Sunday, March 7, 1999

New Braunfels Herald Zeitung

Location: New Braunfels, Texas

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New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (Newspaper) - March 7, 1999, New Braunfels, Texas ui fELS MHO3 71 COYEST SlCRbPUBLlSHING 2627 E YONDELL DR Vol 148 No 76 48 pages in 3 sections March 1999 SUNDAY Serving Comal County 9incc 1852 INSIDE Stock show Our special section has everything you need to know about this weeks 4H and FFA Stock 274A champs Canyon High Schools boys soc cer team celebrat ed its sec ond con secutive aiisr claiming victory at Hays Consolidated Read all about it in Sculpture work Haydn Larson of Canyon Lake creates a variety of creatures in his studio includ ing gargoyles jesters and geckos Meet the entire menagerie in 1B WEATHER Expect cloudy skies today with a chance of showers or thunderstorms tonight See page 2A for the extended forecast INDEX TiyJou QA Officials residents debate Kuempel supports pilot program for Texas BY HEATHER TODD Staff Writer As state legislators battle over a pro posed taxpayerfunded school voucher sys tem in Texas local residents wonder how the future of public education will affect their families More than 30 residents attended an informational forum Thursday night to learn more about a controversial issue that could put students future and public edu cation dollars at stake The forum was spon sored by Comal Area League of Women Vot ers and featured four speakers with a vested interest in the future of public education State Rep Edmund Kuempel Coalition for Public Schools spokeswoman Carolyn Boyle Comal Independent School District super KUEMPEL intendent Jerry Major and New Braunfels ISD superintendent Ron Reaves discussed pros and cons of die voucher issue Kuempel said he was a proponent of a pilot school voucher program in Texas as a way to improve public education Ive supported voucher bills on every vote mat Ive he said Currently four bills proposing a limited school voucher program are in the Texas House of Representatives Senate Education Committee Chairman Teel Bivins filed a voucher bill Thursday Under that bill an estimated public school students in Texas i urban Harris Tarrant and Travis woitld be eligible for taxpayerfunded voudhers for private school tuition f The fiveyear trial program would be restricted to students who didnt perform satisfactorily on the most recent dated tests and were participants in the free and reducedprice lunch program Groups that support vouchers say Such a program will help children by givifig par See Evidence just didnt fit Defense attorney recalls victory in 1992 Griffith murder trial BY BILL OCONNELL Staff Writer Accused of murdering his wife Larry Marlin Griffith needed a good lawyer He hired Charles D Butts a tall whitehaired Texas attorney with more than 40 years of experience Nearly 10 years had passed when Grif fith went on trial in 1992 for the murder of his wife Sandra The 37yearold Bulverde woman was bludgeoned shot Y v A i7 i and burnemo nomeinwe early morning hours of April A graduate of the University of Texas School of Law in 1949 Butts had prose cuted and defended cases for 43 years and was 70 years old when Griffith hired him Comal County District Attorney Bill Reimer was the prosecuting attorney at the 1992 murder trial Reimer had ordered investigators to revive the case shortly after he took office in 1989 The states case against Larry Griffith centered on a chronological series of events that Reimer attempted to use to prove to jurors that the defendant had both the motive and opportunity to kill his wife Reimer sifted through mileage worksheets Griffith had maintained while driving a company car receipts from gas stations in Central Texas and pawnshop slips showing Griffith had hocked a couple of firearms he initial ly reported destroyed in the 1982 fire Reimer tried to weave the documents with expert testimony from investigators into a case against Griffith The mileage worksheets and gas receipts apparently were intended to suggest Griffith was not where he said he was on the night Sandra was killed and the pawnshop tickets perhaps were used to indicate the defendant was untruthful Bill Reimer tried to hang his hat on a rubber Butts said in a recent interview He said the investigation of Sandra Griffiths murder from 1982 to 1991 ROBIN Evidence from the 1992 jury trial of Larry Griffith remains in the Comal County Courthouse Griffith was found not guilty of the 1982 murder of his wife Sandra Charles Butts Larry Griffiths attorney said former Comal County District Attorney Bill Reimer failed to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt Bill Reimer tried to hang his hat on a rubber Butts said The Sandra Griffith Murder a fourpart series The 21 The Investigation Feb 28 The Trial The Aftermath March 14 produced nothing more than circumstan tial evidence against Larry Griffith It just didnt Butts said Reimer recently declined to comment on the 1992 murder trial Comal Countys lead prosecutor from 1989 to 96 Reimer tried to accomplish a difficult task by taking the Griffith case to court Proving guilt beyond rea sonable doubt without a murder weapon and in spite of the defendants alibi was a formidable challenge in the quest for conviction The scraps of paper and expert testimony he had compiled failed to convince the jury that Griffith had murdered his wife Jim Parsons a member of the jury at the Griffith murder trial said recently A lot of assuming went on during that whole Parsons said Reimer did not prove that Griffith was not where he said he was on the night of Sandras murder Griffith had checked into a South Austin hotel in the early evening hours of April and left the next morning for a business trip to Taylor Sandra Griffith was found dead at the couples Bulverde home after firefighters responded to the scene a lit tle after 4 on April 7 Parsons said he believed he and his fellow jurors were waiting for Reimer to give them the tangible evidence needed to erase any reasonable doubts they might have had about Griffiths guilt That didnt happen and the jury set Griffith free with a not guilty verdict Parsons criticized Reimers perfor mance as Comal Countys lead prosecu tor during the trial The DA didnt do his Parsons said Other jurors agreed with Parsons There were too many unanswered juror Virgil Wiley said He said the state might have been able to present a stronger case against Grif fith if it had not taken almost 10 years to go to trial It was too long from the time it hap pened until the time it went to Wiley said See Guadalupe cleanup enters final stages on Monday BY CHRIS CREWS Staff Writer Construction crews will fire up their equipment on the Guadalupe River at three loca tions Monday morning in what is expected to be the final push remove to flood debris from the river channel Ramon ami Sons of San Antonio won a tract to clear the river from FarnvtoMarket Road 306 to the New Braunfels city limits near Gruene Threefourths of the money for the project will be provided by die federal Nat ural Resources Conservation Service with a Comal County contribution of about Joe Ramon president of the company said three crews would work different sections simultaneously One crew will work begin at FM 306 and work toward the third crossing bridge a sec ond from the third crossing to the first crossing bridge and SW CLEANUPS OA Thirsty horse Travis County Livestock Show trail rider Michael Martin waters Richs Feature during a break along River Road Saturday The trail riders started in the morning from the Comal County Fairgrounds and reached the Canyon Lake area on Saturday evening ROBIN