T. Cullen Davis: The Best Justice Money Can Buy
The truth wouldnt come out for nearly a quarter-century after Cullens trial when a participant on the defense team had a change of heart and went public with a claim that would have brought the trial to a crashing halt. The defense had a number of secret weapons, many of them bordering on unethical, that allowed the team to anticipate the states case and neutralize almost any prosecutorial strategy.
In 2001, Fort Worth Star-Telegram reporter Mike Cochran broke the story that Davis had a mole inside the prosecutors team.
Davis, while in jail, funneled thousands of dollars to a chief investigator in the district attorneys office for information about the prosecutions strategy, wrote Cochran, who covered the story for the Associated Press and later the Star-Telegram since the day Cullen was arrested. The investigators code name was Eyes and he brings a new and even darker element of intrigue to the marathon legal drama.
For his part, the investigator denied the accusation, although Davis did not deny the payoffs were made, Cochran reported.
The middleman, who came forward with the claim, was Ray Hudson, estranged father of Karen Master, the woman who served as Cullens alibi. He claims to have paid as much as $25,000 in cash to the prosecutors investigator Morris Howeth.
When Hudson came forward, the statute of limitations against him and Howeth had expired.
Haynes denied knowing anything about Eyes, although some of his defense team said they had heard of the code name, but had no interaction with the man. Hudson said he gave his reports directly to Cullen.
In addition to Eyes, the defense team hired a Fort Worth crime scene investigator who provided insight into how the police investigated the case. For his role, Sgt. B.J. Stevens was paid $2,440 for 122 hours of work. Stevens retired from the force in April 1977, before the trial started, but records indicated he did the work for the Davis team between February and April of that year.
There were additional strange, possibly mistrial-provoking efforts on the part of the Davis team.
There were a lot of interesting things happening, said Davis years later, calling the time a riot.
Prosecutor Jack Strickland, who tried the case, called some of it jury tampering.
Using Davis money, Ray Hudson commissioned an artist to attend the trial and sketch portraits of selected jurors. The $300 portraits were presented to family members during the trial, Hudson said. The claim was confirmed by some of the jurors.
At one point, prosecutors complained that Davis was talking to the family members during breaks in the trial and the judge admonished him to curb the behavior.
They would have done more than complain if they knew what one conversation was about, Hudson said.
She was thanking him for that lovely portrait of her daughter, he said.