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A Murder In Texas


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#121 arcophile

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Posted Sunday, October 12, 2008 at 7:47 PM

Kiekie, This is my first post on this forum. I feel the same way that you do in that I thought I was the only one obsessed with this case. Glad to know there are others. I now live in PA but lived in Houston from 83 through 93. At one point when I first moved there, I worked in the River Oaks area. My friend and I decided to have a day where we just explored all of the areas, or as many as possible, pertaining to this case. We saw Joan's house, Ash's house, went to the pharmacy where Dr. Hill possibly bought someting to induce vomiting, we went to the grave too and just did all kinds of weird things since I was so into this case. i have pictures of me at the grave and it did not have a tree growing on it at that time but that has been at least 15 years ago. Anyhow, just wanted to respond to this. I just signed up in order to do so! I have been "homesick" for Houston lately due to it being on the news because of Ike. Hope all of you who live there are OK. My thoughts are often of Houston and of this case too.
Lisa

Ok... I too have been simply fascinated with this case and its participants. I first read about the case as a 10 year old when I sneaked into a Cosmo and read the snippets of "Blood and Money". As I recall, they had other additional pictures that were not included in the book. I've read the book as a teenager and again as an adult, and I've visited most of the sites involved (grave, both houses on Kirby, etc.) As an aside, Ash's house was a really nice, mid century home. It was likely quite modern and innovative at the time, and I think was red brick. It now looks ultra modern...all white with dark windows. It doesn't look a thing like the original after it was redone. I've always wanted to see inside the Hill house and see the music room. I clicked on the real estate photos, but they don't seem to still be active (although I could have done it incorrectly). Does anyone have the photos that could share? Finally, I would buy the ticket and go to the Halloween benefit, but I'm out of town that weekend. I hope they continue so I can attend! Does anyone have pics or know if you can actually see inside the entire home?

Thanks to all that included original pictures and newspaper articles. It is fascinating, and I'm glad to have found my way to this commentary.

#122 InTheLoop

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Posted Tuesday, October 14, 2008 at 11:37 AM

I have a very close relative who picked the dress that Joan Robinson was buried in; they were good
friends and went to Stephens College together.

She was positive that Hill killed her friend - and I completely believe her.

John Hill was a very clever, very spoiled mama's boy. He spent $ like a drunken sailor.

I also don't buy the "just a burglary" story. Long before her murder, Mr. Ash Robinson HATED Hill and did not trust him.
Money was one reason, but his treatment of Joan irked him a great deal. When Hill was killed, Mr. Robinson was already
an old man and his major reason for living -his beautiful talented daughter- was taken from him. He knew exactly what
to do, and I'm glad he got his revenge.

There has not been a photo posted that does justice to what a knockout Joan Robinson was - movie star material!

#123 Vertigo58

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Posted Tuesday, October 14, 2008 at 12:33 PM

I have a very close relative who picked the dress that Joan Robinson was buried in; they were good
friends and went to Stephens College together.

She was positive that Hill killed her friend - and I completely believe her.

John Hill was a very clever, very spoiled mama's boy. He spent $ like a drunken sailor.

I also don't buy the "just a burglary" story. Long before her murder, Mr. Ash Robinson HATED Hill and did not trust him.
Money was one reason, but his treatment of Joan irked him a great deal. When Hill was killed, Mr. Robinson was already
an old man and his major reason for living -his beautiful talented daughter- was taken from him. He knew exactly what
to do, and I'm glad he got his revenge.

There has not been a photo posted that does justice to what a knockout Joan Robinson was - movie star material!



I too am convinced of your statements above. Spoiled, rich, momma's boy in fact. :angry:

The TV film was an event for us as well. Gotta see again, its been eons. The actor that plays him hits it perfectly. A true scoundral in every sense of the word. Santo cielo!

Edited by Vertigo58, Tuesday, October 14, 2008 at 12:35 PM.

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#124 bamfan

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Posted Thursday, November 20, 2008 at 5:49 PM

I too am convinced of your statements above. Spoiled, rich, momma's boy in fact. :angry:

The TV film was an event for us as well. Gotta see again, its been eons. The actor that plays him hits it perfectly. A true scoundral in every sense of the word. Santo cielo!



If you mean the movie "Murder In Texas" is was Sam Elliot who played John Hill... he did do a good job!
My best friend and I were in the River Oaks area last summer; we went by the (former) Hill house and it was very strange. We thought the neighboring houses were very classic and "open" despite being on such a busy (Kirby) street, but the Hill house was really closed off, the tall hedges in front and tall iron gates give it a really ominous look... even if you didn't know something sad had happened there. Later, we found this thread and read the story of the current residents who had the Halloween Party with people dressed as Joan and Dr. John... wow, even we "California girls" were offended at such bad taste! And we also saw Ash's home further down Kirby, which I understand has been remodeled and is completely different than it looked when the Robinson's lived there. The really amazing thing to us was how the thread photos of the inside of the Hill house, especially the "music room" are so opulent, but when you drive down Brentwood and see the room over the garage (where, according to "Blood and Money" the music room was located) is looks small and nothing more than a storage space. We also thought the "eternal flame" outdoor lights were a little over the top and creepy in the middle of a summer afternoon! If you have a chance to drive by sometime, its really something to see... might send a chill up your spine.
I wish Dominick Dunne would profile this story! Oh, and there is a short news archive from CBS news from the early 1980's I have seen that shows "Boot" and Connie (3rd Mrs. Hill) and has an interesting interview with Joan's friend Dottie who was a nurse. Its worth borrowing from Vanderbilt (can be found online) News Archives!
I have some photos but they're too large to upload with this entry so I will try again on another entry!


#125 H-TownBornAndBred

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Posted Friday, January 2, 2009 at 6:13 PM

Joan Hill kept her horses at the Cyandy Stables which were on S. Gessner close to the bayou. Back then this was beyond the city limits and, more or less out in the country. Houston was a much different place then. The pace was much slower, the city much smaller, and there was still plenty of greenspace even in the inner city.



The name of the stables was actually Chatsworth Farms... stables & grand old plantation style home owned by Ash Robinson and later his personal physician Dr. Howard Seigler (& the father-in-law of the lady prosecutor who recently ran for DA) ...it was on S. Gessner, between Bissonnet & S Braeswood before they tore it down and built a Public Storage where it stood... I learned to ride English saddle there, on Robert Hill's horse Tony... kept my own gift from Dr. Seigler there as well, a dapple grey ex-jumper that Joan had shown, until it was sold to a family (whose daughter I went to STM & SAA with, by strange coincidence) who had it for a few years before selling it to the entity that razed it... spent many a grand time there... and miss it still...

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#126 e streeter

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Posted Friday, January 2, 2009 at 9:48 PM

The name of the stables was actually Chatsworth Farms... stables & grand old plantation style home owned by Ash Robinson and later his personal physician Dr. Howard Seigler (& the father-in-law of the lady prosecutor who recently ran for DA) ...it was on S. Gessner, between Bissonnet & S Braeswood before they tore it down and built a Public Storage where it stood... I learned to ride English saddle there, on Robert Hill's horse Tony... kept my own gift from Dr. Seigler there as well, a dapple grey ex-jumper that Joan had shown, until it was sold to a family (whose daughter I went to STM & SAA with, by strange coincidence) who had it for a few years before selling it to the entity that razed it... spent many a grand time there... and miss it still...


cyandy stables was on gessner, and braeswood used to dead end there. i remember driving by it to saa and thinking that is where john hill supposedly ran his second wife off the road per her book prescription murder. it might have been chatsworth at one time, but by the 70's it was cyandy stables.

#127 Delve

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Posted Saturday, January 3, 2009 at 1:57 PM

Wasn't that music 'room' actually supposed to have been an addition to the house?

I believe -- but I'm not a hundred percent certain -- that the famous "music room" was built as a second floor to Hill's detached multi-car garage.

As for the precise sequence of events on the night Hill was shot and killed at his home, my thanks to nm5k for setting me straight on all those details. The result was the same though. Hill was dead dead dead.



I do freelance catering and worked an event at the old Hill's house the other day. I didn't know (the first 30 minutes of being there) that I was in the "River Oaks murder house"...but someone let me in on it soon enough. The music room is upstairs over the garage..it's now set up as more of a 'ballroom' with a piano and small seating area off to one side. It has a mural painted over the entire ceiling (something the new owners added?). It has an exit to one side that leads to a small balcony and huge staircase that will take you to the backyard where the pool is.

Okay..I'm well over a year late with this info, but thought I'd tell it anyway. I'm now (of course) looking up all the stories written about this incident.

#128 Tilly

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Posted Saturday, January 10, 2009 at 10:24 PM

Ok I am Mary come lately to this and I registered here when I found this topic on a google search.



My mother use to show on the American Saddlebred circuit with Joan Robinson back in the 60’s. I also showed American Saddlebreds growing up and into college. There are a lot of career horse people who are still very much involved who knew and remember her and her horses and will talk about her.



My mother collected everything to do with the case and her intense interest and fascination with the whole affair rubbed right off on me. She said that Joan was very pretty and was a lot of fun but very serious about the sport. She also had the very best of everything including having her riding habits match the horses color that she was riding (as was stated in the book about having her grey riding habit match Beloved Belinda perfectly).



My father also had some connection with John Hill. He was a well known attorney pioneering in defense medical malpractice, Cooley as well as numerous other Doctors in that social set where clients of his. He was very curious about the whole case and read the book too (he always said he could have gotten John Hill off) but if he talked with any of the doctors connected to the case he never got off into in front of us. He told my mother it was off limits when she was around those physicians for obvious reasons.



It was the extensive relationships with many high profile doctors that always kept interesting stories of this nature in play at our dinner table. My father also had a very close relationship with Dr. Jerry Francisco that did the autopsy on Martin Luther King Jr. and Elvis Presley. We happened to be in Memphis when Elvis died for a quick stop on a return from vacation. My father got to set in on the autopsy. I always thought it was funny that they pushed his autopsy till the late afternoon because they were taking us kids to Star Wars.



I lived in NYC for 14 years and for a few years did marketing and pr for a French perfume company in the early 90’s. One day I was in the company’s boutique when a client from Houston came in. One thing led to another and I brought up Joan Robinson and it turned out the gentleman and his wife had grown up their entire lives in Houston Oaks and knew the family very well.



The gentleman told me that Mrs. Robinson while not on the social circuit like her daughter was a major cocktailer and that she drank so much that the police would just follow her home if she was behind the wheel to make sure she did not hurt herself or anyone else. There was one time she missed a turn in the neighborhood and parked her car halfway in someones living room. That was in the good old 60’s though, when those type of things could be taken care of with a check and phone call…. It seemed she was dressed very well when she had this little mishap because he said he remember her flowered hat and she was wearing gloves when they pulled her out of the car.



He told me that Boot Hill actually was living in NYC and sure enough I looked him up and he was in the phone book (this was back in the early 90's so he might have moved). I never called even though I really wanted to, I was going to introduce myself through my mother and the horse set but thought better of it down the road and let it be.



The gentleman from Houston (it was so many years ago I wish I could remember his name) said that most of his parents inner circle believed that John killed Joan outright and that Ash did not want to take a chance of him getting off so he had him killed. It seemed no one at the country club or the petroleum club blamed the old man and most said they would have done the same thing.



This guy also told me that about every 10 years Texas has a really good murder (I guess JFK covers the 60's). He also steered me to read Texas Justice about Cullen Davis who ironically was also defended by Racehorse Haynes. That movie was a doozey too with Heather Locklear playing his wife Pricilla.



I know I got off topic a few times, sorry about that….



I read this whole thread, thanks for all the insight. I hope there is additional posters. The subject still holds my interest and I think I might go and re-read the book because it has been years.

Edited by Tilly, Saturday, January 10, 2009 at 10:29 PM.

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#129 Kimmy

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Posted Sunday, January 25, 2009 at 9:49 PM

Took a field trip today with my new Rebel, here are some pictures of the house

http://www.flickr.co...57612991659638/

and

http://www.flickr.co...57612990921032/

#130 Tilly

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Posted Sunday, January 25, 2009 at 11:54 PM

Took a field trip today with my new Rebel, here are some pictures of the house

http://www.flickr.co...57612991659638/

and

http://www.flickr.co...57612990921032/



Thank you for the pictures!

I went to google earth and look at the home but your shots are much better, even though you can go down the street, around the corner and by her parents home.

The home two doors down from her mother's and father's home 1049 Kirby Drive (going toward Joan's) is for sale.

Here is a link and you can go to "Mape It" and hit the areal view...

http://search.har.co...mp;backButton=Y

I really like the home. I think some of the modern furniture is to much of a good thing but love the clean lines of the interior...

Edited by Tilly, Monday, January 26, 2009 at 12:02 AM.

USS John C Stennis (CVN 74) God Bless the Jonnie Reb and those that guide her.

#131 Kimmy

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Posted Monday, January 26, 2009 at 10:16 AM

No problem! I am 40, so I don't remember any of this when it happened. I did see the movie and read both books after that. It's a fascinating story.

Reading the thread, I do think the Halloween costumes were a bit over the top .... There was a little grey kitty cat that came out while we were taking pictures, I couldn't help but think how odd, that it was grey, just like the horse.

I wish the weather had been better.

Anyway, enjoy the pics :)

#132 Tilly

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Posted Monday, January 26, 2009 at 7:46 PM

No problem! I am 40, so I don't remember any of this when it happened. I did see the movie and read both books after that. It's a fascinating story.

Reading the thread, I do think the Halloween costumes were a bit over the top .... There was a little grey kitty cat that came out while we were taking pictures, I couldn't help but think how odd, that it was grey, just like the horse.

I wish the weather had been better.

Anyway, enjoy the pics :)


I am 43, about to be 44 so I do not remember her death and all the who ha but I was old enough by the time the book came out and the movie. I am still going to go and re-read it.
USS John C Stennis (CVN 74) God Bless the Jonnie Reb and those that guide her.

#133 FilioScotia

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Posted Monday, January 26, 2009 at 8:20 PM

I am 43, about to be 44 so I do not remember her death and all the who ha but I was old enough by the time the book came out and the movie. I am still going to go and re-read it.

I do hope you're talking about Blood and Money by Tommy Thompson. That's one of the best reads you will ever see. It set the standard by which all other true-crime docu-books are still measured today.

Forget that trash by Ann Kurth. It's garbage. Which is precisely why Hollywood chose it for a TV movie.

Edited by FilioScotia, Monday, January 26, 2009 at 8:22 PM.


#134 Kimmy

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Posted Monday, January 26, 2009 at 11:16 PM

I do hope you're talking about Blood and Money by Tommy Thompson. That's one of the best reads you will ever see. It set the standard by which all other true-crime docu-books are still measured today.

Forget that trash by Ann Kurth. It's garbage. Which is precisely why Hollywood chose it for a TV movie.



Definately! Blood & Money was amazing, such detail, so articulate. I remember watching the movie, then reading Blood & Money, it was years later I read the Kurth book. I always wanted to go by the 'John Hill House', and always thought it was on River Oaks (there is a house that looked a lot like it on River Oaks, before San Felipe), I would always drive by on our way to Chuys.

The actual house, when you are there is kind of creepy, knowing all what went down.

Great thread to whoever started this! I'm going to have to re-read B&M now!

#135 Tilly

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Posted Monday, February 2, 2009 at 10:01 PM

I do hope you're talking about Blood and Money by Tommy Thompson. That's one of the best reads you will ever see. It set the standard by which all other true-crime docu-books are still measured today.

Forget that trash by Ann Kurth. It's garbage. Which is precisely why Hollywood chose it for a TV movie.


Yes Blood and Money, I read that crap by Ann Kurth and you are right, not worth the paper it was writen on. I read Blood and Money several times but it has been quite a few years.
USS John C Stennis (CVN 74) God Bless the Jonnie Reb and those that guide her.

#136 Dancing2MyHeart

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Posted Sunday, March 29, 2009 at 12:19 AM

cyandy stables was on gessner, and braeswood used to dead end there. i remember driving by it to saa and thinking that is where john hill supposedly ran his second wife off the road per her book prescription murder. it might have been chatsworth at one time, but by the 70's it was cyandy stables.


I am not quite sure how I ended up on the blog pages for this subject, but I knew Robert A. Hill personally back from 1974 - 1978. I actually dated his best friend for years (and have his child). Robert when I knew him was a very kind and loving person. He was vibrant, but as one could imagine was guarded. When I first met him I actually knew nothing about his families story.

I do remember going over to swim one evening in the pool and we later ended up in the library. The library was painted bright red back then. I was later told that was where in true life Dr. Hill was killed. We use to also go water skiing out at Lake Conroe during the summer.

I never asked Robert about the story out of respect for him and his family. I imagine even now it is probably a painful subject and he would much rather the public leave him alone.

I attended St. Agnes Academy and he attended Strake Jesuit Prep School next door. His best friend that I dated was Maxfield. My friend Linda (now deceased) dated Robert for a while when were in high school.

I have always remembered Robert as a person that was always respectful of others. He was thoughtful and kind. He would go out of his way to help others and make them smile.

I hope he has led and is still leading a life that is full of love and peaceful.

#137 Vertigo58

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Posted Sunday, March 29, 2009 at 5:56 AM

Very well said, Thank You. :)
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#138 Dancing2MyHeart

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Posted Sunday, March 29, 2009 at 8:17 AM

You may be interested to know that Robert Hill is now 46 years old, and he lives on the east coast where he's a prosecuting attorney. He won't talk about the murder case, nor will he reveal where he lives because he wants privacy.

Here's that link to a 1999 story about the Hill saga in the Laredo Times.
http://lmtonline.com...0319/pagea6.pdf


So what school did you go to? I went to the all girl school next to his and dated his best friend.

#139 FilioScotia

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Posted Sunday, March 29, 2009 at 10:19 AM

So what school did you go to? I went to the all girl school next to his and dated his best friend.

You talkin' to me? I was never acquainted with the Hill family. I'm only a participant here on this message board who was a local radio news reporter when the Hill murder case was in the news. I've done a considerable amount of Internet research to keep up with where people like Robert Hill are today.

I do hope you hang around and share your Hill family stories with the rest of us. At least, the stories you feel free to tell us.

Edited by FilioScotia, Sunday, March 29, 2009 at 10:20 AM.


#140 dakotafleming

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Posted Sunday, March 29, 2009 at 1:58 PM

http://blogs.chron.c...son_hill_1.html
Joan Robinson Hill and her horse, Trump Card, March 1965.

#141 Don Julio

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Posted Monday, March 30, 2009 at 11:48 PM

Okay folks...I had to dig DEEP in the archives to find this...you won't find these photos in Blood and Money or The Chronicle Archives...

The Heartbeats in 1968!

John Hill on tuba!

Denton Cooley on bass!

Posted Image

Detail of Hill:

Posted Image

The Heartbeats on stage!

Posted Image

Album liner notes

Posted Image

#142 nm5k

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Posted Thursday, April 2, 2009 at 12:02 AM

I do remember going over to swim one evening in the pool and we later ended up in the library. The library was painted bright red back then. I was later told that was where in true life Dr. Hill was killed.


That doesn't really make sense, unless the library was by the front door.
He was shot as he was entering the house after pushing his wife out of the way.
I think they found him on the floor right inside the front door if I remember right.
Kind of an entry foyer or something like that. I don't recall anything about a library.
But I'd have to double check the book to refresh myself on it. Been a while since I
read it.

#143 marketingwiz

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Posted Thursday, April 2, 2009 at 9:26 AM

Splendid work Don Julio! Thanks for sharing these photos. Makes we want to read Blood and Money again for the umpteenth time. This entire saga has intrigued me for years.

#144 Zephyr

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Posted Thursday, April 2, 2009 at 12:28 PM

As is the case with many of you here, I am also fascinated with this story. The Joan Hill murder occured my senior year of high school, and many were the times I drove by some of the locations mentioned in the Thompson book.

Sharpstown Hospital was on the outskirts of town, and was more of a country hospital back then. The stables that the Hills owned off of Memorial were actually in a rural area then.

The years have passed, and things have changed. This Houston native has been exiled to Dallas for nearly 30 years now, but I still get homesick. I may pick up my old, worn copy of Blood and Money and give it a read.

One thing I have wondered about over the years is what ever happened to Connie Hill. Does anyone know?
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#145 dakotafleming

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Posted Monday, April 13, 2009 at 5:56 AM

As is the case with many of you here, I am also fascinated with this story. The Joan Hill murder occured my senior year of high school, and many were the times I drove by some of the locations mentioned in the Thompson book.

Sharpstown Hospital was on the outskirts of town, and was more of a country hospital back then. The stables that the Hills owned off of Memorial were actually in a rural area then.

The years have passed, and things have changed. This Houston native has been exiled to Dallas for nearly 30 years now, but I still get homesick. I may pick up my old, worn copy of Blood and Money and give it a read.

One thing I have wondered about over the years is what ever happened to Connie Hill. Does anyone know?

Is it the stables where HPD horses are now?

#146 dakotafleming

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Posted Monday, April 13, 2009 at 6:15 AM

Has anybody ever found these pages before? It has interior photos of 1561 Kirby, including the famed music room. Just click on either of these links, find the photo of the exterior of the house on the top left corner and click where it says "View Photo Gallery."

That music room is really something!

http://www.har.com/H...p;MLNUM=7046841

http://www.har.com/H...mp;taxid=738999

links are dead

From real to reel
http://www.jimusnr.c...texaspage2.html

#147 Vertigo58

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Posted Monday, April 13, 2009 at 8:00 AM

links are dead

From real to reel
http://www.jimusnr.c...texaspage2.html



I am so tempted to just by the TV film DVD. :angry: :)
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#148 plumber2

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Posted Monday, April 13, 2009 at 8:41 PM

I am so tempted to just by the TV film DVD. :angry: :)


I've driven through Edcouch several times while bird hunting. This place, birth place and hometown of John Hill, is so out of the way, you wonder how he was able to advance and become so prominent with such humble beginnings.

#149 dakotafleming

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Posted Tuesday, April 28, 2009 at 5:59 AM

I've driven through Edcouch several times while bird hunting. This place, birth place and hometown of John Hill, is so out of the way, you wonder how he was able to advance and become so prominent with such humble beginnings.

I know,just like Jerry Lee Lewis,Mickey Gilley and J immy Swaggart coming outta a one horse town like Ferriday ,La......http://deesongs.homestead.com/files/standbyjimmyjerrymickey.jpg

Edited by dakotafleming, Tuesday, April 28, 2009 at 6:01 AM.


#150 OldArmy94

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Posted Thursday, May 7, 2009 at 9:18 AM

I've really enjoyed reading the posts here. I remember watching "Murder in Texas" around 1985 or so as a teenager. My mom filled me in on some of the details (she and Dad lived in northeast Texas at the time of the murder but moved to the Victoria area in 1971), and it really fascinated me. My wife hasn't seen the movie so I bought it on DVD and can't wait until it arrives in the mail. Growing up in the Coastal Bend area, Houston was "big town" for us, so this story is particularly compelling. I haven't been by the house on Kirby but I think I'll take the wife by there next time we're down that way.