For the May issue of D Magazine, Mary Mapes wrote a story about a murder that gripped the city of Dallas in 1953. The victim, Venice Parker, was white. A black man named Tommy Lee Walker was put to death for the crime — though he had nine people who testified in court that they were with him on the night of the murder. One of those alibi witnesses was his girlfriend, who gave birth to their son that night. Tommy Lee rode in the ambulance to the hospital with her just hours after he’d supposedly raped and murdered someone miles away. None of that testimony mattered. District Attorney Henry Wade got his conviction just three months after Tommy Lee had been arrested. I encourage you to read the story and then listen to Mary on Think, with Krys Boyd, today at noon on 90.1 FM.
(Side note: the online version of our story is titled “When Henry Wade Executed an Innocent Man.” I love our talented web team. They work hard to optimize SEO and so forth. Nearly all of our headlines get rewritten for the web and nearly always for the best in that medium. But I much prefer the presentation of this story in print, with the headline “Who Was the Real Killer?” For what that is worth.)Full Story