ELDORADO, Texas (AP) _ Mothers from a polygamous sect described an emotional, rushed scene when they were forced from the shelter where they had been staying with their young children since the state removed them from their homes.
"My two oldest were just terrified and they clung to me saying, 'Mother, mother, we want to go with you,'" said Ruth, her voice breaking as she began to cry. She and other members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints who spoke outside the sect's ranch Thursday declined to give their last names, fearing it will affect their custody cases.
Dozens of mothers were bused away from their children at the San Angelo Coliseum on Thursday after their legal efforts to stay united were rejected. Texas officials were preparing to move the last of the more than 400 children taken from the sect's ranch to group homes, shelters and residences, some hundreds of miles away, over the next few days.
Texas' 3rd Court of Appeals Thursday rejected the mothers' pleas to immediately stop authorities from busing the children taken from the ranch to foster homes.
The Austin-based court agreed to hear arguments Tuesday, but attorney Robert Doggett, who represents 48 mothers, said that "having a hearing after the fact" was pointless.
The Yearning For Zion Ranch in Eldorado, south of San Angelo, is owned by the FLDS, a renegade Mormon sect.
Texas officials allege that the sect encourages adolescent girls to marry older men and have children, and that boys are groomed to become future perpetrators. Sect members deny the allegations.
Spring mother found guilty in child-injury trial
HOUSTON (AP) — A Harris County jury has found that a Spring woman caused her young son to have at least two unnecessary surgeries.
Laurie Williamson, 40, was convicted Thursday of injury to a child in connection with her son undergoing surgeries for implantation of a nerve-stimulation device and insertion of a gastric feeding button.
She now faces possible life in prison. Testimony in the punishment phrase of the trial began late Thursday and is set to resume Tuesday, the Houston Chronicle reports in its Friday editions.
State child welfare officials and prosecutors have said Williamson has Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a rare disorder in which a person fabricates or induces symptoms in others to gain attention.
Defense attorney Allen Isbell has denied that Williamson has the syndrome.
Prosecutor Mike Trent said Williamson manipulated doctors and her son's condition to get the surgeries.
Matriarch of San Antonio restaurant family slain
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — The 76-year-old matriarch of a San Antonio restaurant family has been discovered slain in her home after firefighters responded to a fire there.
A police spokesman said that forensic evidence indicated Viola B. Barrios, whose body was found Thursday, had been killed. But he declined to release any details, including what injuries she sustained. Police said that Barrios' silver Mercedes was missing from the home.
Officials said the rear of her house was intentionally set afire.
Barrios started Los Barrios as a young widow in 1979, hoping to support her three children. For nearly 30 years she worked seven days a week, making tortillas and enchiladas and managing the restaurant that became one of San Antonio's best-known.
In just two weeks she was set to move out of the modest home her husband had built to a large estate.
Authorities said a motive for the slaying is not yet known, but her son, Louis Barrios, said he suspects a botched burglary.
"It's just amazing to me that this has happened," Louis Barrios, 47, said through tears.
Her son, chief executive officer of Los Barrios Enterprises Inc., told the San Antonio Express-News for its Friday editions that his mother's life "represented the opposite of her death, not taking, but giving."
Soldier admits shooting Iraqi man, but calls it justified
WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD, Hawaii (AP) — A Hawaii-based soldier accused of killing an unarmed Iraqi last year admitted shooting the man, but said he believed it was justified after the Iraqi tried to flee the backyard of a house the soldier's platoon had just raided in search of insurgents.
Sgt. 1st Class Trey Corrales, who is being court-martialed for premeditated murder, said Thursday that he told the man in Arabic to freeze and to put his hands in the air, but the man started to run.
Corrales, of San Antonio, said he then raised his weapon and fired four shots at him.
"I knew it was a hostile area," Corrales told the nine-member panel serving on the military justice system's equivalent of a jury. "I knew he couldn't be up to anything good."
He said he acted on instinct.
Corrales has also been charged with wrongfully soliciting another soldier to shoot the Iraqi man and with wrongfully obstructing an investigation by planting an AK-47 on the victim. He has pleaded not guilty to all three charges.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.