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Judge releases names of husband, wife found dead of shotgun wounds in Groves home

GROVES - A justice of the peace has released to KFDM News the names of a husband and wife found dead of shotgun wounds in their home in Groves.

Justice of the Peace Brad Burnett identifies the husband as Donald Kenneth Gilbert, 78, and his wife as Lavonia Odom Gilbert, 65.

Police say a son-in-law found the bodies of his wife's parents at about 4 p.m. Thursday at the couple's home in the 3000 block of Eugenia in Groves.

According to police, the woman had a doctor's appointment Thursday morning and didn't show up. The son-in-law went to check on them and discovered the bodies.

Judge Burnett has ordered autopsies.

Lt. Kirk Rice with the Groves Police Department tells KFDM News "there's no evidence of a burglary, robbery or outside intruder. The investigation is ongoing."

In an official statement, Groves PD says:

The initial investigation has not revealed any signs of foul play at this time. Cause of death has not been determined, pending the results of the autopsy results. Investigators are working in conjunction with the Jefferson County Forensic Center and Crime Lab and continues to investigate the circumstances surrounding this deaths.There is no other information available for release at this time with the investigation being active.

 

Fourth Ebola case: New York doctor tests positive for the virus
KFDM News - A New York doctor who had treated Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus.
 
Officials say the test results for Dr. Craig Spencer are preliminary and will be confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

He's the fourth case in the U.S., and the first in New York.

Dr. Spencer returned from Guinea more than a week ago where he worked with the group Doctors Without Borders.

Melissa Ringhardt to spend 22 months in jail
KFDM News - A Vidor woman violated her probation in a case related to the death of a child and will now spend 22 months in jail.

Melissa Ringhardt had been given a suspended sentence and four years probation after the death of 5-year-old John Read last October.

Ringhardt was convicted on child abandonment and endangerment charges.

She says she fell asleep, with a loaded pistol out on a coffee table, while babysitting the child. The child shot himself.

The judge also ordered Ringhardt to write a letter to the deceased boy on the anniversary of his death and to submit it to the court.

An Orange County judge issued an arrest warrant for Ringhardt in late June because she failed to follow conditions of her probation.

Ringhardt was found in Arkansas and brought back to Vidor.

Groves police: elderly couple found dead in home

Groves Police say that an elderly couple has been found dead in the 3000 block of Eugenia in Groves around 4 pm this afternoon.

 

According to police, the woman had a doctors appointment this morning and did not show up.


A family member went to check on them and found his wife's elderly parents dead with apparent gun shot wounds inside the resident and called 911.

 

The identity of the deceased victim is not being released at this time pending notification of other family members. Investigators responded and assumed the investigation.

 

Based on evidence located at the scene, and information developed during the infancy of the investigation, the deaths are being investigated as suspicious at this time.

 

The Groves Police Department is currently being assisted by the Jefferson County Crime Lab. This is an active investigation, and more information will be released at a later time.

Man from Orange accused of killing puppy with claw hammer

CALCASIEU PARISH - From Calcasieu Parish S.O.

Steven R. Blount, 52 of Orange Texas has been charged in  Calcasieu Parish with  aggravated cruelty to an animal in the death of a puppy.

According to the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office, on October 15 the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office responded to a call at a local plant in reference to a man killing a puppy.  Upon arrival, deputies spoke with several employees of the plant who stated a coworker, Blount, had a puppy in his truck and was going to leave it in his truck while he worked.
 

As he approached the gate to enter the plant, he was confronted by several witnesses who heard the dog yelping and questioned him about leaving the puppy in the truck.  


Blount walked back out to his truck and grabbed a plastic bag.  He was then seen going into the cab of his truck and later returned to the plant gate with a deceased puppy in the plastic bag which he set near a trash can. 


The witnesses stated they walked over and observed the puppy in the bag and questioned Blount about it.  He then put the bag into a nearby dumpster.


A Calcasieu Parish Animal Control detective arrived and the investigation was turned over to him.  The detective then retrieved the puppy and left the scene.  The puppy was described as an 8 week old pit bull mix.


On October 22, Blount came in for an interview at the Sheriff’s Office.  During the interview Blount described how he struck the puppy twice, behind the head with a claw hammer, killing him, then placed him in a plastic bag and discarded it in the dumpster which was on the plant property.


Blount was then arrested and booked into the Calcasieu Correctional Center and charged with aggravated cruelty to an animal.  Judge David Ritchie set his bond at $25,000.


CPSO Detective John Melton and Animal Services Officer David Doucet are the lead investigators.

Jury votes for life in prison and $10k fine for Brandon Tran
BEAUMONT -- The jury in the murder trial of Brandon Tran voted to sentence him to life in prison and a $10,000 fine.  

The verdict was delivered at about 2:15 pm Thursday after a morning of testimony from the state on the character of Tran. The defense did not present witness in the punishment phase of the trial.

Jurors Wednesday found Tran guilty of the lesser charge of felony murder.
Thursday morning, prosecutors in the penalty phase of the trial interviewed several officers from Jefferson County Correctional Facility. Officers say Tran is a maximum security prisoner who has "dashed" inmates with bottles of urine and feces on several occasions.

 

Prosecutors questioned one of Brandon Tran's friends. The friend says he used to be in a gang with Tran. The defense then questioned the friend and asked the friend what really happened to Tran's mom.

 

Earlier it was stated by both prosecutors and defense that according to documents, Tran's mom was murdered in front of him during a robbery.

 

Defense then revealed while questioning Tran's friend that Tran's mom was murdered by her lover in front of Tran when he was six years old. Defense also says Tran's dad is a drunk. The friend agreed. The defense painted Tran as a victim of a bad family life, while also admitting he's responsible for his own decisions.



Brandon Tran stands convicted of killing and robbing a Port Arthur nightclub owner in September 2012.

Tuesday and Wednesday, jurors deliberated for about seven and a half hours in two days before returning a guilty verdict in the case against Brandon Tran.

Family of the defendant and the victim's wife waited for hours as jurors painstakingly reviewed evidence and sent questions to Judge Larry Gist.

Included in the evidence, Tran's signed confession where he admitted to killing and robbing Hieu Huynh outside the Nikki's Lounge on Gulfway Drive in Port Arthur.

The defense said Tran shot at Huynh's legs and didn't mean to kill him.  The jury agreed there was not enough evidence to convict Tran of capital murder.  

Prosecutors were not seeking the death penalty

Felony Murder means Tran recklessly killed Hyunh and robbed him, but did not intentionally kill him.

The lesser charge of felony murder carries with it a sentence of five to 99 years or life in prison and he will be eligible for parole after serving half his sentence.

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