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Accused killer Comacho set for transfer to Dallas County

MCALLEN, Texas -- A convicted drug smuggler and accused killer of five people, nabbed at the border late last week, on Monday was ordered held without bond by a U.S. magistrate pending his transfer to Dallas County.

Genaro Ruiz Comacho, 34, faces the death penalty in Dallas County, Texas, and in Johnston County, Okla., and faces murder charges in two other Texas counties and federal kidnapping charges related to two of the deaths.

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Comacho, described by Dallas County prosecutor Norman Kinne as 'the meanest S.O.B. I've ever dealt with or ever even heard of,' was arrested Friday in Hidalgo as he crossed the International Bridge into the United States. Border Patrol and FBI agents said they had been alerted by an informant to the possibility of Comacho trying to enter the United States and had widely distributed pictures and descriptions of him.

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'The rumor was he'd come back in a box (coffin),' Kinne said. 'Unfortunately, he didn't.'

Comacho, arrested without incident, was held on the federal kidnapping charges at the county jail in McAllen during the weekend. He appeared Monday before U.S. Magistrate William Mallet, who ordered him held without bond pending his transfer to Dallas County.

Mallet saidComacho can request another bond hearing once he is in Dallas.

Dale Williams, of the U.S. Marshal's Service in McAllen, Monday said Comacho will be escorted by agents of his office to Dallas.

Following his arrest, U.S. Attorney Marvin Collins in McAllen said that although Comacho was in federal custody that his case likely will be prosecuted by either Texas or Oklahoma, both of which have the death penalty. Federal law does not have either a death penalty or a murder charge.

'In every instance where there are multiple jurisdictions seeking the same individual, we try to find what will be the best way to address the particular offender,' Collins said. 'Clearly, (the death penalty) is in many cases a controlling factor.'

Dallas County prosecutors say Comacho was born in the south Texas town of Mercedes, but moved to Dallas where he entered the drug smuggling trade. He was convicted in 1978 of dealing large amounts of marijuana and served four years in prison, receiving his release in 1983.

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A charge is still pending against him in Mercedes in the shooting death of an acquaintance named Mario Herrera in 1987.

On May 20, 1988, prosecutors believe Comacho and two henchmen stormed the house of Sam Wright, 57, in the Dallas suburb of Pleasant Grove. Police said Wright owed Comacho for a 25-pound shipment of marijuana, and Comacho threatened Wright and his wife with guns.

At that point, prosecutors said, a Wright family friend named David Wilburn, 25, knocked on the front door and was let in. Prosecutors said Comacho forced Wilburn to the floor and killed him with a gunshot to the head.

During the shooting, Wright escaped, leaving his wife, Evellyn Banks, 31, and his 3-year-old son, Andre, in the house. The charges said Comacho kidnapped Banks and Andre, holding them for two days in Dallas, and then on May 22 drove them to Ardmore, Okla. The next night Banks and Andre were killed with multiple gunshots to the head and buried in shallow graves.

A Comacho accomplice led authorites to the graves on Aug. 27. Johnson County, Okla., authorities then filed the capital murder charges against Comacho.

In June, Dallas topless dancer Pamela Miller, 23, disappeared from her apartment after telling friends she had witnessed the slayings in Oklahoma.

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The charges said Comacho and his assistants drove Miller to Erath County, southwest of Dallas, and beat and choked her during the drive. Comacho called for a gun, but none was available and he ordered the car stopped. He then ordered the driver to run over Miller's head, which he did, and then when Miller later groaned the driver ran over her again, killing her, and her body was hidden.

A Comacho assistant the next day returned to Dallas, rented a wood mulcher and returned to Erath County, where Miller's body was shredded. One of Comacho's assistants led authorities to those remains in a pasture near Stephenville in September.

'He plays so violent it's almost overkill,' said Dallas County Sheriff's Lt. James Cron. 'It's so terrible it was almost surreal.'

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