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Published:March 28th, 2014 14:18 EST
An Article in Texas Monthly on The Lake Waco Murders (July 1982) Turns Me Upside Down!

An Article in Texas Monthly on The Lake Waco Murders (July 1982) Turns Me Upside Down!

By John G. Kays

"I want you to understand I speak the truth when I say I didn`t kill your kids. Honestly, I have not killed anyone. I wish you could get the rage from your hearts and you could see the truth and get rid of the hatred." David Spence`s last words before he was executed (April 3, 1997) quote taken from The Long, Dark Shadow of The Lake Waco Murders, by Michael Hall (Texas Monthly)

I first read Careless Whispers by Carlton Stowers in 1988; yesterday when I was doing some research at the Bee Cave Public Library, I picked up the newest issue of Texas Monthly (April, 2014) and began reading Michael Hall`s article The Long, Dark Shadow of The Lake Waco Murders, but only managed to get through the first couple of pages. A few hours later, with my curiosity up about where Mike was going with this very old, but famous case, I dropped by the Barnes and Nobles at the Galleria there, and purchased my own copy of the April Texas Monthly. The reason for this is, I knew I was going to read Mike`s piece a dozen times, maybe more, since I`ve been fascinated by the Lake Waco Murder case for around 25 years now!

Well, I ought to qualify this fascination of mine by saying, really the only source I`ve ever looked at is Careless Whispers, which is, at best, a secondary source. To add to this obvious inadequacy, is the fact that I haven`t ever looked at anything which might in any way, resemble a primary source, nor have I ever even read any of the original Tribune Herald coverage, contemporaneously reported to finding three dead teenagers (Jill Montgomery, Raylene Rice, and Kenneth Franks), on July 14th, 1982. To put it bluntly, I stopped following the case in the late 1980s; I didn`t even know until yesterday that David Spence`s (Chili) mother, Juanita White, was also murdered (March of 1986). The Bible for me on the LWM has always been Careless Whispers!

Now that`s shattered, although I`m reading it again, but with a new eye for what it`s telling me. I remember thinking at the time, the author, Carlton Stowers was really playing up Waco Police Sergeant Truman Simons (in 1982) to be quite the hero. But then I remembered, that`s just how so many successful True Crime writers work their story; this is the angle Ann Rule always uses and it`s a very successful tool that captures her target audience`s attention. Then again, it`s not a bad idea to take a closer look at the other side of the coin; Truman Capote takes this approach with Dick and Perry, in probably the greatest True Crime book ever written, In Cold Blood. Both approaches can work to your advantage, but still...

Actually, the real purpose of writing such a book, is to find out what happened, who killed these teenagers, how was the crime investigated, or did they find the right people responsible for these killings. I don`t know anything anymore about this case; I have to go back to the drawing board. Was David Spence executed when he was completely innocent? I was always spooked by Chili whenever I`d see news footage or photos of him; now I wonder whether perhaps David wasn`t suffering from some sort of mental illness, that would make him say bad things that weren`t really true. One item that really struck me from the TM article, is that Chili already knew Gayle Kelley fairly well, since he hung out at the Rainbow Drive Inn frequently. Therefore, he wouldn`t have confused Jill Montgomery for Gayle Kelley, purportedly the intended target of the murder.

This fact alone should have directed suspicion away from David Spence. As far as the life insurance policy on Gayle Kelley goes (supposedly the motive behind the contract killing), taken out by the now deceased Muneer Deeb, I watched an old interview with Deeb on YouTube this morning, in which he says this was just an employee injured on the job policy, not life insurance; I`m not so sure now he wasn`t telling the truth. And why was Juanita White killed? Was she beginning to uncover who really did it and had to be hushed up? Every time I drive through Waco (since July 1982) I get a cold chill running down my spine when thinking of the Lake Murders; now it`s magnified a thousand fold! Hall`s using primary sources, that`s the only way.