Sunday, May 22, 2022 May 22, 2022
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New EarBurner: Writer and Dallas Legend Tom Stephenson

You ever heard a guy talk who wrestled a bear?
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Filed away: When former Blue Mound police chief Barry Hinkle went looking for information about the 1976 murders, he discovered there was not even a report at the police department. Eventually he got an old box filled with thousands of documents and crime scene photos. That’s where he found David Newberry’s jailhouse letter. Elizabeth Lavin

Readers of D Magazine and this very website probably recognize the name Tom Stephenson from our November cover story (on newsstands now!), in which he goes back to the scene of a grisly 1976 murder in Blue Mound. You should read his feature—Tom gets thrown in jail at one point, and there’s plenty of mind-boggling police incompetence. It ends with something close to a showdown in a trailer with an angry pit bull.

But Tom is more than one of D’s original writers. He sells ranches. He leads hunting trips and safaris in Africa. He started the Greenville Avenue Parade as a way to get people into his bar at the end of the street. He partied with Jake LaMotta and Evander Holyfield in a suite high above Atlanta. He was close friends with Blackie Sherrod, perhaps this city’s finest writer. He painted an elephant green. He once wrestled a bear. He dated Priscilla Davis. I’m not making any of this up, and I could keep going, but I’d probably be spoiling this podcast. But then again, hearing Tom tell these stories is way better than reading these pithy descriptions.

He talks a lot about that Blue Mound case, but there’s also a fair amount about his life. Both those things together make for a must-listen. Show notes after the jump.

1. Yes, Zac has indeed adopted Luka Doncic as his second son. Paperwork is pending.

2. Go read Tom’s story and come back.

3. Learn a little more about the late Stephen Philbin, one of the best media lawyers in all of Texas.

4. Here is a video of someone firing a .303 Enfield rifle, which should tell you just how difficult it would be to kill five people with it.

5. “If you wanna get a really good divorce going, invite Skip Hollandsworth to your table.” That’s just a quality quote. Tom says that about Priscilla Davis, the Fort Worth woman who alleged that her estranged multi-millionaire husband, Cullen Davis, murdered her lover and their daughter. (Cullen was acquitted, but questions lingered for years later.) In 1977, Tom wrote this story about it, one of the finest has ever published.

6. Tom somehow got his hands on the testimony from the Tarrant County grand jury interviewing the surviving member of the Joplin family. We put them online, here and here.

7. Here’s the Wiki for Lon Evans, the former Tarrant County Sheriff.

8. And here is the Wiki for Don DeVine, the old Packers coach that Tom talks about.

9. Here’s an old story that mention’s Tom’s role in launching the St. Patty’s Day Parade.

10. The last time put a writer’s name on the cover was this 2003 Nancy Nichols feature about a couple diners who died after eating bad oysters.

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