Denton Record-Chronicle (Denton, Tex.), Vol. 111, No. 12, Ed. 1 Thursday, August 14, 2014 Page: 1 of 32
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32-team gathering set to kick-start Lady Raiders / Sports, IB
Guyer, Argyle to start football season in top 10 / Sports, IB
Protests turn violent
in St. Louis suburb
Vol. Ill, No. 12 / 32 pages, 4 sections
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Testimony: Cash kept duo quiet about plot
By Megan Gray-Hatfield
mgray @ dentonrc.com
Cold, hard cash was all it took for a
couple to keep quiet about John Frank-
lin Howard’s alleged murder-for-hire
plot against his wife, according to court-
room testimony Wednesday at the Den-
ton County Courts Building.
Howard is on trial for attempt to
commit capital murder after he alleged-
ly plotted for nearly three years to kill
Nancy Howard, his wife of 30 years.
The couple’s divorce was finalized last
Stephanie Delacerda told jurors that
Dustin Hiroms, one of the alleged hit
men hired by John Howard to kill his
wife, stopped by her home July 4,2012,
to visit a friend of his. After she learned
what he was up to, she said, she and her
husband of 10 years, Anthony “Jason”
Rendine, began to blackmail John
Rendine also testified Wednesday.
They had a large bonfire, Delacerda
said, and were celebrating the Fourth of
July at their home roasting hot dogs
and marshmallows with a neighbor
who happened to be Hiroms’ friend.
Not long after he pulled up in his car,
Hiroms was passing hundreds of dol-
lars out to her and one of her daughters,
She said the next thing she knew,
thousands of dollars were on the cou-
ple’s bed as Hiroms began counting his
Delacerda said it wasn’t long before
Hiroms told them what was going on
and where all his cash was coming
from. Hiroms was being paid to kill
Nancy Howard, she testified.
Delacerda told jurors that a “fight
bulb instantly went off” and she began
thinking of ways she and her husband
could obtain money from John How-
‘We discussed what we were gonna
do and came up with a plan to black-
mail him,” she said.
She and her husband decided to go
by the aliases of “Tiffany” and Wes” and
reached out to John Howard just hours
after they saw Hiroms for what Dela-
cerda said was the last time.
When contacting John Howard, she
told him they knew of the plot to have
his wife killed and he asked them what
it would take to not tell the police, she
testified. The couple wanted money, she
said, and agreed to meet at a Whata-
burger off Northwest Highway in Dal-
las to collect their first payment.
“When we got to the location, a me-
tallic-looking Lexus was there and I got
out and went inside the Whataburger
See TRIAL on 7A
Barron Ludlum/For the DRC
Stephanie Delacerda, left, is shown a photo of money she and her husband,
Anthony “Jason” Rendine, allegedly received from John Franklin Howard,
during Howard’s trial Wednesday at the Denton County Courts Building.
Sunny and very warm
Weather report, 2A
Jr 9 jif'
Jamie Richards and his
band will take the North
Texas Fair and Rodeo’s
Budweiser Stage on
Monday. Also, check out
our fair schedule.
Brandon, a 1- to 2-year-
mix, is available at the
Denton Animal Shelter.
He is friendly and good
around other dogs. He
would be a good fit in a
home with children of
FIND IT INSIDE
DRC file photo
Denton police officers investigate the crime scene where Francisco Narvaez was murdered Sept. 30,1983. His body
was found in Room 241 at the old Holiday Inn at 1500 Dallas Drive.
Cold case begins to thaw
By Bj Lewis
blewis @ dentonrc.com
The murder of traveling computer
technician Francisco Narvaez grew cold
as ice for 31 years, but now has warmed
Denton police officers have arrested
53-year-old Robert Otteson in connec-
tion with the Sept. 30,1983, murder in a
Denton motel room.
Otteson is a resident of Lakeville,
Minnesota, with a wife and children.
He was taken into custody Tuesday
by the Lakeville Police Department and
Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Appre-
hension officers. Inves-
tigators from the Den-
ton Police Department
were present for the ar-
rest along with a Texas
Ranger from the De-
partment of Public
Otteson was sitting
Wednesday in a Dakota County, Minne-
sota, jail on charges of being a fugitive
and second degree murder.
Narvaez was murdered in Room 241
of the old Holiday Inn at 1500 Dallas
Drive. Denton detectives investigated
the death at the time, but eventually tips
and leads dried up.
Interest in the de-
cades-old cold case re-
surfaced in 2011, when
sought help from the
Oklahoma Bureau of
ing to The Oklahoman
newspaper in Oklaho-
ma City. Investigators said the case hit a
dead end when a pair of DNA samples
extracted from the crime scene didn’t
turn up any matches.
See COLD CASE on 7A
Oil, gas company wants
millions of gallons for
By Christian McPhate
dmcphate @ dentonrc.com
A Colorado oil and gas company has
asked the city of Krum to sell it millions of
gallons of water to use in its hydraulic frac-
turing operations, according to Gabe
Johnson, city engineer.
Johnson said Vantage Energy Co.
wants the city water for its drilling opera-
tions east of the Krum city limits. The
company wants to start drilling sometime
in December or early January, he said.
Vantage is willing to pay a minimum
amount of $200,000 for the water, John-
“It’s still under negotiation,” Johnson
The city could ask Vantage to offer a
lump sum amount, and any additional
money owed would be paid over the
course of the 13-week period when the
company plans to be drilling and fracking
in the area. Vantage is asking for at least 50
See KRUM on 5A
State living centers’
fate still not clear
By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe
pheinkel-wolfe @ dentonrc.com
AUSTIN — The number of state-sup-
ported living centers facing closure is still
up in the air after the Texas Sunset Adviso-
ry Commission recommended that a spe-
cial committee study the matter for the
During a decision-making hearing
Wednesday, commissioners agreed with a
recommendation from its work group
that they modify a previous recommenda-
tion that five centers be identified for clo-
sure by 2022.
It remains unclear how the Denton
State Supported Living Center, home to
about 460, wouldbe affected. About 1,600
employees care for them. The Denton cen-
ter is one of the county’s largest employers.
State-supported living centers serve
people with disabilities and those with
complicated medical conditions, accord-
ing to the Texas Department of Aging and
Disability Services website.
A longstanding recommendation that
the Austin center be closed by August 2017
will go to the Legislature during the next
session, which begins in January.
In an interview after the hearing, state
Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen,
said the work group came to realize that
members didn’t know how many centers
should remain open to serve the state’s
“They [the committee] may come back
See CENTERS on 7A
Balloon festival set
for Highland Village
he 27th annual Highland Village
Balloon Festival is planned for
I Friday to Sunday at Unity Park in
Highland Village and will feature five
music, a car show, a 5-kilometer run,
arts and crafts and food in addition to
hot air balloons, according to the event
Sponsored by the Highland Village
lions Club, this year’s festival will fea-
ture pancake breakfasts on Saturday
and Sunday, tethered balloon rides and
balloon glows at dusk.
Festival hours will be 5 to 10 p.m.
Friday, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 6
a.m. to noon Sunday.
Unity Park is at 2200 Briarhill Blvd.
OUT & ABOUT
limited parking is available in the areas
See COCKRELL on 7A
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Parks, Scott K. Denton Record-Chronicle (Denton, Tex.), Vol. 111, No. 12, Ed. 1 Thursday, August 14, 2014, newspaper, August 14, 2014; Denton, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth1124538/m1/1/: accessed June 16, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; .