Port Arthur firefighters to attend Chester execution - KiiiTV.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

Port Arthur firefighters to attend Chester execution

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On Wednesday, a Port Arthur serial killer will be put to death by the State of Texas for the murder of firefighter, Willie A. Ryman III.

In February of 1998, 37-year-old Elroy Chester admitted to entering the home of Ryman's sister in Port Arthur and sexually assaulting the woman's two daughters.

When Ryman went to check on his nieces, Chester opened fire killing Ryman.

Wednesday, Chester will be executed in Huntsville.

Police Chief Mark Blanton tells 12News that in 1998, Elroy Chester had the city of Port Arthur living in fear. Chester is accused of five murders, one of which took the life of Ryman.

Years have gone by. But, Ryman's legacy has continued to live on.

"He was an aggressive guy. He was going to be the first one in there to help someone out," says Battalion Chief Patrick Murphy.

Murphy says Ryman's exceptional act of bravery carried over from his real family to his work family.

Those who knew him loved him and the younger firefighters, just joining the team, are reminded of him daily.

On one fire truck there is a symbol that is a copy of an image sketched in chalk by Ryman that has never been erased.

There is a fire truck placed in reserve in his memory, a statue that stands in the front entrance and a picture of Ryman that hangs in the recreational room.

As his legacy lives on, firefighters hope to close the final chapter of a tragic tale on Wednesday.

"This is closing the book that this man dies. He should die. I feel like he should have died a long time ago," says Murphy.

Murphy says the most prestigious award that any Port Arthur firefighter can earn is the "Willie A. Ryman Medal of Honor."

Chester's execution is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday.

12News will have a crew in Huntsville covering the event. 12News anchor, Kevin Steele, will be one of the media witnesses to the execution.

Stay with 12News for continuing coverage.

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