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Archive 2002

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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Thursday, August 22, 2002

Man jailed for threats made prior to Oak St. fire

Staff Writer

PECOS, Thurs., August 22, 2002 -- A 35-year-old Pecos man was arrested Wednesday at 11:45  a.m., at his home after threatening his girlfriend and her children, after  the home they were living in was heavily damaged in an overnight fire.

According to Sheriff Andy Gomez, K.C. Jordan was arrested for terroristic threats on his girlfriend, Crissy Florez. Jordan was arrested at 906 S. Walnut St. by deputies, about 10 hours after the fire broke out at Florez' Oak Street home.

"He threatened to burn the house," Gomez said. "He also threatened to kill her and her kids."

The two children of Florez' are from a previous relationship.

Gomez said that Jordan has not been charged with arson in connection with the fire, but the case is still under investigation.

The arson investigation began after the house that Florez had recently moved into with her family caught fire while Florez was working at the Reeves County Detention Center early Wednesday morning.

A call came in at about 2 a.m. about a fire at 1015 S. Oak Street. Firefighters found the home engulfed in flames when they arrived at the home.

Firemen were able to contain the blaze, and put out most of the flames coming out of the windows shortly after their arrival, but the rooms inside suffered heavy damage.

"The whole house was on fire. It was emerging out of the back, too," said Town of Pecos City Fire Marshal Jack Brookshire, who is conducting the arson investigation.

Brookshire said Florez was on duty at the Reeves County Detention Center and her children were not at the home at the time of the fire. He added that one of Florez' neighbors reported seeing a man running from the house at the time the fire began, but the man's identity had not been determined.

PD firebomber indicted by jury in carjack death

Staff Writer

PECOS, Thurs., August 22, 2002 -- A 22-year-old man already accused of firebombing the Monahans  Police Department in June was indicted again on Wednesday in Midland  on additional charges connected with the death of an Odessa man in a  May carjacking.

A federal grand jury returned an indictment on Wednesday, against 22-year-old Travis Harris of Monahans, charging him with Carjacking Resulting in Death and Use of a Firearm During a Crime of Violence.

The indictment alleges that the carjacking and the use of the firearm occurred on May 25, and resulted in the death of Paul John Ceniceros, 30, of Odessa. Ceniceros' body was found in rural southwestern Midland County on July 17. Ceniceros' body was found two months after his disappearance, and 6½ weeks after Harris' arrest in connection with the Monahans Police Department firebombing.

If found guilty, Harris faces up to life imprisonment or potentially the death penalty, depending on the decision by federal prosecutors.

Harris' attorney Scott Johnson, of Pecos, said he wasn't sure whether he would represent Harris on the carjacking and murder charges.

"I'm not sure yet, because it's a Midland indictment and the decision will be made by the Midland Magistrate," said Johnson.

Johnson is representing Harris in the firebombing case and a tentative court date has been set for Sept. 9.

"Jury selection is scheduled for then, but it might not take place, because he's still in evaluation," said Johnson.

Harris, under the request of Johnson was sent to Fort Worth for a psychological evaluation. "It normally takes 45 days, but this particular one might take longer," said Johnson. "I don't expect it to take place on Sept. 9."

Johnson said that in the firebombing case Harris is facing a total of 20 years.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Texas Rangers, Midland County Sheriff's Office, and the Odessa Police Department have conducted this carjacking investigation with the assistance of numerous other agencies.

"I do know he has been cooperating with authorities in the carjacking case," said Johnson.

Harris is currently in federal custody on the firebombing case. In June, a federal grand jury in Pecos, returned an indictment against Harris charging him in connection with the firebombing of the Municipal Building in Monahans that occurred during the early morning hours of June 3. The fire damaged the police department as well as other city offices located within the building.

In that indictment, Harris is charged with one count each of arson, use of fire to commit a felony, use of a destructive device in furtherance of a crime of violence, and possession of an unregistered firearm.

If convicted, Harris faces five to 20 years in prison on the arson charge, up to 10 years for the unregistered firearm count, and mandatory consecutive 10 year sentence for the charges alleging use of a destructive device and use of fire to commit a felony.

"I already knew he was a suspect in this case," said Johnson. "They apparently found some items in a vehicle that led them to him," he said.

Jury hung in Alpine trial of Lajitas goat's castration

Staff Writer

PECOS, Thurs., August 22, 2002 -- After a day and a half of deliberations, a 12-member jury  of Brewster County residents deadlocked today in the trial of a  Del Rio man charged with performing a drunken castration of the  honorary mayor of Lajitas, a goat known as Clay Henry III.

Officials with the 394th District Clerk's office in Alpine announced the deadlock today in the trial of Jim Bob Hargrove, who was charged with the castration of the goat last fall, after a beer he had been drinking was reportedly given to movie actress Anne Archer to feed to Clay Henry at the Lajitas Mercantile Store.

Hargrove will have to be re-tried, since the three-day trial ended up with a "hung jury" according to a spokesperson in the District Clerk's office.

The goat was discovered the morning of Nov. 26, 2001, laying on his side, shaking, and bleeding, according to testimony offered by the goat's caretaker. The castration of the goat _ the third renowned beer-drinking animal mascot at the trading post and the third in a line of goat mayors at Lajitas _ has garnered attention from around the county and even internationally because of the bizarre aspects of the story.

The prosecution alleged that the sequence of events leading to the castration began with a perceived insult over the bottle of beer, according to a story in today's Alpine Observer.

District Attorney Frank Brown, who is prosecuting the case, said Lajitas resort owner Steve Smith got a beer from Hargrove, who was staying at a friend's condo in the town, and gave it to Clay Henry to show a famous guest the beer-drinking goat. The guest was identified by the Houston Chronicle as Archer, who is best known for her roles in the films "Fatal Attraction" and "Clear and Present Danger." Archer then reportedly fed the beer to the goat.

Hargrove was said to have gotten mad at the transfer of suds and "stewed all day" over the insult, only to return later with a paring knife.

"He want to damage Smith," said Brown in his closing comments to the jury. "It was like a cat bringing home a bird and leaving it on the back porch."

"It was done to hurt Clay Henry, the icon and mascot of Lajitas," said Brown.

These charges were supported by Eleanor Webb, an employee for the Lajitas Mercantile, who said she overheard Hargrove say the "goat ought to be castrated."

In an effort to clear his client from the animal cruelty charge, Comstock attorney Martin Underwood sought to turn the tables on Smith, suggesting the resort owner may be equally guilty of animal cruelty in the case.

Underwood painted Smith as vindictive schemer intent on driving Hargrove out of the resort community, which is located along the Rio Grande west of Big Bend National Park. The defense sought to establish that Hargrove was framed by Smith and that Smith's operatives castrated the goat and attempted to implicate Hargrove by means of circumstantial evidence.

Smith was the first one to take the stand when the trial opened Tuesday.

Under cross-examination by defense attorney, Underwood, Smith admitted that he was exploiting the goat for the benefit of tourism.

"You never gave any thought to killing that goat by giving it beer," Underwood said.

"I never knew anybody that died from alcoholism," Smith replied quietly.

Underwood asked whether giving beer to the goat was in itself torture, with Smith responding that it never crossed his mind and that he never asked anyone knowledgeable in animal husbandry if beer was bad for the goat.

Hargrove had been staying in the condo of a Mr. Fitzpatrick, who had also heard Hargrove talk of castrating Clay Henry. Hargrove left the resort the day the goat's parts were discovered by a maid at the resort and returned to Del Rio.

According to testimony in the trial, Hargrove called Fitzpatrick later that morning and asked him to be sure to clean the condo. The housekeeper that cleaned the condo later that afternoon found what looked to be some kind of meat in the refrigerator. She threw it into the trash, which ended up in a dumpster outside the condo.

After being tipped off by Lajitas employees, Brewster County Constable Richard Hill questioned the maid and found out about the "strange meat" she had found and thrown away. During a search of the dumpster, the testes and a bloody paring knife were found and later turned over to the Sheriff's Department.

Urging a conviction of Hargrove, Brown said, "(the) facts all point to him." In his closing arguments, Brown stated that "Animals are like children, they are innocent and can't protect themselves."

In the defense's closing, Underwood said the deed could have been done by "anybody."

Optimists schedule enchilada plate sale

PECOS, Thurs., August 22, 2002 -- An enchilada plate sale will be held from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., Friday at the Saragosa Hall.

Three or more plates will be delivered and to order call 445-5225.

Plates will be $3.50 and the event is a scholarship fundraiser for the Pecos Evening Optimist Club.

Deadline Friday for ticket renewal to Eagles' games

PECOS, Thurs., August 22, 2002 -- Today and Friday are the final two days for 2001 Pecos Eagle football season ticket holders to reclaim their seats for the Eagles' five 2002 home games.

Season tickets are $25 each and can be purchased at the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Business Office, 1302 S. Park St. New season ticket buyers can begin to pick up their seats for the five games on Monday. Pecos' first home game is Sept. 13 against Lamesa.

Council scheduled to discuss maintaining current tax rate

Staff Writer

PECOS, Thurs., August 22, 2002 -- Town of Pecos City Council will discuss setting the city's Fiscal  Year 2003 tax rate, during tonight's council meeting at 5:30 p.m. in  Council Chambers at City Hall.

According to a Legal Notice published last Friday in the Enterprise, last year's total tax rate was .69670 per $100 in valuations, while the city would have to set an effective tax rate of.70010 per $100 in valuations to raise the same amount of tax revenues as a year ago. The maximum rate the city could set without holding a public hearing is.72110 per $100 valuations.

According to City Manager, Carlos Yerena, the council will discuss the rates but believes that they will stay with the current tax rate of .69670.

Finance Director, George Bejarano said that the publication of the notice was just a presentation of the figures, and that it's up to the council to decide on the final rate.

"It is just a presentation to the public," Bejarano said.

Yerena and Bejarano said the rates are determined by the property value of the whole city. Bejarano also added that this year, property values in the city have gone up, while last year's values were down.

According to Lydia Prieto, with the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Tax Collectors office, which handled the city's tax collections, the figures are determined by some guidelines.

"We follow a worksheet," Prieto said. "It comes from this book (Truth-I Taxation book)."

Along with the tax rate discussions, the council will also approve the accounts payable report, the Municipal Court monthly report of July 2002, the Tax Collection report of July 2002 and the Juvenile monthly report 2002 during this afternoon's meeting.

The council will then discuss and consider the appointment of the Pecos Housing Authority Commission, the contract with the amendment with the United States Marshal's Service, the adoption of the tax rate and the memorandum of understanding relating to the intelligent transportation system program.

The discussion and consideration of estimated debt collection rate for the 2002 and excess debt tax collections for 2001 according to the 2002 calendar, the calculation of effective and rollback tax rates and submission to the governing body and the tax rate of the meeting of governing body to discuss the tax rate were added to the agenda.

A discussion and consideration for modifying the name of the city will also be on the agenda.


PECOS, Thurs., August 22, 2002 -- High Thurs. 94. Low this morning 71. Forecast for tonight: Partly  cloudy with isolated evening thunderstorms. Lows near 75. SE winds 5 to 15  mph. Fri.: Partly cloudy with isolated thunderstorms. Highs near 104.  SE winds 5 to 15 mph. Fri. night: Partly cloudy with isolated  thunderstorms. Lows in the mid 70s. Sat.: Partly cloudy with isolated  thunderstorms. Highs near 103. Sun.: Partly cloudy with a slight chance  of thunderstorms. Lows in the mid 70s. Highs 98 to 102.

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Pecos Enterprise
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