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The Thin Blue Line: Transcript

The Thin Blue Line
RT: 101 minutes

Head Credits

An American Playhouse Theatrical Presentation
An Errol Morris Film


Executive Producer Lindsay Law
Directors of Photography Stefan Czapsky, Robert Chappell
Associate Producer Brad Fuller
Production Designer Ted Bafaloukos
Editor Paul Barnes
Original Music Composed By Philip Glass
Produced by Mark Lipson
Directed by Errol Morris

(In order of appearance)

Randall Adams

David Harris

Gus Rose Homicide detective in Dallas
Jackie Johnson Homicide detective in Dallas
Marshall Touchton Homicide detective in Dallas

Dale Holt Internal Affairs Investigator in Dallas

Sam Kittrell Police detective in Vidor

Hootie Nelson Friend of David Harris in Vidor
Dennis Johnson Friend of David Harris in Vidor
Floyd Jackson Friend of David Harris in Vidor

Edith James Defense attorney
Dennis White Defense attorney

Don Metcalfe Judge, Criminal District Court No.2 in Dallas

Emily Miller Surprise eyewitness
R.L. Miller Surprise eyewitness

Elba Carr Employee at Fast Gas

Michael Randell Third surprise witness

Melvyn Carson Bruder Appellate attorney

(In the crime scene, interrogation and drive-in movie)

Randall Adams Adam Goldfine
David Harris Derek Horton
Robert Wood Ron Thornhill
Teresa Turko Marianne Leone
Popcorn Lady Amanda Caprio
Police Interrogator Michael Nicoll

Tail Credits

(In order of appearance)
Randall Adams
David Harris

Gus Rose Homicide detective in Dallas
Jackie Johnson Homicide detective in Dallas
Marshall Touchton Homicide detective in Dallas

Dale Holt Internal affairs investigator in Dallas

Sam Kittrell Police detective in Vidor

Hootie Nelson Friend of David Harris in Vidor
Dennis Johnson Friend of David Harris in Vidor
Floyd Jackson Friend of David Harris in Vidor

Edith James Defense attorney
Dennis White Defense attorney

Don Metcalfe Judge, Criminal District Court No. 2 in Dallas

Emily Miller Surprise eyewitness
R.L. Miller Surprise eyewitness

Elba Carr Employee at Fast-Gas

Michael Randell Third surprise witness

Melvyn Carson Bruder Appellate attorney

(In the crime scene, interrogation and drive-in movie)

Randall Adams Adam Goldfine
David Harris Derek Horton
Robert Wood Ron Thornhill
Teresa Turko Marianne Leone
Popcorn Lady Amanda Caprio
Police Interrogator Michael Nicoll
Stenographer Phyllis Rodgers
Music Produced by Kurt Munkacsi For Euphorbia Productions Ltd.

Music Conducted by Michael Riesman
Production Manager Shelley Riesman
Sound Brad Fuller
Assistant Producer David Hohman
Additional Photography Philip Carr-Foster
Ned Burgess
Peter Sova
Tom Sigel

First Assistant Camera Mike Latino
Second Assistant Camera Mary Cybulski
Camera Assistants David Waterston
Sally Roy
Richard Kamper

Associate Editor Bruce Shaw
Assistant Editors Aaron Weisblatt
Brian Katkin
Leslie Topping

Editorial Interns Robert Mowen
Vida Fitzgerald

Contributing Editor Elizabeth Kling

Additional Production Sound Steven Aaron

Unit Manager Steve Stoke

Production Consultant Charles Silver

Production Office Coordinators Ellen Aaronson
Veronica Brady
Lisa Schechter

Post Production Coordinator Teresa O'Brien

Art Director Lester Cohen
Assistant Art Director Daniel Talpers
Courtroom Drawings Christine Cornell

Property Master Pamela Woodbridge

Art Department Assistant Marc Johnson

Scenic Pamela Benham

Wardrobe Elizabeth Hickox

Key Hair and Make-up Theodore Mayes of Bruno Le Salon

Stills Sparky

Special Effects Matt Vogel
Gaffer John Geisler
Best Boy Mike Blundell
Second Electric Michel Deprez
Mel Cannon
Key Grip Kenny Davis
Grips Joe Dianda
Tim Chin
Location Scout Felix Olivier
Craft Services Marshall Persinger

Production Assistants Dale Pierce-Johnson
Chris Strand
Dmitry Kibrik
Susan Sheehan
Ann Marie Fendrick
Fred Cassidy
Carah von Funk
Paul Conklin
Craig Schlichter

Production Auditor Richard Guay
Assistant Auditor Nancy Kriegel
Research Assistant Sarah Horowitz
Technical Consultant Joe Ponzi
Prison Interview Producer Gary McDonald
Additional Interlocutors Jay Boggis
Mark Singer
Associate Music Producer Rory Johnston
Recording Engineer Miles Green
Assistant Engineer Blaise Dupuy
Contracting and Administration Dan Dryden
Music Recorded at The Living Room, NY
Music Published by Dunvagen Music Publishers, Inc (ASCAP)
Sound Post Production Russian Hill Recording, San Francisco

Re-recording Mixers Jack Leahy
Samuel Lehmer
Re-recording Consultant Randy Thom
Sound Effects Editor Samuel Lehmer
Additional Sound Effects Leslie Shatz

Dialogue Editors Jamie Kibban
James Allen

Sound Assistants Larry Oppenheimer
Marnie Moore
Sheila McFarland

Additional Post Production Sound One, New York

Additional Re-recording Mel Zelniker
Editorial Consultant Joseph Horowitz
Catering Central Falls
Animation Design Randall Balsmeyer
Motion Control Photography Balsmeyer & Everette, Inc.
Titles Designed by Ted Bafaloukos
Negative Cutter J.G. Films Inc.
Opticals, IP/IN Cinema Services Inc., Sean Couglin
Color Timer Michael Kolvek
Film Clips of

Swinging Cheerleaders courtesy of Dandrea Releasing, � 1974

The Student Body courtesy of Brandywine Productions, � 1975

Boston Blackie, Ziv Television, � 1952

Dillinger, Footage courtesy of Lorimar Distribution, Inc. �1945,1973

Newspaper clippings courtesy of The Dallas Morning News, The Dallas Times Herald, The Beaumont Enterprise, The Beaumont Journal and The Vidorian

Photographs courtesy of D Magazine, Master Detective, Texas Monthly, The Dallas Morning News and Dallas Times Herald

Ku Klux Klan photography courtesy of The Houston Chronicle

Drawing from the Bender Visual Motor Gestalt Test �1946, American Orthopsychiatric Association Inc. and Lauretta Bender, M.D.

Aerial photographs courtesy of Landis Aerial Photography, Inc

Special Thanks
Julia Sheehan
The Criminal Justice Center, Sam Houston State University, Dr. George Beto and Dr. Peter Phillips
The Texas Department of Corrections, Phil Guthrie and Jay Byrd
Randy Schaffer
Dennis Pwell
The Jefferson County District Attorney's Office, Paul McWilliams and Robert Hobbs
Robert Smith
Volker Schlondorff and Bioskop Film
Suzanne Weil
John S. and Florence G. Lawrence Foundation
The Dallas County District Attorney's Office and Henry Wade
The Irving Film Commission and Fred Strype
New York City Mayor's Office for Film Theatre and Broadcasting

Dolby Stereo

Produced in association with American Playhouse, with funds from Public Television Stations, the Corporation of the Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies.
Channel 4 (U.K>)
The Program Development Company

� Third Floor Productions, 1988
All Rights Reserved

In Memory of my brother, Noel Ian Morris (1942-1983)

The Thin Blue Line

Randall Adams
In October my brother and I left Ohio. We were driving to California.

We got into Dallas on a Thursday night. Friday morning while I'm eating eggs and drinking coffee, I get a good job. I mean, it's...all these people are supposedly out of work, I'm not in town a half a day and I've got a job. It's just...everything clicked. It's as if I was meant to be here.

David Harris
I'd run away from home a couple times. Once or twice. I don't know. And this all started the day I was running away from home. And he takes...I took the pistol from my dad and a shotgun - - took a neighbor's car. I think I had broken into their house or something and got the keys to it.

I forget exactly what it was. Ended up coming to Dallas.

Randall Adams
I went to work and no one showed up. Being a weekend, sometimes they work, sometimes they didn't.

One the way home, I ran out of gas, and as I was waking down the street with the gas can, a person, at that time, pulled over. I guess since I had the gas can he figured I was out of gas. I wasn't 100 yards from the car, and being Thanksgiving weekend there was no gas stations open. So, he stopped and asked me if I needed help.

David Harris
I'm driving down some street somewhere in Dallas. I just turned sixteen. And there was a guy over there, I think he'd run out of gas, and I took him to get some gas. This was Randall Adams.

Ended up following him to his room where him and his brother were staying. Eventually that evening - that afternoon, that evening—we went out and got some beer and what have you—and we smoked a little marijuana and what have you. Went to a movie that night.

Randall Adams
I get up. I got to work on Saturday. You know, why did I meet this kid? I don't know. Why did I run out of gas at that time? I don't know. But it happened. It happened.


The day they picked me up. December 21st...they took me upstairs—what floor I don't know—but they put me in a little room.

Gus Rose walked in. He had a confession there he wanted me to sign. He said that I would sign it. He didn't give a damn what I said - I would sign this piece of paper he's got. I told him I couldn't. You know, "I don't know what the hell you people expect of me, but there's no way I could sign that." He left; he came back in ten minutes, and threw a pistol on the table. Asked me to look at it, which I did. I looked. He asked me to pick it up, I told him "No." I wouldn't do that. He threatened me. Again I told him "no."

He pulled his service revolver on me. We looked at each other me it seemed hours. I do not like looking down the barrel of a pistol. I do not like being threatened. When he finally saw the he would either have to kill me or forget the signature, I guess he forgot the signature because he put his pistol up. He took the pistol on the table, put it up and stormed out.

Gus Rose
I had what I call a casual, friendly conversation with him to start with, to try to size him up, to see what he liked and what he didn't like. And I found almost immediately that he didn't have very much conscience, that what...anything he had done it never really bothered him. He had done other things that he told me about that didn't seem to bother him in the least.

Jackie Johnson
He showed no expression whatsoever. It's just like he's sitting here talking about the color of this wall or the shooting of the police officer. He showed no reaction to any of the questions.

Gus Rose
He, of course, almost overacted his innocence: he protested he hadn't done anything, couldn't imagine why we were bringing him in. He didn't fight or he didn't resist. He just protested his innocence.

Randall Adams
I, of course, told them what happened that Saturday that I had met this kid. I kept telling them the same thing, the same thing, the same thing...They didn't want to believe me.

Never once was I allowed a phone call. Never once was an attorney there.

I don't know how long this had been. I ...I know I had smoked two packs of cigarettes and had been up for a long time.

Jackie Johnson
Woods didn't take his ticket book out of the car. He left it in the car, on the front seat, which indicates that he was not going to write a ticket. What he was probably going to do was to tell them to turn on their headlights.

Marshall Touchton
He didn't know that that car was stolen. I think that there is a very good chance that he was going to check the driver's license and tell him to turn on his headlights and let the guy be on his way.

Jackie Johnson
Officer Wood's wife had purchased him a bulletproof vest and had it under the Christmas tree, or had it stored away to give to him at Christmas time.

Dale Holt
His partner was one of the first female police officers that was assigned to patrol. They were out of the Northwest Station. Just patrol officers, following the clock, working the graveyard shift and everything.

They had been into a fast food restaurant and she had a malt. This car came by, just two dudes in it, with no lights on. It really wasn't a serious problem, but he just pulled up, turned his lights on, and stopped him just to warn the man that his lights were off.

Got out of the car and walked up. And before he got to the window where the driver was, he was in the right position: this man just turned around and just...pop, pop, pop, with a little small-caliber pistol.

The first shot hit him in the arm. He had his flashlight. It hit the flashlight, as I recall, and went into his arm. And the next one hit him right in the chest.

You know, the officer falls in the street, and he was in the first traffic lane, lay there and bled to death.

So, she's out of the car. She empties her pistol at the fleeing suspect, and she runs to his aid.

Procedure says you grab the radio and call for an ambulance. Common sense will tell you that but what do you do? And then at the time, she's so torn down. And the enormous amount of blood. So how do we hold her responsible for not following procedure at that point?

But the main thing was she couldn't remember the license number.

(Newspaper: WITH THE LETTERS 'HC')

Marshall Touchton
When we started putting the facts together on how much information we actually had, the leads that we had, found out what we had, we found out we didn't have anything. The only thing that we knew was that we were looking for was a blue Vega.

Probably every Vega that was registered in the state of Dallas was stopped and checked. Not only in Dallas, but through a computer system we got every Vega that was registered in the State of Texas was stopped and checked.

We had people calling the office saying, "I've got a Vega and it's not blue but would you come out and check it over. Be sure it's not mine because I don't want to get stopped anymore. I'm afraid."


Dale Holt
If you're the investigator assigned to the get frustrated with other witnesses. But when you got a police officer that witnessed it, you expect that they would know a little more than she knew.

Procedure...when there's a two person unit, when either one approached the car, the other positions himself to the right rear, to where they can watch all the activity in the car. And then if the man on the left to the driver gets into trouble, the partner's in a position to help.

Speculation was at the time was that his partner was sitting in the car.

That's where the discrepancies were: just a matter of time, and whether or not she was out of the car, completely out of the car, or partially out of the car, or just sitting in there with the door closed.


And the thing I think we did then, that really helped, or didn't really help anything at all. Let me back up. But it was interesting, and it cost a lot of money, but it was worthwhile, You cover every...every trail.

A guy out of California - I don't recall his name - it was an expert in hypnosis, came in, hypnotized her and questioned her. And the thing was really interesting to me: she couldn't remember anything particularly about the car. She remembered getting a malt, and they'd stopped in the fast-food... it was a "What-a burger." She remembered all that, remembered stopping the car. And got back out on the road...she didn't remember anything, but she remembered a license number off a hit-and-run vehicle that they had worked earlier in the night.

Gus Rose
It was getting awfully close to Christmas.

We'd never really gone that long in Dallas without clearing the murder of a police officer. We'd had several killed but we'd always cleared them pretty quick. And this case had gone a month, or nearly a month and we still hadn't cleared it. However, we finally got the break that cleared it - It came out of Vidor, Texas.

Sam Kittrell
Mr. Calvin Cunningham who lives here in Vidor, had his home broken into and his little Mercury Comet stolen. We felt as though David had committed that crime. For several days, though, he was missing - we couldn't find him.

It was one afternoon, one of our officers spotted Mr. Cunningham's car on North Main Street, here in Vidor. David abandoned the vehicle and ran on foot.


We started getting little bits of information, though, that David had been involved in a shooting in Dallas of a police officer. We would always get third-hand rumor, fourth-hand rumor.

So we went back to a few of his other comrades in crime, I guess we would call them. They said, "Well, yeah, you know, we thought he was just bragging. We didn't...We really didn't take him seriously."

Hootie Nelson
Sitting down watching the evening news, night news...My father was asleep on the couch. I heard somebody knocking at the door. Got up and answered the door, and it was David Harris. I let him in. He come in. He was standing there beside the chair I was sitting in, and the news broadcast advertised about a police officer being shot in Dallas. And right then and there he started swearing up and down. He said "I swear to God," he said, "I shot that fucking pig."

He said, "I'm the one that killed him."

Dennis Johnson
Somewhere around Dallas they got pulled over. I think he said because they was checking out a stolen car. And he said that the cop had pulled him over, walked up to the window, and when the cop come to the window, he rolled down the window and just pulled the gun up and -Pow!—shot him."

Floyd Johnson
He swore up and down, I mean he made a big scene about it - jumped up and down, trying to get anybody to listen to him, "yeah, I shot that son of a gun." And everybody said, "Sure you did, David, Sure."

"I swear to God I killed that cop."

Sam Kittrell
I asked him about...if he'd been to Dallas and he denied having been to Dallas. I asked him if he'd been involved in any type of shooting or knew anything about a shooting and he denied that to the end, which is fairly consistent with David. Even if he had of had some involvement, his first way that he always treats you he would deny. Then if he felt as though you really knew that he had done it, they he would be truthful with you.

Hootie Nelson
He give me a pistol, a .22 caliber pistol. He showed it to me. He says, "That's the one I shot him with, right here." He gives me the pistol. I didn't really consider it that much. I don't guess I really realized he did shoot the cop."

Sam Kittrell
He led me to a swampy area several hundred yards behind his residence in Grove City. There was a sock underwater. He said, "There it is." And he had sprayed this sock with boot oil."
When we retrieved the gun, I said, "I better do something with it, it's gonna rust up". The time later that I saw the gun at the trial in Dallas it looked just as good as when I'd taken I out of the swamp. So he had taken pretty good care of it, even though he had put it under water.


Marshall Touchton
He got to thinking, "Well, hey, I didn't do that and I've been saying that I did and I'm in over my head now so I better tell them what really happened because they are going to send me to the penitentiary for the rest of my life if I don't tell them what really happened." So, he said, "Hey, I'm just bragging about this. I didn't do it, but I was there and I know who did do it." And, of course, he came clean then.

He tried to hide no facts. He just seemed like a friendly kid. I may have talked to him 15 or 20 minutes just on a friendly basis just to... just to keep him friendly. We didn't want to make him mad. But we didn't want him to tell us something that he thought, we wanted him to tell us what we knew.

Gus Rose
It wasn't very long until I realized that what he knew was the facts of the case and it matched perfectly with what we knew. And it had to be right.

David Harris
That story that I told, uh, was: we was like twelve something, so it was the next day, uh, early in the morning. We were stopped and, uh, when we were stopped, the officer came up to the car and asked to see the driver's license or whatever, and he just started shooting.

I don't know why, but it's always seemed like time just stopped or something, you know. I mean, it didn't seem like any time passed, you know.

It just seemed like, like it was...Boom! Time stopped or something, I don't know what it is, you know. It's like a flash.


We went back to his room. He was supposed to ask his brother if I could stay there that night or whatever. But, he said his brother don't like to do that, or something. Anyhow, he went in and never came back out, so I left.

Ended up pulling into a parking lot. I slept there, I think, for awhile. Then, finally, the next morning, early, I found my way to the freeway - 45 - went back home.

Randall Adams
After riding around with him I come to find out, yeah, he's got an arsenal, he's got pistols, he's got rifles. He's got this pistol. He's waving it around. He's doing this, I told him, "Hey, you know, why don't you put those in the trunk of the car."


We stopped at a restaurant an ordered and ate sandwiches in the car. I bought a six pack of beer.


He pulled this pistol back out. And I asked him why he got the pistol out. And he kind laughed, rolled the window down, and fired the pistol outside of the car. And I asked him to please put it up. And I think he handed me the pistol and I put it under the driver's seat.

(Sign: DRIVE-IN)

Randall Adams
He wanted to go to the movies, so we went to the movies.


We got there probably at about seven o'clock.

He was the one that picked the movie out. I call them drive-in movies, beer drinking movies. You know, fifty cents, put them together and make a bunch of money with a bunch of people getting drunk at the drive-in.

Female Student
Are you going to concede to my point?!

Professor Brooks
Please sit down, Miss Rathbone.

Female Student
What is this, Mr., Brooks?

Professor Brooks
Anybody can plainly see it's an ashtray.

Female Student
Wrong! Anybody can plainly see it's a wall breaker! Sit down, John, leave me alone! I'm trying to speak for you! I'm trying to speak for all of you! I am the Student Body!

Randall Adams
The show that was on was about half over. We watched half of the one show, we started watching the first part of the second show.

We want a victory and we're gonna get it! We want a victory and we're gonna get it! Yeah team! We want a victory and we're gonna get it!

Randall Adams
I didn't really care for the second feature, which was an R-rated, cheerleader type thing. I don't know what it was.

May I have some wine? It's good, Ross. I didn't know you could cook?

It is good, isn't it? You oughta try my celery remolade.

Randall Adams
You know, I told him I wanted to leave. "I don't really care to sit here and watch this. Let's go."

So you know, he's acting kind of strange because he wanted to watch the end of the movie. Anyway, we left and drove back towards Dallas, and we drove to the motel.

There's a little store. I bought a pack of cigarettes and a newspaper. And when I left, this kid was still sitting there. I leaned against the car and we talked to him for, you know, a few minutes and I told him that since he was looking for a job, and there hadn't been anybody there at work, that if he wanted to stop back Monday morning, that, you know, sure, he can ride out and follow me to work, and he can talk to the boss. And he would probably get a job.

I told him that I would catch him Monday morning if he showed up. I told him what time I went to work. Why I left.

I walked around the store and went to the house. When I walked in the television was on, and my brother was sleeping. He had been home this whole time that I had been gone.


So I made me a sandwich and sat there and watched the end of the "The Carol Burnett Show". And when it went off, the news came on, and I watched fifteen, twenty minutes of the news. And that was it. I turned the TV off and went to sleep.

(Newspaper: NOVEMBER 29, 1976 - DECEMBER 22, 1976)

Randall Adams
Finally they bring in a stenographer. She sits down and I run the story. I tell them what happened this Saturday. She leaves. She types.


She comes back in about twenty-five, thirty minutes with a copy of this statement. I read through it, and when it was basically what I liked, yes, I signed it.

Jackie Johnson
He admits driving the car and taking a right on Inwood Road off of Interstate 35...or Highway...183. He admits driving it, but after he made his right run on Inwood Road, you know, this is where our statement ends. He says he does not remember anything after that.

Marshall Touchton
He didn't t remember anything about a shooting. He didn't remember anything about a police officer stopping him or anything. He just, that part of his mind just conveniently went blank.

Gus Rose
He remembered driving the car, and he remembered approaching the scene of the shooting and then, from that point, he blacks out and can't remember until he gets to the motel room, which is some 10 minutes later. Everything else he remembers vividly. And that's just a convenient memory lapse, is all that is.

(Newspaper: BLACKING OUT)

Randall Adams
The Morning News in Dallas County stated that I had signed a confession, that I had confessed to the killing of Robert Wood and this and that, that they had their killer and they were ready to go with it. The statement that I signed for Dallas County was never and never would have been anything as "a confession" quote, but yet, they labeled is as such.


This is what I heard afterwards. Of course I couldn't dispute this because I knew nothing for two weeks. They kept me completely away from everybody.


Dale Holt
Several times we talked to her, trying to get her to recall. "Do you recall the license number? Do you recall anything that will help us?" And she gave us a pretty good description of the car. As it turned out, her description of the car was real close.

(Car: COMET)

Marshall Touchton
'Course it comes out that we weren't looking for a blue Vega. We were looking for a Comet. No telling the man-hours we literally wasted looking for a blue Vega.

Jackie Johnson
There is a difference between a Vega and a Mercury Comet. So in reality in regard to cars every piece of information that was called in they were calling in regards to a Comet...I mean, a Vega.

The people that called in were truthful, trying to help. They really were trying to help. We just all had the wrong information.

Randall Adams
There wasn't a mark on this car that David Harris had stolen. Wasn't a mark. You'd think a car sitting still, starting from a stop, heading up a hill with a woman standing right behind it that is a very good shot with a pistol, she should have hit the damn thing one time. She didn't. I wish to God she would have blown whoever was driving the car's head off, because I wouldn't have been there.

Sam Kittrell
I went back several times and, with Mr. Cunningham, he and I both searched and could find no indications that that car had been hit by any type gunfire.

(Newspaper: NO BULLET MARKS)

Later on, he finally found one place that he felt as though that a bullet had been creased on it, but before he cold call me up to tell me about it, his daughter totaled the car out. Totally demolished it.

Edith Adams
I was doing burglaries...and some robberies and a few possession cases, and stuff like that. And I think he just came up to me and said, "I'd like to talk. Are you Edith James? I'd like to talk to you about my case?" That's the way I remember it anyhow. And I said, 'Sure." And I said "What sort of case is it?" And he said "It's a capital murder." And I said, "Eeeewwww." You know, inside I thought, "Well, I've never done one, but I can surely talk to him about it."

I hate to be, you know, considered some kind of dummy that believes in the innocence of her clients, whatever. A lot of people think that, well, a woman lawyer, she's bound to stupidly believe anything she's told. I admit, I'm sort of a gullible person. But on the other hand, I've seen an awful lot of people who admitted guilt or were found guilty, and all but Randall turned out to be guilty in my opinion.

Douglas Mulder had a perfect win record. I believe he resigned from the D.A.'s office without any defeats.


That's why he's legendary.

Everything, as I recall, that Mulder ever said was about what a great guy Mulder was, how wonderful it was that he was getting all these convictions.


I wanted somebody else in on it, so I got Dennis interested in it because Dennis has a lot more trial experience, and Dennis wins practically all his jury cases." And Dennis was very enthusiastic about the Randal Adams case because he kept saying, "This is one we can win. They don't have any substantial evidence. All they've got is this David Harris."

Dennis White
I prepared a motion for a continuance to get more time to try the case and in doing that I had to lay out my whole schedule for the next several weeks as to exactly what time I'd be in Vidor, Texas.

Vidor is the headquarters of the Ku Klux Klan for the state of Texas. It's a city where black people will not spend the night. Black people won't even stop there to get their car filled with gasoline.

And furthermore, the people of Vidor were under the impression that the policeman that was murdered was a black man.

I had to stop at a motel on the way. My wife and I, of course, stayed in one room, the lady lawyer stayed in another room. We arranged to get up very early the next day to go on to Vidor and start our investigation. At about six o'clock in the morning, Edith James, the lady lawyer, got up and was looking for me and while she went out in the parking lot to find me, she went to one room and someone in the parking lot said, "if you're looking for the lawyer from Dallas, then he's in room..." and she gave her the room number.

Well, I immediately began to suspect from the time I was that close to Vidor that I was being followed and observed.

Doug Mulder had been there the week before I had and had told the people in Vidor that I was a ...eastern educated civil liberties attorney, and that I was down there to discredit David Harris.

And then I had been recommended to see one particular policeman who had been led to the solution of this case. And I had the impression he was the one honest policeman I could trust in Vidor. He told me that after the policeman was killed David Harris went back to Vidor. But before he was arrested, he committed a robbery down there and had someone on the floor of a 7-Eleven type store with a shotgun at her throat.

David Harris
Got back there, robbed a O'Bannion's 7-Eleven with a .22 rifle. Committed some other burglaries and what have you. All this time I was on probation - juvenile probation. Eventually I turned myself in for this stuff in Vidor. I think I made a confession or something, I can't even remember exactly. So I'm told I did.

Dennis Johnson
He had told us he had robbed stores, and we kind of laughed, "Sure, sure, we know you have."


I give him one of my hats - it's kind of an old Bonnie and Clyde looking hat, turned sideways - and we said, "Look, we'll draw you a little moustache, walk in there with that gun..." I said, "Nobody'd know who you are."

About two o'clock in the morning, I was asleep and the phone rings. Said, "Hello?" He said, "This is David." "David Harris?" He said, "Yeah." He said, "I did it, I did it. Will you come and get me?" I said, "Man, I'm not coming to get you. I'm asleep."

Floyd Jackson
He didn't have a conscience. You know, if I do something bad, you know, it kind if gets to me. I feel, you know, "Shucks, I shouldn't have done that. I feel bad about it." It didn't bother him.


Didn't bother him at all.

Edith James
We asked the D.A, in Vidor, Texas what they were going to do with little David and he said, "Oh, well send him to the Texas Youth Council."

And we sort of tried to inquire: didn't he think it was a little strange that there was a robbery committed with that same pistol, and here it was David Harris' pistol, David Harris' automobile that picked up Randall Adams, didn't he think it was a little odd that all the utensils for committing this so-called murder were committed ...were...were furnished by David Harris who got off scott free and was being a witness for the prosecution? And all he said was "Well, ho-hum, we don't feel that was in Vidor, Texas. Our people just are not that...we're not that keen on ruining a young man's life."

Dennis White
I tired to introduce the crime spree theory - the theory that David Harris was on this series of crimes, both before and after the killing of the policeman - that he would be the person who had the heart filled with malice, most apt to commit a murder. But the judge would not allow me to introduce any of those crimes.

Edith James
They had a twenty-eight year old man. The only alternative was to be prosecuting a sixteen year old that could not be given the death penalty under Texas Law, where our twenty-eight year old man could.

That's always been the predominant motive, in my opinion, for having a death penalty case against Randall Adams: not that they had him dead to rights, but just that he was a convenient age.

And the judge was supposed to have said - that's Metcalfe - Don Metcalfe was supposed to have said to Jeannette White - that's Dennis White's wife, "Well, what do you care? He's only a drifter."

Don Metcalfe
I grew up in a family where I was taught a great respect for law enforcement. And I became acutely aware of the dangers that police officers go through, law enforcement officials go through that I think much of the public is not really sensitive to. My father was an F.B.I man probably at the worst possible time to be in the FBI It was from 1932 to 1935 in Chicago.

He was at the Biography Theater the night that Dilinger was killed. It was a hot summer evening. Little air conditioning in Chicago, and people were out for a walk. My father would tell me that when Dillinger was killed, within a matter of two minutes people were dipping their handkerchiefs in the blood to get souvenirs. And he vividly remembered one lady who...who all she had was a newspaper - held it up and said, " I bet I'm the only lady from Kansas City with some of John Dillinger's blood."

He told me that the "Woman in Red...?" She had on an orange dress. This is trivia. Okay? It looked red under the lights, He said it was really orange. So the Lady in Red - she got to be known as the Lady in Red that fingered Dillinger - he said, "It was really the Lady in Orange."

As her reward, she got a new fur coat and a one-way ticket back to her native Romania.


Randall Adams
His whole story from the start was two hours late. I met this kid at around ten o'clock in the morning. He says we met at noon. I say we were at the Bronco Bowl at two or three o'clock. He says it was five or six o'clock. Everything that we did coincide with, he was two hours late.

Two hours later.

Two hours into the night.

His testimony is: as we were getting off the freeway on Inwood Avenue, he stated that I'm driving the car, that we're pulled over, he gets scared and he slumps down in the seat of the car. That as the officer walks up and shines his flashlight and I roll down my window, I pull the pistol out and blow this man away.

His testimony is: when I finally do drive to the motel, I get out, I tell him, "Don't worry about it. Forget this ever happened."


Now, that's crazy. That's crazy.

The police officer was killed at twelve thirty, which is about two and a half hours after he last saw me.


Edith Adams
Just before he went into the motel he had gone across the motel courtyard to a little store over there and bought some cigarettes. And I was supposed to go and find out if the man remembered him coming in there just before ten o'clock to buy the cigarettes.

Well, I didn't get over there to Fort Worth for a long time. We got some pictures from his family. It didn't show him in jail clothes. And I took the pictures in to show to the man behind the counter. He was very cooperative and he wanted to help us but he honestly, he said "I don't remember anything about this guy coming in here. I couldn't tell one night from another. I might have been that night or any other night. They were always coming in for cigarettes."

Marshall Touchton
His brother, at first was, saying that at the time of the murder that he was home watching, I believe it was a wrestling match on TV. And he said, "me and my brother, we like wrestling matches." He was here with...Randall my brother was with me all night long. He couldn't have done it. " He was trying to cover for his brother.

Later as I recall, he changed because he said. "well, hey, if I get down there and perjure myself. There's nothing that I can do because they got a case." - this is the way I think that he thought—"they know that my brother did it. If I get up there and lie then they are going to have me for perjury. An I'll be in the penitentiary with him, and it ain't going to do any good anyway, so I just ain't going to testify. I ain't going to say nothing."

So he backed off of his story completely and Adams was left without any witnesses.


Randall Adams
Her in-court testimony and her original statement, which should be the best...I mean you're talking fifteen, twenty minutes after the killing, should be the best eyewitness testimony she's got. It doesn't match. Doesn't match at all.


In court she testified he got out of the car, she got out of the car. She positioned herself at the back of the automobile.

Her original statement, fifteen minutes after the killing: a fur lined collar on the killer. In court: it might have been bushy hair. The kid testified that I had a Levi jacket on, which is the same type of collar, basically, the same as this. He testified at pre-trial that he had a fur-lined
parka. She's telling you who killed the man. One person in the car with the fur-lined collar. Very convenient that the driver happened to have bushy hair. All she's got to do is look at a picture they took of me. But that is not her original statement. It's a hell of a big difference from "a fur-lined collar" to "bushy hair'.

It's crazy. It's crazy.

She went through week's internal affairs, when she comes out, her testimony changes. She goes in saying one thing, she comes out saying another. Something happened. What? "Oh well, we refreshed her memory."

Edith James
Friday afternoon -I think it was Good Friday - we came back into the courtroom that afternoon and we were sort of elated because we thought, well, he's gonna walk. And there's nothing really in that evidence, there's just a little David Harris, and nobody believes him.

And so we were very optimistic about his chances until we walked into the courtroom, and here were all these people standing in front of the bench. Three of them, anyway. They were taking the oath to be sworn in as witnesses.

Mrs. Miller got on the stand that last afternoon. And she said, "that's the man - I saw that man! I saw Randall Adams' face just right after..." She said, "I saw the gun sticking out of the car when he shot that police officer, and that's the man." And she waved her finger right toward Randall Adams. She's the one that got him convicted.

Emily Miller
Yeah, when I was a kid I used to want to be a detective all the time because I used to watch all the detective shows on TV. When I was a kid they used to show these movies with Boston Blacki and he always had a woman with him. And I wanted to be a wife of a detective or be a detective, so I always watching detective stories.

I'm always looking because I never know what might come up. Or how I could help. I like to help in situations like that. I really do.

It's always happening to me, everywhere I go, you know, lot of times there's killing or anything, even around my house. Wherever. And I'm always looking or getting involved, you know, find out who did it, or what's going on.

I listen to people. And I'm always trying to decide who's lying or who killed who before the police do. See if I can beat them. Yeah.

(Newspaper: DEATH -WITNESS)
(Sign: FAST GAS)

Emily Miller
I was working at a gas station, My husband and I both. We weren't getting along well at all, We were arguing back and forth. And this was why we didn't want to go home because we would rather talk it out in the car than go home with the kids and fight, you know? Had to listen to them, too. So we were really arguing, and we decided to go get something to eat.

So about that time, a police came out of a restaurant on the right hand side of the road and he went to pull the man over.

R.L. Miller
She turned around. I see she was looking hard. She looked. And I didn't think she'd seen the guy, but she did. Because I said, "What you looking at? Because I knew something went wrong. I said, "What you looking at?" And she said, 'You just shut up and drive."

Emily Miller
And I kept telling my husband, "Slow down, so I can see." And he said, "No." He said, "Come on." He said. "We're getting out of here. You're too nosy. You don't even know what's going on."

(Report: "TOO NOSEY")
R.L. Miller
I had no idea somebody was going to get killed or shot. So I just drove on.

Emily Miller
He was one of these kind that didn't like getting involved or nothing. He wanted to go on. He told me to shut up and turn around, don't look. I turned around and looked anyway.

R.L. Miller
So we heard something like a backfire, or fire-crackers, or something. And so we drove over the bridge, and I got to thinking, I said, "Emily, there're no firecrackers this time of year."

I was thinking to myself, "that couldn't be somebody shooting, " you know.

Emily Miller
It was real dark, and it was cold. It was hard to see in that car. But, see, his window was down. The driver's window was down. And this is how I got such a good look.

R.L. Miller
I really couldn't see anything inside. It was kind of ...shadows on the window and stuff. But when he rolled down the window was what made his face stand out so... The car was dark blue.

He had a beard and a mustache, kind of dishwater-blonde hair. But like I say, when he was in court, he sure looked a lot different. All I could tell was by this and this, you know, it was him.

I knew that there was some shots over there. I mean, you know, but I didn't want to be involved in it, because West Dallas is a high-crime neighborhood. One of the biggest.

Emily Miller
He was more scared of it than I was. But see, when you have black people like that, they don't like getting involved in nothing. That's just common.

Like here, ya know...? Nobody wants to see nothing or hear nothing. And they'll stay completely in the background. That's why they were having such a hard time over there finding anybody that would come forward - because it was in a totally black neighborhood.

R.L. Miller
She just believed if she seen somebody doing something wrong, she'd sure tell it. She told on me a couple of times. She said that I was hauling drugs out of El Paso. Called the Sheriff down there, going to make me open my trunk. So I ended up opening it, but there wasn't nothing in it. Yeah, and ... Oh, man! Eeeeooowww. Good grief. Yeah, if she found out you done something, she sure turn you in.

Edith James
Mrs. Miller had testified at the trial that she had gotten off early from her gas station job and gone down to pick up her husband to help him with the book work.


Well, we found out that she was not doing any bookkeeping for that station because she had been fired from her job two weeks earlier for till-tapping, for stealing.


The reason that they were talking to the police at all was that there had been a three day running knife fight in their apartment, and they were all booked for disorderly and drunk behavior in there, including assault with knives, and all kinds of stuff. And when they were down at the police station, they suddenly decided to volunteer all this information about what they had seen - about the police officer's killing.

Dennis White
A woman called me at my home and said that she knew this woman who had testified and identified Randall Dale Adams from a passing vehicle and this woman had never told the truth in her life.


She also told me that she had tried to call the District Attorney during the trial and give this evidence that this woman was not believable, that if their case in anyway hinged on this testimony that this was not a believable testimony.

Elba Carr
They were scum. They were just ...actually scum. He was a black man and she was a white woman...

He came to work the day after. He got to telling me about the policeman that had gotten shot the night before. And I hadn't heard anything about it.


And I thought it was another one of these stories And he brings in these newspapers, and he says: he didn't see a damn thing. He couldn't see nothing, it was too dark.

Wheels started rolling in his head about money. And that's when he got the idea...Let me put it in his words: for enough money, he would testify to what they wanted him to say. He would say anything that they wanted him to say. Or he would see anything that they wanted him to see. Those were his words.

(Newspaper: $21,000 REWARD)

I was shocked that he did go ahead and get up and tell that he saw the actual shooting know, recognized the boy. Identified him.


That's when I called Dennis White. I told him...I said, "That man's lying."

Nobody has that good of eyesight. I mean, you know, like from where the policeman was supposed to have been shot and from where they were at, I doubt if you could have seen him with binoculars.


Michael Randell
I'm a salesman. And you develop something like total recall. I don't forget places, things, or streets, because it's a habit. Something I just picked up. I just stare intensely at people and try to figure them out. Being nosey, I just stare.

I was leaving the Plush Pub one night, driving a 1977 Cadillac, heading west on Hampton. I noticed a officer had two individuals pulled over to the curb in a blue...some type of vehicle.

It was a was a blue...I was a blue Ford. It was a blue something.

The driver, I think had long blonde hair and a moustache. And the other one didn't have not hairs on his face.

A person that's white going through that area at night - he's a sore thumb to stick out for the first reason. And if they don't look right, they're gonna stop you.

The officer, he walked up to the vehicle. He had walked up. His car was...let me see...I don't know if it was behind or in front, but I knew he had him pulled over, and he was up to the car. I think he was up to the car. Let me think. Yeah he was up to the car... and I was going by... he had to have been up to the car.

I didn't see no bullet. I didn't see no gunfire. Because I went on.

Jackie Johnson
We have three people that testified and identified him as positively being the driver at the time that Woods was walking up right beside the car. So we know that he was the driver, from the witnesses, and we also know that it was the driver that shot Officer Woods, coming from his partner.

We couldn't have made a case with the voluntary statement that we got from Adams. We had to rely on witnesses. And this is what we did.

Don Metcalfe
I always tried very hard - every judge I know of does -to not show emotion on the bench. The reason: if you do show emotion, the jury might take it that you're favoring on side or another. So you try to remain passive, emotionless, objective.

I do have to admit that in the Adam's case - and I've never really said this - Doug Mulder's final argument was one I'd never heard before: about the "thin blue line" of police that separate the public from anarchy.

I have to conceded that my eyes kind of welled up when I heard that. It did get to me emotionally, but I don't think I showed it.


Dennis White
In death penalty cases, we have a question, or we did at the time, of whether or not that person is of a dangerous mentality and might be expected to commit other crimes. To answer that question, the Dallas District Attorney's Office send psychiatrist in to the defendants cell to discover whether he is without remorse and therefore is a dangerous and psychopathic personality. Well, of course, in the instance of a person who did not commit the crime, naturally they're not going to show much remorse.

There were two psychiatrists that appeared again and again. Holdboork and Grigson - "the Killer Shrinks". There was a certain amount of criticism directed against these two people because, in effect, whenever they showed up the purpose of their visit was to kill the defendant.

Randall Adams
It was April 15th, tax day. I think I was filling out my taxes at the time, afraid I might be late. A guard walks up to the door and tells me there's someone out here who wants to talk to you. I asked him who it was. He said, he didn't know, but the court ordered me to talk to him. I said, "Oh, alright."

And here come this real tall, ostrich-looking dude. He introduced himself as Dr. Grigson. He pulled a pad out of his coat pocket that had a line drawn across it. On this pad, on the upper half he had six images. I will say a box, a square, a circle with a diamond in it. I don't know - you know, it's been awhile. He slides this piece of paper across to me and he hands me a pencil. He says, "I'm going to get a cup of coffee. Please copy what's on this piece of paper."

Well, I'm looking this man, I said, "What? You want it copied just the same way you did? Or you want me to change them around? What do you want me to do?" He said, "just do whatever you think you want to do," and he left. So on the bottom half of the piece of paper I made my boxes and X's and zero's with diamonds in them exactly like his.

He asked me, "What's the meaning of a rolling stone gathers no moss?" I'm looking at this man and I'm saying, "Are you kidding, is this a joke? What are you doing?" He said, "No, I really want to know your answer to that question." I said, "Well a rolling stone gathers no moss. To me it would represent a person that doesn't stand still long enough, it's kind of hard for people to cling to him, he keeps moving around, it's hard for people to get close to him." He shook his head.

He said, "What about, a bird in the hand is worth two in a bush?" I said, "If you have a hold of something why give it up for the chance of getting something that might be a little better? It doesn't make sense. You've got something pretty good why let go of it? If you can get the other one, get it if you can, but don't let go of what you go to try to get something else."

He asked about my family. He asked about my background, and he left. Total time we had talked: maybe fifteen, twenty minutes.

Edith James
Dr. Grigson was up there testifying that he would commit violent crimes in the future if he was released. Well, Grigson is know as "Dr. Death" because he always testified that way. In about 99% of the trials that he's been a witness for the prosecution he always testifies that, yes, they will commit violent crimes in the future.

Edith James
You can't tell what somebody's going to do years from now. Not really.


Except based on your past record, which anybody can do. Randall Adams never had any prior record. And as far as we know never had any history of violence whatever.

(Newspaper: NO GUILT)

Randall Adams
Grigson testified for two and a half hours about all these degrees he's got. He's been here and he's been there and he's studied here.

He called me Charlie Manson. He called me Adolph Hitler. He said I'm the type of personality that can work all day and creep all night.


He testified, Grigson, that if the future seriousness of my mental state would be such that if they released me I would go crazy and probably butcher half of Dallas County. Even though he talked to me fifteen minutes, I have no prior convictions, no prior arrests, I was non-violent for twenty -eight years. On one instance - and that's saying if I did this, which I didn't -he's stating that that's enough to, for the rest of my life, you got to watch me. Don't ever turn your back on me. And he talked to me fifteen minutes.

He's crazy.

(Newspaper: JURY OUT)

Don Metcalfe
You can understand why a man might steal if needs money to put food on the table. I can understand why a seventeen year old boy who doesn't have a car would steal on to ride around in. I can understand why the heroin addict needs heroin. But it's very hard to understand why anybody has to kill a police officer. It just doesn't have to be.

Dennis White
When I'm asleep at night and I close my eyes and think, "Why would he do it?" He had no background that would lead to murder, no reason to commit a murder and I look at the facts of the case and say; David Harris knew the car was stolen, knew the guns were there, knew the guns were stolen, was on a crime spree, had had a criminal record prior to stealing this car and these guns. He was the one who wanted to commit the murder and get away from the scene and he was the one that after the murder was committed went right back home and bragged about it to his friends.

I looked at all the evidence and I found I believed that David Harris committed the murder. The jury looked at the same evidence and they found they believed that Randall Adams committed murder. And it was their verdict that counted.


Randall Adams
You have a D.A., he doesn't talk about when they convict you or how they convict you, he's talking about how he's going to kill you. He don't give a damn if you're innocent. He don't give a damn if you're guilty. He's talking about killing you. You get numb. You get...It's like a bad dream. You want to wake up but you can't do it.

Fifteen times, twenty times a day I hear this same story about what happens when a man is electrocuted. His eyeballs pop out. His fingernails pop out. His toenails pop out. He bleeds out of every orifice he's got.

They don't care. They don't care. All they want to do is talk about how they're going to kill you. That's the only thing that they cared about: that's the only thing they talked about. At that point, that's all they're wanting.

David Harris
I didn't have any idea of what happened to him. After I testified, I was gone. I never really concerned myself with it, you now. Maybe I didn't want to know, I don't know. I didn't have any interest in knowing, otherwise I might have tried to find out.


Edith James
Dennis filed the motion for a new trial, then we filed an amended motion for a new trial. About 20 days later, we were to have a hearing on it.

Both Robert Miller and his wife testified there. But we could not bring out the fact that they had said that they were going to get some of that reward money and that they didn't care whether they saw anything or not, but their car was too steamed up. We were not allowed to get any of that in because it was held that it was impeaching testimony, and therefore it came too late.

We kept running into blank walls.

Dennis White
A reporter from the Dallas Morning News discovered that one week after the Randall Dale trial was over with, the daughter of this woman had a robbery case in this very same court. She offered her testimony at a time when her daughter was in danger of going to jail for life, and got her daughter out of jail. How can you believe her when the very next week the same judge in the very same court dismisses the case.


Elba Carr
The Millers are the kind of people that would do anything if there was something to be gained, such as her daughter not being sent to the penitentiary for armed robbery. Or for money.

When we went to court that day, the District Attorney was real hard-nosed, wouldn't let me answer any questions. He'd ask me questions, but then he'd cut me off real short. And that's when he said something about my big fat nose. If I kept my big fat nose out of their business, well, the Millers would be better off.


And then when we started to leave out of the courtroom, why, he started laughing, like "Hey, It didn't do you any good to get up there." It really didn't. Didn't help the guy at all.


Melvyn Bruder
To the best of my recollection, the brief conversations I have had with Mr. Adams, and they have been brief, I don't even recall ever asking him, or my having told me that he did not do it. Because for my purposes, representing him on appeal, it's totally irrelevant.

When the Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas voted 9-0 against us, I was a little upset about that, I felt we, (A) should have won, (B) certainly shouldn't have been slapped so hard with the unanimous decision against us.

(Report: A 9-0 VOTE)

I was with my family in an ice cream parlor and the Judge and his family happened to come in at the same time. And he came over to me and made the comment, "I'll see where the Court of Criminal Appeals gave me an 'A' in the Adams case"

Don Metcalfe
Our highest state appellate court - the Court of Criminal Appeals in Austin - affirmed the case nine to nothing. And then it was reversed but the United States Supreme Court, 8-1.

(Report: A 8-1 VOTE)

When the Appellate Court reverses a case, they are never saying the trial judge was right or wrong. They are saying they disagree with the judge. You can't for instance, in the Adams appeal, say the appellate courts were saying I was right or I was wrong. After all if in Austin, our state appeals court, I was 9-0 correct and in Washington I was 1-8 incorrect. If you tally all those votes I come out 10-8 and yet the case was reversed.

(Report: A 10-8 VOTE)

Edith Adams
Eight justices of the Supreme Court were the first people that ever agreed with me. They're the only people anywhere that ever agreed with me about that statute - were eight justices of the Supreme Court.


Melvyn Bruder
The Dallas Morning News had a very nice front page story, either the same day or the day after the reversal was announced by the Supreme Court, in which Henry Wade, the District Attorney, vowed a retrial of Randall Dale Adams because there was no room in his book for a cop-killer getting off with anything else than the death penalty.

I took that to heart. I thought I was going to get my chance. For reasons that were never really made public, Mr. Wade requested the governor to commute Mr. Adams' death penalty to life and that eliminated that possibility of a retrial based on the reversal.


I mean I was shocked. I can't help but believe that some of the motivation behind that decision was the fear that Adams maybe vindicated at a retrial.

Dennis White
I just felt they prosecuted the wrong person and I don't know why. I felt that some policeman, whether in Vidor or in Dallas made a decision about who to prosecute and set the wheel of justice in motion in the wrong direction and they got going so fast no one could stop them. And so I felt it was up to me to stop them and I didn't...And then I felt it was up to the Supreme Court and they did what they could but then...It's all gotten messed up and derailed again.

Since his trial I have given up my practice of criminal law. I have not had a jury trial since I heard the verdict of this jury in this case, and don't intend to. I just feel like I'll let other people handle these problems for a while because if justice can miscarry so badly, I 'd rather do something else.

Melvyn Bruder
Prosecutors in Dallas have said for years, "Any prosecutor can convict a guilty man: it takes a great prosecutor to convict an innocent man."

To this day, I think Mr. Mulder believes that the Randall Dale Adams conviction was one of his great victories, probably because of some reservations he has about Randall Dale Adam's guilt.

(Report: R. ADAMS, DEATH)

Sam Kittrell
I got a call one morning, a lady here in Vidor had been hit over the head with a rolling pin and the attacker thought she'd been knocked unconscious when in reality she wasn't. And she recognized the attacker to be David Harris.

He voluntarily came to the police station. I told David, "This girl knows who you are. There's no doubt. I don't even have to tell you I know the truth. You know I know the truth this time." And he said, "Yeah, I was wrong, you know I smoked marijuana and I was drinking. I don't know what got over me but something just came over me."


But he forgot to mention one thing at all - that he was only wearing his underwear.

I felt the attack was sexually orientated. He never wanted to admit that, and, as I recall he never really finally admitted it. He'd just get to the point where he wouldn't deny it.

He posted his bond and went to Germany.

We had a crime with basically the same M.O. as his, and so it lead me to want to check and see if he was in town. I contacted the worldwide military locator to see if through the military I could locate him. I did and found out that he was in prison at the time.


He didn't really remember what happened. He said he woke up in the stockade and he'd been told that he beat up one of this ranking officers.

We had another occasion to have a crime that fit his M.O. a lot, so, therefore, I started looking for him again and this time I found him in prison in California. So I realized again that, unfortunately, he hadn't straightened up. He was still having a lot of problems.


David Harris
I was sixteen years old. I really didn't have no real dealings with the court systems, et cetera. Didn't know how they worked, really. You know, didn't know much about the law. Just a young, dumb kid.

(Newspaper: YOUTH NABBED)

Police give you the time of this and the time this happened, whatever, and you just correlate from those events, you know. You just estimate from that event what time it was.

You don't know. You're taking a guess. Police tell you, "Well, it was 12:30 when this crime happened. What time did you leave the movie?" I know it was sometime around midnight. It might have been before then. I don't know I didn't have a watch on.


He went over my testimony with me, pretty extensively, instructed me how I should testify, et cetera, how I should answer certain questions, things of this nature. That's what you call "coaching the witness," you know. Let's get this evidence in the spectrum where it's going to be most effective.


At the same time, I didn't really ponder on it, but he was deceiving the jury, see. He wanted to deceive Justice.

That's why I think that statute with the scales, Justice...what is she called? I don't know that she called. She's got that blindfold on. We don't see what goes on behind the closed doors.

Michael Randell
See, I had a woman in the car. I didn't tell them about that. My wife would kill me. My wife would've tore my head off is she knowed I was out that night with another woman. No, that's ...that's what happened. I was trying to get her home.

The driver's side was down because the lady was a little sick. You see, she needed some air, because she was a pretty drunk.

See, the Millers - one is black and one is white. And they said I was going with...the reason I was over that time of night...I was over there messing with this man's wife. And I ain't never gone with her in my life. She was too old and ugly.

You know, like I say, the DA will put something into their mouth. They could have prefabricated the whole story. They sure could have. But what I saw is just what I saw. That was it. So if they got paid, they got paid for lying.

(Report: $21,000)

They already deiced what to do with you in the hall. That's why they call it the Hall of Justice --- the scales are not balanced. The scales are in the hall, and they go up and down. They might go up for you in favor one way and they might go down against you. So if they DA wants you to hang 15 or 20 years, you hung.

David Harris
See, I had all these charges still pending in Orange County. Uh, now, I could have been certified as an adult, maybe given a life sentence, you know. I don't know. Uh, I'm sixteen years old - I know I don't want that.


The District Attorney told me, "Don't worry about those charges. I'm going to ask you, or the defense attorney is going to ask you, if you had any kind of deal or, uh, anything of that nature, you know, uh, in exchange for your testimony in this case, uh, you know, as relating to those charges, you know. "No." Don't answer that 'Yes", answer that 'No'."

Emily Miller
Well, my husband, he didn't get that good a look at him. And he wasn't sure, because they put a bunch of them that looked alike. And they had about three or four in the line-up that had bushy hair, but he had his combed down, different to what it was in the killing. Well, I didn't pick him out right then, because I picked out this bushy-haired man.

But I understand one of the other witnesses did pick out the man at the line-up. I'm not sure, but I think he did.

David Harris
Of course I picked out Randall Adams just liked that. I don't know about the others. Evidently they did at the time.

I just took off. You know, it's like kids run away - they don't think about where they are going to stay, uh...How they're going to eat, you know...All these things, you know. You know, they had that roof over their head all their life. They don't really thing about those things until you get out there and you say, "Hey, well, my stomach's growling now," you now or, uh, "Boy, it's getting cold out here. It's raining."

There was ice on the road, I remember there was a car coming pretty fast up the road, or something, behind me, and, uh, didn't see me or something, you know, or was in one lane and came into the other lane—and I was in that lane -and tried to stop, and he went off the side of the road. I remember this car went off the side of the road. And I'm just looking back, you know. I remember that.

Sam Kittrell
I got a call at my house, about 3:30 one morning. One of the patrolmen in my department called and said, "we just arrested this boy named David Harris and he won't even tell us his name." He said, "He wants to talk to you." They told me something that really made me interested - they told me he'd been shot.

Sam Kittrell
David had initially told me that he had gone to a bar in Houston and was flirting with a young lady over there and her boyfriend became upset and chased him out of the bar with a pistol, shooting at him. Shot him several times. We knew that wasn't true.

I said, "David, I know you're lying to me. We go through this all the all my dealings with you in the past. I don't know what you've done just yet. I know you were shot. I know you were shot doing something that you shouldn't have been doing, and we know you burglarized a gun shop here in Vidor, we know you were driving drunk. Got witnesses who can identify you, got witnesses who can identify your truck." I said, "You're caught. You're caught - so tell the truth." And David said, "Well, okay, I killed him."

Their home was entered while this man and his girlfriend were there alone. The man was sent into the bathroom at gunpoint and told to stay there. David took the girl and was starting to leave.

This man exited the apartment with a gun.

The man fell to the ground, or near the ground, holding onto a pole there in the parking lot of the apartment complex, and the last - whether it be two, three, or how many shots, I don't know -were fired at point-blank or near point-blank range.

David thought that really the one that was really a fault that night was the guy that got killed. He said, "Man, that guy's crazy. He came after me with a gun." I told him, "David, you'd broken into his house, you abducted his girlfriend, what was he supposed to do?" He said, ", shouldn't come out with a gun, that dude's crazy - he should have been killed."

When we went to retrieve the pistol I had to go into the water to get it. It was a bayou and it was grassy, snaky looking area. I was not real pleased about being there myself, but David really enjoyed watching me have to go down there and look for that gun. I've been searching several minutes, he was up on the bridge and probably 25 feet from me, directing me to the area where he thought that the gun had landed in the water.

He was handcuffed. Traffic would come by and he would turn around and show them his handcuffs and holler at them, "Help me! They're ...the police are going to throw me in the water -they're going to drown me."


Just anything he could do to make a joke and cut up out there, he was just really having a good time.

Randall Adams
The kid scares me. The kid scares me. To think that he could actually be out there walking the streets, and Dallas County let him go. The kid had seven crimes coming down on him. He had armed robberies. He had firing on a peace officer. He had breaking and entries, aggravated assault. God knows what all this kid had. And Dallas County gives him complete immunity for his testimony. Just lets him walk.

My mom had a good phrase. She said the first night she pulled into Dallas, it was raining, that it was lightning. And they're coming into Dallas and she said if there was ever a hell on earth, its Dallas County. She's right. She's right.

Sam Kittrell
You deal with people who you sense bad vibrations, more or less. You feel this guy doesn't like me anyway, just because I'm a policeman. You can just kind of sense there's something there. And I realize...maybe I shouldn't even be saying this, because police are not supposed to take these things to the bank. When you deal with people over and over again, you sense things about people.

In talking to David you don't ever feel hostile feelings coming from him. I have never seen David any way other than cordial, friendly to me as he could be, "Yes, sir," "No, sir," never disrespectful. So I've never seen the bad side. I've seen the results of it, and I've talked to him about it, and he's aware of the results of it - he remembers the bad side. But I've never seen him committing a crime or in a violent or volatile state.

When his crimes were confessed to he seemed to feel better and do better during those times than any other times that I've know him.

His parents would tell me he would do better at home, he seems to get along better with the people in town, his neighbors and friends. But there's something that happens to David, I don't know what it is. I don't know if anybody can put their finger on it. But there's no other indication of anything in the family that would lead you to believe he had exposure to these type activities or anything.

Dave's got at least one other brother and sister that I know of. And he had one brother that drowned, numerous years ago.

David Harris
I was three years old - I had a four year old brother and he drowned, in 1963, right after President Kennedy was assassinated, I believe - sometime right after that during the summer. We was living in Beaumont on Harrison Street and, my dad was working on his truck out in the yard and mom was in the house doing her housework or fixing dinner or something.

Me and my brother, we had one of these little blow up pools and we were playing in that. My dad was supposed to be watching us or keeping eyes on us or something. My brother wandered off, down the street, and these people had a swimming pool in their backyard, and they were elderly people, and they never used the pool. I guess it had a bunch of leaves and stuff in it. And he, evidently, fell in there and drowned.

I used to sit up in my room at night and talk to him and he wasn't even there. So I guess that might have been some kind of traumatic experience for me , you know, at that age.

I guess my dad couldn't get rid of the responsibility or guilt or something. But I was there and I guess maybe I reminded him of that, all the time growing up and it was hard for me to get any acceptance from him. When my brother, my younger brother, was born it was kind of like he was daddy's favorite ...Or something. I don't know.

Everybody's life is going to take some kind of path regardless of what happens. I think maybe a lot of the things I did when I was younger was an attempt to get back at him or something for the way he treated me. But I wasn't doing nothing but hurting myself.


Errol Morris
Would you say that Adams is a pretty unlucky fellow?

David Harris
Definitely. If it wasn't for bad luck, he wouldn't have had none.

Errol Morris
What was the bad luck?

David Harris
Could have been any number of things. Depends on how you want to look at it. It's like I told you a while ago about the guy that didn't have no place to stay. If he had a place to stay, he'd never have no where to go, right?

Errol Morris
You mean if he would have stayed there at the motel that night this would never have happened?

David Harris
Good possibility. Good possibility. Heard of the proverbial scapegoat? There's probably been thousands of innocent people convicted and there will probably be thousands more. Why? Who knows.

Errol Morris
Is he innocent?

David Harris
Did you ask him?

Errol Morris
Well, he's always said he's been innocent.

David Harris
There you go. Didn't believe him, huh? Criminals always lie.

Errol Morris
Well, what do you think about whether or not he's innocent?

David Harris
I'm sure he is.

Errol Morris
How can you be sure?

David Harris
Because I'm the one that knows.

Errol Morris
Were you surprised when the police blamed him?

David Harris
They didn't blame him. I did. A scared sixteen year old kid. He would sure like to get out of it if he can.

Errol Morris
Do you think they believed you?

David Harris
No doubt. Must have. They didn't have nothing else until I give them something, so...I guess they get something, they run with it, you know.

Errol Morris
Were you surprised they believed you?

David Harris
I might have been. I don't know. I was hoping they'd believe me, you know. After all was said and done it was kind of unbelievable. But there it is. I've always thought if you could say why there's a reason Randall Adams is in jail, it might be because the fact that he didn't have no place for somebody to stay that helped him that night...landed him where's he's at...

That might be the reason. That might be the only, total reason why he's where he's at today.



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