Cold Case and Fugitive Apprehensions Harris County District by alicejenny


									         Cold Case and Fugitive Apprehensions                                                  News from the District
                                                                                               Attorney’s Office

                                                                                               Volume 2 Issue 2

                                                                                               Winter 2011
                             actively searching for        capital murder
     he apprehension
                             them and aiding other         defendants either fled
     and arrest on
                             law enforcement               from justice or had never
November 3, 2011 of                                                                              Inside this issue:
                             agencies with support         been arrested. Then DA
Silvestre Cortez Romero,
                             and information. For          Investigator Chuck
wanted for the 1990
                             years, fugitives accused      Lowery searches public
murder of Nivar Romero,                                                                        ADA Townsend Honored      2
                             of violent crimes were        databases, confirming
marked the fifth arrest in
                             not actively sought by        and entering additional             Kleindienst: 100 Club     3
six weeks for the Harris
                             the office; prosecutors       information, and                    ‘Officer of the Year’
County District
                             relied solely on law          scrutinizing records to
Attorney’s Office Cold                                                                         DAO Honored for Work      4
                             enforcement to locate         locate the fugitives.               on Cold Cases and
Case Fugitive                                                                                  Fugitive Apprehension
                             and arrest fugitive           Approximately 45 cases
Apprehension (CCFA)
                             felons.                       have been resolved since
Section an initiative                                                                          Record numbers of         5
                                                           the section was formed,             interns for the DAO
implemented by DA
                             The CCFA Section’s            including more than 20
Lykos when she took                                                                            Celebrate Crime Free
                             primary focus is on           defendants arrested and                                       6
office in January 2009.                                                                        Holidays
                             murder cases—some             returned to Harris
                             dating back to the 1970s.     County on murder and                FCLD: Assisting Victims   8
The section’s goal is to                                                                       and the community
                             A prosecutor gathers,         capital murder warrants.
capture criminals who
                             collects, and reviews files
have avoided justice by                                         (Continued on page 4…)
                             in which murder and

                                       monitoring software to highlight        Computer Cop is internet
 Two New Initiatives
                                       Crime Prevention Month.                 monitoring software designed to
 Launched for Crime                                                            protect young people from cyber
                                       The District Attorney’s Most            predators. It arms parents with a
 Prevention Month                      Wanted list is posted on the            tool to monitor potentially
                                       district attorney’s office website      dangerous Internet activity.

 I  n October Harris County
    District Attorney Pat Lykos
 announced the office’s launch of
                                       to alert the public to dangerous
                                       felons and ask them to contact
                                       authorities with any information
                                                                               Parents can use the software to
                                                                               monitor images, emails, instant
                                                                               messages and chats. It also has a
 the District Attorney’s Most          that may assist in tracking down        function where parents can
 Wanted list and the release of        fugitives and bring them to             search for specific key words they
 Computer Cop internet                 justice.                                (Continued on page 2 …)
Page 2
                                   News from the District Attorney’s Office

                                                sentence be upheld.                    Officer Tim Abernethy was
           ADA Townsend                         Townsend was presented the             murdered during a foot
             Honored for                        award by Abernethy’s wife,             pursuit when Landor fled
                                                Stephanie.                             following a traffic stop. Officer
           Appellate Work                                                              Abernethy chased him into an
          on Cop Killer Case                    “I am shocked and flattered to         apartment complex, and then
                                                be honored by HPOU,” said              Landor hid behind a gate

                                                Townsend. “When defending              before shooting Abernethy in
                arris County Assistant
                                                cases on appeal, you aren’t the        the torso and in the head.
                District Attorney
                                                ‘face’ of the trial case. Most         Officer Abernethy was an 11-
                Michelle Townsend was
                                                appellate work is behind the           year HPD veteran.
         honored recently by the
                                                scenes. It was an honor to
         Houston Police Officers’
                                                have the appeal assigned to me         Townsend has been with the
         Union for her work
                                                and an even greater honor to           Harris County District
         representing the state of Texas
                                                argue on behalf of Officer             Attorney’s Office for six years.
         during the appeal of Mabry
                                                Abernethy and the state of             Before working in the
         Landor III. Landor was
                                                Texas. I am overwhelmed to             Appellate Division she worked
         sentenced to death in 2010 for
                                                be recognized for my work.”            in the Family Criminal Law
         the brutal murder of Houston
                                                                                       Division of the Trial Bureau, as
         Police Officer Timothy                 Townsend wrote a legal brief           Section Chief of the
         Abernethy. The award                   and argued the case in front of        Misdemeanor Division and as
         recognized her outstanding             the Texas Court of Criminal            a felony court prosecutor. 
         work before the Texas Court            Appeals in January. The court
         of Criminal Appeals, asking            affirmed the conviction and
         that the conviction and                death sentence this summer.

         (Continued from page 1 … Two New       criminals, pedophiles and devious
         Initiatives)                           con artists,” said District Attorney
                                                Pat Lykos. “Whether you are
     may be concerned about. The
                                                online or on-the-loose we will get
     software is easy to install and it’s
     free from the district attorney’s
     office.                                    To view the District Attorney’s
                                                Most Wanted go to
     “These projects enlist cyber
     technology, the community and
                                                click on the Most Wanted tab. To
     law enforcement in a unified                                                      contact the district attorney’s
                                                request copies of Computer Cop
     strategy to guard against child                                                   office at (713) 755-5800. 
                                                for your organization or group,
     predators and to capture violent
Volume 2 Issue 2                                                                                          Page 3

                                  all the agencies – county, state,   obstacles to make the unusual
   Harris County                  federal and foreign – working       search successful.
 District Attorney’s              together to bring this
                                  ‘monster’ to justice. But for       Upon return, State District
 Office Investigator              John’s efforts, this guy might      Judge Kevin Fine sentenced
  John Kleindienst                still be running from the law.”     Castleberry to the maximum of
                                                                      two life sentences and two 20-
 Named “Officer of                “It is a true honor to be           year prison terms, all to be
the Year” by The 100              recognized by The 100 Club,         served consecutively for the
                                  one of the most respected law       sexual assaults of under-aged
         Club                     enforcement support groups. I       girls. Testimony showed he
                                  am very proud of what we            had performed sexual acts on
   Commended for efforts in       were able to accomplish in          at least seven girls, some of
  tracking down a serial child    bringing Castleberry back to        them relatives and family
           predator               Harris County to face his fate,”    friends as young as five, in
                                  said Kleindienst. “Without          assaults spanning a period of

E    arlier this year Harris      help from several law               more than 10 years.
     County District              enforcement agencies, we
                                  couldn’t have done it. I am         The District Attorney’s Office
Attorney’s Office Investigator
                                  very proud to be recognized         would like to thank the
John Kleindienst was named
                                  for this extraordinary team         following agencies for their
“Officer of the Year” by The
                                  effort.”                            steadfast cooperation in
100 Club for his leadership and
                                                                      bringing Castleberry to justice:
coordination of a major
                                  The search for Castleberry          Harris County Sheriff’s Office,
manhunt resulting in the
                                  began in Kuwait and                 US Marshal’s Office, US
capture of fugitive Darren Ray
                                  continued through Armenia           Department of Defense, US
Castleberry, a serial child
                                  and Uzbekistan before he was        Department of State, the Los
                                  arrested in Thailand.               Angeles County District
Four years ago, authorities       Castleberry was working as a        Attorney’s Office and Sheriff’s
feared that Castleberry may       foreign contactor in Kuwait         Office, the Texas Governor’s
have escaped responsibility for   when he learned of the Harris       Office and the governments of
his crimes. Harris County         County warrants for his arrest      Kuwait and Thailand.
District Attorney Patricia        in 2006. He vanished as a
                                  fugitive, with Kleindienst          DA Investigator Kleindienst
Lykos credits the tenacity and
                                  working doggedly in                 has served the Harris County
skill of Investigator
                                  coordination with diplomats         District Attorney’s office for 10
Kleindienst with the successful
                                  and diverse international           years. He continues to track
effort. “If you saw this on a
                                  agencies to pick up the trail,      down fugitives wanted for
television program, you just
                                  half a world away. He, and the      major crimes against Harris
would not believe it,” District
                                  agencies with which he              County. 
Attorney Lykos said. “But it is
truly incredible to have seen     coordinated, confronted —
                                  and overcame — enormous
Page 4                              News from the District Attorney’s Office

                                                                     performance awards for their outstanding efforts in
          DA’s Office Honored for Work on                            investigating, locating and prosecuting cold case
                     Cold Cases                                      fugitives. DA Investigator Chuck Lowery and
                                                                     Extradition Administrator Kim Bryant received
            and Fugitive Apprehension                                individual special recognition awards.

                                                                     “Judge Lykos and her Cold Case Section are an
                                                                     invaluable part of the Gulf Coast Violent Offender
                                                                     Fugitive Task Force,” said U.S. Marshal Elizabeth
                                                                     Saenz. “The members of her team will never stop,
                                                                     never rest until justice is served. The goal is to
                                                                     successfully track down and arrest the most serious
                                                                     offenders. Through our partnership with the
                                                                     district attorney’s office we are sending a message to
                                                                     violent fugitives: you can run, but you can’t hide.”

                                                                     Other members of the Gulf Coast Violent Offender
                                                                     Fugitive Task Force include Harris County Sheriff’s
              DA Lykos, Elizabeth Saenz, Kim Bryant, Chuck Lowery
                                                                     Office, Houston Police Department, Precinct 4
                                                                     Constable’s Office, Crime Stoppers, Galveston
                                                                     County Sheriff’s Office, Montgomery County
         District Attorney Patricia Lykos and her office’s
                                                                     Sheriff’s Office, Texas Department of Criminal
         Cold Case Fugitive Apprehension Section were
                                                                     Justice Office of the Inspector General, and Texas
         recently honored by the U.S. Marshal’s Gulf Coast
                                                                     Department of Public Safety. ■
         Violent Offender Fugitive Task Force with

         (Continued from page 1 … CCFA)            Plains, Montana with assistance      wanted for a 1981 stabbing murder,
                                                   from the U.S. Marshals Office.       and Reginald Sharp wanted for a
     Lykos credits the hard work of                Investigator Lowery located          1984 capital murder in which an
     investigator Lowery and                       Gonzales in Montana and directed     auto parts store employee was
     Extradition Administrator Kim                 US Marshals to his whereabouts to    robbed and murdered.
     Bryant for the successful return of           make the arrest. Gonzales had
     the five dangerous felons.                    been living under another name       The CCFA Section is a member of
                                                   for several years.                   the Gulf Coast Violent Offender
     Silvestre Cortez Romero had been                                                   Fugitive Task Force and
     running from the law for almost 22            Epifaneo Jaimes Arroyo, a fugitive   coordinates with various law
     years when he was arrested by                 in a 1980 murder, was arrested in    enforcement agencies across the
     U.S. Marshalls. He is currently in            Gwinnett County, Georgia on          country. The District Attorney
     custody in California awaiting                October 20. He successfully eluded   congratulates members of the US
     extradition to Harris County.                 authorities for over three decades   Marshals Office and officers from
                                                   before being tracked down by         the Houston Police Department
     Lowery and Bryant also                        Lowery and Bryant.                   who assisted in the fugitives’
     coordinated the arrest of David                                                    arrests and capture. ■
     Gonzales, a fugitive on the lam for           In September, the CCFA Section
     murder for nearly 30 years, in                apprehended Alfredo Gomez,
Volume 2 Issue 2                                                                                                        Page 5

                                       experience in a big city DA’s           came through the program.”
 Record numbers of                     office that sets standards for
                                       other offices across the country.”      Interns are required to work 40
 interns for the DAO                                                           hours per week during the
                                       This year the office’s recruitment      Summer intern program and 10

T    he Harris County District
     Attorney’s Office once again
had a record number of
                                       outreach expanded to all Texas
                                       law schools and several Louisiana
                                       law schools. The HCDAO also
                                                                               hours per week in the Fall
                                                                               program. While preference is
                                                                               given to current law students,
participants in the office’s           participates in active minority         some participants are graduated
internship program—more than           recruitment through a                   students awaiting bar results and
100 students in each of the            partnership with the Houston Bar        others are lawyers who are
Summer and Fall semesters.             Association and Milligan attends        looking to make a career change
                                       career fairs in cities such as Dallas   into the field of prosecuting
“Participants are attracted to the     to meet with out of state               cases. Applicants come from
program to gain a variety of           applicants.                             every grade level of law school
perspectives, try new divisions                                                with broad diversity in their
and enhance their chances of           Milligan personally interviews all      undergraduate degrees.
employment after law school,”          applicants and applauds District
said Program Coordinator Jessica       Attorney Lykos for making the           Interns serve the office as unpaid
Milligan, an Assistant District        program a priority. “This               volunteers assisting prosecutors,
Attorney in the General Litigation     administration sees how                 investigators and staff in more
Division. She also said applicants     important the program is and            than 27 DAO sections and
are attracted to the office “to gain   dedicates resources so it can be        divisions. ■
                                       successful. Many current ADA’s

                                          multiple prescriptions for the          Cockfighting. Attending a
 New Offenses in 2011                     same drug from different                cockfight is a Class C
                                          doctors, often called “doctor           misdemeanor for the first
   Discarding burning materials or        shopping.” The penalty ranges           offense; a Class A misdemeanor
   litter onto a road or highway.         from a Class A misdemeanor to a         for any subsequent attending;
   This applies to burning                2nd degree Felony. Health &             causing a cockfight or
   cigarettes and matches where a         Safety Code § 481.129(a-1).             participating in the earnings of
   fire is started and is very                                                    a cockfight is a State Jail Felony.
                                          Violation of a protective order
   important in this period of                                                    Penal Code § 42.105.
                                          or bond condition by harming,
   drought in Texas. Penalty is up
                                          threatening, or interfering with        Erecting an off-premise sign on
   to 30 days in jail and/or a fine
                                          the care, custody or control of a       a rural road without a license.
   up to $500. Health & Safety
                                          pet, companion animal or                The penalty is $500 to $1,000 per
   Code § 365.012(a-1).
                                          assistance animal. The penalty          day. Transportation Code §
   Possession of synthetic                is a Class A misdemeanor for            394.0201.
   marijuana (K2, Spice, etc.).           first offense. Penal Code § 25.07
                                                                                  Using, installing, operating,
   Penalty depends on the amount,         (a)(5).
   ranging from a Class B                                                         buying or selling a radar
                                          Using or claiming to hold a             interference device. This is a
   misdemeanor to Life in prison.
                                          fraudulent military record. The         Class C misdemeanor.
   Health & Safety Code § 481.1161.
                                          offense is a Class C
                                                                                  Transportation Code § 547.616.
   Obtaining a controlled substance       misdemeanor. Penal Code §
   when it is not medically               32.54.                               This is not an exhaustive list of all
   necessary, including obtaining
                                                                               the new laws passed in 2011. 
                           News from the District Attorney’s Office
Page 6

                      Celebrate Crime-Free Holidays — Here’s How:

         Too many sad court cases confirm the obvious from years past: crooks won’t be taking a break
         during the upcoming holidays. To the contrary, this approaching season of thanksgiving, fun
         and family celebration is also a peak period for criminal activity.

         The District Attorney’s Office has specialty divisions and sections — Identity Theft, Consumer
         Protection, Check Fraud, Vehicular Crimes, Victims’ Rights, Crimes Against Children and Child
         Exploitation, to name a few — that will be on full alert to assist you with investigations and

         However, crime prevention is always the top priority for our community. Here are some of the
         best ways to avoid having your holiday enjoyment ruined by becoming the victim of a crime:

         Foremost, use common sense and stay aware. This will be another season of shopping malls
         and main traffic arteries surging to capacity and beyond. Ordinary safety and caution can be
         overwhelmed by the added crowds, pressures and distractions of the holidays. Careless missteps
         make prime targets for criminals.

            If possible, bring along a friend or relative rather than shopping alone.
            Daytime shopping is best, but always stay aware of your surroundings for suspicious people.
            After dark, park only in lots that have good lighting and security. Park closer to the stores
            and try to park near a light post so you are near a visible, well-lit area.
            Don’t carry purses or wallets if you don’t absolutely need them. Keep them secure if you do
            take them.
            Avoid carrying large amounts of cash, and keep what you do take in your front pocket.
            In fitting rooms or dressing rooms, don’t leave your billfold, purse or handbag in any area
            that is accessible to others.
            If using a credit card, swipe it yourself. If salespeople say they need to enter it at another
            checkout point, follow them to that location and keep your card in sight.
            Don’t get impatient, and don’t let any pressure from others make you flustered during
            transactions. Check your receipts and change and merchandise, and make sure you leave
            with all your belongings.
             In online shopping, deal with established, reputable companies. If sale offers from unknown
            vendor sites seem unrealistically cheap, they could be come-ons to steal your credit-card and
            personal information.
Volume 2 Issue 2                                                                                      Page 7

(Continued from previous page)

    Only submit transaction information through protected, private links to the Internet. Don’t
    do it through the wireless communications or related links now offered in many commercial
    establishments or in common public areas.


    Only use ATM locations that are well lit and visible, or in secure places such as bank lobbies,
    where the likelihood of tampering will be lower.
    Have your ATM card and any additional documents (deposit slips, for example) accessible
    and ready for the transaction.
    Avoid any ATM with suspicious characters or activities. Don’t engage in talk with strangers
    or accept any offers of help. If those persist, cancel the transaction and leave.
    Obscure the keypad with one hand while you are entering your PIN, to reduce the chances
    of it being detected by others nearby, or by hidden cameras.
    Don’t linger around after the transaction, and don’t display or count your cash there. That
    can be done later, in safer areas.

    Always be sure to have your key or key fob out and accessible to get into your vehicle
    quickly. Be aware of your surroundings and any other people near you in the parking lot.
    Don’t keep gifts, packages or other valuables in your vehicle. If you have to travel with them,
    put them in the trunk or hide them from view.
    Allow extra travel time to reach your destination without speeding or reckless driving.
    Remember to expect heavier traffic and reduced parking availability during the holidays.
    If you go to parties or events that may involve alcohol, make smart, safe choices about
    transportation. Drink responsibly, or consider a designated driver, or cab, or other means of
    getting there and back safely. The District Attorney’s No Refusal program is deployed every
    weekend, as well as during many holiday periods to enforce DWI laws and get intoxicated
    drivers off the streets.

The falling rates for both violent and property offenses show that Harris County residents are
more aware and alert than ever in preventing crime and helping to protect our community. By
taking those same basic precautions, we can stay safe and still fully enjoy and appreciate the
blessings of the holiday season. ■
                                                      Upon taking the oath of office in 2009, I pledged to restore public trust and
                                                      confidence in the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. The dedicated
                                                      employees of the HCDAO have spent three years honoring that commitment.
                                                      We have worked hard to build a culture of integrity and excellence, while
                                                      vigorously prosecuting the guilty and protecting crime victims.
                                                      We’ve launched new initiatives, had our colleagues honored for their hard
                                                      work and seen more than 540,000 cases filed in the last year. We have
                      Patricia R. Lykos               created diversion programs for non-violent first offender juveniles and a
                      Harris County                   project to reduce DWI recidivism. We’ve also added several new sections to
                      District Attorney               the office to address specific crimes and worked with the Texas Legislature to
                                                      promote the passage of new laws to further protect the people of our county.
                                                      Harris County lifted a hiring freeze that had been in effect since 2009, allowing
                                                      us to hire more prosecutors to continue the pursuit of justice and ensure the
                                                      security of Harris County. We have the best job in the world--upholding the
1201 Franklin Street, Suite 600                       law for the benefit of the people. It is a profound responsibility, an honor and a
Houston, TX 77002                                     privilege.
Phone: 713.755.5800                                We never forget that we are trusted by the people of Harris County with the
                                                      responsibility of protecting our county from criminals. We respect the rule of
                                                      law and strive to always do the right thing.
                                                      To find out more about what the office is doing for Harris County, please visit
                                                      our website .

                            FCLD: Assisting victims and the community

     T    he Family Criminal Law             cooperation with the Houston Police           Humble send staff members to
          Division (FCLD) of the Harris      Department. Previously victims had            FCLD to provide education and
     County District Attorney’s Office is    to make separate trips to the                 direct services to domestic violence
     comprised of prosecutors, social        Houston Police Department to                  survivors.
     service staff, police officers and      initiate criminal investigations
                                                                                           Community services provided by
     support staff. Their primary focus is   against their abusers, and to the
                                                                                           FCLD can include assistance from
     to increase victim safety by            Criminal Justice Center to obtain the
                                                                                           police and prosecutors in filing
     prosecuting domestic violence           protective orders. Since 2009, the
                                             Houston Police Department has                 charges and gaining legal protection
     criminal cases, filing protective                                                     through the orders, crisis counseling
     orders and providing crisis and         assigned a family violence sergeant
                                                                                           and more. FCLD also works closely
     supportive counseling to victims.       to work out of the FCLD offices. The
                                             sergeant files criminal cases, assists        with social service agencies for
     Stopping the cycle of violence is a                                                   referrals for housing, job training,
                                             prosecutors with obtaining evidence
     priority of the section. FCLD                                                         divorce and custody, long-term
                                             for trials and participates in
     provides domestic violence training     numerous trainings.                           counseling and other services.
     and education to nearly 2,000                                                         FCLD social service staff provided
     people a year in the community          In addition to a continued
                                                                                           services to more than 6,000 people
     including police officers, judges,      partnership with the Houston Police
                                                                                           last year. The staffs’ time is
     prosecutors, nurses, social workers,    Department, FCLD collaborated
                                                                                           dedicated to protective order
     advocates, students and citizens to     with the Harris County Domestic
                                             Violence Coordinating Council to              interviews (50 percent of the time
     raise awareness of domestic                                                           devoted to complainants), criminal
     violence.                               establish the Harris County Family
                                                                                           case interviews (28 percent),
                                             Justice Center — a one-stop shop for
     The section has also made strides in    domestic violence crisis services             criminal case evaluations with no
     streamlining services for family                                                      interview (11 percent) and safety
                                             where social service community
     violence victims by accepting                                                         planning/other types of interviews
                                             agencies like Houston Area
     applications for protective orders at   Women’s Center, The Bridge in                 (11 percent). 
     the FCLD courthouse offices in          Pasadena and Family Time in

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