Nacogdoches contractor accused of theft convicted of murder in 1989

Nacogdoches contractor accused of theft convicted of murder in 1989

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - A Nacogdoches contractor who was accused of using a client's money for uses other than building a house is back in jail.

Nacogdoches Police Department officers arrested Richard Lynn Epps, 56, on an additional felony theft charge Monday.

Epps is still being held in the Nacogdoches County Jail on a state-jail felony theft of property between $2,500 and $30,000 charge and a hold for a parole warrant in connection to a murder charge from 1989. No bail amount has been set for his charges yet.

According to the arrest affidavit East Texas News obtained Tuesday, a couple came to the Nacogdoches County Sheriff's Office to report a theft on Nov. 1. They said that they hired Epps to build their house.

"[The victims] said stated Richard used the money that was supposed to be used to build their residence for personal reasons and to pay for labor costs on a different job he was working," the affidavit stated. "[The victims] stated approximately $15,000 was supposed to be used to purchase cabinets, but they were never purchased and approximately $5,000 was used to pay labor for employees used on another residence Richard was building."

When an NCSO investigator and deputy interviewed Epps on Nov. 2, he allegedly admitted to using the money that was supposed to be used on building the couple's home for personal use and for paying employees who were working on another house.

According to a previous arrest affidavit, a man reported on Oct. 17 that he had hired Epps as a building contractor to build a house for him. He said at some point he began worrying Epps was using funds to build his house for other reasons.

The man said he eventually confronted Epps, who confessed to using that money on other projects and for personal use. The man said Epps took approximately $25,0000 meant for purchasing cabinets and $12,000 meant for purchasing doors, the affidavit stated.

An investigating deputy said he spoke with Epps and that Epps admitted to using the money to pay other contractors for work done on jobs that were not for this house. He also allegedly admitted to giving money to family members and to buying wheels and tires for his truck.

After the deputy obtained a warrant for Epps on Nov. 2, he was arrested later that day. He was released after he posted the $15,000 bail amount that had been set for that charge.

East Texas News learned that Epps' parole warrant stems from his murder conviction in October of 1989. An Ellis County jury sentenced Epps to 40 years in prison on Oct. 31, 1989 for murder with a deadly weapon, according to Jason Clark, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Epps was also sentenced to five years in prison for theft of property - $20,000 or more on Dec. 13, 1989, Clark said.

According to the text of the indictment, Epps used a baseball bat to kill Mark Delo on March 18, 1987.

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