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San Jacinto, continued from page 13 In late June 2003, the new guard’s crusade to purify the county hit a snag. Jenny Vaughn, assistant to County Judge Bill Law, found what was initially described as child pornography on his office computer. It later turned out to be adult gay porn, which, to some in the county, is almost as bad. Vaughn told a county constable, Jerry Everitt, what she’d found. Everitt called in a DPS computer investigator named Arnie Briscoe, whose search of the computer turned up more than a dozen photos of naked men. Briscoe also found chatroom discussions on the computer between someone with the screen name “notsowild2001” and an unidentified man in Houston. They described in detail what they wanted to do to each other and even arranged a meeting. Law has maintained from the beginning that he had nothing to do with the porn on the computer. Law told me that his computer was networked with others in the courthouse and that the system had no firewall. Anyone could have put the porn on his computer, he says. Price and fellow new guard members took Law’s side. They refuse to believe that the judge could be gay or that he’d put the pornography on his office computer. Before the DPS investigation was complete, Price took child porn charges against Law before a county grand jury, which declined to indict the county judge because there was no child porn on the computer. With Law cleared for the moment, Price decided to pursue who he thought were the real culprits. In August 2003, he filed a civil RICO lawsuit against four members of the old guardincluding Vaughn, Jerry Everitt, and his wife, Charlene Everitt, the county treasurerand six unnamed co-conspirators for plotting to plant the pornography on Law’s computer. Price theorized that the old guard wanted to frame Law to prevent the county judge from exposing further corruption. His conspiracy theory went like this: He alleged that Vaughn passed messages to her fellow conspirators through notes she left in a courthouse office candy jar for Randy Ellisor, a justice of the peace \(and relative of dence of this, except that Vaughn had left Randy Ellisor a note in his candy jar the day she discovered the pornography. \(Folks around Coldspring, though, have taken to calling Randy Ellisor the a deposition that he didn’t name the six co-conspirators in the RICO suit because he didn’t actually know who they were but figured the complexity of the plot required at least 10 people. “I believed that discovery would fill in all the blanks,” Price told me. While civil attorneys sometimes use that strategy, it’s not exactly textbook prosecutorial procedure. And it sent the county into a tizzy. “Nobody knew who the six [unnamed co-conspirators] were,” says Greg MaGee, an attorney, justice of the peace, and member of the old guard. “You had people scrambling talking to attorneys because everybody knew that if you were on [our] side of the [dispute], you might be involved.” The evidence of the conspiracy that Price hoped to prove never materialized, and a judge threw out the RICO suit. Price still defends the case. Adding to the bitternessas if it needed adding tothe DA began to utilize a littleknown clause in the civil code that allows incompetent elected officials to be removed from office. He filed civil suits against both Jerry and Charlene Everitt to force them from their positions. Old timers in the county came to believe that Price was a rogue DA who was out to get themunless they got him first. In 1996, Lou Rogers retired from the Harris County sheriff’s department and moved from Houston to San Jacinto County. He was soon elected one of the county’s four constables. When he’s not writing traffic tickets, Rogers and his wife operate Elaine’s restaurant, a block from the courthouse in Coldspring. The restaurant is the gathering place for the new guard. When I met Rogers there for an interview on a mid-January evening, two other pillars of the new guard joined him: retired oil company executive Herman Sieck and retired Houston investor Bob Boring. In this group, conspiracy theories, some real and more than a few imagined, are bandied about and chewed over the way other groups of men talk about war stories or great football games. Before long, Mark Price and Bill Law also arrived to eat dinner prior to the regular Republican club meeting that night \(Though Rogers and Law were elected as Democrats, they attend some county GOP events, and the Republican club The new guard, and Rogers especially, feel they are victims of persecution. In January 2004, a new county grand jury convened under the auspices of district judge Elizabeth Coker. The grand jury soon re-indicted Bill Law on new charges of misuse of government property and also indicted Mark Price for allegedly falsifying state budget documents. Rogers has little doubt why Price was indicted, “[Price] will prosecute a public official and he did , and he got his you-know-whats in a vise for it.” The grand jury later charged Rogers and his best friend, county commissioner Joe Johnson, for destruction of property and for a civil rights violation after they destroyed a black woman’s broken down trailer home while trying to move it off a county road. Price stepped aside from the cases, and two special prosecutors were brought in from neighboring counties. The grand jury indicted the four men, all of the new guard, on a total of 17 counts. Rogers couldn’t help but notice that nearly all the members of the grand jury were affiliated with the old guard, as was Judge Coker. His conclusion was that his enemies had stacked the grand jury and were trying to run the new guard out of the county. \(Rogers says that Charlene Everitt, county treasurer, displays his mug shot on her desk in the courthouse. When I told him that I had interviewed Charlene and hadn’t seen his mug shot on her desk, only Bible quotes, Rogers and his wife dismissed it. She must have taken down the photo 18 THE TEXAS OBSERVER FEBRUARY 10, 2006