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Two Sought in Four Deaths in Texas

March 31, 1999

ABILENE, Texas (AP) _ Police say a woman’s refusal to help conceal her boyfriend’s criminal activity may have led the man to kill her and three of her friends.

Authorities were searching for Arthur Goodman, 19, who was charged Tuesday with capital murder. His 20-year-old girlfriend, Sandy Witt, and the others were shot at close range Monday evening.

Goodman’s 16-year-old brother, who may have been present during the shootings, was also being sought.

Detective Jay Hatcher said family and friends gave police two versions of a possible motive. In one, Ms. Witt wouldn’t supply an alibi to police for an undisclosed crime in which Goodman is a suspect. In the other, Ms. Witt was planning to give police incriminating information about Goodman.

Ms. Witt’s friends _ Naomi Martinez, 23; Erica Arispe, 21; and Penny Estrada, 21 _ ``just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time,″ Hatcher said.

``Apparently Goodman wedged himself between the women and the door and, as they tried to escape, he shot them one after another,″ Hatcher said.

Larry Hammond, an apartment handyman who might have been trying to help the women, was shot in the abdomen and critically wounded.

Officers also suspect Goodman in the Sunday night shooting of a 16-year-old boy. Hatcher said the motive in that shooting was revenge for an attack on Goodman’s brother.

Ms. Estrada’s mother, Juanita Valdez, joined dozens of people who visited Ms. Witt’s duplex Tuesday to pray, leave flowers or poetry and light candles in memory of the four slain women.

``They were like sisters they were so close,″ she said. ``They all loved each other so much, I can’t believe this happened.″

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