Arrests made in Allen killing


Two Denison men were arrested and indicted for murder this fall, one year after the killing of Robert Allen.


Timothy Lee Barnum, 46, and Tyrone Dewayne Sommers, 48, remain in the Grayson County Jail on $1 million bond each and face up to life in prison if convicted in the death of the 55-year-old family businessman. On Oct. 31, 2017, Denison Police responded to a report of shots fired at Allen Plumbing on Eisenhower Parkway and officers arrived to find Allen deceased. His death was ruled a homicide by the Dallas County Medical Examiner.


Amid the ongoing investigation, Denison Police and the Grayson County District Attorney’s office have released few details in the case, including a possible motive and what led to the breaks in the year-old case.


“Anytime you have an investigation that stretches on, you are looking for information — somebody knows what happened,” Denison Police Lieutenant Mike Eppler said in October.


Diamond pleads guilty in prescription drug case


Sherman physician Howard Gregg Diamond pleaded guilty to federal drug distribution and fraud charges in October, amid allegations that he unnecessarily prescribed powerful pain killers for years, leading to the death of at least one person in 2015.


Prosecutors alleged that, beginning in 2010, Diamond issued prescriptions for as many as nine painkillers, including fentanyl, morphine, and oxycodone, through his Sherman and Paris medical offices and did so without a legitimate medical purpose. Diamond was also accused of filing a falsified patient-care reimbursement request with Medicaid. He is expected to spend the next 15 years in prison.


The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reported that, in 2014, Diamond had the 24th-highest rate of opioid prescription that year, among physicians nationwide. The DEA executed search warrants at Diamond’s Sherman office in May 2017 and Diamond was arrested two months later.


“Physicians like Dr. Diamond have been fueling the opioid crisis in this country,” U.S. Attorney Joe Brown said in an October press release. To reduce the impact of opioids, doctors have to take their obligations seriously, and if they don’t, there will be more prosecutions like this.”


Former youth pastor arrested for child sex crimes


Timothy Urban, former youth director at the First United Methodist Church of Van Alstyne, was arrested in August on charges that he sexually assaulted a teenage girl who attended the church in 2015 and 2016.


Authorities were contacted by the victim and investigators compiled hundreds of text messages and videos which detailed her exchanges with the youth director while she was just 16 years old. The messages included photos of Urban’s genitals and videos which showed him masturbating. Urban apologized to the teen in text messages she sent after the investigation began, and said he never meant to hurt her. The victim told authorities the sex acts were usually performed in Urban’s vehicle or at the church.


Urban remains in the Grayson County Jail on a $300,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court again for a plea conference in early January.


Tom Bean councilman arrested on firearms charge


Former Tom Bean Mayor Pro Tem Lonnie Jones was arrested on deadly conduct and animal cruelty charges in April.


Jones, 72, is accused of standing on a public roadway and firing multiple rifle rounds at one of two dogs which reportedly ventured onto Jones’s property and killed his pet cat. Tom Bean Police said Jones legally killed one of the dogs while it was on his property, but chased the other dog in his truck for a quarter of a mile, before getting out and illegally firing at the animal from the road.


Jones has not entered a plea in the matter and lost his bid for re-election to the Tom Bean city council in May.


Grayson County joins NTX sheriffs cooperative


The Grayson County Sheriff’s Office and six other regional sherriff’s offices announced the formation of the North Texas Criminal Interdiction Unit in May.


“It’s a team of specially-trained deputy sheriff’s whose mission it is to interdict dangerous drugs, narcotics, contraband and human cargo on established smuggling corridors across North Texas,” Collin County Sheriff Jim Skinner said of the unit, which became operational in December 2017. “This seven-agency initiative is the first of its kind in Texas and the United States.”


Grayson County Sheriff Tom Watt said his agency has deployed a deputy and K-9 unit within the program and joined in part to help curb local crimes, including methamphetamine use and drug trafficking along major area highways.


In the first three months of Interdiction Unit operations, authorities made dozens of arrests and seized more than 1,500 pounds of marijuana, $60,000 in cash, 61 pounds of methamphetamine, stolen vehicles, and automatic weapons.


Sherman man charged after attacking girlfriend


John Kennedy was arrested on assault and aggravated robbery charges after he allegedly attacked his girlfriend by choking her at a home in the 600 block of Contemporary Street in early January. The 53-year-old woman died in a hospital five days later.


An indictment detailing the charges against Kennedy alleges that he caused “serious bodily injury to Rhonda Jordan by striking, choking, pushing, cutting, stabbing or burning” her. The document also states that Kennedy may have used a knife or hit iron to threaten or attack Jordan.


Kennedy was arrested in September for a host of of crimes related to the January attack and an August drug arrest in Denison. He remains in the Grayson County Jail on a more than $500,000 bond.


Law enforcement lip sync challenge hits Texoma


The Sherman Police Department and the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office had a little summer fun by taking part in the law enforcement lip sync challenge, which swept through many departments nationwide.


Sherman Police took it upon themselves to parody a scene from the 1990s hit Top Gun which featured the song “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” and filmed the video with dozens of officers inside a donut shop. The Sheriff’s Office responded to Sherman’s challenge with the inmates and deputies lip syncing along to “It’s a Hard Knock Life” and “Ain’t No Honky Tonks in Jail.”


The videos were posted to social media and, together, garnered millions of online views.


Bestiality charges for Southmayd man


Southmayd Police arrested a 29-year-old man on bestiality and assault charges in October after he allegedly had sex with two dogs in front of a child and then attacked a woman with whom he lived.


Chief Chad McKee said officers were initially dispatched to a report of a domestic disturbance at the home, but upon arrival, were told by household members about the graphic scene they interrupted.


“You never know what’s going to happen until you get there,” McKee said. “And you never know what you’re going to find until you start investigating.”


Man’s road-side restroom break in Howe ends with hospital visit


Howe Police said a driver heeding nature’s call on the side of U.S. Highway 75 was run over by his own pickup in December he failed to put the vehicle in park.


Chief Carl Hudman said the male driver, a 59-year-old Missouri resident, pulled over near FM 902 for a road-side restroom break, but the vehicle unexpectedly rolled forward, knocked him down and ran over his leg. The man was seriously injured and had to be flown by air ambulance to a Dallas-area hospital.


“Be certain your vehicle is in park, if you plan to stop,” Hudman said. “And if you need to use the restroom, do your best to safely make it to a place with an actual restroom as opposed to just pulling over on the side of the road.”