Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, December 27, 2002
Furgeson denies Harris change of venue request
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Friday, Dec. 27, 2002 -- A motion for a change of venue for a man
accused in a carjacking and slaying in late May has been denied by
U.S. District Judge Royal Furgeson.
Judge Furgeson denied the motion made by Travis James Harris' attorney
Scott Johnson of Pecos on one of the two federal charges the 22-year-old
Harris was charged in Midland Federal Court with Carjacking Resulting
in Death and the Use of a Firearm during a Crime of Violence, in connection
with the death of Paul John Ceniceros, 30, whose body was found in a field
near Odessa. Harris is charged with carjacking Ceniceros' vehicle, which
was later found in Lubbock, killing him and dumping his body in an Ector
County field. He has not been charged with murder yet.
Prior to those charges being filed, Harris was arrested on state and federal
charges connected with the firebombing of the Monahans Police Department
on June 3 of this year. The fire, in the building that also houses Monahans'
city offices, caused severe damage to two rooms in police area, and forced
Monahans Police to relocate their offices to another location on the south
side of town..
Johnson was seeking to have both cases moved to U.S. District Court in
El Paso. The Midland case will now be heard in Midland, since the change
of venue was denied. The firebombing case is scheduled to be heard in U.S.
District Court in Pecos if Johnson's change of venue request is rejected.
Harris is charged with breaking a window at the Monahans Police Department
building at Second and Alice streets around 3:30 a.m. on June 3 and throwing
a `Molotov cocktail' inside. Federal, state and area law enforcement agencies
assisted in the investigation including the Pecos Police Department, the
State Fire Marshal, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Texas
Harris could face up to 20 years for the firebombing, Johnson said in
September. Johnson did not return calls this morning on the change of venue
Harris has been held at the Winkler County prison facility since November
7, after being returned from Fort Worth, where he underwent a psychiatric
evaluation ordered by Furgeson in August in connection with the firebombing
incident. While in Fort Worth, doctors were also asked for the psychiatric
evaluation to include the carjacking.
In the federal charge of carjacking resulting in death of Ceniceros, Harris
could face life in prison or the death penalty.
Swanson ending 47-years as court reporter
By JENNIFER GALVAN
PECOS, Friday, Dec. 27, 2002 -- Having served for 47 years as court reporter,
spanning the entire history of the 143rd Judicial
District Court, John Swanson will retire from his position as of next Tuesday.
A reception for Swanson, who announced last month that December 31, 2002
would be his final day on the job, will be held on Tursday from 10 a.m. till
11:30 a.m. at the Reeves County Courthouse in Pecos and from 3:30 p.m. till
5 p.m. at the Ward County Courthouse in Monahans, on the second floor of
Swanson said that his interest to become a court reporter came from his
brother Ernest, who had been the court reporter for the 109th
Judicial District Court.
"My brother got me interested," Swanson said.
He added that his appointment as the Official Court Reporter for the newly
created 143rd Judicial District composed of Ward, Reeves and Loving
came on September 6, 1955 by Judge J.H. Starley.
During his 47 years as a court reporter, Swanson has worked for three
judges, Judge Starley, Judge Lawrence Fuller and current 143rd
District Judge Bob Parks.
"The decision to retire after more than 47 years is very difficult. I
have enjoyed serving three fine judges: Judge J.H. Starley, Judge Lawrence
L. Fuller and Judge Bob Parks," Swanson said in a press release sent out
back in November. "However, my wife and I have a vast amount of family history
to complete and other personal projects which require our attention. I will
miss this job which has been very rewarding to me and my family."
Parks said that Swanson's long and faithful service as a court reporter
had brought distinction to the profession of court reporting as well as the
"One cannot imagine someone more professional, faithful or effective as
an Official Reporter. Additionally, John has been a friend to all in each
of the courthouses he has served in Pecos, Monahans and Mentone," Parks said
in a press release. "His multitude of friends in Reeves, Ward and Loving
Counties will miss him sorely at the courthouse but extend our best wishes
to him in retirement."
Throughout that time Swanson explains how the tactics of a court reporter
"I have see court reporting evolve from paper writers to machine writers,"
Swanson said. "Such that they are almost paper less."
He added that court reporting has become electronically faster.
Another thing that has changed is the way small pictures can be enlarged
into charts that help aid in trying cases and helping the juries, Swanson
"You still have to have juries," Swanson said. "The way people from different
walks of life come in and have to make a difficult decision just amazes me."
As the years have gone by, Swanson said that his work schedule has also
"We use to have to work six day a week, then it was where we would quit
at noon on Saturdays," Swanson said. "Now we only work five days a week and
some times on Saturday but that is unusual."
With all of the changes, Swanson said that one thing that has remained
the same is the basic curiosity of being able to get along with those he
"Thank you was as important 47 years ago and it is now," he said.
Swanson said that basic human relationships are still used by dealing
kindly with one another. He added that there had been times in which they
would lose a member of their staff and they would wonder how they would be
able to replace that person.
"We get by when someone leaves," Swanson said. "It always works out because
someone will step up and carry the ball."
He also said that this area had wonderful attorneys, judges and court
officers that can handle anything.
As he leaves his position Swanson said that there would be an empty spot
for a while but that everything would keep flowing properly.
"No body will miss me," Swanson said.
Roger Epps will be appointed as the Official Reporter for the 143
rd Judicial District beginning January 1, 2003.
Swanson said that those it may seem that someone may not be replaceable
Swanson is married to Juanita Smith Swanson and they have three children.
Their daughter Deborah Swanson Keller and husband, Roland, live in Malad
City, Idaho. They have five children and eight grandchildren. Their son,
J. Michael Swanson, is an attorney in Monahans and he and his wife, Georganna,
have six children. Their daughter, Amy Swanson McKown lives in Monahans and
she has three children.
Special meeting scheduled Monday
PECOS, Friday, Dec. 27, 2002 -- Reeves County Commissioners will gather
at 10 a.m., Monday for a special meeting on the third floor of the courthouse.
The group will discuss and take action on ratification of pharmaceutical
professional services contract; RCDC-3 telecommunications system bid and
complex telecommunications cabling and equipment.
Commissioners will also discuss and take action on awarding surface aggregate
PECOS, Friday, Dec. 27, 2002 -- High Thursday 60. Low this morning 36.
Forecast for tonight: Clear. Lows in the upper 20s. Light southwest
winds. Saturday: Sunny. Highs 65 to 70. Southwest winds 5 to 15 mph.
Saturday night: Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 30s. Sunday:
Increasing clouds. Highs in the upper 60s. Monday: Mostly cloudy
and cooler. Lows in the lower 30s. Highs in the lower 50s.
James Titus and Miguel Perez Castillo
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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Copyright 2002 by Pecos Enterprise