Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Texas Eyeball Killer

Evidentiary Issues

Mary Beth was in prison. She told the police that she knew Albright and she didn't much care for the memory. On December 13, the same night on which Mary Lou Pratt had been killed, Mary Beth had been standing outside a motel. Suddenly a man had grabbed her and put a knife to her throat, forcing her into a car and slapping her in the face. She'd tried to struggle, but had been unable to fight him. She remembered that he had driven her out to a field and thrown her onto a blanket there. He kept hitting her and punching her.

Then, she said, he'd opened a case and she'd seen that it held a collection of metal cylinders with sharp pointed blades attached to them. He'd reached for one and used it to cut open her blouse. He then discarded the blade and got another one to make another cut. At that point, she had passed out from fear, and when she came to, he was gone.

With this story, investigators believed they could find more, so they set about interviewing other prostitutes in the area. Tina, who had beautiful eyes, also had a story to tell. She said that she'd once dated Albright. For the most part, he'd been polite and good to her until the last time they'd gone out. They'd been in his truck and he'd treated her quite a bit rougher than usual. She'd run from him then, and had seen him again on the night that Shirley had died. Albright had driven by them, and Tina had gotten into another car, so she did not actually witness Albright pick Shirley up, but when she got back, Shirley was gone. She showed the police the field where Albright had often taken her, and a search turned up an old blue blanket, some condoms, and a crumpled yellow raincoat like the one that Shirley had been wearing the night she'd disappeared. It had blood on it. That was a significant find.

This was just more circumstantial evidence, to be sure, but the more the better. Especially when it was this specific. How many people wore these yellow slickers?

In addition, Willie Upshaw, to whom Albright had written a number of checks, and who was serving time for the illegal possession of a firearm, said that Albright had another .44-caliber weapon that the police had not found. They discovered that he'd purchased it in his father's name. Unless they found the weapon, they could prove nothing, but its absence was suggestive. Upshaw had also been with Albright on the day in March when his car had broken down, and it was his contention that Albright did have a car the night Shirley was killed. (In addition, the police search had turned up several stolen cars, so Albright could easily have used one of those.)

There was a sufficient amount of information and evidence to move forward toward a grand jury hearing.


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