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Archive 2002

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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Shootout suspect enters guilty plea before trial starts

From Staff and Wire Reports
A former Pecos resident pled guilty on Monday just after a  jury was seated for his trial on charges murder and attempted capital  murder in the shooting death of his wife and the wounding of an Odessa  police officer, both of whom also are former Pecos residents.

Joe Albert Ramon, 41, pleaded guilty to both counts in 161st District Judge Tryon Lewis' courtroom Monday without first conferring with prosecutors, said John Young, Ramon's attorney.

"This case is not about did he do it or not. It's about acceptance of responsibility for what happened," Young told the Odessa American for its Tuesday editions.

Ector County District Attorney John Smith said that the state was prepared to prove Ramon was guilty of shooting his wife, Estella, 36, and Cpl. Greg Travland on Jan. 18.

Both Ramons were former employees of the Reeves County Detention Center in Pecos, while Travland is the son of former Pecos postmaster J.E. Travland. He had been employed as an Odessa Police Department Cadet on Jan. 1, 1980 and began his service as an Odessa Police Officer on March 30, 1981.

Joe Ramon, spent nearly two months in the hospital after his shootout with Travland. Once released in March, he was formally charged with first-degree murder and attempted capital murder, charges for which he faces from 5-99 years or life and up to a $10,000 fine per charge, according to Smith.

The next step, Lewis told the jury, is to hold a sentencing hearing, which begins Tuesday.

"Even though he pleaded guilty, we still have to put out all of our evidence," Smith said.

Young declined to comment on his defense strategy, reiterating that Ramon wants to take responsibility for his actions.

Smith said the prosecution will call about a dozen witnesses. One of these, he said, could be Travland.

Young said that since Ramon does not have a felony record, if the jury chooses to do so, Ramon could be sentenced to up to 10 years of probation for his crimes.

On Jan. 18, Travland had gone to Drug Screen Compliance & Consortium of the Southwest to talk to Estella Ramon, an employee at the center, about a domestic dispute. Witnesses said Ramon then entered the building and began firing a .357 revolver, killing his ex-wife and wounding Travland, who returned fire.

Ramon received four gunshot wounds to the his chest.

Travland was hit once in the upper thigh. His rehabilitation is still under the guidance of a physician and he has returned to limited duty.

According to Sherry Thomson of the Odessa Police Department, Travland is still recuperating and is not performing any patrol duties.

Herrera begins rehab in Dallas after injuries

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tues., Oct. 22, 2002 -- A recent Pecos High School graduate is recovering nicely, his family  said, after being involved in a one-vehicle accident in late September.

According to Ricky Herrera, his son Jaime was released from the Covenant Medical Center in Lubbock on Friday, where he was flown after suffering head injuries in the one-vehicle rollover 10 miles east of Pecos. After his release, which the family drove to Dallas, where Jaime's rehab treatments are taking place.

"He is at Pate Rehab in Dallas," Herrera said. "They will evaluate him for the first two weeks he is there."

After the two weeks are up, Herrera said that they will meet with the staff and discuss Jaime's progress.

"We will then come up with an individual therapy plan," said Herrera, a former Pecos city councilman.

While staying in Dallas, Herrera said that the family is staying at an apartment which is a part of the of the rehabilitation facility.

"They pick him up at about 8 a.m. and then bring him back at about 3:30 p.m.," Herrera said. "It's like going to school."

Herrera added that he did not think that his son would need much therapy.

"He talks on the phone with his friends," Herrera said. "I talked to him last night and asked him how everything was going."

To his father it appears that Jaime is the same old Jaime before the accident.

"He watches TV and sports," Herrera said. "And we talk about sports."

Over the weekends, Herrera said that he and the rest of the family would be traveling to Dallas to see his wife and son. Once Jaime has completed his therapy, Herrera added that he would be coming back to Pecos.

"He will be coming back home," Herrera said. "We still have a follow up with the neurologist in Lubbock.

Jaime was airlifted to Lubbock on Sept. 20 after sustaining head injuries during a rollover on Interstate 20 at the Business I-20 exit east of Barstow. Herrera, who graduated from Pecos High School this past May, was traveling in a pickup with another 2002 PHS grad, Jae Ewing. The two were headed back to Pecos for the 2002 homecoming football game.

According to the Department of Public Safety report on the accident, the vehicle in which Herrera and Ewing were in rolled over as they exited I-20. The report said Ewing, the driver of the vehicle, took the exit at an unsafe speed, causing it to go off the south side of the road.

At that point Ewing then overcorrected causing the vehicle to rollover and ejecting both Ewing and Jaime.

The two boys where taken to Reeves County Hospital, from where Jaime was then airlifted to Lubbock. Ewing was released from the hospital on Saturday with several stitches and bruises.

Lenfest says band judges' ratings right

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tues., Oct. 22, 2002 -- Pecos Eagle Band students have a lot to be proud of and the  group received the division rating that they deserved this past Saturday at the  UIL Region VI Marching Contest in Odessa, the band's director said  on Monday.

Competing in the Class 3A division at Ratliff Stadium, the band received a second division rating of excellent. Three other bands entered in the contest, Monahans, Fort Stockton and Midland Greenwood, recieved Division I ratings, and will advance to the regional competition this weekend, while a fourth area Class 3A band, Kermit, was given a Division III rating.

"I have been preaching to the kids that the most important rating is how we feel about ourselves as we come off the field and I believe the students were very proud of themselves," said band director Merle Lenfest.

One judge awarded the group a Division I rating.

"I know this director was proud of them," said Lenfest. "Because music contest judging is subjective you never really know how you will be rated."

"Last year, I believe we were only average, however, one judge gave us a second division rating," said Lenfest. "This year we were really pretty good and one judge gave us a third division rating."

Lenfest said he has told the students that the only way to be sure of a first division rating is to be so good the judges have no choice but to award a first division. "We are still a year or two from being that good," he said.

"That being said, the band has a right to be proud of how far they have come in one year," said Lenfest. "I believe the feeling the students got at the end of our show when not only all the purple in the audience stood up, but, all the other colors stood up is a feeling they want more of."

The rating they received was a good one for them at this time, according to Lenfest.

"The judge that awarded us a one was real nice and the judge that awarded us a three was overly critical," he said. "In the end, a second division was what we deserved and what we received."

The students performed well and worked hard, according to Lenfest. "However, to be awarded a rating we have not yet earned would have sent them the message that we have reached the top, instead of we need to keep working," he said.

"I am so proud of the crowd that came to support us," said Lenfest. "Many of you think the band deserved a first division. That is what I would expect the community to think and say, you have a right to be biased towards our kids."

Lenfest said the students deserved our support and applause. "I have to tell them the reality of where we are," said Lenfest. "There are far too many directors that blame judges for poor ratings, this is something I will never do."

"The judge can only do his best to rate what he sees," said Lenfest. "It is my job to make sure our kids have the skills to perform at a first division level, when we do that the trophies will follow," he said.

Girl Scouts plan tea for current, former members

PECOS, Tues., Oct. 22, 2002 -- The Girl Scouts of Pecos invites all Girl Scouts, past, present and future, to Tea, at 3 p.m., Sunday at the Pecos Girl Scout Hut, 715 S. Park.

Come celebrate 90 years of Girl Scouting in America.


PECOS, Tues., Oct. 22, 2002 -- High Monday 89. Low this morning 64. Forecast for tonight:   Partly cloudy with a 60 percent chance of thunderstorms, some storms may  be severe this evening with large hail and damaging winds. Lows 55 to  60. Southeast winds 5 to 15 mph. Wednesday:  Areas of morning  low clouds and fog:  Becoming partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance  of thunderstorms. Highs in the lower 80s. South winds 5 to 15  mph. Wednesday night:  Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance  of thunderstorms. Lows 50 to 55. Thursday:  Mostly cloudy with a  40 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. Highs near 70. Friday:   Mostly cloudy with a slight chance of showers or thunderstorms.  Lows around 50. Highs around 70.

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