Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

T. Cullen Davis: The Best Justice Money Can Buy

Murder at Mockingbird Lane

 

The records show that there wasn’t much of a moon that early August night in 1976, but it was bright enough to distinguish shapes from the shadows in the yard of the $6 million, 20-room ultramodern mansion in the 4000 block of Mockingbird Lane on Fort Worth’s upscale southwest side.

Davis' mansion on Mockingbird Lane
Davis' mansion on Mockingbird Lane (Corbis)
  
It had been a rainy summer, which kept the nighttime temperatures down somewhat, so people tended to stay out later to take advantage of the break from the usual 100-degree days that mark the Texas summer.

On the last night of her short life, Andrea Wilborn was home alone on the 180-acre estate. Her mother, Priscilla Davis, and her mom’s boyfriend, former Texas Christian University basketball star Stan Farr, had gone out for a late dinner to celebrate the conclusion of a rancorous court hearing in the front-page divorce proceeding of Davis and her millionaire husband, T. Cullen Davis.

Andrea Wilborn, victim
Andrea Wilborn, victim

What the final moments of life were like for the tall, quiet preteen who was remembered as a fervent animal lover, no one really knows, except that she died a cruel and violent death in the basement of her family’s mansion. She had either been dragged to the wine cellar of the house by force or gone willingly with someone she probably knew. When she got there, the killer had her kneel on the floor of the cellar and shot her in the back of the head, execution-style. The killer was undoubtedly splashed with some of Andrea’s blood, because a smeared, bloody handprint was found elsewhere in the house by police.

Detectives surmise that the killer didn’t expect to find Andrea at the house — she lived with her father elsewhere — and they doubt that she was the intended target. Like so many other murder victims, she happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The gunman was likely after her mother, a flamboyant and gregarious woman who reveled in her wealth and flaunted it openly.

Kitchen, blood, screen door, crime scene
Kitchen, blood, screen door,
crime scene
  
After killing Andrea, the murderer lay in wait for Priscilla and Stan to return from their night on the town.

Priscilla noticed something amiss as soon as she and Stan came in. The mansion’s alarm system had been deactivated, and while this was troubling, it wasn’t out of the ordinary. Priscilla’s older daughter, Dee, was expected home that night and had probably forgotten to arm the alarm.

As Stan headed upstairs toward the master bedroom, Priscilla ducked into the kitchen, where a light burned. She noticed that another light on the stairway leading to the basement was also lit and started toward it to turn it off. Then she saw the bloody handprint on the wall, halfway up the stairwell.

Screaming for Stan, Priscilla turned toward the bedroom, but she was stopped by the gunman, who appeared from the first-floor laundry.

“Hi,” said the killer, and he pulled the trigger.

Stan Farr, victim
Stan Farr, victim

The shot hit Priscilla in the chest, a fact that would later be noted by many of the news reports as “between her silicone-enhanced breasts,” and the socialite fell to the ground.

“Stan! Run, it’s Cullen!” Priscilla remembers calling out, but it was too late for Farr to get away.

As Priscilla lay wounded, Stan Farr appeared and was immediately shot by the black-clothed gunman. The first shot hit him in the neck, but Farr, still very healthy from his basketball days, continued on and began struggling with the killer.

   

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