The Beating of Billy Ray Johnson

DAYBREAK WAS STILL MORE THAN AN HOUR away on the morning of September 28, 2003, when Cass County sheriff’s deputy John Elder turned down Old Dump Road. Above the tree line, the sky was moonless and dark. Cass County is pressed deep into the northeastern corner of Texas, hard against the Arkansas and Louisiana state lines, and it is crisscrossed by back roads that meander into the woods, under pine awnings and over low-water crossings and past unincorporated communities not found on maps.

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