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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Thursday, April 1, 1999
Nashville judge sets high bond on Herrera
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, April 1, 1999 -- Bail bondsman Jose T. "Joey" Herrera Jr. was
unable to raise bail on charges of fabricating evidence and money laurdering,
and remains in Metro Nashville Davidson County Jail today in Nashville,
Davidson County District Judge Cheryl Blackburn set bail at $500,000
for Herrera on Tuesday, following a hearing in which Herrera and Reeves
County Judge Jimmy Galindo testified.
Herrera is charged by indictment with three counts of fabricating evidence,
conspiracy to fabricate evidence, and money laundering.
Tennessee bail bondsmen were unable to post the large bail, said John
Zimmerman, the senior assistant district attorney who is prosecuting the
case for the Davidson County Criminal Court.
Zimmerman said that Tennessee law requires that bondsmen post cash or
actual property to secure bail. One local bondsman was prepared to post
$250,000 or less, but not $500,000, he said.
"We already had two other defendants (in the same case) with $250,000
bond, and they are local defendants," Zimmerman said.
As Herrera testified about a $25,000 cashier's check that he brought
to pay on his bond, Judge Blackburn asked about his prior record.
Herrera testified he was charged at one time with bribery, but the charge
was dismissed after he completed a judicial diversion probation period.
Nashville Police Officer Jesse Burchwell, who interviewed Herrera after
his March 15 arrest in Pecos, testified that Herrera admitted sending three
forged death certificates to Tennessee, which resulted in the indictment.
Burchwell also testified that officers found a pad of blank death certificates
when they searched Herrera's house.
"The numbers on the blank certificates were in the same sequence as
those he sent up here," Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman said the Tennessee courts are faced with the problem of three
Hispanic drug dealers who have now fled to Mexico. One was free on $500,000
bail and the other two on $250,000 each, posted by Paul's Bonding of Nashville.
Herrera had arranged for bail in all three cases, telling a Paul's Bonding
employee, "when they don't show up, I will send you a death certificate,"
Zimmerman said that three of the four criminal court judges had the
phony death certificates presented in their courts. Blackburn was the only
one who did not, so she was assigned to hear the case.
If Herrera is convicted, he could be sentenced from 8-30 years on the
money laundering count, 3-15 years on each of the three fabricating evidence
counts and 2-12 years for conspiracy to fabricate evidence, Zimmerman said.
The two other people charged in the case, Paul's Bonding manager Peggy
W. Coleman, 52, and agent James Mitchell (Wolf) Ferrell, 39, were arrested
on Dec. 11, 1998 during a raid on the company's office by Nashville vice
division dectectives, according to the (Nashville) Tennessean, three months
prior to Herrera's arrest.
Pecos man faces charges following raid on home
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, April 1, 1999 -- Charges are pending on a Pecos man after officers
discovered marijuana during a narcotics search warrant executed Wednesday
Officers from the Pecos Police Department and the Reeves County Sheriff's
Department executed the narcotics search warrant Wednesday, at 8:21 p.m.,
at the home of the Sylvia Rubio family, 601 S. Willow St.
"Upon searching the residence a substance believed to be marijuana was
found inside one of the bedrooms," said Pecos Police Investigator Paul
Deishler stated that the evidence was removed from the residence and
charges are pending at this time for one male subject.
The action is the latest in an ongoing series of drug raids which police
and sheriff's deputies have conducted at houses in Pecos since September.
Sunken barrel contained toe bones, Ranger testifies
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, April 1, 1999 -- Toe bones found in a barrel fished out of the
Pecos River last year confirm a murder confession, Texas Ranger Jerry Villalobos
testified this morning in 143rd District Court.
Villalobos arrested Christopher John Bigham on Aug. 19, 1998, after
Bigham admitted he shot Lora Ann Brooks in Reeves County Dec. 1, 1997.
Defense Attorney Adrian Chavez seeks to have Bigham's confession suppressed
in the April 26 trial before District Judge Bob Parks, claiming that Bigham
did not waive his right not to give a statement to officers.
District Attorney Randy Reynolds said that Bigham was advised of his
rights before he was questioned, and his waiver of rights was implied when
he voluntarily gave a statement.
Bigham was not in custody at the time he told Villalobos and Det. Stephan
of the Vancouver, Wash., police department that he shot Brooks, Reynolds
Villalobos said that he took Bigham into custody after he admitted the
shooting, and he was again read his rights before giving a taped confession.
In that confession, Bigham said that he shot Brooks in self-defense
after she stuck a handgun into his back. He said that he buried the body,
but later dug it up and burned it in a barrel.
Villalobos testified that Bigham described the barrel as having a 3-inch
hole near the bottom to allow fuel and oxygen to enter, and a pipe inside.
Bigham said he burned Brook's body in the barrel, then dumped it in the
Pecos River from the bridge at Farm Road 3398, about four miles north of
A Department of Public Safety dive team recovered a barrel like the
one Bigham described on Aug. 27, 1998, Villalobos said. Remains scraped
from its interior were sent to a forensic pathology lab at Texas Tech University,
where Dr. Robert Payne identified four bones he described as parts of two
Judge Parks asked the attorneys to submit briefs on points of law before
April 9 so that he can rule on the motion to suppress before the jury trial
Villalobos said the investigation into Brooks' disappearance began after
Brooks' parents contacted the FBI. Bigham had left his 20-acre ranch on
the Pecos River and returned to Washington state with Brooks' three children,
Brooks' 14-year-old daughter, Anna Martin, told investigators that she
had seen a body in a barrel, and that Bigham told her Brooks had committed
suicide, Villalobos testified.
Schools, city, county closing for Good Friday
Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD students will have a reprieve from the studies
both Friday and Monday, as students take some time off in honor of Good
Friday and the Easter holiday.
Town of Pecos City employees will also enjoy a day off Friday in honor
of Good Friday, as will all Reeves County employees. However, the Pecos
Post Office and federal offices will remain open and mail delivered at
the usual time.
Both First National and Security State banks will remain open throughout
the day, but Security State Bank will not re-open at 5 p.m., as is their
custom on Fridays.
AUSTIN (AP) — No tickets correctly matched all six numbers drawn Wednesday
night for the twice-weekly Lotto Texas game, state lottery officials said.
A winning ticket would have been worth an estimated $7 million. The numbers
drawn from a field of 50 were 14, 29, 33, 34, 35, 36.
AUSTIN (AP) — The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Wednesday by the Texas
Lottery, in order: 8-1-1 (eight, one, one).
Services are incomplete for Lucinda N. Marruffo, 67, who died Wednesday,
March 31, 1999 at Medical Center Hospital in Odessa.
Juan Jasso, 75, died Tuesday, March 30, 1999, at Reeves County Hospital.
Mass was celebrated at 10 a.m., today, at Santa Rosa Catholic Church
with burial in Greenwood Cemetery.
He was born Dec. 27, 1923, in Loving, N.M., was a life-long resident,
a retired farmer and a Catholic.
Survivors include his wife, Belen Jasso, of Pecos; four sons, Johnny
and Jaime Jasso of Pecos, Eddie Jasso of Kermit, Lorenzo Jasso of Portales,
N.M.; four daughters, Delia Jasso and Olga Arenivas and Irma Vasquez of
Pecos; Gloria Jurado of Hobbs, N.M.; five brothers, Cruz Jasso of Indio,
Calif., Adan Jasso of Las Cruces, N.M., Jose Jasso of Pecos, Manuel Jasso
of Juarez, Chih., Mexico and Concepcion Jasso of Banderas, Chih., Mexico;
two sisters, Maria Sandoval of California and Jesus Valles of Juarez, Chih.,
Mexico; 30 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.
Martinez Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
High Wednesday 87; low last night 47. Tonight, partly cloudy. Low in the
lower 50s. Southeast to south wind 5-15 mph. Friday, partly cloudy and
breezy. High in the upper 70s. southwest wind 15-25 mph and gusty.
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 1999 by Pecos Enterprise