Longtime Killeen Restaurant closes; the future of the restaurant uncertain

Economic pressure from the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with rising food costs led the owner of a beloved Killeen restaurant to close last weekend after nearly 40 years in business.

Hallmark Restaurant, 4402 E. Central Texas Expressway, closed last week — a shock to many Killeen residents who cited family and childhood memories made at the restaurant.

Hallmark owner Seoung Lim, who also owns Kogibowl and the recently opened Korean and Japanese restaurant Maru, said Thursday he had made the difficult decision after more than a year of battling the economic impacts of the global pandemic and of inflation.

Some have called the restaurant’s closure a tragedy, but the future is uncertain.

Noting the community’s love for Hallmark, Lim said he’s now considering whether to reopen the venue as a new restaurant or as an upgraded version of the restaurant, with an updated menu, after renovations planned for this summer. .

Jury finds Killeen man guilty of 2018 murder

A jury deliberated for about three hours on Thursday before convicting a Killeen man of murder after a trial this week in the Bell County 27th Judicial District Court.

The defendant, Jason Ricardo Baez, 35, testified on Tuesday but the jury did not buy his self-defense explanation for shooting and killing Lamar Marcell Roberson, 32, with whom he had a two-month sexual relationship .

A first-degree felony is punishable by five to 99 years, or life, in prison.

Baez said he was defending himself and his pregnant fiancée when he shot and killed Roberson.

Baez was jailed over four years ago on March 2, 2018.

Fort Hood fire crews battle 3 wildfires

Nearly three months after a historic wildfire, Fort Hood is ablaze again; this time, fire crews are battling three fires totaling about 400 acres.

As of the latest update, around 3:30 p.m. Thursday, the wild lands management area fire, which is estimated at 250 acres, was 90 percent contained, Fort Hood officials said. Another 80-acre wildfire near the Clabber Creek multipurpose range was also about 90% contained.

A third fire at the ranges near Blackwell Mountain was 60% contained, officials said. This fire was estimated at 60 acres.

Killeen marijuana discussion scheduled for July

After six months of collecting signatures from registered voters in Killeen, a group of local politicians and activists officially presented their petition to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana at the Killeen Town Council meeting on Tuesday.

Although council did not have a full-fledged discussion of the petition, they unanimously approved a motion of instruction from Pro Tem Mayor Ken Wilkerson to continue the discussion at a public hearing on July 19.

However, before the council said a word on the subject, it heard from several residents, who came to the microphone during the citizens’ comments to express their views on both sides of the issue.

Judge orders continuation of week-long trial against Killeen’s election

A former councilor in Killeen will have to wait longer for her election case to be decided by a judge, who could rule on the matter by the end of the month.

Mellisa Brown, who served on the previous Killeen City Council, filed a civil suit May 23 against Councilman Ramon Alvarez, who won the seat by 26 votes in the mayoral election. As part of his lawsuit, Brown asked the court to impose a “temporary restraining order” to prohibit the town of Killeen from installing Alvarez as a council member; however, he was sworn in the same day the lawsuit was filed.

In a remote hearing Friday afternoon in Bell County’s 146th Judicial District Court, a visiting district court judge decided to hold a “trial on the merits” on June 24.

The Killeen ISD Board of Directors is closing high school campuses for lunch this fall

All high schools in the Killeen Independent School District will be closed campuses next year — largely ending students eating off-campus lunch — after the school board voted 4-2 in favor of the measure last week.

After a lively hour-long discussion, Killeen ISD Board Chairman Brett Williams and Board Members Brenda Adams, Marvin Rainwater and JoAnn Purser voted in favor of the change, Oliver Mintz and Susan Jones voting in opposition. Board member Cullen Mills was not present.

KISD Superintendent John Craft urged the school board to vote to close campuses for safety reasons.

The superintendent said the measure has been a topic of discussion for years, noting that KISD is unique in its open campus policy.

According to the police, a woman was strangled; 12th victim of criminal homicide in 2022

A Killeen woman found dead June 10 at an area hotel died of strangulation, court records show.

Juan Enoc Bamaca Pliego, 36, was found alone in a dark, locked room at America’s Best Value Inn, 2709 E. Veterans Memorial Boulevard, with the deceased Helena Holmes, 51, on June 10, according to an affidavit from arrest obtained last week.

Hotel staff called the Killeen Police Department for a wellness check, according to the affidavit, after a resident of room 127 complained of hearing a fight in the room above. above his and that water was flowing from the room above into his.

Pliego was arrested for first degree murder.