2013: Year in Review - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

2013: Year in Review

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2013 has been a wonderful year for some, and forgettable for others.

Remember the Carnival cruise ship 'Triumph'? Now infamously known as the "poop cruise", the Triumph shipped out from Galveston in February, and after an engine fire crippled the ship in the Gulf of Mexico, thousands on board, including many Southeast Texans, were left stranded at sea for days without air conditioning or working bathrooms.

Also in February, Southeast Texas saw airline service return to Jack Brooks Regional Airport with daily flights to Dallas-Fort Worth.

In May, 12News obtained video of Keyarika Diggles, a Jasper woman shown being beaten and dragged by two Jasper police officers. Diggles filed a lawsuit and received a $75,000 settlement. The two officers, Ricky Grissom and Ryan Cunningham, were fired but face no charges at this time.

Also in May, one of Southeast Texas' most infamous criminals, Bartholomew Granger, was sentenced to death for opening fire and killing a Deweyville woman in front of the Jefferson County Courthouse in 2012. Granger admitted he was trying to shoot his daughter, who was scheduled to testify against him in a sexual assault case.

In June, Elroy Chester was executed in Huntsville. Chester admitted in 1998 to committing five murders in Port Arthur, including the murder of Port Arthur firefighter Willie Ryman III.
In August, we first learned of 'Baby Faith' Mason, a one-month old Port Arthur girl who doctors say was the victim of one of the worst cases of child abuse they had ever seen. She had 19 fractures including a broken neck and broken arms and legs. Baby Faith's mother and father... Christine Johnson and Darrell Mason, were arrested for the child's injuries in September. Baby Faith is out of the hospital and in the care of a foster home in Houston.

In November, Lamar University welcomed its first new president in 14 years, as Dr. Kenneth Evans became the university's 15th president, replacing Dr. Jimmy Simmons.

Also in November, agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided the Beaumont Independent School District administration building, and the homes of director of finance Devin McCraney and comptroller Sharika Allison. The district said the FBI was investigating the possible misuse of public funds. Allison was fired in December by the school district. McCraney remains on paid leave as he appeals his pending termination.  
November was also the month in which Alfred Wright was first reported missing by his family. The Jasper man's body was found nearly three weeks later by family members. His death remains a mystery, and his family is in the middle of a lawsuit against the Sabine County Sheriff's Office for its handling of the investigation.     

In December, what lawyers called a "record-breaking" settlement was reached in the lawsuit against CR England trucking company and driver Richardo Kerr, who killed Debra and Vincent Leggio of Pearland in last year's Thanksgiving day pile-up.

2013 was also the year we lost legendary country music singer and Southeast Texas native George Jones, who passed away in April at the age of 81.     

Port Arthur TV star John Garner, best known as 'Cowboy John', lost his battle with cancer in October at the age of 82.

Jimmie Cokinos, former mayor of Beaumont and civil rights champion, passed away in November. He was 96.


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