Burnet County Texas news

Mon
02
Jan

Sunday, a grand swearing-in day

Glynis Crawford Smith/The Highlander

Newly elected officials at the annual ceremonial oath of office event at the Burnet County Courthouse Sunday, Jan. 1, are Precinct 1 Constable Leslie Ray, Precinct 4 Constable Missy Bindseil, Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Debbie Bindseil, Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Roxanne Nelson, Burnet County Sheriff Calvin Boyd, Texas House District 20 Representative Terry Wilson, Precinct 3 Commissioner Billy Wall and Precinct 1 Commissioner Jim Luther, Jr.

By Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

A standing room only crowd filled the Burnet County Courthouse Sunday, Jan. 1, for the New Year's Day ceremonial oaths of office for elected and appointed officials.

The new Texas House District 20 Representative, Terry Wilson, was on hand to congratulate the local officials. The Marble Falls resident, who won his spot to replace Marsha Farney in the Republican Primary, will be sworn in officially at the Capitol on Jan. 10.

No only elected officials were included. Almost the entire contingent of Burnet County Sheriff's Department deputies came forward to be sworn by new Sheriff Calvin Boyd.

Thu
29
Dec

Local officials take oaths of office Jan. 1

See the photos at The Highlander facebook page: http://bit.ly/1MZW51U

By Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

The public is invited to the ceremonial administration of the oath of office to Burnet County officials at 10:30 a.m. New Year's Day at the Burnet County Courthouse and to a 10 a.m. coffee reception that will begin at 10 a.m.

Each office holder will be sworn in, individually, by an official of choice; many by Burnet County Judge James Oakley.

Tue
27
Dec

Obama commutes sentence of Burnet County man

President Barack Obama has commuted the sentences of more individuals than the past seven presidents combined, calling it commitment to reforming the criminal justice system in a 'Nation of Second Chances.'

By Lew K. Cohn

Managing Editor

The Highlander

A Burnet County man is among those who have received a commutation of sentence from President Barack Obama as the final days of the Obama administration wind down.

Larry Dwayne Hill, 42, of Granite Shoals was originally sentenced to 262 months imprisonment and five years supervised release when convicted Feb. 2, 2007, of aiding and abetting to conspire to possess with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine, aiding and abetting the possession with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine and two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Under the commutation granted Dec. 19 by the president, Hill's prison term is set to expire on Dec. 19, 2018, provided he enrolls in a residential drug treatment program.

Mon
19
Dec

Boyd announces new chief deputy

Glynis Crawford Smith/The Highlander

In front of the Burnet County Law Enforcement Center Monday, Dec. 19, Burnet County Sheirff-elect Calvin Boyd is joined by his command officers for the announcement of new Chief Deputy Mike Cummings. Pictured, from left, are Capt. Ricky Bindseil, incoming Administrative Capt. Chris Jett, incoming Sheriff Boyd, incoming Chief Deputy Cummings and CID/SOU Capt. Dwight Hardin. Not pictured is Burnet County Jail Capt. Matt Kimbler.

By Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

Burnet County Sheriff-elect Calvin Boyd introduced his choice for a new chief deputy Monday, Dec. 19, introducing Mike Cummings of Houston at a morning press conference.

“Mike Cummings has a great resume and he is going to be really good for the Sheriff's Office,” said Boyd. “There is a lot of excitement in the Sheriff's Office.”

Boyd, who won his post handily in the Republican Primary, will quietly take the oath of office at midnight on New Year's Eve to step into the shoes of retiring Burnet County Sheriff W.T. Smith.

He went on to enumerate the chain of command reporting to Cummings: Chris Jett, as the new administrative captain; Capt. Ricky Bindseil, continuing as patrol captain; Capt. Dwight Hardin, in charge of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Special Operations Unit (SOU), and Capt. Matt Kimbler, in charge of the Burnet County Jail.

Thu
15
Dec

Bindseil succeeds Jett in Precinct 4

Frank Shubert/The Highlander Publisher

Burnet County Commissioners appoint Millicent “Missy” Bindseil, second from left, to replace Chris Jett as Precinct 4 Constable. Jett resigned his office in November to become administrative captain with the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office. From left are Burnet County Judge James Oakley, Missy Bindseil, Precinct 2 Commissioner Russell Graeter, Precinct 3 Commissioner Ronny Hibler, Precinct 1 Commissioner Bill Neve, Jett, Burnet County Sheriff Patrol Captain Ricky Bindseil and Precinct 4 Commissioner Joe Don Dockery.

By Frank Shubert

The Highlander Publisher

Burnet County Commissioners Court met in regular session on Tuesday, Dec 13. Among the first items of business included action on replacing Burnet County Precinct 4 Constable Chris Jett with Millicent “Missy” Bindseil.

Jett resigned his office in November to accept the position of Administrative Captain with the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office.

“My command staff position is responsible for developing a new policies manual, evaluating and helping implement new technology,” said Jett “I will also also be responsible for dispatch, court security, warrants and bonds, and civil process.”

The Court expressed their appreciation for Jett’s service.

“You’ve been an outstanding constable,” said Precinct 1 Commissioner Bill Neve.

Wed
14
Dec

Ballard trial: guilty, life without parole

By Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

Garrett James Ballard was found guilty on two counts of capital murder and sentenced to life without parole on Monday, Dec. 12, in the 33rd District Court of Judge Allan Garrett.

He was charged in the shooting of two close friends, Elijah “Eli” Adam Benson, a 17-year-old Burnet High School student, and Travis Leslie Fox, a 26-year-old Burnet High School graduate.

After a week of testimony, the jury was out just over half an hour from deliberation to verdict, 2:10 p.m. -2:45 p.m.

“Once found guilty of capital murder, when the state does not seek the death penalty, life with no possibility of parole is the automatic sentence,” said District Attorney Sonny McAfee.

The decision not seek the death penalty in this case was made in cooperation with the victims' families from the outset.

Fri
09
Dec

Belton woman jailed for intoxication manslaughter

Candice Rae Buckley

By Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

Candice Rae Buckley, 26, of Belton was confined in the Burnet County Jail Tuesday, Dec. 6, on charges of intoxication assault and homicide with a vehicle, apparently in connection with the Sept. 3 four-car fatality accident on U.S. 281 north of Burnet.

The accident occurred not long after 9 a.m. that Saturday morning.

Roselee Rodriguez, 26, and her seven-year-old son, West Adair Jr., of San Antonio died when they were thrown from their 2003 Ford Expedition in a head-on collision with a northbound auto forced into her path by a 1998 Lexus, driven by by Buckley. The victim's three-year-old son, Isreal Rodriguez, survived the crash after being treated at Dell Children's Medical Center in Austin.

Fri
02
Dec

Trial set for Ballard capital murder case

Garrett James Ballard

By Alexandria Randolph

The Highlander

Garrett James Ballard will go to the 33rd District Court Monday to face trial in the fatal shooting of his two friends just over two years ago.

The plea deadline for Ballard, a 23-year-old Burnet County man who was indicted on a capital murder of multiple persons charge in Nov. 6, 2014, was at 1:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 29.

District Attorney Sonny McAfee said Ballard pled not guilty in an arraigment hearing early on in the court proceedings. Ballard's trial is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 5.

“I expect it will take all week,” McAfee said regarding the trial, but could not comment further about potential tactics taken by the defense, namely local attorney Eddie Shell.

It is possible the defense will argue on grounds of diminished capacity, meaning that Ballard could receive a lesser sentence due to his admitted hallucinogen induced delusion during the time of the killings.

Wed
23
Nov

Craddock Field rededicated on 55th anniversary

Glynis Crawford Smith/The Highlander
Community members, City of Burnet and Burnet County officials gather with representatives of the Commemorative Air Force, Texas Department of Transportation,and Federal Aviation Administration at Burnet Municipal Airport for the rededication and ribbon cutting of Kate Craddock Field. The ceremony was the culmination of months of construction and restoration of the airport on US 281 in Burnet.

Alexandria Randolph
Highland Lakes Newspapers

Tue
15
Nov

Car fire corpse still unidentified

By Alexandria Randolph

Highland Lakes Newspapers

Burnet County officials are still waiting to get DNA results back on a body that was found burned in a mysterious car fire on June 20.

The vehicle, believed to be a Kia Soul, was discovered off the road next to the southbound lane in the 3800 block of County Road 202 on that Monday evening. A deceased man was inside.

The man was burned so extensively that authorities were at first uncertain of the gender, and sent the body to the Travis County Medical Examiners Office for an autopsy and DNA test to identify him.

However, Burnet County Chief Sheriff's Deputy Joey Canady said in June he didn't feel foul play was involved.

“It could be six months before we know anything,” said Lisa Whitehead, Justice of the Peace for Precinct 2, in which the body was discovered. “That's just how long these DNA tests take.”

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