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The jury assessed punishment at 180 days in state jail with no fine, the
least amount of punishment allowed under state law.
District Judge Bob Parks, in his instructions to the jury, said that the
punishment range for tampering with a witness is 180 days to two years
in state jail and an optional fine of up to $10,000. But according to
District Attorney John Stickels, Miller will not spend any time in jail.
Stickels told prospective jurors during Monday's «MDUL»voir dire«MDNM»
that a state jail sentence is automatically suspended in favor of
The jury returned the guilty verdict at 3:20 p.m. and then heard
testimony in the punishment phase. That verdict was rendered at 4:20 p.m.
Abalos said he believes he has a good chance to win on appeal.
"I called for mistrial at one point because of an irresponsible
statement by John Stickels," Abalos said today.
Stickels questioned Miller about his intent to harm Ed Armstrong's
credit or business reputation when he went to Terry Burkholder's office
on Jan. 12.
Miller admitted asking Burkholder to call his partner, Brad Bennett, and
ask him to influence Armstrong to stop his actions regarding Red Bluff
Water Power Control District, which Miller serves as general manager.
But he denied any intent to coerce Armstrong not to be a witness against
him or Red Bluff.
To coerce a person means to make a threat, "however communicated, to
harm the credit or business reputation of any person," Judge Parks said
in the jury charge.
"A witness means any person who poses a threat to the actor of what they
know," he said.
Miller said he talked to Burkholder on impulse after receiving a
subpoena for Red Bluff audits for the past 10 years.
He said he feared Armstrong would do the same thing to Red Bluff that he
was doing to the Ward County Irrigation District #1, which was under
investigation in Ward County for alleged misuse of public funds.
Stickels questioned Miller about his influence and power in the
community. Miller serves as a director of First National Bank, past
director for West of the Museum, "ramrod" of the Russell Benefit, member
of Pecos Chamber of Commerce, past director of the Pecos Chamber of
Commerce, on the board at First Christian Church, formerly served on the
Community Council of Reeves County board of directors and Rotary Club,
and is Red Bluff manager.
Red Bluff has $600,000 in certificates of deposit, about $60,000 in
checking accounts and has part interest in $13.8 million that was paid
to Texas by New Mexico for withholding Pecos River water.
"How many friends do you have?" Stickels asked.
"It looks like I have a lot," Miller said, looking over the courtroom
that was two-thirds full of his supporters.
Noting that Miller and his sisters own 1,000 acres of land in Ward
County, Stickels said he is one of the biggest land owners.
"Wouldn't you agree with me that someone with all that stuff is pretty
influential?" asked Stickels.
"Some of those boards I don't carry that much clout," Miller said.
Miller admitted he was exasperated when he talked to Burkholder about
Armstrong, but denied he was "frothing at the mouth," or about to have a
The fact that Armstrong did a lot of work for Burkholder and Bennett was
"possibly" part of the reason he went into Burkholder's office, Miller
"That was in the back of your mind when you went in there?" Stickels
"I thought they could talk to him and he might listen to them because he
is their good friend," Miller said.
"And he did a lot of work for them?" Stickels asked.
"I would say both," Miller said.
"Terry Burkholder testified yesterday, `It was obvious to me that Jim Ed
Miller did not want us to use Ed Armstrong as an employee any more,'"
Stickels said. "Do you think you gave that impression?"
"I don't think so, because I never alluded to the fact," Miller said.
Holcombe files as write-in in open county attorney race
Wednesday, August 21, 1996
Former Reeves County Attorney and U.S. Magistrate Walter Hol¬ combe has
filed as a write-in candidate for his old county attorney's position in
the November General Election.
Holcombe filed his intent to run with County Judge Jimmy Galindo and
his treasurer designation with County Clerk Dianne Florez.
He is a long-time practicing attorney in Pecos.
Current county attorney Bill Weinacht decided not to seek a second
four-year term in office, and no other candidates filed in either the
Democratic or Republican primaries prior to the Jan. 2 filing deadline.
Weinacht said at that time he wanted to return to full-time private
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Assault charges against two former inmates at the Reeves County
Detention Center were dismissed today when the alleged victims were
unable to identify them.
Jeff Rios-Cruz was indicted along with 13 other inmates for assaulting
guards at the RCDC during a riot on Feb. 28. Rios was accused of beating
Pedro Geronimo-Zaragosa was charged with beating Thomas Cobos. Both
defendants were scheduled for a jury trial today.
District Attorney John Stickels dismissed both indictments for
insufficient evidence because "the witness from the Reeves County Law
Enforcement Center could not identify this defendant."
Defendants in the other 12 cases have not yet been arraigned on the
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The driver of a 1995 GMC van, Bernice Sattazahn, 57, of St. Charles, Mo.
was pronounced dead at the scene by Culberson County Justice of the
Peace Buck Nix. Sattazahn was reported trapped in her vehicle about 8:20
a.m., when a local volunteer fire department team and the Jaws of Life
were dispatched to the site, at mile marker 172 on Interstate 10. The
accident occurred five miles west of Kent and 55-miles west of Pecos.
Listed in serious condition at Sierra Medical Center Hospital in El Paso
is Donna Woodson, 38, also of St. Peters, Mo. Robert Woodson, 15, and
Anthony Woodson, 11, are listed in stable and good condition,
respectively, at SMCH.
None of the four passengers were wearing a seat belt, reported
investigating Van Horn Department of Public Safety Trooper Michael
Murphy, who was called out about 7:10 a.m., when the accident occurred.
Murphy reported Sattazahn was eastbound on I-10 when she dozed off,
allowing the vehicle to drift to the right shoulder. The driver
overcorrected to the left, causing it to go into a right, broad side
skid before rolling over three times. None of the passengers were
ejected, indicated Murphy, and the van came to rest on the north
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The amount of the Texas-New Mexico Water Compact settlement is 1989 was
incorrectly given as $3.8 million in a story in Friday's Enter¬prise.
The settlement was actually $13.8 million.
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EDITOR'S NOTE: Information contained in the Police Report is obtained
from reports filed by the Pecos Police Department, Reeves County
Sheriff's Office, Texas Department of Public Safety, or other agencies;
and from interviews with officers of those agencies.
James Garcia reported to sheriff's department authorities that sometime
between 4:30 p.m., July 2, and 7 p.m., July 3, an unknown party had
broken out the back windshield of his 1993 Chevrolet pickup while parked
at the Balmorhea ball park. Damage was estimated at $600.
A sheriff's deputy arrested Raul Rodriguez, 28, of 319 S. Cypress St.;
Sandra Garcia, 32, 811 E. Fourth St.; and Hector Jasso, 32, of Toyah,
for public intoxication at 1101 S. Elm St., during the early morning
hours of July 6.
Roberto Rodriguez, 43, 500 S. Ash St., was arrested by a sheriff deputy
for public intoxication at the Oasis Bar just after midnight, July 6.
Leon Arnold Contreras of Dallas told a Reeves County deputy on July 8
that his black briefcase was taken from his 1984 Fort Mustang and the
convertible top fabric of his vehicle was slashed while parked in the
roadside park on the south side of Interstate 20, located near milepost
Victor Orosco Prieto, 38, 1118 E. Eighth St., was placed under arrest
during a warrant service by sheriffs deputies for outstanding fines. He
was arrested while in the 700 block of Almond Street on July 9.
Willie Shorter told sheriff's deputies on July 11 that between 1 a.m.
and 3:30 p.m. that day someone had taken a Huffy fluorescent yellow
bicycle with black specks from her home at 219 W. Sixth St.
Albert Richard Britz was arrested on a warrant service for burglary of a
habitation on County Road 406 on the evening of July 11.
Larry Tellez, clerk at the Toyah Texaco, reported to a sheriff's deputy
a gas drive-off on July 13. The subject had driven off without paying
for $28 worth of gas, Tellez told the officer, and gave description of
Annis Rasberry told a sheriff's deputy that a Motorola 8000 was taken
from her vehicle while parked on Reeves County Road 415. The report was
made on the afternoon of July 15 and she said the crime occurred
sometime between 6 p.m., July 12, and noon, July 13.
A car stereo and amplifier were taken from the vehicle belonging to
Josie Nunez, who told police the crime occurred sometime between 11
p.m., July 31, and 6:20 a.m., August 1 at her residence, 521 S. Alamo St.
Guadalupe R. Rodriguez was arrested in the Reeves County Jail for
outstanding municipal fines on July 31. Rodriguez's age and address were
Police served Gilbert Chavez was arrested during a warrant service in
the Reeves County Jail for theft over $500 and under $1,500 on July 31.
William "Willie" Gochicoa and Eloisa Martinez were arrested and charged
with possession of a controlled substance, cocaine, late on the night of
August 1 in the Holiday Inn parking lot. Ages and addresses were not
A Reeves County deputy arrested a female juvenile for assault under the
Family Violence Act in Toyah on August 3.
Police arrested Sharon Moore during a warrant service for Ector County.
She was charged with theft by check and taken into custody on August 8.
Place of arrest and Moore's address and age were not indicated.
Frank Hernandez Garcia, 28, was arrested by police for public
intoxication in the 200 block of North Cedar Street during the early
morning hours of August 3.
On August 5, Fred Lara, 39, was arrested in the 500 block of South Oak
Street during a warrant service by police. He was charged with theft
During the early morning hours of August 2, police arrested Lorie Lopez
and Domitilla Quezada at the Zoo Bar on Toliver Street for public
intoxication. Addresses and birth dates were not given.
Jesus Arevalo and Armando Gonzales were each charged and arrested for
public intoxication. Arevalo faced an additional charge of failing to
identify himself to a peace officer. They were apprehended in the corner
of Eddy and Stafford streets during the early morning hours of August 2.
Jose A. Dominguez was arrested for driving with a suspended license
August at the Riverside Ballroom. He was taken into custody about 1:30
a.m.. Dominguez's age and address were not indicated.
Police arrested Fred Lara for criminal trespass when he tripped a silent
alarm in the 700 block of Cedar Street. Lara's age and address were not
On August 7, Joaquin Estrello Juarez, 23, was arrested for outstanding
fines at his residence. Estrello had contacted the police to report that
sometime between August 6 at 9 p.m., and August 7 at 9:33 a.m., someone
had take four tires and rims from his vehicle, while parked at his
residence, 1111 W. Second St.
Probation revocation was the charge against Eric Garcia when he was
arrested by police August 7 at his residence, 2405-B Sage. The original
charge was burglary of a habitation. He was discovered hiding in a
closet. His age was not indicated.
Police arrested Joseph Urias on a warrant for aggravated assault at the
Town of Pecos City Municipal Court. He was taken into custody about
11:30 a.m., August 7. Urias' age and address were not given.
Mark Renteria was arrested for assault under the Family Violence Act,
violating a protective order and endangering a child the night of August
7 in the 300 block of North Cypress Street.
On the morning of August 8, Czar Zermeno told police that sometime
during the night, someone had taken without his permission a set of
speakers from his pickup while parked at 2226 Hackberry Street.
Edixon Giraldo reported the front stolen license plate from his vehicle
while parked at 1802 W. Fifth St., sometime between August 4 and August
Ray Hall reported a burglary of a habitation to police. He said the
incident occurred sometime between 1:30 p.m. and 5:14 p.m. August 8 at
1110 N. Cedar St. Other details of the crime were not indicated.
Eliza Romo, 18, was arrested during a warrant service by police for
outstanding fines in the corner of Fourth and Park streets on August 9.
A male juvenile was arrested police on a warrant service for outstanding
fines August 10. Location of arrest was not given.
Tomas Irigoyen Carmona, 46, was arrested for fleeing the scene of an
accident and driving while intoxicated after striking a 1984 GMC pickup,
driven by Socorro Elias Garcia, in the corner of Balmorhea Highway and
Palmer Street. Carmona was driving a 1973 machinery truck, belonging to
Farmer's Irrigation. He was apprehended in the 1700 block of Balmorhea
Police arrested Julian Rayos for criminal trespass and resisting arrest
the morning of August 12 in the 1000 block of East Second Street. An
address and age for Rayos were not given.
Angie Nunez Jasso, 30, of Toyah, was arrested by police in the 500 block
of South Oak Street on warrant service charging her with theft over $20
and under $500. The arrest was made August 14.
The two parties involved in two vehicle accident August 18 in the corner
of Cypress and 14th Streets were cited. Bonnie Sais, 19, who was driving
a 1995 Ford Mustan and Diana Matta Orona, 31, who was in a 1989 Ford
Tempo, were given tickets by the investigating policeman for failing to
yield right of way at a stop intersection and displaying an expired
drivers license, respectively.
Reeves County Road and Bridge Administrator Russ Salcido reported to
sheriffs deputies that sometime between 6:30 p.m., August 1 and 8 a.m.,
August 2, an alternator with the wiring from a 1989 Chevrolet half-ton
pickup was taken from the 100 block of Palmer Street and the units fan
belt was cut. The alternator was valued at $300 and damage to belt at
Lance Evans of 301 Dagget Street said that sometime between July 26 and
August 8, 11 a.m., someone had taken, without his consent, a red, 25
gasoline air compressor, black, NAPA battery charger and 26 inch Sears
tiller, five-horse power from his residence. The items are valued at
$400, $400 and $600, respectively. The report was taken by a Reeves
County Deputy on August 3.
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High Monday 95, low last night 67. Tonight, fair. Low in the upper 60s.
Southeast wind 5-10 mph. Thursday, partly cloudy. High 90-95. Southeast
wind 5-15 mph.
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Copyright 1996 by Pecos Enterprise
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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