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THE WICHITAN The Student Voice of Midwestern State University Wednesday Jan. 31, 2007 Hoffman kidnapper sentenced to 11 years in prison CHRISTIAN MCPHATE STAFF REPORTER John Paul Fletcher, 33, pleaded guilty last week to the kidnapping of Rebecca Hoffman, wife of English professor Thomas Hoffman, last August. Fletcher also pleaded guilty to robbing the couple, assault and burglary of a habitation. After three hours of deliberation, the six-man and six-woman jury sentenced him to 11 years in prison on the kidnapping charge and 10 years probation for the other three offenses. The crimes occurred Aug. 23 after the couple returned home from dinner with their pastor and church friends and were awaiting the opening of their automatic garage door. A masked gunman wearing a tweed jacket and a straw hat approached the Hoffmans at gunpoint. He forced the couple into their home where he demanded a ransom. Later, he took Mrs. Hoffman and her Toyota Avalon and fled the scene. After leading police on a 45minute car chase through Clay and Wichita Counties, law enforcement officers found the Toyota near the bank of the Wichita River. Mrs. Hoffman was in the backseat unharmed. Police apprehended Fletcher shortly afterward. Court testimony revealed that Fletcher had previously rented a home from the Hoffmans and believed they had money because of several rental properties the couple owned. Chief prosecutor Rick Mahler explained that the probation would run concurrently with the prison time. “Fletcher could get out in five and a half years on good behavior,” Mahler said. Fletcher had no prior criminal history. “You will be a model prisoner,” Senior Judge David Cleveland told Fletcher. The retired Palo Pinto County district judge told Fletcher he should think about the impact his crimes had on the Hoffmans. “While heʼs been in jail, I have felt safe,” Rebecca Hoffman said after the trial. “I will feel safe for five years.” Mahler stated that his office “wished he wouldʼve gotten more time.” The Hoffmans released this statement: “The family of Dr. and Mrs. Tom Hoffman would like to publicly express their profound appreciation and gratitude to the Wichita Falls Gang Task Force for rescuing Rebecca Hoffman the night she was kidnapped, on August 23, 2006. We also want to thank the second and third shift patrol officers who apprehended her kidnapper, John Paul Food for thought The Mesquite Dining Hall is an ʻall you can eatʼ MSU dining service that offers a wide variety of foods to its most popular users, the students who live on campus. However, not all of them believe they are getting their moneyʼs worth. Students who live in the Killingsworth Dorm, Pierce Hall or McCullough-Trigg are required by the schoolʼs food service policy to have a meal plan with the Mesquite Dining Hall. Three meal plans are available for the students, living in these residence halls, to choose from: •19 meals per week + $65 declining balance = $1,280 •14 meals per week + $75 declining balance = $1,200 •10 meals per week + $75 declining balance = $1,170 The Mesquite Dining Hall is divided into different sections that provide various kinds of cuisine. There is the pasta section. Another is the ʻhot mealsʼ section where the menu varies from day to day. Thereʼs also a hot dog, burgers and fries area and a sandwich section, which allows you to pick and choose what goes in your sandwich. The Mesquite Dining service boasts an extensive salad bar. MSUʼs Dining Services works in conjunction with Aramark to offer a number of other eateries and food services on campus besides Mesquite, like the Sundance Food Court, Java City and Starbucks. All food items are prepared following Aramark guidelines and recipes. Studentsʼ opinions on the cafeteria vary. Some like the food b u t not all students with a meal plan a r e happy with what they foods, while others say they have had appalling experiences concerning the hygiene t h a t leave them “ a t least SUNKYU YOO-NORRIS | THE WICHITAN must pay to eat. Some donʼt agree with the freshness and nutritious values of the $1,000 short for nothing.” Michelle Watson, a senior psychol- See Hoffman page 6 Veg out LATIA BANKS STAFF REPORTER Students wonder if Mesquite Dining Hall meal plan prices are really worth their buck. MELISSA DOS PRAZERES-SILVA FOR THE WICHITAN Fletcher, in the same evening and the Wichita Falls Police detectives and the District Attorneyʼs Office, specifically Dobie Kosub and Vickie Collins for the countless hours they invested in the pursuit of justice. “It was our hope that John Paul Fletcher would receive a sentence long enough for Dr. and Mrs. Hoffman, in their advanced age, to live the remainder of their lives without the fear of Mr. Fletcher having an opportunity to do them further harm, so naturally, we are disap- ogy major, had a meal plan only because she had no other choice coming in as an international freshman. As part of the schoolʼs housing policy, all students must live on campus except if they live with a family member, are married or have a child, have over 45 credit hours, are part-time students or over the age of 21 prior to the first day of classes. “I was in McCullough-Trigg and was stuck with a meal plan,” Watson said. “The food really was too greasy most of the time, and there was hardly any taste to it.” She also said, as an athlete, she wants to eat a lot better because she works out so much. However, her choices are limited to the salad bar or pasta. “I do get sick of the food sometimes. Itʼs the same stuff over and over, and itʼs greasy,” said Heather Primavera, a sophomore mass communication major. “I think it is overpriced, and there is a limited choice.” Michael Clifton, director of Dining Services, said that their goal is to try and cater to all their customers. “We have low-fat items, like the sandwich area and the salad bar, and we donʼt do a lot of seasoning since everyone has different tastes,” Clifton said. Keith Lamb, associate vice president of student affairs, said it is normal that students say they are tired of the food and think there is a limited choice available. Itʼs a world where steaks and prime rib are unheard of on the menu, a place where chicken is nonexistent. A vegetarian/vegan would say, KFC who? Amy Cox, 24, is familiar with this territory. The MSU graduate student has been a vegetarian on and off for almost 10 years. She has been vegan for 8 months. “Itʼs a stricter form of vegetarian,” she explained., a vegan Web site, defines veganism as “Compassion in action. It is a philosophy, diet and lifestyle.” Cox said she was just looking for a change. “After my father died I was getting sick. I had gotten to a point where I didnʼt like myself,” she said. She said becoming a vegetarian helped her cope with her depression. Later, she decided to be a vegan. “I took the plunge. Once you do it, itʼs quite nice,” Cox said, chuckling. A vegan does not eat meat or dairy products. Some vegans donʼt use anything if there are animal products in it, for example: Soap, shoes and clothing with silk, wool or leather. Cox said she only wears material that is animal friendly. “Iʼve had the same shoes for 10 years. They will last me for 10 more years,” she said. She said she uses olive oil soap and shops at Hot Topic. “You can find a bunny rabbit on the label of a product. Thatʼs how you know itʼs animal friendly and See Food page 6 See Vegetarian page 6 Non-trads find worth in attending college MELISSA NEWTON FOR THE WICHITAN INSIDE Midterms, parent-teacher conferences, work, study groups, PTA meetings, housework and thatʼs just on Monday. To some students the college experience is viewed as a lot of partying and bellying up to the bar, with the occasional study group if they feel like it. For the small percentage of parents who have decided to pursue their degree later in life, this scenario would be mind-boggling. Some are returning after working in a field they no longer see a future in. Some are going for the first time to try and better their lives and the lives of their family. Corey Smallwood, a 26-year-old freshman in radiological sciences, has already gotten two bachelorʼs degrees in electronics and teaching while in the Air Force. When he decided not to re-enlist as an avionics instructor last spring he wanted to take advantage of his GI Bill money and get a degree in radiology. “I decided to go back to school after getting out of the Air Force because I wanted to get out of electronics,” Smallwood said. “The commercial electronics industry is becoming such a flip-flop field. All of the big companies are contracted for the military and the market goes up and down so much, I couldnʼt afford taking the chance of getting laid off.” Smallwood chose the medical field this time around because he knew that if he ever moves there will always be a job that he is qualified for. Another student who found refuge in the medical field is Greg Cavet, a sophomore in radiological sciences. After four years in the Air Force and eight years working for the postal service, then 29-year-old Cavet decided he wanted to do something better with his life. He chose radiology because he knew he wanted to do something in the medical field, but not be a nurse. He heard that radiology paid well, and it didnʼt take long to complete the program. Cavet wishes he had gone to college when he first graduated high school so that it would be over with, but feels like it “means more” now that he has to work so hard for it. “Sometimes when I see those kids that donʼt care about missing class or doing bad on a test, I think, ʻMan I wish I could feel like that and not have any responsibilities,ʼ” Cavet said. “But then I think about how much it will mean for my family and how the sacrifices I am making now will mean so much more when itʼs over.” Balancing a family life, work and a college career is hard. Cavet admits that sometimes he canʼt do it. “Itʼs tough, especially with little ones,” Cavet said. “My son is 2 years old and he doesnʼt understand why I canʼt be with him all the time. See College page 6 LAUREN MILLER | THE WICHITAN Gregg Cavet (left) and Corey Smallwood sit outside while studying for thier classes. ‘Smokin’ Aces’ Artists in London Two in a row This movie is sure to please with use of violence and comedy. Students enjoy London life while learning valuable photography skills. MSU Mustangs buck off two men’s basketball opponents in a row. pages 4 page 5 page 8

Jan 31, 2007

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