Editor arrested, paper shut down p. 15

By: Dorothy Giobbe Authorities discover founder of weekly
newspaper in Texas had served time
for felony theft and violated parole sp.

A TEXAS NEWSPAPER editor has been thrown into jail and his newspaper shut down after authorities discovered an outstanding arrest warrant, stemming from a year-old parole violation.
Steve Ramos, founder and editor of the weekly Stinnett (Tex.) Journal, was arrested recently after authorities in a nearby town recognized his picture in an Amarillo News feature that profiled the Journal.
According to the arrest warrant, Ramos failed to report to his parole officer in September 1993. He had been paroled from a Texas corrections facility in September 1991 after being sentenced to 10 years on 1985 and 1988 felony theft charges.
When Texas Ranger Jim Gillespie recognized Ramos from the Amarillo News feature, he decided to do some checking and eventually discovered the outstanding arrest warrant.
"Back in the early '80s, he was doing a scam here, and we caught him and he went to jail," Gillespie said. "If somebody does a scam like that once, [I want to know] what he's doing now, knowing his past history."
Gillespie checked with colleagues, and "Lo and behold, there he was," he said. "I was pretty surprised because his trouble was a number of years ago."
Warren Zimmerman, attorney for the editor, who called Ramos a "pretty creative fella," said that in the 1980s Ramos spent time in prison for writing "hot checks."
"Everybody around here knew Steve had had some trouble in the 1980s, but didn't know there was an arrest warrant out for him," Zimmerman said.
The "so-called parole violation," he added, is the result of "miscommunication. Steve wasn't hiding anywhere. He didn't know anything about it, and neither did anyone else."
Police Chief Randy Hooks, who arrested Ramos at the Journal office, said that Ramos won over the town after starting the community's only newspaper.
The police official was completely unaware of the warrant, and said that Ramos "seemed to be surprised" when he was arrested on Sept. 28.
"He was on the loose for about a year," Hooks said. "He would come down and talk to me about stories. I had no reason to suspect him. He wasn't committing any crimes I could see."
The Journal was a "real good" paper, said Hooks, and published its first edition on Sept. 2.
Texas law stipulates that Ramos must remain in prison until his parole revocation hearing. Meanwhile, with no one at the helm, the Journal has closed down. The Journal's equipment has been put into storage, and Zimmerman said that the future of the newspaper is "indefinite."
"[Ramos'] spirits are pretty low. He's been on an emotional roller coaster and was terribly upset when this happened," the attorney added.
While the editor would "like to start it up again, the publicity may have just killed him," Zimmerman said.


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