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. 

 

Editor:

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.

Mia Estes,

Pearland

 

Editor:

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!

David Coker,

Spring Branch

 

Editor:

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?

Bobette Naylor,

Riviera

(5) comments

Destes

Mr. Maher, you are correct that both of these stories are newsworthy, and Marc would have told you so himself. The issue does not lie with whether these things were newsworthy, but more so lie with the intent of the article. You may believe the community needed to know about my brother's misgivings, but doesn't the community equally need to know that Marc took responsibility for his actions and was willing to face whatever consequences were to befall him? Doesn't the community need to know that Marc was a man of faith, that he was a good husband, a good father, a good son, a good man? Doesn't his wife, children, family, and friends deserve to live a life free of scrutiny and embarrassment after his death? All your ill-timed article did was harm a grieving widow and her children. You absolutely have the journalistic freedom to write whatever you want, but you also have a duty to your community to be kind and compassionate. This article was neither kind, nor compassionate and I hope you never have to face what my family has had to face. -Daniel Estes

Romey Estes

I find it absolutely hilarious that you, Mr. Maher, say that other people's letters were not published because they “did not approve publication”. I don’t seem to recall you seeking permission from my daughter to post hers when you responded via email that it would be published in the next edition. A letter to the editor is just that...and people know they will be published, that's why it is written. Could it be that you just chose not to publish them because they were probably most unfavorable to you. Your shoddy journalism shows by the fact that you could not even get my daughter's name correct in your publication. I am now starting to understand why your publication is losing interest in your community and advertisement is down. I think that you probably would have gained some readers and respect had you walked across the street and attended the service the day after your “article” was published. Then you could have seen and “reported” firsthand the love and support Marc’s family received in a standing room only event center, by the community you tried to turn against him and his family. You could have learned something about the man who you decided to click and paste about from other more established and accomplished journalist who did the leg work for their articles. Good day to you sir.

Christopher Maher Staff
Christopher Maher

Two of the letters that were published were submitted through our website's "Letter to the Editor" function, making it clear they were for publication. The third was emailed and designated "Letter to the Editor". The other emails were sent directly to me and did not indicate if they wished to be published or if they were intended as private correspondence. I've replied to them and asked for clarification. If they approve publication, they will run in our next edition.

Mia E.

Excuse me, my name is Mia, not Maria. Thank you.

Christopher Maher Staff
Christopher Maher

Thank you for pointing out the error. We've corrected it.

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