Draylen Mason was more than good at everything he did, he was brilliant. He was a musical prodigy who wanted to be a neurosurgeon, and just days after he died, he was accepted to Oberlin Conservatory of Music. At Texas Monthly, Michael Hall tries to make sense of a senseless death.
For nearly 40 years, Kerry Max Cook fought to clear his name after being wrongfully convicted in a murder case. So why did he ask for his conviction back? Michael Hall reports on what happened to an innocent man after spending years in prison.
As the GOP discusses repealing the Affordable Care Act, it’s essential to look at some of the lives that nationalized health care has improved and saved, and at the activists who helped get eligible people enrolled. Here are a few from Texas.
Greg Torti has lived the life of a convicted sex offender for nearly two decades: forced to live with his family on the outskirts of town and discriminated against while looking for jobs. Is it a life deserved? Not if you believe the real story behind Torti’s conviction.
The story of Reverend Charles Moore, who set himself on fire in an empty parking lot in Grand Saline, Texas to make a statement.
In 1982 three teenagers were found savagely stabbed to death by a lake in Waco, Texas. Four men were found guilty and two were sentenced to death. Were they guilty? Michael Hall spent one year reporting this five-parts series for Texas Monthly:
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.
From the start, the murder frustrated Abilene police. Eleven officers searched every room of Mary Eula’s house for clues, but all they found was the murder weapon, a bloody hunting knife that had no fingerprints on its ridged handle. Partly because the home’s ornately carved antique furniture had few smooth surfaces, only two usable fingerprints were found, and both of them belonged to Officer Berry. No hairs, no semen, and nobody else’s blood but Mary Eula’s.
In 1955 “Rock Around the Clock” went to the top of the charts and turned Bill Haley into the king of rock and roll. Twenty-five years later, he was holed up in a pool house in Harlingen, drunk, lonely, paranoid, and dying. After three decades of silence, his widow and his children tell the story of his years in Texas and his sad final days.
Testimony from forensic experts can be the most persuasive evidence presented at trial, but often juries don’t realize that the analysis of hair, fire, and even fingerprints may not be so scientific.
As she goes on trial this month, nearly everyone—journalists, lawyers, and even some of her colleagues—is calling for her head, but is the presiding judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals the monster she’s been made out to be?