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True Crime Stories - Texas Style

Stephenville, Tex. (SPECIAL)- Bill Neal, attorney and author of From Guns to Gavels, Getting Away with Murder on the Texas Frontier, and most recently Sex, Murder, and the Unwritten Law, will tell true crime stories of Texas at the W.K. Gordon Center in Thurber, Texas on Sunday at 2:30, November 8, 2009. He combines a natural talent for storytelling with meticulously documented research to bring to life a number of notorious killings and murder trials that occurred on the infamous, rowdy, Texas frontier. Neal will sign copies of his books, which will be available for purchase. Admission is free. 

From the 1880s until after World War I, Texas prosecutions for adultery, rape, fornication, seduction, and sodomy were many, but formal penal code seemed much too merciful to suit most southerners, who believed in direct and personal redress of such wrongs. "Unwritten law" could to justify the killing-or at least maiming-of almost anyone who by actual physical contact or inappropriate comment offended southern notions of female virtue, male honor, or sanctity of marriage. In this third book, Neal explores the imaginative machinations of defense lawyers who outmaneuvered prosecutors and judges to extricate their obviously guilty clients. These courtroom triumphs and underlying strategies are remarkable to lawyers, historians, and laypersons alike.

Bill Neal practiced criminal law in West Texas for forty years: twenty as a defense attorney and twenty as a prosecutor in seven counties. A graduate of Hardin‐Simmons University in Abilene and the University of Texas Law School, Neal was comment editor of the Texas Law Review and served for a year as a briefing attorney for the Texas Supreme Court. Both of Neal's previous books received the Rupert N. Richardson Award for the best book on West Texas history from the West Texas Historical Association.

The Gordon Center, a museum and research facility of Tarleton State University, is located at exit 367 on Interstate 20 midway between Fort Worth and Abilene. The center is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 to 4 and on Sunday from 1 to 4. For more information please call 254-968-1886.