>> 50 Years Ago — EL CENTRO — Revell L. Scroggs, who admitted shooting to death Wally Douthitt, last night was found not guilty of murdering Douthitt.
A Superior Court jury deliberated for three hours before finding the 51-year-old Holtville bartender innocent of slaying his former employer.
The verdict by the eight-woman, four –man jury apparently was based on the testimony by a state psychiatrists that Scroggs could not form the intent or premeditate a murder with the quantity of alcohol that was present in his system the night of the slaying.
>> 40 Years Ago — The annual thronging to the Colorado River between Winterhaven and Bard was relatively quiet this year after the county sheriff’s office put in a special effort to avoid a repetition of last year’s near-riot when 500 youths battled deputies.
This year, 25 deputies were assigned to the area compared to 12 last year. Youths were kept out of some areas and the region was patrolled by an aircraft.
>> 30 Years Ago — EL CENTRO — The desert is so vast and awesome mere mortals are dwarfed by its expanse.
Perhaps that’s why when prehistoric Indians appealed to the forces that ruled this forbidding world, they did so on a grand scale.
Now the desert, like a Sistine Chapel the size of New Hampshire, wears the nearly indelible mark of hundreds of entreaties — a mysterious art form that left huge pictures and designs etched across the arid landscape.
From the air, the desert along the Colorado River from Needles to Yuma, seems a vast canvas covered with doodles human figures, often in pairs up to 158 feet high, pumas, horses, lizards, quail and snakes, including strikingly realistic 150-foot-long rattlesnake.
>> 20 Years Ago — CALIPATRIA — It’s pretty much the same from 1 to 3 p.m. every Monday in the crowded, white block hearing room of Calipatria State Prison’s D Facility.
One by one, 24 inmates, all undocumented aliens, answer a battery of questions from a federal immigration judge. They concede to a variety of crimes, mostly drug-related, although there are more serious offenders.
One by one, almost all accept their deportation orders.
Between Oct. 1, 1992, and April 19 of this year, 457 inmates have been deported from the Calipatria prison through this process, called an institutional hearing program.