Records provide new details on Alpine killing

ALPINE — New details are emerging about a brutal killing in Alpine late last month. In that case, which The Big Bend Sentinel first reported on last week, Alpine police said they had found an Alpine resident, 64 year-old Jeffrey Williams, dead in his home and had arrested another man on homicide charges.

Police documents on the case, which The Big Bend Sentinel obtained this week, provide context on how Alpine police first learned about the killing and give more details on the suspect, 37-year-old Travis Rutherford. The documents show that Rutherford likely lived at the north Alpine home where the killing took place. The documents also say Rutherford confessed to the brutal slaying, saying he shot at Williams with a bow and arrows and hit him with a metal bat.

On the evening of Saturday, March 20, Alpine police received a call from a resident of north Alpine, according to a criminal complaint included in the records. That resident, whose name The Big Bend Sentinel is redacting for his safety and privacy, told police that his neighbor, Travis Rutherford, had said “his children were buried underneath the home” he was living in and that “he may have killed his roommate.”

Asked about those unusual allegations, Alpine Police Chief Robert Martin said police had “looked into why [Rutherford] had said that” but declined to offer more details, citing the ongoing criminal investigation.

The nature of those allegations would become more clear at trial, Chief Martin said. In the meantime, readers could “think what they may” about those claims.

When police arrived at the home on East Harriet Avenue near Kokernot Baseball Park, they found a deceased man, whom police were able to identify as resident Jeffrey Williams. They also arrested Rutherford at the home, who authorities say confessed to the killing after being read his Miranda rights, according to an attached affidavit.

Originally from San Marcos, Rutherford’s booking paperwork lists his home address as the same residence where the killing occurred. The paperwork also says Rutherford is a Navy veteran. He was booked into Brewster County Jail early Sunday morning and was given a $100,000 bond, according to a news release from the Alpine Police Department.

The Brewster County Jail on Tuesday confirmed that Rutherford was still in custody.

Rutherford will face felony murder charges in Brewster County. With the investigation still ongoing, authorities have not yet released more information on the case. At press time, it’s unclear when exactly Rutherford will face trial or whether he will ultimately take a plea.

In an interview on Tuesday, Chief Martin declined to give more details on the case, including how the neighbor first learned about the killing, citing the ongoing investigation. “We’re trying to piece that puzzle together,” he said.

Regardless, Chief Martin acknowledged that especially in small communities like Alpine, brutal killings like these were “devastating to a lot of people.” Authorities were committed to getting justice for Williams’ family, he said.

“We’re here to serve the people and bring justice in these types of cases,” Martin added. “That’s how we protect our citizens. That’s what we’re here for. We’ll go that extra mile to achieve a good solid case.”