Thursday, March 23, 2006




GBC murder suspect held
Officials search for murder weapon
Monitor Staff Reports
GUN BARREL CITY–A Cedar Creek Lake area man remains jailed under $150,000 bond, charged with murder in connection with the March 10 shotgun slaying of a Gun Barrel City man.
Tommy Lynn Smith, 27, turned himself in to Henderson County authorities near 10 p.m. Saturday.
Smith had been sought on a murder warrant in connection with the shooting death of Johnnie Carl Morrison, 32, near 3 p.m. Friday.
Gun Barrel City authorities responded to a shooting report on Pinebloom Road in the Willowwood subdivision of the city, and found Morrison lying in the road.
Morrison reportedly died from a shotgun blast to the head.
Tuesday, Texas Department of Public Safety dive team members were searching around a boat dock along Seaside Drive in the Mantle Manors subdivision.
GBC Police Investigator Sgt. Jerry Moore said authorities were told when Smith fled from the scene, he threw the murder weapon – a 12-gauge pump shotgun – into Cedar Creek Lake from the dock, located in a vacant lot at 201 Seaside.
“That’s the information that we have,” Moore said.
Dive team members began searching the area around the dock near 2 p.m. Tuesday.
Witnesses told police Smith was in a black van, driven by another man, and pulled up next to Morrison. An argument broke out, reportedly over a methamphetamine debt.
Witnesses said when Morrison struck the side of the van with a baseball bat, Smith produced a shotgun and fired once, striking Morrison in the temple.
Moore said Tuesday there were no charges pending against any other person “at this time.”


Quick action curbs fire, saves property
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

RODDY–Some quick thinking on the part of the landowners and quick action by the Mabank Fire Department kept a fire under control in the Roddy community Tuesday.
Marcus and Lisa Skierski were attempting to burn about three sacks of household trash in a protected, fenced area when things turned a bit too exciting.
The couple left the fire to get some rakes, and happened to turn around to see the fire spreading toward some old cars stored nearby.
The cars belonged to a relative.
“We knew not to try and put out the fire, but rather to try and protect our neighbor’s pastures. The firemen thanked us for that,” Lisa said.
The cars were a good 30 yards from the fire, but the fireman said something may have been leaking from one of the cars, Marcus said.
“We kept the burn area real clear of leaves. The firemen noticed that,” Lisa said.
The couple praised the quick response time of the Mabank Fire Department.
The fire started around 12:30 p.m.
Lisa called 911, right away.
“The fire department was here in five minutes, and the fire was out in less than 10 minutes,” she said.
The Skierkis live in Timber Oaks on Van Zandt County Road 2809, 4.2 miles north of Mabank.


City asks Mabank HS students to design website
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY–Lauded as his best idea yet, Councilman Marty Goss proposed Gun Barrel City award a $1,000 scholarship to the Mabank High School student who designs a winning website for the city.
“It can include links to every business in the city,” Goss added.
“I think this is an excellent idea, the best you’ve had,” Patsy Black responded.
“Yes, I think a website is very important to the city,” Mayor Paul Eaton said.
The council unanimously agreed to form a contest committee, recruiting one or two representatives from the school savvy in computer technology, along with council members Goss and James Jacobs, and one or two other individuals, during Tuesday’s meeting.
Goss agreed to head up the committee, which would set criteria for the website and rules of the competition.
Each contestant will present his design. The winning designer is expected to give city personnel a quick lesson in how to operate and maintain the site, it was discussed.
“Submissions will have to be made before the school year ends,” Goss noted.
The prize money is to come from the Hotel-Motel Fund, according to the motion.
“$1,000 may not be a lot, but at least it can help pay for books and incidentals,” Goss said.
Since incumbents are running unopposed, it is expected the May 13 council election will be cancelled.
City Secretary Christy Eckerman proposed funds budgeted for this year’s election, including pay for election judges and clerks, be used to purchase one eSlate voting machine, and also set aside a corresponding amount to purchase a second unit next year.
She had hoped to buy a less-expensive AutoMark machine, but later learned the maker will service only those 148 counties which purchased from it, Henderson County not being one of them, council members heard.
It was noted although the county was given a federal grant with which to purchase its machines, it was renting them to cities and school districts for $100 per day. A minimum of two machines for early voting and election day, brings the total to $1,400, she explained.
The council approved the purchase of one eSlate machine this year.