Local first responders had a busy year throughout Grayson County and Texoma with incidents that made international news and many that struck close to home for area residents. Most of the crimes and cases were solved by authorities, but a number have not yet been closed and several are still working their way through the court systems.
Breana Harmon claimed she was kidnapped and raped in March, but was later charged with multiple counts of tampering with physical evidence and government documents after she admitted to Denison Police that she fabricated the story.
Harmon was reported as a missing person on March 8, after her then-fiance returned to their apartment and found her vehicle abandoned in the parking lot and several of her belongings on the ground. On March 21, Harmon confessed to investigators that she lied about being kidnapped and raped. Harmon said she and her fiance had been fighting recently and that she knew the relationship likely wouldn’t last. After an argument, she said she went for a walk and ended up at an abandoned house where she began to cut herself. Fearing her family would be upset with her self-inflicted injuries, she told police she nodded when church staff asked if she had been sexually assaulted.
“Ms. Harmon was originally arrested for the misdemeanor offense of false report to a peace officer,” Grayson County District Attorney Joe Brown said in a press release in July. “However, the more we have looked at what happened in this case, and considered the harm it caused, and certainly could have caused, we believe what she did fits these higher charges. What she did was very serious, and we believe it was felony conduct.”
Bart Alsbrook resigned from his role as Colbert, Oklahoma’s police chief in early September after local media outlets linked him to past activity within the neo-Nazi and skinhead movements.
In August, KXII reported Alsbrook as the registered owner of two neo-Nazi music and memorabilia websites and the Herald Democrat identified two neo-nazi and skinhead documentaries from the early 2000s which appeared to show Alsbrook discussing his beliefs and included footage shot throughout Denison. Alsbrook later acknowledged his past in a text message interview with the Herald Democrat and said that he “left all that racist stuff behind” him 15 years ago.
Dr. Howard Greg Diamond, owner of DiamondBack Pain and Wellness Centers in Sherman and Paris, was arrested charged in connection with the deaths of seven patients who overdosed on medications he prescribed to them. The medications included Fentanyl, Hydromorphone, alprazolam, methadone, morphine, oxycodone, zolpidem and oxymorphone.
Diamond was arrested in July on a host of charges, including conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, money laundering and abetting, distribution of controlled substances and health care fraud, and aiding and abetting. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Denison child shot, killed
Two teenagers were arrested and one remains at large after a 5-year-old Denison boy was fatally shot over a botched drug deal on Nov. 19.
Kason Powell was killed and his 11 year-old brother was injured after court documents indicate the pair’s older brother arranged to buy marijuana from Sabrina Nino, 17, but ultimately stole the drugs from her along with some friends. Nino, accompanied by Ryan Clay, 18, and Antonio “Chapo” Prado, 17, then allegedly went to the older brother’s home in the 1700 block of West Elm Street to confront the group and possibly recover the drugs. Nino told investigators that as she walked around outside the home, both Prado and Clay began to fire multiple rounds into the residence. The three then reportedly fled the scene and returned to Prado’s residence.
Nino and Clay were arrested within two days of the shooting and both were charged with capital murder of a child under 10 years of age. Prado remains at large. Denison Police said they have received multiple and varying reports regarding his location.
Quality Suites killing
Three people were charged with capital murder for their alleged roles in the August robbery and killing of 32-year-old Sherman hotel clerk Brandon Hubert.
Sherman Police responded to the Quality Suites off U.S. Highway 75 on the morning of August 11 upon receiving reports of an unresponsive male found at the hotel. Sherman Police arrested Karalynn Marie Cross, 19, and Nikeya Marquice Grant, 24, in September for their alleged role in the attempted robbery and fatal shooting.
The third suspect, Reginald Campbell, 24, fled Texas after the killing — a move that landed him on the Texas Department of Public Safety’s list of most wanted fugitives. The U.S. Marshals Service caught up with Campbell in mid-October and arrested him without incident at a Mount Vernon, New York apartment complex.
“The best feeling that we have is for the family and that we’re able to bring some sort of closure to them,” Sherman Police Chief Zachary Flores said in an October press conference.
Tom Bean City Council member Ben Vincent resigned from his position in August after he was arrested in July for intoxicated assault with a vehicle, following a two-vehicle wreck that left another man injured.
Prior to the July arrest, police body camera footage was released which showed Vincent being pulled over in Whitewright on suspicion that he was driving while intoxicated. During the stop, Vincent admitted to consuming a bottle of wine, but he was not charged with DWI and was allowed to call for a ride home.
Sherman Library fire
The Sherman Public Library was forced to relocate in April after at least one person broke into the building and started multiple fires inside. City officials said the fires were set in the early morning hours of April 26 and though the library’s books were largely spared, the damage prompted a $1.5 million renovation of the facility and forced staff to work out of the building at 1000 N. East St.
Allen Plumbing killing
Denison Police have yet to identify a suspect in the October killing of 55-year-old Robert Allen.
Officers were dispatched to Allen Plumbing off Eisenhower Parkway on the night of Oct. 31 after receiving a report of shots fired inside the business. Citing the ongoing investigation, Denison Police have released few details into the case, but the Dallas County Medical Examiner’s office ruled Allen’s death a homicide. The reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction has climbed to $10,000.
Tupelo Honey shooting
Brandon Jeffrey, 26, was charged with murder and manslaughter after he allegedly shot his friend in the face outside a Denison bar on May 5.
Jeffrey and Devin Wayne Owens, 25, were reportedly sitting in a parked vehicle outside Tupelo Honey Bar and Grill on East Woodard Street, when Jeffrey allegedly began to play with a handgun and discharged a single round, fatally injuring Owens.
Highport Marina fire
More than a dozen boats docked at the Highport Marina on Lake Texoma were destroyed in July after Grayson County Sheriff’s investigators said a man attempted to remove water from a gas tank and a resulting battery spark ignited combustible fumes.
The blaze drew multiple fire and safety agencies and burned for roughly seven hours. The flames destroyed 17 of the 20 vessels docked in the boat house and prompted containment and clean up efforts led by the marina and monitored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Fair Marshals resign
Grayson County Grand jurors declined to file criminal charges against former Grayson County County Fire Marshal Kevin Walton and former Assistant Fire Marshal Kerry Price after the two officials resigned in July for allegedly forging at least one signature on inspection and safety records.
The Grayson County Sheriff’s Office opened an investigation in June after Grayson County Emergency Management Coordinator Sarah Somers received a report from a firefighter who said Assistant Fire Marshal David Gallagher’s signature had been forged on an equipment inspection report. The reporting firefighter told Somers he witnessed Price holding a document against a window and tracing what appeared to be a signature.
Grayson County was subjected to powerful storms in August which dumped between four and 10.5 inches of rain in a matter of hours. Sherman saw significant flooding and emergency officials were forced to shut down stretches of roadway and portions of U.S. Highway 75.
“While resources were stressed by the heavy rains and response to flood areas, and property losses are devastating for owners, we are grateful for the lack of serious injuries,” Grayson County Emergency Management Coordinator Sarah Somers said in August.
The year ended on a somber note after Capt. Rickey Wheeler, a 25-year veteran of the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office, died in December after losing his nearly-year long battle with cancer.
In his many years with the sheriff’s office, Wheeler served numerous roles, including K-9 unit handler, criminal investigator, narcotics officer, media liaison and administrator. Wheeler received his diagnoses in February, after doctors discovered cancerous masses in his head and neck. The Grayson County Sheriff’s Office announced news of Wheeler’s death on Dec. 13.
“He worked in so many different areas of the agency that, when an issue came up, he could really speak to just about any part of the organization,” Grayson County Sheriff Tom Watt said. “When you lose a person and a piece of the puzzle like that, it’s really tough on everybody.”