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Police May Never Learn What Motivated Gunman : Massacre: Hennard was seen as reclusive, belligerent. Officials are looking into possibility he hated women.

October 18, 1991|J. MICHAEL KENNEDY and RICHARD A SERRANO | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

The Coast Guard records also showed that his card was suspended for six months for kicking a crew mate and failing to obey the captain. He was also charged with possession of marijuana in El Paso in 1981, but was not convicted. Oddly, he changed his name in recent years from Georges Pierre Hennard to George Jo Hennard.

Isiah Williams, a branch agent for the National Maritime Union in Wilmington, Calif., described Hennard as "hyper, vindictive and always in a hurry."

"He was very vindictive," Williams said, explaining that when Hennard was on leave in San Pedro, Calif., he would often complain about other union members. "He always wanted to straighten out the score. He acted like he didn't confide in anybody or trust in anybody."

Pete Martinez, a union organizer, said that Hennard was "always a loner type around here. We didn't know of him befriending anybody in San Pedro." Hennard would often stay at the Hotel Cabrillo in San Pedro, where one hotel maid recalled that he was "kind of weird but nice. He always carried a backpack with him and never allowed anyone to touch it."

Neighbors of Hennard in Belton said the mansion was often vacant, except for odd times when various family members would visit. Hennard's father, Georges Hennard is an orthopedic surgeon in Houston. He said Thursday from his son's home in Belton: "It was not drugs, that's for sure."

His mother, Jeanne, an antique dealer, lives in Henderson, Nev. She told the Dallas Morning News that she had spoken to her son on Tuesday, his birthday, and that he sounded fine.

"This is so frightening, so devastating," the killer's mother said from her home. "I don't know what to do. I don't know what to say. I'm interested in one thing: this tragedy and the death of my beautiful son."

His parents were divorced in 1983. Hennard has two sisters.

Neighbors recalled a number of bizarre incidents in recent years in which the former seaman would be seen shouting and cursing at passersby.

One resident recalled how he yelled at a small boy who went looking for his baseball glove on the Hennard property. Another resident remembered how loud, hard rock music often reverberated from the large antebellum Hennard home, and whoever was staying there at the time would refuse to turn down the volume.

Geraldine Knight, a 79-year-old woman who lives two doors from Hennard, was amazed at how gingerly Hennard treated his blue pickup--the same vehicle he would use to smash through the cafeteria. "He took such good care of that truck," she said. "I bet he washed it every day."

But perhaps the oddest, and scariest, neighborhood episode occurred this past June when Hennard sent a five page, handwritten letter to two young sisters who lived two blocks away.

The sisters, Jana Jernigan, 19, and Jill Fritz, 23, said that the letter came at a time when Hennard seemed to be stalking them and their mother, Jane Bugg. They said he would drive by their house and wave, stop their cars when they came up the street, and even showed up at their places of work, or met them at local stores.

"He just kind of stepped back and looked at me for about 10 minutes," said Jernigan, describing how Hennard suddenly showed up at the bank where she worked. "He had this big grin on his face. It was pretty awful."

In the letter, he enclosed three photos of himself. He described women as "vipers" and said: "It's very ironic about Belton, Tex. I found the best and worst in women there."

He also wrote that he was "truly flattered knowing I had two teen-age groupies fans."

"But unfortunately," he added, "mommy dear had strong reservations about me. Maybe your mother saw me as the wolf in sheep's clothing. Was she afraid I would act irresponsible with her two precious gems and then run and hide? Your mother made a miscalculation in her evaluation of me. There was no place to run or hide, then or now."

He signed the letter, "Love you George, Your Fan George."

The sisters complained that police, alerted about the letter and Hennard's other behavior, never did anything. "There were never any cops patrolling this street," Fritz said.

However, Capt. Cecil Cosper of the Belton Police Department said authorities never developed enough evidence to arrest Hennard for harassing the young women.

Cosper said that in May, a woman filed a disorderly conduct complaint against the former seaman after he had made an obscene gesture at her. In July, the Hennard family complained that an electronic "bug zapper" was stolen from their home. And last month, Hennard told police that someone was bugging his phone and calling at all hours, just to laugh and play music.

His home answering machine, on a newly listed phone number, gave this message: "Yo, Cuz. You've reached Public Street. Leave your name, number, time and message. Hang-up phone calls are absolutely prohibited and you'll get bugged if you do so."

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