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Charles MAYHEW Jr.






A.K.A.: "Chuck"
Classification: Murderer?
Characteristics: Parricide - Chronic alcoholic with mental problems
Number of victims: 1 ?
Date of murder: February 28, 1998
Date of arrest: July 15, 2002
Date of birth: 1952
Victim profile: His father , Charles "Charlie" Mayhew, 81
Method of murder: Shooting (12-gauge shotgun)
Location: Dallas, Texas, USA
Status: A Dallas civil court jury found Mayhew Jr. liable for the murder of his millionaire father and awarded his sister $26 million in damages on April 18, 2002. A Dallas County grand jury declined to indict him on September 20, 2002

Son cleared in death of millionaire dad

September 21, 2002

DALLAS (AP) A Dallas County grand jury on Friday declined to indict the son of a slain millionaire for the 1998 death of his father.

Charles "Chuck" Mayhew Jr., 49, was released from a Dallas jail Friday.

"How do I feel? How do you think I feel?" Mayhew told The Dallas Morning News. "I've been rotting in jail for two and a half months for a crime I didn't commit.

"I am happy to be free," he added. "They got the wrong man."

Mayhew was arrested in July, nearly three months after a civil jury found him responsible for the death of former Sunnyvale Mayor Charles May hew Sr.

In April, Dallas County jurors awarded a $26 million verdict against the son in a wrongful death suit brought by his sister, Amanda Mayhew Dealey. Dealey, a 51-year-old Austin socialite, filed the suit after Dallas County authorities failed to get enough evidence to pursue a criminal indictment.

She accused her brother of killing their father because he worried about being cut from a large inheritance.


Son Arrested in Slaying of Millionaire Father

July 20, 2002

Four years after the killing of millionaire Texas oilman Charles Mayhew Sr., there has finally been an arrest in the case. Mayhew's son, Charles Mayhew, Jr., was taken in by police in connection with his father's death.

Even before his arrest on July 15, Mayhew had been dogged by rumors and suspicion from neighbors and friends in Sunnyvale, Texas, the small town outside of Dallas where his father once served as mayor. "I don't have a life. I can't go anywhere in restaurants, I can't go to a grocery store without people making snide remarks," Mayhew said.

Mayhew's own sister, Mandy Dealey, was one of those people who viewed him with suspicion. Dealey was so convinced that her brother shot and killed their 81-year-old father that she brought a wrongful death suit against him. A civil jury agreed with Dealey, and awarded her $26 million. Based on evidence brought to light in the civil trial, investigators secured an arrest warrant for Mayhew. But the strength of their case remains unclear. A grand jury is scheduled to begin hearing evidence on Tuesday.

A Respected Family Man

The elder Mayhew was highly regarded in Sunnyvale as a "Texas Gentleman." He had made a fortune in the oil-drilling business, and was known by business associates and friends as a trustworthy man.

Family friend Lloyd Whitehead said Mayhew's word was "as good as his handshake," adding, "Whatever he says you can make book on it."

Mayhew and his son were once an inseparable pair. They had traveled the world together. They hunted together. Mayhew and his sister played together as children on the family's Sunnyvale ranch. But the two would grow up to be very different people. Mandy became well-known in Austin social circles, and once married into the family that owned the Dallas Morning News.

Chuck was also well known, not only as his father's business partner, but also as a hard-living, hard-drinking hell-raiser, who, according to some acquaintances, had a dark side.

"Chuck was high-tempered. I mean high-tempered jump-up-and-down and stomp like a little bitty rooster," said Mayhew friend Gene Brown.

Good With a Gun

Mayhew was also known for another trait he was very good with a gun. As a young man, Mayhew took one skeet-shooting trophy after another, eventually becoming a world champion.

Mayhew's talents with a shotgun sprang to Dealey's mind following her father's slaying. "The first thing they told me was that Daddy had been killed with a shotgun, which raised hair on the back of my neck, because a shotgun is Chuck's instrument," Dealey said. Despite her initial fears, she said she didn't want to believe that her brother could have harmed her father.

"I knew that he could be violent, but it was impossible for me to believe that he could do anything to Daddy," Dealey said.

Mayhew apparently had a penchant for bragging a bit about his prowess with a gun. Neighbor Linda White said, "He's always bragged that he could kill people and get away with it."

A Grisly Discovery

Charles Mayhew Sr. was discovered dead in his bed at around 1 p.m. on March 1, 1998, by Christopher, his grandson. Christopher called Chuck right away, saying he thought his grandfather had suffered some sort of hemorrhage in bed.

Volunteer Fire Chief Mike Magee was the first of the medical personnel on the scene. Magee said he noticed something unusual about the crime scene. "Somebody had tucked the person into bed, because the covers were actually tucked around the sides of the body. And that's virtually impossible, with your arms underneath the covers."

He also said Mayhew told him he had thought to himself as he drove up to his dad's ranch that he just couldn't believe somebody had murdered his dad. Magee said he found that comment jarring, because Mayhew couldn't have known that his dad was murdered until he arrived at the scene.

Mayhew told police that he did not make any such statement to Magee.

According to police reports, nothing appeared to have been stolen from the house. There was no sign of forced entry, and the shotgun that was used to kill Mayhew's father appeared to have been one from the house.

Mayhew said he was at a local bar on the night of the murder and then at home with his wife. He later passed a polygraph test in which he was asked whether he had shot his father.

Mayhew thinks the killer knew his father and was familiar with his house. The motive did not appear to be robbery, and Mayhew's father had no known enemies.

Mayhew criticized the local authorities' handling of the investigation. He said they never checked his hands for gunshot residue, or searched his home for evidence that might tie him to the crime. Such an investigation, Mayhew claims, would have helped to clear him.

"It's a new technique. It's called don't investigate the murder," he said.

A Daughter's Push for Justice

Nearly two years after her father's murder, Mandy Dealey was frustrated that the police investigation appeared to have stalled. So, she charged her brother, in a civil lawsuit, with causing the wrongful death of their father by murdering him.

Chuck Mayhew said his sister brought the case to cut him out of his inheritance, but Dealey insists that she's just "trying to find out what happened."

In hours of depositions Chuck Mayhew revealed he was a troubled man. He acknowledged that he had a drinking problem, that he'd been diagnosed as being bi-polar, that he'd lied about having "killed people in Africa."

However, Mayhew never changed his testimony on whether he killed his father. "I told them over and over, I have told everybody I didn't do it. I wasn't there."

Frightening Recordings

New suspicions about Mayhew were raised by Linda White, who lived next door to Mayhew's father and had worked as his assistant. White was digging through old boxes at Mayhew's office and uncovered several audiotapes.

Three years before his murder, Charles Mayhew Sr. had recorded his son talking about problems with their land deal. On the tapes, Mayhew angrily berates his father and makes threats and demands against him.

Mayhew tells his father he wants an apology, and complains that his sister had profited without contributing any work to their business. He threatens his dad, saying, "I'll cut out your eyeballs out with a butter knife and stick 'em down your throat." He tells his dad, "I can't hate anybody any more than I hate you."

Once she heard the tapes, Dealey said she was convinced that her brother had actually killed her father.

Mayhew admitted that he was verbally abusive toward his father. He said he'd been drinking, and says he's terribly ashamed of his behavior.

Still, as bad as the tapes were, Mayhew said they don't show that he pulled the trigger. "They never did come up with anything that, any hardcore evidence, to attach or associate to me in the murder death of my father."

Mayhew has his own idea of who killed his father: Linda White's husband, Larry.

During Mayhew's civil trial, Gene Brown, one of his several supporters, said that White had threatened Mayhew's father several times and that the elder Mayhew was terrified of White. White denies that too, saying Mayhew and his friends are just trying to deflect blame.

"Maybe it was because we lived so close to him, you know, that they picked us," White said.

When Larry White learned that Chuck Mayhew had said to police that whoever killed his father knew what they were doing because they shot him in the jugular vein, he saw another string that tied Mayhew to the murder. White recalled that Mayhew always told him to shoot deer in the neck, because it killed them quicker.

Mayhew rebuffed the suggestion that the method of his father's slaying matched his own particular style of hunting.

Awaiting the Criminal Trial

Mandy Dealey said she feels ambivalent about her brother's fate. She said she took the civil jury's $26 million verdict as a "a very emphatic statement" about their feelings of her brother's guilt.

"I honestly don't know how I would feel about Chuck being tried and found innocent, based on lack of evidence. On the other hand, I certainly don't want him to receive a death penalty." Asked what she feels her brother's motive could have been, Dealey said, "I think it had to do with power. I think it had to do with Chuck being able to have his way."

Mayhew, for his part, maintains his innocence. "I don't care if they take the money, if they get all of the money, but dear God, don't let them convict me. I didn't murder my father, I didn't kill him."

Mayhew said, "May my soul rot in hell if I'm lying. There are three people who know for a fact that I didn't kill my father. That's him, my heavenly father and me."


Millionaire's son found responsible for slaying

By Steve McGonigle - The Dallas Morning News

April 19, 2002

A Dallas civil court jury awarded $26 million Friday to former socialite Amanda Dealey after deciding her brother caused the death of their elderly father despite never being charged with his slaying.

After a three-week trial, jurors deliberated five hours before finding Charles "Chuck" Mayhew Jr., 49, responsible for the 1998 shotgun slaying of his 81-year-old father, former Sunnyvale Mayor Charles "Charlie" Mayhew.

No criminal court has heard the matter, although that may change because of the verdict in the wrongful-death lawsuit Ms. Dealey filed.

Mr. Mayhew, now of Longview, acknowledged that he had a love-hate relationship with his father but denied any involvement in his death. His attorney accused Ms. Dealey of blaming her brother to try to strip him of his large inheritance.

Mr. Mayhew left the courtroom without speaking to reporters. His attorney, Bill Hommel, said Mr. Mayhew was "pretty tore up" by the verdict. He continued to maintain that his client is innocent.

"We didn't feel like the evidence supported the verdict," he said, adding that Mr. Mayhew did not have much money and could not pay the judgment.

Attorneys for Ms. Dealey contended that it was Mr. Mayhew's fear of losing access to his father's wealth that drove him to kill his father. Although she asked for $5 million, she said her aim was to seek justice for her father.

"It's a relief to have it over," Ms. Dealey, 51, said after the verdict. "And I think it will give the closure we all needed."

Don Peritz, a spokesman for the Dallas County Sheriff's Office, said detectives will review the evidence they collected along with that in the civil case and decide whether to submit a case to a grand jury.

"It appears the jury in the civil case has spoken and justice has been served in that venue," Mr. Peritz said.

Mr. Peritz said no one, including Mr. Mayhew, has been ruled out as a suspect in the elder Mayhew's death.

The elder Mr. Mayhew was found dead in bed at his rural Sunnyvale home March 1, 1998. The Dallas County medical examiner ruled that he died from a single blast to the neck fired at close range from a .12-gauge shotgun.

Investigators ruled out robbery as a motive because there was no forced entry into the house and no property was taken.

There was little physical evidence to help identify the killer.

Mr. Mayhew was questioned at least three times by investigators. He and his wife were advised of their rights, a routine practice when investigators consider someone a suspect.

The lead detective, Howard Sparks, testified that his office did not refer the case to the grand jury after a senior-level prosecutor advised him in 1998 that there was not enough evidence to get a conviction.

Evidence produced by Ms. Dealey's attorneys showed that Mr. Mayhew, an avid hunter, had threatened repeatedly to kill his father for years.

Acquaintances testified that it was routine for Mr. Mayhew to angrily berate and insult his father in front of others. One witness said she once saw him hit his father in the face and point a gun at him another time.

Ms. Dealey's attorneys said that Mr. Mayhew's behavior became increasingly more threatening in the years after his father accepted his resignation from their troubled real estate partnership in 1995.

The partnership, which had sought to develop 5,000 homes on 1,200 acres in Sunnyvale, was mired for more than a decade in a lawsuit to try to overturn a town ordinance that required lot sizes to be an acre or larger.

The legal battle, which the Mayhews lost, cost the elder Mr. Mayhew his multimillion-dollar fortune. His son also lost a $1 million investment and had no other income besides money from his father.

In the months leading up to his death, business associates said, Mr. Mayhew changed his will to reduce his son's share of his estate, gave Ms. Dealey more control of his business affairs and was about to eliminate his son as a beneficiary on his life-insurance policy.

The day Mr. Mayhew died, his son admitted that he became intoxicated from drinking beer and had an argument with his father over the phone regarding their longstanding business disputes.

Mr. Mayhew said he did not go to his father's home the night of the slaying, but he gave conflicting accounts of his whereabouts in the hours around the time that the medical examiner said his father was killed.

A neighbor, Pat Stiager, said he saw Mr. Mayhew driving on the road to his father's house, but in the opposite direction, sometime before midnight. But Mr. Stiager also admitted he had been smoking marijuana.

Mr. Hommel, the defense attorney, said to jurors in his closing arguments Friday that Ms. Dealey and her attorneys had no evidence but were trying to smear Mr. Mayhew with his unsavory behavior.

After the verdict, he agreed that the jury was swayed by the depiction of his client as a vile, hateful son.

"I think that had a lot to do with it," he said.

Mr. Hommel had suggested throughout the trial that a neighbor of the elder Mr. Mayhew had killed him because of a dispute over the ownership of a deer stand and a gooseneck trailer.

Ms. Dealey's lead attorney, Steve Sumner, ridiculed the accusation. "It's an ABC defense, Anybody But Chuck," he told jurors.

Mr. Sumner and his co-counsel, Rebecca Hamilton, contended there was more than enough evidence to meet the legal requirement that it was more likely than not that Mr. Mayhew had killed his father.

"We believe we have enough evidence to present to a grand jury," said Ms. Hamilton, who urged jurors to use their verdict to send a message urging District Attorney Bill Hill to prosecute Mr. Mayhew.

The jury foreman, Jim Schutz, said the panel structured the amount of their verdict to send a message about the damage inflicted on Ms. Dealey and her father. He said he had no opinion on a criminal prosecution.

"I think it would be a difficult case to prove given the evidence," said another juror, Ursula Bourgeois.

Ms. Dealey was married in the 1970s to Joe Dealey Jr., son of a former publisher of The Dallas Morning News. She now lives in Austin and is married to Larry Speck, dean of the University of Texas School of Architecture.



Jury finds son liable in millionaire's murder

April 19, 2002

(Court TV) A Dallas civil jury found Charles "Chuck" Mayhew Jr. liable for the murder of his millionaire father and awarded his sister $26 million in damages Friday.

The panel deliberated more than four hours before finding the 50-year-old heir responsible for the 1998 shotgun slaying of businessman Charles Mayhew Sr., which is still unsolved by police.

As the judge read the unanimous verdict, Mayhew, 50, showed no emotion. His sister, Amanda Mayhew Dealey, wiped away tears and stared into her lap.

After the police investigation stalled, Dealey, 52, filed the wrongful death suit against her brother, a chronic alcoholic with mental problems who lived off family money. Dealey alleged Chuck Mayhew killed their 81-year-old father because the elderly man had finally tired of his insults and threats and was cutting him off financially.

The jury award means Mayhew will be barred from his share of an estimated $8 million inheritance, but Dealey and her lawyers have cast doubt on the value of the estate and said they do not expect to collect a cent from Mayhew.

In her closing, Dealey's lawyer Rebecca Hamilton told jurors money was largely irrelevant in the case. Chuck Mayhew, who testified that he has survived on Social Security disability payments since his father's death, "is virtually indigent," said Hamilton.

"No one is collecting any money in this case," she said, adding that an extended court battle over a property venture left the Mayhew family estate "consumed by debt."

Hamilton told jurors that a financial award, even if never paid out, was a symbol of justice. A verdict, she said, would send a message to Mayhew that "we know you did it" and to the local district attorney to continue pursuing a criminal case against him.

Dealey's successful case against her brother was circumstantial. A parade of family friends and business acquaintances testified that Chuck Mayhew was drinking heavily at the time of the killing and constantly berated his father with profane threats for money. Jurors also heard that shortly before his murder, Charles Mayhew Sr. started to change his life insurance policy to exclude Chuck, and was letting his daughter take over the family business.

Perhaps the most damaging testimony against Mayhew was audiotapes surreptitiously recorded by his father three years before his murder. In them, Mayhew threatened to kill his father in several long, expletive-ridden rants.

The plaintiff's lawyers also seized on Mayhew's flimsy alibi for the night of the murder. A neighbor, Larry White, testified he saw a car Mayhew used near the dead man's home on Feb. 28, 1998, but Mayhew claimed he was never there. He said he visited two drinking establishments and then drove his car around the countryside before returning to his home.

"Chuck has two and a half hours of unaccounted time," said Hamilton.

Chuck Mayhew's lawyer, William Hommel, argued that Dealey was using the trial as a chance for revenge. He said she envied Chuck Mayhew's close relationship with their father, and felt that she, as a responsible child and upstanding citizen, deserved the "favorite son" status.

"This is Amanda Dealey's chance to get even with Chuck Dealey after all these years," he said. "The problem is she doesn't have the proof to back up her case."

Mayhew accused a string of witnesses, including White, of lying about him and said that, although he and his father had a contentious relationship, they loved each other and always reconciled after fights.


Siblings' lawyers debate motive in Mayhew trial

By Steve McGonigle  - The Dallas Morning News

March 28, 2002

An unusual murder trial in a Dallas civil court opened Wednesday with the accused man's attorney contending that the case against his client is "a house of cards" rooted in his sister's lifelong envy.

Chuck Mayhew, 49, may have had a sometimes-bitter relationship with his father, former Sunnyvale Mayor Charles M. "Charlie" Mayhew Sr., but he had no motive to commit murder, attorney Bill Hommel said.

"It doesn't make sense that Chuck Mayhew would be the one to take his father's life," Mr. Hommel said.

Mr. Hommel made his remarks during opening statements to the jury in the $5 million wrongful-death lawsuit filed against Mr. Mayhew by his sister, Austin socialite Amanda Dealey.

The suit, which has come to trial in civil court before any criminal charges have been filed, accuses Mr. Mayhew of fatally shooting his father on March 1, 1998, while the 81-year-old man lay in bed in his rural Sunnyvale home.

The elder Mayhew, who amassed a multimillion-dollar estate through oil drilling and investments, died from a shotgun blast to the neck.

The investigation into his death remains open but has not produced enough evidence to seek a grand jury for indictment, according to a spokesman for the Dallas County Sheriff's Department.

Mr. Hommel told the jury that Ms. Dealey harbored a lifetime of jealousy for her brother because of his close relationship with their father.

"This is not Father Knows Best," Mr. Hommel said. "This is a family that operates differently than any other family represented in this courtroom."

He contended that Chuck Mayhew had no role in his father's slaying, suggesting that Charlie Mayhew told a longtime confidant on the day of the slaying that he was afraid of a neighbor whom he suspected of involvement in equipment thefts from his property.

The civil case has generated national interest because, unlike other high-profile suits stemming from homicides, it has come to trial before any criminal proceedings. The trial is expected to last up to three weeks.

Ms. Dealey, 51, is a prominent figure in Austin social circles and ran unsuccessfully for the Texas Legislature in 2000. She was previously married to the son of a former publisher of The Dallas Morning News.

Her lead attorney, Steve Sumner, told the jury that he has "strong circumstantial evidence" that Mr. Mayhew killed his father because he feared losing access to a large inheritance.

"I believe the evidence will show no one else had the motive to murder him because he just didn't have any enemies," Mr. Sumner said.

Mr. Sumner spent more than an hour describing to jurors how he expected his witnesses to show that Chuck Mayhew engaged in an escalating campaign of abusing his father in the years before his slaying.

"He was a man consumed with killing," Mr. Sumner said.

At the time of his death, Charlie Mayhew was increasingly fearful of his son and was in the process of shifting control of his estate and business affairs to Ms. Dealey and her son, Christopher Dealey, Mr. Sumner said.

Ms. Dealey sued her brother to see that justice is done, he said.

"It's not about money. It's not about greed. It's not about sibling rivalry," Mr. Sumner said. "It's about him being held accountable and his dad's wishes being fulfilled."



Mayhew to go on trial in civil court for slaying

Trial involves not-so-civil siblings in case of father's death

By Steve McGonigle - The Dallas Morning News

March 25, 2002

Chuck Mayhew is about to become a rarity in the annals of Dallas County justice. The scion of a wealthy industrialist is going on trial in civil court Tuesday in a slaying he has not been charged with committing.

His accuser is not the state of Texas but his sister, Amanda Mayhew Dealey, a one-time Dallas socialite whose 1972 kidnapping produced the longest prison sentences assessed at that time by an American jury.

Ms. Dealey, 51, contends in a lawsuit that her brother shot and killed their father in a drunken rage March 1, 1998, while 81-year-old Charles M. "Charlie" Mayhew Sr. lay asleep in his Sunnyvale home.

Chuck Mayhew, who has a record of alcohol-related offenses and shooting dogs and once boasted of being a paid assassin, has acknowledged making numerous threats on his father's life. But he has denied involvement in the slaying and filed a countersuit accusing his sister of defamation.

Mr. Mayhew, 49, declined to be interviewed last week. "I guess we'll do our talking about it when we get to the courthouse," he said from his home in Longview.

His attorney, Bill Hommel of Tyler, did not return several phone calls to his office. But he has said in court filings that Ms. Dealey has no evidence "other than circumstantial speculation."

The slaying remains unsolved. A spokesman for the Dallas County Sheriff's Department said the case was still open, but investigators have not been able to accumulate enough evidence to present to a grand jury.

"We have not cleared anyone," Sgt. Don Peritz said.

Several sheriff's investigators have been subpoenaed by Ms. Dealey's attorneys, and Sgt. Peritz said they would be interested to learn any new evidence that may be presented after testimony begins Wednesday.

Frustrated detectives

"This is one of those big cases where you want to see it closed and see to it that justice is done," Sgt. Peritz said. "The detectives are frustrated, but they are patient."

Ms. Dealey's lawsuit, which she filed without an attorney four days before the civil statute of limitations expired in March 2000, is an example of a growing national trend of suing alleged wrongdoers.

What makes Ms. Dealey's suit exceptional is that it is going to trial before any criminal charges have been filed. Typically, as in the O.J. Simpson case, such civil trials follow completion of a criminal proceeding.

The primary advantage Ms. Dealey enjoys over prosecutors is a lesser burden of proof. To prevail, she must prove her accusations against Mr. Mayhew by a "preponderance of the evidence" rather than the more rigorous criminal standard of "beyond a reasonable doubt."

Her attorneys have already compelled Mr. Mayhew to give a lengthy deposition, and he can be summoned to testify. If he chooses to invoke his right against self-incrimination, jurors may be told of that decision.

Unlike in a criminal case, where a unanimous decision is required, only 10 of the 12 jurors have to agree to reach a verdict.

Ms. Dealey, who has lived in Austin for the last two decades, initially filed court papers seeking $5 million in damages to compensate herself and her father's estate for his wrongful death. She could not be reached for comment last week.

Her lead attorney, Steve Sumner, said his client's primary intent was to fulfill what she believes would have been her father's wish to have a jury declare Chuck Mayhew to be his murderer.

"The fact of the matter is that Mandy is very principled and feels very strongly that she wants her day in court and her brother held accountable for what he did," Mr. Sumner said.

Ms. Dealey was formerly married to Joe Dealey Jr., who is the son of the late former Dallas Morning News president and publisher Joe M. Dealey Sr. She is also an investor and civic activist in Austin and ran unsuccessfully for the state Legislature in 2000.

Mr. Sumner, who defended millionaire Cullen Davis in a wrongful death suit arising from two 1976 slayings at his Fort Worth mansion, said he has developed a strong circumstantial case against Mr. Mayhew.

The case should have been presented to a grand jury, he said. "I can tell you I have defended other [murder] cases that had far less evidence than in this case," he said.

Development project

Mr. Sumner said he intends to show Charlie Mayhew's slaying was the result of years of bad feelings between the victim and his only son that revolved around a protracted legal battle over a land development project.

Father and son were partners in a company they formed to subdivide about 1,200 acres of land in Sunnyvale to build 5,000 houses.

The project was blocked by a Sunnyvale town ordinance that required home lots to be 1 acre or larger. In 1987, the Mayhews sued to overturn the ordinance, claiming it discriminated against middle-class homeowners.

The Mayhews won their case and an $8.5 million judgment against Sunnyvale in 1992, but the decision was overturned on appeal. They were awaiting a ruling by the Texas Supreme Court when Charlie Mayhew died.

According to Ms. Dealey's lawsuit, her father's legal battle with the city he once served as mayor left him frail and nearly broke.

The financial stress was a constant source of friction between Charlie Mayhew and his son, court records show. Things got worse in March 1995 after Charlie Mayhew accepted his son's resignation from the partnership. Chuck Mayhew said his offer to quit had not been serious.

Chuck Mayhew, a world-class sports shooter who attended St. Mark's School for Boys and Southern Methodist University, developed a chronic alcohol problem, which often led to violent outbursts, the suit said.

"When Chuck's father denied him what he wanted, Chuck would threaten to kill him. He stated he was going to kill him, and he described how. That's the way it worked in the Mayhew household," Ms. Dealey's attorneys stated in a court motion filed last September.

Chuck Mayhew told Ms. Dealey and his father's longtime secretary in 1996 that he had entered his father's home late at night and put a gun to the old man's head. He later said his story was not real but meant to illustrate how easy it would be to harm his father, court documents stated.

At the time of his death, the elder Mr. Mayhew was taking steps to remove his son as a beneficiary on his life insurance policy, Mr. Sumner said. The elder Mr. Mayhew also tried several weeks before his death to have his son committed to a mental health facility because of his behavior.

Chuck Mayhew admitted in a deposition last year that he had threatened to kill his father "at least a thousand times" without intending to do so. He said their last argument was the day before his father's death.

Gunshot wound

The night of the killing, Mr. Mayhew said, he had an argument with his wife and told her he was going to his father's home. But instead, he said, he went to a bar in Sunnyvale and then to his wife's home in Forney.

Mr. Mayhew said he did not know his father was dead until his sister's son, Christopher Dealey, called him about 1 p.m. on March 1, 1998.

According to court records, Mr. Dealey found his grandfather in his bed with the covers pulled around his head. When he touched Mr. Mayhew's neck, he discovered a gunshot wound below the left ear.

The medical examiner ruled that Mr. Mayhew died from a single shotgun blast that was fired close enough that paper wadding from the fired shell was found imbedded in the wound.

Sheriff's deputies found a 12-gauge shotgun in the Mayhew home that appeared to have been fired recently, but they were unable to identify it as the weapon that killed Mr. Mayhew. The 12-gauge belonged to Chuck Mayhew.

Investigators found no evidence of forced entry into the Mayhew home and no signs of a struggle or a burglary.

Sgt. Peritz said the investigators have "suspicions" about who committed the crime, but he declined to elaborate.

Mr. Sumner said his investigation points the blame at Chuck Mayhew. He was deeply in debt, dependent on his father for support and increasingly fearful that he was about to be cut off, Mr. Sumner said.

"Mr. Mayhew had no enemies," Ms. Dealey's attorneys stated in a court filing last year.

"No one had a motive to kill Mr. Mayhew other than his son, who knew his father was divesting him bit by bit of financial authority, who had no finances of his own and easily could have seen the note in his father's car regarding changing insurance beneficiaries."

Mr. Sumner said he also has a witness who saw Chuck Mayhew driving away from his father's home during the 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. time period that the medical examiner estimated the elder Mayhew was slain.

Ms. Dealey's attorney said he had not shared his evidence with the Sheriff's Department or the Dallas County district attorney's office but would be willing to do so at the conclusion of the trial.



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