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SPCA of Texas seizes 71 Upshur County animals

 Constable Seize 71 Cruelly Treated Animals from Upshur County Property

Today, under the authority of the Upshur County Constable, Pct. 1, the SPCA of Texas seized and took custody of 71 cruelly treated animals--64 dogs, six cats and one horse--from a property north of Gladewater.

Most of the dogs were found living in trash-filled residence on the property in rows of plastic, metal and wooden crates. Approximately 20 dogs were found inside fenced-in kennels behind the building. Nine of the dogs were tethered outside. Various breeds found include Great Pyrenees mixes, Hound Mixes, Miniature Pinschers, Red Heelers and other mixed breeds. The dogs appear to have various health issues, including hair loss, tumors, labored breathing, eye issues, skin isues, matted fur, one dog had a distended abdomen and one dog had an injured tail.

Most of the cats were kept in carriers inside the residence on the property. One cat was found in a metal cage. Many of the cats have matted fur.

The horse was living outside in a pasture, is very underweight and has a dull coat.

The Upshur County Constable, Pct. 1, contacted the SPCA of Texas regarding concerns of animal cruelty on May 7 in reference to a puppy mill case. An SPCA of Texas Investigator visited the property that day, and the SPCA of Texas and the Upshur County Constable determined that the animals were being cruelly treated. The Upshur County Constable and the SPCA of Texas concurred that it was in the animals' best interest to remove the animals, and the Upshur County Constable sought a seizure warrant.

SPCA of Texas vehicles transported the animals to the Perry Animal Care Center at 8411 Stacy Road in McKinney, TX, where they are being examined by medical staff and will be cared for until the custody hearing.

The custody hearing will take place on Friday, May 16 at 1 p.m. at the Upshur County Courthouse, at 100 W. Tyler Street, Gilmer, TX, Judge W.V. Ray, Justice of the Peace, Pct. 4, presiding.

If the SPCA of Texas is awarded custody of the animals, they would be individually evaluated for potential adoption or placement on a case by case basis.

To help support the SPCA of Texas and its efforts to help abused, neglected and homeless animals and to support the SPCA of Texas' other programs and services, please visitwww.spca.org


GILMER--Dates have been set for a capital murder trial and unrelated murder trial in 115th District Court, a spokeswoman for Upshur County District Attorney Billy Byrd said Monday.

Jury selection is scheduled Aug. 11 for one of three co-defendants in the capital murder case, 22-year-old Andrew C. Norwine of Arlington. The other defendants in the slaying of Ronnie Joe Gammage pleaded guilty and were sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.

Gammage, 27, of Longview, was abducted, purportedly in Gregg County, before his throat was cut Dec. 5, 2012 and his dead body set afire, Byrd has said. Gammage's remains were found Dec. 19, 2012 in an Upshur County pasture. 

In the other case, jury selection for the murder trial of Eddie Douglas Baker is set June 9, with testimony scheduled to open June 16.

Baker, a Gilmer resident who turns 28 Friday, is accused of killing 45-year-old Tana Fuller Warren on or about Feb. 6, 2013. He admitted in a videotaped statement he fatally stabbed the Gilmer woman and put her in the back of his camper on Ginger Road northeast of Gilmer, according to a document filed in Upshur County Pct. 2 Justice of the Peace Lyle Potter's office. 

Both Norwine and Baker are charged with additional offenses and remained in county jail at Gilmer under bonds totalling $1.35 million each Monday, Byrd's office said.





GILMER--115th District Judge Lauren Parish sentenced seven persons on felony and/or misdemeanor charges between April 29 and May 2, said Upshur County District Attorney Billy Byrd's office.

Details were as follows, the office reported:

Carwin Dewain Cooper, 25, of Gladewater, received five years in prison May 2 for "unlawful restraint--risk of serious bodily injury" when his probation on that charge was revoked.

Cooper admitted violating terms of probation for his Feb. 10, 2013 crime, which Gilmer police investigated. Byrd represented the state in the revocation; Longview attorney Scott Novy represented Cooper.

All other sentencings occurred April 29.

Brandon Antonio Hodge, 34, of Big Sandy, received 22 months in state jail upon pleading guilty to delivery of a controlled substance--methamphetamine.

The Upshur County Sheriff's Office probed the May 3, 2013 offense. Byrd represented the state at sentencing, while Longview attorney Edward Choy represented Hodge.

Christopher Lee Evans, 17, of Gilmer, was placed on seven years "deferred adjudication" probation upon pleading guilty to burglary of habitation.

"Deferred adjudication" means no final conviction appears on a defendant's record if he/she successfully completes probation. But if such probation is revoked, the maximum sentence for the crime can be imposed.

Gilmer police investigated Evans's March 11 offense. Some conditions of his probation include a $1,000 fine, 400 hours of commuity service, and no contact with co-defendants.

Assistant District Attorney Natalie Miller represented the state at sentencing. Gilmer attorney Matthew Patton represented Evans.

Bobbie Renee Wagner, 32, of Gilmer, was placed on probation upon pleading guilty to a felony offense, but also sentenced to 180 days in county jail when her probation for misdemeanor attempted forgery was revoked.

Wagner was placed on five years "deferred adjudication" for debit card abuse. Some of her terms of probation include entering a drug treatment center in Bowie County (remaining in Upshur County Jail until a bed opens there), a $1,000 fine, 300 hours of community service and making $311 restitution to the victim.

Gilmer police investigated the April 24, 2013 crime.

In the misdemeanor case,  Wagner admitting violating terms of her probation. Big Sandy police probed that Oct. 29, 2011 offense.

Byrd represented the state in her cases. Longview attorney John Moore represented Wagner.

Justin Lynn Hanson, 20, of Keller, received seven years deferred adjudication probation after pleading guilty to burglary of building--engaging in organized criminal activity.

The Sheriff's Office probed the Jan. 10 crime. Some terms of Hanson's probation include a $2,000 fine and 400 hours of community service.

Byrd and Novy handled the case.

Anthony Seven Bouchereau, 20, of Gilmer, drew 16 months in state jail upon pleading guilty to theft of property of the value of $1,500 or more but less than $20,000.

The Sheriff's Office probed the Nov. 27, 2013 offense. Miller and Moore handled the sentencing.

In a misdemeanor case, a 20-year-old Gladewater man was sentenced to 300 days in county jail for unlawful carrying of a weapon when his probation on that charge was revoked. 

He admitted violating terms of probation for the April 1, 2013 offense, which Gladewater police investigated.



A 21-year-old Gladewater man has been indicted by a Gregg County grand jury in connection with the 2013 murder of 17-year-old Kayla Elizabeth Williams of Hallsville.

According to the Gregg County District Attorney's Office, Coby Ray Hudgins was indicted on a charge of murder last week. The indictment was one of 57 indictments returned, with 20 sealed due to no arrest at time of indictment.

The murder occurred on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013, at approximately 9:12 p.m. Kilgore Police Officers responded to 3009 Mustang Dr., Kilgore due to a report of a person being shot. Upon arrival, police found Kayla Elizabeth Williams, 17, of Hallsville, deceased within the residence from an apparent gunshot wound. 

Witnesses identified Coby Ray Hudgins as the person who shot Kayla Williams with a handgun and left the residence prior to arrival of police. Williams had reportedly been at the residence with a small group of friends visiting Hudgins.

 According to a Kilgore police press release, Hudgins, upon leaving the residence, was soon involved in a motor vehicle crash on FM 2087 and arrested by the Texas Department of Public Safety for DWI. After initial investigation by the Kilgore Police Department's Criminal Investigation Unit, Hudgins was charged with murder. 

Coby Hudgins' bond was set at $1,000 for the DWI and $100,000 for the murder charge.



Gregg County Pct. 3 Constable Michael Baggett said Monday he was taking a leave from his position. This comes on the heels of his reported arrest in Franklin County on DWI charges.

According to the press release - "I am voluntarily taking leave from my position as Gregg County Precinct #3 Constable to take care of my personal health and medical needs following an incident that occurred recently in Franklin County, Texas. I believe it is in the best interests of myself, my family, and my constituents for me to take this time to regain my focus and my health. During my absence the duties of my office will be carried out by the Gregg County Precinct #3 Deputy Constables with the assistance of other Gregg County law enforcement officers."

Baggett's office is located in Gladewater.
Department of Public Safety troopers reportedly arrested Baggett March 26 at 7:30 p.m. near Texas 37 and FM 3357 north of Winnsboro. Baggett posted a $2,500 bond Thursday and was released from the Franklin County Jail.