Author Michael Barajas

iceboxmurdersThere’s nothing quite like a good, old-fashioned murder mystery, and when it comes to creepy cold cases, Houston has plenty of ’em to choose from. From the notorious I-45 “Killing Fields” to the grisly, gut-churning “Ice Box Murders,” the Bayou City has been home to some seriously disturbing, and unsolved, murder mysteries.

These are Houston’s five most unsettling — and unsolved — murder mysteries. Time to sleep with the lights on, folks.

featimg2_262015Cara had just jumped out of the shower, thrown on a T-shirt and plopped down on the couch to finish some homework when she heard someone pounding at the front door. She was stunned by what she saw when she peered out the window: Several uniformed police officers had gathered on her lawn, some, she thought, with guns drawn, “like I was some killer or something.” Police cruisers swarmed the front of her father’s League City home.

feat_img_6_4Coty Beavers was in his northwest Houston apartment on November 12, 2012, when the bullets ripped through him from behind. Whoever pulled the trigger slipped out as easily as he had gotten in, leaving the 28-year-old to die on the floor.

Two days earlier, a dark-haired man with thick eyebrows perched above his glasses had been wandering around the Legacy Park Apartments, asking people if they knew which apartment was Beavers’s. He looked to be maybe in his forties, with an average build. A police sketch didn’t turn up any leads.

A man known to the public as “Bear,” who killed an alligator who killed a moron last week, has been issued a  “warning citation” by the tough-as-feathers Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “Investigators concluded that the unprecedented circumstances of the case, believed to be the first fatal alligator attack in Texas on record, warrant no further action.”

hou_fea_20150514_opener_eweinsteinThe phone is what first woke Shirley Harrison the morning of February 1, 1994. It was around 5 o’clock and Shirley was still groggy from sleep when she picked up and heard the voice of her family’s pastor. He asked if Shirley had recently checked on her mother. He then told Shirley that her brother, Millet Harrison, had just called him to deliver an unnerving message: “I just killed the devil.”

featimg_10_29It is 1:33 p.m. on November 21, 2011, and Lawrence Chapa has a few more minutes left to live. The burly truck driver is sitting in the cluttered cabin of his red Kenworth T600, an 18-wheeler parked at the dead end of Hollister Street in suburban northwest Houston. There is a newspaper propped open before his worn and wrinkled face, a pair of cell phones tucked in his jeans, and 31 black bags stuffed with marijuana stacked in the sleeper compartment behind him. It has been a long trip for Chapa, to the Mexican border and back. Now he is near the end.

feat_img_10_22_courtesytntCourtesy TNT

In a rush to persecute a prosecutor and make a martyr of David Temple, the media neglected to compare a judge’s damning findings to the actual trial record. If they had, they would have seen that the findings don’t stand up to scrutiny — they’re a flawed and often contradictory assessment of what actually occurred at trial. A closer look doesn’t suggest proof of a reckless prosecutor caught in her tracks but of shrewd defense attorneys able to kick up enough dust to cloud a judge’s vision.

screen_shot_2016-05-23_at_2.36.51_pmA student who was found bound and gagged in a bathroom at the University of Houston Law Center claimed she was kidnapped was apparently not actually kidnapped, according to the Above the Law.

In an email obtained by the legal blog, the dean of the law school assured students there was no abduction or crime, said the student “was experiencing a personal crisis,” and that “the matter has been closed.”

featig_12_10Andrew J. Nilsen

Upon searching the bathroom, in a laptop bag tucked between the toilet and the tub, Detective Hardcastle found the following: another laser-sighted 9 mm pistol (with a silencer); four heavy-grade yellow zip-ties; a 950,000-volt stun gun shaped like a pair of brass knuckles; a large knife; magazines for the handguns; duct tape; and a pair of black gloves. Rounding out the inventory were a few campfire starters and a lighter; a passport; and a GPS tracking device.

Officers collected the bag, as well as a laptop and phones. When a computer forensics analyst with the Galveston County Police Department checked the laptop’s online search history, he discovered that someone had looked for “best sniper pistols,” “best assassin pistols,” “french double garrotte wire” and “how to use a garrote.”

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