New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 1, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas
Vol. 150 No. 17 20 pages in 2 sections
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December I, 2000
Serving Comal County since 1852
Fugitives behind bars
Last of Comal jail escapees surrenders to Kendall deputies
By Ron Maloney
A Comal County Jail escapee surrendered Thursday, three days after breaking out of jail in New Braunfels.
Wayne Edward Weirich, 37, of Fredericksburg, turned himself in to Kendall County authorities. He was returned to New Braunfels by noon Thursday.
On Wednesday, Comal lawmen apprehended fellow escapee Johnnie Lee Cooper, Jr., 27, of New Braunfels.
Detective Tommy Ward said a friend convinced Weirich to give himself up early Thursday.
“Weirich was on his own until he visited this individual,” Ward said. “He turned Weirich in.”
Cooper was arrested at the Guadalupe County home of his 71-year-old uncle at 3:20 p.m. Wednesday by a 10-member SWAT detail supported by Department of Public Safety troopers, New Braunfels police and Guadalupe County law enforcement officers.
“We had about 40 people out there,” Ward said. “We coordinated the search of the houses, put a perimeter around the area and the SWAT team went in and brought him out.”
Sheriffs' Chief Deputy Bill Collins, supervisor of the Comal County jail, said Cooper and Weirich were detained in locked individual cells under high security and constant surveillance.
The pair will remain under higher security for the duration of their time at the county jail, Collins said.
When they escaped a little after 2 a.m. Monday, Weirich was awaiting transfer to a state prison to serve 15 years for his third drunk driving offense.
Cooper faced five years in state prison on an aggravated kidnapping
K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung
Shortly after noon Thursday, Sheriff’s Capt. Rudy Rodriguez and Deputy David Morales take Wayne Weirich back into custody at Comal County Adult Detention Center.
conviction. He was in Comal County while appealing his conviction and awaiting trial on a connected burglary charge.
Both face bigger problems and possibly longer stretches in state prison. Escape is a third-degree felony punishable by an additional two to IO years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
In Cooper’s case, his apprehension so far has resulted in three additional arrests.
On Tuesday, Cooper’s uncle, Jay Goodfriend, 52, of New Braunfels, was arrested for hindering the apprehension and prosecution of a known felon — also a third-degree felony.
Ward said Goodfriend allegedly a1 lowed his nephew to use a venular telephone and had given him a ride.
Detectives arrested Darcy Patterson, 24, in Guadalupe County Wednesday on the same charge.
Patterson allegedly provided Cooper with a place to stay, another ride to an undisclosed location and items of clothing.
Cooper’s short saga on the lam became even more of a family affair on Wednesday. Another of his uncles, Billy Baldwin, 71, of Guadalupe County, was arrested. SWAT officers found Cooper hiding in one of Baldwin’s kitchen cabinets.
SWAT commander Capt. David Ott said the lawmen focused their search on Bald,Win’s house and a vacant house next door.
Baldwin lives on Easy Street off Texas 46 between New Braunfels and Seguin.
A DPS helicopter hovered overhead and SWAT officers entered and cleared the adjacent home, Ott said.
Baldwin left his home at the request of deputies, and SWAT officers searched the residence, finding Cooper.
Ward said Thursday that he would not rule out further arrests in connection with Cooper’s escape and
Bush: Let lawmakers pick electors
Ballots speed toward capitol on rental trucks
By Ron Fournier
AP Political Writer
Al Gore’s lawyers battled for his political survival in the Florida and U.S. supreme courts Thursday, pleading against delaying fresh vote recounts “even one day” as a half-million ballots sped by rental truck to Tallahassee. GOP lawmakers jockeyed in the state capital to award the presidency to George W. Bush in case the judges wouldn’t.
“When the counting stops, we want to be prepared to lead this nation,” Bush said in Texas between transition meetings with retired Gen. Colin Powell — the star of his Cabinet-in-the-making. Officials said the meeting cemented Powell’s position as secretary of state in a presumptive Bush administration.
In Florida, the GOP-domi-nated state* Legislature drew a step closer to appointing its own slate of presidential electors as a committee urged leaders to call a special session. Democrats called that “a brazen power play,” while they worked elsewhere to keep Gore in the game.
Bush, whose brother is governor of the state, raised no objection to the Legislature’s actions, and his lawyers defended the lawmakers’ right to name a GOP slate. “It’s time to get some finality,” Bush said in an appearance with Powell at his Crawford, Texas, ranch.
Hundreds of miles away in
Florida, Lt. Jim Kersey’s squad cat-headed up the ballot brigade as it passed a
handmade sign reading “No chad zone.” Also Disney World.
“Oh, my God,” he said. “The whole world is watching.” And what sights to see: Lawmakers cussed and filmed in a legislative committee room; the two could-be presidents plotted their transitions to power; legal briefs ricocheted between the nation’s courts; and the banana-yellow rental truck swarmed by police and medb vehicles on Ronald Reagan Turnpike — carried contested ballots to Circuit Judge N. Sanders Sauls’ court.
The recount convoy was captured by TV cameras in helicopters, giving Americans a birds-eye view all the way from Palm Beach to Tallahassee.
Sauls could need the ballots if he sides with Gore after a hearing Saturday on the merits of recounts in three counties. Gore is trying to overturn the official results of Florida’s election, which give Bush a 537-vote lead and the 25 electoral votes needed to claim the White House.Caverns echoing Christmas carols
By Jennifer Rodriguez
Choirs from around the state will perform on a natural stage throughout December amid pools of water that have seeped hundreds of feet below the surface at Natural Bridge Caverns.
Beginning today, and every Friday and Saturday through Dec. 16, cavern owners will open the cave and take visitors on special nightly tours for the second annual Caroling in the Caverns event.
“People are on the run, pressed for time — well, we submerge ourselves in a hectic life,” Cavern CFO Joye Wuest said. “This provides such a peaceful, serene
CMS student suspended after gun brought to school
K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung
The Garden Ridge Triumphant Carolers sing for guests at Natural Bridge Caverns Thursday evening. Caroling will continue throughout the holiday season in the cavern.
By Ron Maloney
Canyon Middle School suspended a 14-year-old seventh grader after he allegedly brought a pistol to school Monday.
Comal County Sheriffs’ Capt. David Ott said his office was investigating the incident involving the 14-year-old boy and an alleged weapon.
Comal Independent School District spokeswoman Kari Hutchison said district officials suspended the boy pending the outcome of the investigation.
The boy could face expulsion or transfer into an alternative education program, depending on what
the investigation reveals.
Hutchison said the boy allegedly showed the weapon at school and then reportedly dumped it into a trash container. Officials believe the gun might have been discarded with the trash.
Two children reported seeing the weapon but not until early Tuesday.
“We investigated immediately, the sheriffs' office is involved and the investigation is ongoing,” Hutchison said.
Hutchison said the CMS administration acted quickly and appropriately as soon as it was aware of
See GUN/5 AInsideCheer Fund
Weekend packed for holiday fun
Key Code 76
Mail or drop off donations for the Cheer Fund at 707 Landa St. in New Braunfels. Cheer Fund provides food baskets for local needy families.
From staff reports
The Christmas season is in full swing this weekend. Here is a list of area holiday events:
• Second annual Christmas Caroling at Natural Bridge Caverns takes place today, Saturday and Dec. 8,9, 15 and 16. The event offers special Christmas caroling tours during the holiday seasons. Enjoy the resonance of your favorite Christmas carols sung in a spectacular underground cavern. Reservations are required; call (210) 651 -6101
• Fourteenth Annual Sights and Sounds of Christmas in San Marcos continues from 6 p.m. to IO p.m. today and Saturday in San Marcos on the banks
of the San Marcos River, C.M. Allen Drive and Hopkins Street. For information, call San Marcos Tourist Information Center, (512) 393-5900 or (888) 200-5620
• Christmas Candlelight Tour takes place from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday.
Visit the Sophienburg Museuih, 401 W. Coll; Museum of Texas Handmade Furniture and Conservation Plaza, 1370 Church Hill Drive. Enjoy decorations and sample tasty German treats. For information, call Michelle Oatman at Sophienburg Museum, 629-1572
• Old Gruene Christmas Market Days Festival runs Saturday and Sunday,
See HOLIDAY FUN/5 A
K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung
People from all over the United States are drawn to the Sophie Shop in the Sophienburg Museum to find unusual Christmas gifts from as far away as Germany.