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Friday, November 03, 2000

Funeral service held for deputy killed in attack

From Staff and Wire Reports

PECOS, November 3, 2000 - Hundreds of peace officers from Texas and two other states gathered to pay their respects to fallen Ward County Sheriff's Deputy Lee Russ Thursday afternoon in Monahans.

Ward County Sheriff Jerry Heflin said peace officers came from as far off as Arkansas, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth and Lubbock as well as those from nearby Loving and Lea Counties.

"I probably estimate 300," Heflin said, and added he was not surprised at the turnout.

"This is really typical anytime a police officer dies while on duty," he said. "It's just a show of respect."

Russ, 48, died last Sunday after being stabbed by Jose Ignacio Galindo, 29, who also killed his wife of three months, Norma Sepulveda Galindo, 24.

The Ward County Sheriff's Department said Russ apparently walked in on an argument between Galindo and his wife.

It is believed that Russ was stabbed while trying to protect Norma Galindo from being hurt.

Before dying from his wounds, Russ was able to shoot Galindo with his service revolver, killing him.

Monahans Police and Department of Public Safety officer Phillip Breeding the first to arrive at the home and found all three already dead.

Justice of the Peace Ronold Ray made the official pronouncement of death later that afternoon, and ordered autopsies be performed. Ray was unavailable this morning to comment on the results of the autopsy.

Many members of the community joined the 300 peace officers and Russ' family to mourn for Russ filling the First Baptist Church in Monahans.

People in attendance were able to read a poem dedicated to all peace officers killed in the line of duty titled "A Part of America Died Today."

Colleagues and friends remembered Russ for his love of books, practical jokes and his dedication to law enforcement.

Before making the long trip through town to the Monahans Memorial Cemetery, the group of police officers, deputies, Boarder Patrol officers and Honor Guard lined up to salute their fallen comrade outside the church.

The city stopped while the over a mile long motorcade pulled through town toward Russ' final resting-place.

Emotions overwhelmed the mourners standing in silence when the Honor Guard gave an honorary salute to Russ and a lone bagpipe player played "Amazing Grace."

"The state lost a good peace officer and I lost a good friend," Heflin said.

Russ moved to Monahans 21 years ago from El Paso and was well known in the community and had many friends. He left behind three children.

Judge finds work harder on southern border

Staff Writer

PECOS, November 3, 2000 - West Texas was an eye-opening experience for a visiting judge this past week.

J. Garvan Murtha, of Brattleboro, Vermont, was in Pecos this week presiding over trials in the Lucius D. Bunton Federal Courthouse.

"I've really enjoyed it," said Murtha, Chief Judge of the Vermont Federal Court, who is one of several visiting judges who have heard cases in Pecos and other Western District of Texas courtrooms this year.

Murtha grew up in Connecticut, attended Yale University and spent two years in the Peace Corps before going back to school. He attended the University of Connecticut Law School and then Georgetown Law School, where he received his graduate degree.

Murtha was in Pecos throughout this week after spending last week in Laredo helping out at the federal courthouse.

"It's been an eye-opening experience," said Murtha. "I presided over different types of cases, Vermont is by the Canada border and the number of cases is significantly higher here.

"We don't see nearly the number that they see here," said Murtha. "The judges here have a terrible burden, in my opinion."

And the number of cases seems to be increasing more, according to Murtha. "There are more Border Patrol agents, more law enforcement officials, but the number of judges is not as high, which leaves them with a lot of work," he said. "One or two judges have to handle it all."

Murtha has been a judge for over five years and stated that it is something he enjoys doing.

"My coming here was totally voluntarily and I don't regret it," said Murtha.

Murtha has three children, ages 18, 25 and 27. "The two oldest are out of college already, but the third one might go into law," he said.

Murtha said the climate in Pecos throughout this week has been more enjoyable than what normal for Vermont in early November. "It's been wonderful, similar to an extension of our early fall type of weather," said Murtha. "This is the type of weather we get in late August, early September, because now we're already getting snow."

He added that another difference between Northern New England and West Texas is the people. "The people here are so friendly and open, that's something I'd like to take back with me and try to encourage the people up there to be like," said Murtha. "I'd like for them to be as friendly as everyone down here."

He said everybody at the courthouse has really been cooperative and friendly. "They've really gone out of their way to help us and be of assistance to us," he said.

Murtha stated that something he really loved about West Texas was the food. "Both my clerk (Nicole Brumstead) and I love Mexican food," he said. "That's something we've really been enjoying and will miss when we go back home."

Murtha has been traveling with Brumstead and the two were on their way back to the colder part of the United States today.

"We were really happy with the people and all the help they gave us while we were here," said Murtha.

TxDOT set to begin repairs to Interstate in Barstow area

PECOS, November 3, 2000 - Construction work is set to begin Monday, weather permitting, on a stretch of highway east of Pecos that has already been readied for repair.

The section of Interstate 20 in Ward County from the Pecos River to Mile Marker 53, just east of the Business I-20 (Barstow) exit had been milled out to fix some of the ruts in the roadway, according to TxDOT maintenance director Larry Levario.

Levario said the roadway in that area had been readied for repair and work on it would begin on Monday, weather permitting.

"What they'll do is plane off four inches from both lanes and the shoulder and come back with one course surface track," said Levario. "The top will be grade three rock."

The right lane of I-20 westbound between the Barstow exit and the Pecos River was first cut down due to rutting in December of 1997. Other sections of road in the area have also been cut down since then due to the rutting problem.

The construction work should be completed within 54 days and TxDOT is asking to the cooperation of the motorists. "We want the motorists to be aware that there will be on-going construction," Levario said.

Reese Albert Construction Company out of Odessa will be in charge of the project. The construction crew has done other jobs in the area.

Commissioners set to discuss buying RCDC transit bus

PECOS, November 3, 2000 - Reeves County Commissioners will meet at 9:30 a.m., Monday, to discuss and take action on adoption of order authorizing issue of Reeves County, Public Contractual Obligation Series 2000-Purchasing of Inmate Security Bus.

Commissioners had an opportunity ride on the bus that will be purchased by the Reeves County Detention Center earlier this year. At that time, Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo told the court that the purchase of the bus would bring revenue into the county.


Marian Ailes

Marian Ailes, 87, of Midland, died Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2000, at Memorial Hospital and Medical Center in Midland.

Funeral services were at 1 p.m. today at First Christian Church with Dr. Tommy Potter, officiating. Burial will be in Resthaven Memorial Park.

She was born on Aug. 15, 1913, in Toyah, was raised in Toyah and Pecos, received her Bachelors of Music Degree from Westminster College in Princeton, N.J., where she worked with Leonard Bernstein, Bruno Volcher and Leopold Chakowski. She moved to Midland in 1948 and was the Music Director at First Christian Church from 1949 to 1959. She was a private piano and voice teacher for over 50 years.

She was preceded in death by two brothers, Gage Van Horn, Jr. and Hez Neil Van Horn and her husband, Laird Ailes.

Survivors include one daughter, Peggy Ailes of Midland; one niece and one nephew.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers memorials be made to MHMR of Midland or the First Christian Church endowment fund.

Ellis Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Lula Samples

Services are incomplete for Lula M. Samples, 91, who died today at the Pecos Nursing Home.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


PECOS, November 3, 2000 - In Thursday's story in the Pecos Enterprise on an early-morning pedestrian/vehicle accident, a quote was attributed to incorrectly Olga Lopez from the Pecos Police Department.

"It was just an accident" was a statement made by Geronimo Hignojos, the man injured in the accident, and not Lopez.


PECOS, November 3, 2000 - High Thursday 70. Low this morning 51. Forecast for tonight: Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. Low in the upper 50s. Southeast wind 5-15 mph. Saturday: Mostly cloudy with a 50 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. Clearing and turning windy during the afternoon. High in the mid 70s. Southeast wind 10-20 mph becoming west 20-30 mph. Saturday night: Mostly clear and cooler. Low in the mid 40s. Sunday: Partly cloudy. Low in the mid 40s to near 50. High 70-75.

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Pecos Enterprise
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