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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

TX- Bryan death probed (20 Year Old Registered Sex Offender)

2-11-2009 Texas:

A preliminary autopsy report released Wednesday shows that a 20-year-old homeless man found in a vacant downtown Bryan building died from blunt force trauma.

Dale Wayne Ellis was discovered in an abandoned dry cleaning business at Main and Pruitt streets less than two blocks from the homeless shelter where he had recently stayed.

Bryan police spokesman Jason James said it was not clear how Ellis died.

"We're investigating this as a homicide because we investigate all deaths as homicides until we prove otherwise," James said.

Scott James, who knew Ellis from the shelter, said Ellis was good-natured, although he had "irritated" some residents when he stayed at The Bridge, Twin City Mission's homeless shelter.

"He was not real grown-up, but he wasn't malicious in any way," he said. "He was probably going to grow up at some point, but he just hadn't got there yet."

Scott James said he came out of The Bridge to drink his morning coffee before 6 a.m. Tuesday and talked to a man who said he had found Ellis dead around 4:30 a.m. The man said it appeared that Ellis had been severely beaten, James said.

Bryan police responded to the building around 6 a.m.

Deputy Chief Peter Scheets said the cause of Ellis' death was difficult to determine and he couldn't confirm whether Ellis had been beaten or shot.

Scheets said investigators had identified "several persons of interests" in the case.

Ellis had stayed at the mission off and on for the past three months, shelter officials said, but was not considered a client at the time of his death because he had been discharged Friday for "non-compliance."

Shelter Program Coordinator Steve Bethea said Ellis "didn't have any issues at the shelter" beyond normal disagreements among residents.

But Bethea said that he knew Ellis on personal level and that he was "very impressionable."

"He wasn't a bad guy," he said, adding that Ellis was never involved with drugs or alcohol abuse. "Mainly he just wouldn't do what he was supposed to do."

The Bridge runs on a "fair share" system through which residents help out at the shelter or pay a weekly fee as a condition of their stay.

"When you're 20 years old, your life has just started," he said. "He was here trying to find that opportunity, and it didn't work out."

Ellis would often hang around The Bridge during the day, even when he was not living there. He often ate in the community cafe, which provides free meals.

Friends said Ellis told them he was originally from Arkansas but had spent some time in Colorado before coming to Texas. Bryan police said Ellis had at least one family member living in Texas.

Friends and shelter officials said it was well-known among shelter residents that Ellis was a registered sex offender. Public records show that Ellis served two years behind bars as a teenager for a crime involving a 6-year-old girl.

On Sunday, Scott James said, Ellis took him over to the abandoned dry cleaning store behind Food Town to show him where he was sleeping on a mattress on the floor.

James said he liked Ellis, who would always share cigarettes with him.

"I didn't see this coming," James said. He said Ellis once turned a group of shelter residents in to administrators for drinking alcohol, which is not allowed. "He's hacked some people off, but he never made anyone mad enough to do this."

Bethea described the mood among shelter residents as somber Tuesday. They'd all heard that Elllis died violently.

Lenni Lissberger, who volunteers as a chaplain at The Bridge, met Tuesday with residents to talk about Ellis' death. Lissberger said many were dealing with grief, but also with the knowledge that Ellis was killed in their backyard.

Lissberger had met with Ellis weekly since he came to the shelter.

"He was a kid," she said. "He was young. He was exuberant. You've just got to enjoy a young, exuberant person."

On Tuesday night, Lissberger met with people who eat at the community cafe regularly but have no place to sleep at night. Those are the people most affected by Ellis' death, she said, because they have to sleep outside again tonight knowing that his killer is still out there.

In his six years at The Bridge, Bethea said, he has seen other residents die. Several old people have died, and their ashes remain at Twin City Mission's administration offices because family members never claimed them.

But Bethea said this was the first time someone associated with The Bridge had died so violently.

Many residents, and especially nonresidents who seek help from Twin City Mission's community cafe or case managers, are scared because of Ellis death.

"It's just 1 1/2 blocks away," Bethea said.

Bryan city spokeswoman April Saginor said the city owns the property where Ellis was found. She said officials learned after the event that the area was a hangout and that people often slept there.

The abandoned dry cleaners was boarded up Tuesday after police left, she said.

"This appears to be an isolated incident. It doesn't affect my personal perception of safety downtown," Saginor wrote in an e-mail Tuesday. "When I think of downtown, I think of a thriving business district that is home to the award-winning Texas Reds Festival. I'm sorry that a tragedy has occurred but it should not have an impact on how our historic downtown is viewed by the public." ..News Source..

Despite Murder of Homeless Man, Bryan Police Say Downtown Safe

2-12-2009 Texas:

Its an area the city of Bryan is redeveloping. Its also the scene of the city's first homicide.

Tuesday morning, 20-year-old Dale Ellis was found bludgeoned to death in a vacant building on the corner of Pruitt and Main streets, in downtown Bryan.

"Bryan is still safe, the downtown district is a safe area,"said Bryan Police Officer Jason James. "We believe that this was an isolated incident and doesn't impact or reflect on the downtown area."

Bryan Police said Wednesday that they have persons of interest, but so far have made no arrest. Detectives climbed in the bucket of a city fire truck Wednesday afternoon, to get a bird's eye view of the downtown.

Ellis was homeless, and often stayed a few blocks down Main Street from where he was found, at Twin City Mission.

Twin City Program Director Steven Bethea says he's not sure who might have done this.

"I've thought about that for the last day," said Bethea. "This is just evil to me, and is this just random act of evilness, or was this somebody who might have known this person?"

Twin City Mission CEO Doug Weedon said Ellis was discharged from the mission last week, for not complying with rules.

"I allow people to enjoy the consequences of their actions," said Weedon. "When you choose not to follow our requirements, then you choose not to live at the mission."

The building Ellis took shelter in Monday night, was a vacant city property. Police said had they known about it, the incident would have warranted a criminal trespass arrest.

However, Robert Boyd, works across main street and said Ellis wasn't the first to take shelter in the green building.

"There are always people over there every single night, drinking, doing whatever they're doing over there," said Boyd.

"Kinda freaks me out a little bit, knowing people are getting killed 100 feet from where I park."

However, those who lived with Ellis, don't believe his death was random.

"There's a good chance we know who the person is," said Scott James. James said he came to know Ellis over the last several months, when they both lived at the shelter.

Ellis was a registered sex offender, and according to James, not liked by all of the mission's residents.

"He has like a past to him a little bit that people kinda held against him," said James.

Well-liked or not, his former roommates want answers.

"Everybody kinda wants to get to the bottom of it to figure out who is in our group that might be able to do something like that," said James.

Twin City Mission is offering grief counseling to residents and staff. ..Source.. by Ashlea Sigman

Autopsy: Bryan man was beaten to death

2-12-2009 Texas:

BRYAN - There are a few more answers surrounding the body that was found in Downtown Bryan on Tuesday morning.

According to the autopsy report, 20-year-old Dale Wayne Ellis died from blunt force trauma. Police told ABC 40 he was beaten to death, but they could not give out any details about the injuries Ellis suffered.

Ellis' body was found in an abandoned building around 6:00 on Tuesday morning.

According to police, Ellis was homeless, but his last-known address was on N. Main Street in Bryan.

The city of Bryan's website lists him as a registered sex offender, who victimized a 6-year-old girl. But police told ABC 40 they do not think that has anything to do with Ellis' murder. ..Source.. by Nicole Pytel

Arrest Made in Homeless Bryan Man's Murder

2-14-2009 Texas:

A homeless man whose last address was listed as Madisonville is behind bars, accused of murdering a homeless Bryan man in an abandoned downtown building.

Danny Ray Grammer, 22, was taken into custody Friday evening in Madisonville for the murder of 20-year-old Dale Ellis. Bond has been set at $250,000.

According to court documents, Grammer was interviewed by police Tuesday, the day Ellis's body was found at an abandoned dry cleaners in the 600 block of North Main. Grammer denied involvement in Ellis's death at that time.

However, on Friday, police say another homeless man, identified as Antonio Bernard, came to them and said his "partner," Grammer, had killed Ellis. Bernard said Grammer had taken him to the body right after the murder. Bernard then provided police with details about the scene and the case that had not been released to the public.

Bernard went on to pick Grammer out of a lineup, identifying him as his "partner." Bernard said Grammer had confessed the murder to him and that he didn't mean to kill Ellis.

Bryan Police had also found the shirt Grammer had worn in his initial interview with police. It was bloody near the homeless camp he and Bernard lived at in the downtown area.

According to Twin City Mission officials, Grammer had been staying at the mission, but was discharged about a week and a half prior to Tuesday's murder. Ron Crozier with Twin City says Grammer was not complying with the mission's conditions for staying at the facility, which include helping out at the various operations.

Ellis had also been discharged from the mission days prior to his murder. Crozier says those two dischargings were unrelated, and that staff members at the mission did not suspect Grammer in Ellis's death.

Ellis was convicted of indecency with a child in Montgomery County in 2004. In January, he had registered as a sex offender in Brazos County. It is unknown whether his previous crime played a role in his murder, which police say was a result of "blunt force trauma."

Ellis's murder was the first in Bryan in 2009. ..Source.. By Steve Fullhart


Tank said...

Thank you for the in depth story. Every one else that has posted something on this young mans death has been short and to the point."He is sex offender and someone killed him" that is all that they care to say. Yes he was a sex offender but only proven in court. No one cared to mention that when the "crime" happened he was only 14. And all the "witnesses" to this crime NEVER said that he did what the little girl said he did. It was a 6 yr old s voice against his. The other children that were present didnt have corroberating stories that proved him guilty. The fact of the matter is his family (my aunt) could not afford an attorney. there for the case was lost. Money rules ya know.... He was a troubled man and his mind had not caught up with his body. it would be easy to say that he was still about 13 or 14 and trapped in a 20 yr olds body. he never got the chance to grow up nor will he ever. Dale is my cousin he might not have been the most fun to hang around and may have been a little bit annoying at times, but that was mainly because his mentality was that of a much younger person and he just didnt get things like every one else. but he was still family. he still has people that love him and care for him. he was just misunderstood. and most people just didnt know how to handle him. We love you Dale and we will miss you. I hope that you have found a place to call home. some where that you will find happiness and kindness in everyones eyes. Close your eyes now and rest your head. There is no more tears for you to shed. Look around you and you will see. there is nothing to hold you down anymore you are free.

ZMan! said...

Suspect who confessed, arrested: