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Pasadena, Texas Woman - Church Leader - Strangled !


The Victim - Betty Blair


Betty & Bob Blair

Pasadena, Texas



The Accused Killers

Hurricane Katrina Evacuees

Jimmy Hoang Le, 18, Stephanie Jacobo, 18, both from the Beaumont area, and Roosevelt Smith Jr., 43, of Louisiana



Three hurricane evacuees accused of killing woman who helped them

The following article is excerpted from the Houston Chronicle

Oct. 30, 2005
Houston Chronicle

Three hurricane evacuees were charged with capital murder Saturday in the strangulation of Betty Blair, a 77-year-old church leader, mother of three daughters and the widow of former Pasadena school board President Robert "Bob" Blair.

Jimmy Hoang Le, 18, Stephanie Jacobo, 18, both from the Beaumont area, and Roosevelt Smith Jr., 43, of Louisiana, were charged with murdering Blair during a robbery at her Pasadena home Friday.

An active member of St. Pius V Catholic Church, Blair had been helping the three by paying them to do odd jobs and yard work on her property.

"It appears that those that she tried to help were the ones that murdered her," said Pasadena Police Department spokesman Vance Mitchell. The three lived together in an apartment in the 900 block of Randall in Pasadena, Mitchell said.

They were arrested Friday night at the toll booth at Beltway 8 and Westheimer, driving Blair's tan 2000 Buick, in which some of her belongings were found. Jacobo's 10-month-old son also was in the car, and is now with "appropriate relatives," said Gwen Carter, a spokeswoman for the Department of Family and Protective Services.

The car was located through OnStar, an onboard electronic tracking system.

Police said Blair's body was found by the youngest of her three daughters, Melissa Bishop.

Next-door neighbor Lestley Rowell heard "very loud screams" coming from the home. He helped Blair's daughter and called Pasadena police, said his wife, Doris Rowell.

"We are just devastated by this," Rowell said. "My husband is not feeling very well today."

Rowell said her husband had "a bad feeling" earlier in the week when he saw one of the men working in the yard. "He said he was going to talk to Miss Betty about being more careful," Rowell said.

'Very sweet, giving person'
The three suspects were the second group of evacuees Blair had helped after Hurricane Katrina, said her neighbor and fellow parishioner Mary Titus.

Since the death of her husband who served on the Pasadena Independent School District board for 12 years in the spring, Blair had become "even more involved" in church activities, Titus said.

"Betty was just a very sweet, giving person," Titus said. "She had told me she was just starting to get over Bob's death he passed away last April, or May. They did a lot of stuff together. She was very active in the church and very active in the community."

Titus, who said she had lived directly across the street from the Blairs for the last 18 years, said they were "wonderful neighbors." Just after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in late August, Blair took three women from New Orleans into her home in the Parkview Estates subdivision, which was named the 2005 "Neighborhood of the Year" in Pasadena.

"They were very nice people a grandmother, a mother and a daughter who went to church with Betty every Sunday," Titus said.

"They apparently got back on their feet within a month and moved on."

The pastor of St. Pius V Catholic Church in Pasadena, the Rev. Hubert Kealy, said, "My heart was broken" upon learning of Blair's death.

"Betty Blair was a well-known, prominent member of this parish. She and her husband, Bob, God rest them both, were very active in most everything," Kealy said. The parish of St. Pius V was "the center of their life," Kealy said.

In addition to serving as chairman of the church's Communion ministers, Blair had been a teacher at St. Pius V and had edited the parish's last two directories.

"She was well-liked and respected by former students and the people she worked with at the present," Kealy said.

Learning of her death, he said, "I was absolutely stunned, I was breathless. The first thing I remember being able to do, when I recovered my emotional breath, was to say a prayer for her eternal peace."

"How someone abuses kindness, or how someone is led astray, we can't second-guess that. All I can do is to do what I know the Lord wants," Kealy said.

Another parish priest, the Rev. Oscar Castro, went immediately to Blair's home to administer last rites, Kealy said.

"Everyone in the parish that I have talked to is just stunned. It's unbelievable," he said.

Blair's daughters are in "shock and disbelief," he said, adding that his own feelings were of "anger and disappointment."

The most difficult thing to do now, Kealy said, "is to remind ourselves that we ask Lord's grace that we find forgiveness. ...

"I am not there yet, in asking for that grace."

Kealy said that Blair was very involved in the parish's Social Services Ministry, which had "really geared up" after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast and Hurricane Rita hit East Texas.

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