5 things for Houstonians to know for Wednesday, March 9

FILE - In this Oct. 18, 2017 file photo, William Lewis Reece, left, waits for a hearing to begin in Oklahoma City. Jury selection began Monday, May 10, 2021, in the death penalty trial of Reece, an alleged serial killer accused of kidnapping and killing an Oklahoma woman more than 20 years ago. Oklahoma County prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File) (Sue Ogrocki, AP2017)

Here are things to know for Wednesday, March 9:

1. Convicted killer William Reece back in Friendswood to face murder charges

Convicted killer William Reece was transported back to Friendswood, Texas, on Tuesday.

According to officials with the Galveston County District Attorney’s Office (GCDAO), Reece was picked up by two Friendswood police officers from the Oklahoma County Jail.

Reece was convicted last year of murdering Tiffany Johnston in Bethany, Oklahoma.

He was sentenced to death in that case, but a previously filed extradition request now requires him to return to face murder charges here in Texas.

In a statement to KPRC 2 Investigates, Galveston County District Attorney Jack Roady says his office and the Brazoria County District Attorney’s Office “intend to vigorously prosecute Reece and hold him accountable under the law.”

Read more.

2. President Biden to ban Russian oil imports over Ukraine war, AP source says

Striking harder at Russia’s economy, President Joe Biden on Tuesday ordered a ban on Russian oil imports in retaliation for Vladimir Putin’s onslaught in Ukraine. The major trade action, responding to the pleas of Ukraine’s embattled leader, thrust the U.S. out front as Western nations seek to halt Putin’s invasion.

Americans will feel pain, too — at the gas pump — Biden acknowledged, declaring, “Defending freedom is going to cost.”

The imports have been a glaring omission in the massive sanctions put in place on Russia over the invasion. Energy exports have kept a steady stream of cash flowing to Russia despite otherwise severe restrictions on its financial sector.

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3. Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts to return $2 billion in unclaimed property to Texans. Here’s how to claim your money

The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts announced they plan to return $2 billion in unclaimed property to Texas residents.

In a news release on Tuesday, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said his office reached $2 billion in unclaimed property last month, and the landmark threshold is composed of more than two million individual payments to Texans.

By definition, unclaimed property includes “forgotten things,” such as utility deposits, insurance proceeds, payroll checks, cashier’s checks, dormant bank accounts, and abandoned safe-deposit boxes. The property is considered dormant or inactive within 1-5 years and is sent to the Unclaimed Property Program by businesses.

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4. Harris County Elections Administrator Isabel Longoria will resign amid primary election fallout

Harris County Elections Administrator Isabel Longoria announced she is submitting her resignation. She made the announcement during Commissioners Court on Tuesday.

During a video conference, Longoria said she “didn’t meet her own standards.”

Her resignation is effective July 1, which ensures there’s a presiding officer during the May and June elections. It also provides time for the county election committee to find a replacement officer to oversee the November election.

“It is not acceptable the way that these elections took place, in particularly, the criticisms and the lack of support that the election judges felt,” said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, who called the resignation “appropriate.”

Read more.

5. Spring Branch man who targeted at least 25 people in ‘wobbly-wheel’ scheme gets 6 years in prison, DA says

A Spring Branch man was sentenced to six years in prison after targeting dozens of drivers in a “wobbly-wheel” scam, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced Tuesday.

Sam Yonko, 34, was one of six family members indicted for engaging in organized criminal activity for working together to pull off the scam, according to a release.

READ: 2 men known for ‘wobbly wheel’ scam arrested, police say

“These fraudsters targeted innocent drivers by acting like good Samaritans to take advantage of people’s good nature,” Ogg said. “To add to the deception, they even used their own families and kids to bolster the lie.”

The family was known to operate in the area of Westheimer Road from the 610 West Loop to Highway 6, and Richmond Avenue inside the 610 Loop and S. Main Street near Braeswood Boulevard.

Read more.

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