Crime Texas Woman Gets Prison Time for False 911 Calls That Led to Botched Drug Raid and Deaths of Neighboring Couple
He Robbed a Taco Joint With a Toy Water Gun for $264. He Got Life in Prison.
On a Sunday night in February 1981, Rolf Kaestel robbed an Arkansas taco restaurant using a toy water gun. No one was injured in the stickup. He stole $264—and was sentenced to life in prison. Forty years later, Kaestel is still behind bars for aggravated robbery. His penalty is unusually severe, supporters say, for a crime without injuries or even a physical altercation. This year could be the 70-year-old inmate’s final shot at redemption, a taste of freedom for however many good years he has left. Kaestel’s fate now rests in the hands of Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who denied him clemency in 2015 and is expected to decide on his latest application any day now.
A Texas woman whose false 911 calls led to a botched 2019 drug raid that resulted in the death of both homeowners and their dog was sentenced on Tuesday to three years and four months in federal prison, local. The botched raid—which also left five officers injured, one of whom is now a paraplegic—also caused the Houston Police Department to responsible for the raid, exposing extensive corruption within its ranks that ended with 12 current and former officers being indicted.
Patricia Ann Garcia, 53, pleaded guilty in March to placing several erroneous 911 calls on Jan. 8, 2019, in which she falsely accusing her neighbors Dennis Tuttle, 59, and his wife, Rhogena Nicholas, 58, of being involved in serious criminal activity. Garcia, who reportedly had a long-running feud with the couple, told emergency operators that Tuttle and Nicholas were armed drug dealers who were holding her 25-year-old daughter in their home against her will.
Survivors of so-called 'Gone Girl' case reflect on the life-changing experience
Denise Huskins called her experience a love story with a happy ending. Huskins and Quinn married in 2018 and had a daughter, Olivia, who was born five years to the day that Huskins was released by her kidnapper, she said. © Aaron Quinn and Denise Huskins Aaron Quinn and Denise Huskins were married in 2018. “You can go through any kind of trauma to where it leaves you devastated and in a place where you just think, ‘This is impossible to move forward from. What do I do next?’” she told ABC News’ Amy Robach. “I think ours is an example of that. There is hope.
Just under three weeks after Garcia made the calls, narcotics officers with Houston PD executed a “no-knock warrant” on the home, breaking down the door and fatally shooting the couple.
During her videoconference sentencing hearing before U.S. District Judge George C. Hanks on Tuesday, Garcia expressed sorrow for her actions, claiming she was not in her right mind when she made the false 911 calls and never expected police to storm the couple’s home.
“I’m so sorry for my 911 call,” she said, adding, “And the false calls I made,” according to a Houston Chronicle.
But Judge Hanks appeared unsympathetic, saying he believed she “used 911 as a weapon.” The judge said Garcia did, indeed, want something bad to happen to the victims.
FDA approves much-debated Alzheimer’s drug panned by experts
WASHINGTON (AP) — Government health officials on Monday approved the first new drug for Alzheimer’s disease in nearly 20 years, disregarding warnings from independent advisers that the much-debated treatment hasn’t been shown to help slow the brain-destroying disease. The Food and Drug Administration said it granted approval to the drug developed by Biogen for patients with Alzheimer's disease. It’s the only drug that U.S. regulators have said can likely treat the underlying disease, rather than manage symptoms like anxiety and insomnia.
“There’s no question in my mind, Ms. Garcia, in that you wanted something bad to happen to (Tuttle and Nicholas),” Hanks said, per the Chronicle. “You didn’t really care what happened, and respectfully, the court can’t condone that.”
The 40-month sentence Hanks handed down was an upward departure from the sentencing guidelines. Garcia’s counsel had requested she receive 10 to 16 months in prison—what the federal guidelines called for—in addition to a period of home confinement.
Commenting on the sentence, veteran criminal defense attorney Kent Schafferlocal ABC-affiliate KTRK that the case presented unique circumstances the likes of which are extremely uncommon.
“It’s what we call a series of unfortunate events,” Schaffer said. “In the 40 years I’ve been doing this, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a case where the judge sentenced someone to more than twice the guidelines.”
Texas governor says power grid fixed; experts cite problems
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Despite experts who say Texas' power grid remains vulnerable, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott declared Tuesday that new reforms “fix all of the flaws” that caused February's deadly winter blackout that left more than 4 million people without power in subfreezing weather. He was joined by Republicans who defended it as a good deal for consumers, even though they gave no direct financial relief to families who were stuck with high energy bills or lost income as the lights and heat stayed off for days.Signing into law two sweeping overhauls in response to one of the largest power outages in U.S.
Garcia is the first person involved in the scandal to be sentenced, but she will not be the last. Former officer Steven O. Bryantto lying to help cover up the circumstances of the botched raid at the behest of former narcotics agent Gerald Goines. Goines, who was charged with leading the drug raid, initially claimed that he witnessed an informant purchase heroin from the couple’s home in order to obtain the no-knock warrant. Goines , however, that there was no informant and that he had purchased the drugs himself from a different location.
Retired Houston Police Officer Gerald Goines bond was set at $150,000 on each count of felony murder for the botched Harding Street Raid. His partner, Steven Bryant, was arrested for tampering with government documents. Bryant’s bond was set at $50,000.
— Mycah Hatfield (@MycahABC13)
Small towns used to see prisons as a boon. Now, many don't want them.
In its search for a new prison’s home, Nebraska finds few places willing to host.In 1998, hundreds of excited Nebraskans packed into the high school gymnasium in Tecumseh to voice their support for a new business in town: a state-of-the-art maximum-security prison.
Bryant lied on a supplemental police report, claiming to have confirmed Goines did get heroin in the investigation, according to the affidavit. In this narrative, the two officers had an understanding that Goines was going to probably identify Bryant as a witness to a non-existent buy from a confidential informant.
Bryant is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 24 for destruction, alteration or falsification of records in federal investigations.
. Police have said they did not find heroin at the home, only marijuana and “white powdery substance” that was either cocaine or fentanyl. The victims’ families , calling into question the official narrative that a shootout began after Nicholas
[image via Houston PD]
The postfirst appeared on .
House Republicans demand Biden remove Harris as immigration czar .
House Republicans have demanded that President Joe Biden remove Kamala Harris from her role as immigration crisis czar as she still hasn't visited the border.The 56 lawmakers, led by Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Wis., penned a letter on Thursday with a scathing review of Harris' performance after she was tapped on March 24 to lead the administration's response to the immigration crisis at the southern border.