connely's 15-year-old sister, Courtney Sterling, died in the February 3 crash in Lumberton. Dawn Sterling was critically injured and recovered after a lengthy hospital stay.

If convicted, Boyett could face a sentence ranging from probation to 20 years for each charge. She'd serve the time concurrently, or at the same time, meaning a maximum 20 years in prison. She would have to serve at least half the sentence before she becomes eligible for parole.

Investigators have said they found a bottle of prescription Xanax in Boyett's Camaro, but District Attorney David Sheffield tells KFDM News there wasn't evidence Boyett was intoxicated so the grand jury couldn't indict her for intoxication manslaughter.

In response to what he said were suggestions from citizens that he seek a possible murder charge, Sheffield told KFDM News there's no evidence to back that up.

"This is the legal justice we can give the Sterling family, not pretending to be able to give moral justice to this cause," Sheffield said.

Troopers say Boyett was traveling at more than 150 miles an hour when she was first clocked in Jasper and 120 miles an hour just before the collision at the intersection of Highway 96 and 69 in Lumberton.

Connely was in the rear seat of her family's Nissan Murano. Her sister, Courtney was driving the Murano. Their mother, Dawn, 46, was in the front passenger seat.

Lumberton Police Chief Danny Sullins called it a "horrific scene." The Camaro struck the rear of the Murano and pushed it off the highway and onto the grassy median near the service road. The collision was so violent debris flew about 600 feet, or the length of two football fields, from the point of impact.

Chief Sullins says Burns graduated from Lumberton High School. He told us her husband was working in the oil industry in North Dakota when he learned about the accident that killed his wife and her their unborn child.

(Previous coverage) HARDIN COUNTY (August 21) - by Haley Bull

The Hardin County Grand Jury has indicted a suspect from Kirbyville for a collision that killed a woman, her unborn son and the woman's sister.

The grand jury indicted Crystal Boyett on three counts of manslaughter for each death and one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for injuries the girls' mother suffered in the collision.

The crash in Lumberton Feb. 3 killed Connely Burns, 20, her unborn son she'd named Tyson and Burns' sister, Courtney Sterling, 15. Sterling was a student at Lumberton High School.

The same day the grand jury returned the indictments, friends remembered the sisters.

"She's like our inspiration, just to do good and like, always smile and perform and be happy," Maci McCurley said.

Four of Sterling's friends gathered, talking about their memories of a friend, classmate and color guard teammate.

"We're constantly talking about her, like what would Courtney be doing right now, like how would Courtney feel about this situation and like, she's definitely a part of color guard it doesn't matter if she's here or not," Kealey Jackson said.

"It'll be weird to think you don't have any classes with her, but you know it's still like you'll sit in a chair and know she'll be there like encouraging you, telling you how to do your classes right," Morgan Mount said.

Next week, the four girls will head back to class at Lumberton High School keeping the memory of Sterling alive.

"It's like you know that she's there and that she's watching over us and that she's telling us to calm down," Paige Hunley said.

Crosses on the side of the road mark where investigators said a driver traveling at more than 100 mph just before the crash, hit the family's SUV near the intersection of Highway 96 and Highway 69 in Lumberton.

"I wouldn't term this an accident. From our point of view, it's a horrific crime," Hardin County District Attorney David Sheffield said.

Two days after the collision, police arrested the driver of the car, Crystal Boyett, 40, of Kirbyville. A grand jury indicted her Thursday on three counts of manslaughter and one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, each is a second-degree felony. If convicted, Boyett faces a punishment from probation up to 20 years in prison. If convicted and sentenced, Boyett would have to serve at least half the sentence before she is eligible for parole.

Sheffield said there was not enough evidence to charge Boyett with intoxication manslaughter. In response to what he said were suggestions from citizens that he seek a possible murder charge, Sheffield told KFDM News there's no evidence to back that up.

"This is the legal justice we can give the Sterling family, not pretending to be able to give moral justice to this cause," Sheffield said.

Even after they're gone, the sisters are still bringing smiles to their friends' faces.

"They were always the kind of there kind of pulling people up instead of pushing them down," McCurley said.

"Now it's just kind of like you laugh and you find the energy to stop crying and remembering," Mount said.

Connely's best friend Brooke writes to KFDM News:

"Connely was my best friend of six years. We knew we would be the day we met. She was everything you look for in a good person, and she would have been a great mom. Her son, Tyson, would be around 4 months old now. We were all so excited to watch him grow, as well as to see her continue to grow as a beautiful mother. I have so many great memories with her. My favorite was Christmas Day of this past year; I had to work all day so she came up there that evening with dessert Dawn had made and stayed with me just talking together for hours so I wouldn't be alone. That's the kind of thing she would do for the people she loved. That's what I know people will remember about her. Now that she's gone I have a huge emptiness in my life. I miss the three of them all day everyday and the feeling will never go away."

J.P. Brad Burnett releases name of man whose body was found near Sea Rim

JEFFERSON COUNTY - Justice of the Peace Brad Burnett is releasing the name of a man whose body was found near Sea Rim State Park Saturday, October 18.

He's ordered an autopsy to determine the cause of death of Joseph Nedbalek, 22, of Pasadena.

Judge Burnett tells KFDM News the it's a possible drowning. He says there's no sign of foul play.

Protect yourself from identity theft

Here are some links that can help you protect yourself from identity theft.


Identity theft resources from the national Better Business Bureau websiteBetter Business


Bureau of Southeast Texas website

LifeShare has urgent need for O- donors

BEAUMONT – LifeShare Blood Centers reports an urgent need for O negative blood donors in order to stabilize the supply. 

Patient use of O negative blood has exceeded recent blood donations of the same type, resulting in an immediate need for blood donations.

“Patients in trauma situations, those with O negative blood and most infants can only receive type O negative blood. Because of this, it is vital to increase the current supply to support and be prepared for local patient needs,” says Tina Hooper, spokesperson for LifeShare Blood Centers. 

 

After blood donation, testing and processing takes a minimum of 24 hours before the blood is available for patient use. People who are eligible to give blood and know they have an O negative blood type are needed immediately. Persons who are unaware of their blood type are also being asked to donate now, as it will be tested upon collection. Donations of all blood types are needed for constant replenishing.

 

The following LifeShare Blood Centers’ locations are open for blood donations along with mobile blood drives. To locate a mobile blood drive, call your nearest center or go to www.lifeshare.org.

 

The local LifeShare Blood Centers is located at 4305 Laurel Street, Beaumont, TX  77707. They can be contacted by phone at 409-838-5289 or 800-256-5289.

Dump truck, pickup collide on Hwy 366 -- drivers sent to hospital

UPDATE 5:00PM from DPS: As of 4:50pm, both eastbound lanes of FM 366 are now open. 

Only one westbound lane of FM 366 remains closed.  This lane is expected to be reopened within the next two hours.

UPDATE 3:35PM from DPS:  At this time, FM 366 is still closed in both directions between Gage and  1st Avenue.  Motorists should avoid the area and use an alternate route.

 The Texas Department of Transportation has a crew on scene with traffic barricades and notifications will be sent when the roadway has reopened.

 At this time, there is no confirmed information on either driver.

PORT NECHES --Drivers of a  dump truck and a pickup truck were rushed to area hospitals after the vehicles collided about 12:47 pm at FM 366 and Detroit in Port Neches, DPS reports.


Troopers say preliminary reports show that a 1997 Freightliner dump truck was traveling westbound on FM 366. A 2001 Ford truck was traveling southbound on Detroit.  


Trooper said it appears that the Ford truck disregarded a stop sign and pulled out in front of the dump truck.  The dump truck collided with the Ford truck which caused the dump truck to rollover.  The collision also caused diesel fuel to leak onto the roadway. 

At this time, both westbound and eastbound lanes of FM 366  between Gage and 1st Avenue are closed due to diesel on the roadway. Hazmat crews are in route to the crash scene. It is unclear as to how long the roadway will be closed.

DPS said information on the condition of both drivers will be released later this afternoon.

Terrorist shootings at Canada Parliament leave one soldier dead

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — A masked gunman dressed all in black shot a Canadian soldier standing guard at a war memorial in the country's capital Wednesday, then entered Parliament, where dozens of shots rang out, authorities and witnesses said. At least three people were taken to the hospital.

People fled Parliament by scrambling down scaffolding erected for renovations, while others took cover inside as police with rifles and body armor took up positions outside and blocked the normally bustling streets around the building.

"We believe there is more than one" gunman, Ottawa police Constable Marc Soucy said.

The attack came two days after a recent convert to Islam killed one Canadian soldier and injured another in a hit-and-run before being shot to death by police. The killer had been on the radar of federal investigators, who feared he had jihadist ambitions and seized his passport when he tried to travel to Turkey.

Canada had raised its domestic terror threat level from low to medium Tuesday because of "an increase in general chatter from radical Islamist organizations," said Jean-Christophe de Le Rue, a spokesman for the public safety minister.

On Wednesday, Tony Zobl, 35, said he witnessed the soldier being gunned down from his fourth-floor window directly above the National War Memorial, a 70-foot, arched granite cenotaph, or tomb, with bronze sculptures commemorating World War I.

"I looked out the window and saw a shooter, a man dressed all in black with a kerchief over his nose and mouth and something over his head as well, holding a rifle and shooting an honor guard in front of the cenotaph point-blank, twice," Zobl told the Canadian Press news agency.

"The honor guard dropped to the ground, and the shooter kind of raised his arms in triumph holding the rifle."

Zobl said the gunman then ran up the street toward Parliament Hill. Shots were also fired at a shopping mall near Parliament, police said. All three sites — the war memorial, Parliament and the mall — are within less than a mile from each other.

Cabinet minister Tony Clement tweeted that at least 30 shots were heard inside Parliament, where Conservative and Liberal MPs were holding their weekly caucus meetings.

"I'm safe locked in a office awaiting security," Kyle Seeback, another member of Parliament, tweeted.

The top spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Harper was safe and had left Parliament Hill.

Ottawa Hospital said it received three patients, two of them listed in stable condition. It would not comment on the condition of the third patient, the soldier shot at the memorial.

Officials also canceled two events in Toronto honoring Pakistani teenager and Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, including one in which she was supposed to receive honorary Canadian citizenship. The teenager was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in 2012 for calling for schooling for girls.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police warned people in downtown Ottawa to stay away from windows and rooftops.

TD 9 forms in Gulf of Mexico

MIAMI (AP) - A tropical depression is headed toward the Mexican state of Campeche and is likely to strengthen to a tropical storm.

Stay tuned to KFDM  Channel 6 at noon and tonight at 6 pm and 10 pm for any developments


The depression's maximum sustained winds early Wednesday are near 35 mph (55 kph). The U.S. National Hurricane Center says strengthening is forecast and the depression is expected to become a tropical storm before moving inland.

A tropical storm warning is in effect in Mexico from Celestun to Frontera.

The depression is centered about 120 miles (195 kilometers) west-southwest of Campeche and has been nearly stationary over the last few hours but should begin moving east again later in the morning.

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