80's Wiki

AUG. 9, 1987

KILLEEN, Texas -- An Army private has been charged with killing his pregnant wife, dismembering her body with a knife, and dumping her remains in three central Texas towns, police said Sunday.

Army Pvt. 1st Class Ernest Jack Chappelle, 22, who was stationed at nearby Fort Hood, was arrested Saturday and held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Bell County Jail.

He was charged with killing his wife, Lisa Marie 19, after her head and arms -- found Aug. 1 in an trash container near the University of Texas at Austin -- were identified Friday by her relatives.

Authorities said the soldier killed his wife, who was seven months pregnant, at thecouple's mobile home in Killeen, then dismembered her body with a 3-inch knife and disposed of the remains in Killeen, Fort Hood and Austin as he drove south on Interstate 35 en route to his parents' home in San Antonio.

A search of the Chappelles' mobile home and car failed to produce additional remains, police said.

Authorities also searched an estimated 800 tons of refuse at a Killeen landfill Saturday morning but found nothing. Fort Hood officials found nothing in their landfills.

The rest of the body was still missing, police said.

Authorities said Chappelle and his wife were natives of the San Antonio area.

Chappelle joined the Army in July 1986 and received paramedic training before being assigned to Fort Hood last December, said Capt. Michael Monnett, a Fort Hood spokesman. The Chappelles lived in a mobile home outside the post.

'He's a real clean-cut-looking kid, a real clean military type,' said Killeen Justice of the Peace Robert Stubblefield, who set Chappelle's bail. 'He stood there and yes-sired and no-sired me and stood at attention.

'He just gave me the impression of: 'God, how could somebody like him do that?

Dr. Robert Bayardo, Travis County medical examiner, said Lisa Chappelle had several stab wounds on her hands and arms, apparently from trying to defend herself. He said the wounds were inflicted by a 3-inch blade, and the same blade was used to sever her head and arms.

Lisa Chappelle's family reported her missing to Killeen officials late Thursday, and Killeen police matched her description with that of the head found in Austin.