I never planned to be Anthony Melendez’s friend. Ever. I had seen him once in Cleburne, Texas. I was walking by the motel room where Truman Simons had him and saw him sitting on the bed, eating pizza from some Mom and Pop Pizza joint there in greater Cleburne.
He didn’t look like much of a killer to me.
Of course, what did I know? What do I know now?
A month ago I received a manila envelope from Anthony Melendez who is in the prison hospital in Dickinson, Texas. The name of it is the Carole Young Medical Facility and it’s on Attwater Avenue. Tony sent me all the papers he had, the letters, mostly from me, a few turn downs from the Bureau of Pardons and Paroles, letters from his then lawyer, Walter Reaves, two from New York Times Best Selling author, Fredric Dannen, and a crumpled copied autographed picture of “Selena”.
I only cry now when I’m mad. I’m crying. Why didn’t God make me a man? THEN, they’d listen to me, Instead, I am reduced to “crazy” , ex wife, the former Mrs., inmate girlfriend, who knows what else, and basically nothing but a huge bother to the lawyers and some journalists involved in this case. They’re tired of me.
They know the case, sucks. They know it. It’s too long, it’s too complex. They’re too busy trying to make money and some living on the historical reputations of heroic proportions in this case. The “filler” time when they made their money advertising on the front pages of the local Telephone Books .
I failed my friend. It took me sixteen years to get Walter Reaves to run the DNA in Tony’s case. Reaves didn’t even have a sample of Tony’s DNA until March 2015.
Reaves unwittingly gave his power to Fredric Dannen, who became his “paralegal” in November of 2000.
Reaves and Dannen gathered fame as a team for the first time when they ran the DNA in the “Juanita White” case and Calvin Washington who had been convicted of the crime was set free. The case became the model for the Texas DNA law signed by Governor Rick Perry.
One would speculate that Reaves and Dannen started out the Lake Case with Dannen saying he’d do the investigating and they’d stay a team. Perfect for Reaves, who obviously, trusted Dannen to at some point “up” the evidence he had gathered.
I feel sure that Walter Reaves never thought that as of 2016 he would not be in possession of any of the tapes Fred Dannen has. Incredibly, it would seem Dannen kept the tapes which were “Exhibits” in the 2014 December CLEMENCY PETITION.
Tony Melendez has two letters from Fred Dannen he kept near him the past years.
One is from 1999 where Dannen gets Melendez to put him on his Visitors List as he is planning to write a book.
The second one is from March of 2000 where he tells Anthony Melendez that he is gifting him a subscription to ROLLING STONE.
He says, “Early in my career, I actually published an article in that magazine.”
Tony is your basic True Crime and Western kind of a guy.
Dannen says he’s scared to come back to Texas, frightened to death by Truman Simons and Vic Feazell.
So frightened he kept his evidence and the real story to himself for some “future” book, I guess, or playing HAMLET or some other character in local San Miguel De Allende, Mexico, little theater productions at the local Episcopal Church has drawn him in a different direction.
Somehow he will play the piano in a room where he is the youngest person there, and not feel as though he let Tony Melendez down.
Perhaps he soothes himself by thinking about that subscription to ROLLING STONE he got him back in 2000.
Walter Reaves. The totally frightened and incompetent. The consummate, “nice guy”.
“Ain’t he nice, he adopted two kids and his wife died, you know he took care of her for years”, that’s what they all say about him.
Fred Dannen hides and Walter Reaves’ incompetence is outweighed by “aint he nice”.
No one asks them the hard questions either.
Check out MURDERS AT THE LAKE by Michael Hall in 2014.
“Why the hell don’t you run the fk#($ DNA, Mr. Dannen”?
Never got asked. Never got answered.
The DNA was not run in this case until March 11, 2016. The only reason it got run is because a WOMAN at the Texas Forensics Commission, Lynn Garcia, just sort of bothered Reaves into it.
Reaves ran it but did not tell Tony what the results were. We did.
Well, Jan Thompson, aunt of Jill Montgomery did.
Reaves sent the lab results to Garcia and I received a copy, otherwise we would have never known as Reaves kept that a secret also. (Clemency Petition)
Jill Montgomery, described as a “fighter” by the Prosecutors, had self defense wounds from the knife and it is said there was something under her fingernails which they did clip and keep.
Anthony Melendez goes to his grave without this evidence being run.
State Bar, no help.
Senator Rodney Ellis, no help.
Innocence Project and all it’s Board Members, no help.
Don’t these people ever see one another at a Conference and say to
“Hey, please run that damned DNA in the Lake Case and get that FK#($ pain in the@(# off my back!”
Come on here. Don’t they?
Or do they, like the Forensic Dentists I heard taking up for themselves and their profession at the February Meeting of the Texas Forensics Commission whine and worry they will be eliminated as purveyors of “junk”, and they should party on at their LAS VEGAS meetings.
Pretty obvious the dentists loved going to their Las Vegas meeting.
As the tall dentist with the white hair rambled on about how “we care about children and must separate their bites from that of animals, we care about animals……” or some such.
I remembered Tony Soprano’s last scene with Dr. Melfi in the SOPRANOS, when it “clicks” in her head as she knows that a true sociopath talks about children and animals, she knows what he’s up to.
I knew what the dentists were up to also. Las Vegas.
These are the same fools that gave Homer Campbell who identified a woman from her dental remains as a “Melody Cutliff” from Florida, and after Melody’s funeral, turned out she was alive and returned home.
Now, in most professions this one large f%(*#$ up would do it, they’d retire him.
Nope. Not these guys, they gave him an award.
All the harm Homer Campbell did. The years people spent in jail because of him.
David Spence went to the death chamber on the mesmerizing testimony of Homer Campbell.
After Spence 1, Campbell identified Cutliff as dead, they used Campbell again in Spence 2.
They also used Campbell again in “Juanita White”.
County Commissioners complained about the money the County was spending on Homer Campbell and Photogrametrist, Jim Ebert, in this rash of bite murders that never happened before and to our knowledge never happened again.
To this day.
Thumbing their noses at the Commissioners, Feazell, Butler, Simons, and Pat Murphy went hunting with Homer Campbell in New Mexico.
No death pulled on the heart strings of Fredric Dannen or lit a fire under Walter Reaves either.
Not the death of Richard Franks. Nope. Dannen interviewed Franks several times before Franks refused to ever talk to him again.
Richard Franks went to his grave thinking he had somehow caused the Lake Murder. Him and then his son, Kenneth. In his mind Kenneth got the girls killed.
Richard Franks’ version of the LAKE WACO TRIPLE MURDER was that he, himself, got the kids killed.
Franks also knew Harper did it.
Franks went to see Truman Simons and told Simons about being confronted by Harper at the Heart of Texas Fair. At the last minute Franks did not go to David Spence’s execution, he knew. He also knew because Reverend Freuh told Franks the kids got into a black van, the same black van whose fibers were discovered after years and years by Fredric Dannen and the fibers are “favorable to Anthony Melendez”, and in Dannen’s control.
Leon Chaney. Dannen got all Leon Chaney’s files too. Chaney was Tony Melendez’s Investigator. Chaney knew the case was rotten. He, liked everyone else, waited for Dannen and Dannen’s book.
Dannen contacted me November 13, 1997.
He contacted Jan Thompson around that time also.
I had a door open when Calvin Washington’s case came apart and it was revealed that Bennie Carroll had done the crime.
When I asked Truman about it, and, yes, I did ask Truman about it right away.
His exact words were, “Aaah, hell, we always knew there were THREE people involved.”
I knew the bastards had written in an “out” for themselves.
In March of 2002 I found out that Truman Simons, a man I loved as a friend, and trusted as we all did had “Simonized” me. Through smoke and mirrors and a “strong silent type law enforcement cowboy Sheriff”, stereotype.
Well, I found out through Fredric Dannen that
Truman Simons had Gilbert’s truck shredded at Lipshitz on Elm Street.
Truman Simons had gotten Carlton Stowers to BUY that truck for him years ago from Gilbert’s mother by check and had it hauled to Simons’ Robinson home where it sat
by Simon’s bedroom window
for a long creepy time.
In March of 2002 Dannen played some audio tapes for me and another friend in Salado, Texas.
So much for Vic playing Jesus in the Mary Hardin Baylor Easter pageant.
I was overwhelmed.
There was no going back.
Tony Melendez, David Spence, Gilbert Melendez, and Muneer Deeb didn’t go to jail because of a book, but they stayed there because of a book.
CARELESS WHISPERS had a great effect on everyone including the members of all the Courts.
Edith Jones’ Opinion shows that.
Anthony Melendez will go to his grave waiting for his puppet masters, Reaves and Dannen holding on to information and evidence that could clear him for a book that never was.
Never can be, either. No one who spoke to him before will vouch for him in the future.
His lies to all of us are like Melody Cutliff to Homer Campbell.
In 2010, Senator Rodney Ellis set up a panel in the Legislature to take a look at “wrongful confessions”. If anyone was a coerced confession it was Tony Melendez’s. Even I had heard parts of that, yes, it’s on audio tape in the possession of Fredric Dannen, it is mentioned in the CLEMENCY PETITION which was given to the Bureauy of Pardons and Paroles in 2014.
Anthony Melendez’s coerced confessions were taped.
Fredric Dannen had the tapes.
I told Walter Reaves and Fredric Dannen that if they did not give those tapes to Senator Rodney Ellis, I would go to the press. I told them that I would harm them in every way I could as what they were doing was wrong.
I told them I didn’t care if I won or not, that, I above all people understand the ride.
Cindy Culp of the Waco Trib went to see Tony for me. I wanted to know if it was “ok” with him that they were not running the DNA and was he being taken care of by Reaves and Dannen? Commissary monies? Letters?
I had known Dannen since 1997, this was 2010. They had lied about taking care of Tony totally.
He had no clue who I was and I began to write him and ask him questions.
After a long deliberation, I talked to Jan Thompson and asked her if she would like to communicate with him and she did.
She had questions and lots of them.
I just wanted him to dump Reaves.
He said he would if I could find him another one.
Then came junk science, bite marks, Steven Mark Chaney, and another wait but Tony was on the way.
Then his mother died.
We didn’t hear from him a long time and finally I got a letter, midway through, it said,
“I want to die at home”
I have to remind myself because right now I am angry and I hate all lawyers, that Tony Melendez was happy and more hopeful than he had ever been.
Jay English, Personal Injury Attorney, from Dallas, Texas took a case for the sons of David Wayne Spence and after Jay visited Tony he couldn’t stop talking and writing about it.
Tony Melendez signed a client contract with Jay English before he died.
Walter Reaves had been his attorney for I believe 34 years.
Walter Reaves was the attorney for David Wayne Spence in Spence’s second trial in Bryan, Texas.
Jay English and my jpay letters to him recounting the Meetings of the Texas Forensics Commission, which are online. Who was who and what they thought.
He knew it would keep going even after he was gone.
Michael Hall of TEXAS MONTHLY sent Tony a copy of his article and Tony wrote me:
“I never knew how the murders happened, really, until I read Michael Hall’s story”
I never met Tony.
Part of me is angry that I never met him. Part of me is glad.
I never intended to get to know him, much less understand and like him.
I think I could have persuaded him to dump Reaves in person but I couldn’t do it in writing.
I never intended to know Anthony Melendez or any other inmate anywhere.
I am sure I was better off not knowing Anthony Melendez and certainly better off not knowing Truman Simons shredded Gilbert’s truck.