Sunday, August 29, 2010

I was wrong!!

On Friday I wrote a post about stupidity. I was wrong. This is article is about a man who transcended any previous record for stupidity. It cost him his life and two women their lives. This is from the Daily Sentinel in Nacogdoches, Texas.

3 Die in shooting

Two Nacogdoches County women and a man were fatally shot near their adjacent Appleby residences Friday in what officials are calling a double homicide-suicide.

The two women, Connie Moses, 58, a retired teacher, and Helen Meeler, 59, a retired surgery nurse at Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital, were discovered fatally shot in the front yard of their Appleby home in the 1700 block of CR 262, after an apparent dispute over a property line with their neighbor turned deadly, according to officials.

The neighbor, 73-year-old Preston Skelton, was found some time later in the woods near his home, dead from a self-inflicted gun shot wound, Nacogdoches County Sheriff Thomas Kerss said.

The two women and a hired male worker were in the process of constructing a fence along the disputed property line when the shooting began, Kerss said.

"The man was driving T-posts to construct the fence, which went across a driveway leading into Mr. Skelton's residence, when the man (the worker) said he was instructed (by Skelton) to drop the T-posts he had and the ladies were instructed to drop the T-posts they were holding," Kerss said. Skelton "raised the rifle and began shooting, at which point (the worker) fled into a wooded area on foot."

Skelton, likewise, fled into the woods and, following an hours-long search, was discovered dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, officials said.

Nacogdoches ISD school buses to that area, trains and traffic along CR 262 were all temporarily put on hold during the search, which enlisted the help of a Department of Public Safety helicopter and search dogs.

"Because we had concern that after the shooting, Preston had fled into a wooded area behind his residence ... we brought in the helicopter," Kerss said. "We found his body in the woods before the dog team was actually implemented, but the helicopter had already made it to the scene and we did use them to take some aerial footage."

Friday afternoon wasn't the first time sheriff's deputies had been dispatched to the area regarding the property dispute, Kerss said.

"We've responded to numerous calls for service ... over the past several months there, and the calls had intensified in the past few weeks," he said.

He said neither the women nor Skelton had any other ongoing land disputes he was aware of.

Kerss said authorities located a .22 caliber rifle Skelton used to shoot himself and the women in the woods.

As Nacogdoches County Sheriff's Office deputies, assisted by DPS Troopers and the Texas Rangers, examined the crime scenes, area residents gathered to console Jo Skelton, Preston's wife, who was not at home during the incident, according to neighbors.

Marla Porter, who lived just on the other side of the two women, with her grandparents, said she heard the call about her neighbors go over her police scanner and ran out of the house to see what had happened. She said she saw sheriff's deputy vehicles when she got into the street, but couldn't determine exactly what had transpired.

"It scared me completely," she said. "It just scared me to death. This is way too close to home."

Porter said the Skeltons had lived at their residence for about 10 years, but she was unaware of how long the two women had lived in their house. She did add that one of women had sold the Skeltons their land.

Kerss said his office will continue to conduct interviews regarding the incident into next week.

"This act was a sad, unnecessary ending to three lives," he said. "It is hard for any of us to understand how something this tragic could result from a dispute of this nature, and our hearts go out to the families of everyone involved."

Helen Meeler was my cousin.


At 10:56 AM, Anonymous Billy Shivers said...

Preston Skelton was a school mate of mine at Lufkin Central Ward school & Lufkin Jr. High.He was a normal person. Played ball & all the other things that age does. Never in a fight.There was about 10 of us boys that ran togeather and never any trouble.I have not seen Preston since Lufkin Jr. High.
Billy Shivers


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