site is dedicated to preserving the memory of Darren Cain and Dennise Hayslip.
On April 30, 1998, they were taken from us much too soon. We hope that this web
page will be the fabric that helps to weave together all the friends and family
who so miss Darren and Dennise. Many friends and family members are spread
throughout the country; we wanted to try and close the gap of distance by
providing a bridge to information on the trial and a place to share
the friends and family that couldn’t attend the trial, this site was originally intended
to provide updates as the trial progressed, and is now essential in keeping all
family and friends informed of ongoing events, no matter how far away.
miss Darren and Dennise very much, their memories will live on in the hearts of
so many people that they touched. We are thankful for the light they brought
into our lives. We will be updating this site as
frequently as possible, so please check back.
C A P T
U R E D
Article at Channel 2 News in Houston
UPDATE: On October 28,
2005, Thompson was again sentenced to death, and
from the jail before he was returned to death
UPDATE: On October 24,
2001, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals issued an opinion that granted a new
sentencing trial for the murderer. The opinion sharply divided the court,
with four of the nine judges signing a stinging dissent. It is the hope of
the families that the state will appeal this decision to the United States
Ruling - http://www.cca.courts.state.tx.us/opinions/73431a.htm
Dissent - http://www.cca.courts.state.tx.us/opinions/73431b.htm
For those of you who would like to
review or receive copies of transcripts of the trial, contact Donna @ (713)
755-7865 in the Post Trial Dept.
You will need to provide the case
You can go to 301 San Jacinto,
Office 101A, Houston, TX 77002 to review the transcripts. You can make copies at
$1.00 a page. There are 16 volumes and I am not sure how many pages to a volume.
those of you out of town, you can send a letter of request to the same address
and they will mail you copies. Yes, you can get copies of excerpts, specific
witnesses, or specific days. We are working on trying to provide excerpts to be
posted on this site. We cannot provide it in entirety, as space is limited and
Day 1, Monday, 4/12/99: The trial opened today.
There were NO free seats in the small courtroom; some observers even had to wait
in the hall in vain. One of the witnesses testified that Thompson had
confessed the murder to her. Testimony was given by a police officer
present when the weapon was recovered. Another officer who was a
ballistics and firearms expert testified, regarding the weapon that he tested
and whether it matched bullets recovered from the murder scene. Dennise's
roommate testified as to the nature of the relationship between the defendant
and Dennise. Dennise's brother testified about the day of the murder and
seeing Dennise in the emergency room at Hermann Hospital. Darren's father
took the stand and told about the last time he spoke to his son and how he had
heard that his son had been killed. Dennise's son told the court about his
mother, her relationship with Thompson and about how he heard that his mother
had been shot. The trial will resume on Tuesday morning at 9:15. The
judge indicated that the jury might get the case for deliberations on Wednesday.
Day 2, Tuesday, 4/13/99:
was another packed courtroom today. The
prosecution wrapped up its case by calling two witnesses. The
first was the surgeon who attended to Dennise at the hospital. He
testified as to Dennise’s wounds, the effects of those wounds, and what was
done medically prior to surgery, during surgery, and the results of the
surgery. The next witness was the medical examiner who performed the
autopsy on Darren. She testified as
to the location of his gunshot wounds, the nature of the wounds and the
condition of his body as a result of the wounds. She
also reviewed the records of the autopsy on Dennise and testified as to those
findings. Then the prosecution then
rested. After the lunch break, the defense began by calling a woman who
was part-owner of the moving company where Thompson worked at the time of the
murders, and she was also a friend of the prosecution's witness who testified
yesterday about Thompson’s confession at her house. She
also testified to the nature and employment record of Thompson. Then the
defense called a mutual friend of Dennise and Thompson's who testified what she
observed about their relationship and Thompson’s state of mind and demeanor
the night before the murders. The next witness was the critical care nurse
for LifeFlight who testified as to Dennise’s condition when LifeFlight arrived
on the scene and the medical procedures performed on Dennise while en route to
the hospital. Dennise’s brother, who testified yesterday, was then
re-called to be questioned about his statement to a detective as to Dennise's
condition after he arrived at the hospital. The last witness for the day
was a pathologist who testified as an expert witness for the defense. He
was called to review the statements and the procedures given by the medical
personnel attending to Dennise and the autopsy on Darren. The day ended
with Judge Shaver advising the jurors that he believed the closing arguments
could be wrapped up by mid-morning tomorrow and the case would then be given to
them for deliberation.
Day 3, April 14, 1999:
JUSTICE HAS BEEN SERVED! GUILTY OF CAPITAL MURDER!
With the courtroom packed again, the defense began the day by re-calling
the witness to whom Thompson had confessed. She was questioned as to what she had told another friend about the contents of Thompson's confession.
The next witness was the friend; she was questioned about what she was told regarding Thompson's confession.
The defense then called one of their own lawyers to the stand to testify concerning the testimony of their expert witness who had testified on
Tuesday. The defense then rested. After a recess the prosecution began with the closing arguments by
explaining to the jury the necessary elements to arrive at a capital murder verdict, and how those elements were proven in this case.
The defenses' closing argument was summed up by trying to persuade the jury that Dennise's death was caused by the medical professionals, not the
gunshot wound inflicted by Thompson. The defense asked the jury to find Thompson guilty of murder, not capital murder.
Day 4, 4/15/99:
The first day of the punishment phase began with three witnesses
from Colorado (2) and Arizona (1), where Thompson had lived previously. They testified that Thompson was in trouble with the law on numerous
occasions including, burglaries, vandalism, driving under the influence, and threatening a police officer, just to name a few. The prosecution then
called a fingerprint expert who identified Thompson's fingerprints on letters he had written while in jail. The prosecution then called an
officer who worked at the jail where Thompson was being held after the murders. She testified that she had discovered several letters written by
Thompson bearing gang related symbols on the envelopes, these letters contained incriminating statements concerning violence he had committed
against Dennise and the letters were signed "Chuckster Killer". The next witness was the officer who was contacted by one of Thompson's cellmates
who informed the officer of Thompson's plans to have a witness killed. The witness Thompson wanted killed was then re-called and asked again about
phone conversations she had with Thompson where he tried to get her to change her story concerning what Thompson had told her. The next witness
was the under cover officer who met with Thompson in jail to discuss the solicitation to kill the witness against him. The tape of this
conversation was then played for the jury and courtroom. He had told the under cover officer exactly where the murder weapon could be found so the
hired hit man could use it in the solicited murder. The defense then called Thompson's father who testified about Thompson's childhood,
behaviors, and character. Thompson's ex-wife was then called to testify about his teenage and early adult years. The defense closed by calling a
psychologist who had met with Thompson on only two separate occasions for a total of 3 1/2 hours. This witness labeled Thompson as reactive, paranoid,
impulsive, sociopathic, and narcissistic. He also stated that Thompson's "personality disorders" were chronic, long-term and felt that he would lie
to benefit himself. The jury was then instructed to return tomorrow at 9:15 am to begin deliberations and the courtroom was dismissed.
Day 5, 4/16/99:
7:15 pm - At last word, there was no sentence yet; the jury was still
8:15 pm - Charles Victor Thompson was sentenced to death minutes ago.
Convicted Murderer: Charles Victor Thompson
Date of Birth:
Let Our Friends Be Forgotten!
Darren, 20 months old
Dennise, Christmas 1997
Darren, 4th grade
Darren, 5 years old
Anyone wishing to contribute pictures, thoughts, letters, poems, etc. to the website should e-mail them to me at
Could Only Talk To You One More Time
When I hear people
use the cliché “time heals all wounds”; I want to tell them
they are so wrong. My
heart still aches over the loss of you. I can not think of one single day that has passed that I have
not thought of you. And
every thought brings both joy and heartache.
I can still hear
your voice saying “I love you”.
That was the last thing you ever said to me, the day before
you died. You said you “called just to hear your voice", it
always made you feel better.
You asked me to meet you at our special place on Thursday
at four o’clock, you said “I love you, I’ve always loved you”
and then you hung up. Obviously Thursday at four o’clock never came.
If it is possible to get comfort from any of this it is
this last conversation we had.
I play it over and over in my head.
And I will always have our special place; after all you did
deface public property by scratching my name in the wood of the
In a lot of ways I
am lucky. Most people don’t ever get the chance to say goodbye to
their loved ones who die unexpectedly.
A lot of people leave unresolved issues behind, a lot of
things left unsaid. But
we did not. I got the chance to tell you I loved you too and that I
In fact, I have
loved you since I was seventeen years old.
You were my first true love, my only true love.
I love you still. I
will always remember how you cried as we said our vows.
If I only knew then just how much you really loved me.
It is so easy to take things for granted when you have them
and so hard to accept the loss of what you once had when you
realize it too late. I
remember you telling me, “it took you thirteen years but you
finally got it through your thick skull, I love you”.
You said you would wait any length of time necessary for us
to be married again. You
always did come straight to the point.
If I could talk to
you once more I would tell you how much I miss you.
I would let you know how lucky I feel to have been your
wife, to be the one you wanted to spend the rest of your life
with. I would tell
you I am sorry we never had a child.
It hurts so much knowing you are gone and there will never
be a little boy with his daddy’s grin to look up at me or a
little girl who would have had you wrapped around her little
finger, all ten I am sure. No
little reminder of you.
would tell you that you are always in my heart. I would tell you
how much it hurts not knowing what might have been.
I would want you to know how much you touched my life.
How many smiles you brought to my face.
I would want you to know there has never been nor will
there ever be another you. No
one could take your place in my heart.
It will always belong to you, it always has. “ILMC”
Friend was Murdered
By Mindy Mahaffey
paper reported this murder in a two-paragraph article in the Metropolitan
section of the paper, several pages back. It
seemed so common, so usual, that the paper barely told the story.
But it was unusual to me; this is the first person I have known that was
murdered. And he was one of the
best people I have ever known. I
wasn’t one of his best friends so I didn’t speak at his funeral. I am sorry now that I didn’t.
I missed sharing one last time what this person meant to me so I decided
to tell his story.
was one of the greatest people I have ever met. He
looked at everything so positively and upbeat. He
had a smile, no, a grin that spread from ear to ear, and it actually lit up an
entire room. He was a fixture at
Kelly’s Tee Time. Every time I
walked in he had my beer ready and that big grin on his face.
As I would approach the bar he would scream out, “Hey Mindy, I got one
for ya!”, and he would begin to tell one of his famous jokes that took way too
long to tell. He loved to tell
jokes and he told them so well!
often talked of his father. I had
met him a few times with Darren, and his love for his dad was impressive.
They were more like best friends than father and son. He
would tell me, 'it’s my day off and I gotta go to my dad's, he’s invented
some things for me to do for him. He
just wants to spend some time with me' and he would wink and grin that grin.
was the organizer of the group - he was always planning some event to do and he
made sure that everyone he knew was included. He
always liked to have as many friends as possible in his presence, to meet for a
football game, to go to a concert, and of course to go to the lake.
I can still see him standing in Tony’s boat, in his orange swimming
trunks screaming out “What took y’all
so long- ain’t this the greatest?!”
Kelly’s first opened, he was there helping get the place started in any way he
I had to remind myself that this was just a part-time job to him. He
was so enthusiastic and energetic, you would think he was the owner himself.
On the nights when it was particularly slow he would call our friend
Angie and ask us to come up and keep him company. Of course we would oblige.
And there he would be, waiting with a beer, and that huge grin, and
died the same way he lived, helping someone. A
girl he had just started dating had an ex-boyfriend- an abuser, that was
harassing her constantly. This
particular night, she called Darren at 2:00 am, stating only that her ex was
there causing trouble. As always,
Darren came to her rescue. They got
into a fight and some neighbors called the police. By
the time they came, Darren and the ex were sitting on the curb having a beer and
laughing. He thought he had made
another friend. The ex left,
shaking Darren’s hand. He
returned a few hours later with a gun and shot Darren 4 times, killing him
instantly. He then shot his
ex-girlfriend in the face- she died a few days later.
My friend Jim was called to the scene. He told me that Darren had a smile on his
face - he lived his life helping people and when he died he was at peace- I
think he knew he lived his life the way we are supposed to live- being there
for others, never letting a day go by without telling you he loved you and
appreciated you, and living every day to the fullest potential. He was truly one of the good ones.
still go into Kelly’s and look behind the bar, waiting to see his smile,
waving me over to tell me his latest joke. But
he’s not there. I will always miss him, but I will continue to learn from him
and live by his example. So to all
my friends and family, in the spirit of Darren- I love you and I appreciate you,
and hey, let’s go to the lake - it’ll be the greatest!!
My name is Christal Preston
Kakazu. Darren is my cousin. I don't know
what to write except that he was one of the most crazy and fun guys in the world.
remember one Thanksgiving he shared with our family in Hawaii ... I must have been about 10, he kept throwing me and my brothers in the pool!!!
would go change our clothes and he would come right back and do it again!!!
my mom yelled at him and made him go carve the turkey. Darren is one of those guys
you'll never forget ... we love you Darren!
Houston Chronicle articles about these
Date: FRI 05/01/98
A man turned himself in to police Thursday just hours after his ex-girlfriend
was found wounded and her current boyfriend shot to death. Darren Keith Cain
, 30, was found dead in the 14700 block of
Wunderlich about 6:30 a.m. Dennise Suzanne Hayslip , 39, was in serious condition at
Hermann Hospital. Harris County sheriff's deputies answered a call that Cain, Hayslip and the man were arguing about 3 a.m. Thursday, but left after being told the dispute had been
resolved. Charges were pending.
Murder charge filed
A man who turned himself in to authorities a few hours after his
ex-girlfriend was shot and her current boyfriend shot to death has been charged
with murder. Charles Victor Thompson, 27, remained in jail Friday in lieu of $30,000 bail.
Darren Keith Cain , 30, was slain during an apparent
argument Thursday in the 14700 block of Wunderlich. Dennise Suzanne Hayslip , 39, remained in serious condition at Hermann Hospital Friday.
Date: THU 07/09/98
Slaying solicitation case
A man in jail awaiting a capital murder trial has been charged with
solicitation of capital murder for trying to have a witness killed. Charles Thompson, 28, allegedly offered an informant $1,500 to kill a witness
scheduled to testify against him in the shooting deaths of his ex-girlfriend and
her boyfriend in April. The new charge was filed Tuesday after investigators said they were notified
of Thompson's plan and the informant was brought in. Dennise Suzanne Hayslip
, 39, and Darren Keith Cain , 30, were shot in the 14700 block of Wunderlich.
Date: THU 04/15/99
of capital murder in 2 killings / Defendant argues that doctors at fault
A man described by prosecutors as a "pretty boy" with a bad temper was
convicted Wednesday of the capital murder of his ex-girlfriend and a romantic
rival a year ago. Jurors deliberated for more than four hours before convicting Charles Victor
Thompson, 28. Testimony on whether to give him life in prison or the death
penalty begins this morning. Thompson killed Dennise Hayslip, 39,
and Darren Keith Cain, 30, on April 30 at Hayslip's apartment in the 14700 block of Wunderlich in north Harris
County. Cain was shot four times - twice in the chest, once in the shoulder and
once in the back of the neck. Hayslip was
shot in the face.
According to evidence and testimony, Thompson and
Hayslip had an often-violent relationship. On
the day of the murders, she told him she wanted to be with Cain, and the two men
fought. Police escorted Thompson from the property after the fight because
neither Hayslip nor Cain would file
charges. But Thompson returned later with a gun, kicked in the door, shot Cain and
then, after asking if she wanted to die next, turned the gun on Hayslip. Thompson got rid of the weapon, then took a two-hour nap at the house of a
friend, whom he told what had happened. He surrendered later, and authorities
found the gun.
Before a packed courtroom, defense attorneys Bettina J. Richardson and Ellis
McCullough argued to jurors that prosecutors might have proved Cain was killed
intentionally, but they said there was no proof Thompson meant to kill Hayslip.
In their closings, prosecutors Vic Wisner and Kelly Siegler dismissed the
notion that the shooting was accidental and attacked the credibility of the
defense's medical expert, a pathologist with no recent experience with live
patients or any experience as a trauma surgeon. Wisner told jurors Thompson was looking for someone to blame for
Hayslip 's death because it was his only
possible defense, though it was "ludicrous, crazy, asinine and not worthy of
serious belief." Wisner said, "This defendant has dug himself the Grand Canyon of all holes
and put himself at the bottom of it, and there ain't enough fill dirt to get him
back to sea level." Siegler reminded jurors of Thompson's violent relationship with
Hayslip and of how he hit her when she wouldn't
do as he wished. She called him a jealous "pretty boy" who flew into rages when
he didn't get his way. It was ironic, Siegler said, that Thompson was trying to lay the blame for
Hayslip 's death on those who had tried
to save her.
Date: FRI 04/16/99
Man, 28, convicted in double murder
a narcissistic sociopath, witness says
A man who could be sentenced to death for killing his estranged girlfriend
and a romantic rival is a charming, narcissistic sociopath who turns violent
under stress, a psychologist testified Thursday. Charles Victor Thompson, 28, might benefit from prison life and his
personality might stabilize if he is deprived of alcohol, said Jerome Brown, a
psychologist who testified for the defense in the punishment phase of Thompson's
capital murder trial. Brown was the last witness in the trial. Jurors in visiting state District
Judge Doug Shaver's court convicted Thompson on Wednesday and will now decide if
gets a life term or death.
Thompson killed Dennise Hayslip , 39,
and Darren Keith Cain, 30, on April 30 at Hayslip 's home in the 14700 block of
Wunderlich. Cain was shot four
times and Hayslip was shot in the face. On the day of the murders, Hayslip
told Thompson she wanted to be with Cain, and the two men fought. Thompson, who had been drinking, left and returned later with a gun. He
shot Cain, then Hayslip. Prosecutors Vic Wisner and Kelly Siegler showed jurors Thompson's record of
run-ins with the law starting when he was a teen, including vandalism, running
away, drunken driving, accusations of drug use and smuggling people into the
United States. Jurors also heard about Thompson's attempt to hire a hit
man to kill a witness
while awaiting trial. While in jail last summer, Thompson talked about the hit
with an undercover lawmen and was subsequently charged with solicitation of
Defense attorneys Ellis McCullough and Bettina J. Richardson tried to paint a
different picture of Thompson with testimony from his father and ex-wife, who
acknowledged his problems but said he wasn't violent. Brown testified that Thompson had personality defects that made him the
"perfect accomplice" - chronic bad judgment, problems with authority and bad
reactions to stress. Siegler tried to establish during cross-examination of Brown that the same
defects would also haunt Thompson even in the structured life of prison, where
there are lots of both stress and authority figures. Brown acknowledged that Thompson was a "mess," but stuck by his opinion that
he would be less likely to be dangerous in prison. Siegler also tried to establish that Thompson was the type of person to lie
to protect himself and that Brown had based his opinions mostly on things
Thompson had told him, including a claim he had been sexually assaulted at 15.
Closing arguments will be today.
Date: SAT 04/17/99
Death penalty in '98 murder of two -
Jury deliberates 8 hours, returns maximum
sentence for Thompson
A jury deliberated eight hours Friday before sentencing
to death a man who murdered his estranged girlfriend and a romantic rival.
Charles Victor Thompson, who carried a large Bible during the last day of his
trial, glanced at his father with a shocked look on his face when the sentence
was announced. Friends and kin of the victims -- Dennise Hayslip, 39, and Darren Keith Cain,
30 -- wept and embraced after the decision. "I realize the pain and anger his family is going through. I wouldn't want to
wish that on anyone," said Wade Hayslip, Dennise's 14-year-old son. "But
whatever the jury did, I felt it would be a reasonable decision." An angry Steven Thompson III, the defendant's father, said as he was leaving
the courthouse, "There's more people given the death penalty in Harris County
under (District Attorney) Johnny Holmes than any other state in the entire
Some jurors looked tired and one woman wept as visiting state District Judge
Doug Shaver polled them on their verdict. Thompson killed Hayslip and Cain on April 30 at Hayslip's home in north
Harris County. Cain was shot four times and Hayslip was shot in the face. She
died later at a local hospital. Thompson and Hayslip had a violent relationship. On the day of the murders,
she told him she wanted to be with Cain, and the men fought. Police escorted
Thompson from the property and he returned later with a gun. He kicked in the
door, shot Cain and then Hayslip.
In jail awaiting trial, he tried to hire a hit
man to kill a witness. But
after discussing the scheme with an undercover lawman posing as a
killer-for-hire he was charged with solicitation of capital murder. Jurors heard about that plot, about Thompson's criminal past and about his
personality from a psychologist hired by the defense, who described him as
charming but also as a "narcissistic sociopath." Jurors also saw letters Thompson wrote his brother from jail, dotted with
racial slurs and his expressed desire to join the Aryan Brotherhood in prison.
His letters were signed the "Chuckster Killer." Prosecutor Vic Wisner repeatedly called Thompson by that name during his
closing remarks Friday. He urged the jurors to give him death and not life
because he would continue to be a threat behind bars. "The NFL draft is tomorrow," Wisner told the jurors. "If this defendant
receives a life sentence, then the Aryan Brotherhood draft is tomorrow and don't
we have a blue-chipper here."
Prosecutor Kelly Siegler argued that only a death sentence would be just and
that Thompson would even be a threat to others in prison. "This man has a rage inside his body, an uncontrollable rage he's never been
able to control and he still can't," Siegler argued. If jurors had given Thompson life, he could have been paroled in 40 years.
Defense attorneys Ellis McCullough and Bettina J. Richardson urged jurors to
spare Thompson's life, saying the murders were "situational" and Thompson was
drunk, troubled and obsessed with Hayslip. They even revived an earlier defense that he didn't cause Hayslip's death.
Because Hayslip's family has served notice they are going to sue the doctors who
treated her at the hospital, the lawyers argued that was proof that Thompson
hadn't caused her death, doctors had. Prosecutors dismissed that notion throughout the trial. But afterward, they
expressed frustration with Hayslip's family for not waiting longer before going
ahead with their lawsuit.