By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
One of the problems with publishing a weekly newspaper is that the stories we bring you continue to develop long after we publish them. Time and space seldom allow us to provide updates, so as a new year commences, we thought we'd pause to bring you the latest chapters to some of the bigger stories published over the past several months by the Dallas Observer. The original stories are available in our archives on the Internet at www.dallasobserver.com.
Donato Garcia and Leonard Mitchell both were arrested more than a year and a half ago by Dallas police on a charge for which you can't be arrested, according to state law--failure to identify yourself. (See "Contempt of Cop," September 7, 2000; "Hell is a Nuisance," October 26, 2000; and "Dallas' Kangaroo Court," December 14, 2000.) Even though the Dallas city attorney has issued repeated advisories over the years telling the cops not to do it, the police continue to arrest people for failure to i.d. because it's a handy way to handle folks who make the police mad without otherwise breaking any law. Most of these cases get lost or ground into dust in the legal mill, but Garcia and Mitchell, the two who wouldn't go away, have hung in there and are still looking for satisfaction. Their attorney David Davis says he will file federal lawsuits against the city within the next few weeks on behalf of Garcia and Mitchell, arguing that the city has continued to allow and even encourage cops to make what they know are dirty arrests.
It took Kim Sullivan ("Deadbeating the System," October 11, 2001) eight years of prodding to get the Texas attorney general's Child Support Division to go after her ex-husband Jimmy Joe Heimann in an effort to retrieve more than $40,000 in back child support. Finally, after court delays, bureaucratic bungling and some serious obfuscation on the part of Heimann, the law nabbed him and tossed his recalcitrant keister in the slammer on a child support warrant. Just as Sullivan thought she was about to get some justice and perhaps a little support for her two girls, she has been thwarted by a system that has no meaningful remedy for parents who refuse or can't pay. It took three court dates and as many weeks before Heimann was finally sentenced to six months in jail. A merciful Sullivan consented to allow him work release, that is, if he could find work. Jail officials told Sullivan that Heimann has recently secured employment, but she has yet to receive a nickel in support.
It's been a year since the Dotcomguy left his dotcompound and even longer since we wrote about the publicity stunt by the man formerly known as Mitch Maddox--a guy who could take charisma lessons from Bill Gates ("Cyber Bore," May 11, 2000). His social experiment--which kept him video-streamed and closeted inside his digital digs for a year--ended on January 1, as did his career as the harbinger of a new age of e-commerce. Although promised $100,000 by sponsors if he exposed his every mundane movement to a plethora of Web cams 24/7, he received no money at the end of his not-so-solitary confinement. His company Dotcomguy Inc. had expenses to pay, and then there was some pending litigation that had to be dealt with. Anyway, Dotcomguy did get something for his 15 minutes: a fiancee, whom he met and mated online during one of his interminable chat sessions. Dotcomguy.com is no longer a viable domain, although Maddox is trying to stage a comeback with a new Web address: www.DotComGuy.ws. But with so many dot-coms down and out, the Dotcomguy brand just ain't what it used to be.
Death takes no holiday
In Ciudad Juarez, a sprawling Mexican border city of 1.3 million, 66 young women, most of whom worked in U.S.-owned factories on the edge of town, have been murdered during the past eight years ("The Angel of Juarez," January 4, 2001). The killing continues even now.
For a time, the death count stopped following the arrests of Egypt-born Abdel Latif Sharif, several gang members and five local bus drivers who were supposedly being paid by the imprisoned chemist/engineer to continue the murder spree he had allegedly begun. The men confessed to 20 kidnap-murders.
Additionally, Dallas authorities arrested Jose Juarez Rosales, 24, who was a suspect in several of the cases, and in February deported him to Mexico where he was charged with a 1996 slaying.
Then, in November, Juarez officials found the remains of eight more women buried in shallow desert graves on the outskirts of the city. Two bus drivers were arrested and confessed to the crimes, only to recant, insisting they had been severely beaten during their interrogations.
Just days after their arrests, the body of a ninth recently murdered victim was discovered, leading local authorities to again fear that a serial killer was roaming the border city's streets.
And again local women's rights advocate Esther Chavez spoke out: "The authorities lack investigative skill, and they lack interest," she said. "How many times will they assure us they have those responsible in custody?"
Mexican President Vicente Fox has also begun to wonder. He announced in mid-December that he was ordering federal authorities to take over the murder investigation from the Chihuahua and Juarez police and seek the assistance of U.S. FBI officials.