Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Thursday, June 26, 2003
Aide to Bonilla blames Galindo for RCDC woes
By SMOKEY BRIGGS
PECOS, Thurs., June 26, 2003 -- The speed bump for moving prisoners into
the newly constructed third wing of the Reeves County Detention Center (RCDC
III) may have been County Judge Jimmy Galindo's desk according to U. S.
Congressman Henry Bonilla's office.
Galindo said today that the Congressman's office has the facts wrong.
"Judge Galindo requested Congressman Bonilla's assistance with to find
prisoners to fill the new wing and with help in getting a higher per diem
rate last year," Phil Ricks said.
Ricks is the district director for Bonilla.
"The Congressman has been working with both BOP (Bureau of Prisons) and
Judge Galindo and Mary Scott, the legislative director for Congressman
Bonilla secured a $55 per day temporary per/diem rate for the prison while
the audit was underway," he said.
At Monday's Reeves County Commissioner's meeting Galindo said that they
were asking community members to contact Congressman Bonilla and Senators
John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison to urge them to help in the matter.
Reeves County is responsible for making monthly lease payments of approximately
$950,000 as of next Tuesday, in order to use the RCDC prison complex. The
money was supposed to come from prisoners brought into the facility's new
960-bed addition, but as of now, only 59 U.S. Marshal's service prisoners
have been placed in the new section.
In a letter to the BOP, Galindo said the new section needs at least 575
inmates in order for the county to meet its financial requirements.
In addition to the bond payment, payroll for the prison's employees is
scheduled for next Thursday, and during Monday's meeting, County Auditor
Lynn Owens said, "We'll primarily need to transfer $420,000 for payroll
on the third."
Ricks said that the odd part of Judge Galindo and the Commissioners'
request is that the holdup has been paperwork requested by BOP that has
not been submitted by the Judge's office.
"The County Judge has requested our help and he knows we are in communication
with him on a daily basis about paperwork he is required to fill out and
give BOP," Ricks said. "As of yesterday there were 14 or so documents BOP
had still not received from the Judge's office."
Ricks said that in a telephone call this morning Galindo said that there
had been problems with the fax machine but that the documents had been faxed
to BOP as of this morning.
"Congressman Bonilla cannot request BOP to do things until BOP has had
time to review documents Judge Galindo is required to turn over to them,"
"We suggested Judge Galindo FedEx the documents as well," Ricks said.
Ricks said that he did not know the exact nature of the documents but
that they were documents requested by the contracting officer for BOP, Ms.
"We've enjoyed a long and good working relationship with the County Judge.
The Judge has asked the citizens to contact Henry Bonilla's office for assistance
and it is surprising that he would make that request when we have been working
with him all along," Ricks said.
"Henry Bonilla wants the people to know that he has been working with
Judge Galindo on this matter for some time," he said.
Ricks said that Bonilla and Galindo began discussing the issue in 2002
and that Bonilla and his staff have been working on it ever since.
Galindo said today that the documents that BOP has requested were submitted
almost immediately after the request - specifically the "14 or so" documents
referenced by Ricks.
"My office received that request directly from Ms. Peebles around 2 p.m.
yesterday, June 25th," Galindo said.
He explained that the request was for 16 documents in total and that the
documents contained information that would support two documents his office
has submitted to BOP several times in the past year: the Form B and the
Indirect Cost Proposal.
Galindo explained that the Form B is the document that demonstrates the
actual cost of keeping prisoners at the prison and from which the rate the
per diem rate (the rate the prison is reimbursed per prisoner, per day)
is derived from for payment to the county by the BOP.
The Indirect Cost Proposal is a listing of indirect costs to Reeves County,
as opposed to the RCDC, for operating the prison. It includes such services
as book keeping, payroll and oversight.
Last Friday Galindo faxed a revised From B and Indirect Cost Proposal
to BOP - the third time he has done so.
Galindo said that the County first sent BOP the Form B and Indirect Cost
Proposal in July of 2002, and then sent a revised proposal and Form B again
in September of 2002.
BOP did not request the 16 documents supporting the revised From B and
Indirect Cost Proposal until yesterday and Galindo and his staff had submitted
the last of the documents by fax around 11 p.m. Wednesday.
"It disturbs me that the Congressman's office would make these accusations,"
Galindo said today. "When the going gets tough you do not shoot your friends
in the back."
"This is the toughest situation we have ever been in and he (Bonilla)
is in a position to help us. It does not make any sense," he said.
Galindo said that the County was seeking the counsel of a bond attorney
in case the upcoming first payment of $950,000 on RCDC III cannot be made.
If the County defaulted on the note all of RCDC would revert back to the
lessor, Carlisle Capital Markets he said.
All three wings of the $90 million prison would revert, since all three
are "cross-collateralized" meaning roughly that all three are mortgaged
Galindo said that he could not understand why BOP had not placed any
prisoners at RCDC III since RCDC offered the "best rate in the country"
and good service.
"It is only logical (that BOP would place prisoners at RCDC III)," he
Harris guilty in carjacking murder case
PECOS, Thurs., June 26, 2003 -- Three months after pleading guilty to
firebombing the Monahans Police Department, Travis James Harris was convicted
on Wednesday by federal court jurors in Midland of killing a man in a carjacking
incident just prior to last June's firebomb attack.
According to the Midland Reporter-Telegram, Harris, 23, was convicted
of carjacking and using a firearm to commit voluntary manslaughter in the
May 25, 2002 shooting death of Paul John Ceniceros, 29.
Under questioning by his court-appointed attorney, Scott Johnson of Pecos,
Harris told jurors that Ceniceros was killed in self-defense after offering
him a ride and then sexually assaulting him at gunpoint in a Midland oil
However, jurors disagreed, and came back with a guilty verdict against
the Monahans man late Wednesday evening.
"The important part was the jury saw through the self-defense (claim),''
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeff Parras told reporters after the verdict was
Ceniceros' body was found badly decomposed 57 days after the shooting
by an oil field worker. By that time, Harris already had been placed under
arrest in connection with the June 3, 2002 firebombing of the Monahans Police
On April 3 of this year, Harris pled guilty before United States Magistrate
Judge Durwood Edwards in Pecos to one count of "damaging a building by
fire and explosive materials" and one count of "use of a destructive device
during an arson."
Harris faces up to 20 years in federal prison for the first count and
a term of not less than 10 years for the "use of a destructive device" count,
which must be imposed consecutively to the first sentence. Sentencing has
not been scheduled. In addition, he was assessed a $250,000 fine.
Harris admitted that in the early morning hours of June 3, 2002, he assembled
a Molotov cocktail using a glass bottle, gasoline, and cloth at a location
near the municipal building in Monahans, lit the cloth, then threw the ignited
bottle into a window of the Police Department. During their subsequent investigation,
law enforcement officers and agents recovered Harris' fingerprint on a container
in a lot near the crime scene.
At the time, the container still contained a small amount of gasoline.
Also, forensic testing conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms
and Explosives laboratory in Maryland revealed that hairs taken from Harris'
right hand and forearm shortly after the fire appeared burnt.
Additionally, while being booked into jail in Odessa, on June 4, Harris
admitted to "blowing up" the Monahans Police Department. He also made the
same statements to an inmate while incarcerated, while also saying he had
killed a man, who later was identified as Ceniceros.
Johnson, who also served as Harris' attorney in the firebombing case,
did not comment after Wednesday's verdict, but during closing arguments
he criticized the charge.
"This case is mischarged by the federal government," Johnson told jurors
before four and one-half hours of deliberations commenced.
RCH board approves $5 million bond issue
By JENNIFER GALVAN
PECOS, Thurs., June 26, 2003 -- Reeves County Hospital board members approved
a resolution authorizing the Issuance of $5,000,000 of the Reeves County
Hospital District Revenue Bonds during their monthly meeting on Tuesday
at the hospital's classroom.
Security State Bank Chief Executive Officer Joe Keese reported to the
board that there had been some minor rewording in the resolution on three
of its pages that dealt with bond issues. However, Keese said that all
the other pages had remained the same.
After some discussion on the changes, the board approved the resolution,
with board member Bill Wendt making the motion and Leo Hung seconding it.
The hospital currently is in the process of building an $8 million addition
to the facility. Ground was broken in February and construction is underway
on the north side of the 25-year-old main building.
In other action on Tuesday, RCH Administrator Robert Vernor and Maintenance
Director Pito Abila informed the board that the lawn mower they had been
using to keep up with the maintenance of the hospital had broken down.
"I had Pito get us some information and prices on some commercial units,"
With that Abila told the board that out of the three lawn mowers he had
received information on, he believed the best one would be the Kubota brand.
"I would suggest the Kubota because it is not the highest nor the lowest,"
Abila said. "I like it because it is a small tractor with a lawn mower."
Abila added that the engine was a deisel where the John Deere had a gasoline
"We can also get the Kubota in Odessa," Abila said. "The parts can also
be brought in Odessa so it would not be a problem."
The board agreed to purchase the Kubota lawn mower with Hung making the
motion and board member Pablo Carrasco seconding it.
In a discussion of the physical therapy contract, Vernor said that he
would like to get the operation under their department once again.
Vernor said an agreement could not be reached between the hospital and
current physical therapist Brian Free on continuing to work with RCH, but
Free did agree to stay till the end of July.
Vernor also explained to the board that he would like to hire one employee
of Free's with the board's approval.
"There are two other employees that are not professionally licensed,"
Vernor said. "I don't want to pay a recruiting fee for them."
He added that if Free agreed to not have RCH pay the recruiting fee, the
hospital would keep those two individuals as well.
The board agreed to Vernor's suggestion with Hung making the motion and
Carrasco seconding it.
The board then went on to approve the sale of properties located at 1019
S. Oak, 1102 E. Third and 812 S. Plum St.
Sale of the first and third properties were approved with Carrasco making
the motion and Wendt seconding it, while Wendt made the motion and Carrasco
seconded the sale of property located at 1102 E. Third St.
The minutes from the board's previous meeting and the consent agenda
of the monthly tax report, financial statements and budget amendments and
the payment of bills were also approved by the board.
Council to discuss duties of Yerena at meeting today
PECOS, Thurs., June 26, 2003 -- The Town of Pecos City Council will meet
at 5:30 p.m. today in the City Council Chambers to discuss the duties of
City Manager Carlos Yerena during executive session.
Other items on the agenda to be discussed by the council are one change
order for the Housing Infrastructure Fund and two for the Town of Pecos
City Development of the South Worsham Well Field.
The insurance for retired employees and the sale of property located
at 1019 S. Oak, 1102 E. Third and 812 S. Plum streets will also be discussed
The council will also ask for the approval of the minutes of its regular
council held on June 12, the accounts payable report, the municipal court
report for May and of them monthly tax collection report.
PECOS, Thurs., June 26, 2003 -- High Wednesday 105. Low this morning 72.
Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms.
Lows near 60. Northeast winds 10 to 20 mph. Friday: Partly cloudy with a
20 percent chance of thunderstorms. Highs near 90. Southeast winds 5 to
15 mph. Friday night: Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 60s. Saturday: Partly
cloudy with isolated thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 90s. Sunday: Partly
cloudy. Lows in the upper 60s. Highs near 100.
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 2003 by Pecos Enterprise