Skip to comments.3 hurricane evacuees accused of killing woman who helped them
Posted on 10/30/2005 11:52:43 AM PST by Ninian Dryhope
Three hurricane evacuees were charged with capital murder Saturday in the strangulation of Betty Blair, a 77-year-old church leader, mother of three daughters and the widow of former Pasadena school board President Robert "Bob" Blair.
Jimmy Hoang Le, 18, Stephanie Jacobo, 18, both from the Beaumont area, and Roosevelt Smith Jr., 43, of Louisiana, were charged with murdering Blair during a robbery at her Pasadena home Friday.
An active member of St. Pius V Catholic Church, Blair had been helping the three by paying them to do odd jobs and yard work on her property.
"It appears that those that she tried to help were the ones that murdered her," said Pasadena Police Department spokesman Vance Mitchell. The three lived together in an apartment in the 900 block of Randall in Pasadena, Mitchell said.
They were arrested Friday night at the toll booth at Beltway 8 and Westheimer, driving Blair's tan 2000 Buick, in which some of her belongings were found. Jacobo's 10-month-old son also was in the car, and is now with "appropriate relatives," said Gwen Carter, a spokeswoman for the Department of Family and Protective Services.
The car was located through OnStar, an onboard electronic tracking system.
Police said Blair's body was found by the youngest of her three daughters, Melissa Bishop.
Next-door neighbor Lestley Rowell heard "very loud screams" coming from the home. He helped Blair's daughter and called Pasadena police, said his wife, Doris Rowell.
"We are just devastated by this," Rowell said. "My husband is not feeling very well today."
Rowell said her husband had "a bad feeling" earlier in the week when he saw one of the men working in the yard. "He said he was going to talk to Miss Betty about being more careful," Rowell said.
'Very sweet, giving person' The three suspects were the second group of evacuees Blair had helped after Hurricane Katrina, said her neighbor and fellow parishioner Mary Titus.
Since the death of her husband who served on the Pasadena Independent School District board for 12 years in the spring, Blair had become "even more involved" in church activities, Titus said.
"Betty was just a very sweet, giving person," Titus said. "She had told me she was just starting to get over Bob's death he passed away last April, or May. They did a lot of stuff together. She was very active in the church and very active in the community."
Titus, who said she had lived directly across the street from the Blairs for the last 18 years, said they were "wonderful neighbors." Just after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in late August, Blair took three women from New Orleans into her home in the Parkview Estates subdivision, which was named the 2005 "Neighborhood of the Year" in Pasadena.
"They were very nice people a grandmother, a mother and a daughter who went to church with Betty every Sunday," Titus said.
"They apparently got back on their feet within a month and moved on."
The pastor of St. Pius V Catholic Church in Pasadena, the Rev. Hubert Kealy, said, "My heart was broken" upon learning of Blair's death.
"Betty Blair was a well-known, prominent member of this parish. She and her husband, Bob, God rest them both, were very active in most everything," Kealy said. The parish of St. Pius V was "the center of their life," Kealy said.
Involved in the aid In addition to serving as chairman of the church's Communion ministers, Blair had been a teacher at St. Pius V and had edited the parish's last two directories.
"She was well-liked and respected by former students and the people she worked with at the present," Kealy said.
Learning of her death, he said, "I was absolutely stunned, I was breathless. The first thing I remember being able to do, when I recovered my emotional breath, was to say a prayer for her eternal peace."
"How someone abuses kindness, or how someone is led astray, we can't second-guess that. All I can do is to do what I know the Lord wants," Kealy said.
Another parish priest, the Rev. Oscar Castro, went immediately to Blair's home to administer last rites, Kealy said.
"Everyone in the parish that I have talked to is just stunned. It's unbelievable," he said.
Blair's daughters are in "shock and disbelief," he said, adding that his own feelings were of "anger and disappointment."
The most difficult thing to do now, Kealy said, "is to remind ourselves that we ask Lord's grace that we find forgiveness. ...
"I am not there yet, in asking for that grace."
Kealy said that Blair was very involved in the parish's Social Services Ministry, which had "really geared up" after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast and Hurricane Rita hit East Texas.
That parish office offers a food pantry and small amounts of cash to people who are down on their luck, or who have been through disasters.
After Hurricane Katrina, there were 32 children from the Louisiana area enrolled in St. Pius V's grade school. That number has dropped to 11 children who are likely to remain in the Pasadena area, Kealy said.
The priest said someone had asked him whether the parish office's doors will remain open to those in need.
"Come Monday," he said, "I am sure we will be."
Anyone who knows of the man who kidnapped E. Smart and how he had done some work around the Smart house prior to the kidnapping should think about that whenever they do a good deed. Or pick up illegal help from Home Depot.
Unfortunately, caution and common sense must take precedent over charity in this day and age.
One was from Louisiana, two from Beaumont. I just assumed all were dislocated by one or the other hurricanes from the tenor of the article.
Jimmy Hoang Le, 18, from left, Stephanie Jacobo 18, both from the Beaumont area, and Roosevelt Smith Jr., 43, of Louisiana, have been charged in the death of Betty Blair of Pasadena.
Absolute scum. No reason to waste air on this trio at all.
I try to use only those contractors I've been referred to by friends and then if they retire I call and ask them who NOT to use . . they usually know who the scumbags in the business are.
I'm in need of a chimney sweep since my regular sweep is in Iraq . . . can't really call him to ask.
Betty Blair, 77, who was found strangled Friday in her home, was the widow of former Pasadena school board president Robert Blair, who died last spring.
Jacobo is a pretty good looking gal. Too bad she got mixed up with the creeps. Now she will not be able to raise her child. There pictures of the three crooks and the murdered lady at the source.
You beat me to it. That's the first thing I thought when I read this.
That would have been Rita.
"No good deed goes unpunished."
10-4 on that. I'm a big time DIYer, and that's part of the reason.
Try them and then hang 'em high. Where is the leadership in this nation?
Mr. Rowell will have a tough time with this. Because he is a responsible man who cares about others, he will be haunted by the thought "Why didn't I do what I thought about?" It is too bad. The fact that he was concerned and in our politically correct time did not act on his concerns, will haunt him. I wish I could talk to him, and assure him that this is not his fault.
It is very dangerous to try to help those who have no desire to help themselves. I recall talking to a friend of mine, after he got out of the hospital, from being stabbed in the chest by a homeless man. He had been trying to assist the fellow by giving him small jobs to do.
After he had recovered, I talked to him, and he said: "Bob is such a nice guy, when he is not drinking". In the same year, he had a house that he was proud of, that had been built in the wilderness at great effort, burned to the ground because a vagrant that he allowed to live there became careless.
I gave up on trying to advise him.
Why do you assume she "got mixed up" with "the creeps", as opposed to being a creep herself, or even the ringleader of the creeps? Just because she's female and not ugly?