Weatherford Democrat

Top News

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
Top News
  • students.jpg Is opting out an option?

    One local parent has taken it upon herself to make her voice heard. Michelle Osterkamp, who has two children attending Mary Martin Elementary, began to research the opt-out method after talking with some of her teacher friends.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Biz Index 1.jpg Let's get physical

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • EXTENSION NEWS: Take a mind vacation

    For many of us, every day has some sort of stress associated with it. Whether it is something at home or at work, it seems like there are a million things stressing us out and making us feel overwhelmed.

    April 20, 2014

  • VETERANS’ CORNER: Veterans’ needs the target of recent discussions

    Ministers responsible for Veterans Affairs and officials from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States completed a series of meetings April 8-11 at the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., discussing the latest research, best practices and various areas of collaboration to address the growing needs of veterans.

    April 20, 2014

  • MILLSAP MATTERS: Reunion time approaches

    MILLSAP – For many people this is the time of year that reunions are held. In that light, Millsap alumni will be enjoying their annual school reunion on Saturday, April 26.

    April 20, 2014

  • larry jones cropped:color NOW HEAR THIS: The fox and the hound, plus Max

    Almost without exception, most farms are protected to some degree by guard animals. Dogs and cats are most commonly used to defend against intruders and nuisance pests around the farmstead. In recent years with the proliferation of coyotes, many folks are using guard donkeys or llamas to protect their livestock.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Laws can’t be ignored

    Senator Harry Reid said, “We just can’t let people ignore the law.”

    April 20, 2014

  • Taste of Parker County logo.jpg Canyon West to host Taste of Parker County

    Prepare your taste buds, because the sixth annual Taste of Parker County is just a few short weeks away, and this year’s event has moved to a larger location to accommodate even more great eats and treats.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0420 one USAF riders IMG_7940.jpg Riding high

    Members of the United States Air Force Cycling Team, preparing to participate in the 12th annual Ride for Heroes in Aledo Saturday, met Friday with their supporters — members of the Bush Legacy Republican Women of Weatherford — for a pre-ride photo shoot at the historic courthouse followed by pre-ride carbo loading at Milano’s in Willow Park.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Grand jury indictments for April returned

    A Parker County grand jury on Thursday indicted a man accused of breaking into his neighbor’s home and threatening him with a BB gun before engaging in a brief standoff with deputies.

    April 19, 2014

Must Read
Top News
House Ads
AP Video
U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' Obama to Oso: We'll Be Here As Long As It Takes Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers
Poll

The City of Weatherford is considering an ordinance that would ban smoking inside restaurants and enclosed areas where food is prepared, sold or consumed. Do you agree with this proposal?

Yes
No
Undecided
Don't care
     View Results