My Trial

I sat in the Galveston County jail from June 1997 until May 1999. The only time I was given any information concerning my children was when the sheriff wanted to speak with me. I was all alone.

During my county jail time, I attempted suicide on three separate occasions. The administrations solution was to give me medication. I can't remember everything they were giving me. I do know I was taking a combination of Cynaquan, Haldol, Lithium, and Zoloft.

My lawyers did visit on a couple of occasions. Never did we talk about who the prosecution witnesses would be or what the defense strategy would be. I was in such a state of shock and drug haze, that I never questioned them. I let them handle everything. They kept telling me not to worry, so I didn't.

At one point, during jury selection, the prospective jurors were passing around a newspaper with my story in it. The judge had the paper confiscated, and cautioned the jury pool not to bring anything they had read to the trial. During the trial, one juror became ill, and had to be excused from serving. Since no alternates had been chosen, the trial proceeded with 11 jurors.

Each morning before court, my lawyers would drop off clothes, pantyhose, and shoes for me to wear to court. I would shuffle downstairs and attempt to dress myself. The deputy would have to help me with the buttons and zippers because I couldn't do them myself. The other prisoners in the holding tank helped me put the pantyhose on each morning. At the courthouse, there would be make-up, which I would attempt to apply, but with my hands shaking, it was impossible. The baliff told the judge at one point about my condition. The answer was to give me a portion of my medication before I left the jail each morning. All this accomplished was to keep me more sedated during the trial. At the end of my stay, I couldn't even feed myself. Getting food on a spoon and getting the spoon to my mouth was impossible. I couldn't dress or feed myself; helping my lawyers with my defense was not happening.

The core of the prosecutions case was the testimony of Johnny Lopez, who had confessed to killing Curtis. Johnny's testimony was that Mark Dixon had told him I would pay him $30,000 to kill a guy named Curtis. When my lawyers questioned Johnny, he testified that he had not actually told this version of events when first arrested. This statement was the seventh version he had given. Finally, the sheriff had the confession they had been looking for. Although Johnny testified to what Mark had told him, Mark was never called to the stand to testify. At no time did Johnny say I had given him any money, or even that I said I would give him money. Only what Mark had told him. Johnny bargained for 40 years.

Another key testimony for the prosecution was from Sandy Croog, "my friend". I knew Sandy because her first husband had been a mechanic at the garage owned by Christopher's best friend's father. Sandy testified that during a Little League game, I had made the statement that the only thing wrong with Curtis was that he breathed. The prosecution showed this as proof that I wanted Curtis dead. What was never addressed, was when this statement was supposedly made. If I did in fact say this, I had done it at least 5 years in the past. Christopher had not played Little League since he was nine. We hadn't been to a Little League game in 5 years. It was remarkable that Sandy could remember a comment I had made that far in the past. I lost count of how many times the DA repeated the phrase, "The only thing wrong with him is he breathes."

The prosecution stated I had Curtis killed for the money. The only problem with this theory was there wasn't any money. We had recently filed bankruptcy. Curtis had the minimal life insurance through his employer and a retirement fund. There was no huge monetary benefit in the event of his death.

The prosecution brought in portions of the seats from our minivan saying tests showed there were traces of blood on the seats. The DNA expert testified the stains could have been made from any body fluid, and they couldn't tell how old the stains were. This is from the family vehicle, which had been used for numerous vacations, and almost weekly camping and fishing trips. Who knew what kind of stains had been left?

The DNA experts also testified that there was a cigarette butt left in an ashtray at the scene that did not match any person involved in the case. This was never followed up by either prosecution or defense.

When the defense was called to present their case, there was none. The defense didn't call a single person. The trial was over as soon as the prosecution rested.

I don't think anyone was surprised when the guilty verdict was announced. I had no reaction. By this time, I was in such a state of shock, nothing could reach me. It's difficult to describe how removed from the whole trial I felt. It seemed I was watching all of this happen to someone else.

In a matter of days, I was transferred from county jail to prison. I had begun to serve my life sentence.