The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Mystery surrounds SMU alumnus’ death

The search for B. Gill Clements, an SMU alumnus and son of former governor Bill Clements, ended in a shootout with police and Clements’ neighbor, Howard T. Granger, on Saturday morning. Clements’ body was then found in a freshly dug grave on Granger’s property.

Clements was reported missing at around 10 p.m. Thursday from his vacation home in Athens, Texas after he had missed a meeting earlier that morning.

Authorities arrived on his property Thursday night, finding Clements’ SUV still parked on his property.

Law officers searched throughout the night on Thursday, but found nothing. As authorities searched Clements’ property on Friday, Granger, 46, confronted them armed with an AK-47.

Granger threatened the officers with the gun telling them to get off his property, although the officers were still on Clements’ land.

The police officers returned later that day with a SWAT team, an armored car and a search warrant for Granger’s property.

The search was cut short when Granger returned with his AK-47 and fired at least 30 rounds into the armored police vehicle, shattering some of the windows.

Police returned fire, and Granger was killed.   

Police then raided Granger’s home, finding guns and several rounds of ammunition. Granger’s wife was present during the shootout and refused to leave the residence, forcing police to use tear gas to get her out.

She has since refused to speak to the authorities.

In interviews with The Dallas Morning News, neighbors said they heard negotiations with Granger over a bullhorn before hearing shots.

“We didn’t know what was going on,” said neighbor Amanda Rodriguez, 28. “We felt under siege.”

Authorities located Clements’ body the next morning, buried in a shallow grave behind Granger’s house.

Clements’ identification and some of his clothing were found in an outbuilding on the property.

Authorities are still investigating a possible motive, but Henderson County Sheriff Ray Nutt said Clements had complained when Granger shot across a fence at a tree on his 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.

The cause of death has not yet been released, but Nutt said that officials believed that Clements had been shot.

Authorities say that Granger had no police record and that they could not find any previous law enforcement calls to the property, though neighbors report that they were cautious of Granger.

Granger’s small wooden house was decorated with several signs reading “Keep Out” and “No Trespassing,” and he was known to carry his AK-47 with him.

“Everywhere you saw Granger, you saw him with that gun on him,” neighbor John Laster told the AP. “It was like he [liked] to intimidate people.”

Carolyn Barta, an SMU professor of journalism and author of the book “Bill Clements: Texian to the Core,” a biography of Clements’ father, expressed her sorrow over the event.

“It’s a real tragedy, he was a really nice man,” Barta said. “He and his father both loved SMU and were generous in terms of philanthropy and devoting their time in service to SMU. It’s just a real loss.”

Clements graduated from SMU with a degree in finance in 1963, and was a member of Phi Delta Theta, serving as the fraternity’s rush chairman and secretary.

While at SMU, he met his wife Pat, who also graduated in 1963. The couple raised their three children in Highland Park.

Clements worked as president of SEDCO (Southeastern Drilling Co.), the oil-drilling company founded by his father.

The company later sold to Schlumberger Ltd.

Clements was a strong contributor to the University, donating to SMU Fund, the Phi Delta Theta house, the tennis program and the Mustang Club.

He served on the Cox Associate Board from 1970 to 1976 and on the Clements Center for Southwest Studies Advisory Panel from 1995 to 2004.

Clements’ father, Bill Clements, served two terms as Texas’ governor, and in between those terms served as chairman of the SMU Board of Governors.

During his tenure, the “Pony-Gate” scandal erupted, leading to the infamous Death Penalty for SMU football.

He later served as vice-chairman of the SMU Board of Trustees.

In 1994, Bill Clements donated $10 million to SMU to endow the history department and create the Center for Southwest Studies, which now bears his name.

He has also donated $4 million in 2008 to support improvements in facilities at SMU-in-Taos.

He has donated to various other projects on campus, and has been a SMU Trustee Emeritus since 1991.

B. Gill Clements is survived by his father, his wife of 47 years, three children and seven grandchildren.

His memorial service will be held today at 4 p.m. at St. Michael’s All Saints Church in Dallas.

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