One of the many reasons that I was excited about getting to work for the Harris County District Attorney's Office back in 1999 was that I would finally get to meet some of the heroes that I had read about in True Crime books as I was growing up. As I've mentioned before, there are many books about famous and notorious crimes that happened in Harris County.
Out of all the books that I read, my hands-down favorite was The Cop Who Wouldn't Quit by Rick Nelson which was written about then-HPD Homicide Detective Johnny Bonds. The book outlines how Johnny investigated the murders of John, Diana and Kevin Wanstrath, a husband and wife and their 14-month old son. I highly recommend reading the book, if you can find it in print.
Johnny became one of my biggest heroes after reading it. The case had originally been ruled a double-murder/suicide until Johnny spent two years proving it was a murder for hire. Along the way, he also proved that the killers involved in the case had also murdered Diana Wanstrath's mother.
The crimes were horrific and they were all for money.
Ultimately, two men would receive the death penalty on the case -- one was the shooter and the other was the person who hired him. A third person, however, received 30 years in prison.
Which is why I'm writing this post today, on Johnny's behalf.
That third person's name was Walt Waldhauser, who after paroling out for the four murders he was responsible for, changed his name to Michael Lee Davis and began operating financial scams out of Dallas. If I recall correctly, those scams involved him bilking terminally ill AIDS patients out of their insurance money. Those actions landed him back in prison for 60 years, but he's already up for parole again.
Johnny and I (and pretty much anybody who is opposed to quadruple murders for money that also involve the deaths of small children) are hoping that YOU will help keep Waldhauser in prison by contacting the parole board and letting them know that you, John Q. Citizen, oppose his release.
Brian Rogers did a great article on the Waldhauser situation with this article yesterday, and KHOU also did this piece on the story. (NOTE: Watch the video on the KHOU story. You'll see some familiar faces involved in the case.)
Both pieces are great, and I hope you will want to contact the Parole Board to let them know that anyone who would show no remorse over the murder of four people (including a 14-month old child) doesn't deserve to be paroled.
If you have time, please let the representatives of the Parole Board know how you feel. You can contact them by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with a reference line of "RE: DAVIS, MICHAEL LEE TDCJ ID: 00933173".
Alternate means of contacting them are calling 1-800-848-4284 or 512-406-5900.
You can also write a letter to:
Angela McCown, Director
Victim Services Division
8712 Shoal Creek Blvd., Suite 265
Austin, TX 78757-6899
Guys, Johnny has battled cancer and is fighting it off a second time. If he's got the energy to mobilize and try to keep this guy in prison, writing a quick e-mail doesn't seem so much to ask.