By Michelle Guffey
Killeen Daily Herald
BELTON For Bell County, 2005 likely will be a high-profile year for criminal cases coming to trial.
Three of the cases involve crimes committed last year that shocked local residents.
A Fort Hood doctor was murdered at his home in Harker Heights; four people connected with a Killeen strip club were gunned down; and teenagers burned down a local barbecue restaurant.
On March 18, 2004, officers responded to a call of a suspicious vehicle located in Harker Heights on Cheyenne Center. While inspecting the vehicle, the officers heard gunshots. They went to investigate and discovered a man lying on his driveway.
The man was Lt. Col. Reginald Singleton, a doctor at Fort Hood. A bearded man was seen coming through the front door of Singletons house wearing all black clothing, dark sunglasses, a hat and gloves. Officers observed what appeared to be blood on the mans boots and forearms.
Police identified the man as LeRoy Mott, Lt. Col. Singletons former father-in-law. Singleton and Motts daughter, Deidre, were divorced. The car that police were initially investigating was an out-of-state rental belonging to Mott.
Two other people were found in the house Singletons father, David Singleton, and Tomiko Davis. Singleton was shot and killed with a single gunshot wound to the head, and Davis was shot in the neck.
Singleton and his father were both pronounced dead at the scene.
Singletons divorce and the custody of their two children, 6- and 4-year-old boys, may have motivated the murders.
First Assistant District Attorney Murff Bledsoe said Motts defense has claimed that he is incompetent.
The defense has made a motion based on a psychology report, he said.
Mott is scheduled to go to trial Feb. 14 in Bell County district court.
Also coming up for action in 2005 is the arson case involving Schoepfs Old Time Bar-B-Que in Killeen.
One defendant in the case has already been sentenced for her part in the blaze.
On March 26, 2004, Schoepfs Old Time Bar-B-Que in Killeen burned down. A month later, two individuals were arrested; one was still at large.
Amanda Sue Hoisington, 17, of Hillsboro; Michael Douglas Pieper, 19, of Rogers; and Hector Torres, 17, of Buckholts were arrested on the charge of engaging in an organized criminal activity.
In the arrest affidavit, Ester Galindo stated that Hoisington, an employee of Schoepfs, had an argument with management the night before the fire.
According to the arrest affidavit, Hoisington and Pieper both said they spoke on the phone about burning down the restaurant. Hoisington stated that she wanted proof of the fire.
Pieper and Torres went to Hoisingtons house and got a gas can, camera and a bat. They told police they took the cash register from the restaurant and broke it near Academy. Police found parts of the cash register.
Police retrieved from Hoisington pictures of Torres and Pieper showing them at Schoepfs, labeled The Schoepfs Story.
On Jan. 4, Hoisington was sentenced to three years in prison for engaging in an organized criminal activity. Torres pleaded guilty and a pre-sentencing investigation was ordered.
Hoisington told the judge at her sentencing that all she did was give Torres and Pieper the idea.
Prosecutor Leslie McWill-iams, who is in charge of the case, declined to comment. It would be inappropriate for me to comment on Mr. Piepers case at this time, she said.
Pieper is scheduled to go to trial March 7.
Perhaps the most shocking case to go before a jury will be the slayings of four employees from Teazers Gentlemens Club in Killeen over the Thanksgiving weekend.
The bodies of Haitham Zayed, 28, and Mohamid-Amine Rahmouni, 25, were discovered Nov. 26, 2004, outside Killeen city limits near West Fort Hood. Both died of gunshot wounds to the chest.
Two days later, the bodies of Tiffany Lorraine Dotson, 18, and Amanda Zoe Benefield, 16, were discovered in a car off Simmons Road. Both were shot multiple times.
Richard Lee Tabler, 25, and Pvt. Timothy Doan Payne, 18, a soldier in the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Hood, were arrested and charged with four murders. In the arrest affidavit, both men admitted to the killings.
In the affidavit, Tabler stated that on Nov. 26, 2004, he met with Zayed and Rahmouni on the pretense of buying stolen goods.
Once the men arrived, Tabler shot them while Payne filmed the incident with a video camera.
Two days later, Tabler lured the dancers to a rural area of Simmons Road on the promise of crack cocaine. Tabler stated that he shot Benefield because she had made comments about the shootings of Zayed and Rahmouni. Police believe that Dotson was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Tabler and Payne told investigators that the killings were part of a revenge-based plot to kill at least 12 people who worked at the club who Tabler believed had wronged him.
Tabler had made claims about being fired from his security job at the club. The club manager said Tabler had never worked at the club and that up until a couple of weeks before the killings, Tabler had been a regular customer at the club until he was asked to leave.
The manager said Payne had been a model customer and never caused trouble at the club.
Tabler has since said he never admitted to killing anyone.
Tabler and Payne have not been indicted.
I imagine they will be indicted fairly soon, Bledsoe said.
Both men are in the Bell County Jail, each in lieu of a $4 million bond.
Contact Michelle Guffey at firstname.lastname@example.org