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Inmates find pistols, marijuana in courthouse
by Joe Baker
Apr 04, 2013 | 4968 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
County officials were surprised when inmates used to clean the courthouse found guns and marijuana in the building which has been vacant for more than a year.
County officials were surprised when inmates used to clean the courthouse found guns and marijuana in the building which has been vacant for more than a year.
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County Commissioner Shelby Dupnik had an unusual announcement to make during the March 28 meeting of Commissioners Court.

According to Dupnik, six inmates from the Connally Unit state prison were working to clean out the Karnes County courthouse when they found guns and marijuana inside an unlocked room on the second floor.

Dupnik encouraged all officials to make sure areas where items are stored are cleaned out and secured.

“We cleaned out that whole courthouse in three days,” Dupnik said. “I want to remind everybody that when there is a project to be done, make sure that when you are in charge to do something like that, clean out your things. Clean it out. Because in the courthouse we found marijuana, seven or eight pistols, a bunch of evidence pictures and other stuff.”

“The inmates brought me the stuff as they were taking it down,” Dupnik said.

“The security of that whole building was a joke because that door was open,” Dupnik said. “It was never secured. I don’t know what has walked out of that building. I don’t know who took what. Who knows if the guys doing construction went in there and helped themselves. Who knows?”

“I just want everybody to understand that those are cleared out now and everything has been turned over to the proper authorities for disposition.”

County Commissioner Pete Jauer, who has been involved with ongoing work at the courthouse, responded to Dupnik’s remarks.

“Shelby, I don’t know who had a key to it, but that door was always locked,” Jauer said. “I never went in there and never asked for a key and one day I went in there and it was open. I don’t know who unlocked it.”

County Judge Barbara Shaw told The Karnes Countywide in an interview Monday that she understood the guns and marijuana were evidence stored from district cases.

“I have no knowledge of district cases, so I really don’t know,” Shaw said. “I had no idea that anything was stored there. My personal thought is evidence belongs in an evidence locker.”

District Attorney Rene Pena’s office has prosecuted cases in the Karnes County Courthouse in recent years but whether or not the guns and marijuana were associated with a case his office prosecuted remains unclear.

The Karnes Countywide reached out to District Attorney Rene Pena for comment Monday, but phone messages left were not immediately returned.

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