WEEKEND READ: Jake Ehlinger’s death was accidental overdose, Kyle father guilty of 2 year-old’s murder

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Jake Ehlinger, left, with his brother Sam Ehlinger, right (Courtesy Texas Athletics)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — This week, Texas’ abortion law made its way back to the U.S. Supreme Court where it was allowed to continue — for now. Meanwhile, an update on the untimely death of a Texas Longhorn player and the final verdict on a Kyle father convicted of murdering his two year-old.

Jake Ehlinger accidental overdose

The family of University of Texas student and Texas Longhorns linebacker Jake Ehlinger say the 20-year-old’s May death was due to an accidental drug overdose.

In a statement sent Thursday, the Ehlinger family says they learned Jake accidentally overdosed May 6 from what’s believed to be the prescription anti-anxiety medication Xanax laced with fentanyl. These kinds of counterfeit pills have been seen increasingly in Texas and nationwide.

“As our family continues to process Jake’s death, we felt it was important to share these details with the hope that Jake will not have died in vain. We pray that sharing Jake’s story will help shed light on this problem and prevent other families from also tragically losing a loved one,” the Ehlinger family said.

Ehlinger is the brother of former Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger, who was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts earlier this year. Jake served as Longhorns walk-on linebacker after graduating from Westlake High School, where he was honorable mention All-State and named the District 25-6A defensive MVP as a senior.

Stevie Williams guilty

On Thursday, the trial came of Stevie Williams, the Kyle father charged with the death of his two-year-old, came to end — with a jury delivering a guilty verdict.

The incident happened July 4, 2018, when police in Kyle, Texas, say they found a significantly bruised two-year-old Mason dead in a hallway at the Williams’ home. When questioned, detectives report Stevie said “demons” killed his son, according to court records.

Police say the child was found squeezed to death.

Dazrine Williams, Mason’s mother, is also facing a capital murder charge.

Earlier in the week, state prosecutors finished their arguments, which included past evidence that the Williamses lost custody of Mason in 2017 after the child was hospitalized for severe burns from an alleged bathing incident.

Texas abortion law remains — for now

On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed Texas’ Senate Bill 8, also known as the “Texas Heartbeat Law” to stand for a second time.

Senate Bill 8, which bans abortion once cardiac activity is detected, which is usually around six weeks into a pregnancy and before many people even realize they’re pregnant. 

The polarizing GOP-led SB 8 snagged global headlines after going into effect Sept. 1, becoming the most restrictive abortion law in the U.S. While it’s faced praise from conservatives, opponents say it’s a full-on abortion ban disguised as a limitation. Moreover, many (including President Joe Biden) say it’s in direct violation of Roe v. Wade — and may even be the unraveling of the Supreme Court’s abortion-legalizing 1973 decision.

Among its most condemned aspects, SB 8 also allows private citizens to sue abortion providers or anyone who helps someone get an abortion. Critics say this would put a bounty on people’s heads and encourage frivolous lawsuits. Citizens can be sued for $10,000 or more if an abortion is performed outside of the six-week period.

SCOTUS says it will hear challenges to the law starting Nov. 1. Decisions will likely hinge on whether the court views the deputizing of private citizens is constitutional.

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