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Accused teacher dead after collapsing at jail

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Posted: Wednesday, December 5, 2007 12:00 am

RAYMONDVILLE — An autopsy was ordered Wednesday after the death of a jailed teacher who was charged with sexual assault of a student, Willacy County Sheriff Larry Spence said.

Spence said he requested the autopsy after Billy Granger, 52, collapsed in the county jail about 5 a.m. Wednesday.

Raymondville police arrested Granger on Nov. 21, charging him with sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl who had been his student.

Granger was suspended with pay from his job as a Raymondville High School math teacher pending the results of a school police investigation, schools Superintendent Johnny Pineda said last week.

Spence said Granger likely suffered a heart attack in jail. He was pronounced dead at 6:22 a.m. at Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen.

Detectives expected an investigation would lead more students to file complaints against Granger, Raymondville police detective David Robles said last week.

“The case is still under investigation,” detective Danny Cavazos said Wednesday.

On Nov. 19, the girl told police Granger began sexually assaulting her when she was an 11-year-old student in his math class at Myra Green Middle School, Robles said last week. Raymondville police charged Granger with aggravated sexual assault and indecency with a child, while school police charged him with improper educator-student relationship, Robles said.

Granger had denied the allegations, his attorney said.

The accused educator had been expected to request today that state District Judge Migdalia Lopez lower his $200,000 bail to allow him to make bond to leave jail, said John Blaylock, the attorney who represented him.

Blaylock said Granger claimed the girl fabricated the allegations.

“He was looking forward to getting out his side of the story in court,” Blaylock said. “He looked me in the eye and told me he did not do it. It was an incident in which he informed the girl’s mother of some of the girl’s actions and the next thing you know he’s being arrested. He felt this was her getting him back.”

The allegation that led to Granger’s jailing “was terrible for him,” Blaylock said. “He was under a lot of stress. He really felt like he was wrongly accused and it was eating him alive.”

Jail officials had put Granger on medication to lower his blood pressure, Spence said.

“When he first came in, we noticed his blood pressure was pretty high with all that was going on in his life,” Spence said.

Granger died after collapsing at the jail.

“He was basically walking down the hall to get some medication when he said he was feeling light-headed and not feeling good and his eyes rolled back and he collapsed,” Spence said. “From what we’ve seen and what happened, we think he had a heart attack.”

Granger had been the focus of an investigation even before his teenage accuser came to police with allegations, said detective Robles.

Pineda, the Raymondville schools superintendent, said Granger had worked as a teacher at the school district since 1995.

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