THERE WAS STANDING ROOM ONLY IN A SMALL HARRIS COUNTY COURTROOM THIS past September on the day Robert Carreiro stood before the man sentenced to death for killing his only daughter. The occasion was Carreiro’s reading of his victim’s impact statement, a relatively new and quixotic end-of-trial proceeding meant to provide “closure” for those who have experienced or lost someone to violent crime. But for Carreiro it reflected the moment he let go of one life and embraced another.
On a cold february afternoon in 1979, several years before the success of her autobiographical novel Rush would take her far from her life in Texas as an undercover narcotics cop and eventual drug addict, Kim Wozencraft made a choice that forever changed her life: While making a drug buy from one of the nearly one hundred Tyler-area dealers whom she was trying to send to prison, she decided that she would rather shoot up than risk blowing her cover.
AT THREE IN THE MORNING last October 19, a Vietnamese gang burst into the headquarters of the Surface Mount Taping Corporation, a small computer-components company in South Austin. Armed with a .45-caliber pistol and a semiautomatic handgun, the gang of four men and one woman tied up the night-shift employees with professional dispatch and searched the building for valuable memory chips. When they couldn’t find what they were after, they grabbed some inexpensive cellular-phone parts and vanished without a trace.
“You might not want to sit down here,” Douglas Tinker said wearily, holding a glass of white wine. “Man, I haven’t won a case in so long.” The rotund balding man with the expansive white beard who recalled both Santa Claus and Ernest Hemingway was slouched in a booth at Buster’s Drinkery, an anonymous dive frequented by the lawyers who work nearby at the Harris County courthouse. It was a Monday afternoon in late October.
“No one can bribe me.”