Fugitive Apprehended Friday Evening

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

HOUSTON COUNTY – On the eve of his boxing match against Billy Conn, the Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World – Joe Louis – was asked what he planned to do if his opponent danced around the ring.

Louis is credited with saying, “You can run, but you can’t hide.” Such was the case last week with 37-year-old John Paul Kennedy.

Houston County Sheriff’s Office deputies had been searching for Kennedy since Monday, Oct. 1 “… after he fled from a stolen vehicle on CR 1040,” according to information received from Houston County Chief Deputy Gary “G.P.” Shearer

On Friday evening, Oct. 5  HCSO received a tip that Kennedy  – originally from the Grapeland area – may have retreated to a location approximately three miles north of Grapeland on US Hwy 287.  The deputies “… went to a location where they thought he may be hiding. Sure enough, he was there! As deputies talked with the residents of the home (14000 block of US 287 North) John Paul Kennedy fled from the home,” Shearer stated in a media release.

Law enforcement officials chased Kennedy into a wooded area and then called for assistance.

“TDCJ’s Eastham Unit Pack Dogs were summoned along with the Beto’s Unit Scent Specific K9. The Texas Department of Public Safety had Highway Patrol on scene and a helicopter equipped with FLIR was dispatched to our area. Grapeland Police, Houston County Fire Marshal and Crockett’s Fire Chief were on location within a matter of minutes to provide support,” Shearer stated.

Shortly after 9 pm, Kennedy was apprehended. He had been hiding in a stand of trees about one hundred yards from a fence that he had crossed. Kennedy was transported to the Houston County Jail where he was booked into custody on charges of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, tampering with evidence and evading arrest. He was also charged with a parole violation and has been no bonded.

“It should also be noted that Jeri Lynn Kennedy, 33, from Grapeland and Scott Hollis Reagan, 33, from Palestine were arrested and both were charged with harboring a fugitive,” Shearer added.

The chief deputy expressed his sincere appreciation to all who were involved in the manhunt and apprehension of Kennedy.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.