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Wednesday, June 4, 1997
DA doubts military version of border shooting
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DALLAS (AP) June 4, 1997 - - Local and state authorities say they're
beginning to find discrepancies in the military's explanation of the
fatal shooting of a Presidio County teenager by a marine two weeks ago.
Ezequiel Hernandez Jr., 18, a high school student from Redford, was
killed May 20 when he came upon four Marines participating in a Joint
Task Force 6 mission to watch suspected drug routes for the Border
The case is expected to go to a Presidio County grand jury next month.
Marine Col. Thomas R. Kelly, deputy task force commander, said Hernandez
fired two shots at the Marines and had raised his .22-caliber rifle to
fire a third when the non-commissioned officer in charge returned fire
with an M-16 and killed the teenager.
But District Attorney Albert Valadez told The Dallas Morning News that
early results of the local investigation raise questions.
"The comments made by the military were conclusions that were drawn
perhaps prematurely, he said in the newspaper's Wednesday editions. I
would never draw conclusions as quickly as they did without some type of
Texas Ranger Capt. Barry Caver also hinted that the military's version
of events might not add up.
"Some of the evidence, as far as the injuries to the body and the angle
(of Hernandez's bullet wound), doesn't exactly match what they're
telling us," Caver said.
Caver also said there was a "good possibility" that Hernandez wasn't
aware that he was shooting at Marines, who were dressed in heavy
camouflage, their faces blackened and bodies covered in burlap and
Maureen Bossch, a spokeswoman for the El Paso-based military unit,
expressed surprise at the officials' remarks and added that the military
is cooperating with investigations of the shooting.
Authorities say the Marines were conducting surveillance because the
area is used heavily by drug smugglers crossing the Rio Grande.
Officials said they do not believe Hernandez was involved in any illegal
activity when he was shot.
The incident has raised questions about the wisdom of using military troops in border operations.
Rangers, DPS crime lab help
Sheriff in search for missing man
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By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, June 4, 1997 - Texas Rangers, a DPS crime lab team and the Reeves
County Sheriffs' Department have joined in a continuing investigation of
the disappearance of a young man in Reeves County.
Julio Cesar Cantu, 24, was reported missing on May 21 in San Juan, Tx.
His vehicle was found in the area on May 31 around 4 p.m.
The vehicle, a 1991 Ford Ranger, was discovered 25 miles north of Pecos
on Interstate 285 and about five miles east on County Road 428.
"It was discovered off of interstate 285," said Urias.
Ranch workers tending to some cattle in that area discovered the vehicle
and reported it to the sheriff's department. Investigating officials
found a dead dog inside the truck on the passenger side.
Reeves County Sheriff's Department deputy Cesar Urias in coordination
with Texas Ranger Jerry Villalobos and the Texas Department of Highways
were busy this morning making a drawing of the area.
"We went through the area again, yesterday and covered a part of the
area that we hadn't done so before," said Urias.
Ranger Villalabos has been in contact with a detective in Idaho who is
currently working on the case also.
Cantu was last seen driving the white and blue Ford Ranger pickup
displaying Idaho plates number E20633. At the time of his disappearance
he was wearing blue baggy jeans, white tennis shoes, white long T-shirt,
and a black overcoat.
He is described as being about 5'9", 210 pounds, black hair, and brown
eyes. He was last seen in the area of Fort Stockton by Fidel Rodriguez
who was also traveling to San Juan from Idaho.
"We don't know exactly where he's from, but we do know that he was
traveling from San Juan to Idaho," said Urias. "He has a wife that lives
in Idaho and the ranger has spoken to her too," he said.
Cantu was traveling with a passenger known as "Brown Sharpa."
Visible marks on Cantu's body include the name "Cantu" tattooed on his
stomach area, a spider web and hearts on his left hand and "Cantu" on
one of his arms.
He also has a light mustache and is believed to be carrying about $400
on his person.
A Texas Department of Public Safety Crime Lab Team was on hand yesterday
to process the vehicle and search for further clues in the mysterious
"We received no new information, the vehicle was processed and is in the
city yard at this time," said Urias. "The team did take a couple of
items from the vehicle for further review," he said.
"We also checked some leads, spoke to more people and ranger Villalobos
has been interviewing some individuals from Idaho," said Urias.
However, the group has not come up with anything new that would lead
them to the individual, according to Urias.
This mystery is not believed to be tied to the one of another young man,
Manuel Chabarria, Jr. whose vehicle was also found abandoned in
"Since that's in another county we are not investigating it, but we
don't believe they are connected at this time," said sheriff Andy Gomez.
"A plane was sent back up yesterday to conduct another search, but again
nothing new was discovered," said Urias.
If anyone has any information that think might be helpful to this
investigation they are urged to contact the Reeves County Sheriff's
Department and speak to Cesar Urias at 445-4901.
"We're still searching for any type of clue that might lead us to this young man," said Urias.
Curfews begin in Odessa, Ector
County, enforced in Pecos
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By CARA ALLIGOOD
PECOS, June 4, 1997 - The city of Odessa and Ector County recently
passed a teen curfew law which went into effect at 11 p.m. Sunday night.
Pecos has had a similar curfew for almost two years.
In Odessa youths ages 10 to 16 must not be out on the streets past 11
p.m. on week nights and midnight on weekends either inside or outside
the Odessa city limits. If they are caught and cannot prove they have a
good reason for being on the street, they will receive a Class C
misdemeanor citation, and if it happens within the city and police
determine the offense occurred due to a lack of parental control, the
parents can be ticketed also.
Here in Pecos, there has been a slightly less stringent teen curfew in
place for more than a year and a half. Teens under the age of 17 must be
home by midnight Sunday through Thursday, and by 1 a.m. on Friday and
Saturday nights, according to Narcotics Investigator Paul Deishler, who
was filling in today for Pecos Police Chief Troy Moore.
"It's (the curfew) being strictly enforced, but I really haven't seen
any problem with it; most of the kids comply with it pretty well," said
Enforcement is left up to the discretion of the officer, Deishler said.
If a youth is out a 12:15 and is making an effort to get home, the
officer may follow the teen home, but take circumstances such as
returning from work into account and not issue a citation. Teens still
out on the streets at two or three in the morning are another story, he
"When you have a child 15-years old, their parents should know where
they're at, especially at one or two in the morning," said Deishler.
Deishler said that he was born and raised in Pecos and believes that "95
percent of the kids here are good kids."
When asked about the opinion of some community members who feel the
curfew hours are not strict enough, Deishler said that he has heard that
comment before, but replied "I think the hours are pretty fair."
However, Deishler did point out that police officers will begin to
enforce the curfew more strictly now because the burglary rate in town
has been rising.
According to Deishler, police do not know if the burglaries are being
committed by teens or adults. They will be stopping vehicles out late at night and identifying the occupants.
Merco "Sludge Train" judgment reversed
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By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, June 4, 1997 - Merco Joint Venture got some satisfaction from a
1996 federal court jury decision against their detractors, but that is
all they will get, said the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
In a decision released Tuesday, a three-judge panel reversed and
rendered Senior Judge Lucius Bunton's judgment awarding Merco $2 in
actual damages and $5 million in punitive damages from TriStar
Television and Hugh B. Kaufman, an EPA employee.
TriStar broadcast a program titled "Sludge Train" on its "TV Nation"
series Aug. 2, 1994, which tracked New York sludge from first flush to
Sierra Blanca, where it was applied as fertilizer to a 128,000 ranch
owned by Merco.
Merco claimed the film was defamatory, and the jury agreed. But the
appeals court found that Merco failed to prove actual malice and
rendered judgment in favor of appellants Kaufman and TriStar.
"I am thankful I won't have to look at that film again," said Judge
Bunton this morning when he learned he will not have to re-try the case.
The sludge train segment was shown to the jury during the week-long
trial in March, 1996. It depicts a reporter riding the train that
carries sludge in specially-designed cars from New York's municipal
waste facility to the ranch headquarters west of Sierra Blanca.
Sierra Blanca residents shown in the film were unanimous in their
opposition to the Merco project. However, Merco obtained and showed the
jury segments of film that were not broadcast, in which several people
praised the project because it provided jobs to Sierra Blanca residents.
Producer Michael Moore said the segment was meant to be humorous.
The defamation claim and the disparity of punitive and actual damages
were the only two questions before the appeals court. Since they
reversed the defamation claim, the judges did not render a decision on
the amount of damages.
However, they did comment that punitive damages must be in proportion to
In his judgment, Bunton said he instructed the jury that "any award of
punitive damages must bear a reasonable relationship to any award of
He said he believed the instruction was clear and that, "the amount was, in their minds, reasonable."
Arrest made in recent burglaries
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By CARA ALLIGOOD
PECOS, June 4, 1997 - Police have arrested a suspect in the recent rash
of burglaries in the area of the Casa Manana apartment complex, and some
stolen stereo equipment has been recovered.
Chris Davis, 17, of 1310 Plum, remains in custody at Reeves County Jail.
On a tip from an informant, stereo equipment stolen during the Casa
Manana burglaries was recovered, according to Narcotics Investigator
Paul Deishler, speaking on behalf of Pecos Police Chief Troy Moore, who
was out of town this morning. Police alleged that Davis was the party
who had sold the stolen equipment, and police obtained a warrant for his
arrest on the burglary charge.
On the last day of school, a car was reported stolen from a teacher who
lives in Casa Manana Apartments, according to Deishler. Police believed
that Davis might be the operator of the stolen vehicle, and issued an
A.P.B. (All Points Bulletin) on the vehicle, he said.
In Kermit, Deputy Richard Crow stopped the stolen vehicle, and Davis was
in fact operating it. A second warrant against Davis was obtained from
Judge Phyllis Salyer on the charge of Unauthorized Use of a Motor
Davis was transported back to Pecos yesterday, and is currently being
held at the Reeves County Jail, according to Deishler.
Deishler says that crimes such as this are often solved quickly, and
credits the Pecos Police Department's patrol division with much of the
"What really helps us a lot is that our patrol division is very alert
and aggressive," says Deishler. "The patrol division is the backbone of
any police department - they're our eyes and ears on the street."
As an example, Deishler related the story of a traffic stop made
recently by Patrolman Billy Hull. The occupants of the vehicle were
known burglars, and Hull noticed a television set in the back seat of
the car. He checked out the television, and it turned out to be a 19
inch, color Zenith television set that had been stolen on May 25 from a
residence on Alberta Street.
Deishler says this type of alertness and attention to detail, along with
the fact that most local police officers were raised here and know most
of the town's residents, is the reason the Pecos PD is so successful.
Deishler also says that the city council plays a large part in the
success of the department.
"We have a real supportive city Council here. They're real good about
buying us the equipment we need. They're very supportive of us, and that helps us a lot in doing our jobs," said Deishler.
Witnesses to testify in sentencing
phase in McVeigh trial
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By STEVEN K. PAULSON
Associated Press Writer
DENVER (AP) June 4, 1997 - - Jurors deciding whether Timothy McVeigh
lives or dies will hear wrenching testimony about the Oklahoma City
bombing, including that of a 10-year-old boy who lost his mother and a
rescuer who held a hand buried in the rubble, only to feel the pulse
U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch ruled Tuesday that testimony from
those who survived the bombing and lost loved ones is relevant to the
jury's decision on McVeigh's sentence.
But Matsch did not allow everything the prosecution wanted to present
during the penalty phase that begins today, saying he hoped to avoid
inflaming juror sensibilities.
He also refused to let the defense present evidence on the handling of
the fatal government raid against Branch Davidians near Waco, Texas,
which the defense could claim drove McVeigh to commit the worst act of
terrorism on U.S. soil.
"We have to guard this hearing to ensure that the ultimate result and
the jury's decision are truly a moral response to appropriate
information rather than an emotional response," Matsch said.
Prosecutors have contended that McVeigh blew up the Alfred P. Murrah
Federal Building on April 19, 1995, as retaliation for the deadly 1993
FBI raid near Waco.
Prosecutors were expected to contend that the enormity of the bombing on
victims and families warrants the death penalty. Defense lawyers were
expected to argue that McVeigh was clouded by misguided patriotism, and
should be spared.
The penalty hearing is a relatively new phenomenon in federal courts.
The federal death penalty statute that applies to McVeigh has only been
in effect since 1994, and nobody has been executed under it.
The same jurors who convicted the 29-year-old Gulf War veteran of murder
and conspiracy Monday will decide whether he should die by injection, or
receive a life sentence.
The vote must be unanimous and cannot be overruled by the judge. If the
jury cannot agree, the judge can impose a sentence of up to life in
prison without parole.
Prosecutors said they will call about 45 witnesses over three days to
describe how the bombing devastated their lives, physically and
Among the evidence allowed by Matsch are photos of maimed survivors,
pictures of victims being wheeled into hospitals and medical testimony
about a man who died slowly, as evidenced by gravel in his lungs.
"We can't sanitize this scene," Matsch said, noting, however, that he
wanted to keep the hearing from becoming "some kind of lynching."
He excluded highly emotional items, such as victim wedding photos, a
poem by a victim's father and testimony on funeral arrangements.
Defense lawyers will call to the stand McVeigh's relatives, who were
expected to talk of his troubled past and ask that his life be spared.
Other witnesses will describe the influences that shaped the former Army
sergeant's anti-government views. McVeigh can testify, but he does not
While Matsch said the defense may call witnesses to show what could have
led to McVeigh's anger, he warned, "I do not intend to have a trial of what happened at Waco."
Help pours in to Jarrell
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JARRELL (AP) June 4, 1997 - - One week after a tornado tore a hole in
its heart, this Central Texas town is starting to look like Britain
Emergency officials in and around town say they are profoundly grateful
for the food and clothing donations that have arrived in truck after
truck since the May 27 twister that killed 27 of the town's 500
Now, the city has no more room for the deliveries.
``The town itself just isn't that big,'' Salvation Army spokeswoman Meg
Jocks told The Dallas Morning News for today's editions.
Paul Newman did his share.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported in today's editions that the
actor's representatives called Williamson County officials early Tuesday
to say that 23,040 heads of lettuce and 1,800 bottles of Newman's Own
gourmet salad dressing were Jarrell-bound from California.
Newman also threw in 63,360 packages of pasta and 23,280 jars of
Newman's Own spaghetti sauce for the survivors and the disaster-relief
crews. All is expected to arrive today.
Now, Williamson County Treasurer Vivian Wood said the area is
hard-pressed to safely warehouse the highly perishable vegetables.
``People have been so generous from all over the state and across the
nation. It really has been heartwarming,'' said Ms. Wood. ``Our problem
is, we are getting so much stuff, we can't handle it. It's really been
What Jarrell does need, said volunteer Mark Leitch of Fort Worth, are
fence posts and barbed wire to corral the horses and cattle that have
been roaming the countryside since the tornado uprooted everything in
its mile-long path. Lumber and roof decking also are needed, he said.
``If someone's willing to donate it, we'll get it down here one way or
another,'' Leitch told the Star-Telegram.
Ms. Jocks said that victims also need money to help pay funeral costs
and rebuild their homes.
Dianne Johns, president of the Jarrell Civic League, said cash donations
being coordinated by a bank ensure help for those who need it most.
``Everybody has been so generous, but we're just not set up for this,''
she told The News. ``Many of those houses are just gone, so the victims
don't have any place to put (food and clothing) donations.''
Cash donations can be sent to the Jarrell Civic League, Jarrell Recovery
Fund, P.O. Box 361, Jarrell, Texas 76537. Credit card donations can be made toll-free at 1-888-443-5725.
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PECOS, June 4, 1997 - Marriages for April, as reported by the Reeves
County Clerk's Office.
Dawayne Steven Belaire and Latosha Dalene Whiteside
Ruben M. Flores and Gloria Villalon Ortega
Angel J. Chavez and Elizabeth Castro Rayos
Eric James Salcido and Anna Maria Lujan
Arnulfo Rivas and Carla Patricia Winsor
Eliberto Subia Lozano and Esperanza Ortiz Lozano
Esequiel Benavides Bustamante and Colinda S. McGillis
Manuel Lara Licon and Silvanna Carrasco Hernandez
PECOS, June 4, 1997 - Divorces for April, as reported by the Reeves
County Clerk's Office.
Betty Jean Lozano Baeza and Joe Tarango Baeza III
Jackie Evelyn Iske and Larry Ray Iske, Sr.
Apolonia Licon and Antonio Licon Guadalupe
R. Morales and Felipe R. Morales
Maria Carmelita Florez
POMONA, CALIF., June 4, 1997 - Services are incomplete for Maria
Carmelita Florez, 61, of Pomona, Calif., who died June 1 in Pomona
Valley Hospital. She was a former Pecos resident.
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PECOS, June 4, 1997 - High Tuesday, 100, low this morning, 70. There is
a slight chance of mainly late afternoon and nighttime thunderstorms
through Thursday. Otherwise, skies will be partly cloudy. Lows will be
in the 50s and 60s, except for mid-70s along the Rio Grande. Highs will
reach the 80s and 90s, except for near 105 along the Rio Grande. dddd
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Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
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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