The Bastrop Advertiser (Bastrop, Tex.), Vol. 155, No. 8, Ed. 1 Saturday, March 22, 2008 Page: 1 of 13
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SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2008
"Che jBastrop adocrtiser
Texas' Oldest Weekly Newspaper Since March 1, 1853 Semi-Weekly Since Sept. 5, 1977
Volume 155, Number 8
16 pages in two sections
The Bastrop Advertiser photo/Jacqueline Davis
Catching some air on spring break
Clayton Schuelke, 12, of Bastrop does an ollie over a ramp at the Smithville
Skate Park on Thursday during his Spring Break. Other children from Giddings
and Bastrop honed their skateboarding skills along with him. All of Bastrop ISD
was on spring break this past week.
Human error not blamed
in chimpanzee's escape
By Davis McAuley
In a terse statement
released Thursday, The UT
System M.D. Anderson
Cancer Center said the escape
of an 18-year-old chimpanzee
from a research center near
Bastrop on March 12 'was
not due to human error."
Instead, it said the 140-
pound chimp's escape "was
the result of a remarkable
leap by the animal from the
top of an exercise pole to the
perimeter wall of a corral
enclosure" where endangered
primates have been housed
for more than three decades
at the Michale E. Keeling
Center for Comparative
Medicine and Research on
Texas 95 north of Bastrop.
witnessed the leap, and a
recovery effort was launched
serve time, keep
By Jacqueline Davis
Former Bastrop County Sheriff Richard
Hernandez, convicted of corruption charges
in January, will likely serve his jail sentence
outside the local judicial district after lawyers
maintained Wednesday that sheriff's offices
within the district considered him a security
Hernandez was originally sentenced to
serve 90 days at any county jail within
the 21st judicial district, including Bastrop,
Burleson, Lee and Washington counties.
However, the sheriffs of those districts
were less than thrilled at the potential risk
posed by having a former sheriff behind bars
with inmates that could be familiar with him,
Hernandez's lawyers said at a hearing before
21st District Judge Terry Flenniken.
David Glickler, assistant attorney general
for the State of Texas, agreed.
"None of the sheriffs wanted to take him,"
Glickler said, "We didn't want to force any
of them to take him. Having been former law
enforcement for most of his life, it created a
for the local
into the jail
there, and that
the order of commitment could be amended
to include the out-of-district facility.
Hernandez' lawyers, Joe Turner and Billy
Jenkins, also requested that Hernandez be
allowed to continue doing manual labor for a
local landowner as part of a work-release pro-
gram, an amenity Glickler strongly opposed.
"My client has three school age kids he's
supporting," Turner said. "At least allow him
See JAIL, Page 2A
new trial for Reed
By Davis McAuley
immediately, according to
the statement. Recovery team
members fired two tranquil-
izer darts at the chimpanzee.
"The first missed the animal
and the second was not effec-
tive in sedating the chimpan-
zee," the statement reported.
Subsequently an unnamed
police officer employed by
M.D. Anderson fired on the
animal, causing its death,
See ESCAPE, Page 2A
Lawyers for the prosecution and defense
rehearsed familiar arguments Wednesday as
the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals heard
oral argument in the case of Bastrop death
row inmate Rodney Reed.
Reed's lawyers said a new trial is required
because of evidence uncovered since a Bastrop
juiy convicted Reed in 1998 in the 1996 rape
and strangulation of 19-year-old Stacy Stites
who was employed at Bastrop's H-E-B food
store. They continued to point to former
Giddings police officer Jimmy Fennell, who
was engaged to marry Stites, as a more likely
suspect. Fennell was the top suspect early
in the Stites investigation. Recently, while a
police officer in Georgetown, he was charged
with various offenses, including raping a
woman while on duty.
Other evidence touched on by defense
lawyers Morris Overstreet and Bryce Benjet
includes statements from a woman who said
she saw Stites and Fennell arguing in Paige
early in the morning of the day Stites died in
1996. Another witness, who was in a police
training academy with Fennell, said she heard
him say that if his girlfriend were unfaithful
he would strangle her with a belt. Stites was
apparently strangled with the belt she was
wearing on the way to work at H-E-B.
Those defense claims were the subject
of an earlier evidentiary hearing in Bastrop
before 335th District Judge Reva Towslee
Corbett, who later ruled that if the jury in
Reed's case had heard the new evidence, it
would not have changed the outcome of the
The Court of Criminal Appeals, the state's
highest criminal appeals court, is now consid-
ering the same defense claims. The high court
has already rejected Reed appeals twice, first
in 2000 and again in 2002.
A federal district judge ordered the hear-
ing before Judge Corbett.
Reed was linked to the Stites case in
1997 by DNA evidence recovered from the
woman's body. Reed's defenders argue that
See REED, Page 2A
Elgin library usage setting records
By Terry Hagerty
Elgin chief librarian Sandy Ott was
brimming with good news Thursday.
Ott said fiscal year 2008 —Oct. 1, 2007
to Sept. 30,2008 — is shaping up to be the
first year the library sees 100,000 books
and other materials checked out.
"J think we may celebrate that," Ott
said. "We have a lot of young people who
love to read."
On Tuesday, Ott and City Manager Jeff
Coffee gave the Elgin City Council an
update on library operations.
Library usage has been steadily climb-
ing over the past several years, including
nearly 96,000 books checked out last year,
The library has about 44,000 books,
including reference books and audio books.
The library, at 404 North Main, opened in
2004 and occupies 13,000 square feet.
With increased participation in pro-
grams that serve both youth and adults,
plus serving as the central meeting place
The Bastrop Advertiser photos/Terry Hagerty
Elgin librarian Sandy Ott and staff offer many programs for library patrons.
for Elgin's city council and other commit-
tees and boards, the library has become the
virtual hot spot for the community.
Ott said a handful of programs are
proving especially popular with patrons,
including the Afternoon Book Club, which
meets the second Tuesday of month at
2 p.m.. Arts & Craft Day, which meets
See LIBRARY, Page 2A
Bastrop freshman shines at shortstop.
The colors of spring in Bastrop Living.
■ Saturday's forecast:
■ Last week:
High Low Prec.
Wed. 66 45 .01
Thursday 72 36 none
Friday NA NA NA
■ Provided by weather.com.
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McAuley, Davis. The Bastrop Advertiser (Bastrop, Tex.), Vol. 155, No. 8, Ed. 1 Saturday, March 22, 2008, newspaper, March 22, 2008; Bastrop, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth252423/m1/1/: accessed December 13, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Bastrop Public Library.