New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - July 27, 1982, New Braunfels, Texas
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New Braunfels, Texas
Vol. 91 - No. 146
TUESDAY July 27,1982 29 cents
(USPS 377-880)Grand jury to eye murder case
By DEBBIE TURNER Staff writer
Once judicial approval is secure, the Comal County Grand Jury will reconvene “as soon as possible” to consider possible capital murder charges against two San Antonio men, District Attorney Bill Schroeder said Tuesday.
The charges stem from a bizarre tri-county kidnapping, rape and murder incident last weekend, which claimed the life of Robert Williams, 58. His 46-year-old wife, Josephine, told S.A. police she was raped repeatedly in the day-long ordeal.
Wiliams’ body was recovered at 1:40 a.m. Sunday in a brushy area off Bear Creek Road. Charged with kidnapping in Bexar County, and pending capital murder
charges in Comal County, are George Edwin Pittmann, 37, and Francis Irving Chandler, 41, both of 3519 Blanco Road.
“We’re going for capital murder because the murder occurred along with another felony offense — kidnapping,” Schroeder explained. An autopsy ruling Monday stated Williams was hung.
The two suspects kidnapped the couple from their home at 1901 Texas Ave in San Antonio Friday. Sheriff’s Investigator Rudy Rubio said the suspects pretended to be answering a for-sale advertisement on the couple’s truck.
At approximately 9 p.m., the four left the home and drove north along U.S. Highway 281 to FM 2722 near Little Bear Creek. Rubio said that the husband tried to escape his captors while they were sexually abusing his wife, but the men chased him down along the creek.
Texas Ranger Ray Martinez said Williams was hung by a rope strung across a support beam in a small shed near the creek.
The suspects told the woman they had tied her husband up near a shed, and took her to Medina Lake sometime Saturday, where she was left tied to a tree and later escaped.
“Apparently they tied her up with fishing line, and the perspiration put enough slack in it for her to work loose,” Rubio said. Mrs. Williams was discovered by a passerby and taken to the Medina County Sheriff’s Office.
San Antonio police notified the Williams’ neighbors to be on the lookout for anyone suspicious. In response to a concerned neighbor’s call, police responded, and the two men were arrested at the Williams’ house, which they
were apparently attempting to burglarize, Rubio said.
One of the suspects led Bexar County and Comal County law enforcement officials to Williams’ body, Rubio added. Peace Justice, Precinct 3, Fred Stewart, also accompanied the group.
“I was puzzled by how neat the two men were about covering up Williams’ body. They had cut weeds and laid them over him all in the same direction — not every which-a-way like in most cases,” Rubio said. “His boots were slightly showing through, but it would have been difficult to locate him if the suspect hadn’t led us to him.”
Martinez and Rubio are spearheading the Comal County connection in the tri-county investigation. “Since the murder occurred in our county, we are responsible for filing the murder charges,” Rubio said.InsideParental pressure
It's not easy being a parent in today's complicated, frantic world. A new series, "How to Survive as a Parent,'' explores some of the pressures on today's mothers and fathers in raising their children. It starts today on Page 8.
Staff photos by John Sen ter
City to seek funds for Hinman Island
The Comal River — and how to protect it from the people who love it — was the subject of a wide-ranging discussion at the tail end of a City Council meeting Monday.
Council member Donnie Seay, alarmed at the beer-can trash on the river’s bottom, banks and underbrush, called for an anti-litter campaign and hit a raw nerve with other Council members. They talked for more than 40 minutes on ways to combat the problem.
‘‘It’s a pitiful shame,” Seay said. "As much as people enjoy that river, you’d think they would have some respect for it.”
Suggestions included increased policing of the river bank, stiffer enforcement of anti-litter laws, clean-up incentives to kids ("Give them a bag and tell them you’ll pay 50 cents for every bagful of trash”) and just plain public awareness.
Earlier, Council approved a $240,000 development package for Hinman Island Park designed by city staff to control the crowds of summer visitors, give them places to jog, hike, ride bicycles and sunbathe, and provide a metal wall and steps at the water’s edge to preserve the riverbank.
City administrative aide Court Thieleman, who designed the project with Parks Director Don Simon, will take the plans to the state Parks and Wildlife Department in Austin Thursday.
tast June, a department representative urged the city to apply for matching state funds for
“recreational development.” The grant application was put together (and approved by a Hinman Island study committee and the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board) in a matter of weeks.
Parks board members and Hinman Island Committee chairman Russell Vollbrecht were on hand Monday to back the proposal, but Council really didn’t need any urging.
The city’s half of the cost, $120,000, will come from a variety of budget sources and will benefit from a $25,000 grant from the Wurstfest Association.
Council also agreed with a Parks and Rec Board recommendation to let Wurstfest operate flat-bottomed “deck boats" on the river for its opening ceremonies this fall.
The city has $20,000 already budgeted for Hinman Island, plus $10,000 for park sidewalks. Delashmutt said the balance of the project pricetag will come from $23,000 the city received from the abandonment and sale to developers of the tip end of Meusebach Street (which is right across the river from the park), and from contingency funds.
A $10,000 pledge from the New Braunfels Rotary Club was recommended by the group’s Board of Directors and will be put to a vote of the membership Wednesday, its president, Bob Sohn, said.
The Noon I Jons Club will contribute $5,000, Council member Joe Rogers said.
County to junk River Road plan
By JACQUELINE SMITH Staff writer
As far as River Road is concerned, Commissioners Court is right back where it started.
During a public hearing Monday afternoon, commissioners — at the request of the 40 or so River Road residents who packed into the courtroom — agreed to scrap their latest plan for easing traffic congestion on River Road.
Instead — once again at the suggstion of those attending Monday’s hearing — the court considered taking a second look at its earlier
proposal which would ban all parking on River Road on weekends and holidays.
Monday’s hearing was held to discuss the establishment of noparking (and other) traffic signs along River Road and Guadalupe Street.
The plan rejected by Commissioners Court Monday was orginally proposed by a citizen’s and businessmen’s River Road committee last May.
This plan, presented by Joe Davis, head of the citizen’s committee, called for no-parking at all times in “hazardous areas, at bridge
crossings, dangerous curves, where there is heavy side traffic, tight squeezes caused by cliffs and anywhere that there is no clearance to legally park.”
According to the committee’s proposal, loading zones should be provided where access to enter or exit the River was available.
Davis’ committee also proposed that advisory signs be posted at the north and south entrances to River Road.
This was similar to the court’s plan which also called for the placement of advisory signs at these entrances. Commissioners discarded
this idea, however, after discovering each sign would cost approximately $25,000. Faced with a dwindling contingency fund in the county budget, commissioners felt they couldn’t afford this.
"We found out we had to put up such elaborate signs (to satisfy the county attorney) and then we wouldn’t get them up before tabor Day,” Comm. O.R. Heitkamp told those in attendance at Monday’s hearing.
The court’s proposal would ban all parking on River Road (with a few
See RIVER ROAD, Page 14
Charter panel roster debated
By HENRY KRAUSSE Staff writer
City Council members scuffled over the makeup and mission of a committee that will examine the city’s method of electing Council members and possibly recommend changes.
The desire by some citizens here to elect Council members by districts, rather than at large, was the reason for setting up the committee — and a blunt warning from the city attorney Monday indicated federal law was on their side.
But Council member Donnie Seay wanted the committee to decide “if” districts were needed, not just “where, when and how.” The Council agreed.
The committee’s recommendations, if they involve a change in the Charter, will be put before the voters in the form of a referendum — if the Council decides. After hearing the discussion Monday, though, City Manager E.N. Delashmutt wouldn’t predict anything.
“Suppose they say we don’t need districting? If they come back and say ‘no’ to it?” Seay asked.
“Then it becomes incumbent upon those who want districiting to take legal action,” Delashmutt said.
“The next action will be a federal suit filed in federal courts to force us” to switch to districts, City At
torney Irvin Boarnet said.
"The commission should be made aware that we are in an excellent position to be sued,” Council member Max Winkler said.
"Then why are we doing this? Are we forming this commission to give us their honest opinion, or to give us eyewash?” Seay said.
Winkler said the lack of minority group representation on City Council was a “common gripe” and was the underlying reason the committee was set up in the first place.
Council named a 17-member panel from a list of 21 local citizens submitted by Council members at their July 12 meeting.
That angered Winkler and Council member Barbara Tieken, who wanted all 21 to serve. Each Council member had submitted three names.
“Seventeen is a good number," said Seay. "You’ve got to have a limited amount. I’m sure all 21 are qualified folks."
"Because of the balance on the Council, it’s already in one direction,” Tieken said of the list. “I see no reason whatsoever to re-do what we’ve done.”
Tieken and Winkler were voted down by Council members Seay, Laverne Eberhard, Joe Rogers and Mayor O.A. “Skip” Stratemann.
Winkler then struck Alvaro Garza, one of his nominees, from the list.
See CHARTER, Page 14
San Antonio resident drowns in Canyon Lake
A 20-year-old San Antonio man became the fourth drowning victim in 1982 at Canyon Lake Saturday night.
John Henry Gonzales was pulled out of approximately seven feet of water, about 15 yards from the north beach of Canyon Park around 8 p.m., by another San Antonio man, Jim Kelley.
“Kelley said he searched at least IO minutes before he found Gonzales’ body,” said Park Ranger Elvin Munsell Tuesday. "But there’s really no telling how long he was actually
under water, because he and his friends had been swimming out to buoys, and didn’t notice Gonzales’ absence for awhile.”
Munsell said Jesse Lee, studying to be a water safety instructor, and George Brewer, a cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) instructor, administered CPR to Gonzales. Ambulance attendants continued efforts to revive him on the way to Dr. Albert Wittenben’s office in Sattler, but Gonzales was pronounced dead there by Peace Justice, Precinct 3, Fred Stewart.
Parks Director Don Simon outlines Hinman Island plans
Erosion on the Comal banks— a worsening problem