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Apparent double murder-suicide "was over her ex-boyfriend," sheriff says

By BY KIM COX East Texas Community Newspapers
Dec. 16, 2010 at 7 p.m.

MOUNT PLEASANT - An apparent double murder-suicide left three people dead Thursday morning in this Titus County town.

Lee Boyd, 48, shot himself after killing Junior Lee Whorton, 35, a co-worker, and Vivian Mitchell, 45, his girlfriend, authorities said.

All three people were residents of Mount Pleasant.

"He had his victims picked out," said Titus County Sheriff Tim Ingram. "This whole thing was over (Mitchell's) ex-boyfriend coming to work up there."

All three worked at Vocational Opportunities Center for Northeast Texas, a company that trains people with physical and mental impairments to join the workforce.

Ingram said his office received a cell phone call at 6:43 a.m. from someone at VOCNET.

"A lady reported a man pulled up with a gun and was shooting people," he said.

Witnesses told investigators Boyd pulled into the parking lot at the center and shot Whorton with a 12-gauge shotgun from the cab of his pickup, Ingram said. Boyd then turned the shotgun on himself, the sheriff added.

While investigating at VOCNET, officers learned Mitchell had not shown up for work.

"They said there was a girl missing," Ingram said.

An officer dispatched to Mitchell and Boyd's residence, a trailer on County Road 3210, found Mitchell's body.

Authorities later said she was killed sometime Wednesday night or Thursday morning -before Boyd allegedly shot Whorton.

"(Boyd) had stabbed her and shot her," Ingram said.

Late Thursday, Ingram said his office had not identified the ex-boyfriend, but said investigators think he was one of the people Boyd was targeting.

The ex-boyfriend fled with most of other VOCNET employees when the shots were fired, Ingram said, adding Whorton was targeted because he and Boyd did not get along.

Talk of layoffs at VOCNET also may have played a role, Ingram said.

"He snapped because the ex-boyfriend worked there," Ingram said. "Jealousy and pressure were the two things."

Whorton's family declined to comment.

"We're still not sure what happened," Ingram said. "We've heard so many stories. The family would not like to comment at this time."

Mitchell's sister, Doris Gray of Pittsburg, said she couldn't believe the news.

"They were staying together," she said. "They had been together for over a year. I never knew Lee to be that kind of a person because he loved Vivi."

Mitchell's ex-boyfriend was called Preacher, she said, and the relationship led to some tensions, Gray said.

But she didn't believe Mitchell's relationship with her ex-boyfriend or the rumored layoffs were behind Thursday's double murder-suicide.

"It would have to be something a little more extreme," she said.

Mount Pleasant is a city of about 15,000 people about 50 miles north of Longview.



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