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Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Texas Slave Ranch Case - Getting Away With Murder

I'm putting the finishing touches on a long piece about the Texas Slave Ranch case, with the working title: Lone Star Grotesque: The True Story of the Texas Slave Ranch How a Degenerate Ranching Family Got Away With Murder The case featured some of the most famous criminal defense lawyers in the nation, including Richard "Racehorse" Haynes and Dan Cogdell. This excerpt is from the introduction: Chapter 1 - “Something in the Water” When Joe Davis moved from Austin to Kerrville, he had worked in law enforcement for twenty years. He was one of the youngest state troopers to ever wear the Cinco Peso badge of a Texas Ranger. Davis had fought outlaws from Houston to El Paso, from Amarillo to the Rio Grande. and put away bank robbers, murderers, serial killers, and drug dealers. He was there when a heroin kingpin named Fred Carrasco tried to shoot his way out of the Walls Unit during the deadliest prison riot in Texas history. So, Davis was looking forward to a slower pace in Kerrville, a bucolic town of 20,000 on the banks of the Guadalupe River, in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. It’s Norman Rockwell country, with a population over 70 percent white, Republican, and born again Christian. But, like all towns, it has its shadow side, and Kerrville’s may be darker than most. The Kerrville State Hospital, on a hill overlooking the river, houses some of the most violent, deranged killers in the state. It’s most infamous resident, Andrea Yates, cooked breakfast for her husband and saw him off to work, then calmly and methodically drowned her five children, one by one, in the bathtub. The county has always had an active drug subculture. Two of the original members of the 13th Floor Elevators, the original psychedelic acid rock band, grew up there, and later the whole band hid out from the law on a ranch outside of town. Drug addicts come from all over the country for treatment in the many rehab centers and halfway houses, and stay for the pleasant climate and scenery. There are dealers to supply those who relapse with any drug that can be found in the big city. Still, on the surface, it’s a quiet, peaceful little town, and Davis looked forward to a slower pace when he moved there in 1980. Later, Henry Ligon, the Ranger he replaced, ribbed him that when he left everything was under control, but when Davis took over, the bottom fell out. Davis would later say, when asked why such a beautiful, seemingly normal place had so many bizarre crimes, “There must be something in the water.” He hadn’t even settled into his new office before the Genene Jones case exploded into the national headlines. Jones a pediatric nurse, came from San Antonio to work for the first woman pediatrician in town. The clinic hadn’t been open a week before healthy babies started having life threatening seizures. One of them, a little girl, died after being alone with Jones for a few minutes. Davis and the local district attorney gathered the evidence that resulted in a murder conviction and life sentence. Their investigation revealed that Jones had already murdered scores of babies and young children in the San Antonio charity hospital, before she landed in Kerrville. Davis hadn’t rested up from the Jones trial before he was pulled into another bizarre murder investigation, that would that would be called in newspapers around the world, the Texas Slave Ranch case. By Richard L. Ellison Published by Hill Country Satori, Ltd. 500 Main Street Kerrville, Texas 78028 First Kindle Original Edition, 2012 Copyright 2012 by Richard L. Ellison All rights reserved. This book may not be reproduced in any form, in whole or in part (beyond that copying permitted by U.S. Copyright Law, Section 107, “fair use” in teaching or research, Section 108, certain library copying, or in published media by reviewers in limited excerpts), without written permission from the publisher.


  1. There's been one low budget horror movie made based on the Slave Ranch case, called Hoboken Hollow. Dennis Hopper makes a cameo as the sheriff. The family matriarch sells dried jerky at their country store. You can guess the source of the meat. I spent a lot of time this year going through the court's file in the District Clerk's office. The perps made audio tapes of their sessions shocking and beating victims. The tapes disappeared from the court's file, with no explanation of where they went. Ron Sutton took the cattle prod and used to proudly display it on his office wall. If anyone knows where the tapes went, I'd like to hear from you.

  2. Have you put the finishing touches on this yet? Pretty interesting, I'd like to read it...
    Oh, this name I'm using is the same one from TAH, so if you need to nut-check me, you can do so there.