For Immediate Release
On Monday, March 20th, 2023, Gary Russell Motter, II of Cleveland, Texas was sentenced to 40 years incarceration in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, after being found guilty of two counts of Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child in the 258th District Court of San Jacinto County, Judge Lisa Michalk presiding.  Criminal District Attorney Todd Dillon served as lead prosecutor in this case.  In accordance with state law, Motter will not be eligible to parole until he has completed half of his sentence and he will be required to register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life.
In November of 2022, a jury found proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Motter repeatedly sexually assaulted his stepdaughter, a child younger than fourteen years old.  After three days of testimony, including investigators and deputies from the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office, counselors and forensic interviewers from Children’s Safe Harbor, in addition to the child victim, a jury unanimously convicted the Defendant.  The jury found that the sexual abuse occurred in the home of the victim near Cleveland, Texas on or about June of 2018.
During the punishment hearing, the court heard evidence regarding a pending rape charge the defendant committed while out on bond in Arkansas in 2021.  The court found the testimony of the victim from Arkansas “compelling”.  Testimony of the victim as well as her mother was provided to the court regarding the impact that the assault had on the life of the young victim.  Character evidence was also provided on behalf of the defendant by members of the defendant’s friends and family.
Criminal District Attorney Todd Dillon would like to thank the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office, as well as counselors, forensic interviewers and staff at the Children’s Safe Harbor for their hard work, care and persistence in this case.  A special note of gratitude is due to Amy McCorkle, previously Chief Investigator at the San Jacinto County District Attorney’s Office for her tenacious pursuit of justice over the course of 4 years in this case.  Investigator McCorkle is now employed by the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office where she continues to be a fierce advocate for justice for sexual abuse survivors. 



30 Years with no possibility of parole was the sentence handed down today for the crime of 'Continueous Sexual Abuse of Young Children' for abusing his own grand children.   The abuse occurred in several locations including San Jacinto County.  

   Judge John Wells presided over the case and 1st ADA Robert Freyer led the efforts to put Rodriguez away for a long time.  SJC DA Todd Dillion thanked the SJC Sheriff's Dept, the Safe Harbor facility, counselors and many others for their help in bringing this case to a successful conclusion.  The same Jury who convicted Rodrigues also assessed his punishment without delay.

SHEPHERD 11/25/2022


A rash of dead cow/calf carcasses have been dumped on or near Wright Blvd in Shepherd in the last year or so.  This is at least the fourth incident ranging from one to two animals at a time being left on the side of the road.  

     Each of the incidents has been investigated but no answers yet.  Commissioner Marrs has been tasked with removing the animals and has not been able to state any obvious sign of trauma that caused the deaths.  

   Anyone that has information pertaining to the death and/or dumping of these animals is asked to please come forward with the information.

COLDSPRING 11/8/2022


FAULKNER    8448

Shirley who? 140


WEBB 2708

JOY 449



In what may well be the largestvote ratio of defeat in any election in SJC History, Shirley Brandon lost her bid for the judge's office by thousands of votes in just the early voting numbers.  5040 to 105.  

   Ms. Webb took the Pct 4 JP race easily also  1762 to 293 in early voting.. 

   Faulkner has proven himself to the voters of SJC for many years.  Brandon proved herself by messing up the best 911 addressing system in the state.  

    As for the JP Race in Pct 4, I wrote one article on Ms Webb and told her, "You don't need me" because she is a winner for the voters here.   Not only is is she bright, articulate and educated, she has a background in law enforcement and noble goals for herself and our county.  

   Congratulations both candidates.

    A note to Sam Houston.  You just keep following shirley brandon's methods and keep spreading the BS rumors on your opponent and come get you some of the same.  Her rumor was mild compared to the demented rumors you are spreading but what do you expect from a man who hires a sexual predator for a captain?  


POLK CO  11/9/2022


Beverly Armstong is running on the democrat ticket and Tami Pierce on the Republican.

Typical of a demoncrat strong hold, the final vote count is delayed.


Headline News

JASPER CO 6/25/2021


      Local man and CAD employee, Dylan Walker was arrested and charged in the death of Samuel Olson and a press release made today.   Like the other two defendants, Walker was charged with evidence crimes, NOT the killing of the child.

     The initial arrest occurred the evening of the 1st of June in the north end of San Jacinto County.   The Sentinel first broke the story early the next morning but witheld the name and location because the investigation was on going.   If you read the story below, the Ranger did confirm an arrest at the specific location we told them but denied  it  had  anything to do with the Samuel Olson  death.   My open records request directly to DPS did confirm the next day that the investigation was into the death of little man Olson.

     There is a limited information channel 2 video published that released his name and this mug shot but not much more.  We have not received any public release about Dylan Walker's arrest despite the fact that we were the first to request it.   According to another channel news, Walker was indicted by a Jasper Co Grand Jury on the evidence tampering charge and arrested a couple of days ago.

        A family member did confirm that Walker's phone was confiscated as part of the investigation the same day his truck was impounded.     Another source with direct information stated that Walker was approached by Balboa to give her a ride and help move some of her stuff.  The source stated further that Walker agreed and after he  picked  her up, they stopped by a storage unit and picked up several plastic totes she had previously stored.  According to the same source, it was down the road near where he gave Balboa a ride to that Walker got out of his vehicle and smelled the odor of decomposition.   Walker is said to have then called police to inform them of what he had smelled and where Balboa was.  A recent news article clarified that Walker did NOT call police directly but rather gave the tip through the 'Crime Stoppers' system.  

        We do know that Walker either was arrested near the first of the month and made bail or was just recently arrested or both  because he was at work the last week.   He did decline the opportunity to give The Sentinel an interview.          

SHEPHERD 3/7/2018


   SJC Environmental Officer, Dale Everitt spearheaded an effort to deal with a toxic waste site that had devolved into being a 'tax sale' tract in the middle of a residential neighborhood in SE SJC.  TCEQ had the site on the books but it had slipped through the cracks when a business was no more.  The Sentinel investigated and reported on this situation last year and recently did a follow up to see if the assurances of Pct 2 Commissioner Donny Marrs and SJC Judge John Lovett had been met.  TCEQ stepped up to the plate and cleaned the tract up.  All of the drums were gone, the ground and the water all looked clean and there was new growth. 

    "Oh yes that one was completed and the process is moving forward on the 'Our Road' site as we speak", E.O. Everitt said.  "T.C.E.Q. has really gone the extra mile when it comes to these clean up efforts", he added. 




CORRECTION:  The San Jacinto Special Utility District (SJSUD) DID NOT remove the Cross of Christ from the water tower because they got a threat letter as previously reported in The Sentinel.  According to an official reply to our open records request, there was no threat letter, no meeting, no memo, no work order or any minutes related to the decision.  SJSUD folded and removed the cross because the county got a threat letter.  The spokesperson who came forward at the Commissioner's Court meeting made some misleading statements that led to our error. 



The SJC Commissioner's Court voted 5/0 to keep the crosses on the courthouse.  A last minute announcement was made by an employee of the local water company, a  taxing entity, that their response to a similiar threat to sue letter was to fold and take the cross down off of the water tower.  It has been removed.   Former Judge Lovett has agreed to an interview about his thinking and research before having the crosses put up during his tenure.  We are seeking an interview with the local person who complained but will shield their identity in hopes of getting their views out for both sides of the story.  Stay tuned for more on this story.



The new Coldspring Community Center will be the venue for the San Jacinto County Commissioners Court meeting scheduled for tomorrow, May 8th.  The Grand Hall will be used to accomodate the crowds expected from the community stir the FFRF threat letter to sue SJC over the cross in our courthouse window has caused.  This photo is a Sentinel file photo of the window before the lighted Christmas decorations were added.  The Christian Craftsman built the cross right into the window sash and mullion.  The lights only highlight this historical architectual feature of our beloved courthouse. 



The Channel 2 van was parked on the square about 4 this after noon.  The 6 o'clock newscast had a story from Coldspring and they said a more indepth report will be broadcast on the ten o'clock broadcast.  More interviews and even one pastor is slated to be interviewed.



According to the Commissioner Court agenda dispersed today, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has taken aim at SJC and hopes to force the removal of the highlighted crosses hung on all four sides of the SJC Courthouse during former Judge John R. Lovett's tenure.   The group was recently successful in Pennsylvania after a federal lawsuit in forcing the removal of a Christian Cross from the county seal and flag of Lehigh County.

     In a similiar case much closer to home, the FFRF attempted to force a Montgomery County JP to stop allowing volunteer chaplains from various faiths to open his court proceedings with prayer each day.  Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton went to bat for the Texas Court and had a victory.  The two stories about that case are HERE and HERE.

    The threat letter is published below.



    December 6th of 2018 was eventful for the Pointblank Community when Vance May, a wanted felon, was closed in on by the SJC Sheriff's Dept and members of The Gulf Coast Area Task Force at his home and shot himself just as the lawmen closed in.  

     This is more than just a statistical event in the fact that Vance May is was the neighbor who was responsible for putting a bullet through my oldest son's kitchen window that, other than for the Grace of God and a 5 lb bag of sugar on the pantry shelf, would have blown my daughter in law's brains all over my grand daughter. 

He was also the Vance May that was responsible for another bullet whizzing right by my baby boy's head on video on a different occasion and richoetting off his momma's car that she had just exited.  This first photo is one I took after I got home that day and went up the hill to tell May if one more bullet came our way, I was going to kill him.  He wouldn't answer his door.  We called the law both times but nothing was done other than getting May to pay for the window.    My frustration at that prompted me reaching out to another agency for help.  One of the emails in the exchange is below:

Fast forward a little and it is also the same Vance May who was shot in an officer involved shooting in downtown Pointblank.  According to sources, May was armed at the time but did not get a shot off at the officer.  The young deputy had only been on the force a few days at the time and there was a storm over the shooting because the officer had been involved in two shootings in his last jurisdiction.  The Beaumont press was ready to crucify the young deputy but for The Sentinel stepping up for him.  We documented that both Jefferson county shootings were determined to be justified.  One was a clean kill shot on a gunman holed up with hostages in a trailer park in the line of duty.  The other was self defense according to the DA's investigation.  The shooting in PtBlank was investigated by The Rangers.  According to offiical sources, May was inadvertantly discharged from the hospital after a months long recovery w/o the Rangers being notified. 

    According to reliable and official sources, the SJC Sheriff dept and Task Force came in from the direction reccomended by the local hunter using the barn for cover and were at May's door unseen until too late for May to "Shower Down" on anyone.  Those same sources say that May shot himself in the bathtub almost immediatly after they called out and began to make entry.  Thank the Lord and some concerned citizens that none of our LEO's were killed.  

Coldspring 1st Methodist pastor asks God to bless the proceedings and each and every public servant.
JP 3 Ellisor administers oath to Judge Faulkner
SJC District Attorney Robert Hill 'Judge' Trapp and his grand kids. His Mother Billie Trapp was on the front row to witness yet another term of public service from her son.
1st photo of all SJC Justices of the Peace L-R JP 4, Greg Magee, JP 3, Randy Ellisor, JP 2 Harris'Red' Blanchett, JP 1, Christina McGee
JP 4 Greg Magee - His 10th time to be sworn in as a public servant in SJC
JP 2 Harris 'used to be Red' Blanchett
PCT 2 Commissioner Donny Marrs
1st official photo of JP 1, Christina McGee
SJC Judge Fritz Faulkner gives oath to Ellisor
JP 1, Christina McGee all smiles
SJC Tax Assessor Collector, Betty Davis Welcome Home young lady. We missed you.
SJC Treasurer, Dee Dee Adams
SJC District Clerk Tammy Currie - former Chief Deputy District Clerk
SJC County Clerk, Dawn Wright

NEW OAG Letter confirms CPS Case

WORLD WIDE WEB 10/28/2017


Former probation officer, Keith Black, Corrigan detective, Christopher Lima and SJC Pct 3 constable deputy, (Former SJC sheriff deputy) Nathan Deweese have teamed up (conspired) together and continue their campaign of negative and false information attacks against The Sentinel and me personally.  Due to the nature of the false allegations they are collectively making, these corrupt lawmen, each of whom have been the subject of expose' Sentinel article(s), have and continue to physically endanger my family and myself.  We have compiled evidence that we have been collecting for several years.

Thomas Bonds

PCT 3 SJC 7/30/2018


Thomas Bonds, long time SJC Commissioner for Pct 3 passed away at his home Monday afternoon.  A well known figure who got his start taking care of the roads in Pct 3 riding on his dad's knee as he bladed the roads for the county when Thomas was just a boy.

    With a reputation for a straight forward style and no time for games, Thomas Bonds will be missed in SJC.  He will be missed by the senior men's Sunday School class at Magnolia Baptist Church.  He will be missed by every reporter that ever wanted an honest answer.   Thomas Bonds has a servant's heart and is one man that never stooped to the 'political process' to gain or hold his office.  He always stood on the Truth even though it took his voters a few years to realize it one time.   Thomas Bonds represented his precinct and our county well.  His boots will be hard to fill in quite a few places. 

COLDSPRING 4/30/2018


In a brief but intense one agenda item special called meeting, SJC Commissioners discussed and then voted to fill the void left by the removal of Judge John Lovett Jr. after his recent arrest.   Faulkner, who was in county court defending a client, was informed of the decision.  The auditor left to prepare the bond and arrangements are being made to swear Judge Faulkner in.  This makes at least 3 times Fritz Faulkner has been appointed to the Judge's office to fill a vacancy.

COLDSPRING 11/20/2017


No official confirmation has been obtained but more than one Sentinel source indicates that Kelly Selmer Wineinger did submit her resignation via email this morning effective the first week in December.  We have submitted open records requests but it may well be after the holidays before we have a confirmation.

(Sentinel comments in red)
DA Trapp,
I wanted to inform you as per my conversation with TAC and the Texas Ethics Commission today regarding some magnetic signs on my Chief Deputy Sommer Brinkley’s vehicle.
Apparently Mr. Watson seems to think she has them on her car illegally and that we are attempting to pull one over on the taxpayers. He’s got a picture of Sommer’s vehicle with the signs on them along with a story of how they are on there illegally on his website.     (Here you go again saying I said something that I never said You can beat that straw man like nobody's business.  Here is an exact quote from my story in reference to the signs.  "They do not say, "Office of the Tax Assessor Collector" but rather identify the occupant as that elected official in violation of Texas law."   My statement is that to falsely identify ones self as an elected official is a violation of Texas Law . . . . and it is.)
I spoke with both agencies attorneys today TAC Katherine Howard and Ethics Commission Joseph Keeney. TAC said there was nothing illegal about the signs as it’s no difference than all the Sheriff’s deputies having the word “Sheriff” on their cars.  (TAC Attorney Katherine Howard actually told you that she personally didn't see a difference in your deputy having signs or the sheriff deputies driving cars that say sheriff.  Then she was careful to say that TAC would not have any business getting into the case as Robert Hill Trapp is the State's Attorney in SJC.  For you to speak as if TAC settled the issue and indicate you are just letting the DA know out of a courtesy to keep him in the loop is another plain out lie that we can chalk up to your column.)  The Ethics Commission told me as long as it’s it’s political advertising then there is absolutely nothing illegal with her having them on her car.  (Once again you lie.  Joseph Keeney was very clear that their ONLY concern is with political advertising signs and they would not have any involvement in this case.  You lied on two highly regarded public servants in an attempt to cover your own self)
TAC suggested that I just let you know since you are the District Attorney so that is what I am doing..I’m sure you have plenty to do besides worry about magnets on people’s vehicles but I wanted to keep you in the loop.  (lol you keeping DA Trapp "in the loop".  Ms Wineinger, Robert Hill Trapp IS the loop in SJC.  As the most powerful elected official in our county, 'the loop' begins and ends with him.)
I am sorry to bother you with such trivial things.  (TRIVIAL?  let us project a plausible scenario here.  Despite the fact that there is absolutly no duty of the Tax office that requires field trips or inspections, etc, how about if Ms. Brinkley chose to go to the store for bread and milk and was in a hurry to get home and God forbid, crossed the line and ran over someone with YOUR Seal on her car.   Who they gonna sue?  Lovett didn't even have his seal of office at his wreck scene but claimed he was on county business.  SJC is being sued over that.  With your seal on her private vehicle, the victims family would not even have to ask who it was driving because YOUR seal on her private vehicle identifies her as our Tax Assessor Collector in violation of Texas law.  She is officially on county business whether she is or not.  As I love to say, "right or wrong, it is official".  When that county owned, tax exempt plate sheriff car rolls up, you can know they are there on official business.)
Thank you,
Kelly Wineinger

(Sentinel comments in red)


Mr. Watson,

1. I would like to correct a few things you have wrong in your article about me. If your going to write something about me maybe you should speak to me first before publishing it for true and correct answers instead of RUMORS.

1. My medical leave is my business and no one else’s. (Actually, whatever causes you to abandon your duties that we elected and pay you to do is our business.  Agreed that your personal medical information is private but you being gone from office and unable to do your duties is completely our business.) It’s no ones business why I am not in the office. (See last answer) As well you know an elected official isn’t bound by hours and days to be in the office. (And as you know, elected officials ARE bound by an oath and THE LAW to do their duty.)  I work remotely and can do anything from the house that I can do sitting at my desk. (I won’t even address that stupid statement.  It just proves you think we are all idiots.) I spoke with the commissioners about my leave before I ever left. (What a small world.  I have spoken with all the commissioners about your leave too.) They know why I am gone not that I needed to tell anyone. (Why you seem to think you can just drop out of site and not owe the taxpayers an explanation baffles me)

2. If your going to use someone’s name you should make sure you spell it correctly. My chief deputy’s name is spelled Sommer Brinkley (My Apology – I stand corrected)

3. As for me resigning don’t know why it still comes up. I have no plans to resign on January 1..I have made it clear to all the commissioners in and out of open court that I’m not resigning but I probably would not stay the whole three years left on my term. Whoever told you this is a complete liar!  (Someone is a complete liar.  You sure it is my sources?)

4. Regarding me wanting Sommer appointed. Of course I would like to see the Chief Deputy be appointed when I decide to leave. What Tax Assessor wouldn’t want her chief deputy to take her place.   (That will be up to and the duty of the commissioners to decide.  From what I can gather, there is a consensus among several that a new set of eyes on the books might not be a bad idea.  Lots of questions we will get to after this.) 

5. The signs on Sommer car are not there to falsify anything or anyone. I had two sets made like two years ago. They have been on her car for nearly two years (Thanks for that confession) except during my re election time during the voting.  I spoke with the tax attorney before ever ordering two sets to make sure it was ok she had them on there. He said it was fine. So if I am breaking the law I will have Sommer remove them as I’m not the kind of person to be breaking the law or trying to pull one over on the taxpayers. I again didn’t hand over her “MY” set of magnets. (So she stole them?)  She has her own just as I do.  (You can’t give someone the right to identify themselves as our SJC Tax Assessor Collector.  Only the voters or, in the event of abandonment and/or removal, our elected representatives can do that.  Those decals on Sommer’s car are YOURS by default)

6. As for Sommer moving into my office. You are really pulling at straws. Again she moved in there last March 2016 about a year and half ago.  (That is about when you started dating Randy L. Wineingar, Hunt Co Tax Collector and quit showing up to work regular if I am not mistaken) We took over doing pay agreements from the attorneys and I thought it would be more private for her to have the taxpayers come in my office rather that have their business being taken care of out in public through the window.  So again nothing is meant by her being in my office.

In the future if you want to know something about me and or my office and staff please come to me first by email. I have nothing to hide nor am I trying to pull anything over on the taxpayers or the county.   


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Publisher - Stephen C. Watson

Office - 50 W Oak Tree Drive

             Pointblank, Texas 77364

             936 730 5717

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