Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Texas Eyeball Killer

Albright's Defense

During the trial, fully documented in the Dallas Morning News, plenty of people, including Dixie, spoke out on Albright's behalf, with Dixie giving her rendition of their broken-down car. Glenda Dunham, a newspaper delivery person, said that Albright was always on time to deliver papers with her, implying that he could not have taken the time required to pick up, kill, and mutilate a prostitute.

Defense attorney Brad Lollar suggested that SpeeDee, who had recently skipped town, had committed the murders. An empty box of .44-caliber ammunition had been found behind his home and several rare silver-tipped bullets were among the collection of trash inside — the same type of bullet that had killed two of the victims. (Yet none of the prostitutes who claimed to have known or seen Albright were familiar with SpeeDee.)

Microscopist and small-particles expert Samuel James Palenik was Lollar's answer to Charles Linch, although up until the trial, he'd actually agreed with Linch. Then he changed his mind. On December 12, he said that Linch's analysis of the hair fragments was sloppy and not conclusive enough to make the claims that Linch was making. The hair samples were too fragmentary, some that Linch claimed were human were actually animal, and the gray hairs had lacked pigment, which made them difficult to match. Yet under cross-examination, Palenik undermined his credibility when he said that if he'd had another week or two, his findings might have changed. He also re-examined the evidence and came back in agreement with Linch on several specimens. Another criminalist also agreed with Linch. It was up to the jury to decide.

After a day of deliberation, on December 18, they returned their verdict: Charles Albright was found guilty of Shirley Williams' murder. He received a sentence of five years to life, and his attorney promised to appeal. Lollar insisted that an innocent man had been convicted. Albright was sent to the Clements Unit of the Texas Department of Corrections in Amarillo.

 

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