True Confessions?

Seventeen years ago, Charles Raby said he killed an old lady. Now he's not so sure.

"She can swear that all she wants," Benge says. "That is bullshit."

At the trial, Rose admitted to smoking crack and being an alcoholic during that time period. Benge had recently been convicted of misdemeanor possession of marijuana.

"Everybody was hooked on coke at the time, and you know, drinking, smoking weed every day," Phillips says.

No physical evidence tied Charles Raby to the murder. He and his lawyers found out only recently that someone else's blood was beneath the victim's fingernails.
No physical evidence tied Charles Raby to the murder. He and his lawyers found out only recently that someone else's blood was beneath the victim's fingernails.
Attorney Sarah Frazier thought she'd be little more than a rubber stamp on Raby's impending execution. Instead, she has found blood and DNA evidence that suggests someone else may have killed Edna Mae Franklin.
Chris Curry
Attorney Sarah Frazier thought she'd be little more than a rubber stamp on Raby's impending execution. Instead, she has found blood and DNA evidence that suggests someone else may have killed Edna Mae Franklin.

Benge says that he has never suspected Bangs of anything and remembers that Bangs and his grandmother got along well. At the scene of the murder, according to the offense report, he told police that Bangs was a drug addict who had recently stolen his paycheck and shotgun and was the only person he knew other than Raby who could have committed the crime.

In his letter, Bangs said he was with his girlfriend Alicia Overstreet on the night of the murder. Overstreet says this is impossible, since the two had been separated for months, in part because she says Bangs had threatened to kill her. "He was psychotic," she says. "And he was just like the other one [Raby]."

In 1993, Bangs was convicted of robbing and threatening an old woman acquaintance. They were walking to a restaurant together when he grabbed her purse and threatened to kill her if she fought back. Bangs is now serving time for robbery in Lovelady's Eastham Unit, a maximum security prison known to house problem offenders.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice denied repeated requests to interview Bangs in person for this story, saying he had been assaultive to the prison staff. Bangs currently receives one hour of recreation three times per week, TDCJ spokeswoman Michelle Lyons says, which takes place just outside his cell.

There has been only one suspect in Franklin's murder, however, and, standing in the yard outside her home, which Benge now owns, her grandsons think it should stay that way.

"Maybe they screwed that up too," Rose says of the blood tests.

He and Benge have no doubt about Raby's guilt.

"Cuz I mean everybody else was here but him," Rose says.

"Everybody had an alibi but him," Benge says. "Everybody was accounted for."

mike.giglio@houstonpress.com

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