DEFENSE LAWYER’S ADVICE `Don’t Tell This Wild Story to Anyone’ \(Continued from Page inal investigators, prosecuted Stickney and demanded the death penalty for him without having ascertained the elementary facts about the bizarre married life of Shirley and Clifford Barnes. Once the Observer got on the trail of these facts, they were nailed down in two days. Stickney said from Death Row Wednesday evening that although he realizes it would help him if it were otherwise, he remembers that only he and Shirley and Clifford Barnes were together on the beach the night of May 24th. Witnesses have testified that there was a larger beach party that night during which a third man may have committed the murders. Descriptions of the party have been sworn to, repudiated, and contradicted; people pop up all over Houston who say they knew of the party or know someone who did. It has been Stickney’s apparent scruple against tailoring his recollections to fit the theories of those trying to win him a new trial which has lent credibility to his insistence he does not remember how the Barneses died. New Questions The -full statement from Stickney’s date for a while, Neyda Eastman; Stickney’s statements Wednesday about the Barneses; and new testimony to the Observer from Clifford’s divorce lawyer, from a doctor who treated both the Barneses, and Shirley’s gynecologist raise new questions about the case. Did Stickney seek to disguise -his guilt with his story to Knight about defending Shirley from Clifford on the beach? Did he “make up” the story in a psychic vacuum in which he could remember nothing? Or did the story come to him as either a plausible re-creation from what he knew about the Barneses or a subconscious memory of the events of May 24th? Was Clifford Barnes a cruel man sexually with his wife? Why did he stay married to her three years when she would not sleep with him? Why did they remarry? Why did he brag so much to his own wife and Stickney about other women who, Stickney says, very seldom turned out to be real? Was he the sort of man who, unsure of his manhood, becomes cruel to women? If so, is it more plausible to prefer the possible recreations of the murder scene suggested by Clifford’s sexual difficulties with his wife to the confession Stickney signed, he now says after ceaseless badgering and in accordance with the ,suggestions of officers, that he killed Clifford on impulse, without being able to say why, and then killed Shirl_ey to keep her from telling? It is more believeable, in the light of the new evidence about the Barneses, that Barnes attacked Shirley, and Stickney attacked him in defense of her, than that Stickney attacked Barnes and and then killed a woman of whose welfare he is acknowledged by all concerned to have been solicitous? Considering that Stickney has told three storiesfirst, that he does not remember; second, that Clifford attacked Shirley and he came to her defense; ‘third, under the pressures of what a police lieutenant admits was a desire to get a confession, that he killed them both; and finally, that he does not remember and made up the story about defending Shirley from Cliffordis it not possible that the man’s mind really is blank or blurred out on the death scene that night? Walter Mansell, Houston Chron THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 2 Dec. 8, 1961 icle reporter, remembers receiving a call shortly after the killings asking if he wanted a story about “two murders and a rape.” Stickney remembers calling him about “two murders” and thinks Maybe he also mentioned “a rape.” Previously it has been assumed that -the rape reference pertained to prosecution contentions that Shirley’s body was molested after she had been hit with the tire tool. Stickney took exception to this point in his Death Row interview, noting that no evidence of intercourse had been found in Shirley’s body and that the stains on the bed beneath her were, after all, the stains on the bed of a married woman. Could Stickney’s reference to “a rape” in his call to Mansell have reflected his memory of Shirley’s cry-out instead of his memory of his own molestation of her body? Stickney has a sense of humor and did not seem morbid or afraid on Death Row Wednesday night. As the reporter left him he stood up, grasped a bar, chuckled a litbed beneath her were, after all, tie, and said, “I’m beginning to feel like this whole thing is a nightmare and I’m going to wake up in the morning out of here.” The Barnes Break-Up Clifford Barnes’ attorney in his divorce action against his wife was Douglas Adams. Adams says Clifford told him “he had lived with her three years or something like it, and she was still a virgin.” Adams says Barnes did not want to bring this out at the trial unless it became necessary to get the divorce. As Adams recalls the proceeding, Judge Louis B. Dickson asked Barnes if a general allegation of cruelty was the only grounds he had for seeking the divorce. Adams remembers Barnes telling the judge: “Well, what would you think if you’d lived with your wife three years and at the end of that time she was still a virgin?” The judge allowed as how that would be grounds for divorce, Barnes told him that was indeed the case, and the divorce was granted, Adams says. Dr. Lovell B. Crain, a psychiatrist, treated both the Barneses, Knight said. He was hostile to the Observer’s questioning him about it. “Actually, as far as I know, their relationship for a long time had been the relationship of a normal husband and wife,” he said. “Well, she was reluctant because she’d been taught things.” Did Adams’ account of two or three years without intercourse seem reasonable on the basis of what he knew? “Yes, but so far as I know, they became a well adjusted couple,” Dr. Crain said. “Actually,” he added brusquely, “I am direly opposed to people blowing up something that . isn’t .anything to make a fancy story.” Shirley . Afraid At first Shirley. Barnes’ doctor, the specialist in obstetrics and gynecology whom she consulted, was similarly reluctant to talk about it. She said she had told her about it. The doctor had told her who happened to handle one of Stickney’s appeals to the Supreme Court, about what she knew, and he had thought it of no consequence. Spiller, apprised by the Observer of Knight’s account of what Stickney told him about Shirley calling out on the beach that her husband was raping her, concluded that the doctor’s testimony was highly germane, after all, and telephoned her and told her it now fitted in with the new account “hand in glove.” Giving her his consent to speak to the Observer, Spiller told her, “It fits in right with The doctor asked not to be identified because the Harris County Medical Society frowns on any physician being quoted by name in print. She however authorized quotation of what she said, and Spiller is confident she would testify in a new trial if she was called. Shirley Barnes came to her four times in the fall of 1957, six to eight months before she was murdered, the doctor said. “I remember her as a quiet, sort of dumb little girl who didn’t know as much about the facts of life” as the average girl these days, said the doctor. Her fear of sex crystallized on her wedding night when, after a champagne party, Clifford, drunk and violent, approached her naked with all the lights on, using foul language. He frightened her badly, and she did not submit, she said. As well as the doctor recalled, they were married a year, and she had not submitted at any time. \(She felt her memory might be in error on the The doctor counseled with her in several long talks and gave her literature to read. On her third visit, Shirley submitted to an examination, and the doctor “ascertained that she was still a virgin,” which the doctor said was new in her medical experience: she knew of cases where two or three months passed after marriage before intercourse began, “but not this long.” Shirley told her she still loved Clifford but was afraid of him “when he was drinking,” the doctor told the Observer. At this time she was living apart from him, with another girl, and he was living with another man, the doctor said. “They met in a tourist court. She told me they were going to, and she was all happy about it,” she remembered. It was to be the weekend following her third visit to the doctor. The third day after the Saturday of this weekend, said the doctor, just as she was closing her office for the day, Shirley came in, without an appointment. “She was crying . .. She had a deep tear of the vagina, all the way down to the sacrum,” said the doctor. It was “the worst I have ever seen,” three or four inches long and an inch deep. “The textbooks say it can happen. .. . Possibly he was very forceful and too fast, not gentle with her. It would not necessarily be a crime,” although it was very severe, said the doctor. Shirley told the doctor Clifford had been drinking and that “she never would go back to him.” The doctor prescribed ointments and said minor surgery would be necessary, although she was not in any danger. “She never came in never made another appointment. I never heard from her again.” “What doesn’t make sense,” said the doctor, “is why she remarried him.” A Dramatic Story Knight recalls that the day after Stickney’s return from Canada, “The boy was under no pressure . . . The police had given up on him.” Stickney and he went into a room alone about 10 o’clock that morning, and Stickney told him that oil the beach that night he had heard Shirley jump out of the car and cry out, “He’s raping me! He’s raping me!” Knight said. “He said he waked up and Barnes was banging on the girl with his tire toolhe took the tool and banged Barnes around and by the time he got through they were both dead,” Knight said. Knight_ recalls that Stickney told him he told this same story could Stick\(“Jim V.” later Failing to find corroboration for the story, Knight did not with draw his advice to keep quiet about it. When ney confessed, Knight from the case. Later, however, Adams told Knight the story of the Barneses’ divorce, and he talked with Dr. Crain about his treatment of the couple. When the Observer called Knight as part of an attempt to find Crain, Knight volunteered the whole story. “It’s really the McCoy,” he said. Asked for more details, however, he said, “I don’t want to get into too much to divulging a professional confidence.” Pre-Wedding Party The. Observer met Neyda Eastman at a private club and talked with her over drinks sand dinher for five hours. Miss Eastman has been loath to talk to reporters because the only previous time she did, she said, she evidently drew a cub who reported that she said the opposite of what she did say. However, she said, she had made her statements about the Barneses and about ‘Clifford being “off-beat” to defense and prosecution lawyers before, during, and after the Stickney trial and has never been called as a trial witness, although she was ready and available to testify. Joe Moss, one -of Stickney’s two defense lawyers at the trial, interviewed her during the trial and concluded, he told the Observer, that her testimony “had nothing to do with it.” She thinks this strange, since she was the last person to see Stickney before the Barneses were killed and knew both the Barneses in relationship to Stickney. Neyda was living in the same boarding house with Shirley Barnes on Easter eve, 1958, when she met Clifford and Howard. At the time Neyda worked as a claims secretary at an insurance agency. As she lived downstairs, she usually answered the door. She didn’t like Clifford”he didn’t talk openly, he just mumbled” but she did like Howard. Shirley had gone, so the two young men persuaded her to go get a beer at a nearby U-Tot’em. One thing led to another, and they went over to the house of Charlene Barnett, former roommate of Shirley’s whom the Observer has not succeeded in locating. Charlene was out, so they dropped in on Neyda’s sister, Donna Jean Molle. From thereNeyda afraid she’s get “stuck with Clifford” but winding up with Howard they proceeded as a foursome to a large, gay party at an apartment house that surrounds a swimming pool. This Easter Eve party is important for several reasons. Neyda and Howard agree that Clifford offended Neyda’s sister by attaching himself to her, was asked by an intermediary to leave, and did. Howard thinks that he first met James Vittitoe at this party, not at the Rice Hotel coffee shop, as Vittitoe has said. Stickney says he has never been inside that coffee shop. Most important, Clifford was scheduled to remarry Shirley the very next day, Easter, 1958. This, Neyda says, was a principal source of her sister Donna Jean’s irritation with him. “That was a shock to me,” Neyda said. That guy was getting married and here he was at this party the night before! He commehted that night he was supposed to get married . . . ‘I don’t want to . . . Oh well, might as well.’ It was as if he had to get Married but he didn’t want to. He never said a good thing about Shirley. Never.” It was an all night party, people sacking out here and there. In the morning, Stickney says, Shirley, having found out that Clifford had been there, became angry and called off the wedding. ‘Howard was supposed to “stand up” as best man. “He felt he owed a -duty to this man,” Neyda said. Thinking the marriage was off, he went boating in a party with Neyda. Later he learned Clifford and Shirley had remarried that day. ‘He Didn’t Love Her’ Once the Barneses, remarried, and Neyda and Howard doubledated to a drive-in movie. Neyda felt that Shirley, lying across the back seat with her head in Clifford’s lap, was doing all she could to be attractive to him, but that Clifford never gave her any ground. “His sadistic treatment to his wife made me ill,” Neyda said. When the subject of getting something at the snack bar came up, he gat something for himself without getting Shirley anything. When Shirley mentioned something she wanted, Clifford’s attitude was, “Go get it for yourself,” Neyda said. When he was not with Shirley, Clifford “said he didn’t love her, he didn’t know why he’d married her,” Neyda told the Observer. Neyda asked Howard to drop Clifford, and he replied, ” ‘I think I can help him.’ ” On May 16 or 17 Neyda moved into an apartment. This was the weekend before the crime. Howard and Clifford appeared. They all went to the grocery store, and in the store Howard said something to Neyda about “Clifford’s mistreatment of Shirley. What it was, I don’t recall,” Neyda said.