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Breakthrough In Josué Flores Murder Case, Gun Safety Awareness Campaign In Texas, And Poll Says Texas Voters’ Election Qualms Run High

These are some of the stories Houston Public Media is covering.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Top afternoon stories:

Houston Police Executive Assistant Chief Troy Finner (center) said at a news conference Jackson had remained a suspect for HPD even though an initial charge was dropped in 2017.

Breakthrough In Josué Flores Murder Case

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced on Tuesday that a grand jury has indicted Andre Jackson for the alleged murder of Josué Flores after being presented with new DNA evidence that was examined in a Florida laboratory.

Flores’ murder shocked Houston in May 2016 because of its brutality. The killer stabbed the child multiple times at the 1900 block of Fulton Street when the 11-year-old boy was returning to his home after leaving Marshall Middle School in the Near Northside neighborhood.

Jackson, a 30 year-old homeless veteran, had previously been charged with Flores’ murder. But Ogg dropped the charges in July 2017 because of insufficient evidence that prosecutors felt could lead to a conviction. Now, the district attorney says there is evidence beyond a reasonable doubt against Jackson.

Houston Police arrested Jackson in Baytown and he is in custody. He is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday and faces five to 99 years in prison, or life. Jackson has publicly claimed he is innocent.

The public safety campaign will urge gun owners to safely store their firearms to prevent accidents and shootings.

Texas To Launch $1 Million Gun Safety Awareness Campaign

The Texas Department of Public Safety will launch an awareness campaign to urge gun owners to lock away their firearms.

The initiative is part of the state budget Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law this past weekend.

The budget allocates $1 million over two years to the campaign, which will likely be similar to DPS’ Don’t Mess With Texas and Turn Around Don’t Drown awareness campaigns.

Currently, if a child 16 years of age or under gets a hold of a loaded weapon in Texas, the owner of the gun can be charged with a misdemeanor (Class A misdemeanor if someone gets hurt, otherwise Class C).

The gun safety campaign is scheduled to start by Sep. 1, 2020.

This August 25, 2018, photo shows a voting sign in Harris County regarding the election on the county’s bond for flood prevention and mitigation projects.

Poll Says Texas Voters’ Election Qualms Run High

Texas voters find a lot wrong with who does and doesn’t get to vote in the state’s elections, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

Generally speaking, Democrats see voter suppression and Republicans see voter fraud.

“Partisans on both sides can find things to fault,” said Joshua Blank, manager of polling and research for the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin. “Texans as a whole look upon the election system pretty poorly.”

Half of the voters said noncitizens vote “sometimes” (24%) or “frequently” (26%) in the state’s elections — a view held by 75% of Republican respondents and 54% of independent voters. Among Democrats, 27% said noncitizens “never” vote in Texas elections and another 37% said it “rarely” happens. White voters (56%) think noncitizens vote sometimes or frequently; 33% of black voters and 40% of Hispanic voters agreed with them.

But those Democrats don’t think everything is rosy: 68% said eligible voters in Texas are sometimes (37%) or frequently (31%) prevented from voting. That view is shared by 44% of voters overall, by 24% of Republicans and by 37% of independent voters. Among all voters, 43% think eligible voters are never or rarely blocked from casting ballots. A majority of black voters (53%) said voters are frequently or sometimes prevented from voting; 49% of Hispanic and 40% of white voters agreed with them.

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