A Houston teen, who claims to have sold his soul to the devil, was found guilty of capital murder by a jury on Thursday afternoon for what has been deemed a satanic killing, rape and mutilation of a 15-year-old girl.
After the jury deliberated for over an hour, 18-year-old Jose Reyes was given a life sentence without the option of parole but was spared from the death penalty because of the fact that he was only 17 when he killed his friend and classmate, Corriann Cervante, this past February.
Reyes proclaimed that the murder occurred as part of a ritual that allowed his friend, Victor Alias, who's also facing murder charges, to sell his soul to the devil. Reyes alleges that he had previously sold his soul to the devil prior to that night. Alias, who is 16 years old, will stand on trial at a later date. more >>
"In order to impact our society, we need to first model unity in the church," says Dr. Tony Evans, pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, in a recent video filmed at the site where civil rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr. was gunned down nearly 50 years ago.
The megachurch pastor and bestselling author believes U.S. society is still reeling from the effects of historical racial injuries and prejudices because Christian churches have yet to coalesce as one body under God to tackle those issues.
Speaking at the Lorraine Hotel (the National Civil Rights Museum) at 450 Mulberry in Memphis, Tennessee, Dr. Evans reflects on watching as a child a television broadcast of King's "I Have a Dream" speech, saying he got goosebumps seeing so many Americans joined together for a single cause. more >>
In what activists are claiming is a clear use of excessive police force and a violation of civil liberty, an eighth grader at a Texas middle school was arrested and slammed face-first in the ground by a police officer during a school football game after the student refused to remove his spiritually beloved rosary beads from his neck.
Jacob Herrera, an eighth grade student at Sam Houston Middle School in in Amarillo, Texas, was arrested and detained overnight by local police in late October after he argued with an officer over his right to wear rosary beads on school grounds. The rosary was given to him by his now-deceased brother and has religious and sentimental value to him.
While the Amarillo Police Department holds that rosary beads are symbolism for association with gang violence and asks that students in the Amarillo Independent School District not wear them on school property, Herrera had acquired prior approval from the school's principal that allowed him to wear rosary beads underneath his clothing while in school. more >>
A former lesbian candidate for ordination in the United Methodist Church has recently announced that she has undergone a "gender transition."
Mary Ann Barclay, a Texas resident who recently garnered headlines for purportedly being barred from ministry over her sexual orientation, announced earlier this week that she was transitioning to "a non-binary person."
"I am so thrilled to share that this past Friday I was able to have 'top surgery' to help me live into my self and my body better. This was, of course, a surgery I have thought about long before coming out as genderqueer," said Barclay, who now abbreviates her first name to M. more >>
Scott Panetti, a severely mentally ill man who was scheduled to be executed on Wednesday in Texas for the murder of his parents-in-law, was granted a last-minute stay of execution by a federal appeals court. A number of Christian leaders had spoken out about his case, and asked Texas Gov. Rick Perry to show mercy toward the man.
"We stay the execution pending further order of the court to allow us to fully consider the late arriving and complex legal questions at issue in this matter," the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans stated. "An order setting a briefing schedule and oral argument will follow."
Panetti, who has suffered from schizophrenia and a number of other mental illnesses for the past 30 years, was scheduled to be put to death on Wednesday in Huntsville for the 1992 double murder of his in-laws, Joe and Amanda Alvarado of Kerr County. more >>
The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles unanimously voted 7-0 on Monday afternoon to deny a stay of execution for Scott Panetti, a severely mentally ill man who is scheduled to be executed on Wednesday for the murder of his parents-in-law. Panetti's lawyers have urgently asked the Supreme Court to intervene and save his life.
"Mr. Panetti is a sick man who has suffered from schizophrenia, an incurable mental illness, for over 30 years, including prior to and during the crime, and during his trial at which he represented himself in a floridly psychotic state," Kathryn Kase, attorney for Scott Panetti and executive director of Texas Defender Service, wrote in a statement.
"Widespread and diverse voices agree that Mr. Panetti's execution would cross a moral line and serve no retributive or deterrent value, including national and Texas leaders in mental health, leading conservative, libertarian and evangelical Christian voices, former judges and prosecutors, legislators, governors and attorneys general and many more," she continued. more >>