Colored Rock Map of Texas at I-20 in Pecos, Click for Travel Guide

Pecos Enterprise

Site Map
Pecos Gab

Pecos Country History
Archive 62
Archive 74
Archive 87
1987 Tornado Photos
Rodeo Photos 88
Archive 95
Archive 96
Archive 97
News Photos 1997
Rodeo Photos 97
Archive 98
News Photos 1998
Rodeo Photos 98
Parade Photos 98
Archive 99
Photos 99
Archive 2000
Photos 2000
Photos 2001
Photos 2002

Archive 2002

Area Newspapers
Economic Development


Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Friday, December 27, 2002

Furgeson denies Harris change of venue request

Staff Writer

PECOS, Friday, Dec. 27, 2002 -- A motion for a change of venue for a man accused in a carjacking  and slaying in late May has been denied by U.S. District Judge  Royal Furgeson.

Judge Furgeson denied the motion made by Travis James Harris' attorney Scott Johnson of Pecos on one of the two federal charges the 22-year-old currently faces

Harris was charged in Midland Federal Court with Carjacking Resulting in Death and the Use of a Firearm during a Crime of Violence, in connection with the death of Paul John Ceniceros, 30, whose body was found in a field near Odessa. Harris is charged with carjacking Ceniceros' vehicle, which was later found in Lubbock, killing him and dumping his body in an Ector County field. He has not been charged with murder yet.

Prior to those charges being filed, Harris was arrested on state and federal charges connected with the firebombing of the Monahans Police Department on June 3 of this year. The fire, in the building that also houses Monahans' city offices, caused severe damage to two rooms in police area, and forced Monahans Police to relocate their offices to another location on the south side of town..

Johnson was seeking to have both cases moved to U.S. District Court in El Paso. The Midland case will now be heard in Midland, since the change of venue was denied. The firebombing case is scheduled to be heard in U.S. District Court in Pecos if Johnson's change of venue request is rejected.

Harris is charged with breaking a window at the Monahans Police Department building at Second and Alice streets around 3:30 a.m. on June 3 and throwing a `Molotov cocktail' inside. Federal, state and area law enforcement agencies assisted in the investigation including the Pecos Police Department, the State Fire Marshal, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Texas Rangers.

Harris could face up to 20 years for the firebombing, Johnson said in September. Johnson did not return calls this morning on the change of venue request.

Harris has been held at the Winkler County prison facility since November 7, after being returned from Fort Worth, where he underwent a psychiatric evaluation ordered by Furgeson in August in connection with the firebombing incident. While in Fort Worth, doctors were also asked for the psychiatric evaluation to include the carjacking.

In the federal charge of carjacking resulting in death of Ceniceros, Harris could face life in prison or the death penalty.

Swanson ending 47-years as court reporter

Staff Writer

PECOS, Friday, Dec. 27, 2002 -- Having served for 47 years as court reporter, spanning the  entire history of the 143rd Judicial  District Court, John Swanson will retire from his position as of next Tuesday.

A reception for Swanson, who announced last month that December 31, 2002 would be his final day on the job, will be held on Tursday from 10 a.m. till 11:30 a.m. at the Reeves County Courthouse in Pecos and from 3:30 p.m. till 5 p.m. at the Ward County Courthouse in Monahans, on the second floor of both locations.

Swanson said that his interest to become a court reporter came from his brother Ernest, who had been the court reporter for the 109th Judicial District Court.

"My brother got me interested," Swanson said.

He added that his appointment as the Official Court Reporter for the newly created 143rd Judicial District composed of Ward, Reeves and Loving came on September 6, 1955 by Judge J.H. Starley.

During his 47 years as a court reporter, Swanson has worked for three judges, Judge Starley, Judge Lawrence Fuller and current 143rd District Judge Bob Parks.

"The decision to retire after more than 47 years is very difficult. I have enjoyed serving three fine judges: Judge J.H. Starley, Judge Lawrence L. Fuller and Judge Bob Parks," Swanson said in a press release sent out back in November. "However, my wife and I have a vast amount of family history to complete and other personal projects which require our attention. I will miss this job which has been very rewarding to me and my family."

Parks said that Swanson's long and faithful service as a court reporter had brought distinction to the profession of court reporting as well as the court.

"One cannot imagine someone more professional, faithful or effective as an Official Reporter. Additionally, John has been a friend to all in each of the courthouses he has served in Pecos, Monahans and Mentone," Parks said in a press release. "His multitude of friends in Reeves, Ward and Loving Counties will miss him sorely at the courthouse but extend our best wishes to him in retirement."

Throughout that time Swanson explains how the tactics of a court reporter have evolved.

"I have see court reporting evolve from paper writers to machine writers," Swanson said. "Such that they are almost paper less."

He added that court reporting has become electronically faster.

Another thing that has changed is the way small pictures can be enlarged into charts that help aid in trying cases and helping the juries, Swanson said.

"You still have to have juries," Swanson said. "The way people from different walks of life come in and have to make a difficult decision just amazes me."

As the years have gone by, Swanson said that his work schedule has also changed.

"We use to have to work six day a week, then it was where we would quit at noon on Saturdays," Swanson said. "Now we only work five days a week and some times on Saturday but that is unusual."

With all of the changes, Swanson said that one thing that has remained the same is the basic curiosity of being able to get along with those he works with.

"Thank you was as important 47 years ago and it is now," he said.

Swanson said that basic human relationships are still used by dealing kindly with one another. He added that there had been times in which they would lose a member of their staff and they would wonder how they would be able to replace that person.

"We get by when someone leaves," Swanson said. "It always works out because someone will step up and carry the ball."

He also said that this area had wonderful attorneys, judges and court officers that can handle anything.

As he leaves his position Swanson said that there would be an empty spot for a while but that everything would keep flowing properly.

"No body will miss me," Swanson said.

Roger Epps will be appointed as the Official Reporter for the 143 rd Judicial District beginning January 1, 2003.

Swanson said that those it may seem that someone may not be replaceable they are.

Swanson is married to Juanita Smith Swanson and they have three children. Their daughter Deborah Swanson Keller and husband, Roland, live in Malad City, Idaho. They have five children and eight grandchildren. Their son, J. Michael Swanson, is an attorney in Monahans and he and his wife, Georganna, have six children. Their daughter, Amy Swanson McKown lives in Monahans and she has three children.

Special meeting scheduled Monday

PECOS, Friday, Dec. 27, 2002 -- Reeves County Commissioners will gather at 10 a.m., Monday for a special meeting on the third floor of the courthouse.

The group will discuss and take action on ratification of pharmaceutical professional services contract; RCDC-3 telecommunications system bid and complex telecommunications cabling and equipment.

Commissioners will also discuss and take action on awarding surface aggregate bid.


PECOS, Friday, Dec. 27, 2002 -- High Thursday 60. Low this morning 36. Forecast for tonight:   Clear. Lows in the upper 20s. Light southwest winds. Saturday:   Sunny. Highs 65 to 70. Southwest winds 5 to 15 mph. Saturday night:   Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 30s. Sunday:  Increasing clouds. Highs in the  upper 60s. Monday:  Mostly cloudy and cooler. Lows in the lower 30s.  Highs in the lower 50s.


James Titus and Miguel Perez Castillo

Search Entire Site:

Pecos Enterprise
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

Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium.

Copyright 2002 by Pecos Enterprise