The Human Rights Documentation Initiative

Texas After Violence Project Collection of Oral History Interviews, 2008-present

Descriptive Summary

Creator Texas After Violence Project
Title Texas After Violence Project Collection of Oral History Interviews
Dates: 2008-present
Abstract The Texas After Violence Project Collection contains digital video recordings of first person narratives of experiences with violence and the death penalty in the state of Texas.
Accession No. 2009-31
OCLC Record No.
Extent 42 interviews (and growing)
Language English
Repository UT Libraries Human Rights Documentation Initiative, The University of Texas at Austin

Administrative History

The Texas After Violence Project (TAVP) formed with the mission "to create a foundation for productive public dialogue on violence in Texas, especially murder and execution" by conducting oral history interviews with people affected by violence, such as friends and family members of murdered and executed people, police officers, first responders, prosecutors, defense attorneys, prison employees, ex-convicts, victim and defendant advocates, and others involved in the Texas criminal justice system. By recording first-person narratives, archiving them, and making them public with the narrators' consent, TAVP hopes to promote "conversations about the most effective, compassionate, and just ways to prevent and respond to violence."

In 2007, the state of Texas incorporated TAVP as a non-profit corporation. The organization was founded by Walter Long, an Austin attorney with extensive experience representing Texas Death Row inmates. Day to day operations and interviews are conducted by a core team of staff, with volunteers, interns and students contributing to the project in many capacities such as preparation and research, transcription, and translation. TAVP considers confidentiality, respect, and ethics central to its work.

In 2009, the TAVP partnered with the University of Texas Libraries Human Rights Documentation Intiative to preserve and provide access to its collection of first person narratives and institutional archive. The University of Texas Center for Women and Gender Studies also established Texas After Violence Project as one of its community partners.

TAVP maintains a membership in the Texas Oral History Association, the Oral History Association, and International Coalition of Sites of Conscience. In 2010, TAVP received Austin Chronicle's Critics Pick for "Best Texas Archive of Survival."

Reference: Texas After Violence Project website

Scope and Contents Note

This collection is divided into two main series, which reflects TAVP's interview methodologies. Items are arranged alphabetically by interviewee's last name.

Personal Narrator Interviews are interviews with people directly and personally affected by capital murders; the investigation, prosecution, defense, and appeal of capital punishment cases; Death Row; and executions. As part of the interview process Personal Narrators review the transcripts before they go public.

Public Actor Interviews are interviews that have been conducted to better understand the politics of criminal justice and the death penalty in Texas and to document the histories of social movements that seek to the make significant changes in the criminal justice system. These interviews are with those individuals that come into contact with violent crime and the death penalty in a professional capacity, such as lawyers, activists, and law enforcement officials. Public Actors agree to donate the interview at the time it takes place and without review of the transcript.

All interview abstracts are written by TAVP.


Access Restrictions


Use Restrictions

These materials are made available by the University of Texas Libraries solely for the purposes of research, teaching and private study. All intellectual property rights are retained by the legal copyright holders. The University of Texas does not hold the copyright to the content of this file. Formal permission to reuse or republish this content must be obtained from the copyright holder. The narrator, as an individual, and the Texas After Violence Project, as an independent non-profit corporation organized in Texas in 2007, share the copyright, but not on an equal basis. Interview narrators retain the rights to do whatever they wish with their own interviews or interview materials in any form: physical or digital, tangible or intangible. The Texas After Violence Project, by agreement with each narrator, has limited rights. TAVP may only use the interview materials for non-commercial and educational purposes.

Index Terms

The TAVP Collection is classified under the following Subject Headings in the University of Texas Libraries catalog:
Capital punishment--Texas
Discrimination in capital punishment--Texas
Oral history--Texas
Harrington, James C., 1946-
Pogue, Alan
Renaud, Jorge Antonio, 1956-

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Cite as: [Name of interview], Texas After Violence Project Collection of Oral History Interviews, Human Rights Documentation Initiative, University of Texas Libraries, the University of Texas at Austin, [link to interview segment(s), if applicable].

Box and Folder Inventory

Personal Narrator Interviews, 2008-2011

tav00019 (28 July 2009)
Video 1 of Interview with Ms. Tammy Anderson
Video 2 of Interview with Ms. Tammy Anderson
Tammy Anderson is the mother of Anthony Guy Fuentes, who was executed by the State of Texas on November 17, 2004. Mr. Fuentes, with three other men, robbed a convenience store in Houston on February 18, 1994. In the course of this robbery, someone fatally shot Robert Tate. In 1996, a Harris County jury convicted Mr. Fuentes of capital murder and sentenced him to death. Two co-defendants, Steven Vela and Kelvin Templeton, were convicted of aggravated robbery and sentenced to sixteen and fifteen years in prison respectively. Mr. Fuentes maintained his innocence through the day of his death. He asked his mother to prove his innocence, but Ms. Anderson lacks resources and does not know how to go about doing so. In this interview, Ms. Anderson talks about Anthony as a child and teenager, his turn to Christianity while in prison, and his ability to make friends even on Death Row. She also describes family relationships, gatherings in which the family and friends remember Anthony, her grief, and life since Anthony's execution.
tav00025 (07 November 2008)
Video 1 of Interview with Professor Roger Barnes
Video 2 of Interview with Professor Roger Barnes
Video 3 of Interview with Professor Roger Barnes
Roger Barnes is a professor of sociology, specializing in the death penalty, at the University of the Incarnate Word. In Video 1, Mr. Barnes discusses his youth, family, politics and education in Kansas; the beginning of his interest in the prison system and the death penalty; his involvement in a documentary project directed by his friend Bill Sands; his visits to Death Row in Arkansas in 1969 and 1970; and his eventual move to teach in Texas. In Video 2, Mr. Barnes talks about his experience teaching at the U.S. Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas from 1979-1981 and the students he met there; changes in federal prisons and sentencing guidelines; warehousing, "prisonization" and institutionalization of inmates; and his involvement in public speaking and death penalty activism in Texas. In the beginning of Video 3, Mr. Barnes further discusses his former students in the education program at Leavenworth. He then shares his thoughts on the changing climate around the death penalty in San Antonio and Bexar County; the role of faith communities and official political parties in death penalty activism; and trends in death penalty debates today. This interview took place on November 7, 2008 at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas.
tav00002 (03 April 2008)
Video 1 of Interview with Mr. Ireland Beazley
Video 2 of Interview with Mr. Ireland Beazley
Ireland Gene Beazley is the father of Napoleon Beazley, who was seventeen years when he fatally shot Mr. John Luttig in Tyler, Smith County. The death sentence and execution of Napoleon Beazley sparked international protest; within three years the U.S. Supreme Court banned the practice of executing people who were juveniles at the time of their crimes. In Video 1, Ireland Beazley describes family life up until the time Napoleon was arrested; the apparent determination of officials to execute Napoleon before he was even arraigned; the trial and legal proceedings; and the effects of the tragedy on the family. In Video 2, Ireland Beazley additionally describes how faith, prayer, and the support of Black churches, family, and community enabled him to get through these tragic events.
tav00003 (04 April 2008)
Interview with Mr. Jamaal Beazley
Jamaal Beazley is the brother of Napoleon Beazley, who was executed in 2002 for a capital murder committed at seventeen. Jamaal Beazley describes how the execution of Napoleon affected each member of the family. He also reasons that the U.S. Supreme Court's decision not to review Napoleon's case was unfair and contrary to common sense. Three justices voted to grant cert; three voted to deny cert; and three did not participate because of their relationship to the victim’s son, then a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. In sports, a tied score may lead to an extra inning, overtime, or a victory for both teams. In his brother’s case, however, a tie resulted in Napoleon’s execution.
tav00004 (23 July 2008)
Interview with Captain Arthur G. Cárdenas
Captain Arthur (Art) Cárdenas is a member of the Command Staff of the Travis County Sheriff's Office. A founding member of the Travis County SWAT Team, then-Sergeant Cárdenas trained Keith G. Ruíz in "SWAT School." Deputy Ruíz died in the line of duty on February 15, 2001, while attempting to serve a warrant on a suspected narcotics dealer in Del Valle, Travis County. In this interview, Captain Cárdenas recalls the perseverance, dedication, skills, and humor of Deputy Ruíz, and describes the emotional intimacy and sense of family that develops among officers. Captain Cárdenas also recounts his own path, from seminarian to law enforcement officer, married father of three sons, boxing coach, and writer.
tav00036 (16 May 2009)
Interview with Ms. Burnett Clay and Ms. Helen Philips
Burnett Clay is the grandmother and adoptive mother of Keith Bernard Clay, who was sentenced to death in 1997 for a 1994 robbery and murder in Houston, Harris County, Texas. Helen Phillips is Burnett Clay's sister. In Video 1, Ms. Clay and Ms. Phillips discuss Keith Clay's background; his life and ministry on Texas' Death Row; and his execution and funeral in 2003. They also discuss their relationship with Johnny Ray Johnson, another inmate and friend of Keith Clay's, to whom they ministered. In Video 2, Ms. Clay and Ms. Phillips describe growing up in their Church; their religious ministry; and their visits to Death Row. This interview took place on May 16, 2009 in Austin, Travis County, Texas.
tav00026 (1 May 2009)
Video 1 of Interview with Brother Richard Daly
Video 2 of Interview with Brother Richard Daly
Video 3 of Interview with Brother Richard Daly
Brother Richard Daly went to work for the Texas Catholic Conference, the legislative advocacy group representing Catholic bishops, in 1974. In Video 1, Brother Daly talks about his work against the death penalty and for prison reform, work largely inspired by Pauline and Charlie Sullivan who founded Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants (CURE). By the end of the 1970s, the Catholic bishops of Texas came out against the death penalty and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (now the National Conference of Bishops) publized a statement against the death penalty shortly thereafter. Brother Daly also describes his visits to Death Row, prison ministries, Father, and later Bishop, McCarthy, and the legislative positions of the Texas Catholic Conference. In Video 2, Brother Daly describes the organizing and activism by the United Farm Workers (UFW) and the Texas Farm Workers Union (TFWU), César Chávez, and human rights-oriented priests and bishops, most especially that of late Archbishop Patricio Flores of San Antonio. In Video 3, Brother Daly returns to a discussion about the death penalty; shares his admiration for the late Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago Joseph Bernadin; and discusses contradictions with the Catholic Church, including the Church's relationship to a variety of social justice issues. This interview took place on May 1, 2009 at St. Edward's University in Austin, Travis County, Texas.
tav00020 (11 August 2008)
Video 1 of Interview with Ms. Tina Duroy
Video 2 of Interview with Ms. Tina Duroy
Ms. Tina Duroy is the sister of James Blake Colburn, who was executed March 26, 2003 for the murder of Peggy Murphy nine years prior. In the second part of her interview, Ms. Duroy describes the effects of the execution and the process leading up to it on her immediate family members. She continues to reflect on how the larger community responded to James' situation, as well as societal stigmas surrounding mental illness and the relationship between Schizophrenia and Down Syndrome. She then discusses the execution itself, including her experiences at the Hospitality House and the funeral home. She concludes with her feelings about what must be done so that less people have an experience like James with mental illness and the criminal justice system.
tav00027 (21 May 2008)
Video 1 of Interview with Mr. Andrew Forsythe
Video 2 of Interview with Mr. Andrew Forsythe
Andrew Forsythe is a criminal defense lawyer in Austin, Travis County, Texas. In Video 1 and part of Video 2, Mr. Forsythe discusses his representation at trial of James Carl Lee Davis, who was convicted in the 1984 murders of Evet, Tyron, and Tom Johnson and executed on September 9, 1997. James Carl Lee Davis' mental illness was a significant issue for Mr. Forsythe. In the second part of Video 2, Mr. Forsythe discusses his representation at trial of Kenneth McDuff for the 1991 murder of Colleen Reed. This McDuff trial took place in Seguin, Guadalupe County, on a change of venue from Travis County. The Guadalupe County convicted McDuff and sentenced him to death, but when the State of Texas actually executed McDuff, it was carrying out the orders of a Harris County jury for McDuff's 1992 abduction and murder of Melissa Ann Northrup in Waco, McLennan County. Mr. Forsythe worked with Mr. Christopher Gunter, whose interview is also available, in both trials.
tav00023 (27 August 2009)
Video 1 of Interview with Ms. Lee Greenwood
Video 2 of Interview with Ms. Lee Greenwood
Lee Greenwood is the mother of Joseph Nichols, who was executed on March 7th, 2007, for the murder of a store employee, Claude Shaffer on October 13th, 1980.She begins with their life together and his activities when he was growing up, and her surprise upon hearing of his conviction. She then reflects on how she feels his trial was “grossly mishandled” and how he was found guilty under the “law of parties,” although the punishment phase ended as a mistrial. She speaks about her regrets, what she would have done had she known certain laws, and then goes on to describe what she witnessed throughout his trials, and how she felt they were unfair. She then talks about Joseph’s attitudes in jail, how he continued to be kind and giving while on Death Row, and what she learned from the letters he sent, including Joseph’s relationship with Kenneth Foster and pen pals in Europe. Greenwood shifts to the night of the incident and describes her interaction with her son that night. Continuing with the trial, we hear about Nichols’ family’s reactions to the court proceedings, a detailed account of those proceedings, and the mistakes she felt were made. She concludes with a description of his execution day.
tav00007 (04 June 2008)
Interview with Mr. Leon Grizzard
A lawyer since 1978, Mr. Leon Grizzard has spent most of his professional career as a criminal defense attorney in Austin, Travis County. In this interview, Mr. Grizzard recalls three capital murder trials. John ("Jackie") Elliott was convicted of the 1986 capital murder of Joyce Munguia and executed in 2003. David Madrigal was convicted in the 1991 capital murder of Department of Public Safety (DPS) Trooper Carlos Ray Warren and sentenced to life imprisonment. Paul Vallejo was acquitted of a 1990 capital murder charge in the killing of cab driver Eleazar Hinojosa, after Austin Police Department investigator Brett McDonald expressed doubts about Mr. Vallejo's guilt. Two months after this interview, a jury convicted another man for murders originally attributed to Paul Vallejo. This interview took place in Austin, Travis County, Texas on June 4, 2008.
tav00008 (25 July 2008)
Interview with Mr. Christopher Gunter
Video 1 of Interview with Mr. Ray Hill
Video 2 of Interview with Mr.Ray Hill
Video 3 of Interview with Mr.Ray Hill
Mr. Christopher M. Gunter has practiced criminal law in Travis County since 1980. As an Assistant District Attorney, he prosecuted Leroy Barrow and obtained a death sentence for the capital murder of Lynn Sternberg. Mr. Barrow’s case was reversed and retried by different prosecutors who obtained a conviction and life sentence. As a defense attorney, Gunter represented two defendants in capital murder trials: James Carl Lee Davis, who was seriously mentally ill, and the notorious Kenneth McDuff. Both defendants were convicted of capital murder and executed, although McDuff was actually executed for a different capital murder conviction. In addition to describing these trials, Mr. Gunter describes his religious beliefs and evolution of his own views about the death penalty.
tav00029 (10 December 2009)
Video 1 of Interview with Ms. Donna Hogan
Video 2 of Interview with Ms. Donna Hogan
Donna Hogan is the mother of LeDuke Woodard, who was murdered in 2004 in Houston. As of July 2011, Woodard's murdered has not yet been identified. In Video 1, Donna Hogan describes how she and her husband learned of their son's death; the Houston Police Department investigation of her son's murder; her activities with Houston-based organizations Parents of Murdered Children and Unsolved Violent Crime Alert; her efforts to keep her son's memory alive; and the emotional and psychological after-effects of the murder. In Video 2, Donna Hogan describes her opposition to the death penalty and her wish that her son's killer be apprehended. She provides additional information about her son's murder and describes the similarities and differences between the Parents of Murdered Children and the Unsolved Violent Crime Alert. Hogan compares the grief she felt at the death of her husband from cancer to that caused by the sudden killing of her son. Hogan tells of her efforts to remain connected with her son's children and advises people who lose loved ones to homicide to make sure to they find strong support systems, including support groups and counseling as necessary. This interview took place in Houston, Harris County, Texas on December 10, 2009.
tav00010 (07 August 2008)
Interview with Mr. John Holbrook
Then-private investigator John Holbrook worked with the defense team for James Lee Clark, Jr., charged with the 1993 rape and murder of 17-year old Shari Catherine "Cari" Crews near Denton, Texas. (Clark was ultimately convicted, sentenced to death, and executed in 2007 for these crimes.) After his investigation, Holbrook suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. He attributes subsequent projects – photographing homeless people and Death Row inmates – to emotional and spiritual changes initiated by his role in this case. In this interview, he describes these events and processes as well as his visit to the Polunsky Unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in order to photograph condemned male prisoners. He also reads aloud a letter from the Public information Office of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice banning him from interaction with condemned inmates. This interview took place on August 7, 2008 in Benbrook, Tarrant County, Texas.
tav00030 (30 July 2008)
Video 1 of Interview with Father Joe Lawless
Video 2 of Interview with Father Joe Lawless
Father Joe Lawless has spent most of his professional career as a Catholic priest. In Video 1, Father Lawless recalls serving in the United States military during WWII, including fighting in Dachau, Germany. He also discusses his life after WWII, including his enrollment at the University of Georgia, and his introduction to Catholic teachings at the Blessed Pope John XXIII National Seminary in Massachusetts. Father Lawless then speaks about his responsibilities as a Catholic priest serving in different communities around the United States, including Compton, California, New Braunfels, Texas and Corpus Christi, Texas. At the end of Video 1 and in Video 2, Father Lawless discusses his work within the jail ministry and reflects on what he considers the repression of truth within various sectors of society. This interview took place on July 30, 2008 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Corpus Christi, Nueces County, Texas.
tav00011 (24 Febuary 2009)
Video 1 of Interview with Mr. James Lohman
Video 2 of Interview with Mr. James Lohman
Video 3 of Interview with Mr. James Lohman
James Lohman is an attorney who has represented clients sentenced to death in Texas, Florida, Louisiana, and Arkansas. In part one he explains how he got involved in capital defense work in Florida after his childhood in New York and talks about some of his specific cases, highlighting problems he sees in the entire death penalty system. In part two he describes in detail several more cases he has worked on in Florida and Texas, including Ted Bundy and Jesse Tafero.
tav00031 (25 August 2008)
Interview with Major Darren Long
Major Darren Long is part of the Command Staff of the Travis County Sheriff’s Office. He was a friend and colleague of Deputy Keith George Ruíz. Deputy Ruíz died early on the morning of February 15, 2001, when, as part of a SWAT team, he attempted to serve a narcotics warrant and the person sought shot through the door of the house, hitting Deputy Ruíz. In this interview, Major Long describes his background, his friendship with Keith Ruíz, the night of the shooting, and the resulting criminal investigation, trial, and sentence. Major Long also shares his own reactions and that of his colleagues both to Deputy Ruíz’s death and to the decision of the District Attorney not to seek the death penalty for this capital crime. Major Long also explains the origin of SWAT teams and the process with which law enforcement agencies decide when to deploy SWAT teams. See also the interviews of Captain Arthur Cárdenas and Deputy Roger Wade.
tav00012 (25 June 2008)
Video 1 of Interview with Ms. Iliana López
Video 2 of Interview with Ms. Iliana López
Iliana López was a high school student in 1996, when she and some friends went to a usual hangout, the North Star Mall in San Antonio. There they met a young man and began talking with him. One of Ms. Lopez's friends, Brandon Shanks, went home with that man and was murdered. In this interview, Ms. López remembers the events leading up to the tragedy, finding out about Brandon's murder, her anger about the defense team's questioning of Brandon's sexual orientation, and the effects of Brandon's murder among his peers.
tav00024 (20 June 2009)
Video 1 of Interview with Ms. Ruth Marin-Eason
Video 2 of Interview with Ms. Ruth Marin-Eason
Video 3 of Interview with Ms. Ruth Marin-Eason
Ruth Marín-Eason of Spring, Texas is the mother of Raul Marín, who was murdered on August 5th, 1998 in San Antonio. In the first part of the interview, she talks about her family and memories of her Raul, his time in Air Force and playing tennis, and the period right before his murder. She continues by explaining her continuing distrust of Dianna Boatman, Raul’s wife at the time, and her experiences attending trials of Boatman and Arnolfo Díaz-Ayala in San Antonio for the murder of Raul. She expresses her frustration with the court system’s preference for spouses over parents and her fight with Boatman over custody for Raul’s children. She describes her pain over the murder, her belief in Boatman’s responsibility, and the reasons for her support for the death penalty. She also explains her belief that the court system does not adequately address victims’ needs.
tav00039 McMurrey, Mr. Sean (15 November 2009)
This video is being processed and is not yet available to view on the HRDI website.
In 2009, Sean McMurrey was a juror in the trial of Albert Segura. The Travis County jury convicted Segura of capital murder and sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole. In Video 1, McMurrey explains the process by which he was selected for the jury; shares what he learned about Segura thoughout the trial; and discusses the bonds that formed between jurors. In Video 2, he narrates the story of the murder and the issues and tensions the jurors faced as they deliberated over guilt and punishment, including the definition of "reasonable doubt." In Video 3, he reflects on the overall lessons and the lingering psychological effects of the experience; and offers advice to prospective jurors. This interview took place in Austin, Travis County, Texas on November 15, 2009.
tav00018 (10 January 2009)
Video 1 of Interview with Ms. Carolyn Mosley Samuel
Video 2 of Interview with Ms. Carolyn Mosley Samuel
Video 3 of Interview with Ms. Carolyn Mosley Samuel
Carolyn Mosley Samuel is the mother of Ortralla LuWone Mosley, who was fifteen years old on March 28, 2003, when she was stabbed to death at Reagan High School (Austin) by her sixteen-year old ex-boyfriend. In Video 1, Ms. Mosley describes the history of abuse in her family, her struggle to interrupt those patterns as a parent, and the circumstances leading up to the death of her daughter. In Video 2, Mosley discusses the aftermath to the murder in the high school, in the courts, and in her decisions to start a foundation to prevent teen dating violence and to become a correctional officer. In Video 3, Mosley describes reconciling with her mother before her mother’s death.
tav00033 (2009 November 18)
Video 1 of Interview with Dr. William Petty
Video 2 of Interview with Dr. William Petty
Video 3 of Interview with Dr. William Petty
At the time of this interview in November 2009, Dr. William Petty was head of Victims Services at the Austin Police Department in Austin, Texas. In Video 1 of this interview, Dr. Petty describes how he came to work in Victims Services and the difference between what counselors can do during a crisis or tragedy as opposed to months or years after the fact. They can offer resources and also -- more importantly -- what Dr. Petty calls "a ministry of presence." Dr. Petty also talks being a Black man working for an institution that he, and many other Black people, have had strong reasons to distrust and stay away from. He discusses, as well, self care and changes that have taken place in policing and victims services. Video 2 includes a discussion of what happened among people who found themselves at the Austin Convention Center after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In Video 3, Dr. Petty talks both about being an advocate for victims for marginalized people as well the pressures on police officers, chief among these being attitudes of the public and accusations of misconduct, and the stigma associated with seeking help.
tav00035 Renaud, Mr. Jorge Antonio (2010 January 8)
This video is currently being processed and is not yet available for viewing on the HRDI website.
Mr. Renaud is an activist, poet, and the author of Behind the Walls: A Guide for Families and Friends of Texas Prison Inmates," based on his time spent in prison. In part one of his interview he discusses the life experiences that led him to prison, his time in prison, and the unique culture that develops within prisons. He also explains how he gained experience writing in prison and getting an education while incarcerated. In part two, he continues his story, highlighting particularly the effects of Ruiz v. Estelle, a landmark Supreme Court case on prison conditions, in 1980. In part three, he reads some of his poetry and discusses his writing career.
tav00037 (7 February 2011)
Interview with Ms. Katherine Scardino
Interview with Ms. Katherine Scardino, Part 2
Katherine Scardino, a criminal defense attorney in Houston, Texas, has defended roughly forty clients charged with capital crimes. She was appointed to represent Anthony Graves in 2006, before prosecutors dropped all charges against him and he was exonerated in 2010. In Video 1, Ms. Scardino discusses her background and journey to becoming a lawyer; Anthony Graves' case, her general feelings about the death penalty system in Texas and her place within it; and her strategies for jury selection. In Video 2, she continues to discuss jury selection; and then goes on to share her thoughts on cross-examination; on interacting with her clients; and on assembling a team to work on the various facets of a capital case. She concludes with a brief discussion of mental illness and working with mentally ill defendants, as well as the emotional impact of the work in general. This interview took place on January 5, 2011 in Houston, Harris County, Texas.
tav00017 (24 July 2008)
Interview with Deputy Roger Wade
Mr. Roger Wade is Public Information Officer (P.I.O.), for the Travis County Sheriff's Office. He was a friend of Deputy Sheriff Keith George Ruíz, an officer who died in the line of duty on February 15, 2001, while part of a SWAT team attempting to serve a narcotics warrant at a residence in Del Valle. In this interview, Roger Wade explains how he came to work for the Sheriff's Office, his work as P.I.O., and in particular his actions and feelings as on the night of Deputy Ruíz’s death. In this interview, Mr. Wade also thinks out loud about his reaction -- at the time of trial and years later -- to the Travis County District Attorney's decision not to seek the death sentence in the shooting of Keith Ruíz, even though murder of a law enforcement official is a capital crime in Texas. Mr. Wade also describes Deputy Ruíz's personal qualities, the danger of law enforcement work, and the effects of Deputy Ruíz's death on his coworkers in the Sheriff’s Department.

Public Actor Interviews, 2008-2010

tav00001 (28 September 2008)
Video 1 of Interview with Mr. David Atwood
Video 2 of Interview with Mr. David Atwood
Video 3 of Interview with Mr. David Atwood
David Atwood is an anti-death penalty activist. In Video 1, Mr. Atwood describes his involvement with the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, and his relationships with since-executed Death Row inmates including Richard Jones, Ronald Allridge, James Allridge, Antony Fuentes, Dominique Green or their families, as well as the family of murder victim Andrew Lastrapes. In Videos 2 and 3, Mr. Atwood describes an execution and outlines numerous problems with capital punishment. In Video 3, Mr. Atwood ascribes the relative silence of the contemporary Catholic Church about the death penalty to generational change: a generation of men who focus narrowly on abortion have replaced Vatican II-era clergy who cared about social justice in broad terms.
tav00001 Becker, Mr. Douglas (undated)
This video is currently being processed and is not yet available for viewing on the HRDI website.
Mr. Douglas Becker is an attorney in Austin who worked in the Attorney General's office in the early 1980's and argued multiple cases before the Fifth Circuit of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. In the first and second parts of his interview, he discusses the murder of his cousin, Jerry Walker, a Deputy Sheriff in Bexar County. He describes his career in the Court of Criminal Appeals and the Attorney General's office, including arguing Barefoot v. Estelle and Adams v. Texas, working during the first modern execution in Texas (of Charlie Brooks), and working with Attorney General Jim Mattox before going into private practice. In the second and third parts of his interview, he explains his role in the landmark prison reform case Ruiz v. Estelle, which he argued before the Fifth Circuit and for which he worked extensively with prison officials on issues such as the use of force, medical care, and overcrowding.
tav00005 (28 June 2008)
Video 1 of Interview with Mr. Larry Daves
Video 2 of Interview with Mr. Larry Daves
Video 3 of Interview with Mr. Larry Daves
Video 4 of Interview with Mr. Larry Daves
In Video 1, Larry Daves describes how he and small group of recent University of Texas Law School students first went to Nacogdoches in the early 1970s to assist voter registration efforts in Black communities; the virulent anti-Black racism and poor material conditions the students observed in East Texas; how they started a legal services office; effects of single-member districting; and his first criminal trial. He also describes his current work with the Piñon Canyon Expansion Opposition Coalition as it resists U.S. Army plans to turn much of Southeastern Colorado into a training area for a ground war against China. In Video 2 and the first part of Video 3 he recounts the capital murder trial of Herman and Thurman Davis. In Video 3, Mr. Daves describes his successful representation of undocumented immigrant children barred by Texas statute from attending public school, a case that he filed in federal court under Judge William Wayne Justice, and that ultimately reached the U.S. Supreme Court as Plyler v. Doe. Video 3 also describes Daves' unsuccessful representation of Mexican American women workers who lost their jobs and organized as Fuerza Unida when Levi's closed its San Antonio plant. Video 4 concerns Daves' upbringing in New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle, including high school in Amarillo, his family's early encounters with law enforcement and juvenile incarceration, and finding his way to Washington University and then U.T. Law School.
tav00041 Eads, Mr. A (undated)
This video is currently being processed and is not yet available for viewing on the HRDI website.
Arthur "Cappy" Eads was the former District Attorney in Belton, Texas, for over 30 years. In video 1, Eads describes the changes to the criminal justice system over the years and factors which influenced his professional career as a D.A.. He discusses his involvement in the establishment of the 'victim's rights movement', and the personal emotional toll death penalty cases had on him throughout his career. At the end of video 1, Eads explains his involvement in introducing hypothetical questioning into criminal cases when working on the Barefoot trail. In Video 2, Eads reflects on his time as the President of the National District Attorneys Association and how the experience of such a high profile position changed his life and the rest of his career. Eads also discusses the differences between the experience of rural and metropolitan D.A.s; the process involved in jury selection; and the factors that lead him to retire. In video 3, Eads shares some thoughts about his relationship with local law enforcement while being D.A., and why conflict would sometimes occur professionally.
tav00006 (02 October 2008)
Video 1 of Interview with Mr. Vic Feazell
Video 2 of Interview with Mr. Vic Feazell
Vic Feazell was the District Attorney for McLennan County for two terms. In Video 1, Mr. Feazell speaks about his capital murder prosecutions of David Wayne Spence and Muneer Deeb, Clifton Belyeu, and Ed Graf. He also describes challenging the bogus confessions of self-proclaimed serial killer Henry Lee Lucas and the retaliation he endured as a result of his investigation. In Video 2, Mr. Feazell discusses Texans' attachment to capital punishment, describes his own Baptist upbringing, and explains his thought process as a prosecutor and defense attorney in voir dire (or jury selection). Vic Feazell closes his interview by recommending that people forgive those who have caused them pain.
tav00009 (28 January 2009 and 4 Febuary 2009)
Video 1 of Interview with Mr. Steve Hall
Video 2 of Interview with Mr. Steve Hall
Video 3 of Interview with Mr. Steve Hall
Steve Hall is the director of StandDown Texas Project, which advocates “a moratorium on executions and a state-sponsored review of Texas’ application of the death penalty.” In Video 1, Mr. Hall describes the renewal of capital punishment in Texas, which he facilitated and witnessed in his capacity as Chief of Staff for Texas Attorney General Jim Mattox from 1983 to 1991. Texas executed thirty-six people during this period. Hall also draws on his experience, between 1993 and 1996, working for the Texas Resource Center, which represented Death Row inmates directly and also recruited pro bono lawyers, In Video 2, Hall continues to discuss major issues in death penalty jurisprudence and politics. In Video 3, Hall identifies signs that the death penalty may be disappearing.
tav00022 Harrington, Mr. James (2010 March 8, 2010 March 12)
This video is currently being processed and is not yet available for viewing on the HRDI website.
tav00032 (28 October 2008)
Video 1 of Interview with Professor Dennis Longmire
Video 2 of Interview with Professor Dennis Longmire
Video 3 of Interview with Professor Dennis Longmire
Video 4 of Interview with Professor Dennis Longmire
Video 5 of Interview with Professor Dennis Longmire
Video 6 of Interview with Professor Dennis Longmire
Dennis Longmire is a professor of sociology at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas who conduct a silent, personal prayer vigil outside of "The Walls" Unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (T.D.C.J.) during most executions. In the first part of his interview, he talks about his background and how he came to live in Huntsville. He continues to explain how he became interested in the Death Penalty as a topic of both research and activism, as well as his first vigil. He continues with a rich and detailed account of the execution of Eric Nenno, who he came to know as he served as an expert witness in Nenno's trial. He then meditates on the wider communal effects of the death penalty and how it affects the family of the executed and the family of the murdered, including revenge, forgiveness, anger, and mediation. He also talks at length about T.D.C.J. procedures on the day of an execution.
tav00013 (28 June 2008)
Video 1 of Interview with Bishop Leroy Matthiessen
At the time of this interview in 2008, Bishop Leroy Theodore Matthiesen (1921 - 2010) was the Bishop Emeritus of Amarillo. In this interview he discusses the moral and religious beliefs that created the most controversy during his tenure as bishop: his encouragement of Pantex employees to leave their work of assembling nuclear weapons; ministry to gay and lesbian Catholics; his advocacy for Johnny Frank Garrett, who was executed for rape and murder of the Sister Tadea Benz; and organic farming in Texas. The bishop also describes his life growing up on a Texas cotton farm in the 1920s, his inspiration to become a priest, and life in the seminary. He talks about the demographic changes he witnessed in his time as priest and bishop in Amarillo as first Mexicans and then Vietnamese migrated to the Texas Panhandle. Finally, he describes his spiritual and intellectual influences, most notably Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador, who was assassinated in 1980.
tav00042 McCammon, Ms. Debra (25 July 2011)
This video is currently being processed and is not yet available for viewing on the HRDI website.
Debra McCammon is the executive director of Hospitality House, a nonprofit ministry of the Texas Baptist Prisoner Family Foundation, providing complimentary temporary lodging, food, and spiritual counsel and witness for visiting families, friends and other guests of those incarcerated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (T.D.C.J.) in the Huntsville area. Ms. McCammon has been affiliated with the House since 1989, first as a volunteer and then as a member of the board of directors from 2001 to 2009, before becoming executive director in November 2009. In Video 1, Ms. McCammon describes the origins of Hospitality House, its history since its construction in 1986 and the participation of her church in its construction; her role as volunteer and board member; the duties and challenges she has faced as executive director; the procedures for running the House on a typical day; the role of the House on days of scheduled executions; and her experiences with and memories of staff, volunteers and guests of the House. In Video 2, Ms. McCammon elaborates on the origins of House, its relationship with local Chaplains; its relationship to T.D.C.J.; her vision of the importance of the House as a source of comfort and refuge for the families of prisoners and her efforts to raise awareness of the mission of the House and the needs of families. Ms. McCammon then gives a tour of the House, describing various items, including artwork by inmates and gifts from guests, and noting each room's history, function and significance. Throughout Video 2, Ms. McCammon continues to share anecdotes and stories of her experiences working at the House and her commitment to her spiritual mission. In Video 3, Ms. McCammon concludes her tour of the House, and shares her appreciation for all the volunteers that help shape and sustain the Hospitality House. This interview took place on July 25, 2011 at the Hospitality House in Huntsville, Walker County, Texas.
tav00034 Millsap, Mr. Sam (2010 April 02, 2010 September 20)
This video is currently in process and is not yet available on the HRDI website.
Mr. Sam Millsap is a former Bexar County District Attorney who is now in private civil practice in San Antonio. In this interview, he describes his background, education, work in state politics, and decision to run for office. Describing his tenure as D.A., he describes his work on to discover, chargee, prosecute, and in aid in the prosecution by other counties of Genene Jones. He also explains that he had no doubt about the guilt of Rubén Cantú, who was executed on August 24, 1993 for a crime he did not commit. Mr. Millsap explains that his recognition of Mr. Cantú's innocence of the crime for which he was executed has caused him to oppose the death penalty, and in fact to campaign for its abolition.
tav00014 (08 October 2008)
Video 1 of Interview with Mr. Alan Pogue
Video 2 of Interview with Mr. Alan Pogue
Video 3 of Interview with Mr. Alan Pogue
Video 4 of Interview with Mr. Alan Pogue
Video 5 of Interview with Mr. Alan Pogue
Video 6 of Interview with Mr. Alan Pogue
Video 7 of Interview with Mr. Alan Pogue
Alan Pogue is a photographer who has documented movements for social justice and the problems those movements seek to eliminate for four decades. In Video 1, Mr. Pogue explains his entry into the Texas prison reform movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s via civil rights, anti-war, and student organizing. A member of the Austin Prison Coalition, he also soon met Pauline and Charlie Sullivan, founders of Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants (CURE), who began the organization by chartering a bus to take people from San Antonio with no other means of transportation to Huntsville so they could visit incarcerated family members. Pogue's commitment to prison reform paralleled his growth as a documentary photographer; in Video 1 he describes photographing prisons in connection with Ruíz v. Estelle, the longest-running prison lawsuit in U.S. history. Videos 1 and 2 concern specific people on Death Row; in Video 3 Pogue also discusses the philosophy of incarceration and capital punishment as a form of human sacrifice. Video 3 addresses conditions on Death Row, access to prisons, prison reform and anti-death penalty movements, and the theological doctrine of predestination in relation to criminal justice policy. Video 4 is about Viet Nam and Pogue's personal intellectual growth; Video 5 is a about documentary photographer Russell Lee and the purpose, politics, and aesthetics of photography. In Videos 6 and 7 Pogue shares what he saw in numerous Latin American countries when he traveled on behalf of CURE, which produced a 2006 evaluation of prisons in member nations of the Organization of American States (OAS).
tav00015 (19 June 2009)
Video 1 of Interview with Ms. Gloria Rubac
Video 2 of Interview with Ms. Gloria Rubac
Gloria Rubac, writer and teacher, has been a committed prison activist since approximately 1971, when she participated in a protest in Huntsville against the prison rodeo. (The prison rodeo, held annually between 1931 and 1986, provided entertainment for crowds and raised funds for the Texas Department of Corrections.) Rubac, with other members of the Prisoners Solidarity Committee, supported David Ruíz and other incarcerated people as they challenged Texas prison conditions in Ruíz v. Estelle, a class action and the longest-running prison lawsuit in U.S. history. Rubac's opposition to the death penalty grew out of her commitment to prisoners' rights; she began to actively work against capital punishment with the December 7, 1982 of Charlie Brooks. Over the last twenty-seven years, Rubac has befriended and advocated for numerous individual Death Row inmates as she has also worked for abolition of the practice entirely. In this interview, she remembers her close friend Carlos Santana, whose execution she witnessed on Mary 23, 1993, and whom she promised that she would continue working against the death penalty. Gloria Rubac also discusses Death Row inmates and friends Clarence Brandley and Ricardo Aldape Guerra (both of whom were ultimately released); Karla Faye Tucker (executed February 3, 1998); Shaka Sankofa (Gary Graham, executed June 22, 2000); Frances Elaine Newton (executed September 14, 2005); Joseph Nichols (executed March 7, 2007); Michael Riley (May 19, 2009); and others. In this interview, Gloria Rubac makes clear that Texas movements to abolish the death penalty, while taking numerous forms and employing diverse strategies and rhetoric, have continued unabated for three decades.
tav00016 Van Steenburg, Mr. Bob (06 November 2008)
This video is currently being processed and is not yet available for viewing on the HRDI website.
Bob Van Steenburg is the Vice President of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (TCADP). In this interview, he explains that through the prison ministry that he and his wife, Jean Van Steenburg, have taken part in since the late 1970s led him to learn about the death penalty and that his views on inmates and the death penalty are rooted in his Catholic faith. He also talks about his involvement with TCADP from his arrival in Texas in 2002, the purposes of TCADP, current TCADP activities, and reasons to be against the death penalty.