Christine Rollins, 59, was attacked in Anahuac, east of Houston, outside a home where she worked as a caregiver to an elderly woman.
Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne told reporters on Monday: “In my 35 years I will tell you it’s one of the worst things I’ve ever seen.”
The victim was found by the 84-year-old woman she worked for after failing to show up for her shift on Sunday.
“No doubt in my mind that it was multiple animals and we can tell that from the different sizes of the bites,” said Sheriff Hawthorne, adding that the homeowner’s dogs appear to have chased away the hogs before Rollins’ body was discovered.
The sheriff said neighbours had recently complained about rampant feral hogs, and officials have since laid traps for them.
“This is a very rare incident – [from] just what little research we have found there’s less than six of these that have been reported in the nation,” he said.
Wild boars – sometimes called hogs in the US – can weigh between 100 and 400lbs (45 to 180kg). Their population in Texas has risen to 1.5m in recent years.
The state of Texas is facing growing calls to halt the upcoming execution of Rodney Reed, an African-American man who has spent over 20 years on death row for a rape and murder he says he did not commit. A group of 26 Texas lawmakers — including both Democrats and Republicans — have written a letter this week to Governor Greg Abbott to stop the execution planned for November 20. More than 1.4 million people have signed an online petition to save Reed’s life. Supporters include celebrities Kim Kardashian West, Rihanna and Meek Mill. Reed was sentenced to die after being convicted of the 1996 murder of a 19-year-old white woman, Stacey Stites, with whom he was having an affair. But since Reed’s trial, substantial evidence has emerged implicating Stites’s then-fiancé, a white police officer named Jimmy Fennell, who was later jailed on kidnapping and rape charges in another case. In a major development, a man who spent time in jail with Fennell signed an affidavit last month asserting that Fennell had admitted in prison that he had killed his fiancée because she was having an affair with a black man.
survivor of the 1979 Greensboro massacre, widow of Dr. Mike Nathan, who was killed in the massacre.
Hundreds gathered this weekend to mark the 40th anniversary of the Greensboro massacre, when 40 Ku Klux Klansmen and American Nazis opened fire on an anti-Klan demonstration in Greensboro, North Carolina, killing five anti-racist activists in a span of 88 seconds. Those killed were members of the Communist Workers’ Party. Ten other activists were injured. No one was convicted in the massacre, but a jury did find the Greensboro police liable for cooperating with the Ku Klux Klan in a wrongful death. Local pastors in Greensboro are now calling on the City Council to issue an apology for the events that led to the 1979 killing. W
Republican Governor Kay Ivey has not said whether she would sign it, but she is seen as a strong opponent of abortion.
Democrats plan to mount a filibuster to block the bill, but have only eight seats in the 35-member chamber.
Republican lawmaker Terri Collins, sponsor of the legislation, said: “Our bill says that baby in the womb is a person.”
Democratic state Senator Bobby Singleton said the bill “criminalises doctors” and is an attempt by men “to tell women what to do with their bodies”.
As the Senate debated whether to an exception for rape and incest, Democrat Rodger Smitherman said: “We’re telling a 12 year old girl who, through incest and rape is pregnant and we are telling her that she doesn’t have a choice.”
It goes further than legislation passed recently elsewhere in the US to ban abortion after a foetal heartbeat can be detected, usually around six weeks into a pregnancy.
Under the Alabama measure, provision of abortion at any stage in pregnancy would be a class A felony.
Doctors could face 10 years in prison for attempting to terminate a pregnancy and 99 years for actually carrying out the procedure.
A woman who receives an abortion would not be held criminally liable.
The bill would allow abortion in cases where the mother’s life is at serious risk.
Its text says more foetuses have been aborted than people killed in “Stalin’s gulags, Cambodian killing fields”.
An anti-abortion activist in Philadelphia
Supporters of the legislation have welcomed an inevitable challenge in federal court if the measure becomes law.
The bill’s architects expect it will be defeated in the lower courts, but hope it will end up before the Supreme Court.
Their aim ultimately is to overturn Roe v Wade, the 1973 ruling that recognised a woman’s constitutional right to end a pregnancy.
Emboldened by the addition of two Trump-nominated conservative justices, anti-abortion activists are eager to take one of the most divisive issues in America back to the highest court in the land.
Eric Johnston, founded the Alabama Pro-Life Coalition that helped draft the bill, told NPR: “The dynamic has changed.
“The judges have changed, a lot of changes over that time, and so I think we’re at the point where we need to take a bigger and a bolder step.”
What’s the national picture?
If signed, the Alabama measure would become one of more than 300 laws challenging abortion access in the US.
Its passage comes amid a wave of anti-abortion measures in Republican-controlled state capitols around the nation.
Legislation to restrict abortion has been introduced in 16 of America’s 50 states this year alone, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which advocates for more abortion access.
The flurry of measures has led these activists to warn that a swathe of US territory could become an “abortion desert.”
At the other end of the political spectrum, a Democratic-sponsored bill in Virginia that would have allowed third-trimester abortions up until the point of childbirth failed to make it out of committee.
A white supremacist convicted of killing James Byrd Jr in 1998 by dragging the 49-year-old black man behind a truck in one of the most notorious hate crimes in modern times is scheduled to be executed in Texas on Wednesday.
John William “Bill” King, 44, is scheduled to be killed by lethal injection at the state’s death chamber in Huntsville at 6pm local time (23:00GMT).
King along with Shawn Berry and Lawrence Brewer were accused of kidnapping Byrd while he hitchhiked in Jasper, Texas, on June 7, 1998.
Prosecutors said the men dragged him behind their 1982 gray Ford pickup truck for three miles (5 km) before dumping his body in front of an African-American church.
A “KKK” engraved lighter was among the evidence police found at the scene, court documents showed.
The gruesome killing spurred the passing of the James Byrd Jr Hate Crimes Act, strengthening punishments for hate crimes in Texas.
The murder, along with the killing of Matthew Shepard, a gay University of Wyoming student who was beaten and left to die tied to a fence, was also the genesis of the federal hate crimes prevention act passed in 2009.
King was found guilty of capital murder and sentenced to death in 1999.
He was a member of a white supremacist gang and spoke of starting a race war while in prison for a previous crime.
Ricky Jason wears a photograph of James Byrd Jr outside the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Huntsville Unit before the execution of Lawrence Russell Brewer [File: David J Phillip/AP Photo]
He also talked about initiating new members by having them kidnap and murder black people, court documents showed.
“Regardless of the outcome of this, we have made history,” King wrote in a letter to Brewer obtained by jail officials after they were convicted of killing Byrd, CNN reported.
“Death before dishonour. Sieg Heil!” the letter continued, using a Nazi salute.
‘You can’t fight murder with murder’
King has always maintained his innocence, saying that he left the two other men before Byrd was killed.
His lawyers filed an appeal to the US Supreme Court after a Texas appeals court denied a request to halt the execution on Monday.
Berry and Brewer were also convicted of murder.
Berry was sentenced to life in prison while Brewer, also a white supremacist, was sentenced to death.
Some of Byrd’s family members have said they would have rather seen the men spend the rest of their lives in prison.
“You can’t fight murder with murder,” his son Ross Byrd told Reuters the night before Brewer’s execution in 2011.
King will be the third inmate in Texas and the United States to be executed in 2019, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
Holden Matthews was reportedly turned over to state officials by his own father, a police deputy
The son of a police deputy has been arrested as the suspect in three fires at black churches in southern Louisiana, officials say.
Holden Matthews, 21, was arrested on Wednesday and charged with three counts of arson on religious buildings.
The burnings did not result in deaths or injuries, but evoked painful memories of the civil rights era.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said the “evil acts” dredged up “a very dark past of intimidation and fear”.
The Democrat said the alleged arson was perpetrated by a “depraved individual”, adding: “Hate is not a Louisiana value.”
Louisiana State Fire Marshal Butch Browning told reporters on Thursday that each of the three counts against the suspect carries a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.
St Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz said Mr Matthews’ father, sheriff’s deputy Roy Matthews, “knew nothing about his son’s activity” and “broke down” when he was informed.
The deputy then helped facilitate his son’s arrest by getting him to an area where police could detain him “without incident”, Sheriff Guidroz said.
Officials said Mr Matthews had complied with police during the arrest. He had no criminal record or history of violence.
Sherriff Guidroz said Holden Matthews’ father was “in terrible shape” upon learning his son was a suspect
The fire marshal said investigators are vetting “several motives”, but had learned Mr Matthews was involved with a type of music known as black metal that, he added, had historical associations with church burnings.
His Facebook page lists him as the lead singer and songwriter of a heavy metal band called Vodka Vultures.
Mr Matthews had also commented on posts about neo-Nazi black metal musician Kristian “Varg” Vikernes, who was jailed in 1994 for murder and church burning in Norway, the Daily Beast reported.
Black metal music, an extreme subgenre of heavy metal, often contains references to Satanism and pagan beliefs. Some extremists within the genre, like Vikernes, are also proponents of white nationalism.
“When Matthews was developed as a suspect we saw an immediate threat to public safety,” Mr Browning said. “We felt other crimes were imminent.”
“There were extraordinary means taken to bring safety to this community,” he added, without elaborating.
Debris at one of the church fires in Louisiana’s St. Landry Parish
The fires took place in Opelousas (population 16,000) on 26 March, 2 April and 4 April. The suspect lives in the community.
St Mary Baptist Church, the Greater Union Baptist Church and the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church were razed by the conflagrations.
The FBI is now investigating whether the incidents were “bias-motivated”, but would not comment further.
Rev Gerald Toussaint of Mount Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church, speaking on behalf of the targeted churches, said the future was “bright” as the difficult time brought the community together in new ways.
“It started out as a dark moment in our lives, but in the rebuilding process, you’re going to see some things in our future that’s going to be very bright for our churches.”
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) called the church burnings incidents of “domestic terrorism” against people of colour.
Greater Union Baptist Church Pastor Harry Richard told CBS his grandfather helped found the church over a century ago and the fire had damaged his family’s history.
“He left a legacy for me, and I was trying to fulfil that to the best of my ability.”
State and local police, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) were also involved in the investigation.
Officials said they have no reason to believe the fires are related to another incident of suspected arson on 31 March at a predominantly white church a few hours away from the community.
Virginia’s first lady Pam Northam has apologized after she handed out cotton to African-American students touring the Governor’s Mansion and asked them to imagine being an enslaved cotton picker.
The incident came as Governor Ralph Northam, a Democrat, continues to resist mounting calls from within his own party to step down after claims he posed for a racist photo seen in his 1984 medical school yearbook page depicting a man wearing blackface next to a man wearing a Ku Klux Klan outfit. Northam has denied that he is in the photo, but he did admit to wearing blackface on another occasion that same year and apologized.
After the latest incident, Leah Dozier Walker, the mother of one of the students handed cotton by first lady Pam Northam, said in a statement, “The governor and Mrs. Northam have asked the residents of the commonwealth to forgive them for their racially insensitive past actions. But the actions of Mrs. Northam, just last week, do not lead me to believe that this governor’s office has taken seriously the harm and hurt they have caused African Americans in Virginia or that they are deserving of our forgiveness.”
The North Carolina State Board of Elections has thrown out the results of November’s congressional race in the 9th District and ordered a new election, after more evidence came to light of a Republican effort to tamper with absentee ballots. The race had pitted Republican Mark Harris against Democrat Dan McCready. Harris initially appeared to be the narrow winner, but the race was never certified. For months Harris, who is a Baptist preacher, had insisted his campaign did nothing illegal, but on Thursday he called for a new election. This came a day after Harris’s own son—Assistant U.S. Attorney John Harris—testified that he had warned his father about hiring a longtime political operative who had a record of illegally collecting absentee ballots and in some cases filling them out in favor of Republican candidates. North Carolina’s Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper praised the board’s decision, saying it “sends a strong message that election fraud must not be tolerated.” President Trump—who has repeatedly warned about Democrats stealing elections—has yet to comment about the latest news from North Carolina.
As teacher strikes in Denver and Los Angeles join a wave of recent labor actions bringing attention to the plight of the American public school system, we take a fresh look at one of the largest public school scandals in U.S. history. Public schools in Atlanta, Georgia, were thrown into chaos in 2015 when 11 former educators were convicted in 2015 of racketeering and other charges for allegedly facilitating a massive cheating operation on standardized tests. Prosecutors said the teachers were forced to modify incorrect answers and students were even allowed to fix their responses during exams. The case has fueled criticism of the education system’s reliance on standardized testing, and elicited calls of racism. Thirty-four of the 35 educators indicted in the scandal were African-American. We speak with Shani Robinson, one of the 11 convicted teachers, who has written a new book on the cheating scandal with journalist Anna Simonton. It’s titled “None of the Above: The Untold Story of the Atlanta Public Schools Cheating Scandal, Corporate Greed, and the Criminalization of Educators.”