205 Chapters
Medium 9781574412048

Chapter 15: “Casting Out Devils”

David Johnson University of North Texas Press PDF

chapter 15

“Casting Out Devils”

As the Reddings and Olneys fled Texas for the safety of New

Mexico, the sheriff of Coleman County arrested some of their party.

Details of the arrest are lacking, but the sheriff lodged them in the jail at Brownwood due to its greater security. It was a futile effort. On

May 11, 1877, a number of men rode into Brownwood and calmly ate lunch. One paper reported that “immediately after dinner” a number of horses were hitched outside the front of the jail and others on the west side. Around three thirty in the afternoon four men entered the sheriff’s office and asked if the County Clerk was present. “They then asked to see the ‘record of Marks and Brands,’ which Mr. Ford very politely placed before them for their inspection.”1

Having gained access to the sheriff’s office, one of the men suddenly drew two pistols and demanded the keys to the jail. At the same time two sentinels posted on the outside of the jail told their comrades to “Hurry up, boys, we are in danger.” The sheriff was forced to release the prisoners they had come for. The men immediately armed themselves, then fled the jail.

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Medium 9781574410297


Gary M. Lavergne University of North Texas Press ePub

Weathered Metal Plaques

U.S. Highway 59 in Texas spans both rural and urban areas. Through Houston the traffic can be murderous, but just south of the metro area, near Rosenberg, drivers breathe a sigh of relief. They are safely into the countryside. Rosenberg inhabitants, like many small-town Texans, worry about “planned communities” of deed-restricted, monotonous, brick homes creeping closer. They cling to an agrarian tradition while welcoming vast riches from the oil and gas industry Crops of all types carpet tracts of rich, dark soil, while oil-searching and oil-producing rigs dot the landscape.

Near the exit to Farm-to-Market Road 2218 are the Davis-Greenlawn Funeral Chapel and a large, well-manicured cemetery. Golf carts transport visitors and maintenance personnel. The main entrance 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 smaller drive, where blades of grass 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 graves arc marked by weathered metal plaques on small marble slabs. Visitors are seldom distracted by the traffic noise from Highway 59; more noticeable are the chirping birds in a nearby wooded area. Here is peace.

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Medium 9781574413533

Chapter 8. Who in the Hell Are You?

Rick Miller University of North Texas Press ePub

Chapter 8

Who in the Hell Are You?

After his 1877 arrest, Longley claimed that “after leaving the Indians, he went to Iowa and ‘knocked around’ for a month or two, and then revisited the state of Kansas.”1 There was no mention by Longley of the beautiful Dolores Gomez or any injuries received while trying to outdistance pursuing Mexican bandits, as Fuller later wrote. Very likely, Longley leisurely began his way back to Texas without intending much in the way of adventure.

Longley said that he ultimately arrived in Morris County in the east central part of Kansas, stopping at the village of Parkersville (now Parkerville) “to take stock and form his plans for the future.”2 Parkersville, some ten miles northwest of the county seat, Council Grove, was on a branch line of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway that ran from Junction City, north of there, to Parsons in the far southeastern part of the state.3 The main street of the town paralleled the railroad line, and it was likely that Longley arrived there by train.

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Chapter 1. A Good-Hearted Boy

Rick Miller University of North Texas Press ePub

Chapter 1

A Good-Hearted Boy

The menacing clouds and threat of rain did not deter the hundreds of people flocking to the small Texas town of Giddings to see Bill Longley die. The newly constructed wooden gallows waited silently some six hundred yards northwest of the railroad depot, where passengers alit by the score from incoming trains.

Although the execution was not scheduled until later in the afternoon of this dark, ominous October day, the main street of Giddings and the surrounding prairie teemed with the growing crowd from an early hour. They came by train, by carriage, by wagon and horseback, and on foot, black and white mingling single-mindedly as they awaited the carrying out of the court’s order and the end of the self-proclaimed mankiller’s odyssey. Stories circulated about a last-minute escape attempt and there were rumors that Longley had already survived one hanging.

Bill Longley had been confined now for not quite a year and a half, fighting this day as vigorously as he had willingly defied the conventions of his time. When captured, he had boasted of killing thirty-two men, even penning his memoirs in a Giddings newspaper and relishing the sensation he created throughout the state. He adopted for himself a deadly reputation rivaling that of the much vaunted and more publicized John Wesley Hardin. After all, Hardin, when captured, was said to have killed only twenty-seven. Longley had gone to great lengths to portray himself as one of Texas’ deadliest gunmen.

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Medium 9781574410723


Gary M. Lavergne University of North Texas Press PDF




“That’s a strange bird.”

—J. W. Thompson, referring to Kenneth McDuff


“This will not be over for any of us until we find Colleen,” said John

Moriarty of TDCJ, seven years after she had disappeared. He spoke for every investigator involved in the Colleen Reed Case. They all tell of thinking of Colleen every time they found themselves in the Blackland

Prairie, and wondering if they were near her. The Kenneth McDuff Case was not over for these men, even though they put him back on death row—twice—for good.

For years, J. W. Thompson of the Austin Police Department and ATF

Special Agent Chuck Meyer painstakingly followed every lead and searched for whatever crumb of information they could uncover that might have led to the discovery of Colleen’s remains. They often found themselves searching woods, ditches, and old wells. Time passed, and leads dwindled, but they never gave up. Like Dan Stoltz and Mike

Carnevale, Chuck and J. W. are very good friends. Their bond strengthens with every difficult case; it is hard to imagine a circumstance where these two men would not trust each other. These men had heavy case loads and could have reasonably decided that Colleen would never be found. After more than four years the pain still showed in their eyes.

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