Weatherford Democrat

Front Page

May 15, 2013

Escape artist awaits jury’s decision

Man with a history of crimes and escapes pleads guilty to burglary charge, faces 25 to 99 years in prison

By CHRISTIN COYNE

A man accused in a copper theft that caused more than $52,000 in damages to an Aledo church two years ago, leaving Vacation Bible School students and other parishioners without air-conditioning during hot summer months, pleaded guilty Tuesday and has elected to have a Parker County jury decide his fate.

Billy Clay Wade, 49, pleaded guilty to one charge of felony criminal mischief and, because of his lengthy criminal history, faces 25 to 99 years, or life, in prison.

It wasn’t easy bringing Wade to trial for the incident, according to testimony presented to the six-man, six-woman jury Tuesday.

Wade, who absconded from his parole officer in May 2011, not only led officers in a pursuit and intensive manhunt south of Weatherford prior to his arrest in August 2011 but also escaped custody last year, leading to yet another search for his whereabouts, law enforcement officers testified.

The custodian for the newly built Holy Redeemer Catholic Parish building off Old Weatherford Road in East Parker County, David Headlee, told jurors he arrived at his parish on a Thursday in May 2011 to find that five of the eight industrial-size air-conditioning units on the roof top had been destroyed.

Investigators testified that the copper inside the units had been removed, and they found a cigarette butt and a bracelet on the roof, as well.

The church had a $10,000 deductible on insurance coverage for the damage and new units were not installed and functional until late July or early August, Headlee said. The unusually hot summer particularly impacted the parish’s Vacation Bible School because the classrooms and multi-purpose area had no air-conditioning, according to Headlee.

At least six other Parker County churches reported similar copper thefts during the summer of 2011, as well.

The Parker County Sheriff’s Office caught a break in the case after Fort Worth police reported that Wade was caught on the roof of a Toys “R” Us in Tarrant County in a similar case, according to testimony.

Text Only
Front Page
  • Little league makes pitch to city for lower user fees

    Weatherford Little League officials have asked the city to lower user fees to the league.

    April 17, 2014

  • 0418 one oregel, oscar.jpeg Trunk full of cash leads to trip to jail

    After a traffic stop late Monday night in Parker County, the Texas Department of Public Safety seized more than $54,000 from a man who, DPS says, admitted to trafficking in narcotics for people he met in Mexico.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • cigarette butts.jpg No butts about it, smoking ban nears

    Weatherford eating establishments have just over a week to get their no smoking signs in place and prepare for the no smoking ordinance enacted by the city council in February to go into effect.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Proposed change in city charter goes before W’ford voters next month

    Weatherford residents will have the chance to vote on a pair of charter amendments on Election Day May 10.

    April 16, 2014

  • IMG_7134.JPG Despite cold, peach crops looking rosy

    Parker County peach growers won’t know for sure for a few more days, but as of Wednesday, one day after April temperatures plummeted into the low 30s, they’re predicting a good, even rosy, peach harvest for this year’s Parker County Peach Festival.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Animal shelter throwing a party

    The Weatherford Parker County Animal Shelter made a promise to its staff, volunteers and rescues that if the shelter was able to achieve a 90 percent live release rate by the end of March, the shelter would throw a community-wide party to celebrate its accomplishments.

    April 16, 2014

  • Veterans Memorial Rendering.jpg Cabin fever

    Weatherford Parks and Recreation officials are looking to renovate two areas to make them more user friendly.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Parker County man killed in single-vehicle wreck

    A 60-year-old Parker County man was killed around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in a one-vehicle crash in the 2100 block of FM Road 3325, also known as Farmer Road.

    April 15, 2014

  • 0415 one kidfish.jpg Catching some fun at KidFish

    “Is there anything better than spending time with your kids and teaching them the joys of fishing?” James Shaker, a lifetime Weatherford resident, asked Saturday. “I don’t think so.”

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fund set up for family after losing home

    Two streets down and hours after many members of the East Parker County community gathered April 5 to present a new home built with donations to a local family in need, another family in the West Oak subdivision lost their home to a fire and is now in need of support from the community. 

    April 15, 2014

Must Read
Top News
House Ads
AP Video
Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Raw: Bulgarian Monastery Dyes 5000 Easter Eggs Diplomats Reach Deal to Ease Tensions in Ukraine U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military Holder: Americans Stand With KC Mourners Obama Greets Wounded Warriors Malaysia Plane: Ocean Floor Images 'Very Clear' Sparks Fly With Derulo and Jordin on New Album Franco Leads Star-studded Broadway Cast Raw: Two Lucky Kids Get Ride in Popemobile Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks