ON THE NIGHT OF NOVEMBER 22, 1995—Thanksgiving Eve—Sergeant Mark Bergmark and reserve officer James Purcell of the Comanche County Sheriff’s Department had nothing more pressing to do than drive around Lake Proctor, a meandering body of water on the Leon River eighty miles southwest of Fort Worth.
I SPENT A SATURDAY NIGHT IN MID-APRIL HELPING chaperone a dance in the cafetorium of Danforth Junior High, the school in Wimberley where my older son Jake attends eighth grade. My assignment was to guard the door at stage left, making sure no one left the building before the dance was over.
ON MAY 1 DALLAS CITY COUNCILMAN AL LIPSCOMB is expected to be reelected handily to a seventh term, an estimable achievement for a man who used to wait tables at a downtown executive dining room and has spent most of his political career, as he puts it, “being obnoxious and being told to shut up.” Lipscomb, however, will barely have time to savor the victo
AS TEXANS CONTEMPLATE the aftermath of James Byrd, Jr.’s, death, we should remember that race-related violence has been an unfortunate fact of life in the state for more than a century. Between 1880 and 1930, for instance, there were approximately 492 lynchings here. One particularly brutal murder occurred in Waco in 1916, when a 17-year-old black man named Jesse Washington was convicted of murdering Lucy Fryer, a 53-year-old white woman.
THE LAST TIME ANYONE SAW MARTIN GURULE ALIVE, HE WAS running in the late November moonlight through the pine thickets surrounding Ellis Unit’s death row, having scaled first one, then a second chain-link fence topped with coils of razor wire, and disappearing into the low-lying
THE MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR COLLEEN REED didn’t quite close the book on the case of serial killer Kenneth McDuff, but it was a conclusion of sorts to a gruesome chapter in our recent history.
On a remote stretch of U.S. 181, about fifty miles southeast of San Antonio, looms one of the biggest homes in Texas, the four-story, 29,000-square-foot, 34-room edifice on the estate known as Veladi Ranch. A marvel of architectural excess, the antebellum-style mansion is ringed by 28 towering Corinthian columns, three gigantic fountains, and 12,000 square feet of finished verandas.
In light of this year’s school shootings in Jonesboro, Arkansas, and Springfield, Oregon, Texas parents may be wondering what the state has been doing about violence in its schools. The answer is: quite a bit. Since 1995, in response to increasingly disruptive behavior and lax discipline, the Legislature has required that the state’s more than one thousand school districts set up, or provide access to, a second, segregated learning environment.
HER PECULIAR LITTLE PERSON was all contradiction. She was sunny and nice, and she gave you the creeps. She was an innocent who was a guilty criminal. She was evil, and she was embraced by religious leaders who declared she was good. If any crime deserved the death penalty, hers did. Yet the world was outraged when Texas executed her this past February.
CONGRATULATIONS TO SKIP HOLLANDSWORTH for his heartbreaking, brilliant piece on fatherhood at its worst [“Honor Thy Father,” June 1998]. I just hope all the other Bill Butterfields read it. What a tragedy that a kid with so many attributes is fettered by a felony for doing what anyone in his shoes would have done. His father? Good riddance to an abusive, weak failure who reaped what he sowed.