Investigators Release Possible Homicide Motive - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/24/04

Investigators Release Possible Homicide Motive

New information has come to light in a homicide investigation in Hockley County. The sheriff's department is confirming a possible motive, of revenge. Authorities tell NewsChannel 11 the suspect says he killed a homeless man named "Roy" who allegedly sexually assaulted his friend 11 years ago. He then buried the body in a Fairview field.

Officials have been excavating a site where the suspect says he buried the man, but so far they've turned up nothing. The sheriff's office is ready to call off searching at the current site. Chief Investigator, Gordon Bohannon says, "We've got some other options working right now to try to get a better location." When asked what those options are, he said, "Get ahold of the person that came forward and see if they've recollected anything else."

In the meantime, all the chaos and intrigue that surround the eleven year-old homicide case have descended on the otherwise quiet town of Levelland. NewsChannel 11 took the opportunity to visit with some long-time residents and gauge their reaction to such a stir in their town.

Typical of the town's laid back pace, they are willing to wait for some hard evidence before they jump to conclusions about an alleged homicide that happened over a decade ago. Levelland resident, John Hartin says, "If it really did happen, of course it's frightening."

John has called Levelland home since 1975 and Lonnie Joe Howell's connections go back 30 years. Lonnie says, "I think life just goes on and you make adjustments that apply to your life and everybody just needs to have a bigger sense of awareness these days."

So far, much of the homicide investigation has centered on an otherwise empty field southwest of town. Since investigators have turned up nothing though, townspeople aren't sure what to think. John says, "I don't think anyone really has any definite info, so I don't have much of a reaction I guess. It's just really surprising." Lonnie adds, "I don't think there's anything to react to at this point."

A Levelland resident for 79 years, Roberta Thomman, or 'Bill' as her friends call her, believes the homicide probably did happen years ago and she has a theory about why it's just surfacing now. She says, "I think it's human nature to regret what you've done and probably it really happened and probably the young man who did it wanted to straighten it out." Roberta says she's not surprised a murder could have happened in Levelland. She says human nature is the same all over the world and Levelland is no exception.

Now she and her fellow townspeople are just going to wait and see what the sheriff's department turns up.

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