by The Legendary Jim Parks
Waco – By the time Myron Schanek, a heavily tattooed man whose body markings an anthropologist would identify as tribal, Aryan, got around to selling the 1998 Ford Mustang, it was kind of long in the tooth – for a pony.
In official documents and Facebook flame wars, cops and gossips spell his name variously, as Schanck, Schanek. Schank. His street name is “Shogun.”
The year: 2012. The need: money to pay back child support to avoid a blue warrant and various court fines that would land him back in the penitentiary if he didn’t take care of business, according to a detective’s reports.
He sold it to South Waco Auto Traders, located in the 1700 block of LaSalle Avenue, an unlovely industrial neighborhood occupied by cut rate skid row motels, topless bars, auto and equipment dealers, and tombstones, row after row of them.
A salesman, Sergio Juarez, learned the car had been stolen; he reported it to Waco police on February 14.
The Legendary Reporter R.S. Gates obtained 54 pages of official police records compiled by Waco Neighborhood Services Detective Sherry Kingrey, Badge #101, through a Public Information Act request, an appeal that was referred to the Open Records Division of the Texas Attorney General’s Office, and granted by the Waco City Attorney’s Office.
It’s the kind of plodding, methodical police work in which an investigator learns the value of two, adds two, comes up with the requisite square number, then makes a phone call and locates a suspect, compares that story with the known facts, and – in this case – obtained 7 indictments for engaging in organized criminal activity in a car theft carried out to trade the vehicle for 20 one-gram sacks – $2,000 worth of the illegal drug – at $100 per gram.
In 5 of the cases, Detective Kingrey obtained a confession.
The material thus obtained, which depicts a world of meth heads and the people who service their needs in a shadow land populated with persons who are fresh out of options, looking to score more crank, crystal, ice, wanting to “jick” the night away, then sleep all day in preparation for the next big score. The official record tells the story.
Phone calls, text messages, interviews, information received from unnamed confidential informants, aerial surveillance by helicopter, teletype messages, cell phone records – all reveal moments of high drama. Part of the intense narrative includes a peripheral reference in a February 13, 2012 text message to a woman named Ashley Dawn Rogers, a woman contacted by one of the suspects who asked if she knew of anyone who would like to buy the stolen 1998 Ford Mustang.
There are moments of comic relief in which the car thieves, having obtained a copy of the key during an unaccompanied test drive, first ran out of gas. Later, the car broke down on the way to a hiding spot down the highway in Bruceville-Eddy, where they towed it, then waited all night long in vain to get some drugs in exchange for the now inoperable hefty hunk of steaming junk – the 1998 pony.
But the moment is short-lived when you learn from the detective’s case files that during the errand to get the gasoline and tow the car, they had to stop off to see about a jicking customer. The girl in question had earlier in the evening been given a ‘hot shot’ – an injection of methamphetamine shot directly into a large blood vessel in her neck. Ouch.
She wasn’t feeling all that well as a result. She needed some attention from some of the more knowledgeable tricksters in her neighborhood.
While county mounties searched from the air in a chopper, they hid the car under a camouflage tarp, Detective Kingrey learned; meanwhile, members of the gang – which the indictments called a ‘combination – regrouped and schemed to get it fixed so they could trade it for drugs.
Leroy Howell, Melissa Stanley, Bobby Christian, Brian Johnson, Donna Adcock, Delvin Maddison, Wendy Baskin.
When it came time to prosecute Ms. Baskin for her part in the scheme, more drama developed. It seems Detective Kingrey believed – and accused – two women on McLennan County Criminal District Attorney Abel Reyna’s staff of turning over information she gathered from confidential informants.
She alleged a loss to third parties of the kind of information that can get a snitch killed in the violent world of methamphetamine dealers and addicts.
In an incident report, she noted, “Early in this investigation I learned that someone from the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office was giving/handing out information from case files. Because of whom the ‘suspects/defendants’ that were getting this information and their relationship to or connection to this case it resulted in nothing being put in writing about this case initially. Upon getting this information, I put the word out and learned that there was at least one if not two employees doing this. Julie Olejarski with the District Attorney’s Office Victim’s services was giving out information to (Brian) Johnson about other related cases as well as to other suspects. She was not giving out information to or about Bobby Christian but it has been learned that his sister Regina McPherron is best friends with another service employee Delena Gordon. The likely suspect to that is Gordon but not yet proved.
In a subsequent report dated January 2, 2013, she noted, “I was informed by Sgt. Zboril that an e-mail had been sent to me by (First Assistant Prosecutor) Michael Jarrett along with an order demanding that I release all CI information in this case to Michael Jarrett…upon return to work, I found that Jarrett with the assistance of Thomas West went to Judge Strother to get an order #2012-1814-C1 for me to release all information to Jarrett. This is highly irregular and a presidence (sic) that affects not only me but other officers throughout the county.”
At the time, Mr. Jarrett sent the detective an e-mail in which he said, in part, “…The judge was shocked when I informed him that you refused to turn this information over to me. If this order is not complied with by the end of the week, I will have no choice but to dismiss the charges. I look forward to your response.”
In a later hearing, Judge Strother rescinded his order after Det. Kingrey contacted him in private to demand he reverse his ruling. He told the disputants in the police department and the DA’s office to work out their differences in private.
The result: Mr. Jarrett refused to prosecute the indictments in the absence of any knowledge of exactly who alleged what – and when – because state law requires independent corroboration of confidential information obtained in a drug investigation.
Who knows? An informant may have been promised something or the other in return for a false accusation. If that comes to light in the future, a prosecutor could lose his license to practice law, said Mr. Jarrett. His boss, Abel Reyna, heartily agreed – in public appearances and a radio interview.
Phone records obtained through court order are more black and white.
On a much sadder note, they reveal a text between Bobby Christian and Ashley Dawn Rogers on February 13:
“2/13/12 22:46 CHRISTIAN to Ashley ROGERS (deceased) ‘i need to sale a hot 98 mustang do you know anybody?’ This is where the conversation begins. Several texts about the car, going to Temple and another Texas asking to buy it but was told it already sold. They break down but Get picked up by who is now identified as STANLEY who takes it to HOWELL who hides it. The payment is made in illegal narcotics. This also brings in violence committed or _________(redacted) threatened to be committed by known and documented gang members.”
On February 16, firemen were unable to rescue Ms. Rogers and two of her children from a fire that was first reported at 6:30 p.m. and later reported fully involved and totally out of control three minutes later.
A third child miraculously survived, rescued by a neighbor.
A Waco fire investigator has refused to sign off on the notion – accepted by elements of the Waco detectives’ force – that the fire was accidental. The official fire department investigation report shows only a source of heat, but no real cause, a matter that is still under investigation.
Mr. Maddison has made numerous accusations – one of them on a videotaped YouTube presentation – regarding Myron “Shogun” Schank, the owner of the automobile, having set the fire, and a third party named Carrie D. Woodlock told The Legendary she believes he and another party were responsible. Delvin “Durty” Maddison has also made at least two videotapes in which he denies having set the fire, and has loudly proclaimed his innocence to area lawmen on numerous occasions.
One bright note on the horizon is that when indictments are dismissed and prosecutors drop charges, investigators are then freed to continue to look into other matters without the permission of defense attorneys who formerly defended suspects in other causes.
No doubt, the truth is out there – somewhere.
– The Legendary