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A judge has delayed next week’s scheduled execution of a man convicted of killing three teenagers while they slept in a Texas Panhandle home more than 25 years ago. Fifty-four-year-old John Balentine had been set to receive a lethal injection at the state prison in Huntsville on Feb. 8.  He was condemned for the January 1998 shooting deaths of Edward Mark Caylor, Kai Brooke Geyer and Steven Watson at a home in Amarillo. On Tuesday, state District Judge Steven Denny in Potter County withdrew Balentine’s execution date and warrant because the inmate’s attorneys had not been properly notified of the execution date and warrant outlining the lethal injection. Such notification is required under state law.  His execution has not been rescheduled.

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Officials say a second high school student has died following a shooting over the weekend at a hookah lounge in Austin, Texas, that also left three other people injured. Austin Police say 18-year-old Jaitron Tatum died Wednesday from his gunshot wounds. Tatum was one of five people shot when a gunman opened fire at the lounge on Saturday night. Brayden Bolyard, who was 17, died at the scene. Police have said a person of interest has been identified. The school district in Jarrell, located north of Austin, has said that the two teens who died were students there.

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Prosecutors say a Texas woman accused of killing a close friend in 2019 who had just given birth and abducting the baby has pleaded guilty to murder charges. Magen Fieramusca, 37, was sentenced to 55 years in prison for the death of Heidi Broussard, 33. Travis County prosecutors say Fieramusca waved her right to appeal. The conviction follows a crime in Austin, Texas, that began with the disappearance of a 3-week-old baby girl and was followed with widening interest as the investigation unfolded and police zeroed in on Fieramusca. Police say the child was later found alive at a home in the Houston area along with Broussard’s body in the trunk of Fieramusca’s car.

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The mayor of the capital of Texas is acknowledging the frustration of residents shivering for more than a day without power during a winter storm. Austin Mayor Kirk Watson says the duration of the icy storm that has plagued the area since Tuesday has made it challenging to restore power. The storm is blamed for at least 10 deaths across much of the southern U.S. A warming trend is expected to bring relief later Thursday. Then a wave of cold is forecast to target New England with the coldest weather in decades. Wind chills could plunge to 50 degrees below zero, or even lower.

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Authorities say a man who might have been experiencing a mental health crisis has been shot and injured by Texas deputies after apparently calling 911 and describing himself as a trespasser outside his home. At 12:45 a.m. on Thursday, deputies with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office were called to a home in Magnolia over two trespassers, including one armed with a gun. Sheriff’s office spokesman Steve Squier says deputies shot and wounded an armed man outside the home after he pointed his weapon at them. The man was expected to survive. Squier says a preliminary investigation shows the man who called 911 had apparently given his own description as that of the armed trespasser. The man's family, who lives in the home, was unaware he had called 911.

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Texas has executed an inmate convicted of fatally shooting a Dallas police officer nearly 16 years ago following a high-speed chase. Wesley Ruiz received a lethal injection Wednesday evening at the state penitentiary in Huntsville. His execution was carried out after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to stop it. The 43-year-old was condemned for the March 2007 killing of Dallas Police Senior Corporal Mark Nix, who Ruiz shot after a high speed chase. Authorities say Nix tried to break the passenger window of Ruiz’s vehicle after the chase ended and Ruiz shot Nix, who later died at a hospital. Ruiz was the second inmate put to death this year in Texas and the fourth in the U.S.

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