- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 19, 2000

Texas rancher finds burning bodies

SAN ANTONIO A rancher investigating what he thought was a grass fire found three burning bodies beside a rural road in south Texas, police said yesterday.

Officers said the two men and a woman, wrapped in carpet, appeared to be murder victims who were killed elsewhere and their remains dumped in a remote area about 50 miles southwest of San Antonio.

The rancher, who spoke to reporters but refused to give his name, said he spotted the fire when he returned home early yesterday.

Drifter convicted of slaying girl, 13

DEL RIO, Texas A drifter who reportedly has confessed to a dozen slayings across the country was convicted yesterday of sexually assaulting and killing a 13-year-old girl last New Year's Eve.

Tommy Lynn Sells, 36, was convicted of capital murder and faces life in prison or lethal injection when he is sentenced.

Jurors listened to gripping testimony from a girl who also was attacked by Sells as she slept in the same room with Kaylene Harris but survived.

The girl, Krystal Surles, said she watched Sells slit the throat of Kaylene from the top of a bunk bed. She said Sells then cut her throat, and she waited for him to leave before seeking help.

Security guard killed in office shooting

SACRAMENTO, Calif. A man walked into a Social Security office yesterday and fatally shot a security guard, wounded a bystander and then surrendered to police.

Xioung Tou, 52, of Sacramento laid his gun on the guard's desk and walked outside to give himself up, Lt. John Kane said. A 2-year-old boy believed to be his son was found in his car in the parking lot.

The man's motive was unknown. Police were in a "mad scramble" trying to find relatives, including his girlfriend, Lt. Kane said.

Couple charged in tethering of girls

DES MOINES, Iowa A couple has been accused of keeping their two daughters tied up in a motel room while they worked at night.

Police said the girls, ages 10 and 5, wore harnesses that were tied to furniture with leashes.

Detective Brian Danner said the children appeared to be healthy. They had room to walk around but couldn't leave the room.

Donald Ray Melton Jr., 26, and Kimberly E. Melton, 27, were charged Sunday with child endangerment and were being held in lieu of $13,000 bail each.

Wildfire in Colorado out of control

BOULDER, Colo. Flames from an out-of-control wildfire west of here jumped a major road and reservoir overnight, scorching 1,100 acres of pine forest and threatening about 200 houses, fire officials said yesterday.

"Right now we have zero percent containment," said George Broyles, spokesman for the interagency fire center.

Although no buildings have been damaged in the Walker Ranch/Eldorado Canyon fire about 10 miles southwest of Boulder, about 200 homes and 350 other structures were threatened, and authorities have asked residents to voluntarily evacuate homes.

Ex-con says he robbed to return to prison

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa A lonely 76-year-old ex-convict demanded two $50 bills from a bank teller yesterday and then announced he would be outside in his car smoking a cigarette waiting to be returned to prison.

Police said Marvin Stewart walked into the People's National Bank in this western Iowa city and handed a teller a note demanding the two $50 bills and no more.

Bank employees were not sure he was serious, but they gave him the money.

Stewart said he robbed the bank because he had no family and wanted to go back to federal prison. Stewart, of Pittsburgh, may get his wish. Federal bank robbery charges could land him there.

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