Bloody triple murder in the Big Thicket

By Bartee Haile


Ten years into a 99- year prison sentence for murder, a trusty told the guards he was going fishing on Apr. 11, 1930 and vanished into thin air. In February 1915, a farmer and his son hunting in the Big Thicket, the impenetrable natural wonder that once covered portions of 11 southeast Texas counties, came upon a partially decomposed corpse in a shallow grave.

The coroner’s educated guess was that the man had been dead two weeks, but the bullet holes in the victim’s chest left no doubt as to the cause of death. The deceased was identified from his clothes and dental work as an oilfield worker named Richard Watts.


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