Charles Tessmer and PTA
[page 113, line 11]
A few words in closing with Charles Tessmer. In 30 years I’ve been practicing law I invited my mother and dad to come to see one trial that I was in. I was prosecuting a case, and Charles Tessmer was the defense attorney. I’ve tried Charles in two cases, murder cases. The first case, the defendant found his wife — she was supposed to be at the PTA meeting. Instead she was at the Debonair Danceland. He came home from a long-haul truck drive in Garland, Texas, found her out at the Debonair, drug her home, and proceeded to assassinate her — excuse me — kill her. Charles’ defense was that he just — he caught her, you know, he was distraught, he went home, he was packing away his pistol, you know, to leave the house, they got in a scuffle. It was either an accident or self-defense, and the defendant was in fact acquitted.
The second case I tried with Charles Tessmer, the defendant was separated from his wife, he calls her from near Fort Worth, says “I’m coming over there; I’m going to kill you.” He comes over there. He doesn’t kill her; he kills her brother. Charles tells the jury in voir dire, he says, “Well, we’re going to ask you to find the defendant guilty of voluntary manslaughter.” I thought that was rather awkward. He said, “After the punishment stage we’re going to ask you to grant this defendant ten years probation.” Here again, the defendant — the evidence was he phones her up, we’ve got all this in evidence. He’s coming over, he’s going to kill her. Sure enough voluntary manslaughter and ten years probation.
So Tessmer is the golden throat. He was and is one of the best trial lawyers anywhere any time, embarrassed me in front of my family, you know. Gosh, it was one of those 15, 20-minute verdicts. But my story on Charles is exactly the opposite. Instead of him being the flashy dresser in that particular jury, Charlie takes off the Rolex, takes off all the jewelry, you know, and everything, has his Mason jewelry on, you know, and his Timex watch and smooth talked that jury just like he has many, many times.
And I — you know, I was super impressed. My family left, you know, kind of said. But I told them that it’s the way it — that’s the way it goes. Win a few, lose a few. And so that was my experience with Charles Tessmer.
MR. TESSMER: You missed something very important. Blackie Sherrod was at that criminal bar party but never had a drink. So he was sitting next to me in front of the Assistant District Attorney. He took one look at that and hit the door. I asked him later, I said, “Why, Blackie?” He said, “I thought there might be a trial.” That’s the closest witness to it.
MR. LUCAS: That’s true. But, again, the times were good. I wish you could have been there during some of the experiences we had back then. But, you know, the D.A.’s office continues. It’s been brought up by Mr. Vance. I’m sure Bill Hill is going to do an excellent job too. But we appreciate y’all coming and sticking with us through this tonight. Thank you.
(Pause for reporter.)