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Westfall family members bonds increased to $2 million

by Emily Waldrep

District Judge Delinda Gibbs Walker increased the bond of the members of the Westfall Family, who are suspects in the 2014 murder of Nathan and Krystal Maddox. Their bond has increased to $2 million on Paul, Letha, and Kristen Westfall. The three are accused of capital murder in the deaths of Nathan & Krystal Maddox, outside of the Mt Carmel Baptist Church, just east of Colmesneil.

The three originally had $1 million dollar bonds after they were indicted by the Tyler County Grand Jury on charges of engaging in organized criminal activity. However, that same grand jury recently indicted the trio on capital murder charges, prompting the bond increase.

New information in the indictment states that Paul and Letha's son, Cameron Westfall, hid a shotgun, rifle, duct tape, shotgun shells, rifle cartridges, and gloves while the investigation was underway. It was also learned that Cameron led investigators to the items and they were found in a pond on or near the Westfall property.

Cameron Westfall is charged with engaging in organized criminal activity, and two counts of tampering with evidence.
A pre-trial hearing has been set for Thursday, May 12, and the trial has been set to begin on Monday, August 8 in the District Courtroom of the Tyler County Courthouse.

The Texas Attorney General's Office has stepped in as special prosecutors in the case. Cameron Westfall is represented by Russell Wright; Kristen Westfall is represented by Christine Brown Zeto; Letha Westfall is represented by Johnathon Stovall; and Lloyd Westfall is represented by Timothy McDonough.

Primary Election 2016 Results

Super Tuesday 2016 is over, and Tyler County voters have favored all the incumbents in the Tyler County Republican Primary election. There were no Democratic Party candidates for any of the four County races this year, so all winners will likely run unopposed in November.

In the Precinct 3 Commissioner race, Incumbent Michael "Mike" Marshall polled 790 votes to Billy Hawthorne's 236.

The Constable, Precinct 2 race ended with Incumbent John A. Fuller at 559 votes to opponent Scott Yosko's 462.

Constable Precinct 3 is the position vacated by Wade Skinner. Tony Reynolds polled the most votes at 543, followed by Elbert "Bubba Sheffield" at 396 and John David Risinger with 135.

In the Constable, Precinct 4 race, Incumbent Jim Zachary drew 584 votes to challenger Anthony Ross' 326.
Tyler County Sheriff, Tax Assessor-Collector, County Commissioner Precinct 1 and Constable Precinct 1 positions were unopposed.

A total of 4,948 votes were cast in the county, 4,323 in the Republican Primary and 625 in the Democratic.

In the Presidential race, Ted Cruz drew 2,032 county votes, Donald Trump 1,537 and Marco Rubio 346.

In the Democratic Presidential race, Hillary Clinton drew 453 votes to Bernie Sanders' 139.

Proposition 1: Yes - 2,661 No - 1,168
Proposition 2: Yes - 2,090 No - 1,812
Proposition 3: Yes - 3,110 No - 730
Proposition 4: Yes - 3,640 No - 172

Referenda #1 (For - 481, Against - 68), #2 (For - 485, Against - 58), #3 (For - 455, Against - 77), #4 (For - 448, Against - 77), #5 (For - 379, Against - 168), #6 (For - 408, Against - 133)

Despite 'Open Carry' law, weapons are still prohibited at polling locations

Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford places a "Weapons Prohibited" sign at Tyler County Nutrition Center (Jim Powers Photo)Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford places a "Weapons Prohibited" sign at Tyler County Nutrition Center (Jim Powers Photo)

Election Administrator/County Clerk, Donece Gregory, wishes to advise all voters that no changes in the law has been made regarding the possession of weapons at poling locations. Citizens may believe that the Texas open carry law which went into effect January 1st allows them the right to do so at voting locations. Federal law prohibits all weapons from being brought by voters or workers into such premises. Signage will be displayed at all voting locations as required by law. Questions regarding this matter may be directed to Tyler County Clerk's office 283-2281.

Chamber names Gardner Oil, Inc. 'Business of the Year'

Tyler County Chamber Business of the Year

Tyler County Chamber of Commerce held its 69th Annual Awards Banquet February 11 and named Gardner Oil, Inc. "Business of the Year" for 2016. Other awards presented during the event included Teachers of the Year representing the five county school districts, Small Business of the Year, Lifetime Achievement Award, Quality of Life Award and Citizen of the Year.  You can watch video from the Banquet at https://youtu.be/JMzL1o1gLWc  . (Jim Powers Photo/Booster)

Two die Friday in fiery Zavalla collision

TxDOT PhotoTxDOT Photo

by Emily Waldrep

Two men died in a tanker truck accident in Zavalla early Friday morning, and photos from the wreck are bringing peace and comfort to people who have seen it.

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, one of the drivers crossed the center line which resulted in the tragic accident and closed down Highway 69 for most of the day.

According to DPS, Eugenio Salazar Juarez, age 30 of Fort Worth, was travelling north bound in a pickup truck when he crossed into the southbound lane and collided head-on with a 2012 Peterbuilt truck, driven by Robert Jones, 58, of Lufkin.

Both vehicles burst into flames, and Colmesneil Volunteer Fire Department responded to the call. Both men died in the wreck.
A photo of the wreck, taken by TxDOT, began circulating Facebook and many said that they could see the image of a man leading two other figures out of the fire. Many have said it has brought them some sort of peace about the terrible tragedy.