Posts Tagged ‘Odessa Texas’
Usually the only place you find 22-year-olds portraying high schoolers is in the movies, and the only outsider who wants to be involved with athletics at Permian High in Odessa, Texas, is Buzz Bissinger.
That is, until Guerdwich Monitmere, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native and former junior college basketball player who came to Permian as high school sophomore Jerry Joseph. According to the Odessa American, which has done great work over time chipping away at the mystery of Montimere, Guerdwich admitted on May 11 he was no longer Jerry, and he was placed under arrest.
Montimere had already been held out of offseason workouts when suspicions developed that he was not who he said he was. Maybe the gray hairs gave him away. Apparently Montimere lived with a former high school teammate playing basketball at the University of Texas-Permian Basin, then moved in with Permian coach Danny Wright. From the American:
“He was a family member and that is devastating to my family,” Wright said. “This affected a lot of people. The whole school of Permian embraced that kid. He deceived us and played on everyone involved’s emotions.
“He has been lying to everyone, my God, what is up with that?” Wright said.
Montimere played varsity basketball for the Panthers his sophomore season, which will likely result in the entire season being forfeited.
Permian principal Roy Garcia, who was at the forefront of the investigation, said he was glad the matter has been resolved. “I wanted the truth. Whatever the truth was, we had to get to it.
“I’m absolutely glad that it has been resolved. I feel sick, but now that we’ve gotten the truth, we can move on from here,” Garcia said.
Permian was tipped off, as was the Odessa American, about two weeks ago by sources from Florida who accused the Permian sophomore of being a 22-year-old former Florida player.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials were confident the previous week that “Joseph” was an illegal Haitian immigrant, but before Arizona police could get to him, ICE said, upon further review, he was not. But it did discover “Joseph” wasn’t who he said he was, and alerted local authorities in Odessa. Monitmere, as of this writing, is in a holding cell, awaiting charges on presenting false information to a peace officer.
Yet to be answered: Why did Montimere do this? And why didn’t school officials in Odessa have any inkling something was amiss?
Brian Chavez, the genius/tight end of the Permian Panthers in the book Friday Night Lights, was the last person in the book you expected to make his adult life in Odessa, Texas, and then get arrested there. And yet, both have happened.
A few hours after Permian lost 26-7 to crosstown rival at Ratliff Stadium, the often sold-out 19,000-seat field featured in Friday Night Lights, Chavez (No. 85, front and center on the book cover) was among four people arrested on burglary charges in Odessa. According to local news reports, Chavez and several others broke into a home and attacked an unspecified number of men inside it, with one man saying he needed stitches after he was beaten with statuettes found inside the home. Chavez was arrested at 1 a.m. Sat., Oct. 3.
In the book and movie Friday Night Lights, Brian Chavez is portrayed as the genius jock, one of the few players who seemed to have academic and life ambitions beyond the rough oil town of Odessa, Texas, after his graduation from Permian High School. Funny thing is, Chavez, who left West Texas for Harvard University, is among the members of that 1988 Permian team, chronicled by H.G. “Buzz” Bissinger, to live in Odessa, where he practices criminal defense law.
Chavez told the Odessa American in August that after graduating from law school at Texas Tech, he wanted to come back to his hometown to work in his father and brother’s law firm to get a little bit of experience before moving on. However, he stuck around because the law practice became so successful, with four offices in West Texas and the Rio Grande Valley, and because he liked living close to his extended family.
It sounds plausible, although you don’t hear a lot of Harvard graduates who decide to go to law school at Texas Tech and then go home to their small town to represent drunk drivers and sex offenders. When ESPN came to Odessa for a 20-year reunion of the Friday Night Lights Permian team, Chavez talked again of liking being back in his hometown, and that “other than gaining some weight and losing a little hair, I’m probably the same person I was back then.”
So why was Chavez arrested for a violent burglary? Details are still very sketchy as to motive. But more than motive, why would someone who seemed to have a happy, successful life ever even conceive of participating in something like this? (Assuming of course that he did.) There is bound to be an interesting story behind this, one that may well shock those who thought they knew Brian Chavez (the possibly shocked would include Bissinger, who told ESPN last year he is still close to him.)
And what about those arrested with Chavez? One was his brother, Jake. He is a lawyer, too, though not the brother listed on the Web site of the Chavez Law Firm with Brian Chavez — that is Adrian. Another was Rosemary Soto of Odessa. A Rosemary Soto of Odessa was quoted in local media talking about her brother, Steven, in June being shot to death with another man in what authorities called a drug-related hit. It’s not clear whether the arrested person is the same Rosemary Soto.
Finally, another person arrested has connection to Friday Night Lights. Stanley Wilkins was a teammate of Chavez on that 1988 Permian team, although he was a minor character in the book. ESPN, in its 20-year reunion story, described Wilkins as missing “those Friday Night Lights more than anything in the world. He often attends Permian games with his former teammates Brian Chavez to relive past glories.” Wilkins also is a football coach and physical education teacher at Bowie Junior High School in Odessa. Word late Sunday night from Odessa police, as reported by KOSA-TV, is witnesses saying that 10 to 12 people showed up at the home that was the site of the alleged break-in, and that the fight inside followed “several hours of verbal harassment by the suspects outside their home.”
Chavez has not commented on the case. I have sent him an email to try to get in contact with him. I also have sent an email to Bissinger, just to see what his thought are because of his professed closeness with the Chavez family, and because Chavez was the one player who for years vouched for the book’s accuracy when the rest of Odessa was ready to tar and feather him.