Here are things to know for Friday, April 2:
1. ‘A bad dream’: Father speaks after prosecutors say 6-year-old son was drugged by mother
The father of a 6-year-old boy, who prosecutors say was drugged to death by his mother for insurance money, says he still wakes up thinking it was a dream.
“I was thinking that it was a dream, a bad dream. I just want to wake up and say, ‘oh that was a bad dream,’” Mario Sanchez told KPRC 2.
Sanchez’s son, Jason, died last June. He was just weeks shy of his seventh birthday.
His mother, Ashley Marks, was arrested Wednesday and is in a Harris County jail charged with capital murder after investigators say they found Nyquil, methamphetamine, and cocaine in his system.
2. Harris County man who authorities say admitted to having sex with dogs, killing them sentenced in unrelated stabbing case
A man has been sentenced to 45 years in prison for stabbing a day laborer in a random act of violence, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced Wednesday.
Arthur Kelvin Lovell, 34, was sentenced by state District Judge Mark Kent Ellis after a two-day bench trial.
Lovell was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon in connection with the incident outside a convenience store in the 10200 block of West Belfort. The victim, seeing that Lovell appeared to be aiming for his heart, put up his arm to block the attack, which resulted in the victim sustaining a serious stab wound to the arm. The victim survived the attack.
3. Local leaders react to controversial new voting bill passed in Texas Senate
The Texas Senate passed a controversial new voting bill Thursday morning.
The final version of the bill is not yet online, but segments of the measure would limit extended voting hours, end drive-thru and curbside voting, and stop counties from sending out unrequested mail-in ballots.
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo called the bill a direct response to the county’s record voter turnout in 2020.
“We had three times the number of early vote locations. We had extended hours. We had drive-thru voting and we saw increase turnout from both parties,” Judge Hidalgo said. “We did not see an increase in fraud.”
Hidalgo said the bills moving through the state legislature are reminiscent of the Jim Crow Era and are really about voter suppression and racism.
4. EXPLAINER: Use-of-force experts evaluate Floyd arrest
Jurors on Wednesday saw Minneapolis police officers’ body camera footage showing how an initial confrontation over an alleged misdemeanor last year spiraled into George Floyd begging for his life underneath the knee of a police officer as two other officers held him down.
Police departments nationwide have been trying for years to train officers to avoid violence. In 2016, the Minneapolis Police Department rewrote its use of force policy to emphasize the “sanctity of life,” and began training officers in de-escalation — calming people down to prevent violence.
WHY DOES IT MATTER AT TRIAL?
Derek Chauvin, 45, is charged with murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death. Prosecutors say the since-fired police officer knelt on Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes, 29 seconds, as he pleaded that he couldn’t breathe. The most serious charge against Chauvin carries up to 40 years in prison.
Prosecutors contend that Floyd’s death was caused by Chauvin’s knee. But the defense has argued that Chauvin did what he was trained to do, and instead blame Floyd’s illegal drug use, heart disease, high blood pressure and the adrenaline flowing through his body.
5. ‘This can’t go on:’ West Houston resident upset after exotic bird found dead in neighborhood
A West Houston neighborhood is shaken after a peacock was killed.
“When you have these birds around you every day, we love them. They’re you’re pets,” said Melissa Fair Weber.
She said she is proud that peafowls call her West Houston neighborhood home and are a big part of the fabric of this community.
“Actually they’ve been around for decades. They kind of grows on you. They’re a part of your family almost,” she said.
However, Weber said it is alarming what has been happening to the exotic birds recently as they roam free through the neighborhood.