- murder of a peace officer or fireman who is acting in the lawful discharge of an official duty and who the person knows is a peace officer or fireman;
- murder during the commission or attempted commission of kidnapping, burglary, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, arson, obstruction or retaliation, or terroristic threat;
- murder for remuneration or promise of remuneration or employing another to commit murder for remuneration or promise of remuneration;
- murder during escape or attempted escape from a penal institution;
- murder, while incarcerated in a penal institution, of a correctional employee or with the intent to establish, maintain, or participate in a combination or in the profits of a combination;
- murder while incarcerated in a penal institution for a conviction of murder or capital murder;
- murder while incarcerated in a penal institution serving a life sentence or a 99-year sentence for a conviction of aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault, or aggravated robbery;
- murder of more than one person during the same criminal transaction or during different criminal transactions but the murders are committed pursuant to the same scheme or course of conduct;
- murder of an individual under 10 years of age, or older than 10 years of age but younger than 15 years of age; or
- murder in retaliation for or on account of the service or status of the other person as a judge or justice of the supreme court, the court of criminal appeals, a court of appeals, a district court, a criminal district court, a constitutional county court, a statutory county court, a justice court, or a municipal court.
No man in the wrong can stand up against a fellow that’s in the right and keeps on a-comin’
–Texas Ranger Captain Bill McDonald
From 1823 to the present day, a courageous group of men and women have been chosen to protect and serve the people of Texas. The Texas Rangers constitute the oldest state law enforcement organization in North America.
The Ranger’s lore and legend endures because of its appealing heroic archetype of the self-reliant and brave law officer on horseback who faces challenges in Texas’ rugged frontier environment.
Modern-day Texas Rangers may spend the morning on horseback and the evening on a laptop computer. They are responsible for conducting murder and government corruption investigations in rural Texas counties. Many of these cases while shocking rarely make the news outside of their local communities.
Former federal prosecutor Bill Johnston and investigative reporter Robert Riggs established strong relationships with the legendary Texas Rangers during their careers.
The dynamic duo tap into a deep well of bizarre criminal cases in their episodes of True Crime Reporter™ The Texas Ranger Files.
The Texas Rangers’ colorful history has been chronicled in numerous movies, television shows, radio programs, books, and now for the first time in this the True Crime Reporter™ podcast.
Real-life stories and fictional tales inspired by the Texas Rangers span the globe in entertainment.
Children of the 1950s fondly remember the Saturday morning TV serial called the Lone Ranger about a masked former Texas Ranger who fought outlaws in the American Old West with his Indigenous American partner Tonto.
Lonesome Dove, the 1989 American TV miniseries based on Larry McMurtry’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about two aging Texas Rangers who drive a herd of stolen cattle 2,500 miles from the Rio Grande to Montana captured the public imagination.
It immortalized Charles Goodnight a legendary rancher and trailblazer who became known as the “father of the Texas Panhandle.” Goodnight served as a frontier scout and Texas Ranger in his youth.
Goodnight and his partner Oliver Loving established the Goodnight-Loving cattle trail which became one of the Southwest’s most heavily used cattle trails from South Texas to Colorado.
Goodnight and Loving’s friendship and adventures influenced McMurtry’s epic novel.
More recently, Hollywood’s Hell or High Water depicted the fictional story of two Texas Rangers in pursuit of a pair of brothers who rob banks to save the family ranch from foreclosure.
Jeff Bridges who plays the part of one of the Rangers received an Oscar Nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Bridges credited the real-life renowned Texas Ranger Joaquin Jackson for helping him train for the role.
Bridges also received guidance from former Deputy U.S. Marshal Parnell McNamara.
Hell or Highwater was written by Taylor Sheridan, McNamara’s cousin.
Sheridan is the writer, director, and co-creator of the hit TV series Yellowstone.
McNamara now the Sheriff of McLennan County and his late brother Mike are featured in the first season of the True Crime Reporter™ podcasts about the manhunt for serial killer Kenneth McDuff with Bill Johnston the cohost of True Crime Reporter™.
A Ranger is an officer who is able to handle any given situation without definite instructions from his commanding officer or higher authority. This ability must be proven before a man becomes a Ranger.—Ranger Captain Bob Crowder
The birth of the Texas Rangers took place in 1823.
Back then, Texas was a part of Mexico – which had just pulled away from Spain.
The land mass of Texas was even larger than it is today. The space amounted to more than a third of the United States.
700 colonists called themselves “Texians” and although they were part of Mexico, they were pretty much on their own.
The indigenous people of that day occupied most of the state, with the Comanches being the predominant and fiercest group of all. The Comanches frequently raided the Texas settlements.
Who could protect this vast landscape? What was needed were some tough men who could “RANGE” around the Texas colonies- fleet on a horse, good with a gun.
Stephen F. Austin, known as the “Father of Texas”, organized two companies of frontiersmen as rangers for the common defense.
The Texas “RANGERS” were born.
In 1823 the Texas Rangers rode around the Texas colonies fending off attacks – chasing down the attackers. More military-style defense, rather than law enforcement as we think of them today.
When Texas declared its independence from Mexico, it was the Rangers who helped in the fight, being particularly good at scouting for the location of the Mexican Army. Easy for them to do – they knew every pasture in Texas.
The provisional government of the Republic of Texas in 1835 authorized a “ranging company” of 25 Rangers, later increased to three companies of 56 men each.
At the Battle of the Alamo a year later, Rangers responded to Colonel William B. Travis’s appeal for help. They all died including the youngest who was in his teens at the time according to the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum.
Over time, the Rangers were organized into “Companies” – each led by a Captain. Each Captain was in charge of an area larger than most states in the Union.
By the 1870s, the Rangers’ attention turned toward stopping cattle thieves raiding from Mexico, bank robbers, and western outlaw gangs like Jesse James and the James Brothers.
Famous Rangers came along, “Lone Wolf” Gonzaullus (pronounced Gonzales) who worked to keep the Texas oil fields safe, and Frank Hamer, who led the manhunt for the infamous “Bonnie and Clyde” gang in 1934.
Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were an American criminal couple during the time of the Great Depression. They became celebrities driving across the U.S., robbing banks, stores, and gas stations.
Unlike other outlaws, Bonnie and Clyde were armed weapons developed during World War I, like Browning automatic rifles, and Thompson submachine guns. Small town police officers found themselves outgunned and outrun when the deadly duo roared into town in a Ford V8.
The head of the Texas prison system recruited, Frank Hamer, a legendary manhunter, to come out of retirement to track down Bonnie and Clyde. The gang had broken one of their accomplices out of prison killing two guards in the process. Hamer was appointed a special officer for the Texas Highway Patrol with the specific duty to capture the Barrow Gang.
Hamer hunted Bonnie and Clyde for more than 100 days. He and Ben Maney Gault, a veteran Texas Ranger tracked the gang to their hideout near Gibsland, Louisiana.
They staged a carefully orchestrated ambush riddling Bonnie and Clyde with a hail of deadly bullets.
American historian Walter Prescott Webb described Hamer as one of the three most fearless men in Western history.
Earlier In 1908, Hamer served as the city Marshal of Navasota, Texas where he single-handedly took on the Klu Klux Klan which had publicly hung innocent African American men accused of crimes. He returned to the Rangers a few years later.
Even though the State was huge – the numbers of Rangers were small. Only a very few could measure up to the standards which the Rangers had set, and only a few could handle the rigorous and lonely work.
At the time of this episode in 2021, there are 172 women and men from all walks of life are posted to seven companies lettered “A” to “F” and an “H” company for headquarters.
The A to F districts are based in six geographic locations and H company is based in Austin, Texas, the state capital.
A Ranger captain supervises each company. You will hear from one shortly.
Because so much of Texas is rural, small sheriff’s offices were not equipped or trained to handle complex cases or most murder cases, or public corruption. So, the Rangers became homicide specialists.
True Crime Reporter’s cohost former federal prosecutor Bill Johnston called on the Texas Rangers to investigate one of the state’s most complicated crime scenes to date, The Branch Davidian Cult case.”
On February 28th of 1993, seventy agents from the Alchohol Tobacco and Firearms agency known as ATF, attempted to serve search and arrest warrants at the Branch Davidian Compound called Mount Carmel Center located outside of Waco, Texas.
They were met by a hail of gunfire, some from illegal machine guns. During a two-hour gun battle, four federal ATF agents were killed and more than a dozen wounded. Six Davidians were reportedly killed.
The cult was led by David Koresh who believed he was the spiritual heir of the biblical King David. Koresh espoused an apocalyptic vision based on his interpretation of Revelations.
Robert Riggs, the founder of True Crime Reporter™ covered the ensuing 51-day siege which ended in a fiery explosion and deaths of nearly 80 of Koresh’s followers including twenty-two children. Most of them had been huddled inside a massive ammunition bunker that blew up.
Bill Johnston wrote the search warrant for the original raid and obtained lengthy jail sentences for some of the surviving cult members.
43 rangers worked at times on the investigation in assisting Johnston’s investigation.
The Texas Rangers are structured like a paramilitary organization.
It consists of seven companies lettered “A” to “F” and an “H” company for headquarters.
The A to F districts are based in six geographic locations and H company is based in Austin, Texas, the state capital.
A Ranger captain supervises each company.
The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame & Museum in Waco, Texas, is the state-designated official historical center of the famed law enforcement agency.
In this inaugural episode of True Crime Reporter™ Texas Ranger Files, Johnston and Riggs interviewed one of the most famous of the modern-day Texas Rangers, Retired Ranger Captain Bob Prince.
Captain Bob Prince and his son Randy are the only father and son in the history of the law enforcement organization to serve concurrently as Ranger Captains.
Bob Prince tells a spellbinding story about how the Rangers rescued a 13-year old kidnap victim in a hail of gunfire in the first episode of True Crime Reporter™ Texas Ranger Files.
This firearms safety video is a production of the SWAT Brothers Podcast.
Retired Lt. Robert Owens, a 40-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department discusses key safety measures for new gun buyers as well as experienced gun owners.
The retired officer and firearms instructor spent 20 years with Dallas SWAT and ran the department’s training range during his time with DPD.
He also ran Presidential Protection details by Dallas SWAT for President George W. Bush.
Owens teaches private lessons to high net worth individuals, celebrities, and professional athletes in North Texas through his firm OwenRiggs.com.
The year 2020 has been marked by record numbers of background checks which indicates tens of thousands of first-time gun buyers are arming themselves for self-protection in response to violent looting across the country.
Negligent discharges are already increasing due to a lack of training.
SWAT Brothers and OwenRiggs urge first-time gun buyers to get training from a professional or NRA certified instructor.
November 11, 2020 By Robert Riggs – Dallas, Texas
Millions of dollars in $1200 stimulus checks intended for economic relief for the COVID-19 pandemic are flowing into prisoners’ accounts inside prisons and jails across the country.
The stimulus payments could total as much as 2.76 billion dollars if all of the people incarcerated apply and qualify for the pandemic aid which is likely under the rules.
A Georgia prison warden not authorized to speak publically complained that the sudden windfall is fueling the supply of drugs and contraband cell phones inside prisons. Flush with cash, inmates are paying their associates on the outside to use drones to fly contraband over the walls of prisons shut down by the coronavirus.
A prison investigator said he was shocked to find that an inmate who had already served twenty years of a life sentence had received a $1200 stimulus check. The stimulus aid has caused a shift in the balance of power between prison gangs according to the investigator who was not permitted to speak on the record.
Prisoner advocacy groups across the country are assisting prisoners in filing claims.
For example, the Mississippi Center For Justice and the Southern Poverty Law Center in partnership with Black Lives Matter describes on the MCJ website that it mailed almost 18,000 CARES Act packets–each containing all relevant instructions and Form 1040 with a stamped return envelope to inmates.
A sample form provides step-by-step instructions on how to file for a $1200 stimulus check.
The 2.3 million people incarcerated in U.S. jails and prisons are probably eligible to submit a “Non-Filer” claim to the IRS and will automatically receive $1200 stimulus checks.
Parnell McNamara the Sheriff of McLennan County, Texas says prisoners in his Waco jail are having their $1200 stimulus checks sent to family members.
“A lot of hardcore career criminals are receiving money intended for hard-working people. That they should receive one dime is a travesty,” said McNamara.
The IRS has sent thousands of forms to the Texas prison system for its 122-thousand inmates to claim $1200 stimulus checks under the CARES Act. The prison system recently put up IRS posters instructing inmates on how to apply for economic relief for the COVID-19 pandemic.
This scene is playing out in state prisons and jails across the nation in the wake of a federal court order in October for the IRS to make the stimulus payments available to 2.3 million incarcerated prisoners.
Less than ten stimulus checks have arrived at Texas prisons according to Jeremy Desel the Director of Communications for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Desel says it is the department’s policy to first confirm that the IRS checks are valid before depositing the money into an inmate’s commissary trust fund account. Texas inmates use the money to purchase snacks, soft drinks, ice cream, and toiletries not provided by the prison system. Inmates also have the option of having the checks sent to family members.
The 2-trillion dollar Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or the CARES Act hastily passed by Congress on March 27 did not specifically ban payments to prisoners. The 883-page bill provided broad eligibility to get one-time payments for financial relief into people’s pockets as fast as possible.
In May an internal auditor for the IRS discovered that the agency had automatically issued payments to prisoners. A federal report in June found that the government had paid $100 million in stimulus money to about 85,000 prisoners. The government demanded repayment and some federal prisons intercepted and returned stimulus checks.
A class-action lawsuit was filed in California on behalf of incarcerated individuals in local, state, and federal facilities that challenged the IRS actions.
A district court in San Francisco agreed, finding the IRS’s policy of withholding stimulus payments “arbitrary and capricious and not in accordance with the law.”
On October 14, 2020, Chief Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton of the Northern District of California found the IRS’s policy of withholding stimulus payments “arbitrary and capricious and not in accordance with the law.” Judge Hamilton ordered Treasury and the IRS to send the relief money. Read a copy of the Judge’s order.
Inmates who receive stimulus checks in error do not have to return those checks because Congress did not include a “clawback” provision in the CARES Act.
The rotor blades of a low flying helicopter beat the Virginia sky with the distinctive thumping sound of Apocalypse Now. Gunfire cracks from all corners of the FBI’s sprawling Quantico Training Academy located south of the nation’s capital in Virginia.
Agents of the elite Hostage Rescue Team clad in body armor, helmets, and goggles, step from the helicopter’s skids while precisely placing rounds into targets, as they practice rescuing a downed team member.
At another corner of the Academy on a mock Midwestern-style main street dubbed “Hogan’s Alley” agent trainees converge on a mock hotel where a violent fugitive is holed up. Role-playing bad guys fire a volley of 9mm paintball rounds at the agent trainees from their handguns.
And at another point of the compass at the Academy, FBI agents assigned to the Hazardous Materials Response Unit teams don “moon suits” to practice the legal protocols of collecting forensic evidence from the site of a weapon of mass destruction attack.
In sharp contrast to the frenetic training, a discreetly located Academy building houses the Behavioral Analysis Unit, which is commonly referred to as the “profilers”. Mindhunter the Netflix TV series is a fictional account of how FBI Agent John E. Douglas helped found the unit to figure out how serial killers think.
In June 2006 I met Supervising Special Agent Mary Ellen O’Toole as she quietly and methodically unraveled clues that might help local detectives catch psychopaths who had committed monstrous crimes.
O’Toole, who closely resembles the actor Ann Margaret, matched wits face-to-face with violent psychopaths throughout her career. O’Toole says a hallmark personality trait of the disorder is, “that lack of empathy for other people, that lack of concern for other people and what they are going through as a result of your actions. For a psychopath, they don’t have a sense of hurting of others, being concerned about what others think, they just don’t have it.”
O’Toole’s work often focused on psychopathic serial killers, child abductors, and sex offenders who have intertwined sex and violence, “that is a deadly combination. That’s a frightening combination,” she explains.
Indeed, serial killer Kenneth Allen McDuff, who murdered an estimated two dozen young women in Central Texas during the mid-1990’s, used a euphemism of “using them up” to describe his killings.
The six-foot-four inch McDuff would take his victims to the brink of death and revive them to resume his sadistic sexual tortures. McDuff’s name became synonymous with a revolving door prison system and triggered a major overhaul of the penal code in Texas.
Most state parole boards do not use the recognized tests to determine if an inmate is a psychopath before they vote to release an offender. O’Toole says it’s only a matter of time until a psychopath commits a new crime.
“It’s a very short period of time before he or she will re-offend and re-offend in a violent way. Some of the current research indicates that psychopathic sex offenders who undergo prison treatment programs are actually worse when they are released,” she says.
Psychopaths can learn how to perfect their crimes from prison therapy programs says O’Toole. “Psychopathy is a personality disorder. It does not lend itself to treatment or to rehabilitation. So if you think you can help someone become a non-psychopath that’s very naive.”
Air Force Cadet David Graham and his fiancée Naval Midshipman Diane Zamora appear to have been a marriage of psychopaths. The Texas couple murdered a former high school classmate in a twisted plot for Graham to prove his love for Zamora. Both are now serving life sentences in the Texas prison system for capital murder.
In a display typical of the cold-hearted grandiosity of psychopaths, Graham believes that after taking college courses in prison that he could be a poster boy for rehabilitation, “I think if I got out today I would be the ultimate example of respect of life. I would probably be the best way to learn why to cherish life and why not to take a life.”
There are an estimated two million psychopaths in North America. It’s crucial that people recognized the traits of a psychopath who may be very close to them in personal and work relationships. Some of the traits resemble the personalities of celebrities and politicians, but O’Toole stresses that it requires an expert analysis.
Besides a lack of conscience, O’Toole says a psychopath is also manipulative, self-centered, extremely narcissistic, glib, charming, and impulsive. She also notes that they are unable to bond in relationships, live life on the edge, blame others for their mistakes; and lead a parasitic life style, “whether they are a criminal, or they are your boss, or whatever aspect, or they are your husband, they can really wreck havoc in people’s lives.”
Most people mistakenly believe that psychopaths are essentially killers or convicts. O’Toole warns that there are white collar psychopaths who may head corporations or governments, “they can go in and create a great deal of confusion, tumultuousness, and have no regard if the company or the country implodes on itself because their primary interest is on themselves.”
O’Toole says that if you are worried that you may be a psychopath, then you are not. During a prison interview, O’Toole says an inmate gave a very good definition of what a psychopath is, and said he felt being one was a good thing.
“People who have these traits view these traits as allowing them to do special things, Allowing them to live on the edge. Allowing them to get away with things. Because a conscience really limits you. You are constrained because of your emotions. A psychopath does not have those kinds of constraints.”
ROBERT RIGGS REPORTS FROM OVER NEW YORK CITY
The crisp blue sky over New York City resembled the day that dawned on September 11, 2001 three years earlier.
Ground zero could be clearly seen from the cockpit of F-15 fighters circling above Manhattan Island at twenty-three thousand feet.
That was my vantage point from the back seat of an F-15 of the 71st Fighter Squadron known as the “Ironmen”.
The squadron’s aircraft protected the airspace over New York City as President George W. Bush addressed the United Nations about Iraq on September 21, 2004.
Fighters, wings bristling with live weapons, sharply banked and dived through congested airways to intercept suspicious aircraft.
I strained against “G” forces and my stomach often felt like it was in my throat.
The routine patrol could quickly turn into an adrenaline rush.
In a split second, a pilot could be ordered to shoot a radar guided AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile, or a heat seeking AIM-9M Sidewinder missile, or a burst of 20-millimeter machine gun fire into a hijacked civilian aircraft.
Videographer Manuel Villela and I were the first TV journalists given wide access to the post 9-11 air defense mission called Operation Noble Eagle.
The patrol marked the last line of defense if terrorist hijackers attempted another round of suicide attacks.
In the wake of 9-11, fighter pilots must now think about the unthinkable.
“It is true that this is the force of last resort. This is something that we have found totally unthinkable in the past but we think about it and think about it in detail today”, says General Hal Hornburg the Commander of Air Combat Command.
From his headquarters at Langley Air Force Base in the Virginia Tidewater area, Hornburg says pilots will not hesitate to follow orders to use lethal force, “I wouldn’t want it to be me, I wouldn’t want it to be someone that worked for me, but as we in the military that sign up for this, and support and defend the Constitution, there’s no doubt in my mind that training would take over and it would happen.”
Pilots and fighters, mostly from Air National Guard squadrons, stand alert at bases across the Continental United States, Alaska, and Canada ready scrambled after an unidentified aircraft.
Active duty Air Force squadrons routinely fly combat air patrols over high profile events and presidential appearances.
We flew with thirty-three year old Major Brian Gienapp and his wingman twenty-five year old Lt. James Morgan of the 71st Fighter Squadron.
Gienapp, an Air Force Academy graduate and veteran of one hundred combat hours over Iraq, places his confidence in the secret rules of engagement that govern the use of deadly force against a civilian aircraft.
“It’s definitely an enormous thought to grasp and it’s definitely something we have all thought of and contemplated. The bottom line is that these scenarios have been well thought out and there are definitely safeguards to make sure an accident would never happen.”
It is nerve wracking flying armed fighters in the midst of crowded civilian air traffic. The patrols last as long as six hours and require air-to-air refueling.
Lt. Morgan, call sign “Tracer”, gently eased his fighter behind a KC-135 tanker from the 128th Refueling Wing of the Wisconsin Air National Guard while circling over New York City.
Pulling alongside the tanker’s wingtip made this reporter feel like a fish bobbing on an invisible ocean next to a whale.
Our television lens could not capture the disorienting sensation of moving in three dimensions.
A boom sticking out of the tanker’s tail floated past Morgan’s canopy and scored a direct bull’s eye into the fuel receptacle on the fighter’s port side wing.
Morgan made it look easy but admitted that air-to-air refueling under the best of conditions still makes him nervous. Gienapp chuckled, “wait until you try it in total darkness during a combat mission.”
Morgan, a mechanical engineering graduate of Duke University, says the thought is always in the back of his mind during these missions that something could happen in the next five minutes that could trigger a deadly intercept, “hopefully there’s no problem and we are just ready. It might be a very benign mission that isn’t incredibly challenging. But I think you have to be ready for the challenge at any moment because it’s a much graver situation if we do have to perform.”
Morgan says he and his fellow pilots in the 71st Fighter Squadron trust that the chain of command above them will make the right decision, “we are confident in that we will, if we are given the order, it’s the right order and for the right reason we will do it. For me personally my faith in God goes well above that. To know he would protect me to do the right thing.”
Exclusive Look Inside Tyndall Air Force Base 1st Air Force Command Post
The critical decision making process starts inside the 1st Air Force command post at Tyndall Air Force Base in the Florida Panhandle.
It monitors six thousand flights at any given time over the United States inside a facility called the Combined Air Operations Center The banks of radar scopes and computer screens resemble the war room in the movie “War Games”.
Hundreds of green blips of light representing aircraft look like a swarm of fire flies on the radar scopes. Battle commanders and radar technicians watch, track, and identify suspicious aircraft around the clock everyday.
Before 2001, the Air Force only looked for threats coming from outside U.S. borders. The need for the air defense appeared to vanish with the fall of the Soviet Union and it was being phased out.
On 9-11 a surreal scene unfolded inside. A simulated exercise was underway when the World Trade Center Towers were hit. Since then a new homeland air defense mission has been engaged in an air war over America.
Major General Craig McKinley the Commander of 1st Air Force fields six serious warnings a day at all hours. McKinley is responsible for alerting the higher chain of command up to the Secretary of Defense and President who may be called upon to make the ultimate decision.
McKinley, a 1974 graduate of the ROTC program at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, says that the command position has proved so stressful that it has been cut from a four year tour to two years, “sometimes we have minutes or hours to deal with a situation and sometimes we have seconds to deal with it.”
McKinley receives his initial warning from command posts at air defense sectors. The 48 contiguous states are divided into three sectors: Western at McChord AFB, Washington; Northeastern at Rome, New York; and Southeastern which is located in the same facility with McKinley’s command post at Tyndall AFB, Florida.
I was the first journalist ever allowed inside the Combined Air Operations Center and the Southeastern Air Defense Sector which deals with more unknown targets than any other sector in the nation.
We found Major Sharon Nehrings of the Florida Air National Guard focused on a 30 mile ring of restricted airspace around Tampa.
The ring on the radar screen followed President George W. Bush overhead as his campaign rallies moved up the Florida Gulf Coast in late October of 2004.
It’s called a POTUS mission, short for President of the United States.
Symbols of two fighters and a refueling tanker crisscrossed inside the circle.
Nehrings is the mission crew commander on duty during our visit to the Southeaster Air Defense Sector.
A mission filled with hours of boredom and minutes of sheer terror.
The fourteen year veteran is responsible for launching an intercept against a suspicious aircraft, “it’s very intense because you are dealing with people’s lives. It can be hours of boredom and then minutes of sheer terror.”
An unidentified aircraft suddenly interrupts our interview. It flies into the President’s restricted airspace. Nehrings orders air controllers sitting to her right to direct fighters to the target.
It is a hair raising moment as seconds tick away. There’s little time to react if it’s a jetliner moving at eight miles a minute.
As the intercept unfolds, FAA liaison Ron Davidson of Fort Worth keeps an open line of communication to civilian air traffic controllers. They can’t raise the pilot by radio.
The Secret Service also receives a warning in case it needs to evacuate the President.
The order to intercept triggers a chain reaction of response. General McKinley and his staff begin looking at the national air picture for any hint of air trouble elsewhere that might hint of a coordinated attack.
The calculus includes a quick determination if the target aircraft is headed toward buildings or critical infrastructure.
Commanders must weigh the risk of shooting down an aircraft versus the collateral damage that could be caused on the ground.
When fighter pilots make visual contact with an unresponsive target aircraft, they use hand signals, rock their wings, or in a final warning drop flares to tell its pilot to turn away. The fighter pilots use secret codes to authenticate any order to open fire.
The air space violation we witnessed turned out to be the careless pilot of small single engine plane. Fighters escorted it away from the President’s campaign rally, but the roar of came close enough to grab the attention of the crowd.
Military officials complain that such violations occur much too often and that there are no severe FAA penalties for offenders.
More than thirty eight thousand Noble Eagle Missions had been flown without incident by October of 2004.
The hundreds of young men and women working for McKinley have coolly handled situations in which airline pilots have accidentally sent a coded hijacking signal. And two actual hijackings out of Cuba have been safely diverted by fighters to Key West, Florida.
It is an orchestrated effort supported by thousands of airmen. Everyone from Airman First Class Nathaniel Robinson of Barnwell, South Carolina, who makes sure that pilots’ oxygen masks and equipment are in working order to Senior Airmen Tanish Jordan of Waycross, Georgia, who loads missiles.
Air Force General Pledges A 9/11 Will Not Happen Again
The sight of armed aircraft and pilots ready to bolt for their cockpits on Air Force flight lines around the country underscores the seriousness of how the Global War on Terrorism is also being fought over America.
Major General McKinley says the Air Force repeatedly practices and knows what it takes to give an aircraft a chance to comply with instructions but will not hesitate to use force, “we wait until the last possible minute. But we are not going to have a recurrence of September 11, 2001. The American public won’t stand for it and the United States military is on guard to protect American citizens.”
26 YEAR OLD MICHELLE WENDY HAUPT WAS STABBED AND STRANGLED BY A CONVICTED FELON WHO ENTERED HER APARTMENT WITH A STOLEN PASS KEY.
HER MURDER FORCED TEXAS LANDLORDS TO BEEF UP SECURITY TO COMPLY WITH THE NATION’S FIRST KEYLESS DEAD BOLT LAW.
ON OCTOBER 19TH OF 1991, THE ASSISTANT MANAGER OF HAUPT’S APARTMENT COMPLEX WHO HAD FIVE BURGLARY CONVICTIONS BEFORE BEING HIRED GAVE A PASS KEY TO HIS BROTHER, BOBBY LEE HINES.
IN THE EARLY HOURS OF THE FOLLOWING SUNDAY MORNING, HAUPT’S NEIGHBORS HEARD A WOMAN SCREAMING FOR 15-MINUTES AND WHAT SOUNDED LIKE A BOWLING BALL BEING DROPPED ONTO THE FLOOR 20-TIMES.
HINES WHO WAS THEN 19-YEARS OLD USED THE PASS KEY TO SURPRISE HAUPT IN HER APARTMENT. HINES STABBED HAUPT 18-TIMES WITH AN ICE PICK BEFORE STRANGLING HER WITH A SPEAKER CORD.
WHEN POLICE APPREHENDED HINES THEY FOUND HAUPT’S GOLD SAND-DOLLAR NECKLACE AMONG HIS POSSESSIONS.
HINES WAS CONVICTED OF CAPITAL MURDER AND EXECUTED ON OCTOBER 24, 2012.
BEFORE HIS LETHAL INJECTION, HINES’ FINAL WORDS WERE: “I KNOW I TOOK SOMEBODY SPECIAL FROM Y’ALL. I KNOW IT WASN’T RIGHT; IT WAS WRONG. I WISH I COULD GIVE IT BACK, BUT I KNOW I CAN’T. I WISH THERE WAS SOMETHING I COULD DO. I DON’T BELIEVE TAKING MY LIFE WILL SOLVE ANYTHING. I BELIEVE BEING LOCKED UP FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE, HAVING TO THINK ABOUT WHAT I DID, THAT WOULD BE MORE OF A PUNISHMENT. TO DO THIS IS SETTING ME FREE.”
TWO COMPANIES THAT WERE THEN CO OWNED BY DALLAS REAL ESTATE INVESTOR CRAIG HALL WHICH MANAGED THE COMPLEX SETTLED A WRONGFUL DEATH SUIT BY HAUPT’S FAMILY FOR MORE THAN FIVE MILLION DOLLARS.
STOLEN PASS KEYS HELPED CRIMINALS OPEN THE DOOR ON AN ESTIMATED 150 RAPE VICTIMS IN 1993 BEFORE THE A LEGAL CRACKDOWN.
THE CASE PROMPTED TEXAS LAWMAKERS TO PASS THE KEYLESS DEAD BOLT LAW ON DECEMBER 12, 1994.
THE PROVISIONS OF THE TEXAS’ KEYLESS DEAD BOLT LAW ARE
- THE TENANT CAN INSTALL THE LOCK AND DEDUCT IT’S COST FROM THE MONTHLY RENT.
- OR THE TENANT CAN SUE THE LANDLORD INTO COMPLYING.
- OR THE TENANT CAN SUE THE LANDLORD FOR UP TO 500 DOLLARS IN DAMAGES.
AT TIME OF THE LAW’S PASSAGE, DOUG LIEBMAN, HAUPT’S STEPBROTHER, SAID “I BELIEVE THAT IF IT HELPS SOMEONE ELSE OR PROTECTS YOUNG WOMEN LIVING ALONE FROM HERE ON OUT CERTAINLY THERE’S SOMETHING TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT.”
THE LAW REQUIRES ALL RENTAL PROPERTIES TO PUT KEYLESS DEAD BOLTS ON EXTERIOR DOORS THAT ONLY THE TENANT CAN UNLOCK FROM INSIDE.
THE LOCK MUST BE PLACED BETWEEN THREE AND FOUR FEET ABOVE THE FLOOR.
IN ADDITION THE LAW REQUIRES A KEY LOCKING DOOR KNOB OR KEYED DEADBOLT AS WELL AS PEEPHOLES AND EXTRA SECURITY ON SLIDING GLASS DOORS.
THE LAW MAKES EXCEPTIONS FOR ELDERLY RESIDENTS THAT NEED TO BE CHECKED ON BY LANDLORDS.
CRIME VICTIMS GROUPS SAY THE LAW SHOULD ALSO HAVE REQUIRED LANDLORDS TO INSTALL STURDIER KICK PROOF DOORS.