The Billings Gazette from Billings, Montana on December 8, 1992 · 20
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The Billings Gazette from Billings, Montana · 20

Billings, Montana
Issue Date:
Tuesday, December 8, 1992
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8C Tuesday, December 8. 1992 b CITY STATE The Billings Gazette ysferious bones ffoun d in fl wmi raises couesvions : By MICHAEL MILSTEIN ' Gazette Wyoming Bureau ' THERMOPOLIS, Wyo. Early next year, television ; viewers nationwide will get a glimpse of the apparent ' murder victim whose bones were found in a locked trunk I near Thermopolis earlier this year. ; Hot Springs County Sheriff John Lumley has re- leased photographs of a facial reconstruction of the man, ' who forensic experts believe was about 50 years old when ; he died of a gunshot to his left eye about 50 years ago. ; A Cheyenne newspaper has speculated that the man ' bears a likeness to the legendary outlaw Butch Cassidy. The clay reconstruction, completed by Wyoming ; Crime Laboratory Director Sandy Mays, will be shown around the country on the NBC program, "Unsolved Mys- teries," in the spring. Crews from the weekly series were i filming in Thermopolis over the weekend, Lumley said. They interviewed Lumley and local resident Newel Sessions, who found the skeleton when he broke open a ! locked foot-locker left by a man who had moved away five years ago. Lumley has identified that man as John David Mor-! ris, who now lives in the Dallas, Texas, area Morris, who also goes by the name David James Tanner, has told authorities he bought the trunk at a yard sale in the Midwest to use as a tool chest, but never got around to opening it But Lumley, who has traveled to Texas to interview Morris, said he is suspicious of the man, but does not consider him a suspect in the case. "I just don't quite believe his story," Lumley said. The sheriff said he cannot understand why Morris would lug a trunk all the way to Wyoming without ever opening it "Unsolved Mysteries producers apparently struck a deal with Morris MAN'S SKULL to interview him on the condition he reconstructed not be identified in the televised segment. So producers said they filmed him so only his silhouette will be visible and told Lumley and Sessions not to name him on camera. When Morris moved from Thermopolis to Texas in 1987, he left many belongings in a shed owned by Sessions. He later returned to retrieve some of the items, but ran out of room in his truck and told Sessions he'd get the :'"t . W if i trunk on his next trip. But after more than a year had passed, Sessions cut open the trunk's lock and found the skeleton inside. Forensic experts determined the man was robust, about 50 years old and about five feet, nine inches tall when he died. They also found the man had been without teeth for some time before his death. The bones showed signs they had been buried and then later dug up and locked inside the foot locker. An X-ray taken at the crime lab in Cheyenne revealed the man had been shot in the left eye, probably by a right-handed assailant The bullet found inside the skull, had been fired from a style of .25-caliber Colt pistol manufactured between the turn of the century and about 1930. Agents from the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation have worked with their counterparts in Iowa and Texas to question those involved, Lumley said Tuesday. But they have yet to come up with any solid leads or track down the site of the Iowa yard sale. There are no outstanding missing persons reports that officers can link to the skeletal remains. The trunk also contained a sack from a midwest grocery store chain. On the trunk's exterior was worn lettering that U.S. Army experts say may indicate the foot lock er was used bv the Illinois National Guard. Meanwhile, The Wyoming Tribune-Eagle of Chevenne last week speculated Mays' facial reconstruc tion resembles the western outlaw Butch Cassidy, whose real name was Robert LeRoy Parker. After looking at a photograph of Cassidy, Mays told the newspaper the jaw lines of the two seemed similar. According to the Cheyenne newspaper, Cassidy stood about as tall as the skeleton and also may have lacked teeth when he was held at a Wyoming prison in 1894, when he was 32. Cassidy was about 50 when he died, from a gun shot "through the eyes," according to an eyewitness re port Many believe Cassidy died in South America. But others maintain he survived a gunshot wound there and returned to the United States. The Cheyenne newspaper suggests Cassidy's sister, who died in the 1970s, or Etta Place, the wife of Cassidy Sidekick Harry Longbaugh the Sundance Kid, may have exhumed Cassidy's skeleton from a grave in South America or the United States. They could have been worried about grave robbers or simply wanted the remains of a loved one near. If they then lost track of the trunk, it could have somehow ended up as an offering at a yard sale. ocier chcaletfs closed Safety environmental problems too expensive to fix G LACIER NATIONAL PARK ( AP) -Backcountry chalets that have sheltered tourists in Glacier National Park for nearly 80 years will be closed next summer and possibly for several years, Superintendent Gil Lusk said Monday. Lusk said Granite Park Chalet and Sperry Chalet will remain closed through the 1993 summer season, and the 1994 and 1995 seasons are doubtfuL "We are making every effort to assure continuation of the historic chalet operations, but lack of funding and a short season will make it extremely difficult to get the chalets back in operation in the next two to three years," Lusk said. He said the decision to close the chalets was made when it became clear there would be too little time and money to bring the structures up to current safety, health and environmental standards. The backcountry chalets were built in 1913 and 1914 by the Great Northern Railroad as part of a chain of seven chalets for backcountry visitors. Now owned by the National Park Service, Granite Park and Sperry were the only two remaining, and normally operate from July 1 to Labor Day. Both are high in the Glacier backcountry on the Continental Divide and are accessible only by hiking or horseback. Granite Park is 7.6 miles by trail from Logan Pass or 4 miles on a steeper trail from the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Sperry is 6.4 miles by trail from Lake McDonald Lodge. Granite Park can accommodate 35 overnight guests, while Sperry can sleep 42. Each year, thousands of people stay at the chalet, which ordinarily are booked solid months in advance. Sperry is home to a large population of mountain goats, while the Granite Park area is frequented by grizzly bears. The chalets allow close viewing of wildlife in relative safety and without having to carry heavy backpacks. However, modern standards have caught up with the chalets. Early this year, the Wilderness Society and the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund said they would sue Glacier over sewage pollution at the chalets. For years, the chalets collected their sewage in tanks, then flushed it into a rocky ravine nearby at the end of the season. The waste was soon covered by snow, and was flushed away by the next spring's snowmelt Lusk said a new sewage system could not be installed in time for the 1993 season. In addition, he said, the chalets need modern fire protection systems and emergency exits. Lusk said even if money was available, time is not; the construction season at that elevation runs perhaps 10 weeks in July, August and possibly early September. Belton Chalets Inc., has operated Sperry since 1954 and Granite Park since 1955, but Belton's concession permit expires Dec. 31. Lusk said no operating permits would be issued until park authorities figure what to do with the chalets. He said continuing current service levels, with hot meals and full linen service, would cost about $2.5 million for improvements. The National Park Service also is considering opening the chalets with reduced service levels, he said. Lanny Luding, whose family owns Belton Chalets, said he was not surprised to hear that the Park Service will not renew his five-year concession permit He said sewage-disposal problems at the chalets are indicative of similar problems caused by increased use throughout the park. Cody hospital ups Parle ante " By MICHAEL MILSTEIN ; Gazette Wyoming Bureau CODY, Wyo. Trustees of West Park Hospital in ; Cody decided Monday to up their ante for Yellowstone - National Park's medical contract by about $500,000. The move should ensure that the Cody hospital continues as the park's sole medical care provider for the next 10 years. West Park Hospital, as the current medical-care concessionaire in Yellowstone, had the option of matching a bid by St John's Hospital of Jackson to take over the park medical operations. Of the three bids received by the park from hospitals in Cody, Jackson and Idaho Falls officials judged the Jackson hospital's bid superior because it included more than $500,000 worth of capital investments in Yellowstone. But Cody trustees decided Monday to offer the same. Since the Cody hospital presently holds the park contract, it gets preference if its bid matches a competitor's. Managers of the Cody hospital had spent the last week deciding whether making the necessary investments in the park would be cost-effective in the long run, according to Administrator Gary Bishop. Calculations showed that the hospital would probably lose money on the deal for the first two years. After that, the park operations should begin making money for West Park again, though it will take several more years for that revenue to pay off the investments. By pledging to put the work into the park, the Cody hospital should get a 10-year contract to continue services there. The hospital's new bid will be submitted to Yellowstone managers this week. Although running medical operations in Yellowstone does not generate much direct income for West Park Hospital it does draw extra patients to Cody. However, Bishop added, "one of the biggest benefits I dont put into the category of money at alL" By drawing patients from Yellowstone, the relatively small hospital can stabilize its sometimes-inconsistent patient volume. Bishop noted that when a hospital averages only 20 patients, a fluctuation of only 2 patients can signal a change of 10 percent in the hospital's patient numbers. "If we have a few more patients to add to our volume, there's that much less impact we have to live with if the numbers change," he said. "There's less stress on a staff we care about" Hospital trustees, who voted four to one Monday to boost the hospital's park bid, backed the plan because of its economic advantages and because it could help improve the hospital's operational stability. Mine gets rave reviews HELENA (AP) - Exploration work for a proposed gold, silver and copper mine near Yellowstone National Park has created few environmental problems and received rave reviews from thp stats Records kept by the Department of State Lands reveal only minor "troubles since Crown Butte Mines Inc. began probing the ground for its New World Project five years ago. "Crown Butte is operating in a very low-key manner, a very well-run environmentally compatible operation," Scott Spano of the Hardrock Bureau said in a February report after touring the site. "Overall, no serious problems," he wrote in June. Two months later, he noted the company was reclaiming access roads and drill holes, and that "areas reseeded last fall are revegetating ni- rolv " Spano mentioned some roads in poor condition due to spring runoff In his June 1992 report and said Crown Butte "should immediately take steps to route running water off of road in several areas along this stretch." He also said a sediment trap at one drill site had overflowed. In August, he cited one section of road 100-150 feet long that could not be reclaimed completely because of limits on equipment movement A July report said no reclamation work had been so far this year. Mark Whitehead, a company spokesman, said Monday that last finding was not unusual since most reclamation work occurs in the fall. Crown Butte applied for a state permit for the New World Project almost two years ago, although exploration work has been under way since 1987. Nearly complete, the exploration phase has involved drilling 841 holes and building 3.8 miles of roads. ! FtlNLfiND i Weekday f I FAMILY SPECIAL I Family or Group of 5 People $200 OFF ! Each Unlimited Ride Pass Uood Mon.-Thur. ONLY Shrine Auditorium 1125 Broadwater I I I I J "N. mi VAII 1111 EIIVI Mkh IVU VMII EMI Spaghetti, Rigatoni, or Hnttalla Tuesday & Wednesday Nights ITALIAN KITCHEN 119 N.Broadway Downtown 256-8484 Beer & Wina Availablo j feWftp rKTURES nfrwnti WO THUMBS UP!" All ilwnture fawmd yimir Imnglrurtinn SHOWING ON TWO SCKCNS Matins Dally 12:30-2(30-4:30; Nightly 6:30-8:30 Matin! Dally 1:00-3:00-5:00; Nightly 7:00-9:00 VLT protests contract award BOZEMAN (AP) Video Lottery Technologies Inc. said Monday it will protest the New York Lottery's decision to award a $152 million contract to a VLT competitor. The Montana company said in a statement that the decision awarding the contract to GTECH of West Greenwich, R.I. "appears to be seriously flawed" and runs counter to a recommendation by an advisory board. The New York Lottery announced Friday it was awarding the contract worth an estimated $152.5 million over five years, to GTECH because the Rhode Island company's bid "proved to be slightly less expensive" than the bid of Automated Wagering International of New York, a VLT subsidiary. State Lottery Director Peter D. Lynch said GTECH's offer was about $300,000 a year lower than Video Lottery Technologies' bid. GTECH will be paid 1.525 percent of total sales over the life of the contract. But Video Lottery said an evaluation committee for the New York Lottery concluded that Automated Wagering offered "technical superiority" and would have brought the state approximately $700,000 more revenue over five years. GTECH and Video Lottery have been providing computer services jointly to the New York Lottery since 1987. That arrangement was made to allow the lottery to keep operating even if one of the companies' computers failed, but Lynch said improved technology makes that unnecessary. He said the GTECH deal will save the state nearly $8 million a year over the current joint arrangement. GTECH is expected to take over sole operation of the computers by September 1993, Lynch said. The New York Lottery was one of VLT's largest accounts, bringing more than 10 percent of total company revenue. But Damian Greco, VLT senior vice president of corporate development, said in Bozeman on Monday that the New York decision would have no effect on employees. He said it was neither a major blow nor a setback for the company. ' Greco also said the New York decision had nothing to do with a decision by the state of Victoria, Australia, in September to bar the company from doing further business there. The Australians did so after a report concluded the company didn't meet its standards for honesty and integrity. VLT is moving toward reapplying for the right to do business in Victoria, following the resignation of company founder Larry Lippon, Greco said. Lippon's activities were cited in the Australian report Lippon was replaced by Jim Davey, head of the Oregon Lottery. Infant's death brings 1 0-year sentence HELENA (AP) - Helena resident Gregory Mergenthaler was sentenced Monday to the maximum 10 years in prison in connection with the death of 13-month-old Ashley Wein-zetL "That child was savagely, brutally killed," District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock told Mergenthaler, adding that he could have faced a more serious charge than negligent homicide. Mergenthaler claimed that he didn't kill the infant, although he admitted shaking and slapping her last January before she was taken to a hospital. TUESDAY BARGAIN DAYS M Seats $325 All Show lJCf TT ON ATTRACTIONS WE HAVf NO CONTTKX ON Jg No ax. IUL rN. PURE COUNTRY HOME ALONE 2 ON TWO SCREENS n Dob 1:00-3:45: NiahtV 7:15-9:45 Mctjnwi Only 2:00-4:30; Nightr, 7:00-9:30 No Turn Bare MatmrH Dairy 12:30-2:30-4:30; Nightly 4:30-8:30 Tldi. BODYGUARD nT R Matinees Daily 12:40-3:40; Niahtlv 7:05-9:40 A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT JQ Motineti Doily 1:00-4:05 Nightly 7:00-9:30 7 PASSENGER 57 B- R Matinees Daily 1:05-3:35; No To.. D.1C Tin. PURE COUNTRY P013 Sat. 1 Sun. 1:30-4:00; Nighty 7:10-9:45 I. Barg. LUVST OF THE MOHICANS tkic m fe . l.lrvl.JA. - Nightly MV.Ji Tto. toil 'no A DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN no &?' R Sot. Sun. 1:05-3:35; UNDER SIEGE R Sot. & Sun. 1:00-3:40; Nightly 7:15-9:35 Screening Eccm RAMPAGE R Sot. t Sun. 1:10-3:40; Nightly 7:15-9:35 DRACULA R Sot. I Sun. 1:10-3:40; Nightly 7:00-9:35; MALCOLM X PO-13 Sot. Sun. 2:30 Nightly 8:15 I Ok. Tin. V ALL SHOWS -ALL SEATS $S50 ANY $50 TIME BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER PO-l) Sot Sun. 1:15-3:45; Nightly 7:15-9:30 m.13 HERO Sot. Sun. 1:30-4:15 Nightly 7:05-9:25 NIGHT & THE CITY I Sot. Sun. 100-3:45; Nightly 7:05-9:20 LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN f-H Sot. Sun, 1:00-3:40; Nightly 7:00-9:40 DEATH BECOMES HER H Sot. Sun. I K)0-4K)0; Nightly 7:00-9:35 OF MICE & MEN BSot. 0 Sun. 1:15-4:10; Nightly 7:00-9:35 SINGLES ' VfO-n Sat. t Sun. 1:10-4:10; Nightly 7:20-9:30 But Mergenthaler also contended that he did so in attempting to revive the child. "I admitted I shook her," Mergenthaler said in court Monday. "I've told the truth. I feel remorse. I've played it over and over in my head. I know what I did was wrong." Mergenthaler was convicted in September of being responsible for the Jaa 23 death of the girl, who was his then-girlfriend's daughter. He said he was watching the child while her mother was at work, found the girl limp and attempted to revive her. But when paramedics brought her to a hospital for treatment, doctors said they noticed bruises, and they notified sheriffs investigators. The child suffered internal skull bleeding, spinal column bleeding and two detached retinas, according to authorities. Annual Elizabethan Madrigal Christina Dinner ; A Festtv Evening of Dining, Carols, Costumes & Pageantry EMC Madrigal Singers and Renaissance Consort TICKETS: $19.25 OUTLETS: Bible Book Store, 1211 24th St. West EMC Department of Music El 1. J i ;ss Hfe1: ttvi ffctpfflm oynir ten No Passat or Mgtsnoee Bally 1iOO-3i43i MtgMiy Til S-9i4S No Passes or Discounts M-nintM Dotty 2rOO-4iOO; Nightly 7iOO-iM Discount! THE flODYGUARD Tig rnjuwiuhs 'Matine Dally 12:40-3:40; Nightly 7:05-9:40 J" The Dicf inmi icliprl Gentleman mi M Sot. Sun. 1K)5-3:35 Nightly 7:10-9:35 No Tutdoy Borgom y jr .. it,:.

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