Fear, Force, and Leather: The Texas Prison System&rsquot;s First Hundred Years 1848-1948

Minutes of the Texas Prison Board, July 24, 1934

Page 4

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Minutes of the Texas State Prison Board, July 24, 1934

the guns at that time but I did not know it then but do now and, of course,
was watching him. When we came on out I told him to look the boys up that
we caught in the tunnel and then I went to the ball game and had been there
some twenty or thirty minutes when the shooting started.”

Q.  Mr. Boyett: Did you tell Mr. Waid about the tunnelling [sic] when Mr. Barnett
first told you?

A.  No, the reason I did not bother about it was because they had 75-feet
to go, but I decided they might, in digging strike a tunnel where a drain
line had been laid and not have to dig all the way, and I did not want to
disturb Mr. Waid as I wanted him to go up home.

Q.  Did he go?

A.  Yes and spent one day.

Q.  Mr. Astin: Mr. Simmons, do you have any concrete idea as to where the
pistols came from?

A.  No, but there are three ways they could have gotten in. they could have
been throwed over the South Wall, could have been carried in by some trusty.

Q.  Are the trusties searched all the time?

A.  Yes, we have two men on duty at the West gate to search them. The other
was some woman in going through here visiting or to a show, could have
planted the guns. Or possibly I should have said four ways, the fourth being
some employee could have been bribed to put them in.

Q.  Mr. Boyett: Where did you get notice about they were tunnelling [sic] out?

A.  A convict told me.

Q.  When was that?

A.  About a week or ten days ago.

Q.  They were just working on the tunnel on Sunday?

A.  Yes, only on Sunday.

Q.  When did Mr. Waid go home?

A.  Tuesday or Wednesday.

Q.  You knew about this before Mr. Waid went home?

A.  Yes, several days, but I did not want to bother him with it as I wanted him
to make the trip.

Q.  Do you think any of the boys that went over the walls knew anything about
the tunnel?

A. No sir, nothing whatever.

Q.  When you saw Charlie Frazier in here you thought he was in on the tunnelling [sic]?

A.  When Mr. Moore came and told me I had better look out he was not at the
ball game, I thought it could be possible he was in on the tunnelling [sic],

Mr. Boyett: It looks to me like they are taking advantage of the ball game
to do their dirty work.

Mr. Simmons: When he made the other attempt, it was two o’clock in the morning.

Q.  Don’t you have any guards out there?

A.  Yes, we have one in the upper yard and one in the lower yard.

Q.  Do you think the outside help took advantage of the ball game?

A.  No, I think they were taking advantage of the time when the guard came to
feed the men in the death cells.

Q.  You and Mr. Waid were around the death cell at ten o’clock?

A.  Yes, I make it a rule that on each Sunday to visit the hospital and see
all the boys, and try to go in the death cell once or twice a week, and
especially on Sunday. When I came out in the lower hall I met Mr. Waid
and said I am going over to the death cell, and asked him if he had been
over. He said he had not been over in several days, so we went over as
we feel it our duty to just go over and visit with the boys.

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Minutes of the Texas Prison Board, July 24, 1934. Board of Criminal Justice minutes and meeting files, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Page last modified: August 17, 2011