Speegleville was the largest, a pleasant, wooded wilderness that made for good camping, hiking, and fishing.
At the park entrance, Simons met a couple of other policemen and some sheriff’s deputies.
Though he wasn’t a regular churchgoer, Simons felt God’s hand in his work, and he often quoted from the Book of Matthew: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.” Simons turned his patrol car around and headed for Texas Highway 6 and the Twin Bridges that spanned Lake Waco.
He’d driven that road many times, and as he crossed the reservoir, he looked out over the water.
This story examines the case through the viewpoint of five people: a patrol sergeant who investigated the crime; a police detective who became skeptical of the investigation; an appellate lawyer who tried to stop the execution; a journalist whose reporting has raised new doubts about the case; and a convict who pleaded guilty but now vehemently proclaims his innocence. This article is the result of a full year of research—dozens of interviews were conducted with the principal and minor players, and thousands of pages of transcripts, depositions, and affidavits, from the case’s six capital murder trials and one aggravated sexual abuse trial, were carefully reviewed.
Still, what follows is not a legal document; some of the people involved in the case are dead, others don’t remember much, and even others—including the patrol sergeant who investigated the case and the DA who prosecuted it—refused to be interviewed.
It was there, he felt, that he could actually solve crimes, often using a network of informants he had carefully developed over the years.In the summer of 1982 the city of Waco was confronted with the most vicious crime it had ever seen: three teenagers were savagely stabbed to death, for no apparent reason, at a park by a lake on the edge of town.Justice was eventually served when four men were found guilty of the crime, and two were sent to death row.Simons parked and made his way to one of the deputy constables, who pointed out two young men standing nearby.They had been looking for a place to fish when they’d spotted the body near the foot of a tree, lying beneath some low-hanging branches.