Oct. 30, 2005, 10:06AM


Jimmy Hoang Le, 18, from left, Stephanie Jacobo 18, both from the Beaumont area, and Roosevelt Smith Jr., 43, of Louisiana, have been charged in the death of Betty Blair of Pasadena.

3 hurricane evacuees accused of killing woman who helped them

By ANNE MARIE KILDAY and MÓNICA GUZM�N
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle


Betty Blair, 77, who was found strangled Friday in her home, was the widow of former Pasadena school board president Robert Blair, who died last spring.

Three hurricane evacuees were charged with capital murder Saturday in the strangulation of Betty Blair, a 77-year-old church leader, mother of three daughters and the widow of former Pasadena school board President Robert "Bob" Blair.

Jimmy Hoang Le, 18, Stephanie Jacobo, 18, both from the Beaumont area, and Roosevelt Smith Jr., 43, of Louisiana, were charged with murdering Blair during a robbery at her Pasadena home Friday.

An active member of St. Pius V Catholic Church, Blair had been helping the three by paying them to do odd jobs and yard work on her property.

"It appears that those that she tried to help were the ones that murdered her," said Pasadena Police Department spokesman Vance Mitchell. The three lived together in an apartment in the 900 block of Randall in Pasadena, Mitchell said.

They were arrested Friday night at the toll booth at Beltway 8 and Westheimer, driving Blair's tan 2000 Buick, in which some of her belongings were found. Jacobo's 10-month-old son also was in the car, and is now with "appropriate relatives," said Gwen Carter, a spokeswoman for the Department of Family and Protective Services.

The car was located through OnStar, an onboard electronic tracking system.

Police said Blair's body was found by the youngest of her three daughters, Melissa Bishop.

Next-door neighbor Lestley Rowell heard "very loud screams" coming from the home. He helped Blair's daughter and called Pasadena police, said his wife, Doris Rowell.

"We are just devastated by this," Rowell said. "My husband is not feeling very well today."

Rowell said her husband had "a bad feeling" earlier in the week when he saw one of the men working in the yard. "He said he was going to talk to Miss Betty about being more careful," Rowell said.

'Very sweet, giving person'
The three suspects were the second group of evacuees Blair had helped after Hurricane Katrina, said her neighbor and fellow parishioner Mary Titus.

Since the death of her husband â€