NEW AND UPDATED THIS DIGEST:
— Texas Execution.
— Target Breach-Tracking the Data.
— Supreme Court-Child Porn-Paying Victims.
— Texas-School Finance Trial.
— NYC Family Fatally Stabbed.
— Transporting Immigrants.
— Hammer Death-Sentence.
HUNTSVILLE, Texas — A Mexican national moved a step closer to lethal injection Wednesday when a federal appeals court rejected a claim that he was mentally impaired and ineligible to be put to death for the fatal shooting of a Houston police officer 20 years ago. Texas officials opposed appeals to stop the scheduled lethal injection of Edgar Tamayo, 46, for killing Officer Guy Gaddis, 24, despite pleas and diplomatic pressure from the Mexican government and the U.S. State Department. By Michael Graczyk. SENT: 830 words, photos. UPCOMING: 850 words, developing from execution scheduled for after 6 p.m. CST, photos.
LUNGS FOR TWO SISTERS
HOUSTON — They quibble, joke and share knowing looks, finishing each other's thoughts and making snide comments — like many sisters. But a recent heated argument was unlike any other they've had, and it ended in a most surprising way. For months, 71-year-old Irma Myers-Santana and her younger sister, Anna Williamson, 69, had been debating who more urgently needed a lung transplant, each wanting the other to go first. Earlier this month, though, the sisters ended up in the same operating room, each getting one lung from the same donor in what doctors at Houston Methodist Hospital say is a first for their facility. By Ramit Plushnick-Masti. SENT: 650 words, photos.
AROUND THE STATE:
HOUSTON — A Canadian company on Wednesday started delivering oil through the Texas portion of a proposed cross-border pipeline that has stirred controversy and tension between the United States and its northern neighbor. TransCanada began delivering oil from a hub in Cushing, Okla., to customers in Nederland, Texas, early Wednesday, Alex Pourbaix, president of energy and oil pipelines, said at a news conference. The company expects to complete a smaller pipeline that will transport oil from Nederland to refineries near Houston later this year. By Ramit Plushnick-Masti. SENT: 630 words, photos.
TARGET BREACH-TRACKING THE DATA
NEW YORK — The hackers behind the recent Target data breach are likely a world away and nearly impossible to find. That's the consensus among outside cybercrime experts as Target, the Secret Service and the FBI continue their investigation of the pre-Christmas data heist in which hackers stole about 40 million debit and credit card numbers and also took personal information — including email addresses, phone numbers, names and home addresses — for another 70 million people. Debit and credit card numbers of Target customers from South Texas turned up in the arrest of a pair of Mexican citizens at the U.S.-Mexico border earlier this week. By Technology Writer Bree Fowler. SENT: 810 words, photos.
SUPREME COURT-CHILD PORN-PAYING VICTIMS
WASHINGTON — Supreme Court justices expressed compassion for a woman raped as a child as they struggled with how much money should be paid to her by a Texas man convicted of possessing pornographic images of the abuse that have spread among thousands of online viewers. By Mark Sherman. SENT: 760 words, photos.
TOPEKA, Kan. — Opponents who have chipped away at abortion with state-level restrictions are facing a dilemma in some of the places where they have been most successful: Do they continue with that approach or seek more dramatic policies that risk court rulings that could undo previous gains? For the last several decades, anti-abortion groups have focused on putting relatively small limits on the procedure state by state, especially in conservative places with Republican-dominated legislatures. Those efforts intensified in 2011 after the GOP made major election gains in state capitols across the country. By John Hanna and David Crary. SENT: 950 words, photos.
DALLAS — Former Dallas Cowboys player Josh Brent was convicted of intoxication manslaughter Wednesday for a fiery wreck that killed his teammate and close friend, Jerry Brown. He faces up to 20 years in prison for a December 2012 wreck after a night of partying with fellow Cowboys players. He could also get probation. By Nomaan Merchant. SENT: 690 words, photos. Moving on general news and financial lines.
TEXAS-SCHOOL FINANCE TRIAL
AUSTIN, Texas — A top expert on Texas school finance testified Wednesday that funding for public education remains inadequate and too inefficiently distributed to meet tough curriculum standards set by Texas lawmakers, even though statewide high school graduation rates have improved. SENT: 510 words.
AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas has named a dean for its Dell Medical School, which is the first medical school opened by a tier-one university in decades, according to the Austin American-Statesman. SENT: 460 words.
NYC FAMILY FATALLY STABBED
NEW YORK — A man angry about photos showing his wife with another man stabbed her to death and then hugged and kissed his two young daughters before setting them down on their bed and killing them too, prosecutors said Wednesday. Miguel Mejia-Ramos was arrested earlier this week in Texas after authorities tracked his cellphone. On Wednesday, he agreed to return to New York, and Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said he was expected in court Friday to face murder charges. By Colleen Long. SENT: 440 words, photos.
GULF OIL SPILL-DELETED TEXTS
NEW ORLEANS — Lawyers for a former BP engineer convicted of trying to obstruct a probe of the company's 2010 Gulf oil spill plan to seek the disqualification of the federal judge who presided over their client's trial last month. In an order, U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. says he received correspondence Tuesday in which Kurt Mix's attorneys argue for the first time that he must disqualify himself from the case because a spill-related civil claim had been filed on his behalf last year. By Michael Kunzelman. SENT: 580 words.
JACKSON, Miss. — A federal appeals court has denied the appeal of a Houston woman convicted in Mississippi of harboring people suspected of being in the country illegally from China, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, India and Mexico. SENT: 250 words.
SAN ANTONIO — Before and after Nidia Yolibeth Alvarado gave birth at University Hospital on Dec. 20, she displayed many of the warning signs of a mother who might commit infanticide. Some of the red flags about Alvarado — hiding the pregnancy from relatives, for example — weren't relayed to the hospital, which has policies aimed at identifying and helping moms at risk of hurting their babies or themselves. By Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje. SENT: 1,000 words, photo.
— HAMMER DEATH-SENTENCE — A North Texas teenager has been sentenced to 26 years in prison for killing another teen with a hammer then stealing his car and other items. SENT: 130 words.
— BRAIN DEAD-PREGNANCY — A different judge will consider a North Texas man's request to remove his pregnant, brain-dead wife from life support at a hospital. SENT: 130 words.
— BASIC TRAINING DORMITORY-BATS — Experts say a bat caught inside an Air Force basic training dormitory in South Texas has tested negative for rabies. SENT: 130 words.
— BEAUMONT-COUPLE DEAD — Authorities have ruled the deaths of a couple at their Southeast Texas home a murder-suicide. SENT: 130 words.
— AQUARIUM-WALRUS CALF — A beloved orphaned walrus calf has been moved to Texas while the New York Aquarium undergoes a 2-year renovation. SENT: 130 words.
— BOOKS-3-D GUN DESIGNER — A self-described crypto-anarchist known for designing a 3-D printed weapon has a book deal. SENT: 130 words.
— PLANE-LOST PROPELLER — No propeller, no problem for a veteran North Texas pilot who safely glided and landed his single-engine plane at a former horse racing track. SENT: 130 words.
— INFANT REMAINS FOUND — Skeletal remains of two infants found in a deceased Ohio woman's mobile home have been sent to the University of North Texas for analysis. SENT: 130 words.
— GRAND PRAIRIE-SMOKING BAN — Leaders of a Dallas-area city have voted to ban smoking in most public places amid health concerns. SENT: 130 words.
— BODY-FIELD — A man has been found dead in a Central Texas field and investigators are trying to determine his identity. SENT: 130 words.
— REPEAT BANK ROBBER — Investigators are looking for a woman who allegedly robbed the same Houston-area bank twice this month and said "I'm back" during the latest heist. SENT: 130 words.
— HEALTH CARE-EXECUTIVE-FRAUD — An ex-treasurer of a Houston-based health care firm has been accused of embezzling nearly $3 million for gambling and buying a home. SENT: 130 words.
— PAROLE OFFICER-BRIBERY — A Texas prison system parole officer has been sentenced to 18 months behind bars for accepting bribes from ex-inmates in drug cases in exchange for lax oversight. SENT: 130 words.
— INFANT DEATH-MOTHER — An East Texas woman has been sentenced to life in prison for the death of her 5-month-old daughter who was beaten, bitten and smothered. SENT: 130 words.
— DEADLY HOUSE EXPLOSION — Investigators have blamed a deadly East Texas house explosion on a propane gas line accident. SENT: 130 words.
— DETROIT EX-MAYOR — Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has been transferred to a federal prison in Oklahoma as he serves his prison term in a corruption case. SENT: 130 words.
— CRAIGSLIST-COUNTERFEIT CASH — Three people have been arrested and more suspects are sought in a Central Texas scam involving items on Craigslist purchased with counterfeit cash. SENT: 130 words.
— JOPLIN-INDEPENDENT BASEBALL — Independent baseball is a step closer to moving to Joplin, after the city council approved a lease agreement for the stadium that would house a team that once played in El Paso, Texas. SENT: 130 words.
BUSINESS LOAN LAWSUIT
BUTTE, Mont. — A Montana jury has awarded an office supply manufacturer $52 million in its lawsuit against its former bank. Masters Group International Inc. sued Dallas-based Comerica Inc. after the bank reneged on a November 2008 agreement to delay collection of a $10.5 million line of credit while Masters negotiated another credit line. The planned February 2009 switch to Wells Fargo required that Masters not be in default with Comerica. SENT: 300 words.
— BANCORPSOUTH ACQUISITION — Mississippi's BancorpSouth will acquire Central Community Corp., the parent of Austin-based First State Bank Central Texas, pushing the bank much deeper into the competitive Texas banking market.
NORMAN, Okla. — No. 25 Oklahoma, coming off a road win against Baylor, hopes to avoid a slip-up against Texas Christian. By Cliff Brunt. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Game starts at 8 p.m. CT.
— FBO--VINCE YOUNG-ASSETS — Former NFL and University of Texas quarterback Vince Young has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. SENT: 130 words.
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