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New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (Newspaper) - February 21, 1999, New Braunfels, Texas NEW FELS 20332 M009 SOWEST MICROPUBLISHIN6 2627 E YfiNDELL DR EL PflSO TX 79903 77 fcL IHSU i A HERALDZEITUNG Vol 148 No 66 50 pages in 3 sections February INSIDE Future star Houston Astros prospect and Canyon High School graduate Lance Berkman hopes 1999 will bring contin ued success at the profes sional level and a chance to play in the big 10A Stained art Sheri Tomko of Canyon stained glass but its just one of her passions Read about the others in 1B Debutantes The 1999 MidTexas Symphony debutantes make their grand entrance and raise money for a worthy cause at their annual 4A WEATHER Will it ever rain 1999 has been a dry year thus far but that may change this week See page 2A for a look at the forecast INDEX Abby 2B Business 9A Classified 616B Crossword 2B Forum 6A Local 4A Soortfi i imtui 3B SUNDAY Serving County since 1853 Televison C Best friend of SWT pledge beating suspect apparently kills himself SEABROOK a pledge was beaten to death after a fraternity party at Southwest Texas State University Three days later the main suspect killed himself before police could question him Now a third man the suspects best friend apparently has shot himself to death All three were 21 years old The latest victim Sonny Mullen died Feb 12 at a Seabrook apartment after shooting himself in the head the Houston Chronicle reported Saturday Seabrook is 25 miles southeast of Houston Police said Mullen had been drinking heavily and was distraught over the death of his best Mend Jere miah Wilkerson who had shot himself in the head three days earlier in the northeast Texas town of Edgewood Wilkerson was wanted in the Feb 6 beating of Nicholas Armstrong at the Tau Kappa Epsilon fra ternity house on the San Marcos campus Armstrong died Feb 8 at an Austin hospital Mullen did not leave a note when he died from one shot to the head while seated on a couch at an apart ment that belonged to his sisters friend River cleaner Rtek Rivers of RocWnf River Rides adjusts a cable to pull concrete out of the Quadalupe River Saturday afternoon Rivers was one of many volun teers who worked to dear the river of debris from the October 1998 flood Outfitters and local gov ernment officials hope to have the Job done in time for Memorial Day ROBIN On April Sandra Kay Griffith of Bulverde was murdered in her home Her husband Larry Griffith was acquitted by a Comal County jury 10 years later Nearly 17 years after the crime and seven years after the trial her parents live with An unsolved mystery Lipseys still searching for answers to crime BY BlLU OCONNELL Staff Writer Sandra Kay Griffith had finally found some quiet time in her other wise busy life On April the 37year old housewife returned to her home in the Bulverde Estates sub division after a day of shopping Her teenage children were visiting grandparents and her husband Lar ry was out of town on business The phone rang at about It was Larry calling from a pay phone at a La Quinta Motor Inn in Austin Sandra and her hus band spoke briefly about her day She told me she had bought two books and was going to take a bath That was the last time I talked to Larry told police Someone entered the Griffith home at 271 Hiline Drive some time between the phone call and the early morning hours of April 7 The intruder struck the housewife on the right side of the head with a blunt object then turned a handgun on her Two shots were fired into her back Motivated by rage or a desire to eliminate evidence Sandras attacker then took a can of charcoal lighter fluid doused her with its contents and set her on fire The assailant set a second fire in anoth er part of the house and fled the scene Less than a quarter of a mile away Hiline Drive resident Dan Baker heard his dogs barking He went outside to see what was the matter and saw the blaze Bulverde firefighters rushed to the scene shortly after 4 and encountered a conflagration The The Sandra Griffith Murder a fourpart series The Feb 21 The Investigation Feb 28 The Aftermath March 14 splitlevel home was burned to the ground by the time the fire was extinguished Sandras body had been burned to a shrunken mass of charred remains Comal County Sheriffs Office detectives and state arson investi gators were summoned to the fire scene as daylight spread across the hilly subdivision Howard and Evelyn Lipsey took a phone call at their home in Mis sissippi that morning and heard the news every parent dreads The minute I heard it it put me in Evelyn said this past week Howard and Evelyn are in their mid70s now They live in New Braunfels less than an hours drive from where their daughter was slain Several photographs of Sandra adorn the shelves and walls She was a beautiful Eve lyn said softly I dont know why anybody would want to do any thing to Sandras killer was never brought to justice Authorities suspected Larry Griffith despite his alibi The investigation lasted more than nine years Griffith was indicted for murder by a Comal County grand jury in 1991 but a jury acquitted him in January 1992 The only thing I can say is that See 1 ROBIN Evelyn Lipsey gazes at a portrait of her daughter Sandra who was murdered in 1982 The portrait was made around the time of Sandras graduation from high school Both Evelyn and her husband Howard looked forward to spending more time with her when they retired could light up the room just by walking Into Howard lipsey said County officials have work available for truants BY CHRIS CREWS Staff Writer Area students contemplating skipping school in the near future might want to give the idea a second thought Comal County officials are working on a program to mete out a severe punishment for truancy labor Criminal District Attorney Dib Waldrip said this past week he would establish a work program for students who habitually miss school Waldrip said students 16 and older could have their drivers licenses suspended for repeatedly skipping school Since offenders ages 13 to 15 do not have drivers licenses it was difficult to find a proper encouragement in getting the offenders to school The program would be similar to the countys inmate work program in which prisoners were allowed out of their cells to perform labor for the county Waldrip said truants would perform a variety of tasks including picking up trash along county roads The program will be coordinated with the sheriffs office and county jail Chief Jail Administrator Bill Collins said the jail would provide transportation for the offenders and a deputy for supervision If we put some of these juveniles to work maybe it will keep them out of trou Collins said Ray Martinez a former justice of the peace say he heard about 100 truancy cases a year and supported the idea of work crews for truancy offenders Sometimes it seemed like you could not do anything of substance to them to get their Martinez said This will tell them that we mean Martinez said state law allowed for judges to impose fines on parents of tru ants but that was rarely a practical solution Many of the femilies with truancy prob lems are poor to begin with and if you subject them to a fine you just add to the Martinez said Martinez said he believed less than I percent of local students were habitual truants
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