Buckles and Tegin, Burns Parham gets shot at
[page 81, line 24]
My only other story — and as I promised Judge Vance and Judge Ellis I would be brief. My only other story is a story that’s got a little tragedy — well, it’s got a lot of tragedy to it in a way, but it’s an interesting story and it — I was personally involved in it.
In 1969 I took what was called a sabbatical for a year. Actually, it turned into two years. I — a sabbatical, as most of y’all know — or all of y’all probably know — is let the land lay foul, let the land replenish itself. And it was pretty much pretty women and good whiskey and fast cars for that year in ’69 and then ’70 also. But I had — since all of the three or four mentioned things are expensive, I had to do something to kind of take care of those, you know. I had to make a living a little bit. So I officed in Grand Prairie, Texas. I had a new Corvette and several nice-looking girlfriends and a lot of good whiskey, but I still had — I still had to do something to make a living. So I practiced a little bit of law.
Well, I had a six-week vacation planned for Europe in the summer of ’69. The way I date this story so well is I was in Stockholm, Sweden, when Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon. I was listening to it on the radio. It was probably — I remember that, so it was probably July of ’69.
Well, right before I left to go to Europe for my six-week vacation, there was a man came in to see me, and his name was Buckles. Mr. Buckles had a used car lot out in Grand Prairie. And Mr. Buckles, his lessor was a man named — let me see here — Tegins. Mr. Tegins was a multimillionaire and he had the Spiedel wristwatch or wristband watch — wristwatch band I should say, for the entire state of Texas and he was a multimillionaire.
Mr. Buckles came in to see me and he said, “I’ve received this letter from a lawyer named Buddy Grantham. Now, Buddy Grantham is a big, rough-tough guy, a real nice guy, a lawyer in Grand Prairie. And Buddy’s main claim to fame is that he was a quarterback for Rice in the 1954 Cotton Bowl when that guy Dickey Maple was running making that 90-something-yard run down the sidelines, and I think it was playing Alabama. And a guy that came off the bench without a helmet and tackled Dickey Maple. Well, Buddy Grantham was the quarterback for Rice in that game.
Well, Buckles had got a letter from — from Buddy Grantham about Mr. Tegins wanting to take his — take his property back over because Buckles was behind in his rent. And so I wrote — I had known Buddy Grantham before. We had done a divorce case or two together or something like that. And so I wrote Buddy a letter back. I said, “Buddy, we’ll get this thing worked out. My client will get caught up on the rent now.” Well, Buddy called me back and he said, “We don’t want your client to get caught up on his rent; we want him out of there.” And I said, “Well, Buddy, we’ll get caught up on the rent.” Well, Buddy said, “No, Randy, you don’t understand. We want him out of there. You’re client’s crazy.” Well, I had had a divorce case with Buddy before where he had said my client was crazy. So I said, “Buddy, you’re always telling me my clients are crazy.” He said, “Well your client’s crazy, we want him out of there.”
So Buckles came into the office, and this is about the time I’m fixing to leave in the summer of ’69 for a vacation in Europe. And I say to my client, “Look, you’re dead in the water; you ain’t go no chance.” And he said, “Well, I just want to go to court and have my day in court.” I said, “Well, okay. If that’s what you’ve got to do, you’ve got to do it, if you pay me fees.” He said, “Okay, I’ll pay your fees.” Well, I’m fixing to leave to go to Europe, and they wanted him out of there. So there was a forcible entry detainer case filed. So my — at that time, the guy who I officed with, who was also the City Judge of Grand Prairie named Jack Kincaid, I said, “Jack, go down and handle this guy’s case for him because I’m fixing to go on a six-week vacation to Europe.” So Jack went down and handled the case for him.
Well, here’s Buddy — like I said, Buddy was a quarterback at Rice, Buddy’s a big, rough-tough guy and all that. But Buddy didn’t want to get involved in this case. He had previously represented this guy Tegins before, before the city council, trying to get a pizza parlor put in out there through the zoning ordinances in Grand Prairie. But Buddy didn’t want to represent this guy because Buddy really and truly thought that Buckles was crazy, which I think history will prove out as I tell you as we go along.
So Buddy told Tegins, he said, “Look, there’s a guy right down the road right down here by the name of Burns Parham who’s an excellent lawyer. Now, Burns I guess still practices in Grand Prairie. And the reason he gave Tegins for it was, he said, “Buckles’ daughter works here in the bank where I office, and there’s a conflict of interest.” But really and truly, Buddy just wanted, you know, out of the deal.
So Tegins went down the road and hired Burns Parham. And Jack Kincaid went to court with — with Buckles, and they had a hearing before a very colorful judge named Fred “Red” Harris. Fred “Red” Harris considered himself something of an amateur artist. And I don’t know if any of y’all know anything about art — I certainly don’t — but it’s my understanding that artists learn to paint a particular scene and they do it repetitiously because they become very skilled, like a waterfall or a bridge and the shadow under it, or something or another like that.
Well, for some odd reason Fred “Red” Harris’s favorite scene that he put in all of his paintings was the rear end of horses. I mean, every painting you say in Fred “Red” Harris’s offices had two or three horses at the hitching rail, and it was from their rear end looking forward towards the saloon. I mean, that was his kind of specialty.
Well, now, Jack Kincaid, when I got back from my vacation in Europe, told me as follows. He said that — that Tegins got on the witness stand and testified. And he said that Buckles got on the witness stand and testified. And he said that Buckles broke down and started crying, and Fred “Red” Harris told him to quit crying. And so he quit crying. And of course Fred “Red” Harris found against Buckles because, I mean, Tegins was clearly in the right. So — and this is where the story gets really strange.
The trial is over. Jack walks — he leaves Buckles and walks out the back — the Jackson side of the Allen courthouse, the Jackson street side of the Allen courthouse. Tegins and Burns Parham are walking out of the Jackson street side of the Allen courthouse. Buckles has a two-shot derringer. Buckles walks up to — behind Tegins and kills him. One shot, kills him dead.
Well, Burns Parham takes off running to the east side of the Allen courthouse, and there’s some big flower pots out there that are about five-foot tall. Well, Burns Parham gets down in behind one of these flower pots. Buckles fires his second round at Burns Parham, and he misses him. And about this time — so a couple of deputy sheriffs are either walking by or hear what’s going on outside and come out and get Buckles.
Well, Buckles went on trial here in Dallas in — right after that. Emmett Cobb, who was a very fine prominent Dallas lawyer at the time, represented Buckles. And he got him — he got him off on insanity. So Buckles goes down to — he goes down to Rusk down there, and about a year and a half later they turn him loose.
Well, Burns Parham has told me this story as well as he has told Buddy Grantham this story, that he was walking into a restaurant about a year and a half after Buckles had tried to kill him, he’s walking into a restaurant and here’s Buckles walking out. And Burns Parham said it was living living life all over again. “I thought the guy was back to try to kill be again.”
I get back from Europe, Jack Kincaid brings me up to date on all these things. And so I see Buddy later on. I said, “You know, Buddy, you said my client was crazy. And I think maybe you was right this time.” And he said, “Well, I tell you why I said he was crazy, Randy.” He said, “After I had represented Tegins in that pizza place deal, before the city council I had an occasion to be down at city council about three months before I wrote you that letter wanting Buckles out of the place.” And he said, “Buckles” — he had that used car lot that was leasing at the time from Tegins and the — he had a trailer parked out there, like a house trailer. And in this house trailer he had a night watchman living because people kept breaking into the property or stealing from him there in his car lot. And the city council didn’t like that because it violated an ordinance.
And a man named Kirk Waggoner was mayor at the time. And Kirk — and Buckles is up in front of the city council, according to Buddy, and what he had witnessed three months before and the reason that he suddenly developed this conflict of interest later on in the Tegins matter — and he said to — or Kirk Waggoner said to Buckles, he said, “Mr. Buckles, do you understand that you are violating the city ordinance, and for every day you’ve got that trailer on that property we could fine you $200?” And Buckles responded, “Well, look, you know, I need that for my night watchman to look after my property.” He said, “It don’t make no difference; we could fine you $200 for every day.” So Buckles said to — he said to Kirk Waggoner, “Well, what if I don’t pay the fine?” And Waggoner said back to Buckles, he said, “Well, if you don’t I guess we’ll put you in jail.”
Now, this is the reason that Buddy decides it was a conflict of interest later on down the road. Buckles looked up at the mayor, and I think there was five city councilmen — or the mayor and four city councilmen up there. Buckles looked up at the mayor, and he said, “Well, if you put me in jail, you better put me in jail for a long, long time because if you do I’m going to kill you and I’m going to kill you and I’m going to kill you and I’m going to kill you and I’m going to kill you.” And one of the city councilmen said, “Let’s set this thing off for next week.”
Thank y’all. It’s been a pleasure being here.