Forecast more >
A weak cold front will work into the area later tonight with a chance of rain. Chance of rain into early Sunday as well. Best instabilities are to our southwest and thats where the heaviest rains will be. A little cooler tonight into Sunday with mostly cloudy skies. Upper Low will cross the region Monday night into early Tuesday with ...
Willie Ryman remembered as killer's execution approaches
By Tom Wright - Family, friends and co-workers of slain Port Arthur firefighter Willie Ryman plan to be in Huntsville this coming Wednesday for the execution of his killer.
Elroy Chester is scheduled to die in the Texas Execution Chamber June 12, two days shy of his 44th birthday.
Chester pleaded guilty to killing the firefighter 15 years ago after a six month crime spree.
"You bring it back up, it get a little hard to talk about," says Port Arthur Fire Department Battalion Chief Patrick Murphy.
He not only worked with Willie Ryman, he grew up in the same Port Arthur neighbor with him.
"Everybody around town knows his story, about now much of a good guy he was. If you had a project going he was there to help you. If you had party going, he was there to party with you."
Murphy will join a group of firefighters and police officers who will attend the execution of Chester.
In a six month period, from August 1997 to February 1998, Chester went on a crime spree, committing five murders, five attempted murders, three sexual assaults and two-dozen burglaries.
The last person he shot to death was Willie Ryman.
The off-duty Port Arthur firefighter stopped by his sister's house to check on his nieces. What he didn't know was they were under attack, and Elroy Chester was waiting. Chester killed Ryman when he came into the house.
Chief Murphy, speaking as individual, and not for the department, says he not issues with the state of Texas executing Elroy Chester.
"He claimed and changed so many lives. Not just the firefighter's family's lives, but the other people's lives that he took. He has no purpose, no purpose on earth. I have no qualms about it. "
It's been 15 years since Willie Ryman rode the fire trucks in the service of Port Arthur. But there are still reminders, a memorial in Fire Station No. One, Ryman’s logo on the engine at Fire Station No. Five, and, one the station’s blackboard, his original art work.
"You do start to move on with your life. You're not going to get over it. You just try to move forward and put things in perspective. He's missed. He will always be missed. As long as somebody's alive to talk about him, he's going to be missed, says Chief Murphy.