Saturday, November 8, 2003

Grief envelops victim's family


Prosecutor: Crime was cowardly

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[IMAGE] Jay Fisher holds Don Haury's picture and his daughter, Vicki Haury, outside her home Friday morning. Her sister, Pamela Short, is at right.
(Glenn Hartong photo)
| ZOOM |
BELLBROOK, Ohio - Don Haury's family glows with love for him - and burns with anger for the gunman accused of killing him.

"I think he was a selfish coward. He took away so much from us and the other families for a few moments of sick satisfaction," Jay Fisher, Haury's father-in-law, said. "(Don) loved the family; we loved him in return ... We will grieve forever. Through eternity, we will grieve."

Fisher and eight other relatives huddled in front of Haury's Dayton-area home Friday morning, as Tom C. West remained in the Butler County Jail.

Wearing a bullet-resistant vest and under heavy guard, West, 50, appeared in Butler County Area II Court in Hamilton Friday afternoon.

Judge Robert A. Hendrickson ordered him held without bond on accusations that he opened fire at Watkins Motor Lines Inc. in West Chester Township on Thursday morning. Haury, 50, and Bob Lines, 65, of Springfield Township, were killed; three others were wounded. All were believed to be strangers to West, who last worked for Watkins in Atlanta in 2001.

Prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty for West, who had driven about 50 miles to an Indiana truck stop and calmly surrendered after the shooting. Authorities said they found two semiautomatic handguns - a .40-caliber Taurus and a .25-caliber Raven - inside West's white van. He is described as a drifter who may have been living out of his van.

Holding a photo of Haury, Fisher said he had a message for West: "I want him to remember this picture - of a real man - for the rest of his life."

[IMAGE]
Don Haury
Fisher and his daughter, Pamela Short, were among relatives who exploded with outrage and disbelief at s the crime scene after learning Haury had been shot to death. "We were praying in the car the whole way there," Fisher said.

A co-worker had called Haury's wife, Vicki, who worked with her husband at Watkins, and said Haury was among the victims. Haury died in gunfire that erupted about 10 a.m. - 15 minutes before Haury was supposed to hop into his truck for a routine trip to Remington, Ind. Lines, a dispatcher, died on his way to Bethesda North Hospital.

Billy F. Claywell, 48, of Cave City, Ky., was treated at Mercy Hospital Fairfield and released. The other victims remain at Bethesda: Glen Brierly, 48, of Hamilton, in serious condition, and Gary Fissel, 50, of Huntersville, N.C., in fair condition.

The raw emotions of Haury's family, captured on TV and in newspaper photos, hit Butler County Prosecutor Robin Piper hard. "When I see someone crumpled up in pain like that, it makes me want to work all that much harder for them," he said.

Every crime has its own horror, Piper said. "But the multiple fatalities and injuries make the intensity of this crime reverberate that much more through this entire community. To just shoot an unarmed person sitting at his job, trying to bump his way through life - it just doesn't get much more cowardly or brutal than that."

Investigators were trying to learn why the gunman chose the West Chester hub from among Watkins' other locations nationwide.

Meanwhile, Haury's loved ones tried to relive happy memories. They looked through family photos and noticed one constant: Haury's smile. "If he could make you smile, he would," Short said.

Haury and his wife were closer than most married couples, said Mrs. Haury's mom, Sherry Fisher. "Half of her life is gone. They were such an intertwined unit," Mrs. Fisher said.

The couple enjoyed riding Harley-Davidson motorcycles and had been a husband-and-wife long distance trucking team at Watkins for a while, but were now driving shorter hauls separately. Fisher said his daughter couldn't have picked a better husband; Mrs. Fisher said, "From the twinkle in his eye and the smile on his face, you could see how good of a person he was."

In contrast, she sees images of West and says, "He has shown no remorse whatsoever."

E-mail jmorse@enquirer.com




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