New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - September 16, 1982, New Braunfels, Texas
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Comp.Witness says Felder admitted murdering Slate
By DEBBIE TURNER Staff writer
A defense motion for an instructed verdict was denied Thursday morning by presiding Judge Fred Moore in the murder trial of Michael Ross Felder.
Defense Attorney John Chunn filed the motion, saying the testimony of George “Tooper” Wood Wednesday should be regarded "accomplice testimony by law, and therefore, should be looked upon with suspicion.” Chunn also said the balance of the testimony failed to prove the state’s charge — that Michael Felder killed Clifton James
Slate on or about May 19,1981.
Slate’s skeletal remains were found Nov. 21, 1981, in a wooded area near a ranch off Bear Creek Road in Comal County. The property was, at that time, owned by Felder’s family, but has since been sold.
Slate was reported missing to Palestine authorities on May 27. Testimony in the trial has indicated Felder and Slate were seen together on May 19 at the Triple Crown Saloon in Seguin.
Travis County Medical Examiner Roberto Bayardo testified Wednesday that he conducted an autopsy on the skeletal remains on Nov. 23 in Austin. Using an anatomic model of
a skeleton hanging from a pedestal, Dr. Bayardo illustrated to the jury which bones were examined.
"The complete skull, and the upper and lower jawbones were present. At the base of the skull was a two-inch fracture containing lead particles,” he testified. “Most of the spinal cord and all of the neck vertebrae, the pelvis and leg bones were there. The upper fifth spinal vertebrae had lead fragments in it.
"The left collarbone was intact, but half of the right side was gone. The other half was fractured. The small bones in the hands and feet were also examined. But there were only 22 ribs left — one missing from
each side, and the first rib had lead particles in it.”
Dr. Bayardo said his ruling was that death occurred by a shotgun blast to the back of the head and back.
The highlight of the trial came Wednesday afternoon with the testimony of George "Tooper" Wood, 19, who said, "Felder told me, I shot Slate.’”
That was on May 20, according to Wood’s testimony. "He told me he got early that morning, and shot Slate in the back while he was sleeping at the ranchhouse. He told Deanne (Mrs. Felder) to go lock the front gate, and she helped him
(Felder) drag the body to the back of Mike’s truck,” Wood said.
"He said they drove to the back turnaround, dragged the body through a hole in the fence, and left it lay,” Wood said. "I asked him about the smell. He told me not to worry. That only us three knew about it, and that animals would eat him (Slate).”
Wood testified a few days later Felder called him and asked him to help "get rid of Cliff’s car,” which was at a public boat ramp at Canyon I^ake. Wood, Felder and his wife unloaded Slate’s car, threw Slate’s personal belongings and clothing in a dumpster at a nearby convenience
store, and drove to South Padre Island.
“I followed Mike and Deanne in my car. They were in Cliff’s Cougar,” Wood testified. "We stayed at three different motels that weekend. We took the car to a house, Mike wrote a note and left it inside the car, and we took off.”
In cross-examination, Chunn hammered Wood, "Why didn’t you go to the authorities right away?
Isn't it a fact the law came looking for you?”
"I didn’t go right away, because it was my word against theirs. And
See TRIAL, Page 16
iax New --1—*-i- Braunfels
New Braunfels, Texas
Vol. 91 - No. 182
September 16,1982 25 cents
(USPS 377-880)Strike stops at Chrysler
HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. (AP) Chrysler Corp. and the United Auto Workers reached tentative agreement today on a new contract, but not before thousands of Chrysler workers walked off their jobs when a midnight strike deadline passed.
"This tentative agreement achieves our principal goal to start the Chrysler workers on the long, long road back to parity with workers at General Motors and Ford,” UAW President Douglas Fraser and Vice President Marc Stepp said.
Chrysler workers, trying to help keep the company from bankruptcy, agreed to concessions two years ago that left them about $2.80 an hour behind their counterparts at General Motors Corp. and Ford Motoi Co. Fraser said the new Chrysler agreement, which he called
"modest,” would reduce the difference to about $2 an hour.
"I don’t think it’s going to be an easy ratification because it is a modest agreement,” he said at a news conference. "So I suppose it’s a question of convincing the membership. We couldn’t have gotten anything better without a prolonged strike.”
The first step in the ratification process will be to present the agreement Friday to the union’s Chrysler Council, comprised of top local union officials from around the country.
Thomas Miner, Chrysler vice president of industrial relations, said after the final 21-hour marathon bargaining session that the agreement was "good.”
See CHRYSLER, Page 16
Israelis control West Beirut
BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) — Under cover of mock jet raids, Israeli tanks and troops battled leftist militiamen for control of west Beirut today, but by midafternoon fighting died down to occasional cannon and rifle fire.
Christian radio stations said leftist militiamen had agreed to stop fighting, but leftist radio stations said resistance would continue unabated against the Israelis.
Earlier reports incorrectly said the radio of the Mourabitoun, the largest militia of Lebanese Moslem leftists, announced the leftists had agreed not to confront the Israelis.
Israel announced it controlled "all key points” in west Beirut, and Lebanon’s Moslem prime minister, Shafik Wazzan, called for urgent U.S. help to end what lie called Israel’s conquest of the war-
The Israelis began their push into former PLO strongholds of west Beirut early Wednesday, hours after the assassination of President-elect Bashir Gemayel. They said they launched the drive to keep leftist militiamen from teaming up with Palestinian guerrillas still in the city and launching a new wave of bloodshed.
They met resistance from leftists firing automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, hut tile ’l ei Aviv command said today that its forces had fought their way past the leftists and guerrillas and controlled "all key points.”
The communique called on ‘‘citizens to return to normal activities and on all terrorists and other armed persons to lay down their arms .”
Streets get top billing for revenue sharing funds
By DYANNE FRY Staff writer
Street projects have the lion’s share of City Manager E.N. Delashmutt’s proposed revenue sharing budget for 1982-83.
He wants to allocate $113,560 to street overlay priority projects. He has also proposed purchasing a $27 JKK) asphalt pavement laydown machine, which would enable the city to do some of the street work that’s previously been hired out to contractors.
Federal revenue .sharing funds available this year come to $261,000. Delashmutt’s ideas for making the most of it will be presented to City Council on Sept. 27. After a public hearing at that time, council will make the final allocations.
Unless Congress makes some changes in Washington next year, this may be the last revenue sharing budget New Braunfels will have to consider. The amended Federal Revenue Sharing Act runs out tills year, and the trend in today’s federal government is to let states and municipalities mind their own stores.
In putting together the proposed budget, the city staff sifted through a stack of requests from its own departments and miscellaneous citizens,
commissions and civic organizations.
One fire department request $300,000 for a training tower and land — exceeded the total funds available. The department also asked for two triple-combination trucks (estimated cost $160,000) and a $37JKK) quick-response grass and brush truck. Delashmutt did recommend purchasing the grass truck.
The police department’s wish list included $117,000 for additional units, and $3(K),000 to enlarge and improve the .station and jail facilities.
Delashmutt is proposing $40,440 to improve traffic signals at two intersections: Union and E. San Antonio, and N. Seguin and Mill. Budget requests included improvement of four signals, at a total cost of $76,660.
New Braunfels Tennis and Softball associations both put in requests for lights on playing courts. The proposed budget includes $10,000 for the tennis courts and $12,000 for the Camp Comal softball field
The budget allots $3JKK) each to toe luanda Recreation Association, Community Service Center, Senior Citizens Centrer, Comal County Mental Health-Mental Retardation Center, Home Health Center, Teen Connection and the Dittlinger Memorial Library book fund.InsideToday's Weather
Comal County forecast calls for partly cloudy I today, with a 50 percent chance of showers and-or thundershowers this afternoon. The chance of I rain will reduce to 20 percent tonight, and con-I tmue with partly cloudy skies Friday. Winds will ( be easterly near IO mph today, and light and I variable tonight. Sunset will bt* at 7:35 p.m., and sunrise Friday will be at 7:16 a.m.Strike talk
Enjoy professional football while you can the National Football League Player’s Association plans to call a strike for Tuesday, Sept. 21, just two weeks into the NFL season. Sec Page 6
Court seeks state ruling on disputed election
The county isn’t convinced that any wrong-doing occured during the May Republican primary.
But if anything did occur or if something is wrong with the county's voting system, Commissioners Court wants to know what it should do about it.
For this reason, County Attorney Bill Renner, at the court’s request, has sent a letter to the Texas Secretary of State’s office asking for its advice.
The investigation into the county’s voting system and voting laws was prompted by Canyon I .ake businesswoman Lois Duggan, who was defeated in the May GDP primary in the precinct 4 county commissioner’s race.
Duggan lost that race to her fellow GDP opponent, Bill George by 19 votes. As the vote stands now, George is set to run against O R. Heitkamp, the incumbent precinct 4 commissioner, a Democrat
On Aug. 30, Duggan appeared in Commissioners Court asking that it
consider calling for a state investigation of 43 absentee ballots cast last April from River Gardens. a local facility for the mentally handicapped.
Duggan questioned whether River Garden residents could legally vote absentee, since she said, election codes didn’t specifically outline voting rules for mentally deficient citizens.
She also pointed out that George, a self-employed contractor, and his wife Bea are limited partners in River Gardens.
Duggan also questioned tile legalities involved in one person assisting River Gardens residents in their voter registration for absentee voting. She said this one person, who assisted the residents in their registration, was employed at River Gardens at the time.
Commissioners postponed taking action on Duggan’s request at first because County Judge Max Wom-
See ELECTION, Page 16
Staff photos by Cindy Richardson
Despite the rain, local Democrats turned out Wednesday for a rally
and picnic at Hueco Springs. Above left, county chairman elect Tom Bluntzer, holding his son Nolan, discusses party matters and other upcoming events. Above right, Kendra Renner chomps into a chicken leg Lower left, State Rep. Bennie Bock ll chats with John Taylor, the Democratic candidate to succeed Bock, who did not seek re election.