Officer: Youth Admitted Killing Postal Worker and Recognized Weapon
NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas (AP) _ David Port admitted killing a 23-year-old postal worker and identified a .22-caliber pistol as the weapon he used, a policewoman testified Monday in the teen-ager’s murder trial.
Officer Irma Sauseda said she was carrying the handgun, confiscated from the Port home in Houston, as she escorted Port, 18, from her patrol car to homicide headquarters on June 8, 1984, the day he was arrested.
″He said ‘is that my gun?’ ″ Ms. Sauseda testified. ″I said ‘Do you recognize it?’ and he said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ″That is the one I used to kill her.′ ″
The body of Debra Sue Schatz was found in a remote area northwest of Houston several miles from the spot Port told police he had left her remains.
Port’s case has drawn widespread attention because his father and stepmother refused to testify before a grand jury. Both were jailed on contempt of court charges while their son remained free on bond.
The Ports have since been released, but have not appeared in the courtroom during their son’s trial, now in its third week. Neither has been subpoenaed to testify.
The district court trial was moved to New Braunfels because of extensive publicity in Houston.
Ms. Sauseda said she saw mud on Port’s clothing and on his car when he was arrested.
Authorities say a wrecking service reported Port’s car had to be pulled out of mud near the spot where the body was found.
Ms. Sauseda also said Port gave her a detailed account of the slaying.
″He said, ‘I don’t remember everything that happened. But I do remember walking her upstairs with my gun. I know she was afraid. She fell at the top of the stairs and tried to get away. I grabbed her by the blouse. She started struggling. I went back upstairs and started shooting. I don’t know how many times I hit her, maybe twice.’
″ ‘I just stood there and looked at her a long time. Then I went downstairs and I knew she was dead,’ ″ Ms. Sauseda said Port told her.
″I asked him how he knew she was dead. He said he checked her pulse,″ the officer testified. ″I told him he didn’t have to tell me all these things. He said ’I know.‴
Under cross examination, Ms. Sauseda said she wrote down much of Port’s comments as she was driving him to police headquarters.
Defense lawyer Jack Zimmermann pointed out Ms. Sauseda was driving in heavy traffic, there was construction on the road she was traveling, her police radio was on and there were other distractions.
″Your testimony is that you wrote down exactly what David Port said?″ Zimmermann asked.
″As best I could,″ she replied.
″You got it down word for word?″ he pressed.
″I tried to, sir,″ Ms. Sauseda said.