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Fort Bend County, At Large
By Cheryl Skinner

This column expresses the personal opinions/views of the writer. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Name can be withheld by request with a valid day time phone number.


Release of inmate an atrocity

I know it happens every day in the state of Texas, but when it hits close to home somehow inmate # 3333333 becomes a real person and the atrocity of putting a criminal back on the street becomes all too real. For one local family, Ben and Betty Elledge, a form type letter from the Board of Pardons and Parole ended a battle that has been waged year after year since their son was murdered near Clements High School in the summer of 1988. It is a pitiful shame that survivors of violence must be sentenced to life, without benefit of parole, when seeking justice for a lost loved one.

The system is broke and we need to fix it. Hopefully, Timothy Acklen, who was just shy of 18 when he shot Brandon Elledge in the face and made off with his truck stereo system, has learned something behind bars. Statistically, this is unlikely but there is always an exception to the rule and hopefully to all involved in this sad saga of Fort Bend County history, Acklen will be an exception.

Now, Ben Elledge plans to publish a novel about his son that will include a lot of intriguing but unsettling information about the murder investigation that has never before been revealed. It is his way of dealing with the emotional trauma the family’s battle for justice has entailed. I knew Ben had written a journal of the horrific feelings following the death of his son. I knew he had written hundreds of pages of testimony as to what a wonderful young man Brandon Elledge was. It was only recently that I became aware that a private investigator, hired by the family, had dredged up some information that was never made public because of the plea bargain. I don’t know all the details, but it now appears that as early as this summer the whole world may see the underbelly of Fort Bend County justice.

My heart goes out to the Elledge’s—once again. My deepest appreciation goes to the hundreds of Fort Bend County residents who responded to our story about their plight and sent letters to the Board of Pardons and Paroles on their behalf. You tried, they tried, but apparently that simply wasn’t enough to buy one more year behind bars for the young man who admitted to the slaying.

Those tipping fees make the agenda again

Once more Precinct 1 Commissioner Tom Stavinoha has listed an agenda item explaining how more of the “BFI” tipping fees are being used to better the Fresno/Arcola area. Last week commissioners approved spending $50,000 to fund projects of the Fort Bend Corps to improve the area. Stavinoha noted that the funds would be used to repair 10 homes belonging to low income, elderly or disabled homeowners in that area. “I just wanted to let the public know where these funds came from and what we are doing with them,” Stavinoha commented.

While there is no doubt these funds can be used for the betterment of the community, I doubt if those opposed to a towering landfill are going to be too impressed. And, the television stations probably aren’t too taken with the situation either. I wonder if these homeowners will be happy when a hurricane blows their new roof off the house in the event the landfill is able to overcome the latest legal battle and the growth of the trash heap does thwart the early hurricane warning systems we now all depend on.


Contact skinnerc1@ev1.net, if you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column. Write a SIGNED letter to the editor with valid day time phone number--name can be withheld by request.

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   Last Update:  May 31, 2007