2012-10-25 / Front Page

Bennie Ray Dupnik committed murder-suicide, police say

Parolee killed Shorty's proprietor 34 years ago

Dan Parker


Parolee Bennie Ray Dupnik Jr., who was imprisoned for 32 years for murdering Shorty’s Place bar owner Gladys “Shorty” Fowler, apparently killed a Victoria woman and then took his own life Saturday, Oct. 27, police said.

The bodies of Dupnik, 51, and Sandra Rivera, 44, were found in an apartment they shared in Victoria, according to Sgt. Eline Moya, a public information officer with the Victoria Police Department.

A preliminary investigation has indicated that Dupnik stabbed Rivera to death and then killed himself, Moya said.

Fowler established Shorty’s Place in 1946 and ran it until her death at the age of 72. The bar remains in operation today, run by Fowler’s granddaughter, Joy George.

On May 25, 1978, Dupnik beat Fowler to death with a pool cue while they were alone in the bar. Dupnik took some money and fled in Fowler’s car. He was arrested the same day.

Dupnik was 16 years old at the time of the crime and was tried as an adult. He was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Dupnik was denied parole in 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2007, according to Harry Battson, a spokesman for the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.

By a 7-0 vote, the board voted in 2010 to release Dupnik on parole, Battson said. Dupnik was released on July 1 that year.

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