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Body ID'd as son of former Texas governor

Authorities were trying to determine Monday whether a body found over the weekend in a shallow grave on an East Texas ranch is a son of former Texas Gov. Bill Clements.
/ Source: The Associated Press

A body found buried in a shallow grave on a ranch near Athens was identified as the missing son of former Texas Gov. Bill Clements, a sheriff said Monday.

B. Gill Clements, 69, was apparently shot to death, although no official cause of death has been released, Henderson County Sheriff Ray Nutt said.

Nutt said officials suspect the likely killer was the property owner, who neighbors say used an assault rifle to guard his property. Authorities shot and killed that man, Howard T. Granger, 46, on Friday when he opened fire on sheriff's deputies who were looking for the missing Clements.

Clements' body was found Saturday, buried behind a house on Granger's ranch.

Officials didn't identify a possible motive, but Nutt said Clements once spoke with Granger about Granger shooting across a fence at a tree on Clements' property.

"Mr. Clements did have some type of conversation with him about that. I don't know of what nature," Nutt told The Associated Press on Monday.

Clements' identification and some clothes were found in a building on Granger's property, Nutt said.

"It was just one of those crazy things," Gill Clements stepmother, former Texas first lady Rita Clements, told The Dallas Morning News. "You can't believe in today's world that it happens, but it does."

Neighbor John Wiggins told the Tyler Morning Telegraph that Granger was a "nut" and known for keeping to himself. Once when building a fence, he had an AK-47 assault rifle with him leaning on a post as he moved down the line, Wiggins said.

Granger had no criminal record, with no previous law enforcement calls to the property, authorities said.

John Laster, who also lives nearby, says Granger moved into the rural neighborhood more than a decade ago and spooked him so much that Laster would not let his grandchildren play on Granger's end of the road.

Republican Bill Clements, 93, took office in 1979 and served two terms, with four years in between after being defeated by Democrat Mark White in 1982.

Gill Clements had worked as president of Southeastern Drilling Co., later known as Sedco, the oil-drilling company founded by his father in 1947 and later sold for $1 billion to Schlumberger Ltd.

Gill Clements visited his Henderson County ranch often and in recent years bought neighboring land to extend his property, neighbors said.

Athens is 60 miles southeast of Dallas.