Odd Ends

Attorney Shelton sues Morning News for libel

Your regular Buzz correspondent is back from a week's vacation, rested and ready to tackle weighty issues, provide pithy commen...OH, DEAR GOD, WILL SOMEONE PLEASE SHUT THAT KID UP!

So sorry. It's Election Day, four days after deadline--when Buzz usually starts writing--and half a block down the street, outside Ron Kirk's Senate campaign offices, the last-minute get-out-the-vote effort is on. Part of that effort consists of an ironed-lunged youth attempting to persuade passing motorists to vote for Kirk by shouting a concise, thoughtful political argument. "Ron Kirk! WOOO!" he goes. And, "Ron Kirk! WOOO!" he goes again.

Repeat that 4,000 times.

To the kid's credit, he's at least as persuasive as any political ad we've seen this mean season, and Buzz has to admire his stamina, if for no other reason than that our office windows don't open, and we don't think we could chuck a shoe that far even if they did.

So now, three Very Bad cigarettes (WOOO!), two sticks of nicotine (WOOO!) gum and two aspirins later, Buzz is expected to (WOOO!) make with the funny.

Don't get your hopes up, we say, though we suspect our regular readers already know that. So it's fortuitous that this week we're writing about a libel lawsuit and a shotgun murder. (Bet you'd never have guessed that from our opening paragraphs. We come not to write the lead, but to bury it.) Aaaaanyway...since we have had enough experience with the former and want none of the latter, we'll keep the jokes to a minimum.

Here's the deal. Attorney Catherine Shelton, identified by police and prosecutors as a suspect in a December 1999 shotgun slaying in Rowlett--a crime for which her estranged husband was convicted--is suing The Dallas Morning News, two of its reporters and a Rowlett police officer for libel. Stories the News printed in 2001 named Shelton as a suspect in the attack, which left one of Shelton's former employees wounded and the employee's husband dead.

So the News called her a suspect. Didn't everybody? Shelton has a troubled history that includes shooting an ex-boyfriend. She is, we believe, not well-regarded among some at the courthouse. (That sentence tastes just like chicken, doesn't it?) The Dallas Observerhas published several stories on Shelton. So why pick on the News?

Here's one reason: "'We're looking forward to indicting [Ms. Shelton] and prosecuting her because she's responsible,'" the News quoted Rowlett police Lieutenant David Nabors in a December 23, 2001, article.

"That's not saying she's a suspect," says Shelton's lawyer James M. Murphy. That's saying she did it, and to date, Shelton has never been charged, let alone convicted in the murder.

A late call to a spokesman for Belo Corp., the News' owner, was not returned by deadline.

 
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