Posted: 12/22/2003 12:42:58 PM EDT
Dec. 22, 2003, 6:05AM
Man found dead in motel room
Victim had large amount of cash
By MIKE GLENN
Copyright 2003 Houston Chronicle
A man who had displayed a large amount of cash to fellow residents of a northwest Houston motel was found dead in his burned-out room early Sunday, apparently a homicide victim.
The victim was discovered about 4:30 a.m. slumped against a wall in his heavily fire-damaged room at the National Motel, 13432 Hempstead.
"It looks like they might have stabbed and beat him to death," said Sgt. Doug Bacon with the Houston police homicide division.
Investigators discovered traces of an accelerant at the scene, indicating the fire was set deliberately. Other rooms at the motel escaped damage.
Harris County medical examiners will confirm the man's identity and official cause of death, police said. Other motel residents said he had been living there for about six months.
"He was very nice," said Eddie Spillers, who said he knew the victim only as Lee. "He even paid our rent for us when we were having some problems."
He said the victim had been seen carrying a large quantity of cash at a barbecue the night before his death. "He counted out $2,000 in my face while we were cooking," Spillers said.
Witnesses said the man was involved in a confrontation that night, but police had not determined whether the fight played a part in his death. They said his dark blue 1991 Pontiac Transport, with its front bumper tied to the hood by a copper wire, was missing.
"Whoever killed him took his van," Bacon said.
The fire destroyed most of the victim's belongings. The heat melted the plastic television console and piles of charred clothing littered the floor.
Spillers said the man stored Christmas presents for his grandchildren in the fire-gutted room.
"Now that's all gone," Spillers said as he searched for some of his own belongings that the man had been holding for him.
Spillers said the victim was popular with other residents, and ran a side business out of his room, selling drinks and snacks to other residents.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Houston police homicide division at 713-308-3600.
What an idiot.