Standing on what is now Jeff Woods Memorial Road, Boys & Girls Clubs of East Texas Executive Director Steve Davidson addressed a group of community leaders and families that knew his predecessor well.
East Texas whitetail junkies with an affinity for world class antlers need to clear their calendars for June 21 and make plans to head to the Oldest Town in Texas. The “East Texas Giants” are coming.
After two years at the helm of Nacogdoches Medical Center, CEO Jeff Patterson will be departing the hospital next month for a position in Arizona.
Tim and Sharon Wright have no biological connection to their daughters, Courtney and Chelsey, but for them and many of the other people who packed into Judge Ed Cline’s 420th District Court Friday morning, that fact couldn’t have mattered less.
A native of East Texas himself, Marty Pigg said he understands completely why those in the pineywoods have been slower to transact business online — particularly since there are pockets where an internet connection isn’t even available.
She has been amazingly open about her story, which began one night almost two weeks ago when she and her cousin were attacked. Her 18-year-old cousin, Ana Franklin of Garrison, died immediately. Holliday, now living near Lufkin with Franklin's mother, had to fight to escape. Even more amazing is how Holliday survived by convincing her captor to let her call for help. Eric Parnell is charged with following the two women in a truck for miles after seeing them at a gas station on Highway 69 north of Lufkin, then firing two shots into their sports utility vehicle, according to sheriff's investigators. He is charged with abducting Holliday, then raping and torturing her. Holliday and Franklin's mother, Robin Franklin, sat down Tuesday to talk about what happened, and how that night changed their lives. She'd never seen Parnell before, Holliday said. And contrary to Parnell's story to deputies of Franklin turning down his sexual advances, she was sure her cousin hadn't had any interaction with him at the station. The two women were like sisters, she said, and if something had happened, they'd have talked about it. And she certainly would have noticed someone following them afterward, she said, and would have called police. She had no idea she'd been shot, Holliday said, thinking Parnell's truck had bumped into them. But her cousin knew right away what happened. "She started screaming, " He just shot you,'" Holliday said. The first shot blew off Holliday's elbow, shattering every window in the front of the SUV. Blood and glass blocking her vision, she was forced to stop. Franklin had the presence of mind to grab her cell phone, making a call to 911. It would be the last call she made. As she was on the phone, Parnell walked up to the truck, opening the driver's side door, she said. He pointed the shotgun at Franklin's head and pulled the trigger, Holliday said. "He never said anything to her. He just never hesitated," Holliday said. It was likely Franklin's call to 911 that began the road to Parnell's capture and her cousin's release, Robin said. "I think she had a part in saving Jennifer," she said. Holliday paused as she told the story. She wanted everyone to know what kind of man Parnell was and just what was on his mind as he attacked her, she said. It was all about rape, and a rage so intense it seemed to consume him, she said, describing it as a sexually violent high. He screamed sexual slurs at them, even pulling her cousin's badly damaged body across the SUV's seat, intent on raping Franklin before he abducted Holliday, she said. "A man like that shouldn't be walking around, period," she said. Other emergency responders who found Franklin's body in the SUV recognized Holliday's vehicle, as well as her GoldStar badge clipped to the sun visor. Deputies began combing the woods for her. Unfortunately, she wasn't in the woods, she said. Parnell assaulted her on an isolated country road, stripping her naked and stabbing her scalp with an icepick, she said, while feeling the scabs on her head. After he took her to his trailer home near Durham Cemetery, he dressed her in some of his clothes, she said. Holliday said she fought Parnell at first, giving him the black eye visible in his first appearance at court. Eventually, she realized her life counted on convincing him to let her go, she said. It was likely her experience as an emergency medical technician with GoldStar ambulance service that helped her stay cool under pressure, she said. Losing blood fast, she made a 40-minute phone call to 911 operators, occasionally sharing the phone with Parnell. She started making friends with him, apologizing for the situation she'd put him in and thanking him for helping her, she said. They'd work it out, telling police they were getting married, and that he'd stopped to help her on the road, she said. Her ploy worked, and Parnell directed deputies to the trailer, even offering to walk her to the end of the road to meet them, she said. Finally safe, she was able to tell investigators what happened. Parnell was "the devil," she said Tuesday, describing him as "sick" and "crazy." Giving him the death penalty would be too easy, too quick, she said. She's in counseling to deal with the nightmarish events. Doctors are helping to heal her physical wounds. Deep red scars on her arms are where Parnell burned her, she said. She has loose teeth, and four bone pins are immobilized into a soft cast surrounding a huge open wound where her elbow used to be, she said. She can't feel her hand. She faces several more surgeries, and the vehicle she needs to take her to medical appointments in Houston lies riddled with shotgun pellets and horrifying memories. The trauma has changed her so much physically and mentally, that this single mother said she expects she'll never be able to work to support her son. She's turning to the community for financial help to supplement what little victims' compensation funding she may receive, and to help cover the costs of her cousin's funeral and her mounting medical bills. Hollidays' co-workers at GoldStar EMS have set up an account at Huntington State Bank in her name,, account number 206096713. Cash donations can be made at any of the bank branches. Call Stephanie Freeney at (936) 631-1502 for information on other forms of donation. Franklin and Holliday lived together, both caring for Holliday's 5-year-old son, who thought of her cousin as a big sister. She didn't take her son to the funeral, but a later visit to the cemetery left him sobbing for hours, which broke her heart, Franklin said. Still, his child's view of life and death has been a comfort to them. It was his attempt to reassure Robin that sticks with them, they said. "He said, " She's jumping from star to star -- don't you cry,'" she said, breaking down. Franklin had been planning to attend Angelina College, and one of her career goals had been to work with abused children. "She loved children," her mother said. Many people have asked them why it happened, Holliday said. There are no answers, she says to each. It could have been anybody. "She used to save people. She was saving herself (that night)," Robin added. Ashley Cook's e-mail address is acook@coxNews.com.
Hurricane Harvey is among weather factors delaying the re-opening of Starr Avenue until February, Texas Department of Transportation officials say.
Fewer than six months after the U.S. was rocked by a surprise attack on the naval base at Pearl Harbor, the nation’s war effort was taking hold in East Texas in a way that still affects the lives of many residents today.
Funding could get tighter for the Nacogdoches High Golden Dragon Band as concession stand revenues are adjusted in what Nacogdoches ISD administrators say is a more fair arrangement among various booster clubs.