Local man gets 40 year prison sentence

A Weatherford man pled guilty to aggravated sexual assault and child pornography charges in District Court in Weatherford Thursday and was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

39-year-old Donnie Lee Harwell pled guilty to the November, 2015 aggravated sexual assault of a 13 year old girl and to five possession of child pornography counts before District Judge Graham Quisenberry.

It won’t be Harwell’s first trip to prison—he was sentenced to the pen in 1997 and in 2002 on burglary of a habitation charges. He won’t be eligible for parole until the year 2037.

Husband arrested for murdering wife in Granbury

A 72-year-old man faces a murder charge after he admitted to suffocating his wife Thursday morning at a home in Granbury.

A 911 caller had reported seeing a man dragging a woman’s body and trying to load it into a car.

When officers arrived, Joseph Scala told them he had suffocated his wife, 72-year-old Betty Scala, who was pronounced dead at a local hospital. Joseph Scala told police that the couple lived in Arlington but that Betty Scala was staying with a friend at the Granbury home.

Manning to retire as Police Chief

The City of Weatherford announced that Mike Manning, Chief of Police, will retire effective March 24.

Chief Manning has served in law enforcement for 39 years with eight (8) years of service as the Weatherford Chief of Police. Before Weatherford, he spent 31 years of service with the Fort Worth Police Department.

Chief Manning has been a very active member within the law enforcement community by serving in numerous professional associations, including the Southern Police Institute Alumni Association, International Association of Chiefs of Police, Texas Police Chiefs Association, National Tactical Officers Association, Texas Police Association and Texas Municipal Police Association. He also retires as a highly decorated law enforcement officer receiving numerous awards throughout his career, including the Fort Worth Police Department Command Officer of the Year in 1997, Fort Worth Police Commendation Award in 2000 and the Weatherford Meritorious Service Award in 2012.

“I admit that after 39 years in this business, it is a decision I have wrestled with for a while,” said Chief Manning. “I have had a blessed career and many wonderful memories that I will always cherish.”

Chief Manning is a graduate of Tarrant County Junior College with an Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice and Texas Wesleyan University where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice. Manning also graduated from the 80th Administrative Officers Course presented by the Southern Police Institute – University of Louisville. He holds a Master Peace Officer Certification and Instructor Certification awarded by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement.

“The education and training that Chief Manning completed during his career is a testament to his commitment for law enforcement,” said city manager Sharon Hayes. “We will miss his leadership and are appreciative of the legacy he will leave behind for others to follow for many years.”

As a long time law enforcement officer, Chief Manning spent most of his career with the Fort Worth Police Department. He began his career in 1978 as police officer. During his career with Fort Worth he promoted through all civil service ranks. In 2002 he was appointed to the rank of deputy chief. He retired from the Fort Worth Police Department January 31, 2009 and February 16, 2009 became the Weatherford Chief of Police.

“Over the past eight years, Weatherford Police Chief Mike Manning has been instrumental in our local cooperative law enforcement initiatives,” said Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler. “We have served together on countless joint operations with successful outcomes due to his efforts. I am personally thankful for his valued resources, as well as his knowledge and his friendship – both personally and professionally. He will be sorely missed in our routine operations, but he leaves a legacy of old-fashioned hard work and loyalty, which his fellow officers and those who served under his command will continue to strive for each day. I am proud to have had his law enforcement experience and leadership skills working in cooperation with the Sheriff’s Office to continue the partnership between Parker County and the City of Weatherford. We sincerely congratulate Mike on his retirement.”

A farewell reception will be held for Chief Mike Manning, Thursday, April 20, at Chandor Gardens from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., located at 711 W. Lee Avenue in Weatherford.

Constable arrested on family violence charges

Parker County Precinct 1 Constable Charlie Hunt was arrested Monday and charged with continuous violence against a family member.

According to Parker County Today, Hunt is accused of assaulting his girlfriend at least twice within a 12 month period, the most recent being this past Sunday, when he allegedly hit the victim in the head at least three times and once in the nose. Hunt’s bail was set at $15,000.