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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - June 10, 1999, New Braunfels, Texas A NEw<ritisNFELs    ,„«■ Herald-Zeitung 10/ 203«sT- nXCROPUBL ■J I NG SO OR Vol. 148, No, 145    16    pages    in    I    section    June    IO,    1999 IURSDAY Serving Comal County since 1852 50 centsMan gets 60 years in prisonRodriguez found guilty of providing cocaine to daughter By Peri Stone and Heather Tooo Staff Writers A 43-year-old New Braunfels man was sentenced to 60 years in prison and fined $ 10,000 in a precedent-setting trial Wednesday for giving cocaine to his daughter. The four-man, eight-woman jury deliberated more than an hour on the trial's second day before deciding that Johnny Rodriguez used a deadly weapon when delivering a controlled substance to a minor — his 14-year-old daughter. Comal County District Attorney Dib Waldrip said the jury’s verdict was the first time in Comal County that cocaine had been found to be a deadly weapon. Waldrip also said it was the first known finding of its type by a Texas jury in published state appeal decisions. “When you take cocaine, you never know what’s going to happen,’’ Waldrip said in closing arguments. 'There was a substantial risk of death.’’ After the trial, Waldrip said Rodriguez would have to serve 30 years at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Institutional Division without credit for “good time prior to him becoming eligible for parole.’’ After 30 years, Rodriguez will be eligible for parole, Waldrip said. Without the deadly weapon finding, Rodriguez would have been eligible for parole after 15 years and would have received credit for time served. Because of a prior conviction of attempted aggravated assault in 1976, Rodriguez faced a possible life sentence. Rodriguez, who was indicted Jan. 7, is being held at the Comal County Jail. During the penalty phase, Rodriguez’ daughter testified that her father once encouraged her to sell cocaine to friends. One of the juvenile’s friends testified she used cocaine supplied to her by the defendant in the summer of 1998. This was one of 20 or more times Rodriguez and his daughter did drugs together, according to the daughter’s testimony. “He usually had (the cocaine) fixed for me,” she said. “He was always close by. He would watch me.” The daughter turned her father in to local police officers on Sept. 9. The girl said she confessed to local law enforcement officials after her mother threatened to press charges against one of her friends and the friend’s parents, whom the girl was with prior to the incident. After the verdict, the daughter left the courtroom in tears when one of Rodriguez’s family members told her she “hoped she was happy for sending her father to prison.” State District Judge Gary Steel presided over the trial. EAA asking residents to conserve their water By Heather Tooo Staff Writer A steady water level decline in the San Antonio test well has prompted the Edwards Aquifer Authority to urge voluntary water conservation measures. EAA officials said Wednesday the water level at the J-17 San Antonio Index Well dropped nearly IO feet in IO days, with no prediction of rain until this weekend. “We are asking everyone to be aware of their outdoor water use and to save as much as they can,” EAA general manager Gregory M. Ellis said. The J-17 well is considered the barometer of the water level in the Edwards Aquifer. Officials are hoping voluntary water conservation by water users will help slow the rate of decline in water levels. See WATER/5 Inside Abby............................. Classifieds.................... 7 .12-16 Comics........................ ........8 Crossword................... ........7 Forum.......................... ........6 Local/Metro.................. ........4 Movies......................... ........7 Obituaries.................... ........3 Sports......................... ...9-11 Today.......................... ........2 Television..................... .........8 a*y code 76 Letter carriers picket for higher pay By Christina Minor Staff Writer About 12 New Braunfels letter carriers stood under the hot sun in an informational picket Wednesday, asking for a four-year contract for higher pay. The picketing took place at post offices nationwide Wednesday. The local group had its picket from 3 to 5:30 p.m. The contract ended in October, and U.S. Post Office carriers are waiting for a new contract. “Our job has gotten harder. We have more mail to deliver and are on the street more,” said Donald McBroom, vice president of the local chapter of the National Association of Letter e arners. Right now, carriers spend four hours in the office and four hours on the street. The new contract, under negotiation by an arbitration panel, would allow carriers to work two hours in the office and six on the street. “With the tons of mail we deliver, all we ask is fair pay for harder work,” McBroom said. The carriers get about $32,000 a year and are asking for more. Automation, which allows mail to be sorted faster, has made ar improvement in the postal system, but not for the earners, the> said. The carriers deal with all kinds of items, from packages to hold orders to out of sequence mail. “We have to sort through all that stuff at each stop,” McBroom said. “The automatioi doesn’t really help us. We stil See LETTERA IL. By Chris Crews Staff Writer Police have virtually ruled out the possibility that the homicide of a New Braunfels man is linked to a series of five murders between Houston and San Antonio and one in Kentucky. Rafael Resendez-Ramirez, 38, is wanted for questioning in six murders of people living near railroad tracks. Mill Bridge Apartments, 1045 Sanger Ave., where Ted McReynolds, 62, was found dead about noon on Wednesday, is less than a half mile from the Missouri-Kansas-Texas line. “The method of death and the modus operandi were not consistent with those used by Resendez-Ramirez,” Texas Ranger Tony Leal said at a Wednesday night __press    conference. RESENDEZ- The Texas Depart-RAMIREZ ment °f Public Safety said Wednesday it was increasing the reward to $60,000 for information leading to Resendez-Ramirez’ arrest. “Right now he’s probably the most sought after man in Texas,” said DPS director Col. Dudley M. Thomas. Two of Resendez-Ramirez* suspected victims, Skip and Karen Simic of Weimar, had a New Braunfels connection. Skip Simic’s brother, Mark, was an associate pastor at First Protestant Church and now serves a church in Colorado. A memorial fund was established at First Protestant for the Simic family. Reports indicated the Sullies were beaten to death with a sledge hammer in their home just behind the Weimar United Church of Christ, where they had lived for IO years. Resendez-Ramirez is wanted in con nection with the deaths of Josephine Kovicka, 73, who lived three miles west of Weimar; Claudia Benton, 38, a doctor who lived in West University Place near Houston; and Christopher Maier, 21, a college student in Kentucky. Resendez-Ramirez has also been mentioned in connection the death of Noemi Dominguez, 26, of Houston. Police in San Antonio have been looking for Resendez-Ramirez after finding Benton’s Jeep and a car belonging to the Simics in San Antonio. Police dogs reportedly followed a scent See MURDERS/5 Authorities investigate homicide in apartmentMurder is city’s first since 1997; police have no suspects Officials say death isn’t connected to series of murders By Chris Crews Staff Writer The strangling of a 62-year-old New Braunfels man, whose body was found Wednesday in his riverside apartment, shocked neighbors and brought media attention from across the state. Concerned family members found Ted McReynolds’ body shortly after noon Wednesday at Mill Bridge Apartments, 1045 Sanger Ave. Police said relatives from Austin came looking for McReynolds after he failed to appear at a family function this past weekend. County Judge Danny Scheel ordered the body sent to San Antonio for an autopsy. Officials said they were not sure when results would be available. Detective Mike Rust of the New Braunfels Police Department said McReynolds probably had been dead since early Sunday morning. Investigators said a “great deal” of physical evidence was available, but they had not identified a suspect or a motive and declined to comment if McReynolds knew his attacker. “Everything is wide open,” Rust said. McReynolds’ silver 1988 Toyota Calory station wagon was not found in the apartment parking lot, officials said. The license plate on the vehicle is D15ZLS. Rust said McReynolds recently had moved here from Oregon and was a salesman. The death of Ted McReynolds had area residents and some media speculating a suspected serial killer was involved. However, New Braunfels Police, Texas Rangers and Houston Police investigators said the New Braunfels homicide probably was not connected. Lt. Doug Dunlap of the NBPD said he was “relatively positive” McReynolds PERI 8TONE/HeraJd-Ze*ung Investigators remove evidence from the apartment of Ted McReynolds, 62, who was found murdered about noon on Wednesday. Authorities said McReynolds was strangled sometime early Sunday morning. Ferguson’s Map Company TOM EMCKSONMarakt-Zeltung Texas Ranger Tony Leal (center) speaks to the media Wednesday night as New Braunfels Police Ll Doug Dunlap (left) and Lt. Mike Rust stand nearby. was not a victim of a serial killer suspected in five deaths between San Antonio and Houston. He said he drew his conclusion from information he had received from Texas Rangers and the Houston Police combined with evidence removed form the scene. Detectives spent about eight hours gathering evidence from the crime scene on Wednesday. A neighbor of McReynolds, who asked not to be identified, said she heard “weird See HOMICIDE/5 ;