|San Jacinto News-Times - Local News
Stories Added - March 2010
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Records released reveals crime scene
San Jacinto News- Times
COLDSPRING – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott ordered the release of records pertaining to the Nov. 7, 2009 Oliver Bills murder/suicide case recently – records revealing desperate pleas for help that would not come until four people were dead, including a four-year-old child. Timeline of telephone conversatons on page 5A Records pertaining to the Nov. 7, 2009 murder of Shara Torres, 27, her four-year-old daughter Sara Whitmire, and Gloria Bills, 71, and the apparent suicide of Gloria’s adopted son, Oliver Bills were withheld from the public following the tragedy late last year by San Jacinto County Criminal District Attorney Bill Burnett who sought an attorney general’s opinion concerning open records requests by the San Jacinto News-Times and other area news media last November. In a letter dated Feb. 18, 2010, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott wrote Burnett informing him the records must be released relating to the Bills’ murder/suicide. Those records were released last week revealing desperate attempts from a family seeking help from the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Department over a seven hour period on Nov. 7, 2009, but the help they sought would come too late. The help they sought would come within minutes of the tragic event that was found by offi cers, with bath water in a tub still warm to the touch, as one deputy would report. One of the fi rst offi cers on the scene was Deputy Kolek who had been dispatched to a welfare concern. “Upon arrival about 8:20 p.m. I entered the driveway in my patrol car and parked. I could see the front door was open and what appeared to be a pile of material lying in the doorway. I walked towards the residence and as I approached to about three feet of the front doorway I noticed a human hand sticking out from under the material at the doorway. I drew my revolver and looked through the doorway and could see a second victim lying on the fl oor with the legs of a small child sticking out from underneath the second victim. These two victims were on the fl oor of the living room which was visible from the front doorway. Lying on the fl oor behind the fi rst victim I could see a red expended shotgun shell. At that time I started backing away from the residence and radioed dispatch that there were three deceased in the residence and to send additional units. “I went back to my patrol unit and retrieved my shotgun from the trunk and took position behind my open driver’s door and awaited the arrival of additional units. Corporal Lacy was the fi rst to arrive and I advised him as to what I had seen and he requested additional units be in route and advised that we would wait till we had four units on scene before we would go inside the residence to check for the actor. Once Deputy Bell and Deputy Yaw arrived the four of us made entry into the residence with myself first followed by Bell, Yaw and Lacy. “We entered through the open front door and proceeded to the living room, immediately to the left upon entering the living room was a door upon looking into the room I could see a white male lying on his back on the bed with his arms crossed and a rifle lying on him. At first the individual appeared to just be relaxing on the bed, I aimed in on him with my shotgun and yelled sheriff’s department but as soon as I said this I saw the blood next to the individuals head and realized that he was also deceased. “Corporal Lacy ordered everyone out of the residence to await arrival of detectives. At about 9:25 p.m. Captain. Jones arrived at the residence and the crime scene was turned over to him.” Taking charge of the scene at 171 Outlaw Lane in San Jacinto County San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Captain Carl Jones said he received a call about 9:01 p.m. of a homicide. In a narrative of the scene, Jones writes, “I arrived on location at about 9:22 p.m. and met with Corporal Lacy. Lacy advised what type of scene he had in which he stated that there was a female in the doorway with a gunshot laying on a female child both were shot and a male in the master bedroom laying on the bed with a rifle by the right side of the male with a single gunshot to the right temple area. “Entering the living room a female covered with a knitted shawl was found. Two bodies were in the middle of the room, one of a small child and a female lying on top of the child. The female on top of the child was wearing a hooded jacket with the hood pulled over the head. The other body, that of a male, was in the master bedroom lying on the bed. The legs were crossed over each other and a rifle was on the side of the body pointed to the right side of the head. The rifle had been fired with a .22 caliber hull found on the bed between the body and the bed where the hull had ejected from the rifle. The shotgun was located in the corner of the master bedroom. “The child’s bedroom was messy with toys all over the room. The bathroom was between the child’s room and another room used for storage. The bathtub has about three inches of water in it and the water was luke warm to the touch. There is a blue towel on the floor that has two wet footprints impressed in it from someone getting out of the tub.” Autopsy reports indicated that Oliver Bills died from a gunshot would to the right temple area. Shara Torres received four gunshot wounds to the back of the skull. Her four-year-old daughter Sara Whitmire suffered nine bullet holes to the right side of the mouth and neck area and gun powder burns to the right lower arm and face area consistent to a shotgun blast. Gloria Bills received a large gunshot wound to the left corner of the mouth which exited out the back of the skull with massive damage to the skull, according to Captain Jones’ narrative report. Hours before Deputy Kolek made the fatal discovery at 171 Outlaw Lane, dispatchers at the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Department were aware of trouble brewing in the Bills’ residence. Dispatcher Neil Adams writes in a narrative, “At about 1:47 p.m. I answered a call on the sheriff department’s regular line from a caller identifying herself as Gloria Bills. Bills stated that she needed help with her son because she was a 71- year-old heart patient and her son was causing problems. I asked her what type of help she needed and she said that she wanted a police officer to take her son to the hospital. I asked her what her son was doing and why she wanted him to go to the hospital. She stated that her son was hearing voices and that he was very depressed. She stated that he was not eating. She explained to me that her son had a history of mental problems and was on medication. She was worried that he might do something crazy because he had talked about suicide in the past. I explained to her that to my knowledge he has committed no crime and that his being irritated or hearing voices does not allow us to really do anything to him but that I could send an officer out to this location in order to perform a welfare check and perhaps the officer, once on location, would see or know something I did not. She said she had spoken to Judge Ellisor and that he told her that he could be picked up on a mental warrant. I told her I was not aware of this and would check with my superior. I told her that I had an officer on a call but as soon as he cleared he would be in route, in the meantime I would check on a mental warrant and call her back. “After hanging up the telephone a decision was made to call Captain Jones to get his opinion on the mental warrant. He explained to me that a judge has to issue the warrant and that I should advise the caller to see Judge Faulkner Monday morning. “I told him that I was sending a deputy to the location as a welfare check. He advised me not do so. He said that under the circumstances it could just elevate the situation and make things worse. “I did make contact with Mrs. Bills following the conversation with Captain Jones. I would estimate this time to be around 2:15 p.m. I explained to her that she needed to see Judge Faulkner Monday morning in order to issue a mental warrant. I did advise her that since there was not much we could do that my supervisor suggested that we don not send an officer out in that we might simply cause more problems.” Dispatcher David Carr writes in his narrative, “On the night of Nov. 7, 2009 we received a call from a man stating that his friend had not taken his medicine and was bipolar. He said he had called earlier that day and was told that we would not be able to do anything unless he was getting violent. “The reason he had called back is to tell us that Mr. Bills was getting very angry and starting to throw stuff in the yard around.” Finally at 7:15 p.m. Dispatcher Sara Norsworthy was handed a call slip from Dispatcher Debbie Ward concerning a welfare check at 171 Outlaw Lane. Norsworthy states in a narrative, “I looked over the call slip and realized it was possibly a verbal disturbance at the least with a possible mental subject. I placed the first call to Shara Torres at 7:22 p.m. and gathered more information from her. She stated she was scared of him that he was talking to himself and was not acting right. She said he had made a comment that he was going to take all of God’s children to heaven and this severely bothered her. “I got the best directions at the time from her and told her that if anything happened before we got there to call 911 back and I would answer. I placed a second call to her at 7:33 p.m. and asked for better directions to the house. She put me on the telephone with Oliver’s mother who told me that it was a road right after Deputy Robert Wright’s residence. I then called Corporal Lacy around 7:35 p.m. to see if he knew where Deputy Wright lived. He said no. Captain Everitt called in the meantime and I asked him and he gave me the directions. Deputy Kolek was then dispatched. At the house Deputy Kolek came over the radio and shouted something illegible. I asked him to repeat. He advised he needed backup there was several deceased individuals with lots of shell casings. We notified all supervisors including dispatch supervisors Haley Boaen and Samantha Kennedy.” As it turns out, Norsworthy was the only dispatcher on shift the evening of Nov. 7, 2009 who had a minimum of 16 hours of Crisis Intervention Training required by the State of Texas. Deputy Robert Wright, who lived near Oliver Bills, was the only deputy to have additional training in crisis intervention and interacting with the mentally ill. Dispatchers David Carr and Neil Adams had only temporary certificates. Carr received his temporary certificate three weeks before the incident and Adams received his four months earlier.