The ‘pistol-packing, jail-breaking expert’ Galveston couldn’t contain

A view down Broadway, sometime in the 1950s. (Photo courtesy of the Galveston and Texas History Center, Rosenberg Library, Galveston, Texas)

At about 10 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 28, 1952, two teens swaggered into Galli’s grocery store and tavern at 3228 M ½. Nicodemo Areanas San Miguel, 17, pulled a gun from the waistband […]

‘It’s not a natural mother’s act’

Percy Foreman announces he will defend Ann Williams, flanked by her mother and sister (right) and a family friend. (The Galveston Daily News)

Famous Houston attorney Percy Foreman held a news conference at the Galveston State Psychiatric Hospital on March 25, 1955, to announce he had agreed to defend Ann Williams in her upcoming […]

‘I bet you buried that woman’s kids’

Morris Johnson points to the site where he buried four packages of “spoiled venison” for Ann Williams, pictured right, shortly after she confessed to killing her two children. (The Galveston Daily News)

Morris Johnson didn’t think twice when Ann Williams drove her light tan car up to his garage in Algoa on Feb. 22, […]

Little girl’s brutal murder exposes need for elder care

Robert Wallace and the hammer he used to kill his granddaughter, Frances Jean Wallace. (Photo by Bill Johnson, The Galveston Daily News)

Nine-year-old Frances Jean Wallace sat happily sharpening her crayons, singing along to the radio, in her parents’ Texas City home on a warm afternoon in August 1955. Her grandfather was trying to […]

The 387-mile holiday pilgrimage that captured Galveston’s heart

Manuela Carreon stops on the causeway to have her picture taken before continuing her long journey from Galveston to San Juan, Texas. (The Galveston Daily News)

Alfonso Carreon Jr.’s 1957 murder trial didn’t make front-page headlines. But in the week after his acquittal, his mother became a media sensation, with Galveston Daily News readers […]

1950s Galveston: Easy on gamblers, tough on reporters

Henry Suydam, Life magazine Dallas bureau chief, and his lawyer. (The Galveston Daily News)

In the early morning hours of Friday, Aug. 5, 1955, two journalists working for Life magazine hid in the shadows outside the Turf Athletic Club, a well-known Galveston gambling den owned by Vic and Anthony Fertitta. They were working on […]

A clown costume makes the best disguise

The Galveston Daily News

What’s the best way to pull off a brazen robbery in broad daylight with plenty of witnesses? Wear a clown suit and a rubber mask.

On the morning of July 7, 1958, two men wearing rubber masks parked at the intersection of 33rd and Market streets. Shortly before 10 a.m., […]

She shot him because she loved him

Flickr/Ben Northern

On the evening of Sept. 27, 1950, Johnnie Louise Rogers had a couple of beers with a neighbor before going to the filling station where she worked, to get a gun. She put the .44-caliber Colt revolver in a paper bag and boarded a bus near her home on 83rd Street, heading […]

Ellis Lauhon postscript: Life after death

Ellis Lauhon’s story did not end with his sanity trial. Nor did it end with his commitment to an east Texas mental institution, despite promises to the contrary.

On May 23, 1956, the day after the jury handed down its verdict in Lauhon’s sanity trial, defense attorney Jean E. Hosey said the confessed killer of […]

Ruthless, heartless killer or incurable schizophrenic?

Sheriff’s deputies lead Ellis Lauhon from the 10th District Court after the jury delivers its verdict. (Bill Johnson/Galveston Daily News)

From the moment Ellis Euclid Lauhon’s sanity hearing began on Monday, May 14, 1956, witnesses painted for the jury a picture of a deeply troubled man who had suffered from severe mental illness all […]