New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 29, 2004, New Braunfels, Texas
SATURDAY, MAY 29, 2004
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Readers discuss Memorial Day, Wein and Saengerffest, Social Security and lone soldier' councilman Valentine. Pago GA
SPORTS SEASON ENDS
Smithson Valley Rangers fall to Corpus Christi Moody, 10-0, in second game of playoff series. Pogo 7A
Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852.
Vol. 153, No. 172 16 pages, 2 sections
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Details 1B I TVGRIDSHernandez sentenced to 55 years for murder
By Ron Maloney
After hearing two weeks of testimony, a Comal County jury Friday took three hours to convict John Hernandez of organized criminal murder and sentence him to 55 years in state prison.
Hernandez, 32, faced up to 99 years in state prison for the April 28,2002, stabbing death of Pablo Esquivel — even though he reportedly didn't do the stabbing himself.
Co-defendant Santiago “Crazy Jimmy” Suarez has admitted the stabbing to detectives. Co-defendant
Daniel Campos Correa plead-ed guilty to murder in exchange for a maximum 11-year sentence cap. Hernandez drove the car used in the crime.
Defense attorney Glen Peterson vowed to appeal.
As Hernandez’s wife, Rosa Linda, left the courtroom cry
ing, Peterson laid out his plans for continuing the defense of his client after the jury’s verdict.
Peterson and co-counsel Rebecca Gibson argued repeatedly against admitting police officers’ testimonies about information gained about the Mexican Mafia from
Bulverde/Spring Branch and Canyon Lake Fire and EMS personnel prepare to load 18-year-old Lad Lee Belcher into an awaiting helicopter after the Smithson Valley High School senior was thrown from the pickup truck she was driving onto the shoulder of FM 3159 about 5:30 p.m. Friday afternoon. Belcher was scheduled to graduate today.
Laci Lee Belcher was set to graduate from SVHS today
By Brandi Grissom
The evening before she planned to graduate from Smithson Valley High School, emergency medical technicians worked desperately to keep Laci Lee Belcher alive after a one-car accident.
Belcher, 18, was driving a newer-model Ford F-150 pickup truck southbound on PM 3159 about 5:30 p.m.,
about one mile south of the rest area, when she lost control of the vehicle, said Texas Department of Safety trooper Rusty Nesbitt. The vehicle careened into the southbound shoulder, then slid across the highway into the northbound culvert, where it struck a large rock and began to roll, Nesbitt said.
Belcher was ejected from the vehicle during the roll, Nesbitt said. She was air-lifted to University Hospital in
San Antonio by Critical Air. At press time, a hospital spokesman said Belcher was in critical condition.
Comal County Sheriffs officers, the first to arrive on the scene, found Belcher on the shoulder of the road with a major head injury, said Canyon Lake Emergency Medical Services Chief Shawn Wherry.
"She was unresponsive and had major head injuries and a right femur fracture," Wherry
said. She had a pulse, and medical personnel had opened an airway to allow for assisted breathing when Critical Air staff arrived to transport Belcher, he said.
Comal Independent School District spokeswoman Kart Hutchison said Belcher is a strong leader loved by her peers, as well as the faculty and staff at SVHS.
During her junior year,
See WRECK. Page 3A
confidential informants — and asked for a mistrial.
Robison allowed the testimony nonetheless, although he appeared to reverse himself in his instructions to the jury, telling them to disregard the testimony.
Within 30 days, Peterson will prepare a petition to the
Third Court of Appeals in Austin.
Prosecutor Joe Soane, who claimed from the beginning of the trial Hernandez was a soldier in the Mexican Mafia said Peterson’s viewpoint was not surprising.
See MURDER, Page 3A
Memorial Day observances ‘not like they used to be’
By Scott Mahon
Although we celebrate Memorial Day as the beginning of summer, it is foremost a day of remembrance for those who died in our nation's service.
“Memorial Day should be a day to remember the sacrifices that gave us the freedoms we enjoy every day," said Mayor Adam Cork. “We need to remember past generations of men and women who died for the freedoms we enjoy.”
Michael Meek, Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce president, urged people to pay tribute to veterans.
“I hope people take the time this holiday to remember veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country,” he said. “As the years go by, we lose more and more veterans who served in World War II and other conflicts.”
Local veterans groups will conduct Memorial Day ceremonies.
Beginning at 8 a.m. Sunday, American Legion Post 35 and
See HOLIDAY, Page 3A
AMERICAN LEGION AND AUXILIARY POST 35
R Members will place 1,100 small flags on veterans graves beginning at 8 a.m. Sunday at Guadalupe Valley Memorial Park on Texas 46
* Members will place large flags beginning at 7 a m. Monday in downtown New Braunfels
■ The fifth annual memorial service and laying of the wreath will take place at 10 a m. at the Guadalupe Valley Memorial Park on Texas 46. Mike Fitsko will speak. WALTON F. HOFFMANN
MEMORIAL POST 179. AMERICAN LEGION
* Members will place flags on veterans' graves at the cemeteries on Peace Avenue beginning at 6:30 a m. Monday
■ A breakfast honoring World War ll veterans will take place at 9 arn Monday at the post home at 410 W. Coll St For information, call 625-0179.
VFW POST 7110
■ Flag raising at 8 a rn Monday at post home at 600 Peace Ave.
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH
* 8:15 a m. and 10:45 a m Sunday Memorial Day services at 733 Cross St. special recognition of all military personnel attending the 10 45
a rn. service.
Support our troops
Parents with loved one* serving in Iraq find different ways to define “support.”
Couple says drunken tubers assaulted them
By Brandi Grissom
April Shortridge said her arm is in a sling and her neck is in a brace because she was trying to protect her children from river revelers’ indecent behavior.
Shortridge and Robert Nate, who live in the IOO block of Liberty Avenue, just blocks from the Comal River, were injured in an altercation with several tubers who decided to use the street in front of their home as a restroom.
The incident began after the
two confronted the young men about their behavior. While Shortridge and Nate say the fight Thursday was just another sign of river revelers getting out of hand, police and city officials say the situation was one that could have been avoided. They advised New Braunfelsers to prepare for a weekend of rowdiness by being cautious.
“These guys do wrong, no doubt,” said John Villarreal, New Braunfels police lieutenant. “But confronting them
See TUDERS, Page 3A
April Shortridge and Robert Nate say they were attacked by a small group of tubers outside their North Liberty Avenue home Thursday evening after asking them not to urinate in the street.
CISD fears unanticipated costs will put budget in red
By Leigh Jones
Comal Independent School District trustees are concerned the district might be over budget for the 2003-04 school year.
Trustees approved $109,633 in additional funds for maintenance and operation projects Thursday night, but they were not happy about it.
“In recent months, we have become aware of spending issues that raise a lot of questions,” said newly appointed board President Nick Nichols. "We do not have a good idea of what the overall picture is
going to be in August.”
August is the last month of the district’s fiscal year.
Additional funds were approved for unforeseen air conditioning repairs, relocation of portable buildings and permits for waste water disposal facilities.
The extra expense will come out of the general fund.
Superintendent Nancy Fuller said she did not believe the district would finish the year in the red.
“We are not expecting a negative budget," she said.
Trustees are nervous about
See BUDGET Page 3A
Girl injured in wreck