The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 2, 1997 · Page 10
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 10

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Friday, May 2, 1997
Page 10
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A10 FRIDAY, MAY 2, 1997 TEXAS STANDOFF THE SALINA JOURNAL Police send final offer to end siege The Associated Press Two Texas Highway Patrol officers are silhouetted against the Wednesday evening sky at a security checkpoint in Fort Davis, Texas. Attorney pleads with client to end it; police won't reveal deadline By The Associated Press Writer FORT DAVIS, Texas — Police negotiators sent 13 besieged Texas secessionists a final offer Thursday night and will move in to arrest them if they don't accept, the group leader's lawyer said. The state confirmed the offer but would not elaborate. Lawyer Terry O'Rourke, who represents Republic of Texas leader Richard McLaren, said he delivered the state's offer to the group in a "diplomatic pouch" about 8 p.m. "I closed the letter to my client by saying, 'It is essential you pick up the phone and say you are coming out because they've made it clear that they're going to execute the warrants,'" O'Rourke said. "I am advising my client in no uncertain terms to end it." State Department of Public Safety spokesman Mike Cox refused to discuss the agency's timetable. "He's got it (the offer) and is able to study it," Cox said. O'Rourke said police are anxious to end the 5-day-old standoff because several sympathizers have been arrested in the area in recent days. Police in Pecos, 70 miles from the standoff, detained seven heavily armed men at a truck stop Wednesday. Three of them carried Republic of Texas membership cards, and at least some said they were going to Fort Davis. Two men carrying a semiautomatic rifle, Republic literature and group insignia on their license plate were also arrested Wednesday, not far from Fort Davis. O'Rourke issued a public plea to his client while speaking to reporters. "Know that there are people out there who love you and don't want you to die," he told McLaren. The attorney, who also represents McLaren's wife, Evelyn, read a statement from the woman's daughter, who was not identified. "Mom, I sincerely would rather have you all in prison and not in the line of fire. ... I miss you and can't bear the thought of anything happening to you. Please, please, please come out." The ultimatum came on the day that McLaren finally answered the phone and resumed negotiations after giving law officers the silent treatment for a day and a half. McLaren and about a dozen Republic of Texas members have been holed up since Sunday. Six of them are wanted on charges of kidnapping or other offenses in connection with a hostage-taking that started the siege. Kansan may be in standoff St. Marys man had filed papers claiming part of Kansas for republic By The Associated Press ST. MARYS — A Kansas man believed to be among Texas separatists in a standoff with authorities was described Thursday as a quiet man who kept to himself. Richard Frank Keyes III lived with his family in this town northwest of Topeka and appeared to be in his mid-20s, said Judy Brown, who lives down the street. "We didn't know him that well," Brown said. "He would say hello if he met you on.the street, but mostly he kept to himself. We don't get together very often. It's a quiet neighborhood. Nothing strange has ever happened." Calls to the Keyes home were answered by a machine. In Fort Davis, Texas, 13 members of a separatist group were believed to be in a trailer, led by Re' public of Texas leader Richard McLaren. Thursday was the fifth day of a standoff that began after Republic of Texas members took two neighbors hostage to protest the arrest of some followers. Keyes had filed documents with -the Shawnee County registrar of deeds in February, drawing the attention of sheriffs detective J.D. Mauck. The documents claim the Republic of Texas includes a chunk of Kansas south and west of Dodge City, bound on the north by the Arkansas River. The area apparently includes seven Kansas counties and parts of six others. Mauck said he believed Keyes was with the group. He said a St. Marys resident had told him that Keyes had called from Fort Davis "asking for reinforcements." The McLaren group is one of three factions of the Republic of Texas that maintain Texas was annexed illegally by the United States. They demand a statewide referendum on independence. Keyes filed documents on two occasions in February with the Shawnee County deeds office. The first was signed by Keyes, and another was signed by two women, said county registrar Marilyn Nichols. The documents, with McLaren's signature, were called "affidavits of deed and conveyance," she said. The documents were recorded, but no action on them will be taken because none of the land described is in Shawnee County, Nichols said. They describe a large tract of land of more than 250 million acres stretching from part of Kansas to the Rio Grande and claim it for the Republic of Texas, Nichols said. The document says it is an amended territorial deed to one filed in 1987 by Archie Huel Lowe, described as the president of the Republic of Texas, and McLaren, described as the consul general. "I think it's a rather unusual document," Nichols said. "It's not something we see too often." After the documents were filed, they were mailed to Fort Davis, Nichols said. 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