Feds allege ‘emotional affair’ may have led Tennessee man to drive to Dallas to commit murder

Documents obtained by The Dallas Morning News reveal that authorities have a suspect, now in custody, in the shocking, seemingly random slaying of a man just steps away from his front door in north Oak Cliff in early October.

The day after 49-year-old James “Jamie” Faith was killed, police released a photo of a black pickup, saying the gunman drove off in it.

Authorities now say Jennifer Faith knew the man who owned that truck, that they had been romantically entangled and that she continued to send him hundreds of text messages a day after the slaying.

The Dallas Morning News, Jan. 12, 2021




Murder suspect targeted the homeless, killing them with sledgehammer, Dallas police say

A Dallas County man is behind bars, accused of committing two vicious slayings a month apart last year.

Police say he targeted homeless men, beating them to death with a sledgehammer in the dead of night.

Adelaido Amaya Esparza, 58, faces two counts of murder in the deaths of Fredrick Billmeier Jr. and Daniel Slusser. He was indicted in both cases in late December.

The Dallas Morning News, Jan. 11, 2021




Police say DNA program helped them arrest suspect in string of 1980s rapes in Dallas, Louisiana

In the 1980s, several serial rapists prowled Dallas, terrorizing women — particularly in the northeast side of the city — and propelling the city’s per-capita rate of sexual assaults to three times the national average.

One by one, the men were caught and locked up for life: Gregory Charles Goben, “The Village Rapist.” Gilbert H. Escobedo, the “Ski Mask Rapist.” Flynn Clarence Bell, the “M Streets Rapist.”

And this week, authorities arrested another, David Thomas Hawkins, who they say is responsible for several more sexual assaults that had gone unsolved for decades.

The Dallas Morning News, Aug. 21, 2020 (with Aria Jones)




‘We’re not playing tonight,’ authorities say as they begin to enforce 7 p.m. curfew in Dallas

Minutes after a curfew for downtown Dallas and surrounding neighborhoods went into effect at 7 p.m. Sunday, law enforcement began emptying the city center of protesters.

Officers deployed tear gas as crowds scattered. Others fired pepper balls at a group congregated in a park. Police zip-tied the hands of people lying on the sidewalk as they took them into custody.

“We’re not playing tonight,” an officer could be heard saying over a loudspeaker.

City leaders imposed the curfew after protests Friday and Saturday night in and around downtown were punctuated by vandalism and violence. Some demonstrators have said the peaceful events went wrong when police began to use tear gas on the crowds.

The Dallas Morning News, May 31, 2020 (with Dana Branham, Kyle Arnold, Sam Blum and Joseph Hoyt)




After Roe v. Wade, Norma McCorvey’s years in Dallas put her on both sides of the abortion issue

Norma McCorvey was 21 and living in Dallas in 1969 when she became pregnant for the third time.

A high school dropout without the money to travel somewhere where abortion was legal, she was referred to two lawyers, Linda Coffee and Sarah Weddington, who recruited her as the plaintiff in a legal challenge to Texas’ law banning the procedure.

The case was appealed to the Supreme Court, but it wasn’t until January 22, 1973, that the justices issued their landmark 7-2 decision saying women have the right to have an abortion.

By that time, McCorvey’s child was 2 years old and had been adopted. She was not involved in the Supreme Court case and was not notified of the decision. “I read about it in the paper, just like everybody else,” she later told a Dallas Morning News reporter.

The Dallas Morning News, May 19, 2020




Before he was Joe Exotic, ‘Tiger King’ star owned Arlington pet stores

Long before Netflix made Joe Exotic a household name as the Tiger King, he was Joe Schreibvogel the Arlington pet store owner.

Now known by his married name, Joseph Maldonado-Passage, the 57-year-old former owner of an Oklahoma exotic-animal park is in federal custody, serving a 22-year sentence after he was convicted in January of violating the Endangered Species Act, falsifying wildlife records and scheming to have a hit man kill a rival who owns a big-cat sanctuary in Florida.

He has become an immediate sensation as people who are stuck at home through the coronavirus crisis have flocked to the weird, wild Netflix documentary series Tiger King.

But the infamous man with an equally famous mullet had a long history in North Texas before he owned his first tiger.

The Dallas Morning News, April 2, 2020




Leaning Tower of Dallas finally falls over

The Leaning Tower of Dallas is no more.

After being battered by a 5,600-pound wrecking ball for a week, the 15-day-old landmark finally succumbed Monday afternoon. It left behind a billowing cloud of dust, a pile of debris and thousands of social-media memories from fans around the world.

The Leaning Tower was born Feb. 16 out of the failed implosion of the former Affiliated Computer Services building on North Haskell Avenue near downtown Dallas.

As news spread that the building’s core had withstood the explosives, the slouching remains became a sensation online and people began flocking to a nearby field to take pictures with — and celebrate — a part of the skyline that was doomed to impermanence.

The Dallas Morning News, March 2, 2020 (with Charles Scudder) 




From attacks on transgender women to a mass shooting at a party, the crime stories that defined 2019

The videotaped beating of Muhlaysia Booker, followed by her slaying weeks later. A man with an assault weapon opening fire on a downtown Dallas courthouse. A recent college graduate killed off of Greenville Avenue as she was headed out to celebrate her birthday.

Brutal and tragic, a number of Dallas-area crimes this year grabbed the attention of North Texans, as well as people around the world.

Here’s a look at some of the year’s high-profile cases, along with updates on where they stand.

The Dallas Morning News, Dec. 30, 2019




What we know about the Dallas slaying of Joshua Brown, after arrests and rampant rumors

The slaying of a Dallas man just days after he testified in the high-profile murder trial of a former police officer led to rampant speculation that his death was linked to his testimony.

Police announced at a news conference Tuesday afternoon that his killing was the result of a drug deal and they had three suspects in the case. They also said the rumors that the department was involved in the man’s death were false — and that community leaders needed to be careful about spreading them “because their words may jeopardize the integrity of the city of Dallas and DPD.”

Here are several questions raised in the aftermath of the shooting.

The Dallas Morning News, Oct. 10, 2019




UT-Dallas geologist who made simulated moon dirt, discovered dinosaur dies in Richardson house fire

A retired geology professor at the University of Texas at Dallas died in a Richardson house fire early Saturday.

Officials have not released the victim’s name. A neighbor told KXAS-TV (NBC5) that it was James Carter, and public records confirmed that he was the owner of the home.

Carter, 82, joined the geosciences department of what was then known as the Graduate Research Center of the Southwest in 1964. He was attracted to UTD because it gave him an opportunity to work with scientists who were doing cutting-edge research that had to do with the Earth as a whole.

But Carter’s work wasn’t limited to this planet.

The Dallas Morning News, Sept. 21, 2019




Before you try your luck on the $750M Powerball jackpot, consider these odds

The top prize for Wednesday’s Powerball jackpot drawing is estimated at a jaw-dropping $750 million.

But even if you know that you’ve got the luckiest numbers, don’t put in an order for that gold-plated sports car just yet. To win all that money — the fourth-largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history — you’ll have to overcome some incredibly long odds: 1 in 292,201,338.

To put that into perspective, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that the country’s population is a little less than 329 million. Your chances of winning the lottery would hardly be better if Powerball scrapped the numbered balls and a U.S. resident were chosen at random instead.

So, yes, it’s unlikely that you’ll pick the winning numbers, but are you more likely to get bitten by a shark or become a professional athlete than hit the jackpot?

The Dallas Morning News, March 26, 2019




Wealthy Southlake couple kept child from Africa as slave for 16 years, authorities say

A girl brought to Texas from a West African village as a child spent 16 years working in forced servitude for a well-off Southlake couple who abused her, kept her from attending school and didn’t once celebrate her birthday, authorities say.

Mohamed Toure and Denise Florence Cros-Toure of Southlake, both 57, each face a federal charge of forced labor. 

A lawyer for the couple, Scott H. Palmer, said in a statement Friday that the criminal complaint against his clients “is riddled with salacious allegations, fabrications and lies.”

Authorities began investigating in 2016 after the victim fled the home on Briarridge Drive with two bags of her belongings.

The Dallas Morning News, April 27, 2018




After learning her support hamster couldn’t fly, Texas State student flushed it

A Texas State University student flying home last fall to have a benign — but painful — growth removed from her neck brought some emotional support along with her: a dwarf hamster named Pebbles.

When 21-year-old Belen Aldecosea made her reservation, a Spirit Airlines employee told her Pebbles could fly in the cabin with her. But when she got to Baltimore’s airport, she was told otherwise, the Miami Herald reports.

A Spirit employee, Aldecosea claims, told her that her hamster would either need to be be set free outside or flushed down an airport toilet if she planned to fly to Miami that day.

After hours trying to figure out an alternative, Aldecosea ran out of options. Pebbles’ life ended in a bathroom stall.

The Dallas Morning News, Feb. 8, 2018




8 dead, 1 wounded in shooting at Plano home; gunman killed by police

Eight people were fatally shot at a Plano home Sunday evening, and their attacker was killed by a police officer.

Authorities were called to the home about 8 p.m. after gunshots were reported.

A nearby officer responded and heard more gunfire as he arrived.

“He made entry, and that’s when he observed several victims inside and then engaged the suspect,” said Officer David Tilley, a police spokesman.

“I’ve been here all my life,” Tilley said. “I’ve never heard of anything like this.”

The Dallas Morning News, Sept. 11, 2017 (with Julieta Chiquillo and Valerie Wigglesworth) 




Couple who call themselves ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ arrested in broad-daylight slaying in east Oak Cliff

Dallas police have arrested two people who they say boasted about shooting someone in a Facebook video that was published just after the slaying of a 19-year-old man in east Oak Cliff last week.

Hakeem Leprince Griffin-White, 17, and Ashley Ann Coleman, 27, were taken into custody Sunday, police said. Each has been charged with one count of murder.

In Facebook posts Friday, Coleman and Griffin-White both denied having any involvement with the slaying. “I’m far from a murderer,” Coleman wrote, adding a crying emoji.

Coleman had posted a photo of the pair, who appear to be in a relationship, on Instagram last week. In the picture, she’s cradling a rifle while Griffin-White, who holds a handgun, embraces her.

“I’m his Bonnie he my Clyde,” the caption reads.

The Dallas Morning News, March 7, 2017




As a haboob rolled through Lubbock, another storm brewed on Facebook over name

Some Texans have kicked up a storm after the National Weather Service’s Lubbock station posted on Facebook about a wall of dust that was approaching the city.

“A Haboob is rapidly approaching the Lubbock airport,” the NWS posted Sunday evening.

As The Washington Post points out, some commenters took issue with the use of a meteorological term that has Arabic roots.

But among the bless-your-hearts and replies telling the haboob-haters to go pound sand, some folks explained that the weather service was indeed using the appropriate word.

The Dallas Morning News, May 31, 2016




Report: ‘American Sniper’ Chris Kyle overstated military medal record

Navy SEAL Chris Kyle is remembered as a man who served his country with distinction for more than a decade.

The deadliest sniper in U.S. military history was deployed four times to Iraq, and his best-selling autobiography, American Sniper — which detailed harrowing firefights on some of the war’s most dangerous battlefields — was adapted into the top box-office movie of 2014.

But a new report by The Intercept claims that Kyle overstated his medal count.

Kyle and a friend, Chad Littlefield, were murdered at an Erath County gun range three years ago. Eddie Ray Routh, a soldier recovering from post-traumatic stress disorder who had accompanied the pair to the gun range, was convicted of the murders and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The Dallas Morning News, May 25, 2016