New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - June 27, 1985, New Braunfels, Texas
New Braunfels Herald-Ze/ft/n^ Thursday, June 27,1985 5ALucas likes celebrity status on Death Row
HUNTSVILLE (AP) — Confessed mass murdererr Henry Lee Lucas, who recently has recanted his confessions to several hundred slayings, said he is enjoying his celebrity status on death row.
“He’s a celebrity,” said death row inmate John Michael Lamb, 27. “Everybody in the dayroom went to the windows to see what he looked like” when Lucas arrived.
Lucas was transferred to the Texas Department of Corrections’ Ellis I Unit last week from the Williamson County Jail.
“All the guards are treating me pretty good and all the inmates know me. It’s IOO percent better than the county jail," Lucas told the Houston Chronicle in the visiting room of the prison on Wednesday.
“I don’t feel so isolated here hnd at least now I got a private room. I get out to the (recreation) yard and I
mostly play dominoes,” Lucas said.
The Dallas Morning News, which also interviewed Lucas, reported in today’s editions that he expects to be set free.
“When I get out, I want to start a Christian halfway house for people who are poor and unfortunate and have no place to live,” Lucas said.
Earlier this month Lucas’ attorneys filed a $1.5 million lawsuit, alleging eight Texas law enforcement officers used drugs and threats to coerce the confessions.
“I had some fears about coming here because of what I said about law enforcement but everybody has been treating me good,” Lucas said.
Lucas’ attorney, Gary Richardson of Tulsa, was with Lucas for most of the press interviews Wednesday. Death row inmates are not usually allowed to have their attorneys present during visiting room interviews.
Lucas was used by law officers, Richardson said.
“Law enforcement would breathe a sigh of relief when Henry Lee Lucas came along and say ‘I did it,’ and they’d give him another hamburger and a milkshake,” the lawyer said.
Lucas was convicted of capita) murder and sent to death row for the Halloween 1979 killing of an unidentified hitchhiker whose body was dumped near Interstate 35 near Georgetown. He has pleaded guilty and been sentenced to nine other killings. All of the other sentences range from 60 years to life.
In April, Lucas first announced that he had lied in the confessions to embarrass the Texas Rangers’ task force that helped clear 210 murder cases across the country. Attorney General Jim Mattox is currently investigating some of the cases.
‘ “I figured if I lied enough and made myself out to be bad enough, someone would start investigating it and the
truth would come out,” Lucas said. He said he killed only one person, his mother, in 1960 and regrets he lied in the confessions.
The News reported he held up one nicotine-stained finger and said, “One. I’ve killed on and that was an accident.”
“She died of a heart attack, but I did hit her. It was an accident, but I feel responsible,” he said.
“I’ve made myself out to be a monster and there’s no excuse for it. But I had to keep doing it so the truth would come out,” he said.
Dressed in a uniform borrowed from another prisoner and sporting a five-day beard, Lucas said TDC hasn’t provided him with a razor, deodorant or writing materials.
Lucas was assigned to a medium-securtty section of death row where he will have more freedom than the most troublesome death row inmates.Missing doughnut shop girl found dead
DALLAS (AP) — The body of a teen-age girl who disappeared from a doughnut shop last weekend was found stabbed to death beside a dirt road about IO miles away, authorities said.
A construction worker found the nude, decomposed body of Jennifer Day, 14, about 7:15 a.m. Wednesday in the suburb of Plano.
Day died of multiple stab wounds to the neck, Plano Justice of the Peace Tom Kelly said.
She was identified through dental records by the Dallas County Medical Examiner’s office, Kelly said.
Her body was found near the site of a residential subdivision that is under construction, police said.
An autopsy was unable to determine if the girl
had been sexually molested, Dallas police Lt. David Clary said.
Day had been missing since she disappeared after opening the doughnut shop early Sunday morning.
“The (construction) workers came out Monday and Tuesday, but it was too muddy to work so they left,” he said.
Store manager Joe Hight told Dallas police investigators that he talked to Day shortly after she opened Preston Road Donuts about 5:30 a.m. Sunday to begin cleaning, stocking display cases and waiting on customers.
She was reported missing at about 6:30 a.m. when a customer found the store unattended.
Police later found the girl’s purse and jewelry in the store and her apron on the floor, but discovered no signs of a struggle. No money was missing from the cash register, and two sales had been recorded.
A roofing worker across the street from the shop said he saw a man driving a white car with a blond girl in the passenger seat speed away from the shop area.
Police said the car sighted is believed to be a white 1977 General Motors Corp. model, possibly a Pontiac Catalina or LeMans.
Day had just finished the eighth grade at St. Rita School and was to enroll in Ursuline Academy in the fall.
LAREDO (AP) — State health officials say they are concerned — for the first time — that Texans who cross over to visit Nuevo I^redo’s red-light district may come back with VD.
“Boys Town,” a legal zone of prostitution in Laredo’s sister city, has long been regarded as nearly disease free. But it is now being scrutinized by Texas authorities as a possible source of recent penicillin-resistant gonorrhea cases in San Antonio.
Bill Boyd, venereal disease program manager for Region 8 of the Texas Department of Health in Harlingen, will join Mexican doctors Friday in administering blood tests to approximately IOO prostitutes in Boys Town.
“We haven’t seen Boys Town as a problem until this year,” Bill Paschal, a special programs coordinator with the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District said.
But Paschal added that four of IO penicillin-resistant gonorrhea cases reported since January in San Antonio apparently originated in Mexican
Four SA residents become latest Boys Town victims
border cities. Three of those cases have tentatively been linked to an unspecified night club in the Nuevo I^aredo compound, he said.
Mexican officials say approximately 300 women routinely work in the walled compound five miles from the Texas border, Boyd said. An undetermined number of male prostitutes also works in the zone, Boyd believes.
Boyd said physicians examine Boys Town prostitutes weekly. If any indication of illness is present, they are required by law to receive treatment and to undergo a second examination before returning to work. Blood tests are administered twice a year.
Health officials believe as many as 10,000 people a month patronize prostitutes in cities along the Texas-Mexico border. However, not all of the sexual encounters occur in zones of prostitution where women are routinely examined for'signs of sexually transmitted disease.
By some estimates, unregulated prostitutes outnumber those working in compounds 10-to-l,
If the four San Antonio residents who claimed to have contracted resistant strains of gonorrhea from Mexican prostitutes are truthful — health officials fractionally view such claims with skepticism — it would indicate a possible lapse in Boys Town health programs.
Boyd said that while the four reported cases of resistant gonorrhea might not in themselves Insignificant, they could indicate that hundreds of men have come into contact with infected prostitutes.
Health officials said 11,181 cases of syphillis were reported in Texas last year, with the state ranking second nationwide in cases per 100,000 Texas ranked 15th in number of gonorrhea cases, with 65,802 reported. Of those cases, 129 involved penicillan-resistant strains of the disease.
Ideally, Boyd said, all tourists crossing the border would be given packets of venereal disease information. Such action, however, might insult Mexican officials, he noted
Court's ruling may affect Blue Law
AUSTIN (AP) — The Texas attorney general’s office will review a Wednesday U.S. Supreme Court ruling concerning religious days off to see if it affects legislation repealing the state’s Blue Law.
The high court said states cannot force employers to give workers their choice of a religious day off each week.
Texas lawmakers this year voted down the 1961 Blue Law that effectively forced most stores to close on Sundays. The repeal bill includes provisions
guaranteeing that Sunday work won’t interfere with religious services.
“We have requested a copy of the opinion,” said Loretta Hendley, spokeswoman for Attorney General Jim Mattox. “We will have no comment or opinion on it until we get a copy.”
The Supreme Court action struck down a Connecticut law that protected employees from retaliation for missing work on their religious Sabbath.
A minute with Andy Rooney
Hostages phone home
Two of the men taken captive in the hijacking of TWA flight 847 telephoned loved ones to say they were well, the families and friends said today.
The girlfriend of Ralf Traugott, a Massachusetts auto dealer, said he told her his captors wanted her to go to Lebanon.
“I understand they may be inviting family members to Beirut, but as of yet, I am the only one who has been invited,” said Niki Assimakoupoulos of Fitchburg, Mass.
She said she did not know if she would go, adding the invitation in the Wednesday night call was to travel to the Middle East “very soon.”
Allyn Conwell, of Houston, was allowed to make two telephone calls to his wife in Greece, his wife
“It was a wonderful surprise. I just wish he was calling from some place outside of Beirut,” Mrs. Conwell told the Houston
Mrs. Conwell, who is staying with her parents in Corfu, Greece, said her husband, who acted as spokesman for the hostages at a press conference last week, told her he was well.
“He was just trying to assure me no harm was going to come and that they (the Amal captors) do want him to go to a neutral place.”
Mrs. Conwell said the calls, about two hours apart, lasted about 20 minutes each and that her husband appeared to be calm.
Mrs. Conwell also said that during the conversation, a Shute militia member got on the line to say the captors did not intend to harm the hostages but wanted the release of hundreds of lebanese prisoners held by Israel.
Conwell’s mother, Lois, of
Houston, said it was “a miracle that they would let him call."
“Isn’t that great’’,” she said. “I don’t understand it.”
Traugott, 32, of Lunenberg, Mass . had been visiting in Greece and was returning home when the hijack took place.
Assimakoupoulos said Traugott was in good health and had not been hurt by the Shiite Moslem gunmen who commandeered the plane on a flight from Athens to Rome.
“Not at all,” she said “In fact, he referred to the captors as, My friends.’”
“I know he is still safe," she added.
“The reason I am speaking out to the media is for the purpose that the American people un derstand the lebanese cause,” she said. adding that, ‘ Many hostages are very sympathetic toward the r captors.
“And they are feeling that this is a great experience, not an ordeal or a terrible trap ... They are almost feeling privileged to b*-involved. I know Ralf feels that way.”
Susan Traugott of Boxford, Traugott’s sister-in-law, said she was optimistic about reports the hostages may be moved to a Western embassy.
“With all the hubbub today. I'm hoping a meeting with President Reagan may not even be necessary,” she said Wednesday of reports the President may meet with hostage families on Friday
“We’re anxious to make our concerns known to President Reagan as soon as possible,” said Mrs. Traugott. “We don’t want to make a big media splash That isn t the idea. We want to go down ... and see if someone can reassure us We're scared ”
Property insurance hike delayed
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AUSTIN (AP) — The State Board of Insurance, facing a staff recommendation for a 2.2 percent hike and an industry request for a 10.2 percent increase, has postponed a decision on property insurance rates.
The staff proposal includes a $58 million, 6.7 percent raise in premiums for homeowners’ insurance. The industry wants a 15.8 percent hike in those rates.
After hearing more than two hours of testimony Wednesday, board Chairman Lyndon Olson said the three-member panel would take the case “under advisement.” He did not indicate when a ruling would be made.
Any new rates approved by the board would go into effect Dec. I.
Overall, the board staff recommended a $28 million hike in property rates, including the 6.7 percent increase in homeowners’ coverage and a 25 percent drop in renters’ insurance.
The insurance industry wants a 10.2 percent overall increase in premiums, including the 15.8 percent average hike in homeowners insurance.
The staff recommendation was presented by actuary Gaylon Daniel, who told the board that property insurance “offers the potential for catastrophic loss.”
“We were all recently reminded of the Gulf Coast’s vulnerability to hurricanes. And it is an accepted fact that northern and western areas of the state have experienced severe tornado and hail losses on several occasions," Daniel said.
The industry proposal, presented by the Texas In
surance Advisory Association, includes a 17.2 percent cut in renters’ insurance.
All figures are statewide averages. The board sets rates by region — seacoast, central and north-northwest.
Seacoast residents would see the highest increase in homeowners’ rates — 19.9 percent — if the staff plan is approved. Central residents would see only a 0.9 percent hike. Residents of the north-northwest territory would see a 6.2 percent cut.
The industry plan calls for increase in homeowners’ insurance for all Texans — 25 percent for seacoast residents, 12.3 percent for central and 4.6 percent for north-northwest.
There were no consumer groups represented at the hearing.
The TI AA made no recommendation in the previous property insurance rate-setting, which resulted in a statewide average 5.3 percent decrease, including an 8.6 percent cut in homeowners’ rates, that went into effect in March.
The industry association has been conducting a study of how Texas sets property rates.
Irene K. Bass, a vice president with Crum and Forster in New Jersey, told the board Wednesday that the state needs a process that would “respond to changes in the economy, demographics and expected loss experience.”
“It serves neither the insurance-buying public nor the insurance industry to have large increases followed by large decreases and then again followed by large increases,” she said.
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Appeals court upholds drug convictions
ORLEANS (AP) — The 5th rcuit Court of Appeals today the convictions of Dempsey Merida and tour other men to have been members of a ngaged in international dope ing, theft and, the court said, ps even homicides, ithers are David Lee Merida, i Benjamin King, Tim Walker ly Ray Lilley. organization developed and id a criminal enterprise d in the manufacture, im-on and distribution of con-substances notably including
heroin, cocaine, marijuana, amphetamines and metham-phetamines,” the court said in a 41-page opinion written for the three-judge panel by Judge Henry A. Politz.
“According to the scenario unveiled by the evidence, the organization, in support of its drug operations, engaged in vehicle and heavy equipment theft and numerous other crimes, perhaps even homicides.”
The court said the gang had its headquarters in Houston, but had business enterprises in Florida,
Nevada, Louisiana. Mexico and Belize, as well as other locations.
One of the gang’s early associates in cocaine smuggling, Lee Chagra of El Paso, Texas, was murdered in 1978, the court said.
By 1980, the gang had laboratories for making amphetamines and methamphetamines in several states, the court said.
The lenthy opinion issued by the appeals court today detailed page after page of successful and failed activities by the gang — smuggling activites that ended in arrests in Mississippi and Tennessee.
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