Texas Teen-Agers Face Charges : Death of a Young Narc: Town Searches for Motive

Times Staff Writer

The word ran through the school that something was going to happen to the narc. Someone was going to take care of him.

The talk filtered through the football stands the next evening, a Friday, as the Midlothian High Panthers were losing to the Red Oak Hawks. Tonight was the night for the narc.

But the rumors sounded like teen-age bravado; they never caught the ear of anyone who believed them to be more.


Late in the afternoon the next day, the search helicopter hovered over the ground where a body lay beside a red pickup truck. George Raffield, who had posed as a student and was known to his classmates for the last two months as George Moore, had been killed with two .38-caliber bullets to the head.

The bragging had been real. The undercover cop was dead.

In a matter of hours, police arrested two teen-agers--one of them the son of a veteran Dallas policeman--and charged them with the Oct. 23 murder. In the days after the slaying, the story that unfolded was full of twists, including talk of devil worship. But the most lasting impression was of the senselessness of the killing. What left this nondescript little town perplexed was that a rookie cop was dead for no reason.

The two boys accused of killing Raffield had certainly not been in great legal peril. Even if they had been arrested and convicted on minor drug charges, the consensus is that they would have gotten off with probation.

And Raffield would have been gone from the school soon anyway because his cover was already blown.

Now, both teen-agers await trial in the Ellis County Jail in neighboring Waxahachie. Each one says that the other pulled the trigger of the gun that killed Raffield as he stood next to his truck. And people in Midlothian talk about how only a small break in the chain of events might have prevented a tragedy.

“There’s so many little bitty things that add up to a big thing--a killing,” said Justice of the Peace Glen Ayers, sitting in his storefront office on Midlothian’s main street. “There’s 9 million little things that make the mountain.”

Raffield’s mother, Shirley Moore, wonders daily why her son was killed.

“That’s the question I will ask myself until the day I die,” she said.

Midlothian, a bedroom community 25 miles south of Dallas, was named by a Scottish railroad engineer after his home county. In recent years, an increasing number of city dwellers have moved here as the Dallas-Fort Worth sprawl inched southward.

The high school, which had fewer than 300 students 15 years ago when Principal Wilburn Roesler first arrived, has 760 today. (Roesler, incidentally, never knew that there was a policeman posing as a student in his school.)

One small but telling incident that may have set the chain of events in motion occurred last summer, when the City Council endorsed the principle of taking a tough stand on drug abuse. Not that anyone believed Midlothian High School was a hotbed of drug abuse.

Roesler’s reckoning is that there was only a handful of students who used drugs. Police Chief Roy Vaughn said much the same thing. But both believed in the credo: “If you’ve got one kid on drugs, you’ve got a problem.”

After the council acted, Raffield was hired by the Police Department as part of the plan to begin an undercover operation. He was 21, but looked younger, especially after he shaved his wispy mustache. He had already completed police training at a junior college and had been a patrolman in the tiny town of Wilmer.

Raffield was told his first assignment would be at the high school and was sent off to Dallas to learn undercover work.

“In a sense,” Vaughn says in retrospect, “it was a fact-finding operation to see if we did have a problem.”

One other thing happened in Midlothian last summer: Richard Goeglein, 17, moved to town with his family from Williams, Ariz. Richard was an almost frail-looking boy with longish hair. There seemed little to distinguish him in the crowd.

But after the killing, his past bore some scrutiny. Law officers in Arizona told how, in a parents’ ranch, a 16-year old boy was bludgeoned with a baseball bat by another teen-ager last June. The boy was in a coma for nine days and an 18-year-old named Frank Ross was charged with attempted murder.

Jeff Green, a Flagstaff, Ariz., sheriff’s detective, said Richard is a witness in the case, not a suspect.

Green also said the three were listening to the heavy metal band “Slayer” when the beating began. In Midlothian, after Raffield was killed, some who knew Richard Goeglein would say that he worshiped the devil, talked earnestly to an amulet he called “Terry the heart” and left a book at a friend’s titled “The Modern Witch’s Spell Book.”

One of those Richard met in the new Midlothian environment was 16-year-old Greg Knighten, the son of an 18-year veteran of the Dallas police force. Three years earlier, his family had moved to Midlothian and Greg found that he was behind the other students at the local high school.

Kept back in school for a year because of problems with English, math and biology, he sometimes seemed belligerent and self-centered. Once he was suspended for three days for having cigarettes on the school grounds.

Another who became a part of that small group was a new student--a somewhat older-looking one--who went by the name of George Moore. He said he had gone to school the previous year in West Texas and was living with his uncle in Midlothian. He also seemed to have an interest in drugs.

The three--two accused killers and the cop--had come together.

Soon Moore was making small drug buys. But he was also making good grades, which Ayers, the justice of the peace, thinks probably was a mistake.

“He should have been a punk, which he wasn’t,” he said. “He should have been giving the teachers trouble.”

Two weeks before he died, Raffield was accused for the first time of being an undercover agent. Another student, apparently unrelated to the murder case, slapped him around in the parking lot of a Midlothian drug store and accused him of being a narcotics agent--a narc. Raffield did not fight back. Afterward, he told his mother that he was afraid his cover had been blown.

But Vaughn, the police chief, said Raffield never told him or the lieutenant handling the case anything like that.

“If I ever had a hint or suspicion that the boy was in any trouble, we would have pulled him out,” said Vaughn. “You don’t play with lives.”

Two days before Raffield was killed, Greg Knighten took him to the home of a woman named Cynthia Fedrick. Police describe her as a large, 23-year-old woman with tattoos who had befriended the 16-year-old Greg.

Fedrick later told the Dallas Morning News that she became suspicious of George Moore when he did not appear to be inhaling his cigarette smoke, and even more so when police raided her apartment the very next day and confiscated a stolen stereo.

“I don’t think that had any bearing on anything,” said Vaughn, confirming that the raid did take place.

On the Friday night of the football game, Raffield was somehow lured to the field outside of town where he died. The gun used to kill him belonged to Greg’s father. Exactly what happened there, what caused enough anger to end in a killing, is the unknown.

“I think it all happened because of peer pressure,” said Jim Jenkins, Greg Knighten’s court-appointed lawyer. “I don’t think it was seriously planned--by my man, anyway. I don’t think my guy plans anything.”

There was, apparently, something of a plan, because Ayers said a third teen-ager was told to pick up the other two as they walked along the road after the shooting. They went to Fedrick’s apartment.

“There’s no rational reason for doing this,” said Jenkins. “No one was in great peril.”

W. Lee Johnson, Richard Goeglein’s lawyer, said his client was little more than a companion who didn’t think Greg was going to do anything “until they were actually out there. Then it was too late.”

In a statement Richard Goeglein gave police after the shooting, he said that Fedrick had assisted the boys by burning Raffield’s driver’s license and hiding his wallet. She has been charged with hindering an apprehension, a misdemeanor.

Told Friend of Killing

Ayers said Richard telephoned a friend in Arizona the next day to tell him about the killing. The friend told his father, a highway patrolman, who immediately called the Dallas Police Department. The man who answered the telephone and then passed it on to the proper desk was Greg’s father. A search, however, was already under way because Raffield had been missed.

Ayers believes that it was Greg who pulled the trigger, but he said he also believes Richard might have exerted a strong influence over him.

“When you get into this Satan stuff there are people who can get other people to do things for them,” he said.

Richard Goeglein and Greg Knighten will stand trial as adults. The juvenile who allegedly picked them up along the road will appear at a hearing next week to determine whether he too will be tried as an adult. He has been charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

Raffield’s mother said that she is coping, but there was a tinge of bitterness in her voice.

“It was all for nothing,” she said. “He didn’t make a ripple in the pond.”

At the Midlothian Police Department, a sign is posted on the glass wall near the door. It reads: “To Whom It May Concern: The Midlothian Police Department is currently accepting applications for a patrol officer.”