Man beaten and
Three suspects in custody; every bone in man’s face
Monitor Staff Reports
SEVEN POINTS–A 51-year-old Seven Points man, reportedly on his way home
from a nightclub, was beaten and left for dead on the side of the road
just after midnight, April 19.
Three men and one woman were arrested in connection with the aggravated
robbery, which left the victim, Gary LaCour, in a Tyler hospital
undergoing multiple surgeries to save his life and face.
Every bone in LaCour’s face was broken during the beating, Seven Points
police chief Tim Meadows said.
“If he should die while undergoing surgery, the charge goes to capital
murder,” Meadows added. “We’re being told he will most likely be blind,
if he survives.”
LaCour survived a first surgery. A second was set for Tuesday but had to
be postponed, because he wasn’t strong enough to undergo surgery again.
Following a short standoff, the last of the four suspects was taken into
custody just outside of Prairieville Friday.
With a S.W.A.T. team standing by, along with deputies from Kaufman and
Van Zandt counties, Charles Wayne Pyburn, 21, was removed from a
residence on Van Zandt County Road 2702 around 5 a.m. and transported to
the Henderson County Jail.
The arrest warrant was served at 4 a.m. The suspect was considered armed
and dangerous, Meadows said. Pyburn’s girlfriend and a baby were in the
house at the time, but were quickly moved out of harm’s way, Meadows
Others arrested are:
• Tina Baumgartner, 30, charged with failure to report a felony;
• Casey Smith, 27, of Athens, apprehended by the Athens Police
• Johnny Ray Kepley, 29, of Seven Points, taken into custody after
giving his statement.
All four suspects, including Pyburn, were charged with aggravated
Though accounts of what happened are conflicting, it appears that LaCour
left the Island Club on State Highway 274 at midnight when it closed.
He was driving a 2005 Ford F-150 truck. The suspects were driving a 1994
Ford F-350. Both made the turn onto Jess Hinton Road, Meadows reported.
Someone in the other truck reportedly threw a can of beer at LaCour.
Both parties stopped their vehicles and an altercation ensued, Meadows
According to LaCour, he was repeatedly struck by the three men.
Pyburn maintains he left the scene and returned later. He picked up
LaCour’s truck, drove it 50 yards to a driveway on Jess Hinton and
another 200 feet to a house, Meadows said.
LaCour was left unconscious in a roadside ditch. When he came to, he
started walking toward his home – a mile away – where his wife found him
lying in the yard hours later.
Residents of Jess Hinton Road reported hearing gunshots in the night,
and LaCour stated Pyburn fired four shots at him, Meadows said.
Later, the LaCour’s truck was recovered from the intersection of Jess
Hinton and Pritchett, stripped and severely damaged.
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
MABANK–A lady dear to the hearts of many in Mabank died April 26.
Dorothy Nelle Groom, 80, died of complications following a surgery in
Her death comes a year after her step-son Leon Groom’s passing.
She and Estle Groom were married Dec. 7, 1985, after the death of Annie
Groom. The couple have enjoyed one another’s company on many trips with
family and friends.
To Estle’s sons, Terry, Leon and Roger, she filled the void left when
their mother died without trying to replace her in their hearts. And
they grew to love her very much.
Daughter-in-law Jan Groom, fondly recalls Dorothy’s hospitality and ways
she warmed her grandchildren’s hearts toward her.
“She would always play with my son, saying ‘boo!’ That’s how she became
the ‘boo-granny’ to Ryan (now 5),” Jan said. Jan also enjoyed working
with her at the shoe store in Mabank on Third Street from 1986 to 1996.
“She was very pleasant to be around,” she added.
Though indispensable as the family-gathering cook, presenting a large
kettle of pintos, mouth-watering banana puddings, chocolate and coconut
cream pies, she also was a strong support to the Prairieville Baptist
She served as Sunday School secretary for 30 years, and sang in the
choir up until she got sick a few years ago.
“She was always on hand when there was work to be done in the church
kitchen,” Ailene Smith said. “She sure was a good cook. We’re going to
miss her pies.”
Smith also noted that Dorothy worked for many years at Texas Instruments
Her hospitable ways were also noted by those who knew her well.
“Everyone loved her at the store. She was always so bubbly,” Groom &
Sons’ Ace Hardware, Inc. executive secretary Julie Bonner said.
Her sister Gloria Autry said, “Not only was she my sister, but she was
also my best friend.”
Bob Sapp, a friend of Dorothy’s since childhood, and who also became kin
through marriage said, “Her gentleness and love for people shone
through. She was always so very sincere in her love for others.
“She was a tremendous lady – always, every bit a lady,” he added.
High winds wallop
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer
KEMP–A late April storm blew into Kemp just after 9 a.m. Monday, denting
a few cars, knocking down trees, damaging some buildings and leaving
scattered power outages around the city.
The storm was part of a system that stretched from Kansas to Houston and
brought heavy rains and raised a tornado warning in the Cedar Creek Lake
“It was decided that we had high winds with rotation. We know the clouds
had some rotation,” Kemp Police Chief Richard Clemmo said.
“We think we had a lingering tail but nothing actually touched down,” he
“The city crews, fire and police personnel worked together and clean-up
was short,” Clemmo added.
Damage was located in skipped areas around the city. A tree fell across
Fire Chief Brian Beavers official truck.
Windows were blown out of about a half dozen cars parked in front of the
Kemp Independent School District Administration Building.
Homeowner Dwayne Aycock had a huge branch ripped from a tree in his
front yard, leaving him without power.
Power was also knocked out at Kemp High School when a power pole was
downed between the cafeteria and the ag shop.
Air conditioning units on tops of school buildings were damaged and the
ceiling was sucked out of the band hall.
“There was debris and a real mess left behind but no instruments
suffered any damage,” Jimmy Polk, band director said.
After an inspection by Superintendent Dr. Peter Running of the damage
and downed power lines, the campus was closed.
High school students were sent home from school by mid-morning,
interrupting the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS)
“We have rescheduled Social Studies (TAKS) for Friday,” Mary Van Cleve
“But things can always change,” she said as she stood in the darkened
office listening to the excited students getting ready to leave.
Power was restored at approximately 4 p.m.
Damage accounts were also provided by Jerry Wigley.
Trees were knocked down, including one in front of the high school.
There was damage to Barbara and Harvey McFaul’s home, across from the
Intermediate gym on Elm Street, Wigley said.
Ronda Pennington contributed to this report.
Monitor Photo/Barbara Gartman
Dwayne Aycock picks up some shingles from his roof, surveys the damage
power lines, his huge ancient tree and his yard following Monday’s
his grandbaby looks on from the window.