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Medium 9781574410297

8: The Glass-Paneled Door

Gary M. Lavergne University of North Texas Press PDF

returned with a vengeance to turn the fallen rain into steam rising from the streets and sidewalks. A light southerly wind, not strong enough to bring relief, accompanied the heat and humidity When

Whitman left his home for the last time, at or slightly after 11 :00

A.M., the temperature had climbed to the upper nineties. Vacationers and students on semester break flocked to Barton Creel" where cold spring-fed water supplied bathers with a momentary refuge from the heat. But most Austinites could afford no such luxury and instead wearily prepared for another one of "those" days. It was hot-damn hot. I

The drive to the university would not have taken more than twenty to twenty-five minutes. Whitman entered the UT campus through a security checkpoint on 21 st Street near the corner of Speedway Avenue, the northern extension of Congress Avenue, between

11:25 and 11:30 A.M. He approached the little white outpost manned by [ack O. Rodman, a UT Security Officer there to relieve the regular security guard during a lunch break. Whitman retrieved his wallet, holding ninety-six dollars remaining from the checks he had cashed earlier in the morning, and presented a Carrier Identification Card to gain admission to the campus. The guard would have been familiar with the ID which was issued to individuals with a frequent need to transport heavy or bulky materials onto the campus. Whitman had been issued such a card as part of his lab assistant duties in Dr.

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Medium 9781574410723

3 A Prisoner of the State

Gary M. Lavergne University of North Texas Press PDF

3

A Prisoner of the State

“People in prison are vicious and crazy; this is worse than hell.”

—Kenneth Allen McDuff

I

On August 9, 1966, after Kenneth McDuff had committed the Broomstick Murders and was back in jail, the State of Texas revoked his parole.1

Sheriff Brady Pamplin established, at least to his own satisfaction, that Kenneth and his brother Lonnie had actively engaged in the destruction of evidence. Jo Ann, Kenneth’s date, told Pamplin that the brothers had taken something behind a barn at Lonnie’s home. Pamplin quickly secured a search warrant for Lonnie’s residence northeast of Rosebud.

The nighttime search did not yield any incriminating evidence, but

Lonnie was arrested anyway for “fraudulently and illegally concealing a weapon used for murder.” Jo Ann’s statement apparently served as the probable cause for his arrest. Pending a hearing, the Justice of the Peace set his bond at $10,000. Shortly after daylight, Constable R. J. Brannon and Rosebud City Marshal Terry Fletcher returned to the residence and found charred remains of clothing in Lonnie’s driveway. Metal studs, common to western style shirts, were mixed with the ashes of burnt cloth.2

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Notes on Sources

Gary M. Lavergne University of North Texas Press PDF

t m - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Notes on Sources

Interviews

I conducted three formal interviews: one with Houston McCoy on I March I 995, in Menard, Texas; one with Ramiro Martinez on

3 April 1995, in New J3raunfels, Texas; and one with Lawrence A.

Fuess in Dallas 011 6 June 1996. All three gentlemen were interviewed as much for an update on their lives since 1966 as for their recollections of the Tower incident. I also had brief meetings with

Phillip Conner, one of the members of the McCoy Team, on 18

August 1995, at my office in Austin; Dr. Albert Lalonde on 30 June

1995, at his home in Austin; and Robert Heard and lack Keever, former Associated Press reporters, on 16 March 1996, at the 1996

South by Southwest Media Conference in Austin. Other, very brief, conversations are endnoted through the book. None of the interviews produced dramatic new information relative to the Whitman murders.

On 26 January 1995, I met Mr. C. A. Whitman at his home in

Lantana, Florida. It is my personal belief that news and history should not be purchased, so when he indicated that in the past he has received payments for interviews and pictures, I explained that I could not pay him for any information. We then had a pleasant conversation which yielded no information that had not already been published or was otherwise well-documented.

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Medium 9781574411676

6 A Position for Tragedy

Gary M. Lavergne University of North Texas Press PDF

chapter six

A Position for Tragedy

“I don’t like him. He stares at me.”

—Linda Lowe

I

L

inda Lowe was not one to sit home alone with her two cats.

She very much enjoyed patrolling the Dallas nightclub scene to listen to musicians. On different occasions she had been a member of several “all-girl” musical groups. On Tuesday, June 26, 1984, she called her brother Wade and told him that later in the week she was going to a place called Ianni’s to listen to a band. Wade later related that she was looking for talented musicians to form a new group.1 She was an outgoing person who clearly liked being around others, so she may have grown tired of playing the piano by herself.

Linda was planning to surprise Wade for his upcoming birthday by picking him up in a limo and taking him out for a nice dinner. Those who knew Linda would not have been surprised by her “very generous” and considerate nature, her mother later said.

Linda even sent her brother a Father’s Day card. The bartenders at the nightclubs, who came to know her as a person and a performer, all gushed about how “sweet and nice” she was.2 No one, it seems, had anything negative to say about her—except Abdelkrim

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2. Enter Albert B. Fall and Other Men of Note

Corey Recko University of North Texas Press PDF

two

Enter Albert B. Fall and Other Men of Note

In November 1888, Fountain ran against Democratic newcomer

Albert B. Fall for a seat in the New Mexico State Legislature.1

Fountain won the election and went on to be chosen speaker of the house. While in the legislature, Fountain pushed for public education for both boys and girls, an unpopular idea at the time. He successfully fought to have the state’s land grant college situated in Las Cruces. (It now is New Mexico State University.) He also worked vigorously for statehood.2 The rest of Fountain’s life would be intertwined with that of his opponent in the 1888 election. The two men, Fountain as a leader of the Republicans and Fall a soonto-be leader of the Democrats, grew to despise each other.

Albert Bacon Fall was born in Frankfort, Franklin County,

Kentucky, on November 26, 1861.3 He married Emma Morgan on

May 8, 1883, and they settled in New Mexico in 1887.4 According to his service record, Fall stood five feet, ten and one-half inches tall, had a fair complexion, brown eyes, and black hair.5 Despite his limited formal education, the former miner rose quickly in the

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13: INDEPENDENT ACTIONS

Gary M. Lavergne University of North Texas Press ePub

13
Independent Actions

I

In a short time, nearly all of Austin's police force had reported for duty. Some of the officers went directly to the campus. Others, including Officers George Shepard, Phillip Conner, Harold Moe, and Milton Shoquist, went to police headquarters first. There, the team was given tear gas and a walkie talkie and told to report to the campus area. Since the officers were in possession of communications equipment and tear gas, when they reached 21st and Speedway, Sergeant Marvin Ferrell, who had been directing officers to their assignments, sent them to the UT Security Office a few blocks north of the Tower at 24th and San Jacinto. There Houston McCoy asked them if they had any additional shotguns. They did not. He also asked if they had any directions or a plan. They did not. At the office, UT's Security Chief Allen R. Hamilton directed one of his men, Sgt. A. Y. Barr, to lead the APD team to the Tower.

From the university police station, the band of officers walked through the campus to an area directly east of the Tower. From that position there appeared to be only one way to get to the Tower—a dash over an open area. McCoy wondered aloud if there was a safer way for six men to get to the Main Building. William Wilcox, a university employee, knew of a maze of tunnels connecting the buildings to allow for relative ease when maintaining the campus infrastructure—telephone, power lines and water lines. Through the tunnel connecting the Computation Center to the Main Building, Wilcox guided McCoy's team.1

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Medium 9781574412048

Chapter 8: “A Most Horrible State of Affairs”

David Johnson University of North Texas Press PDF

chapter 8

“A Most Horrible State of Affairs”

Holmes’ contention that Moses Baird was “a man of large connexions [sic]” was an understatement.1 This succinct phrase underscores the next phase of the feud as it escalated out of control. Baird was very popular in both Burnet and Llano Counties, and the brothers were connected by marriage, friendship, and business to a number of large families in the area who in turn had ties to others. These alliances provided a small army of fighting men, many of whom would have sought vengeance even had John Baird not. Prior to this, the feud had been a private vendetta, but it had now escalated into a full scale war. The opportunities for peace were gone.

The Baird family originated in Ireland, their grandfather William

Baird having settled in Missouri. One of his sons, Hartshorn, married “Arminty Eten” there on August 11, 1846.2 Census data indicates that Hartshorn “Beard” [sic: Baird], age twenty-eight was born in Missouri. Living in the household were his wife, Areminthy, age twenty-four, born in Tennessee, and two sons: John R., age three and Moses B., age one. Both of the brothers are noted as born in

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Medium 9781574412246

20. Epilogues

Corey Recko University of North Texas Press PDF

Epilogues

New Mexico finally became a state in 1912. It was the forty-seventh state admitted to the Union.

William McNew spent his life as a rancher. In 1915 he shot and killed Bob Raley, James Gililland’s brother-in-law. McNew died on the thirtieth day of June, 1937.1

James Gililland started a ranch in 1902 and stayed there almost forty years. Upon selling the ranch, he and his wife spent a year traveling the eastern states. They settled in Hot Springs (now

Truth or Consequences), New Mexico, where Jim Gililland died on

August 8, 1946.2

Albert Bacon Fall went on to serve various government posts in New Mexico, but he longed to serve at the national level. As

New Mexico got closer to statehood, Fall separated himself from the Democratic Party and then switched to the Republican Party.

Although other reasons contributed, a driving force was surely the knowledge that once statehood was achieved, the senators elected from this heavily Republican state would be Republicans. The switch paid off. In 1912, Albert Fall and Thomas Catron became the first two senators elected from the state of New Mexico.

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Medium 9781574411805

Twelve—“If you want to come, just come ahead.”

William T. Harper University of North Texas Press PDF

Chapter Twelve

July 26, 1974 • Day Three

“If you want to come, just come ahead.”

—Rudy Dominguez, hostage-taker

The morning sun bolted out of the swamps of western Louisiana, its rays slid across the Sabine

River and spiked through the Piney Woods of East

Texas. Another scorcher was on its way. The sun’s rays climbed twenty feet to the top of the walls surrounding the red brick fortress in Huntsville and spilled over into the prison yard. With the morning temperature already approaching eighty degrees— the high for the day would near the triple digits, and its late evening thermometer would hover near ninety.

Negotiations began again at 10:00 a.m. Warden

Husbands told Carrasco he would be given everything he demanded—helmets, walkie-talkies, clothing—everything, except the bulletproof vests.

“The bullet-proof vests were something we would not want to give them,” FBI-man Bob Wiatt said. As for the helmets, “the hostiles were more concerned about somebody coming up behind them and shooting them in the head. We didn’t want to make them totally impregnable with bulletproof vests and helmets. It

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Medium 9781574413533

Chapter 14. Plenty of Ammunition

Rick Miller University of North Texas Press ePub

Chapter 14

Plenty of Ammunition

After killing the Reverend Lay, Bill Longley left Delta County, but there is only his fanciful account of where he was for the next year, as provided in Fuller’s heavily edited Adventures of Bill Longley.

According to Longley, on June 13, 1876, he rode north from Delta County and camped near the Red River as it grew dark. He hid off the main road, ate a cold meal that he had gotten at Mr. Lane’s place, then slept on his saddle blanket. The next morning he took a ferry across the river and said that the ferryman told him of several parties who had crossed the night before into the Indian Territory looking for a man who had killed a preacher. Longley said that the ferryman looked at him with suspicion as Longley asked him questions, but Longley said that he learned that most members of the posse believed that the fugitive was still in Texas and that they planned to set up on roads leading into the Indian Territory and waylay Longley when he headed north.

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One—“Stop right there or I’ll kill you!”

William T. Harper University of North Texas Press PDF

Chapter One

July 24, 1974 • Day One

“Stop right there or I’ll kill you!”

—Fred Carrasco, hostage-taker

Ronald (Ron) Wayne Robinson kept looking at his watch, anxious to get home for his daughter Sheryle’s eleventh birthday party that night. Aline V. House was kicking herself for forgetting to bring her bloodpressure medication to work. Bobby G. Heard kept looking through the doorway to see if his relief was on his way up to take his place as the only guard in the prison library. Ann Fleming was thinking about her eighty-year-old mother in a Nashville, Tennessee, nursing home. Novella M. Pollard was worried about getting her rent check in the mail on time. Elizabeth

Yvonne (Von) Beseda’s concern was the alteration of her daughter ’s University of Texas cheerleader uniform. All in all, it was just a routine day in

Huntsville, Texas.

That routine ended abruptly with the roar a .357 caliber Ruger Speed Six, blue Magnum revolver made as it was fired in the confined quarters of the thirdfloor library of the State Penitentiary in Huntsville,

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Seventeen—“I’m going out of here, whether it’s alive or dead.”

William T. Harper University of North Texas Press PDF

Chapter Seventeen

July 28, 1974 • Day Five

“I’m going out of here, whether it’s alive or dead.”

—Fred Carrasco, hostage-taker

On Sunday, July 28, 1974, the NBC-TV Sunday

Evening News broadcast with Floyd Kalber anchoring from New York City, the President Nixon impeachment story got prominent billing. Four of the first five items dealt with it. Kalber also introduced stories about peace talks between Greece and Turkey, fighting in Vietnam, a new sex manual being released in the USSR, the Eleventh Annual Craftsbury

Common Old-time Fiddlers’ convention in Vermont, and how the “Texas state prison siege continues.” It was still national news.1

For those involved with the siege, the impeachment proceedings were not a major concern, and in fact received no discussion that day. Except for Ignacio Cuevas. Speaking like a self-imposed victim of social oppression, he talked about the presidency. “The only president worth anything,” he wailed, “was Kennedy and that’s why they killed him.

They kill the good people and the poor people.”2

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photo/image gallery

David Johnson University of North Texas Press PDF
Medium 9781574410297

8: THE GLASS-PANELED DOOR

Gary M. Lavergne University of North Texas Press ePub

8
The Glass-Paneled Door

I

On 1 August 1966 beneath a cloudless sky, Charles Whitman drove from the neat little house on Jewell Street to the University of Texas at Austin. Weather forecasters predicted warm, humid nights and hot sunny days. Experienced Austinites knew the pattern: cumulus clouds greeted early morning commuters with spectacular golden formations, but soon intolerant and relentless sunshine melted them away. It would be hot, and if any humidity dared linger, an afternoon thermal thundershower would pelt the area until the sun returned with a vengeance to turn the fallen rain into steam rising from the streets and sidewalks. A light southerly wind, not strong enough to bring relief, accompanied the heat and humidity. When Whitman left his home for the last time, at or slightly after 11:00 A.M., the temperature had climbed to the upper nineties. Vacationers and students on semester break flocked to Barton Creek, where cold spring-fed water supplied bathers with a momentary refuge from the heat. But most Austinites could afford no such luxury and instead wearily prepared for another one of “those” days. It was hot—damn hot.1

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13. The Trial

Corey Recko University of North Texas Press PDF

thirteen

The Trial

Hillsboro was a mining town in the mountains in Sierra County with a population of only 1,000. It was a small desert town whose most impressive building was the Sierra County Courthouse, which sat on a hill. The nearest railroad was twenty miles south and the only public transportation into town were the stagecoach lines from the Nutt and Lake Valley train stations.

The Union Hotel was not nearly large enough to hold all of the people expected for the trial. As a result, tent towns were set up. The prosecution set up a camp at the north end of town with its own cook. The defense set up a camp that became known as “the Oliver Lee camp,” at the south end of town. They had a chuck wagon to supply their food. Many friends and curious spectators who had come to town for the trial camped on the mountainsides.1

There was no telephone or telegraph in the secluded town. The

Western Union Telegraph Company ran a line from Lake Valley to

Hillsboro for the trial. Reporters were there from all of the area’s newspapers as well as from many around the nation, the Associated

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