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updated 4:23 AM UTC, Aug 19, 2019

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Spurger man dead following alleged stabbing

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SPURGER – A man is in jail facing a first-degree murder charge and his grandfather dead from a stabbing following an incident in Spurger yesterday. 

Sims MugOn Saturday, August 17, at approximately 8 p.m., Deputies with the Tyler County Sheriff's Office responded to a residence in the Spurger area in reference to stabbing. Deputies were advised the victim, identified by the caller as Ernest Sims, was being transported to the hospital by personal vehicle. The caller advised it was unknown if the actor, Robert Sims, age 19 of Spurger, the victim’s grandson, was still on scene.

Deputies arrived and secured the scene, locating Robert Sims at a nearby residence. Sims was detained pending the investigation and appeared to deputies to be under the influence of alcohol.

Investigators responded to the scene and spoke with witnesses. It was determined Robert Sims had left the residence after being in a physical altercation with his brother, which their grandfather intervened. Robert Sims returned to the residence a short time later and attacked his grandfather with a knife.

Ernest Sims suffered multiple stab wounds to his upper torso and neck and was in critical condition upon arrival at the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.­

Robert Sims was placed under arrest and charged with First Degree Murder. He is currently in the Tyler County Jail with a bond set at $200,000 by Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Jim Moore.

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Drugs, possible counterfeit bill discovered during stop

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By Chris Edwards
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WARREN – Investigators recently confiscated a small amount of drugs and a bill, possibly of counterfeit origin, during a traffic stop in the Warren area.

According to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, narcotics investigators from Tyler and Hardin counties were working together in the area when they conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle they had observed travelling along FM 1943 East.

The driver of the vehicle, identified as Dresden Jamor Chatman, a 26-year-old Warren man, was accompanied by a passenger, identified as Kas Aaron Shird, 31, of Woodville. When investigators searched the vehicle, they found a small baggie contining a crystal-like substance and a $100 bill, which Weatherford said was possibly counterfeit. “The investigators are currently working with the Secret Service to determine the authenticity and origin of the $100 bill,” Weatherford said.

In Texas, forgery of money is a third-degree felony and can carry a sentence of between two and 10 years in prison.

Chatman and Shird were taken into custody and booked into the Tyler County Jail. Chatman is charged with possession of a controlled substance, penalty group 1 (>=1 gram but <4 grams). The amount of the substance found during the search, which tested positive as methamphetamine, weighed 2.1 grams. He is out of jail after posting a $15,000 bond.

Shird, who is charged with failure to appear warrants issued by Tyler County from previous evading arrest/detention, possession of marijuana and disregard stop sign charges, remains in the jail.

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Jury hands down 15 year sentence for meth

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By Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – A jury handed down a stiff sentence to a Chester woman last Wednesday for a methamphetamine charge.

Thirty-nine-year-old Kaylee Toler, of Chester, was sentenced to 15 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for the charge of delivery of meth. During the trial, the jury heard testimony from Precinct 2 Constable John Fuller, who arrested Toler last October. Fuller arrested Toler after obtaining a probable cause warrant for her arrest that she had sold approximately 3.5 grams of meth, a quantity known as an “eightball.”

During Toler’s trial, Tyler County District Attorney Lucas Babin and Assistant DA Pat “Hawk” Hardy presented numerous exhibits to the jury that indicated Toler continued to sell meth while she was free on bond following the October arrest. Babin said Toler had no prior felony convictions.

Along with Fuller’s testimony, the jury also heard from Adam Park, a special agent with the Texas Department of Public Safety and Tyler County Sheriff’s Office investigators Casey Whitworth and Brian Seales.

The 15-year sentence given to Toler is the second lengthy punishment handed down by a Tyler County jury in less than a month. In July, Christopher Tubb, a 47-year-old Woodville man, was sentenced to 17 years in prison for meth possession. Babin said that such sentences send a message to county residents that the county has “no tolerance for meth.”

After the trial’s conclusion, Toler was booked into the Tyler County Jail to await transfer to a TDCJ facility.

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Colmesneil man arrested for possession of child porn

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By Chris Edwards
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Sean Berridge mugCOLMESNEIL – A Colmesneil resident was arrested last Tuesday on two counts of possession of child pornography.

Sean Nicholas Berridge, 61, was taken into custody after a raid was executed on his residence under the direction of the Child Exploitation Unit (CEU), which is overseen by the office of Attorney General Ken Paxton. Paxton’s office announced Berridge’s arrest last Wednesday.

“The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) referred the case to the CEU after receiving a CyberTipline report accusing Berridge of uploaded child pornography to an online account,” a news release from Paxton’s office stated.

After obtaining and executing a search warrant of Berridge’s home, investigators found images of child pornography on his cell phone, and seized numerous digital storage devices, which will be examined by the AG’s Digital Forensics Unit.

According to the news release, Berridge admitted to downloading, viewing and saving digital files of child pornography when he was interviewed by investigators.

Berridge is being held in the Tyler County Jail on the two counts, both third-degree felonies. In Texas, the penalties for a third-degree felony include two to 10 years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine if convicted. Under state law, anyone found guilty of possession or promotion of child pornography is required to register as a sex offender for life.

Paxton’s office, according to the release, “works to protect children by using the latest technology to track down some of the most profoundly evil predators online.”

The CEU has made 332 arrests since its inception and obtained nearly 600 convictions for possession of child pornography.

Paxton urged all parents and teachers to become aware of the risks children face online, and to take steps to help ensure their safety. If you suspect someone is producing or downloading child pornography, report it to the NCMEC.

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