Page 22


him refused to pay his fee. Mexican police eventually turned Cervantes over to American authorities in the early Sixties. The plot was never fully explained. Some people in Alice speculate that the assassins intended to kill Buddy all along, that Floyd’s enemies planned to punish Jacob Floyd by killing his son. Nago Alaniz was tried for his part in the killing. The state asked for the death penalty, but a Waco jury turned him loose, reasoning that he had cleared himself by warning Floyd of the plot. It was generally believed at the time of the trial that Alaniz had broken with George Parr, but the two remained corn padres. When Parr failed to appear at the Corpus bond revocation hearing last month, it was Alaniz who represented him. “The only reason he would not show up is because he is dead,” Alaniz told the judge. Parr wasn’t dead then, but he would take his own life a few hours later. Despite the fact that he was sheriff, George Parr refused to help Texas Rangers with the Floyd case. Of Sapet’s conviction he said, “They tried him in Brownwood. That’s a big Baptist town and there used to be a lot of Ku Kluxes there. Mario Sapet was a dark Mexican and a Catholic. You can see he didn’t have a chance.” AFTER THE Floyd murder, Gov. Alan Shivers and Attorney General Shepperd worked hard to break Parr’s control over Duval County. Shivers and Parr had been allies, but they split in the late Forties over a judicial appointment. In 1950, Shivers carried every Texas county except Duval. The governor could wax quite eloquent over the abuses in Parr’s county. “The light of freedom has been snuffed out in Duval County,” Shivers once said. “There is no law there, no liberty, no , free elections. It is our purpose to put some of these people down there in the penitentiary.” Lawyers from the attorney general’s office and the state auditor’s office spent 18 months gathering evidence against George Parr’s regime. Shepperd estimated that Parr diverted $5 million from county and school funds during a ten-year period. Shepperd said he had evidence of a massive scheme of forgery and kickbacks on county and school fund disbursements. A special grand jury established by the attorney general returned a bunch of indictments, but they were dismissed by a Parr judge on the basis that the grand jury was improperly impaneled. It wasn’t the first time that the Parrs’ control of South Texas judges, sheriffs, and juries put the lid on a state investigation. Information from the state grand jury was turned over to federal investigators and a federal grand jury subsequently indicted George Parr and a number of cronies, including Oscar Carrillo and his father, D.C. Chapa. The whole lot was convicted in a federal court on charges of mail fraud, but Parr hired some high powered lawyers, including Percy Foreman and LBJ’s friend Abe Fortas, and the convictions were overturned by the Supreme Court in 1960. The high court opinion said, “There can be no doubt that the indictment charged and the evidence tended strongly to show that petitioners devised and practiced a brazen scheme to defraud by misappropriating, converting, and embezzling the district’s moneys and property. Counsel for the petitioners concede that this is so.” But, the court ruled, they were essentially state crimes and the mail fraud statutes had been improperly used to gain a conviction. Although the state and federal authorities failed to send Parr to jail, they managed to give him some trouble. Shepperd and Shivers sent Ranger Captain A. Y. Allee to keep the peace in Duval Ranger Capt. A. Y. Allee County. Allee, who is legendary for his harsh treatment of Mexican-Americans during the Valley farm workers strike, was just as mean as George Parr. When the two got together there were bound to be fireworks. During one of Parr’s many court hearings for unlawfully carrying a gun, Parr and his nephew Archer encountered Allee and another Ranger, Joe Bridge, in the Jim Wells County Courthouse. Archer Parr and Joe Bridge got into a scuffle, and the two older men intervened. Allee ended up whomping George Parr in the side of the head with his pistol. It was one of the few times that George got as good as he gave. Allee said later, “I just don’t like George Patr or nothing about him. He’s a dangerous man who would do anything under the sun, and I don’t treat a tiger like I do a rabbit. I’m not sorry I hit Mr. Parr.” It was mis-government as usual in Duval County during the Sixties. Archer Parr came to have a stronger political role, but George was still Duval’s main man. With George gone, Archer is now the nominal head of the Old Party, but many observers doubt that he can keep it all together. For one thing, Archer is going to prison, unless the Fifth Circuit overturns his perjury conviction. For another, Archer isn’t all that well liked. He lacks his uncle’s common touch as well as his sense of authority. Archer’s reputation wasn’t helped any last year when his fourth wife, Jody Martin Parr, a former model, committed suicide. There had been a long, messy divorce proceeding \(Obs., March 1, claimed that she was the victim of “judicial harrassment by Parr-controlled courts.” Oscar Carrillo, who wants to control Duval County himself, said shortly after George’s death, “I feel there will not be anybody who can fill George Parr’s shoes. I don’t think anybody will try. . . . To think Archer is going to be the Duke of Duval is wrong. He doesn’t have the stature.” The Saturday after Parr’s death on Tuesday, the Old Party won a major victory over the Carrillos in the Benavides School Board election. Duval County residents treated the election like a spectator sport. In Benavides, where the vote was expected to be the closest, Caller reporter Joe Coudert said, “People sat in garden chairs, on the grass, or in their cars in a picnic-like atmosphere. Both political factions had little territories staked out with coolers full of soft drinks and poll watchers checking people off their vote lists as they walked into the nearby gym to vote.” Mrs. Attlee Parr and Ruben Chapa beat the closest Carrillo candidate by more than 2-1 district-wide and by 10-1 in Freer. The Carrillos dismissed the election as a sympathy vote for George Parr. As the Observer went to press, the votes still had not been canvassed because nobody knew for sure which was the legitimate school board the Parr board that had been tossed out of office in March by Judge Carrillo, or the Carrillo board headed by Clinton Manges’ employee. Both school boards were holding meetings, and the Texas Supreme Court was being asked to choose which one was legal. There was also a question as to which faction was in control of the county commission the new commissioners under the leadership of Dan Tobin or the old Parr commissioners. On April 10 it was revealed that Judge 0. P. Carrillo, his brother Ramiro, and an associate, Arturo Zertuche, were indicted March 28 in Corpus Christi on 12 counts of conspiracy and filing false income tax returns. The indictments were not made public until the men turned up in Corpus to post bond. The federal complaint alleged that the men participated in a scheme to cheat the government out of taxes on merchandise sold to the Duval County water district and to a Duval school district. More indictments may be in the works. Atty. Gen. John Hill set up two members of his staff in an office in San Diego to help Dist. Atty. Arnulfo Guerra and a grand jury investigate other allegations of dirty dealings. If all the allegations concerning Duval County are investigated, the A.G.’s team could be down there for the next ten years. K.N. April 25, 1975 7