Murder of Youth, 17, Brings Horror Films to Life in Texas Town


‘Mr. Milner has indicated a strong desire to die, and I intend to do all I can to see his wishes are accommodated.’David McCoy Carson County District Attorney

It was Friday the 13th, a steamy night in July, when 17-year-old Frankie Garcia was taken to a barn outside an abandoned shack known locally as the “Haunted House” to meet his death.

Witnesses who found the body say Garcia apparently was forced to kneel in the dirt and taste the barrel of a high-powered rifle as his killer pulled the trigger.


Local residents were shocked when word got out that a self-professed Satanist had confessed to the murder.

Kenneth Glenn Milner, a 19-year-old admirer of Charles Manson and Jack the Ripper, has been charged with murdering Garcia, a former friend. He is also charged with the attempted murders of Kenneth Williams, his former high school principal, and Jimmy Britten, a former girlfriend’s stepfather, that same night.

The 2,300 people who live in this farming town worry that there will be other attacks. Parents closely watch their children, keeping them off the dirt roads that crisscross the rolling wheat fields of the region.

“There is fear that there are more Satanists out there,” said Linda Salas, who has four children. “There are rumors that they are looking for a blond-haired, blue-eyed boy to sacrifice.”

Milner has been held without bond in the Carson County Jail since his arrest the day after Garcia’s killing, a killing a friend said Milner bragged about.

“He said he shot Williams and then said, ‘I finished off Frankie Garcia,’ ” said 16-year-old Carrie Horner. “Then he took a gun out and shot a hole through the window of his car to prove he was serious.”


Carson County Dist. Atty. David McCoy, who will seek the death penalty, said Milner gave police a written confession in which he said he wanted to die.

“Mr. Milner has indicated a strong desire to die, and I intend to do all I can to see his wishes are accommodated,” McCoy said.

Court-appointed defense attorney Douglas Woodburn of Amarillo said the trial could begin as early as January but he will likely seek a change of venue.

“There has been extensive publicity of the case and Panhandle is a small town,” Woodburn said. “And it’s a common notion of fair play that everyone should start off in a trial with no preconceived ideas of the case.”

As for the rumors that Satanism was involved, Woodburn said, “I don’t think that’s a guiding influence in his life, but I just don’t know.”

Carson County Sheriff Terry Timmons would not permit an interview with Milner. Milner’s parents, who run a bar called Shirley’s just outside of Panhandle, would not discuss the case or their only son.


But Milner’s friends say he is obsessed with death and spent countless hours watching horror movies, reading books about Satan and creating special effects like those used in slasher movies.

“He knew every horror movie by heart,” said 18-year-old Katrina Powell, who lived next door to Milner for 14 years. “He would make masks of characters in the horror movies--grotesque masks--like with blood and an eyeball hanging out.”

Craig Shackelford, 16, Milner’s best friend, said his pal frequently discussed creating an illusion of shooting a person through the mouth.

Milner imagined attaching a low-power plastic explosive to the back of someone’s head, sticking a gun in his or her mouth, and simultaneously pulling the trigger and setting off the explosives to make it appear the person had been shot, Shackelford said.

“He wanted to know what that would look like,” he said.

Shackelford said Milner has a “twisted sense of humor,” loves to “scare the hell out of people” and enjoys notoriety.

Milner’s bedroom is lined with black, ghoulish posters from horror movies, Shackelford said. He said the room also contains a clay corpse Milner made to test his special effects and a cast of his own head, covered with a demon mask.


Milner wrote Shackelford from his jail cell, chastising his “best--closest friend” for not writing. “I’m not going to shoot you through the Postal Service or anything,” he joked.

“Glenn wasn’t normal,” Shackelford said. “But I don’t think he was a Satanist either.”

“Glenn read the Bible from cover to cover. He read other books too, like the Necronomican and stuff about astral projection. He didn’t know what to believe, so he would explore.” The Necronomican is a handbook of spells that supposedly summon demons.

Shackelford said Milner told him some of his heroes were Ted Bundy, Charles Manson and Jack the Ripper.

“Glenn admired Jack the Ripper because he was never caught,” he said.

Friends and school officials say Milner was a well-behaved student through grade school, but began showing signs of depression in high school.

“He started to drink more,” Katrina Powell said. “And sometimes when he would get angry, he would slice up his arms with a knife.”

In the spring of 1988, Milner climbed to the top of a water tower and threatened to jump. Police talked him out of it.


A few months later, while driving alone, he ran his car over a cliff at Palo Duro Canyon. After being treated for injuries, his friends say he was placed in psychiatric care at Northwest Texas Hospital in Amarillo. The hospital refused to confirm Milner’s stay.

“Glenn and I talked about the times he tried to kill himself a lot,” Shackelford said. “He did it because he wanted to know what was on the other side.”

An entry Milner wrote in Shackelford’s high school yearbook the day before Garcia was killed leads Shackelford to believe that Milner planned the alleged attacks.

“Your wisdom and advice have helped me out many times,” Milner wrote. “Wish it could on the problem that I face now--wish I could tell you, but you’ll find out sooner or later.”

The entry was signed “Damion,” the misspelled name of the Antichrist in a series of horror films.

“He liked people to call him Damien,” Shackelford said. “He liked people to take a step back when he introduced himself as Damien.”


Those who knew Garcia and Milner say they were not very good friends.

“Frankie really got on Glenn’s nerves,” said Ron Doty, 19, a companion of both. “Frankie tried really hard to be everyone’s friend.”

So when Milner invited Garcia to go out on the town on Friday the 13th, Garcia told Shackelford he was skeptical.

“Glenn doesn’t even like me, does he?” Shackelford quoted Garcia as saying in a telephone conversation a couple hours before he was killed. “He just wants to take me out and pull a prank on me--scare the hell out of me.”

Police say Garcia was killed about 10 p.m. About 10:30 p.m. Shackelford and Doty noticed Milner speeding out of town. After catching up with Milner, Shackelford said he asked his friend what he was doing.

Both Doty and Shackelford recall Milner responding, “I just got done taking care of some business. I’ve got to go take care of some more.”

Britten, whose stepdaughter, Jenny English, once dated Milner, said Milner slashed Britten’s throat and arms with a straight razor shortly after 1 a.m. on July 14.


Jenny English said Milner began vomiting during the attack, allowing Britten to push him out the door and lock him out. Two hours later, three shots were fired from a .357 magnum revolver through a storm door at Ken Williams, Milner’s former high school principal.

Williams was struck in the leg and abdomen, authorities said. The other shot missed.

Both Williams and Britten are recovering.

Milner did not like the way Britten treated his stepdaughter, and he thought Williams was spreading rumors about him to other kids in the high school, Shackelford said.

Milner also left behind a “hit list” of intended victims and a videotape detailing his motives and plans, according to his friends who have been questioned by police.

Four days after the attacks, state District Judge John T. Forbis placed a gag order on attorneys and investigators.

Shackelford said he doubts whether Milner cares what happens to him now.

“I think he would have committed suicide eventually,” Shackelford said. “I think he wants to die. I think the death penalty would probably please him.”