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Former East Texas Teacher Accused of Child Sexual Assault is Back in Jail

Varnell Robert
Gregg County

Former Longview Independent School District teacher Robert Craig Varnell is back in jail after breaking the terms of his bond.

Gregg County prosecutors say the 56-year-old Varnell violated terms of his bond by contacting a former student, the alleged victim of sexual assault.

The former science teacher is accused of having inappropriate sexual contact with a 16-year-old boy on numerous occasions stemming from 2009 to May 2011 when he was arrested.

Varnell  is being held on $1.25 million bond , a hearing to lower his bond will be held Wednesday.

A trial date is set for Nov. 12 in Gregg County District Court.




Armed Robbery Suspect on the Loose

Tyler Police are searching for a suspect who robbed a Tyler Convenience store last night.

The clerk told officers the suspect was armed with a gun when he demanded money from the cash register. The suspect took an undetermined amount of cash and ran from the store, no injuries were reported.

The suspect is described as a black male in his late 20’s to early 30’s, 5’ 00” – 5’02”, wearing a black hoodie or possibly a hooded zipper type sweater with gold colored design and blue jeans.  In addition, the suspect has a tattoo on the right side of his face and gold upper teeth.

The holdup occurred at 1105 E. Gentry Parkway around 9:30 p.m.


Bennie Williams III
Smith Co Jail Records

One Suspect in Custody Following Tyler Shooting

One person is jailed after he was arrested for a shooting that occurred Tuesday afternoon at 907 S Turner in Tyler.

Bennie Jewels Williams III 18, of Tyler is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after he allegedly shot a person who was talking to a group of people in the front yard of the residence..

29 year old Christopher Demetrious Crocket of Tyler was shot in the arm and is hospitalized with the non -life threating injury.


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