The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 21, 1998 · Page 1
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 1

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Salina, Kansas
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Thursday, May 21, 1998
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Big guns David Miller plans rally with heavyweight conservatives/B1 GREAT PLAINS Why me? When serious illness strikes, God is questioned / C1 • OZU PeaiHy: New $20 bill might fight counterfeiting / A6 ! Tom Hughes says farewell as Wesleyan coach / D1 INSIDE High: 89 Low 1 .68 Mostly sunny with southeast winds blowing at10to15mph/B3 Classified/C4 Comics / B4 Deaths/A7 Great Plains/B1 Health/C1 Money/A6 Sports /D1 Viewpoints / B2 the Salina Journal Serving Kansas since 1871 THURSDAY MAY 21, 1998 SALINA, KANSAS 50 cents T KANOPOLIS LAKE MURDER Man gets life for Kanopolis killing He's accused of committing 20 murders across the country in early 1990s By DAVID CLOUSTON The Salina Journal TOM DORSEY / The Salina Journal Robert Joseph Silveria (right) and his attorney, Ron Wurtz, Topeka, listen Wednesday to the judge. ELLSWORTH — A suspected serial killer already sentenced to two life prison terms for murders in Oregon was sentenced Wednesday to a third life term for the 1995 murder of a man in a tent at Kanopolis Reservoir. Robert Joseph Silveria, 39, now can turn his attention to Florida, where he faces trial for yet another murder. He is a suspect in some 20 murders of train hoppers across the nation and has been tagged with the moniker of "boxcar serial killer." In Ellsworth County District Court Wednesday, Silveria, a native of San Jose, Calif., pleaded no contest to killing Charles Boyd, 47, a Richmond, Va., accountant who had been in Texas building homes for the homeless as part of a Christian camp. Before his sentencing, Silveria offered an apology. "I know it's a very tragic situation to be caught in and I apologize to whoever they are," he said, referring to the victim's friends and family. The sentence imposed by District Judge Barry Bennington would be served only if Silveria were released from Oregon. Florida authorities want to prosecute Silveria for a 1994 murder and a robbery, charges that could tack on two more life sentences, said his attorney Ron Wurtz, Topeka. Silveria agreed to waive extradition to Florida on the condition that he not face execution there. Silveria was arrested March 2,1996, in a rail yard near Sacramento, Calif., on a warrant for violating probation. He con- fessed to investigators about a series of murders, including Boyd's. Ellsworth County Attorney Joe Shepack told the court that the break investigators needed to nail Silveria for Boyd's murder came when Boyd's stolen minivan was sold in El Paso, Texas. The buyer, Gustavo Gutierrez, was stopped for a traffic violation in early August that year and authorities learned then that the vehicle was Boyd's. Gutierrez said he saw the seller hop a train. A couple of photographs railroad detectives provided of males who'd been arrested for train riding matched Silveria one using his real name and another using one of his many aliases. Both Gutierrez and Boyd's daughter, Natalie Hernandez, identified Silveria from the photographs. Boyd and Silveria, who had been traveling together, had stopped to see Hernandez at her home in Pierceville, near Dodge City. '• Boyd met and befriended Silveria while Boyd was in Texas building houses as part of a church camp. Boyd, a certified public accountant, did not have identification on him when his body was found bludgeoned to death in a coUapsed tent by state park workers. He was identified when fingerprints matched those he had given as part of a job application in Virginia. Hernandez watched Wednesday's court proceeding but declined a chance to address Silveria. She said the two men discussed camping and looking for roofing jobs in town but decided to go on. County Attorney Shepack said Silveria hit Boyd in the head with a large rock as Boyd was sleeping, then left in the van. He returned later to see if Boyd was dead but found him sitting up. Silveria told authorities he took a camping ax and struck Boyd with the blunt end. 7 came up for the blinding chance of never having to work again in my life." Mike Evans, drove from Utah to Idaho to buy tickets The Associated Press Hundreds of people, many from Utah, line up Tuesday night at the Kwlk Stop Gas & Groceries in Malad, Idaho, to buy Powerball tickets. On Wednesday, many had more than a four-hour watt In line to buy tickets at the small gas station. A ticket to dream In hordes, Americans line up to buy a chance for lifelong riches By JORDAN LITE The Associated Press DBS MOINES, Iowa — People across the nation crossed state borders and waited in long lines Wednesday with cash in hand and a dream of winning all or part of a record estimated $195 million Powerball jackpot, the richest lottery prize in world history. Officials said it could be well into today before they knew if anyone won. "I came up for the blinding chance of never having to work again in my life," said Mike Evans of Roy, Utah, who drove to an Idaho border town to buy tickets.. "Somebody has to win this. It is an astronomical chance that nobody has won yet." People reportedly waited in line in some places for nearly an hour as they rushed to buy tickets for Wednesday night's drawing. New Yorkers and people from East Coast states that don't participate in the multistate game poured into Greenwich, Conn., to buy tickets, police said. "They're coming in hordes and congesting the roadways. We have lines two blocks long," said Sgt. John Brown, The winning numbers: POWERBALL 4-9-30-34-48 POWERBALL 8 who bought one ticket for each member of his family. "People are just waiting, hoping for a dollar and a dream." The Travel Emporium, a convenience store along the Indiana Toll Road just a few miles west of the Ohio border, sold more than $17,000 worth of tickets Tuesday, or about 25 times the normal daily volume of about $700. "We've been seeing constant lines at the cash register, trailing out past our gate ... 150 at a time, and sometimes on past. It's absolutely just nuts here," Mindy Van Regenmorter, the store's man- ager, said Wednesday. Officials with the West Des Moines-based Multi-State Lottery Association said they expected $138 million dollars in sales for the drawing in the District of Columbia and the 20 states that play Powerball, which would be a record. The odds of correctly picking all six numbers are 80.1 million-to-1. There is an 80 percent chance that at least one ticket will match Wednesday night's numbers and a 60 percent to 70 percent chance of two or more winners, said Charles Strutt, executive director of the Multi-State Lottery Association. A winner who chooses to receive the payout in cash would get about $104 million before taxes. The annuity option would give the winner $7.7 milljon before taxes once a year over 25 years, Strutt said. With either option, about half of the prize is withheld in federal and state taxes, he said. In Iowa, tickets were selling at about 2,900 per minute Wednesday. About Powerball With each $1 ticket, Powerball players try to match five numbers drawn from a pool of 49, plus a Powerball number drawn from a series of 42. Players who match all six numbers win or split the jackpot, Those who match all numbers but the Powerball win $100,000. Tickets that match four numbers and the Powerball win $5,000. Those that match four of the first numbers are worth $100, as are those that match three of the numbers and the Powerball. Tickets that match three numbers and those that match two numbers and the Powerball are worth $7. Matching one number and the Powerball is worth $4, and matching only the Powerball wins $3. V SUNFLOWER ELECTRIC KCC filing could cut power costs Oil companies' complaint could have huge effect on electricity costs for much of western Kansas By LINDA MOWERY-DENNING The Salina Journal Three Wichita oil companies with interests in western Kansas filed a complaint Wednesday with the Kansas Corporation Commission against Sunflower Electric Power Corp., a generation and transmission cooperative based in Hays. If successful, the companies could change the economic landscape of dozens of Kansas counties by opening the region to cheaper power. It's alleged in the complaint that Sunflower rates are 35 percent to 50 percent more than the rates of customers outside the utility's territory. "This is being filed by a small group of companies, but it's really a complaint that is being filed for the benefit of all western Kansas consumers," said Mike Vess, president of Vess Oil Corp. "Whether you're a feedlot or a packing house or a foundry or an oil company or just a rural farm home — these rate differentials exist for everyone." In the complaint, the companies claim the long- term wholesale power contracts Sunflower has with its distribution cooperatives and the old Great Plains territory at Colby, which is now owned by Midwest Energy, also of Hays, have led to rates that are "unjust, unreasonable and discriminatory" and not in the public interest because of the limits they place on economic development. . Sunflower serves 150,000 customers in the western third of the state. Vess said the member cooperatives generally pay 6 cents per kilowatt hour for wholesale electricity. Off-system customers are charged less than 2 cents. "Granted it's not that simple," he said. "The power sold at less than 2 cents is not firm power. It can be interrupted. But it rarely ever is because Sunflower has so much excess capacity. It's fairly high-quality electricity." In the complaint, the companies ask the corporation commission, which regulates the state's utilities, to set aside the wholesale contracts "as contrary to the public welfare of the citizens of the State of Kansas or order that Sunflower offer the Sunflower co-ops rates and rate schedule options consistent with those offered by Sunflower to other electric distributors not subject to the '. anti-competitive (wholesale) contracts." The contracts don't start to expire until the year 2021, according to the complaint. '. Joining Vess Oil in the filing were Berexco, another oil company, and Murfin Drilling, which has offices at Colby, Hill City and Russell. Vess said farmer Lloyd Theimer also is listed as a complainant because he provided a history of electrical costs at his home southwest of Colby. Representing the oil companies is Wichita attorney Timothy McKee, who resigned about a year ago as chairman of the three-member corporation commission. Neither officials at Sunflower nor the corporation commission appeared surprised by Wednesday's filing. Commission spokeswoman Rosemary Foreman said an attorney has been assigned to the complaint. ' "This is something we're going to have to take a look at. As I understand it, these are contracts we approved at some point in time," she said. "Whether we can actually go back and change them, we may know in a day or two." See UTILITY, Page A7

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