Houston, TX – February 20, 2013 – Nineteen years after the purposeful murder of Houston Repo Man Tommy Deen Morris, a fact based book which has been in the works by Morris’s widow, Donna Morris and retired California Prosecutor Martin C. Brehl for several years, has been accepted for publishing and national release by an unidentified national publisher.
At 3:30 A.M. on Feb. 25, 1994, Tommy Deen Morris was hooking his tow truck to a Ford pick-up in an unincorporated section of Harris County when he was shot through the neck and both lungs and killed by Jerry Casey Jr. with a .30-30 telescopic rifle. Police declined to arrest Mr. Casey, citing a frontier-era law, Texas Penal Code 9.41, an 1800’s frontier era law created to deal with cattle thieves, that gives Texans considerable leeway at night to kill thieves and intruders. Despite public outcry from not just the repossession industry, but from across the nation, 8 months later, Casey was cleared of any wrongdoing.
Harris County District Attorney, Johnny B. Holmes Jr., said the matter would simply boil down to whether a grand jury believed that Mr. Casey believed the repo man was an auto thief. Holmes defended the Texas law and seemed disinterested in prosecuting Mr. Casey and instead chose to question why T.D. didn’t call or give some warning that he was coming.
“Do you have to sit still when a guy’s driving off with your car?” Mr. Holmes said in an interview. “No, I don’t think so. I think you ought to be able to use deadly force. That’s an additional risk that the thief is exposed to and that’s an additional deterrent.”
Furthermore, Texas Legislature has refused to overturn this archaic law.
“If Tommy Deen would have been a police officer or a firefighter, they’d have a parade. But everybody thinks, ‘Oh, he was just a repo man.’ Nobody cares.” Texas Repo Man Jim Douglass,” – “The New York Times” 1994
After the law failed to provide justice, Donna Morris, T.D.’s wife carried on the fight for three more long years with a lawsuit against the lien holder of the assignment, Donna Morris v. Charlie Thomas Used Cars (Steeplechase Motor Company) in a Wrongful Death suit and was awarded a $3.5 Million Verdict. During the discovery period of this case, it was discovered that Steeplechase Motors had already assigned this repossession with another agent who had just unsuccessfully been to the residence just one hour earlier.
Donna describes T.D. as “Loving, hardworking, Christian, family man who loved his family and worked hard to as he said “make bread to buy beans”. A very gentle individual who helped everyone. Loved his work and always had a smile for everyone. He was such a sweetie! We were married 23 yrs. and had 4 children: his two boys, my daughter and our daughter! He always had that smile on his face and was called “preacher” cause he worn starched blue jeans, tennis shoes and shirt while working. He always greeted you with that contagious smile!”
In 1997, Three years after the murder, Donna and Tommy’s daughter, Mellissa wrote the attached letter for a class assignment that says volumes about T.D. and the way his loved ones and others felt about him.
Tommy Deen Harris is buried at Klein Memorial Park, Decker Prairie, Montgomery County,
In addition to the book, it has been speculated that this may end up as a film. We will keep you advised of the books release date and publisher as soon as details are known.