98 Slices
Medium 9781574414974

1. They Was Just Pranks

Gary M. Lavergne University of North Texas Press ePub


They Was Just Pranks

“I got sent to prison because I was an asshole. They should have been able to overlook that.”

—Kenneth Allen McDuff


On the eastern edge of Rosebud, Linden Street heads south from Main Street toward a baseball field carved out of surrounding farmland. Small wooden houses, old but well kept, and shaded by large pecan trees, line the streets. On the east side of Linden, only the second building from Main, stands what once was the Rosebud Laundromat. A small living area connects to the rear of the laundromat where the family of John Allen “J. A.” McDuff lived. At least some of the McDuff children, including two boys named Lonzo (“Lonnie”) and Kenneth, were born in far-off Paris, Texas, and no one seems to know why the McDuffs, who lived in the Blackland Prairie before moving to Rosebud, ended up in the area.

J. A. did farm work. His wife was a hefty, domineering woman named Addie. Addie ruled. She controlled everything, including the money, the children, and J. A. “The only opinions J. A. had were Addie’s,” a longtime Rosebud resident would say.1 At least one of Kenneth’s teachers, however, knew of some who thought that at one point J. A. had made some effort to bring discipline into the lives of his two sons. In reality no one knew for sure. The family was a mystery to those around them. In Texas Monthly, Gary Cartwright wrote that the McDuffs were not the friendliest people, in fact, they were downright weird—“but they weren’t white trash either.”

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Medium 9781574410297

Prologue: Weathered Metal Plaques

Gary M. Lavergne University of North Texas Press PDF


Weathered Metal Plaques

N ear the exit to Farm-to-Market Road 221 8 are the DavisGreenlawn Funeral Ch apel and a large, well-manicured cemetery.

Golf carts transport visitors and maintenance personnel. The main entran ce is near the access road, but many visitors are attracted to a smaller, less ostentatious entrance on the northeast side. The bumpy path leads to an even small er drive, where blades of gras s struggle to grow through compacted gravel. At the confluence is a large white marble carving of Da Vinci 's The Last Supper . That portion of the cemetery is nearly full, and unoccupied sites have long ago been sold and await their inhabitants. The grave s are marked by weathered metal plaques on sm all marble slabs. Visitors are seldom distracted by the traffic noi se from Highway 59; more noticeable are the chirping birds in a nearby wooded area. Here is peace.

Kathleen Leissner Whitman is buried here . Gothic lettering on her plaque indicates that she was born in 1943 and died in 1966.

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Medium 9781574411676

11 For the Defense

Gary M. Lavergne University of North Texas Press PDF

chapter eleven

For the Defense

“What I believe of what he tells me is irrelevant. From a pure legal standpoint, if he tells me he did something for some reason, I am legally obligated to take that story and try to prove it to the best of my ability.”

—Frank Jackson

Abdelkrim Belachheb’s Defense Attorney



ou now know what happened at Ianni’s on June 29, 1984, and now the defense is going to tell you why it happened.” So began the defense of Abdelkrim Belachheb.1

Belachheb’s wife, Joanie, was Jackson’s first witness. She began by describing how she and Belachheb first met and how they came to fall in love and marry. She described her husband as a Moroccan of the Berber Tribe and a Shiite Muslim. As she responded to

Jackson’s questions, she revealed the details of their unusual relationship—one where love and violence coexisted. She described her husband as “sick enough to kill.” She said that she had told many of her friends that he was a time bomb waiting to explode.

But she also said that he could be warm, loving, and sharing.

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11. Cowboy

Gary M. Lavergne University of North Texas Press ePub



“Something is wrong with that man.”

[Bruce] a.k.a. “One-Arm”


Before December of 1991, the people of Austin, Texas, did not consider going to a yogurt shop, or washing their car, a dangerous activity—and for good reason. The overall crime rate for Austin had fallen by two percent from 1990 to 1991, and although the murder rate rose by seven percent, the actual number of victims rose from only forty-six to forty-nine. Additionally, the Austin Police Department’s Homicide Detail was particularly good at solving its cases. Nationally, about sixty-six percent of homicide cases were solved; in cities with more than 250,000 people the “clearance rate” was slightly over half; in Austin, the rate was an impressive eighty-six percent. The Yogurt Shop Murders and the abduction of Colleen Reed, however, spread fear throughout the Austin metro area. “I guess the public’s attitude is developed by high visibility crimes, and certainly during the latter part of the year [1991] we had those high visibility crimes,” said Assistant Police Chief George Phifer.

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2 Morocco

Gary M. Lavergne University of North Texas Press PDF

chapter two


“He simply responds to women according to the script, the code, the prescription, the values that his culture has given him regarding women.”

—Dr. Harrell Gill-King

Anthropologist and Defense Expert Witness



here is an area of northwest Africa, between the Atlas and the

Rif Ranges called the Maghreb, where at the height of its power and prestige, the mighty Roman Empire discovered it could go no farther. The Atlas Mountains form a diagonal range traversing

Morocco from the southwest to the northeast, separating Morocco’s

Atlantic coastal plains to the north and west from the expansive

Sahara Desert to the south. A smaller range, the Rif, runs parallel to the Mediterranean coast. Between the two ranges, which almost merge near the eastern urban center of Taza, a passage connects

Algeria and the rest of North Africa to the Moroccan interior and the Atlantic Ocean.

From Taza, the fan-shaped plain of the Maghreb opens westward toward the Moroccan political capital of Rabat and the business capital of Casablanca. Though geographically close to the Strait of Gibraltar, this area is surprisingly isolated. On a political map, it appears ideally situated to be a portal from the Middle East, through

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