Local Updates from ABC News Radio for Dallas.


Former Justice of the Peace Sentenced to Death for 2013 Murders

(DALLAS) -- A Texas jury sentenced former Justice of the Peace Eric Williams to death in connection with the 2013 murder of the wife of a district attorney.

The jury had found Williams guilty in the murder of Cynthia McLelland, the wife of District Attorney Mike McLelland, earlier this month.

The McLellands were killed in March 2013.

Among those who testified against Williams was his ex-wife, who described in detail the planning that went into Williams' revenge killings.

District Attorney Mike McLelland and Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse had prosecuted Williams for theft, effectively ending his legal career.

Williams was charged with killing Mike McLelland as well as Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse, who was killed about two months earlier, but never tried for their deaths.

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Austin Boy Struck by Lightning Leaves Hospital in Time for Christmas

(AUSTIN, Texas) --  What does a 9-year-old want after being struck by lightning and forced to spend three months in the hospital? He wants to cuddle his dog and set up his family's Christmas tree.

"He made me do it the first day I was home on Friday," the boy's father, Roger Hermann, told ABC News. "He can't move his legs, but he was directing some of the ornament placement."

Alex Hermann was on a soccer field in Austin, Texas, on Aug. 26, when a bolt of lightning struck him and stopped his heart. He suffered burn wounds and hypoxia, which is when the brain can't get enough oxygen.

Over the next three months, Alex underwent skin-grafting and wound-closure surgeries, as well as cardiac ablation, which corrects heart arrhythmias, at Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas. He still has a "number of issues" to address over time, but he's improving.

Although the hospital staff was great, Hermann said, Alex became homesick. Hermann added that he and Alex's mother promised that if he worked hard in therapy, they would try to get him home for Christmas.

Alex was also reunited with his beloved dog, a Catahoula Australian shepherd named Spice, who seemed pleased to have her buddy back.

"She sleeps on the bed with him," Hermann said. "She’s been guarding him."

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Fort Hood 2009 Shooting Victims to Receive Purple Heart

(KILLEEN, Texas) -- Five years after a rampage at Fort Hood in Central Texas, the victims and survivors can celebrate at least a small victory.

Under a defense bill passed by Congress on Friday and sent to President Obama, the 13 who died are posthumously to be awarded the Purple Heart, and the 32 survivors will receive battlefield benefits.

Among the 13 who were killed in the 2009 shooting spree was Army Specialist Jason Hunt.

“Nidal Hassan is a coward and an unrepentant murderer,” said his mother, Gail.

Supporters say it’s recognition that the Fort Hood shooting was an act of terrorism, not workplace violence, as it’s been categorized for the last five years.

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Man Arrested in Case of Missing Fort Worth Woman

(PLANO, Texas) -- A 24-year-old Texas man was arrested Saturday on a kidnapping charge in the disappearance of Christina Morris, who was last seen in late August.

Enrique Arochi was charged with aggravated kidnapping, Plano, Texas, police said.

Plano police spokesman David Tilley told ABC News affiliate WFAA-TV in Dallas that Arochi's arrest was partly based on DNA samples taken during the investigation.

Arochi's car was also towed from his house on Saturday, WFAA reported. He denied involvement in Morris' disappearance in an interview last month.

A lawyer for Arochi declined comment about his client's arrest. Bail was set at $1 million.

Morris, 23, was last seen Aug. 30 in the parking garage of a shopping center in Plano. Surveillance video captured her walking with a friend at 4 a.m. after leaving a party, but she was never seen leaving the garage.

Investigators said there were no signs of foul play or a struggle near her car. Her last 15 phone calls went to her boyfriend, with whom she lives, but he never reported her missing, Morris' parents said.

In the first weeks of the search, police said Morris' bank accounts hadn't been accessed and her cell phone was off.

Her mother told WFAA she long suspected Arochi knew something about her daughter's disappearance.  "We have gut instincts as parents and as her friends that somehow he had some answers," Jonni McElroy told WFAA.

While Morris hasn't been seen since the summer, McElroy is hopeful.  "In my heart I feel like we are going to celebrate Christmas with her," she said.

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Three Killed, Three Injured in Fire at Thanksgiving Tower

(DALLAS) -- Three people were killed and three were injured from a fire at the Thanksgiving Tower on Thursday.

Dallas Fire-Rescue reports that the fire was in an equipment room on a lower parking garage level of the downtown building.

About 2,800 people were in the building at the time of the fire.

Three workers were found dead inside and three others were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.

The victims' bodies were taken to the Medical Examiner’s Office to determine the causes of deaths.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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