John Terrell has proven himself to be a doggedly determined detective. Long after he retired from the Fort Worth Police Department in 1985, he continued pursuing a killer. Carla Walker, a Western Hills High School student, was murdered in 1974, and her killer has never been caught, at least officially.
Terrell said a suspect named William Ted Wilhoit hinted that he had done it, but the old detective could never prove it. Terrell later accused police of bungling the investigation and losing evidence. For more than 20 years, Terrell has tried to find closure for Walker’s family … and for himself. He badgered homicide detectives under former Police Chief Thomas Windham and continued hammering them after Ralph Mendoza took the department’s reins.
He self-published a book. He helped create a web site, http://www.justiceforcarla.com. He wrote letters and made long-distance calls to probation officers after Wilhoit got out of prison after serving time for another crime. But nobody in law enforcement seems to care about the Walker case anymore, Terrell said, and he has finally grown tired of shouting into the wind. So, he’s giving up. At 77 and a widower, he sees his life dwindling down and wants to ease his mind.
“All my files on Carla Walker have been boxed up,” he wrote recently to Static colleague Jeff Prince, who had chronicled Terrell’s work. “There is nothing left in my computer files. I know when I am licked. To be honest, like after a good ass-whupping, it feels good to rest and lick my wounds. I just wanted to say thanks again for the stories you wrote. They told the truth and are in part responsible for the case, after so many years, still being on the lips of so many.”
Best of all, Terrell said, he is finally “sleeping like a baby.”
Static called Terrell just to make sure he was serious. “I’m taking life easy,” he said. “It’s time to put it to rest … unless something pops up.”
Look Out Below
Leave it to Don Young to figure out a way to connect the Barnett Shale gas drilling controversy to … well, almost anything – noise pollution, air pollution, water pollution, road damage, brain damage, Jessica and Tony flyin’ down to Mexico. But … beer sales at Six Flags? Only the Eastside environmentalist could have come up with that connection, perhaps after too much sunflower wine or something.
The analogy is to the thinly veiled “6 Flaggs” offering bonus checks to folks willing to “lease their bellies for beer consumption” at the theme park. Huh? That’s what Static said, but forget logic here. Young further “reported” that, to cope with public outcry over suds sales, park officials would install beer kegs as sound buffers around noisy drinkers. In his parallel-universe tale, complaints subsided after churches and neighborhoods started cashing in on the beer-belly lease money. The next logical step: beer sales in schools, of course, but only “low-calorie, light beers.”
Static didn’t really need Don’s prose to come up with reasons why Six Flags beer booths would be a baaaad idea. Have you ever ridden that thing called the Titan? Or even the bunny-slope roller-coasters? Or that thingy where the compartment spins and centrifugal force pins you and 30 sweaty strangers up against the sides while the floor drops out from under you?
Think about it folks – hot summer days, beer, young people, beer, dizzying rides, beer, and centrifugal force? Can you say barf? Barf over several counties? Barf from the height of a six-story building? Barf that stays with you as the floor drops away? Ooh, Static’s feeling a little queasy. Must lie down. Put cold one to forehead. Back to you, Don.