5 People Shot to Death in a Small Texas Town

Five people were found shot dead on Sunday in the small Texas town of Bellville. Bellville is a town of around 4,000 people and is located 55 miles northwest of Houston. An Austin County Sheriff spokesman, Sgt. Paul Faircloth, said that deputies found the bodies at around 2: 15 pm yesterday in this small secluded home.(AP Photo/Bob Levey)

Four of the victims were shot to death and the bodies were found in their small brick house. One unidentified male body was found shot to death in the woods behind the house. Sgt. Paul Faircloth told KHOU, “Everyone knows everybody here and it reaches through to the hearts of the community.”

Four of the victims were identified as: George T. Washington, 69; Debra Washington, 54 (his wife); Kiana Shree Thearse, 25 (Debra’s daughter); and a small child, Khalilah Masse-Chambers. The identity of the dead man in the woods has not been publicized yet.

A suspect has already been taken into custody. He is a 20 year old named Maron Thomas, who was supposedly living with the Washington family. A neighbor caught him breaking into another home and Maron was also seen burglarizing a car. The neighbor had to hold him at gunpoint until the deputies arrived. (Houston Chronicle-5 family members found dead in Bellville home by Anita Hassan-1/18/2010)

Exactly how Maron Thomas can be tied in with these five brutal killings has not been made public yet. A KHOU correspondent, Courtney Zubowski, did hear from one source that two other children were living at the Washington residence. Maybe Maron is one of them? But apparently relatives had dropped these children off at the house and they were the ones who discovered the bodies.

Details are scant so far. Accounts mostly sketchy. An ex-wife of George Washington, Katherine Washington, had grown up with George and they were childhood sweethearts before their marriage. They had three children together while they were married. (Houston Chronicle-ibid)

Katherine has made two comments to the press: “It’s terrible. I can’t believe it. I’m still in denial. The whole family is devastated.” And: “I loved him then and I’ll always love him as a friend.” That sounds like a qualified statement. (Houston Chronicle-ibid)

A neighbor, Gloria Pfeffer, 74, who lives across the street from the unfortunate family said that the Washingtons’ just moved in about three years ago. She didn’t see them very often, but said they were friendly. “We waved at each other all the time,” Gloria said.

Pfeffer was very frightened by this event and said that this is usually a very quiet town. This sounds like a reasonable statement, but one fact contradicts it. There was a slaying of a prominent doctor last September at his Bellville ranch. A 56 year old pulmonary specialist, Dr. Jorge Mario Gonzalez, was shot to death in a botched kidnapping and robbery.

Coincidence or not, but this sleepy little Southeast Texas town of Bellville is being rocked by violent crime. The above Sgt. Faircloth said about this crime: “These individuals shot two people at the scene and opened fire on an officer. It’s pretty clear they have no regard for the general public.” Oddly enough, Sgt. Faircloth must handle a new multiple homicide in Bellville. (Myfoxhouston.com-Doctor’s Murder Leaves Town in Shock by Chris Stipes-August 23, 2009)

“You come to a place like this to be away from crime and be safe but what you end up realizing there’s no place you can run or go to where you’re really safe,” said a neighbor of Dr. Gonzales, Jack Cave. (Myfoxhouston.com-ibid)

I am in shock myself. I live in Austin, only about 150 miles away from Bellville. I just heard about this horrible crime from reading Michelle Sigona’s web page. This story will probably break big time tonight, so I wanted to get it to you as soon as possible.

The news of this quintuple killing is just now hitting the wire. Is it drug-related? Or is it just a family spat? And why is this Maron Thomas a person of interest? The leap from robbery to murder is a big one! Yet I know that Texas has always been a violent state, but these two crimes in this small Texas town are somehow different. Deja vu or No Country for Old Men, you decide?

Michelle Sigona International Crime Wire