Darren Cain & Dennise Hayslip

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This 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 memories.

For 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.

We 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.


Article at Channel 2 News in Houston

UPDATE: On October 28, 2005, Thompson was again sentenced to death, and incredibly, escaped from the jail before he was returned to death row.

Charles Victor Thompson Click image for KPRC coverage


Houston Chronicle Articles

  • $10,000 bounty generates leads but no arrest

  • Jurors now watching their backs

  • Search goes on for elusive killer

  • Series of events leading to escape

  • Wanted Poster for Charles Victor Thompson

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 Supreme Court.

Ruling – http://www.cca.courts.state.tx.us/opinions/73431a.htm Dissent – http://www.cca.courts.state.tx.us/opinions/73431b.htm



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Tides of life come rushing in They crash upon the shore Rocks have found a nestled place The waves on them will pour See the rhythmic movement In the glory of this sight Crystals bouncing off the waves The dazzling glow of light windowdressingicon Endless streams of oceans Flowing to and fro Gives the heart a peacefulness To watch it come and go Takes away the hurt and pain Smoothes the sand so fine Every footprint you will make Are gathered now through time windowdressingicon Waves have come and taken Life’s burdens fraught with fears Retrieving now forever The weight of all your tears Feel the mist upon you Like soft and silky rain Softly know this peacefulness Whenever you feel pain. windowdressingtwinstars ~Francine Pucillo ~ windowdressingtwinstars



Trial Transcripts:

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 # 0782657.

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.

For 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 cost prohibitive.

Trial Updates:

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: It 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 deliberating. 8:15 pm – Charles Victor Thompson was sentenced to death minutes ago.

Convicted Murderer: Charles Victor Thompson

Date of Birth: 6/13/70

Multiple Capital Murder

  • Case #0782657
  • 5/11/98 – Charge Filed
  • 4/12/99 – Trial Begins
  • 4/14/99 – Convicted of multiple capital murder
  • 4/16/99 – Sentenced to death

Don’t Let Our Friends Be Forgotten! CainHayslipPhotobut

20monthssm Darren, 20 months old

Dennise X mas97sm Dennise, Christmas 1997

4thgradesm Darren, 4th grade

5yrsoldsm Darren, 5 years old

Anyone wishing to contribute pictures, thoughts, letters, poems, etc. to the website should e-mail them to me at [email protected]

If I 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 Gazebo.

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 always had.

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.

I 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”

My Friend was Murdered By Mindy Mahaffey

D lookin downrd The 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.

He 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!

Darren 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.

Darren 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?!”

When Kelly’s first opened, he was there helping get the place started in any way he could. 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 another joke.

He 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.

I 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. I 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! We would go change our clothes and he would come right back and do it again! Finally 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 murders:

Date: FRI 05/01/98 Gunman surrenders

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.

Date: SAT 05/02/98 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 Man guilty 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 capital murder. 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 union.” 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.