Seaman’s 1984 murder nearly sparks Israeli invasion of Galveston

The front page of The Galveston Daily News declares a verdict in the Kedem murder case.

Eliyahu Kedem left the cargo ship docked at Galveston’s Pier 41 on June 20, 1984, and walked into town to buy gifts for his wife and two children. Despite the heat, the 41-year-old Israeli seaman refused to spend […]

Two stolen T-shirts almost cost a Galveston police officer his life

An aerial photo of the seawall taken in 1977. (Photo courtesy of the Galveston and Texas History Center, Rosenberg Library, Galveston, Texas)

As dark settled in over the island on Jan. 21, 1982, Galveston police dispatch sent Officer Oscar Haynes to investigate a shoplifting report at Angelo’s Gift Shop at 31st Street and Seawall […]

Seawall attacker guts victim ‘like a fish’ in 1970 murder

A postcard from 1975 showing riprap in front of the seawall. (Photo courtesy of the Galveston and Texas History Center, Rosenberg Library, Galveston, Texas)

After spending a fun night out, best friends Judy Mills, 21, and Susan Perry, 20, walked home together down the seawall at about 1 a.m. on Oct. 31, 1970. When […]

Buried alive on the Bolivar Peninsula

A Galveston beach scene from 1981. (Photo courtesy of the Galveston and Texas History Center, Rosenberg Library, Galveston, Texas)

Suzanne Clydene Knuth trudged home alone in the dark on April 4, 1980, after her car died in a Beaumont shopping center parking lot. The 23-year-old Lamar University student didn’t have far to walk, and […]

Texas City love triangle shattered in 1960s shootout

Charlene Lewis (The Galveston Daily News)

Love can drive a man to distraction. But can it make him a murderer?

Richard Villareal’s attorneys insisted it could. He was a man whose life was wrapped up in a woman, entangled in a web he could not escape. His lawyers painted the picture of a pitiable […]

Attempt to rescue dog costs Galveston jeweler his life

This postcard from the early 1970s shows Central Plaza on Postoffice. When it was opened in 1970, it was hailed as the first such pedestrian-only shopping area in Texas. (Photo courtesy of the Galveston and Texas History Center, Rosenberg Library, Galveston, Texas)

At about 5:30 p.m. on June 28, 1973, Galveston police dispatch got […]

Galveston’s most compassionate jury

Texas City police investigate the scene of a double murder near the intersection of Loop 197 and Hwy. 3 in 1971. (The Galveston Daily News)

Most jurors believe they’ve done their duty if they carefully consider the evidence and render a just verdict. But the men and women called to decide Fred Andrew Propst’s […]

The body in the Fort San Jacinto bunker

Battery Croghan, Fort San Jacinto, Galveston, Texas (Creative Commons/Flickr/Patrick Feller)

Several hours after the hot sun melted into the horizon on Aug. 21, 1960, three 13-year-old boys ran along a narrow strip of sand on Galveston’s far East End. They were supposed to be fishing, but a torrential summer downpour drove them toward a […]

The crime Galveston refused to forgive

Leo Lera (The Galveston Daily News)

Leo Lera’s second murder trial began 14 months after he shot Harry Phillips over a stool at Deppen’s bar early on Dec. 25, 1938. Perhaps confident of a acquittal the first time, Lera offered the only testimony in his own defense. The strategy backfired when the jury voted […]

Leo Lera: The scapegoat for ‘The Free State of Galveston’

Mike Calandra, left, and Leo Lera look through the bars of their Galveston County Jail cell shortly after their arrest. (The Galveston Daily News)

Galvestonians have always taken pride in their tolerance, especially during the years when they called their home “The Free State of Galveston.” For decades, the island’s well-known underworld dons flouted […]