Brownwood Man Charged in Sunday Afternoon Murder

ZarateMichaelAccording to Brownwood Police, 31-year-old Michael Zarate has been charged with the murder of 34-yr-old Ernesto Gonzales, Jr. of Brownwood.

Brownwood Police department gave the following details of the arrest:

The Brownwood Police Department Criminal Investigative Division continues to actively investigate the shooting death of 34-year-old Ernesto Gonzales, Jr.  On this date, more witness statements and store surveillance videos were gathered which led to the recovery of a weapon detectives believe was used in this shooting.

Upon review of all this information, detectives were able to secure an arrest warrant for 31-year-old Michael John Zarate of Brownwood.  Mr. Zarate was located at the Brown County Jail where he was being held since Monday on an unrelated offense.  The warrants stemming from this shooting incident were for Murder and Tampering with/or Fabricating Physical Evidence.

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Felony Offenders Sentenced in District Court

BrownCountyDistrictCourtLogoDistrict Attorney Micheal Murray reports that several felony cases were heard in Brown/Mills County District Court, Judge Stephen Ellis presiding.

Dale Wayne Holleman pled guilty to the felony offense of Driving While Intoxicated and was sentenced to 40 years, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Institutional Division.

Anna Teresa Castillo pled guilty to the felony offense of Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver and was sentenced to 40 years Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Institutional Division and pled guilty to the felony offense of Tampering or Fabricating Physical Evidence and was sentenced to 10 years, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Institutional Division.

Stacy Allen Darnell pled no contest to the felony offense of Possession of a Controlled Substance – Drug Free Zone and was sentenced to 30 years, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Institutional Division.

Kenny Slaughter pled guilty to the felony offenses of Burglary of a Habitation and was sentenced to 30 years, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Institutional Division in each case.  Further, Slaughter pled guilty to the felony offenses of Possession of a Controlled Substance and Burglary of a Building and was sentenced to 10 years, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Institutional Division in each case.

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Rain Wednesday Results in Three Accidents


Brown County emergency responders were kept busy Wednesday with three accidents throughout the county, including two rollovers, by 1:00 p.m.

The first accident was a half mile north of May where an older male's vehicle ran off of the roadway at approximately 7:45 a.m. Wednesday morning.  According to emergency responders the driver suffered what appeared to be non-life threatening injuries and was transported to Brownwood Regional Medical Center.  May Volunteer Fire Department, EMS, Brown County Sheriff’s Office and Texas DPS responded to that accident scene.

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Texas Voters Send Clear Message in Support of Transportation Funding

TxDotlogoVoters in Texas yesterday sent a clear message that road improvements are very important for economic development, safety and quality of life. By voting in support of Proposition 1, voters decided that a portion of oil and gas tax revenues should be deposited into the State Highway Fund.

Now that voters have spoken, the Legislature will take the necessary steps to determine the amount of funding that will be deposited into the State Highway Fund, before then appropriating those funds to TxDOT. Additional roadway funding will be used to address congestion, maintain the state’s system in a safe manner and repair roads affected by activity in the energy sector. According to the law, none of the funds from oil and gas severance tax revenues that are deposited to the State Highway Fund can or will be used on toll roads.

The approval of Proposition 1 is great news for Texas said TxDOT Executive Director LtGen Joe Weber, USMC(Ret), “This is a good first step toward finding sustainable funding to meet Texas’ transportation needs. The overwhelming support for this measure is a strong statement from the citizens of Texas that transportation is an essential priority.”

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Over 65 County Tax Exemption Passes Overwhelmingly

votebuttonBrown County voters approved an exemption for local seniors (65 and over) to cap the value of their homestead property (create a tax freeze) on county property taxes in Tuesday’s election.

The tax freeze was approved with an overwhelming 95.20% of the vote in favor (7,371 votes) while only 4.80% voted against (372 votes.)

A petition with 1156 signatures which represented 5% of the registered voters in Brown County was initially required to get the exemption on the ballot. A local group of 65 and older citizens organized the petition to get the item on the ballot in Brown County.

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Brookesmith, Zephyr and May ISD School Board Trustee Election Results

votebuttonThree area school districts held school board trustee elections on Tuesday including Brookesmith, Zephyr and May ISDs .

Each district had multiple candidates, but only the top 3 in Brookesmith and Zephyr were elected to those seats with the top 4 in May.

Results for each district are below.  All results are final, but considered unofficial until canvassed:

Board of Trustees Brookesmith ISD
-Top 3 elected

David Crysler - 134 votes - 29.78%
Rebecca Newsom Seamans - 126 votes - 28.00%
Tony Nelson – 104 votes - 23.11%
Julie L. Allgood - 86 votes - 19.11%

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Law Enforcement Blotter 11/4

LECSmLaw enforcement arrests and reports released Tuesday, November 4, 2014.

Monday, November 3

*11:21 AM -   Brownwood Police were called to the 100 block of N. Main Street regarding theft.  According to the report, the owner advised that property had been stolen from outside of the business over the weekend.  Further investigation is pending, the report states.

*Brown County Sheriff’s deputies and investigators served a search warrant on a home for four wanted individuals Monday afternoon.  According to BCSO officials, 27-year-old Delories Berry Barnett of Brownwood, 38-year-old Roger Lynn Camp of Bangs, 36-year-old Jessie Wayne Crouch II of Brownwood, and 34-year-old Sunshine Sliger Dudley of Blanket were arrested on drug related charges as a result of the warrant service.  Barnett and Camp were each arrested on charges of manufacture delivery of a controlled substance penalty group 1 equal or greater than 1 gram less than 4 grams in a drug free zone.  Crouch and Dudley were each arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance penalty group 1 less than 1 gram in a drug free zone.

*9:04 PM – Brownwood Police were dispatched to the 700 block of Penn Street regarding a domestic disturbance.  The incident is pending further investigation, the report states.

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Roadway to be Dedicated Saturday in Memory of First Brownwood Citizen Lost as Vietnam War Casualty

CityofBrownwoodlogo_smallA ceremony dedicating a section of West Austin Avenue as a memorial street will be held at 8:15 AM on Saturday, November 8th at the corner of Booker and West Austin by the Central Fire Station parking lot.

This portion of West Austin will honor the memory of Corporal Eddie Lee Ephraim, the first Brownwood citizen lost as a combat casualty in the Vietnam War.  The ceremony comes forty-six years after his death, as the Brownwood City Council unanimously approved the Ephraim family’s request to publically recognize the service and memory of Ephraim in August of this year.

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Brownwood Fire Department - Fire & Rescue Reports 11/4

BFDlogoSmallReports released for the period of October 27-November 2, 2014 from the Brownwood Fire Department include 23 medical emergencies, 1 fire call, 4 motor vehicle, 1 agency assist, and 2 hazardous materials calls.

Reports of interest that the Brownwood Fire Department responded to include:

Monday, October 27

*6:33 PM – BFD responded to a two-vehicle accident in the 200 block of South US Highway 377.  Firefighters arrived on scene to find a driver still inside one of the vehicles.  Firefighters assisted EMS with packaging and loading the patient for transport.

Thursday, October 30

*3:40 PM – BFD responded to a two-vehicle accident in the 800 block of Commerce.  Firefighters assisted EMS with packaging and loading of patient.

Friday, October 31

*12:30 AM – BFD was dispatched to a one vehicle accident in the 400 block of Commerce.  Fire crews arrived on scene to find a vehicle crashed and partially inside the lobby of the motel.  EMS transported one patient and police took one of the vehicle’s occupants into custody.

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Mullins Appointed Constable Precinct 1


The Brown County Commissioners Court voted unanimously to appoint Robert Mullins as Precinct 1 Constable during their regular meeting Monday morning. Mullins, a retired police officer, will fill the unexpired term of Bob Beadel, who retired last week. In recommending Mullins to the post, Precinct 1 Commissioner Gary Worley said that the court had received numerous applications, and a committee of himself, County Judge Ray West, and Pct. 1 Justice of the Peace Walter B. Croft interviewed three candidates and agreed to recommend Mullins to replace Beadel as Precinct 1 Constable.

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