Allen homicide investigation continues
The Young County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that Julius Orion Xavier Mullins is still in the Young County jail. Mullins was booked July 16 and charged with the murder of Manuela Allen. Mullins is held in Young County jail on a $500,000 bond and has not been released.
There are reports that investigators are reviewing the crime scene at Lake Cooper again where Allen’s body was found. Considering the initial complaint filed that referenced two different sources of footprints left in the victim’s blood, sources say there is a possibility that additional suspects will be arrested in connection with this homicide.
Many residents have concerns about their safety since the other possible suspects have not been charged. As Olney city officials and Olney Police Department said previously, all law enforcement agencies including the Olney Police Department, Texas Rangers, Texas Department of Public Safety, Young County Sheriff’s Office, Young County District Attorney’s Office, and the Archer County Sheriff’s Office are working diligently to complete the investigation and to ensure that the community is safe.
As with any investigation, specific details may remain unavailable. However, we will provide updates as this story unfolds. Meanwhile, If anyone has information regarding this investigation, please contact the Olney Police Department at (940) 564-5550.
Top officials clarify new hemp law for prosecutors
Some district and county attorneys reportedly have begun to dismiss misdemeanor marijuana possession cases following the Texas Legislature’s passage of House Bill 1325, a law creating a legal path for the cultivation and marketing of hemp and hemp products.
Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, House Speaker Dennis Bonnen and Attorney General Ken Paxton on July 18 sent a letter informing prosecutors that the Texas law, which takes effect Sept. 1, adopts the definition that differentiates between hemp and marijuana in the 2018 Farm Bill passed by Congress last year.
The farm bill, which delegates authority over the regulation, production and sale of hemp to the states, differentiates hemp from marijuana by setting a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) threshold concentration of 0.3 percent for hemp and anything above 0.3 percent for marijuana.
HB 1325 directs the Texas Department of Agriculture to pass rules requiring hemp producers to be state-licensed and to test their products to ensure 0.3 percent or less THC concentration.
The Texas law also requires a shipping certificate that confirms the product in transport is legally compliant hemp. Failure to have the required certificate during transport is a misdemeanor.
Some counties reportedly have raised an issue over the cost of lab testing that must be conducted on hemp to determine if seized samples are legally compliant or not. To address that issue, Abbott, Patrick, Bonnen and Paxton wrote that prosecutors could use “circumstantial evidence” and, “As more companies enter the testing marketplace, the costs of the tests will certainly decline.”
Economy adds jobs in June
The Texas economy added 45,000 seasonally adjusted non-farm jobs, the Texas Workforce Commission announced in a July 19 news release.
Also, the unemployment rate fell to 3.4 percent in June, the lowest rate recorded since 1976, when the state started tracking the unemployment rate. The previous low unemployment rate of 3.5 percent was recorded in May. “June’s unemployment rate is a historic win for employers and workers across the state,” said TWC Chair and Commissioner Representing Employers Ruth R. Hughs. “It is a reflection of our excellent businesses, skilled workforce and the hard work of every Texan.”
The Trade, Transportation and Utilities industry led job growth in June, adding 10,500 jobs. Leisure and Hospitality was second, adding 10,000 jobs.
The Midland Metropolitan Statistical Area recorded the lowest unemployment rate among Texas MSAs in June with a non-seasonally adjusted rate of 2.1 percent, followed by the Amarillo, Austin-Round Rock and Odessa MSAs, each of which recorded a rate of 2.7 to tie for second place.
AG intervenes in lawsuit
Attorney General Paxton on July 19 announced his intervention in a lawsuit filed by a dozen business organizations against the city of San Antonio to strike down the city’s paid sick leave ordinance.
The ordinance is scheduled to take effect Aug. 1. In court papers filed in a Bexar County state district court, Paxton explained that the state constitution gives the Legislature the authority to set the minimum amount of compensation established for workers, including the minimum amount of paid time off. “The Legislature established the minimum amount of compensation for workers, and the Texas Constitution prohibits local municipalities from ignoring the Legislature’s decision,” Paxton wrote.