A day in the life Rio Grande City Dist. Atty. Arnulfo Guerra and Asst. D.A. Glenn Ramey spent Friday, Feb. 6, at the first bond revocation hearing in the history of Starr County. Manuel Lionel Ramos, Jr., was accused of violating the rules of his probation, and the prosecutors decided to make an example out of him. There was a Manges involved in the story, as there often is in your better South Texas dramas. Ramos and his father lease some ranchland near Falcdn from Don Manges, a brother of Clinton Manges, “the mysterious South Texas rancher banker” who lives up north in Duval County. Ramos was accused of beating up Esteban Olivares, who works for Don Manges and lives on the Manges’ ranch. Mrs. Olivares works for Mrs. Betty Manges, and Mrs. Manges told the Observer that she talked Olivares into filing a complaint against Ramos. A probation hearing would not seem to be such a big deal, but Guerra said that the action against Ramos had stirred up a hornet’s nest. Starr County is on the Mexican border and in the past five years it has become a very violent place because of the high volume of drug smuggling along the border, the D.A. explained. The prosecutor’s staff is very small, and they don’t often have the wherewithal to challenge the big dealers. Guerra said he has received many threats against his life \(some because of his work in “People keep telling me not to sit in front of my window,” he said during an interview in his office. This particular week, people in his office had received threats with regard to the probation hearing and a murder case tried two days earlier. There also were allegations that people interested in keeping Ramos out of jail \(he’s to testify. Judge Joe Evans of Edinburg, who was presiding at the hearing, called Ranger Ray Martinez down from Duval County to check out the bribery attempts. \(Martinez was the man who climbed up on the University of Texas Tower on Aug. 1, 1966, and killed Some of the defense witnesses have been charged in conjunction with a big marijuana haul up near Laredo. They spend some time hanging out at the Circle R Store on Old Highway 183 near Falcon Heights. That’s where Ramos allegedly got into a fight with Olivares, out near The legal score When Floyd returned home, he found the body of his 22-year-old son Buddy lying in the driveway beside the family car. Buddy had been shot in the head with Mario Sapet’.s gun. Sapet and Alfredo Cervantes, who turned out to be the actual gunman, were sent to prison. Alaniz was tried for his part in the killing, but a Waco jury found him not guilty. The jury reasoned that Alaniz had cleared himself by warning Floyd of the plot. What remains unclear to this day was whether the plot was actually to kill Floyd or to kill his son. Cervantes was reported to have complained that he had killed the wrong man and that the people who hired him refused to pay his fee. But then, Buddy Floyd could have been intentionally murdered. That’s history now. Alaniz for many years has specialized in criminal defense work. District Attorney Guerra says he is a highly competent attorney who would make a much better D.A. than would Pancho Cerda from Hebbronville. The Duval County candidates this year are a very mixed lot. Walter Meek, county auditor and one of the few county officials who has not been accused of any wrongdoing, said, “We’ve got people running for county judge who don’t have enough sense to run their own household.” Archer Parr’s sister, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, is a candidate for Duval County Democratic chairperson. Mrs. Ellis calls herself a “bruja,” a witch. She says she can put hexes on people and give them the evil eye. A couple of years ago she delivered a funeral wreath to the family of 0. P. Carrillo, although no one in the family had died. This was considered to be in the nature of a hex. Joe Coudert, who covers the Duval County beat for the Corpus daily, said that Mrs. Ellis once threatened him with a hex. Coudert said the hex was supposed to make him impotent, but he’s happy to say that it didn’t work. It’s much too early to speculate on which faction, if any, might come out ahead in the May Democratic primary. One thing that seems certain, though, is that no one person will ever again rule the county the way the Parrs did. Ernie Glossbrenner told the Observer that the county seems “a lot more open than before. The word I hear is that folks aren’t afraid of talking to one another like they used to be. There seems to be a feeling that the people of Duval don’t need a patron any more, that the citizens can take county government into their own hands now.” K.N. wolf 41111 .0111 +NIP ….., 4411101 44411 44b 1N17 ide 111111 ‘NV. 4 The Texas Observer Rio Grande City Since Arnulfo Guerra of Roma became district attorney for Duval, Jim Hogg, and Starr counties in December of 1974, he’s been busier than a cat scratchin’ fleas. There had not been a district attorney in this part of South Texas for more than a year. Randall Nye resigned and “the governor just didn’t appoint anyone to take his place,” Guerra said. Guerra, an attorney who owns a small newspaper in Roma, was chosen district attorney in a special election in the spring of 1974. So when Guerra set up shop in his leaky second floor office in the Starr County Courthouse, he had a hefty backlog of work staring him in the face. Guerra said he spent two months getting his office organized. Then he turned his attention to the Duval County situation. The D.A. said that Joe Coudert’s and Bones Pearson’s articles in The Corpus Christi Caller and some of the paper’s editorials were instrumental in pushing him into the muddy waters of Duval government. “I was convinced that something should be done,” Guerra said. “Duval County was an area that was controlled by a political machinejust like the political machines up in the East. The principle is that the government is supposed to serve a few and the way to accomplish this is to dispense a little of the money. This is combined with an iron grip on all agencies of the local government which deal with justicefrom the lowest judicial officer, the justice of the peace, to the highest position in the county, the distruct judgeship. After so many years of a death grip on the offices, those who want to fight are forced to leave the area or are reduced to bystanders simply because they aren’t big enough to fight the system.” Guerra’s first step was to subpoena records from the various government entitiesthe water district, the Benavides Independent School District, and the county itself. “The investigation ran into difficulty, mainly the lack of sufficient expertise on the part of the grand jury and my staff,” Guerra said. “We had to go into a massive amount of records. And there was reluctance on the part of some officials to cooperate in any way with the investigation.” Guerra said that the Parr-controlled county commissioners court wouldn’t ap
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