Death in Texas : two privileged sons and a killing that still haunts a small town




Watts, Elena Anita

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Intrigue and tragedy are inherent in murder. Justice is not. What role does wealth play? At the very least, money buys access to limitless expert witnesses and the best and brightest attorneys. Today, all killings are felonies except those deemed justifiable. But that was not the case in Victoria, Texas, in 1976 when young, handsome and wealthy rancher Hampton C. Robinson III shot young, handsome and wealthy rancher Thomas Traylor Bauer in the back of the head. Criminally negligent homicide was a misdemeanor. And unlike the law today, the judge was allowed to reduce the full range of charges and provide jurors only two: murder or criminally negligent homicide. Convicted of a misdemeanor, Hampton Robinson served less than a year in jail. His crime began a downward spiral that took other lives and led to his self-destruction.



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