Editor’s Note: The July 18 edition of the Kingsville Record included a story regarding the death of Jesse Marcus Estes. At the time of his death, Estes was an elected school board trustee of the Kenedy County-Wide Common School District. In February, he pleaded guilty to a federal charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and in September was to face sentencing of up to 20 years in prison. The June 7, 2018 indictment against Estes in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana outlined more than 80 individual instances involving fraud over a seven-year period, from 2007 to 2014. The amount of the fraud totaled approximately $374,626.
The Kingsville Record stands by the reporting and believes Estes’ death and the charges against him are newsworthy.
Others disagree. The following letters to the editor were submitted for publication this week. Several other letters in opposition to the article were received, but the authors did not approve publication.
After reading your article “Sarita Man Killed in Boating Accident on LBJ”, I was livid. I found myself wondering how incredibly insensitive one has to be to intentionally discredit a man after his death when the only people left to suffer are his grieving family members. The entire moral of good journalism is to have an impact on an audience through original thought, and you have done neither. All you have done is tainted my uncle’s image and placed a target upon my family through the usage of copy and paste, without citing your sources. My uncle was not a perfect man, no one truly is. He did make unfortunate decisions, but what your article fails to express is this: he was a wonderful man who built the most beautiful family of a wife and five children and who actively lived his life through faith. To you, this is merely an occupation, but for once, I’d like you to step into the shoes of those on the other end of your heartless compositions. I’d like you to reflect on how your family, your wife, would be impacted by those words if they had been written about you. Through your article, you could have chosen to show sympathy and compassion. Instead, my aunt now worries about the treatment of not only herself, but her children as well, in a community she most certainly belongs to. You should be ashamed of the image you have created for yourself and your company.
I read your article, “Sarita Man Killed in Boating Accident on LBJ” and was surprised that you went the direction that you did. I would think that you should report on things that will have an impact on your readers. If it doesn’t, you are really nothing more than a gossip column. I am trying to figure out how the indictment or sentencing of a dead man, for things done years ago and in another community altogether, has a positive impact on your readers. It really wasn’t even good journalism since you were able to just cut and paste from Google. You could have started out by saying a local man with a wife and five children, a local man who has chaired two different organizations that worked to help people in Haiti, or a local man who has done everything he could to serve his community since moving here died in a boating accident. I realize all of those things were not sensational enough for you. This could have even been used as a PSA about boater safety. Marc was my friend and he would have said that everything you said in that article was true. He was facing the punishment for the decisions he made that he would be the first to tell you were wrong. Here is a headline: “Local Newspaper Publishes a Story With Details That the Only People Impacted Were His Local Grieving Widow and Local Grieving Five Children”. Great job Kingsville Record, Pulitzer worthy!
Was it necessary for the Kingsville Record to publish the article on legal matters of Mr. Estes right next to his obituary? His parents, wife and most of all his children were dealing with enough grief and sadness with his sudden death.
Where is your compassion?