As the saying goes, everything’s bigger in Texas and that same slogan is accurate towards the crime rate. Texas is often considered to harbor one of the largest crime rate states in the United States of America. Granted, the research used to record this kind of data has proven to be remarkably flimsy and overly simplistic, but if we were to teeter away from the overall rate of the crimes in this state, it would be apt to further analyze the specific nature of the crimes themselves.
As one of the largest states in the US of A—the second only to Alaska—it’s natural that Texas is home to a good handful of kooks. No one is saying that Texas only houses a state full of kooks and so all of our Texas readers can put down their pitchforks. All we are saying is that a state doesn’t have a population of 28,240,245 (as of 2016) without at least a few thousand of those people being just a little bit crazy. The proof is in the pudding given all of crimes committed in the The Lone Star State over the years. Some of these crazy crimes range from being outright heinous, head scratching odd, and hilariously bizarre. Much like Forrest Gump’s momma’s box of chocolates, you never quite know what you are going to get when you dive head first into the crime infested oceans of Texas. As this list will go to show, the state of Texas often tends to be a state filled with crimes laced in oddities, strangeness, shocking, appalling, the terrifying, and above all else, the unpredictable nature. Or, perhaps more aptly, the most bizarre crimes to ever be covered on American news media. Sometimes it’s compelling. Other times confusing. And in other times, disturbing. But more than anything else, these crimes are unmistakably, unapologetically deep within the heart of Texas.
15. Jesús Mata – Blows Money At Strip Club, Files Police Report
In light of tax season recently springing up, many people are trying to figure out exactly what they’re going to do with their tax return money. Couples especially are trying to properly manage their money together. Jesús Mata probably wishes he did the same with his wife, seeing as he wasted $1,000 worth of his tax returns at a strip club in 2013. Obviously, he wasn’t in any hurry to tell his wife that he wasted his tax returns so he cooked up the most elaborate of plots to pull himself out of a hole. He filed a police report stating that he had just been robbed at gunpoint by six gunmen who assaulted him after emerging from two trucks. Police investigated the report, but then grew suspicious when they received zero leads and no witnesses. After some time, Mata decided to confess that it was all a ruse. He was soon arrested for filing a false police report.
14. Bikini Pee Thief
When Jason Jodway left the state with his family, his Houston home was left unattended for quite some time. This provided the perfect window of opportunity for an unknown assailant to invade his premises. A woman was seen on Jodway’s and another neighbor’s security camera attempting to steal. Wearing nothing but a bikini bathing suit, the woman emerged out of a yellow Ford Mustang in June 2013 and walked onto Jodway’s porch. From there, she started rummaging through UPS packages that contained some shoes that Jodway’s wife had ordered. After the woman struggled to fit into the shoes, she put the shoes back in the boxes and tried to break into the house. Once that failed, she urinated on the patio and then drove off on her merry way. No one found out who the culprit was.
13. Charles Albright – Psycho Killer
This is one of the more gruesome entries on this list of mostly bizarre crimes, but it is undoubtedly just as crazy, if not more. Like most serial killers, Charles Albright had a rough upbringing. An orphan raised by a strict mother, used to kill animals as a teenager. His mother would help him stuff them under the impression that he was practicing to be a taxidermist. Apparently, when he grew into adulthood, he became bored of stuffing things into dead bodies and one day decided to remove things from dead bodies instead. This led him to kill three prostitutes in between 1990 and 1991. Each prostitute had their eyes surgically removed by Albright afterwards. When Albright tried to claim his fourth prostitute as a victim, but she narrowly escaped his clutches. Her description to the police and some hairs at one of the crime scenes that matches Albright’s DNA helped police nab Albright. He’s currently being held in the John Montford Psychiatric Unit in Lubbock, Texas.
12. The Kidnapping of Amber Hagerman
You ever wonder why AMBER Alerts are called AMBER Alerts? Officially, AMBER is an acronym for America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response, but more than anything else, AMBER Alerts are named after the infamous kidnapping of Arlington, Texas’s own Amber Hagerman. On one unfortunate day on January 13th, 1996, a neighbor had seen 9 year old Hagerman get abducted by an unknown pickup while she was riding her bicycle down the neighborhood. After the neighbor notified the police of what he saw, investigators and Hagerman’s family had started searching for the girl. Sadly, their search would end four days later in tragedy when Hagerman’s body was found sitting behind an apartment complex with her throat slit. Autopsies found that she was kept alive two days after her abduction and her kidnapper had been sexually assaulting her in that time. Unfortunately, to this day, her kidnapper has never been discovered and no suspects were found in the case.
11. John Hill – Poison
Much like how many of these stories sound like intricate plots to movies, the story of John Hill likens to that of a classic 60s melodrama fit for the Hollywood screen. After marrying into Joan Robinson’s wealthy family in Houston, John Hill’s new wife suddenly fell strikingly ill on March 19th, 1969. Quickly afterwards, she died in her hospital bed while calling out her husband’s name. Just three months later, John Hill remarried to Ann Kurth. This inspired suspicion of foul play on behalf of Joan’s father, who accused John of poisoning Joan. During a third grand trial against Hill in February 1970, Kurth had gave a testimony where she claimed Hill admitted to her that he killed Joan. Hill was then indicted to a murder trial and afterwards, that was given a mistrial. Before he could be given a second trial, Hill was murdered by Bobby Vandiver. Marcia McKittrick and Lila Paulus were cited for hiring and working with the hitman, but no evidence could connect him to Hill’s murder.
10. Charity Johnson – Catfish
Anyone who is remotely familiar with how the internet works should know what the modern definition of a “catfish” is. The kind of catfish which spawned its own MTV series and film. Catfishes normally pose as people other than themselves in order to achieve some deranged sense of love with whoever they’re contacting online or to ascribe to a falsehood of fantasy; a happier life, if you will. Charity Johnson catfished for similar reasons, but under a unique situation. In hopes of bettering herself and her education, the 34 year old Texan not only enrolled into Longview’s New Life Christian School posing as a 15 year old girl, she was successfully attending the school as a sophomore. Fitting in with the more traditional definition of a social media catfish, Johnson also told KETK Radio that she was “looking for love” by pretending to be 15. Regardless of her intentions, falsifying identity records is a crime. Johnson found that out the hard way when a town resident went to the police under the suspicion that Johnson was lying about her age. It’s worth noting that Johnson was masquerading as a child for close to a year before she was arrested in October 2013. She spent 29 days in jail on accounts of
9. Cirilo Castillo Jr. – He Loved His Horse…Too Much
The desire for sex can lead human beings to do a lot of crazy things and commit some ludicrous acts. For many of us, it is just human nature to think through our private parts instead of our brains and when the former takes over how we think, we tend to make some poor decisions. Take Cirilo Castillo, Jr. for example. In February 2015, this man in his 40s was arrested for having sex with a horse. Oddly enough, this was the man’s third arrest for fornicating with a horse since 2012. You’d think that Castillo would have learned his lesson after getting caught the first time, but on the third time around, he certainly paid for his actions. Not only because he broke his leg in attempting to mount the stallion who ended up kicking his legs out, but because he was charged with both a class B misdemeanor of bestiality and trespassing after the woman who owns the barn caught him with his pants down around his broken ankles. Castillo neglected a five year probation given after his second offense. While Castillo was sentenced to 270 days in prison for his first arrest, his third saw him risk at least 180 days in jail. No word on how he was sentenced.
8. Daniel Athens – Peed On The Alamo
We should all remember the Alamo, but one thing that is better left forgotten is when Daniel Athens urinated on the landmark structure. Or, perhaps, Athens should have remembered just how important the Alamo was before he decided to take a whizz on what is considered by many to be the spirit of Texas itself. At 23 years old, the El Paso resident was arrested in 2012 by an Alamo Ranger who caught Athens in the act. Though Athens was not the first man to piss on a sacred monument that memorialized the Alamo—Ozzy Osbourne was banned from Texas in 1982 for relieving himself on the Cenotaph, a memorial for the Texans who died in the Battle of the Alamo—but that wasn’t going to persuade Texas officials to give Athens some slap on the wrist. He ended up serving 18 months in state prison for his crime. In more recent news, Athens was arrested again in late 2015. This time for killing a man while on crystal meth.
7. Charles Nowden – Bough Movie Theatre Snacks With Counterfeit Money
While we all know how irresponsible it is to commit a crime of any nature, most people believe that if anyone is going to go to jail for a crime, it better be damn worth it. Charles Nowden of Dallas, Texas probably wishes he prescribed to this belief in November 2011 before he was arrested for stealing movie theater snacks. To be fair, the actual felony is forgery, but he would have never been arrested if he did not try to use $20 worth of counterfeit money to pay for some hot dogs. When the movie snack distributors realized that Nowden had paid with counterfeit money, the police were notified immediately and seeing as buying items with falsified money follows the same line as stealing, he was apprehended accordingly. Authorities found that Nowden has a history with forgery and was arrested with $120 worth of counterfeit bills in his pockets. For his thievery, Nowden is currently serving an 80 year prison sentence and will not be eligible for parole until 15 years after he was sentenced.
6. Toni Jo Silvey – Egged Ex’s House And Destroyed His Car
Hell hath no fury than a woman’s scorn and no one may know that knowledge better than Houston’s Toni Jo Silvey. When she was 49 in October 2011, she got a little riled up over an ex-boyfriend. The ex in question was 62 year old Peter Mann. Two years after the two initially broke up, Silvey started antagonizing the man. By the standards of most crazy ex situations, Silvey’s torment of Mann started off rather small. She only called him 1,001 times and e-mailed him 712 times over the course of three months. After she was tired of being ignored, Silvery took things one step further by pelting his house with eggs. Then, to amp things up to eleven, she destroyed the windows of his home with a tire iron and a five foot sword. Things weren’t over there as Silvey went on to demolish his car by using her own Chevy Blazer to continuingly ram into his parked car until it was tarnished. Silvey would answer for her crimes afterwards following her arrest, but the case was dismissed after May 2013. Meaning Peter Mann better keep watching his back from now on.
5. Jake Evans – “It Just Kind Of Happened”
Some crimes sound like they come straight out of a horror movie and the case regarding 17 year old Jake Evans on one fateful October 2012 night is no exception. In a situation akin to the origins of Michael Myers in the Halloween franchise, young Jake Evans found himself in a daze when he called 911. When he made the call, in a confused and disoriented state, he confessed to killing his 48 year old mother and 15 year old sister. He couldn’t comprehend what he had just done nor did he understand why he even did it. “I am pretty, I guess, evil. Whatever,” he told the 911 operator when asked why he did it. All he could recall was shooting them dead with a .22 revolver, even though he wasn’t even mad at either party. “It just kind of happened,” he added. He also expressed that he had been planning this for some time and had he waited for his sister to arrive home from college the next morning, he would have killed her as well. After turning himself in to the police he arrived to the scene of the crime, Evans was sentenced to 45 years in prison.
4. Ashley Nicole Richards and Brent Wayne Justice – Animal Crush Video
Anyone familiar with what an animal crush video is? No? Good. Trust us, you’re better off not knowing or understanding the more twisted side of the internet. However, if you insist on knowing, a crush video refers to the documentation of harming objects, food, or in this case animals, for the sake of sexually arousing viewers who are into that sort of fetish. Yeah, we know, it’s weird and a little demented as well. Apparently, for some reason, these sort of videos sell for a decent amount of change on the internet. Knowing this gave Ashley Nicole Richards and Brent Wayne Justice to make a quick buck off the exploitation craze. They made a series of videos where the two would torture animals. This continued until the two were caught and charged in February 2015. Richards was sentenced to 10 years in prison while Justice received a whopping 50 year prison sentence.
3. Jesse Dobbs – Stabbed Girlfriend 50-60 Times
In one of the more recent crimes to be committed on this list, 21 year old Jesse Dobbs was charged with murdering his girlfriend, 16 year old Kirsten Fritch, on November 8th 2016. He also allegedly murdered Fritch’s mother and sister, both of which were found with gunshots in their body in their Baytown home that same day. Dobbs confessed to police that he stabbed Kirsten Fritch somewhere in between 50 and 60 times. What makes Dobbs’ crime so perplexing is not only the nature of the crime itself, but also Dobbs’ supposed motivations for slaying his girlfriend. When he made his confession, he cryptically assured police that he killed “not the real Kirsten, but the fake Kirsten.” No one has been able to decipher Dobbs’ words for further meaning, but it seems as though the Texas lad thinks he’s in some sort of sci-fi picture and he murdered a clone of some sort.
2. Yogurt Shop Murders
One of the last places anyone would expect a mortifying murder to take place is inside of a yogurt shop, but that was exactly the case in 1991 when an I Can’t Believe It’s Yogurt! shop in Austin caught ablaze. The fire was first reported by a police officer who was patrolling the neighborhood. Once the fire was finally extinguished, four dead bodies—13 year old Amy Ayers, 17 year old Jennifer Harbison, 15 year old Sarah Harbison, and 17 year old Eliza Thomas—were found inside. All of which were undressed while bound and gagged and three of which were stacked on top of each other. The investigation into who killed these young girls was underway for eight years until Robert Burns Springsteen and Michael James Scott confessed to murdering them on October 6th, 1999. However, 10 years later, both men were released after lack of evidence deemed them unlikely culprits. Since then, no new charges have been made and the case remains cold and open.
1. Yolanda Saldívar
With the bittersweet 22nd anniversary of 90s pop sensation Selena vastly approaching, it would be difficult to continue the list without mentioning what befell the Latin songstress in Corpus Christi, Texas on one fateful March 31st day in 1995. Those who know the full story by now know that Selena’s registered agent, Yolanda Saldívar, had become rather protective and obsessive over Selena. After Saldívar was struck with accusations of embezzlement by Selena’s family, Selena’s family wanted Selena to sever her ties with Saldívar, but Selena believed that Saldívar knew too much of Selena’s financial information to get rid of her so easily. One day, Selena asked Saldívar for her financial papers at a motel, but Saldívar stalled by claiming she had been raped in Mexico. Out of sympathy, Selena drove her to a nearby hospital where doctors found no traces of rape on Saldívar. Shockingly enough, Saldívar pulled a handgun out of her purse and shot Selena dead. Saldívar was sentenced to life in prison on October 26th, 1995 and won’t be eligible for parole until 2025.