Friend: I found man dead

Vic­tim’s notepad said woman shot at him, af­fi­davit says.

Austin American-Statesman - - FUNERALS AND MEMORIALS - By Pa­trick Beach pbeach@states­man.com Con­tact Pa­trick Beach at 445-3603. pbeach@states­man.com Con­tact Pa­trick Beach at 445-3603.

A friend of Darin Bell tes­ti­fied Tues­day in the mur­der trial of Lou Ann Tomp­kins that he be­came con­cerned about his friend in Jan­uary 2011 and went to check on him af­ter be­ing un­able to reach him for days.

“I called sev­eral times,” James Cas­paris said. “I was con­cerned about the cold. He hated the cold and al­ways found some place to stay.” He said Bell would some­times do his laun­dry at his home or stay with him when the weather was in­clement.

Cas­paris said he found his friend of close to 20 years in his mo­tor home, which was with­out elec­tric­ity, in a wooded area in South­east Austin that an Austin po­lice of­fi­cer ear­lier tes­ti­fied is some­times home to tran­sients.

“I saw him in a sit­tin­gup po­si­tion and there was a hole in his fore­head,” Cas­paris said.

Tomp­kins’ ar­rest af­fi­davit said a notepad was found with an en­try by Bell say­ing a woman named “Lou” had shot at him and ac­cused him of steal­ing a ra­di­a­tor from her camp­site. A search of that site turned up seven guns, in­clud­ing a 9 mm that in­ves­ti­ga­tors matched to Bell’s killing.

The trial will con­tinue Wed­nes­day.

If you are read­ing this re­joice, Wed­nes­day is the day we have reached that sub­lime cal­en­dri­cal sym­me­try that is 12/12/12. Sure, we’ve had our 10/10/10 and 11/11/11, but this is the big one.

On such novel and rare oc­ca­sions it is in­cum­bent on scrib­blers to write sto­ries about cou­ples stand­ing in long lines to get mar­ried at the court­house, or preg­nant women hop­ing they can hold on un­til the mag­i­cal day, or maybe a kid who’s turn­ing 12 on 12/12/12 or — here’s the jour­nal­ist jack­pot, of sorts — find­ing some­one who’s 112 on this day.

No such shenani­gans here. We’re go­ing to tell you about a guy, a col­lege stu­dent many years ago. This young and harm- lessly ec­cen­tric ma­tric­u­la­tor had an un­canny knack for look­ing up at the clock and see­ing that it was 11:11, or 12:12, or 1:11. (Let’s as­sume the pat­tern is clear here.) He swore and swore he never sat there wait­ing for it, that that would be cheat­ing. He just had this ... thing.

A jolly and in­fec­tious self-con­structed mythol­ogy grew around this guy. His fa­vorite bands were Du­ran Du­ran, Mr. Mr. and The The. (Yes, this was quite a while ago.) His fa­vorite snacks were Ho-Hos and bon­bons. His fa­vorite crazed po­lit­i­cal assassin was Sirhan Sirhan. His fa­vorite U.N. Sec­re­tary Gen­eral would have been Boutros Boutros-Ghali, had he held that of­fice then.

Then emerged a tra­di­tion of hav­ing a party for ex­actly one minute, the minute that time and date aligned at, say, 11:11 a.m. on 11/11/11. This tra­di­tion has contributed among our guy’s friends, and friends of friends, to this day. It’s like a chronic in­fec­tion you’re happy to have, a small bit of goofi­ness that makes the day just a wee bit brighter. If you are up around mid­night, you’ll get your first shot. But if you’re read­ing this be­fore noon Wed­nes­day there’s still time to make a Ho Hos run ahead of 12:12 p.m. Wouldn’t be a bad idea to dig out Howard Jones’ “The 12” Al­bum,” too.

And if you miss it you will be very, very sorry be­cause, as we all know, the en­tirety of ex­is­tence will come to an end on 12/21/12.

In­ci­den­tally, this story? It’s 12 col­umn inches long. sion among au­thor­i­ties led to his re­lease to his fam­ily. McAllen po­lice ar­rested him Fri­day af­ter he was pulled over in a stolen truck.

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