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Probe: May 11, 2001

May 11, 2001

QUESTION: Recently I went sports fishing from Mission Bay. I caught a beautiful 20- inch halibut. When I cleaned it, it had worms. I had never seen worms in a halibut, so I threw away the fish.

Still hungry for fish, I went to a seafood market and bought some smoked halibut. It also had worms. Can you tell me why there are worms in halibut? Does it have anything to do with pollution or toxic waste? — Fisherman, Brawley

Halibut always has worms, according to Mark, a Mission Bay fisherman. You just didn't notice the worms before.

"I've been fishing for 38 years and I can't remember the first time I saw worms in a halibut. The parasites won't hurt you. Once you cook the fish, the worms are just protein," Mark said.

By the way, you should have thrown that fish back in the ocean before you killed it. It was too small to keep. The rule is a halibut must be 22 inches long to keep, according to Mark.


QUESTION: Reading your 100-year edition, I wondered what happened to the suspects in the murder of the two El Centro police officers, John Vickers and Arthur Hennessey? — Looking Back, El Centro

There were three suspects, Roy "Lumpy" Woodhouse, Donald Wood and Wood's 17-year-old wife, Donna.

Woodhouse, who killed his parents in San Diego before killing the El Centro police officers, drew a 25 years-to-life term. He likely would have been sentenced to death but there was a moratorium on the death penalty.

From prison he regularly called the newspaper's police reporter, Don Quinn.

Woodhouse apparently grew attached to Quinn while the murder suspect was in the Imperial County jail. Quinn spent three months tape-recording interviews with Woodhouse for what became a massive and controversial eight-part series.

The convicted murderer told Quinn he was a disc jockey on the Folsom Prison in-house radio station.

"I don't know how much of what he told me was true," Quinn confessed.

About 10 years ago, Woodhouse quit calling, Quinn said.

Don Wood also drew a long prison term but his youthful wife managed to make a deal to testify and evaded prison.

SOME GOOD COPS — When I wrote to PROBE, I should never have made you think I was talking about all Brawley police officers.

I don't think all are bad or, as Line Cop put it, arrogant. But that's the way a lot of residents look at the officers because of the few arrogant officers they had in the past.

The majority of those cops have left, but a few are still here. They know who they are. I commend the ones who have been here for years and put up with the problems in the Valley.

I want to make it clear I have never had a ticket for not wearing a helmet while riding my bike. I was just using that as an example. I hope Line Cop doesn't take my letter to heart. Keep up the hard work, Line Cop. — Chastened, Brawley

Was that an apology or just an expression of regret?

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