Twenty-nine years ago, a man walked into Little Tikes Daycare in League City and shot two workers in front of dozens of screaming children.
Back in those days, I was a young reporter, who was just out of school and working for The Galveston Daily News. I sat on the hard benches in the Galveston County Courthouse and heard the testimony against the killer, Clyde “Buddy” Spence.
I watched jurors weep as witness after witness testified about that fateful December morning when Spence killed Charlotte “Dawny” Marques and wounded Joyce Marques.
I watched as the solemn jury rendered its verdict: Guilty, 30 years in prison.
But what I didn’t hear as I sat in that courtroom was about the other victims: the children.
Witnessing a murder would be a traumatic event for just about anyone. But for a child, well it would be tough.
I’ve wondered about those children over the years.
How did witnessing such a horrible thing at such a young age affect their lives?
Those “kids,” of course, are now all grown up. They are young men and women who are in their 30s. They have jobs, responsibilities and their own children.
I’d like to talk to them.
I want to know what they remember.
Perhaps those memories will help others who struggle with similar recollections.
I’ll be in Galveston County later this month and hope to talk to as many people as possible. If you were in Little Tikes that day or know someone who was, please contact me. I look forward to talking to you.
I promise to lend a compassionate ear and listen to your story.
I’ve been doing this a long time.
After more than 20 years in the newspaper business and seven as the top editor for statewide and national news services, I branched out on my own this year and created the podcast “Suspect Convictions,” which has been ranked as high as No. 2 in the world this year by iTunes.
The podcast not only explores crime but looks at how violence affects those involved. I look forward to working with The Galveston County Daily News, the newspaper where I got my start in journalism to report on this case.
Next year, Spence is scheduled to be released from prison. His 30 years of punishment will be complete.
One can’t help but think of Charlotte “Dawny” Marques, the 25-year-old day care worker who was shot in the heart by Spence. Will the punishment for her family come to an end? It’s doubtful. life is full of reminders when a young life is cut short.
Some wounds never heal.
And what of the children who saw their beloved day care teacher fall? How did it affect their lives?
That’s what I’m coming to Galveston County to find out.