Here are things to know for Wednesday, September 1:
1. ‘Miss Mercedes Morr’ cause of death revealed
Instagram model “Miss Mercedes Morr” died of strangulation and traumatic concussion, according to the Fort Bend County Medical Examiner’s Office.
“Miss Mercedes Morr,” whose real name is Janae Gagnier, died in an apparent murder-suicide in Richmond, Fort Bend authorities said Monday.
She was 33 years old.
The suspect, Kevin Alexander Accorto, 34, of Florida, died of suicide by multiple sharp force trauma.
Gagnier and Accorto were discovered at her home in the Cortland Apartments in the 5200 block of Pointe West Circle at approximately 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Richmond police said in a news release.
2. ‘Someone basically was stalking, and killed my baby’: Family of slain Instagram model speaks
The parents of slain Instagram model Janae Gagnier, known to her 2.6 million followers as “Mercedes Moor,” said Tuesday she was killed by a stalker.
“She’s very cautious about her surroundings,” mom Jeanetta Grover said. “Unfortunately, someone basically was stalking, and killed my baby.”
Police said the suspect, Kevin Accorto, is from Florida and did not know Gagnier. His brief criminal record consisted of minor traffic violations.
“She was special,” Grover said. “She was a person, and we miss her a lot.”
On Sunday afternoon, Gagnier’s father Mark visited her apartment in Richmond after trying in vain to reach her on the phone. When no one answered the door, he kicked it in.
3. Texas Legislature sends sweeping GOP voting bill to Gov. Greg Abbott
The GOP-controlled Texas Legislature passed a broad overhaul of the state’s election laws Tuesday, tightening already strict voting rules and dealing a bruising defeat to Democrats who waged a monthslong fight over what they argued was a brazen attempt to disenfranchise minorities and other Democratic-leaning voters.
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said he will sign the bill, the latest in a national GOP campaign to add new hurdles to voting in the name of security. The effort, which led to new restrictions in Georgia, Florida, Arizona and elsewhere, was spurred in part by former President Donald Trump’s false claims of a stolen election.
Texas Democrats fought the legislation for months, arguing the bill was tailored to make it harder for young people, racial and ethnic minorities and people with disabilities — all Democratic-leaning voters — to cast ballots, just as they see the demographics shifting to favor their party. The bill specifically targets Democratic strongholds, including Houston’s Harris County, further tightening rules in a state already considered among the hardest places to cast a ballot.
4. Quanell X calls for federal investigation into jury tampering in Brazoria County
There is a call for an independent federal investigation of the former Brazoria County District Clerk Rhonda Barchak, who is accused of corrupting the jury process in the county for 11 years.
“This is jury tampering. This is official oppression. This is a felony charge,” said activist Quanell X during a press conference held on the courthouse steps Monday. “You possibly have men in prison, and women in prison who are only there because a racist clerk who has stacked the deck in the jury selection process and corrupted it.”
Before Barchak resigned last Friday, Quanell X said a whistle blower who worked inside the courthouse told him Barchak would research potential jurors’ voter registration cards and exclude democrats and minorities from being selected.
5. Deshaun Watson remains on Texans’ roster while Keke Coutee, Jonathan Owens cut from team
The Houston Texans have spent Tuesday trimming their roster down to the final 53 as mandated by the NFL.
The big story surrounds quarterback Deshaun Watson and his future in Houston. As expected, Watson is on the 53-man roster, KPRC 2 has confirmed.
This season, Watson will earn his $10.5 million salary but will likely will be listed as “inactive” each week.
Watson still has not heard from the NFL office and also faces 22 civil lawsuits.