It was an interesting year for Erath County. In 2013, the county skyrocketed to national news when Chris Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield were slain at a gun range at Rough Creek Lodge. Then Stephenville saw its first murder inside the city limits in more than a decade.

It was a year of highs, lows, interesting political twists and wild weather.

Here is a look back at some of the most interesting stories reported by the Empire-Tribune.


Jan. 16 - Investigators and first responders were called to what was believed to be a drive-by shooting at Cattail Creek Mobile Home Park. It was later discovered the victims had actually been beaten. Only one arrest was made in the case, which has gone largely unsolved.

Jan. 29 - Dublin Mayor Becky Norris announced she would not seek another term due to family and personal health concerns.

Jan. 29 - Town and County Bank President Jim Chambers announced that after three decades, the bank had sold and would become InterBank. Mark Martin was named president of the new bank.

Jan 31 - David Gonzales, sentenced to 70 years in prison for possession of a controlled substance, spoke from the Erath County Jail following his trial. Gonzales blamed his brother for the drugs found inside a vehicle and said he was shocked by the harsh sentence.


Feb. 3 - Jeffrey Vegas Sewalt, 56, was found shot to death in his home off Pigeon Road. Troy Doud has been charged with murder in connection with the case and remains incarcerated at the Erath County Jail. Doud's trial is expected to begin in 2014.

Feb. 3 - Chris Kyle, a graduate of Tarleton State University and author of "American Sniper," was shot and killed along with his friend Chad Littlefield at a gun range at Rough Creek Lodge. Eddie Ray Routh was arrested in the Dallas-Fort Worth area just hours after the double murder. Routh has been charged with capital murder and remains incarcerated at the Erath County Jail awaiting trial.

Feb. 21 - Ricky Stephens, an Erath County man, was found severely beaten, partially castrated and burned on property located within the county. The incident also gained state-wide attention from media outlets. The investigation led to a months-long manhunt that ended in September when US Marshals found Danny Dittoe hiding in the woods in Jasper County.


March 3 - City of Stephenville cancels election for the first time in 11 years due to no contested races.

March 13 - Dublin Police Chief Lannie Lee makes the move to become city manager following a stint as the interim.

March 19 - A string of armed robberies put local businesses on edge and law enforcement on high alert. The crime spree lasted for several days before an arrest was made.

March 21 - Tyson James Nolen, the former head baseball coach at Lipan ISD, was arrested and charged with sexual assault. Nolen was convicted of numerous counts of abuse and sentenced to 54 years in prison in December.

March 24 - Davion Thompson, Kendall Woods and Brittany Pinson were arrested in connection with a string of armed robberies that took place in Stephenville. They were arrested after two of the suspects returned to one of the crime scenes to put gas in the getaway car.


April 14 - In the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, Lingleville ISD took steps to allow teachers to carry firearms on campus.

April 28 - A tragic accident on U.S. Highway 281 claimed the lives of four young people. Among the dead were two Tarleton State University students, Courtney Smalley, 18, and Kimberley Peacock, 19, and one former student and his wife, Matthew and Audrey Keith of Searcy, Ark.


May 15 - Granbury was ravaged by a string of deadly tornadoes that left six dead and destroyed hundreds of homes.


June 28 - Hood County Sheriff's Deputy Lance McLean, 38, of Hico, was killed in the line of duty while responding to a disturbance call in Granbury. The suspect, Ricky Don McCommas, was shot and killed by police.