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Decades-old case linked to Galveston Co. 'killing fields'

Carol Christia, Houston Chronicle
Updated 10:10 am, Wednesday, January 15, 2014

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  • In this Sept. 21, 1997 file photo Tim Miller looks at the now disintegrating cross he erected in 1986 at the site where the body of his daughter, Laura, was found. The 16-year-old was one of four young females whose remains were found in a League City area known by many as the "killing fields."  See more images from a movie about the cirmes. Photo: D. Fahleson, Houston Chronicle / Houston Chronicle
    In this Sept. 21, 1997 file photo Tim Miller looks at the now disintegrating cross he erected in 1986 at the site where the body of his daughter, Laura, was found. The 16-year-old was one of four young females whose remains were found in a League City area known by many as the "killing fields."  See more images from a movie about the cirmes. Photo: D. Fahleson, Houston Chronicle

 

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The so-called "killing fields" of Galveston County, where a string of unsolved brutal slayings inspired a movie as well as the volunteer organization Texas Equusearch, are being linked through court documents to another decades-old case.

Clyde Hedrick, 60, is awaiting trial on a murder charge in the July 1984 death of Ellen Rae Beason, who was last seen alive at a League City nightclub.

Hedrick was questioned at the time of her death 30 years ago, but told authorities that Beason drowned while swimming after they left the Texas Moon Club.

Her body was found wedged under a sofa in an overgrown area on Old Causeway Road in Galveston County, authorities said.

Hedrick was arrested in April, after reexamination of Beason's exhumed body led to her death being ruled a homicide. Hedrick remained in the Galveston County jail Tuesday on $150,000 bond.

Kevin Petroff, a Galveston County prosecutor heading up Hedrick's trial, filed a routine document in October to let defense attorney Jeremy DuCote know the range of items that might come up in questioning.

The document, known as "State's notice of intent to use evidence of other crimes, wrongs or acts," specifically mentions two women who were killed in the 1980s, Heidi Fye and Laura Miller. Their bodies were found in a field west of Interstate 45 near Calder Road in League City. Fye was found in April 1984, while Miller, whose father, Tim Miller, started Texas Equusearch, was found in February 1986 after disappearing in September 1984.

Two other women found in the "killing fields" in 1986 and 1991 have never been identified.

Hedrick has not been charged in any of the murders.

In addition to those four, an undetermined number of other women - perhaps dozens - have either disappeared or been killed in the Houston-Galveston area with no leads about their attackers, investigators have said.

Another statement in the prosecution's document says: "In Galveston County, Texas, between the years 1991 and 1993, the defendant (Hedrick) would come back home with a different shirt and would be saying repeatedly that he had 'done it again.'"

The document also lists incidents of enticing a child, criminal trespass, driving while intoxicated, terroristic threat, evading arrest, assault, possession of a controlled substance, theft, abuse of a corpse, criminal mischief, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, attempted arson, assault and battery.

In response to inquiries, attorneys from both sides said the document is a procedural requirement and does not warrant major attention.

"It is purely for providing notice to the defense, so the state would not be precluded from bringing up any of these topics, if they were to become admissible areas of inquiry," Petroff said Tuesday.

Beyond that, Petroff said he couldn't discuss any specific claims in the state's case.

DuCote, Hedrick's attorney, said he wasn't sure if the state planned to introduce evidence that his client killed either Laura Miller or Heidi Fye.

"The state has given me notice that the state may try to introduce this evidence, but at this time, I do not believe any credible evidence of this bad act exists, and I do not anticipate any such evidence being admitted," DuCote said by email.

DuCote said he did not anticipate the state bringing any additional charges against Hedrick and expects his client to be found not guilty in Beason's slaying.

The trial is scheduled to begin March 24.