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Former lawman pleads to two felony charges

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Rex Lee Morgan, 60, a former police officer and sheriff's deputy, entered pleas of guilty to charges of theft of property and theft of a firearm by a public servant before 8th Judicial District Judge Eddie Northcutt Monday morning. Morgan was sentenced to 10 years in prison probated for 10 years and to serve 180 days in county jail on each charge. The sentences were ordered to run concurrently. Rather than having Morgan taken directly to jail, Northcutt ordered him to present himself at the county jail at 9 a.m. Wednesday morning to begin jail time that will end March 27. Northcutt also ordered Morgan to pay fines of $2,000 on each charge. The charges against the former crime prevention and safety education officer arose after an inventory of the property vault at the sheriff's department revealed a quantity of hydrocodone pills was missing from evidence. District Attorney Will Ramsay said at the time the drugs were discovered missing, the cases associated with the missing pills were years old and had reached a conclusion.  After deputies discovered the missing drugs, Texas Rangers were called in to conduct an investigation, and Morgan admitted taking the pills, Ramsay said. As the investigation into the missing evidence continued and a complete inventory was conducted, officers found a handgun was also missing and Morgan admitted taking the gun. The district attorney credited the sheriff’s department for the way the case was handled. "I have been amazed at how the Hopkins County Sheriff's Office is motivated to never stop improving,” he said. ”Based on good leadership, an effort was made to reorganize, as well as dispose of evidence that was no longer needed. During this tedious effort, an investigator found discrepancies, which led to this investigation.   “At the time of the discovery, the cases associated with the missing pills were years old and closed. Regardless, the Hopkins County Sheriff's Office had the integrity to immediately contact the Texas Ranger and handle the issue in the light. “Circumstances like this, while difficult, give me complete assurance in the men and women who make up HCSO,” Ramsay continued. “They will not hesitate to do the right thing, even if it means one of their own goes to jail." Morgan retired as a lieutenant from Sulphur Springs Police Department, where he served as crime prevention officer and emergency management coordinator. After his retirement from the police department, Morgan went to work in the sheriff's department as a crime prevention and education officer and was also in charge of the evidence property vault and its contents until the missing drugs were discovered.

USDA Undersecretary Hosts Stakeholder Event

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USDA Undersecretary hosts stakeholder event

 The United States Department of Agriculture held a stakeholder meeting at the Hopkins County Extension Office early Friday morning to discuss the new risk management programs offered in the 2014 Farm Bill.

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Cumby ISD makes calendar changes, announces early releases

Cumby parents and students take note: the school district has amended its calendar to include one early release day next week, one additional early release day in December and two in May.

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Facepainting Friends

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Ticoliny Du Sarousch Circus visits Sulphur Springs this weekend with juggling experts, illusionists, unicycle performers, clowns and arial ballerinas. Before the show on Friday, dozens of children showed up to view the petting zoo and get their faces painted with butterflies, clowns or puppy designs. The circus will run again at 7:30 p.m. on the west side of Prim Stadium.

Final Drug Take-Back Day is Saturday

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Hopkins County Sheriff’s Office this weekend will participate in the ninth and final  National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, an initiative of the Drug Enforcement Administration launched to give Americans an opportunity to take their expired, unneeded or unwanted prescription drugs to a designated collection site to be properly disposed of.

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