News

Murder charged in shotgun slaying

Rockdale homicide fourth in past 12-1/2 months for South Milam, second in 12 days
By MIKE BROWN
Reporter Editor


Stephen Daniell was charged with the shooting death of Sheila Owens at their home Sunday evening. Stephen Daniell was charged with the shooting death of Sheila Owens at their home Sunday evening. A 49-year-old Rockdale woman died Sunday night in her driveway from a shotgun blast to the back of the head and her longterm, 46-year-old boyfriend has been charged with murder.

It was the fourth homicide in just over a year in South Milam County, the second in 12 days.

Sheila Owens was pronounced dead at the scene, 804 North Wilcox, by Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Sam Berry.

Stephen Daniell was charged w ith murder and remains in the Milam County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bond.

CONFESSION—Lt. J. D. Newlin said police received a call from a neighbor at 9:50 p.m. and came to the scene.

“The suspect said he had shot his girlfriend and took us to her body on a sidewalk at their home,” Newlin said.

Newlin said Daniell had walked down the street to a neighbor’s house and asked the neighbor to call police.

Newlin said Owens was leaving the residence when the shot was fired from the porch. “She was on a little sidewalk which led to where their vehicles were parked,” he said.

Police recovered the 12-gauge shotgun involved in the shooting.

Newlin said the shooting followed a “verbal disagreement” between the couple. He said police were not aware of any previous trouble between Daniell and Owens, who had been in a relationship for about 10 years.

Owens was manager of the McDonald's in the Taylor Walmart, while Daniell was identified as a heavy equipment operator for Jack Hilliard Distributing Co.

Ofc. Dale Bekker responded to the scene and arrested Daniell. Newlin, Police Chief Thomas Harris, Sgt. Stephen Goodrich and Ofc. Brandon Tess also assisted in the investigation.

Berry ordered an autopsy.

HOMICIDE S—It was t he fourth homicide in South Milam County—the second inside the Rockdale city limits—in the past 12-1/2 months.

Twelve days previously, 28- year-old Lindsay Ferrill of Katy was shot to death in a rural residence on County Road 346 east of Milano. Her estranged boyfriend, 25-year-old Justin Patranella of Houston, died from a selfinflicted gunshot wound.

Investigators termed the incident a “murder-suicide.”

On Dec. 13, 2011, Margaret “Dot” Barfield, 78, was shot with a pistol in her room at Richards Memorial Hospital. Mrs. Barfield died in Cameron while en route to Scott & White Hospital in Temple.

Her husband, 77-year-old Jake Barfield, was found dead on the f loor by his wife in her RMH room. Police also termed that incident a murder-suicide, saying Jake Barfield had been despondent over his wife’s deteriorating health condition.

On April 25, 2011, 50-year-old Sandra “Sandy” Phillips of San Gabriel died from two shotgun blasts in her home during what investigators termed a “home invasion.”

Two Rockdale-area residents— 19-year-old Brandon Cotton and Tanner Baker, 18, were arrested and charged with murder.

Trial dates for the pair are expected to be set on Monday in district court hearings.

Prosecutor Kerry Spears has announced she w ill seek the death penalty for Cotton.


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2012-05-10 digital edition



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