Lupe Valdez resigns, candidates scrambling to replace her as Dallas County sheriff

Lupe Valdez resigns, candidates scrambling to replace her as Dallas County sheriff

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Lupe Valdez has resigned as Dallas County sheriff and is expected to soon file a candidacy for governor.

Valdez, who has led the department since 2005, is expected to file her candidacy for governor as early as next week. When she does, Texas law requires her to step down as sheriff.

Dallas County Commissioners would pick a person to replace Valdez until a special primary and general elections to fill her unexpired term.

"We’re going to make sure the voters rights and opportunity to make selections are upheld," said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, a Democrat.

Three contenders have emerged as candidates in a presumed March Democratic Party primary election to fill the rest of Valdez’s term, which expires and the end of 2020. They are Dallas County Constable Roy Williams, Deputy Sheriff Marian Brown and Dallas lawyer Peter Schulte.

Roy Williams, Jr.

The trio of candidates were considering the top job in 2014, when Valdez considered leaving the department to challenge Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn. But she decided against the underdog campaign and the race to succeed her never materialized.

With Valdez dropping hints all over town about her intentions, candidates for sheriff are expected to line up between now and when the filing period for the March primaries end on Dec. 11. Republicans will have a primary as well, with the winners facing off in the November 2018 general election.

Williams is a former sheriff’s deputy and Dallas County constable. Brown was a pioneering law enforcement officer in Duncanville, while Schulte is a former Dallas police officer and defense attorney.


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Anthony Lynn returns to Dallas to play Cowboys 12 years after being hit by drunk driver

Anthony Lynn returns to Dallas to play Cowboys 12 years after being hit by drunk driver

This Thanksgiving, Anthony Lynn is returning to Dallas where he nearly lost his life 12 years ago because of a drunk driver. The current Chargers head coach spent two seasons a running backs coach with the Cowboys.

On The MMQB podcast with Peter King, Lynn talked about what he was grateful for this Thanksgiving: his life.

“Back in 2005 I was with the Dallas Cowboys in training camp. On the last day of camp Todd Haley, the wide receivers coach on the team, and I go out for a pizza and a pop. Walking back to the vehicle, walking across the street, I got hit by a drunk driver.”

Lynn detailed that the car was going anywhere between 55 and 60 miles per hour when he was hit, and the driver’s blood alcohol content was three times the legal limit.

“He hit me, and they said I flew 45-50 feet in the air across the street, landed on a Volkswagen, and totaled the car that I landed on.”

Lynn added, “Thank God the car was there. If I hit the concrete, maybe I wouldn’t be here today.”

He also mentioned how thankful he was for the Dallas Cowboys organization, and specifically Jerry Jones, for how they responded to the accident.

“I’ll never forget how they stepped up and helped me and my family make that time as easy and convenient as possible for us by bringing food to the house and just working with me every day and getting back to work and doing my job,” he said. “Jerry will always have a soft spot in my heart because he was there for me.”

Lynn talked about how it’s cool to go back to Dallas to play the Cowboys, especially because he’s from the area. He spent the 2005 and 2006 seasons as the running backs coach, and while he’s had many other coaching stops, none of his teams have ever played at Dallas until this Thanksgiving.

Lynn is in his first season as a head coach, after taking over as the interim coach for the Bills in 2016, and then for Mike McCoy on a permanent basis in Los Angeles. The Cowboys are hosting the Chargers in their annual Thanksgiving game, where the Cowboys are 30-18-1 all time.

He said that he couldn’t end the interview without mentioning his mother and her influence on him and in his recovery. “I’m sure there’s a lot more I can be thankful for, but for right now, I think that’s plenty.”

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This Magical Pumpkin Village In Dallas Is Made From 90,000 Gourds

This Magical Pumpkin Village In Dallas Is Made From 90,000 Gourds

Decorative gourd season is upon us, and the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is fully reaping the harvest with its life-size pumpkin village.


Constructed from more than 90,000 gourds, the enormous display takes visitors on a trip through The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Guests can spiral down a yellow brick road to see the Scarecrow’s Garden, the Enchanted Forest (complete with the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion), Emerald City and even Munchkinland (with a pumpkin patch and activities for the kiddos).

And don’t worry, those building blocks don’t go to waste: Leftovers are either composted or sent to the Dallas Zoo.

In case you needed another excuse to visit Dallas, the fantastical village is open for biz until November 22.


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Dallas County DA reverses plan to seek death penalty against Zoe Hastings’ alleged killer

This breaking news story will be updated.

The Dallas County District Attorney’s office reversed its decision to seek the death penalty for a man accused in the murder of Zoe Hastings, saying the alleged killer has an intellectual disability.

The capital murder case against 36-year-old Antonio Cochran was set for trial last month but was delayed until January. If convicted, Cochran would receive an automatic life sentence.

Antonio Cochran has been charged with capital murder in the death of Zoe Hastings.

Cochran is accused of kidnapping the 18-year-old woman in 2015 while she was at a Lake Highlands pharmacy to return a rental movie. She was stabbed and left for dead by a creek.

His attorneys alleged Cochran was intellectually disabled and prosecutors requested to evaluate him. That evaluation has shown Cochran has an intellectual disability.

It is against the law to execute a person with an intellectual disability.

"However, we remain committed to seeking justice on behalf of Zoe Hastings and her family," said District Attorney Faith Johnson in a statement released late Friday explaining the decision.

Hastings’ slaying sent her neighborhood in a panic during the two-week hunt for her killer.

After Cochran was arrested, police called him a "sexual predator." He was acquitted of a rape charge in 2015 in Texarkana before he moved to Dallas. He has not been charged with a sex crime in Hastings’ slaying, but DNA found at the scene was matched to him.

The death penalty case against Cochran was the first filed since Johnson took office in January. The office has also filed to seek the death penalty against Kristopher Love, the alleged hitman in the 2015 slaying of Kendra Hatcher in an Uptown parking garage.

Johnson has said the decision to seek the death penalty is based on the severity of the crime, what the victim’s family wants and the criminal background of the accused.

"Our office only seeks the death penalty in the most heinous and serious of crimes," Johnson previously told The Dallas Morning News.

Jury selection in the Cochran case began in August and took more than two months. Jurors in death penalty cases are individually questioned.

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Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves bounce Dallas Mavericks

Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves bounce Dallas Mavericks

Karl-Anthony Towns and the Minnesota Timberwolves pulled in another win Saturday. Photo by CJ Gunther/EPA

MINNEAPOLIS — Karl-Anthony Towns recovered from the worst offensive performance of his career by scoring 31 points, and Andrew Wiggins added 23 points as the Minnesota Timberwolves cruised to an easy 112-99 victory against the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday.

Towns was held to just two points on 1-of-7 shooting in a win against New Orleans on Wednesday, but the third-year center had his way with Dallas. He added 12 rebounds and three blocks, notching his seventh double-double in nine games this season.

Taj Gibson had 12 points and 10 rebounds for Minnesota, which has won four games in a row for the first time since December 2012.

The Timberwolves’ lead ballooned to 28 points in the third quarter as they coasted against the lowly Mavericks (1-10), who are off to their worst start since going 1-23 to start the 1993-94 season.

Rookie Dennis Smith Jr. had 18 points to lead Dallas. Harrison Barnes had 17 points but was scoreless in the second half, and former Wolves guard J.J. Barea had 14 points and six assists off the bench for the Mavericks, who have lost six in a row.

The arrival of Jimmy Butler, Gibson, Jeff Teague and Jamal Crawford has sparked Minnesota (6-3) to the Northwest Division lead this season, gelling around young stars Towns and Wiggins. They had five wins by single digits before Saturday’s win and are 6-1 with Butler in the lineup.

Butler was held to just four points, his fewest in a game since scoring three on Jan. 27. on 1-of-6 shooting.

NOTES: Dallas G/F Wesley Matthews started the game despite being bothered by left foot soreness. Matthews worked out pregame to determine his availability. He played 26 minutes and scored five points. … The Mavericks started C Salah Mejri on Saturday to combat Minnesota C Karl-Anthony Towns. It was Mejri’s first start of the season and just his 18th in 114 career games. Nerlens Noel had started Friday at New Orleans. … The Timberwolves host Charlotte on Sunday for their second set of 15 back-to-back games this season. Minnesota lost each game of its first back-to-back of the season without Jimmy Butler in the lineup. … The Timberwolves outrebounded Dallas 48-31. It was their largest rebounding margin of the season and they are 5-0 when outrebounding opponents. … The Mavericks sat out G Seth Curry (stress reaction, left tibia), F Dorian Finney-Smith (left knee soreness) and F Josh McRoberts (lower extremity injury).

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