Woman cleared in fa­tal shoot­ing

Li­lah Mof­fett killed her boyfriend with his own gun in Oc­to­ber. Mud cre­ates path for elec­tric­ity to travel from power lines di­rectly to poles. Austin En­ergy saw about 10,000 cus­tomer out­ages as a re­sult of 50 power pole fires.

Austin American-Statesman - - B METRO & STATE - Byjazmine Ul­loa jul­loa@states­man.com Shoot­ing B cgrisales@states­man.com Con­tact Clau­dia Grisales at 912-5933. Twit­ter: @cgrisales

A woman will not face charges for the death of her boyfriend in Oc­to­ber at a home near El­gin.

A Travis County grand jury last week is­sued a no bill in the case of Li­lah Mof­fett, 43, who shot and fa­tally wounded Billy Jack Hysinger, 34, on Oct. 16. Her at­tor­ney, Ben Florey, said Fri­day that his client had acted in de­fense of her­self and her two sons in a vi­o­lent fight in­sti­gated by Hysinger.

“We are very thank­ful to the Travis County Sher­iff’s Of­fice and the Travis County District At­tor­ney’s Of­fice for help­ing us ver­ify the se­quence of events that oc­curred that day,” Florey said.

Sher­iff’s of­fi­cials re­leased lit­tle on the homi­cide in­ves­ti­ga­tion in Oc­to­ber, say­ing only that the shoot­ing was a cul­mi­na­tion of dis­putes be­tween the cou­ple that had oc­curred for years.

Deputies re­ceived re­ports of the in­ci­dent about 1:15 p.m. at a home in the 8100 block of Si­grid Drive, about two miles south of U.S. 290 be­tween Manor and El­gin, spokesman Roger Wade has said. Hysinger was pro­nounced dead from his in­juries the next morn­ing at Univer­sity Med­i­cal Cen­ter Brack­en­ridge.

Mof­fett was never ar­rested or charged in his death.

Her at­tor­ney said she was badly beaten and bruised when she walked in to the sher­iff’s of­fice shortly af­ter the in­ci­dent, telling deputies that

By Clau­dia Grisales

About 25,000 Cen­tral Tex­ans were left with­out power early Fri­day as a mix­ture of lin­ger­ing dust from dry weather and a steady flow of overnight driz­zle wreaked havoc for lo­cal elec­tric util­i­ties and their cus­tomers.

The mud helped trig­ger power surges and smol­der­ing fires atop dozens of power poles, lead­ing to the out­ages.

“It was the per­fect, un­for­tu­nate weather oc­cur­rence,” said Austin En­ergy spokesman Ed Clark. “It was just the right amount of mist and mois­ture to bring that buildup of dust into a flow­ing state.”

Austin En­ergy saw about 10,000 cus­tomer out­ages as a re­sult of 50 power pole fires, the most recorded by the elec­tric provider in more than a decade, Clark said.

The good news, Clark said: Most of the out­ages were short­lived, last­ing an hour or less.

At the peak about 7 a.m., about 7,000 Austin En­ergy cus­tomers were with­out power, and the util­ity had as many as 17 crews tack­ling power pole re­pairs, Clark said. And Austin wasn’t alone. Bas­trop-based Blue­bon­net Elec­tric Co­op­er­a­tive saw six pole fires trig­ger­ing 4,100 out­ages, said spokesman Will Hol­ford. Blue­bon­net’s out­ages be­gan Thurs­day af­ter­noon and con­tin­ued un­til mid­day Fri­day.

John­son City-based Ped­er­nales Elec­tric Co­op­er­a­tive saw 5,500 out­ages, said spokes­woman Anne Har­vey.

On­cor elec­tric util­ity, which pro­vides power in Wil­liamson County and north­east­ern Travis County, said it had 5,000 out­ages caused by “equip­ment fail­ure” in the Pflugerville area, ac­cord­ing to its web­site.

That mud on the poles caused prob­lems for the in­sula- tors, the 6- to 7-inch elec­tri­cal de­vices con­nect­ing power lines to the top of the wooden poles. Clark said the mud cre­ated a path for elec­tric­ity to travel from the lines di­rectly to the poles, trig­ger­ing power surges that caused the out­ages.

Crews were then faced with the painstak­ing process of re­plac­ing the in­su­la­tors, Clark said, and in some cases rewiring power lines to util­ity poles.

With 140,000 power poles lo­cated over 437 square miles and con­nect­ing 2,300 miles of line, keep­ing them dust-free can be vir­tu­ally im­pos­si­ble, he said.

For ex­am­ple, try­ing to man­u­ally water down a power pole could send elec­tric­ity along the water line to the source, Clark said. While there are in­su­la­tor cov­ers, the cost “would be an ex­pense be­yond cal­cu­la­tion,” he said.

“The main thing is there is no way to pre­vent a dust-up on poles,” Clark said. “What you are al­ways hop­ing for is a good, strong rain and we haven’t got­ten one in a good, long time.”

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