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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 9, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas KOI 1000571 05/16/05 SOUTHWEST HICROPUBLISHERS 2627 E YOWELL DR' EL PASO TX 79903 SPORTS GAME TIME Canyon and New Braunfels will take to the field with the winner advancing to the state tournament. Page 5A CONFERENCE EDUCATION State leaders discuss water, school funding and taxes at the 39th Legislative Conference. Page 8A Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852. Vol. 154, No. 122 18 pages, 2 sections CLICK 500 WWW? j 00001' sr ^Mostly Cloudy High Low 84 63 Details .... 1B DEAR ABBY 3B CLASSIFIEDS 58 COMICS 2B CROSSWORD 2B FORUM 4A OBITUARIES 3A SPORTS 5A TV GRIDS 3B WD-* 'BH ‘ '    "Guilty: Fierro sentenced to 75 years By Ron Maloney Staff Writer A july needed 90 minutes Friday to convict a man of heating and mutilating an 8-year-old boy, sentencing him to 75 years in prison. Raymond Joseph Fierro, 39, could be eligible for parole in 15 years. I Ie was convicted of a first-degree felony count of knowingly causing serious bodily injury to the boy and two third-degree felony counts of causing injury to the boy with a leather belt. Jury foreman Rex Malatek said the verdict came fast because of the strength of the case presented by the district attorney’s office. “The DA put the pieces of the puzzle together,” Malatek said. “I learned a lot this week. We’re fortunate we have this district attorney’s office representing us." Malatek said the punishment went toward the high range of the scale — Fierro faced up to 99 years — because of the nature of the injuries he inflicted on the boy — including a genital injury that required surgery to repair. “A lot of it came as a result of how long this child will suffer from this and the damage to his soul,” Malatek said. “We talked about that a lot.” The photos of the boy 's injuries carried a lot of weight, the juror said. “I doubt FII ever see anything like this again for the rest of my life,” Malatek said. "It was unbelievable. I couldn’t fathom this. If someone said, Think of die goriest thing you can imagine,’ I’d have never come up with this.” From its beginning on the night of Jan. 12,2004, investiga tors described the case as the worst case of child abuse ever reported in Comal County. Michelle May, 41, Fierro’s former girlfriend, pleaded guilty to two third-degree felony counts of injuring her son in June and was sentenced to three years in prison. She is out on parole, but has lost her parental rights. The See GUILTY, Page 2A Raymond Fierro Wommack, Krueger raise equal sums By Scott Mahon Staff Writer Travis Wommack and Kathleen Knieger, who are opposing each other for the District 5 city council seat, are running neck and neck in campaign contributions. For the period Jan. 25 through March 29, Wommack reported $3,030 in total campaign contributions, and $1,461 in expenses. Wommack had $1,030 in contributions of less than $50 of and only one contribution in excess of $50 from the Greater New Braunfels Home Builders Association in the amount of $2,000. Krueger reported $3,598 in total contributions for the same period and splent $2,500. Krueger’s contributions of less than $50 amounted to I $1,348. Her top contribution See COUNCIL Page 3A Bigger and better Folkfest, an annual hosted by the Heritage Socie New Braunfels, returns with events and activities Valentine pays back city for homestead violation By Scott Mahon Staff Writer New Braunfels District 6 City Councilman Ken Valentine has come under attack for claiming homestead exemptions in 2002 in both I louston and New Braunfels. Valentine conlinned Friday that he did have the dual exetnptkins during 2002, which is a violation of state law, but he recently paid New Braunfels back taxes for the time that both houses were exempt. Valentine, who retired in July 1999 from a 32-year career with Shell Oil in Houston, moved to New Braunfels in August 1999. “We built our house in New Braunfels in 1985 because we intended to retire in New Braunfels,” See PAYS, Page 3A Ken Valentine By Leigh Jones Staff Writer Hilario Torres looked tired and sad'Friday as he slowly made his way to Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic church. Torres had stayed up until 6:30 a.m. watching the funeral for Pope John Paul II, broadcast live from Rome. “The church has lost something valuable,” he said. “Ciod bless him.” Dorothy Moose also was sitting in front of her television during the early morning hours. “I actually met the pope once, so this means very much to me,” she said, with tears in her eyes. “I’m glad to see such an outpouring of love from all over the world.” At noon, the church’s bell began to toll solemnly, and 75 people came to their knees to remember their pope. “This pope did so much for ail faiths,” said Nick Dellinger. “He was a great man who touched everyone.” Judith Wuensch, who is not even Catholic, came to the memorial mass to pay her respects. “I Ie did bring more than a breath of fresh air to the church,” she said. At the front of the church, amidst two-week-old Easter lilies, Pastor Eugene Ronan stood next to a painting of the pope and delivered his homily- “We should give thanks to Ciod for this gift to our church and pray that God welcomes him into the kingdom,” Ronan said. “We also pray for our cardinals who will gather next week to elect his successor.” See REMEMBER, Page 3A Kennady: Highway funding scenarios won t work By Ron Maloney Staff Writer A Comal County Commissioner went toe-to-toe Thursday with the official who oversees the Texas Department of Transportation, telling him the state’s new highway funding scenarios wont work in Comal County. “Let me tell you what I’m mad about,” Precinct 4 Commissioner Jan Kennady told Ric Williamson, chairman of the Texas Transportation Committee. “You’re telling our constituents they could have to pay twice for new roads.” Kennedy’s remarks came at the conclusion of a panel discussion of the new highway funding scenarios — Regional Mobility Authorities and pass-through financing — held Friday at the New Braunfels Civic Center as part of die 39th annual Texas Legislative Conference. During the hour-long discussion, panelists Williamson, Mike Krusee, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, and Michael Stevens, chairman of the transportation panel of the Governor’s Business Council, said Texas faces a $35 billion funding shortfall for roads in the next 30 years. RMAs, they argued, provide a mechanism through which highway projects can be built more quickly — and produce income after they pay for themselves that could help hind other projects. For example, building an additional lane on Interstate 35 between Austin and San Antonio took 20 years. An $11 billion project in Williamson and Travis counties would Like five years under the new funding options. Comal County looked at the Regional Mobility Authority model in 2004 and See HIGHWAY, Page 8A A SAD GOODBYE Father Eugene Ronan celebrates a memorial mass for Pope John Paul ll at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church Friday. Below,filii Gold prays in front of a photograph of the pope before the mass started. Parishioners remember their pope as a great man DAVID INGRAM/Herald-ZeitungSen. Ken Ambrister, left, talks with Comal County Precinct 2 Commissioner Jay Minikin at the 39th Annual Texas Legislative Conference Friday morning. www.beheardblog.i wmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm ;