- Joyce, do not know the names. The attached article implies the names have not been released yet. Perhaps someone else in our group may know any relationship of the younger victim's husband with Ernest Knezek.
Murder suspects could face capital charges
April 1, 2003
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HALLETTSVILLE - District Attorney W.C. "Bud" Kirkendall is looking into the possibility of filing capital murder charges against at least one person believed to have been involved in Saturday afternoon's shooting deaths of two people near Sweet Home.
A 22-year-old man and a 15-year-old girl were arrested Sunday in connection with the shooting deaths of Louis Frank Wick, 85, and his daughter Darlene Wick Knezek, 53, of Corpus Christi in Wick's home located near the intersection of Farm-to-Market Road 318 and County Road 380.
They were arrested in Eastland County, located between Fort Worth and Abilene along Interstate 20. Both are believed to be from the Fort Worth area.
Neither has been charged and both remain in the Eastland County jail, Kirkendall said.
Speaking from his office in Seguin, Kirkendall said he needs more information before seeking any formal charges in the case. Among the considerations is a charge of capital murder with the range of punishment including the death penalty.
"There are several reasons to consider this as a potential capital case," he said. "More than one person was killed at the same time, the killing took place during the commission of another felony crime and for killing someone over the age of 65. We haven't made any decision at this point, I have an assistant who is working on that now. But obviously a capital charge is a very good possibility."
The other felony crime would be the theft of Wick's car, a 1998 Lincoln Town Car. The car was found abandoned after being wrecked in Eastland a short time before the arrests were made. At the time of the arrests, the two were walking.
Kirkendall said that the age of the girl raises additional questions about the charges.
"I haven't talked to the Texas Ranger (Dewayne Goll) investigating the case," the district attorney said. "And we are still developing evidence from the scene and waiting on the crime lab to develop its evidence. Right now, I'm not sure she's even old enough to be prosecuted as an adult."
Because charges have not been filed, "there is no reason yet to bring them back to Lavaca County," he said. "We'll probably file something to hold them on, but most of the charges are pending. When we get probable cause, they will be charged and returned."
Lavaca County Sheriff Robert E. Wurm said that when the time comes to return the pair to Lavaca County, they will have to take two sheriff's department cars to pick them up.
"We'll send up one car with a male deputy to transport the male and one with a female deputy to transport the juvenile," he said. "In a case like this, you would not want the two of them being transported in the same vehicle."
Lavaca County Sheriff's Department Sgt. David Beyer, who is investigating the shootings, credited the cooperation of various law enforcement agencies for the speed with which the suspects were identified and taken into custody.
"There was smooth cooperation between our department, the Texas Rangers and the district attorney's investigator," Beyer said. "And within 24 hours we had someone in custody through those combined efforts. The entire department helped out and put in the overtime necessary without any complaints or problems. I don't think it could have been done any quicker or better."
Beyer said the quick response may have headed off an investigation that might otherwise have taken weeks, months or even years to solve.
While not involved in this particular case, Victoria Police Department Capt. Jack Williams of the investigations division said that the first 24 to 48 hours after a crime are crucial in solving it.
"It's very important to catch someone quickly," he said. "If you don't find someone in the first 48 hours, it makes it more difficult to get the evidence together. The longer it takes, the faster that some kinds of evidence can go bad. The more time that elapses, it gets harder and harder, but not impossible (to solve)."
As with the Lavaca County investigation, Williams said his department uses as many resources as necessary to clear a case quickly.
"As soon as we learn of such a case, we work it as hard as we can to solve it quickly," he said. "That includes putting as many people on it as we have available. But you only have a limited supply of manpower and the longer it takes, the more the numbers dwindle as people go back to handling their other cases."
Barry Halvorson is a reporter for the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361-798-3888 or by e-mail at hvilladv@....
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to your free email.---- Original Message -----From: george patrickTo: rjbacak@...Sent: Tuesday, April 01, 2003 12:42 PMSubject: re:Wick/KnezekRay, I am the wife of G.Patrick and was wondering if you know if this Knezek is related to Ernest & Jeannie Knezek.Do you know the names of the guilty ones? It is such a waste. Thank you.Joyce Patrick