I try so hard everyday not to forget the person my Aunt Pam was. I remember her commitment to my sister and myself. She had no children of her own and so we were as close to her as children could be.
I can remember her taking us to amusement parks, and baking us cookies; she always went with us to my dad’s football games, and she never let me sit in the front seat of her two-door car because she was too worried the door might come open and I would fall out.
She was a very loving and committed wife who never hesitated to give anyone help or encouragement when they needed it.
She was the only daughter to my grandparents Jack and Rossie Moseley. My grandmother was so excited when she moved to Livingston because they were going to be close enough to do all the normal mother/daughter activities together. Everyone felt our small town would be a lot safer than the big city of Houston where she moved from.
On the evening of October 24th, 1979, Aunt Pam drove us home and, as usual, she just dropped us off. She didn’t get out and come inside. My mom said she thought about going outside to say hello, but she was so tired from work that she decided to wait until the next day. Mom didn’t know that this was the last time she would ever drive us home.
The next morning my grandmother called Aunt Pam to see if she wanted to attend a woman’s prayer breakfast at the church with her. Pam told her she wanted to stay home and finish our Halloween costumes and decorations so that when we got out of school she would have everything ready. My grandmother told her she would call her when she got home.
Later that morning Aunt Pam answered a knock at her side door. Standing there was the man who had delivered her new appliances 2 weeks before. She only opened the door as far as the chain lock would allow. He stated he was there to check her refrigerator and make sure everything was working right.
She said it was fine and that she was not going to let him in. It was at this point that she realized he was there to hurt her. He pulled out a small knife and broke the chain on the door and forced his way in to her house. She stabbed him with the pair of scissors she was still holding from the work she was doing on the costumes. Unfortunately, Pam was a very small woman and the scissors did little more than make him angry.
He hit her and caused her to fall, hitting her head on the corner of the stove in her kitchen. She was very dizzy and disoriented when he dragged her into the bedroom where he raped and brutalized her.
He finally told her that he had to kill her so that she wouldn’t “squeal” on him. He then straddled her on the floor, raised the scissors over his head and slammed them into her chest with enough force to that the orange handles were the only part not embedded in her body.
Pam was a fighter though. She sat up and pulled the scissors out of her chest which succeeded in scaring him enough to run away. She then pressed a T-shirt against the wound and called her best friend Cindy. Cindy came to her house and had a neighbor call the police, because after seeing the blood she was afraid to go inside.
When the police took Pam’s statement, she described her attacker and the officer recognized the description as that of the same man who had been released from prison 3 months before for the rape of this officer’s sister.
John Penry was in custody within the hour. Unfortunately, it was too late for Aunt Pam. She died shortly after noon on October 25th, 1979. She had just turned 22 years old, 2 weeks before her death. She left behind a husband and a family who have still not been able to end this chapter of their lives.
I take it day by day and try hard not to focus on the suffering. It’s been 20 years since her death and still the system has not given her justice. Mr. Penry has changed his story and made so many excuses over the years I couldn’t even begin to start on what has gone wrong. However, I do know that my life has been forever changed by a man I have never met, and there will forever be an empty void that can never again be filled.
Pam’s killer, John Penry, was convicted of Pam’s murder and sentenced to death TWICE. He is finally scheduled to be executed on November 16, 2000, more than 21 years after Pam’s brutal death. UPDATE: Penry received a stay from the US Supreme Court just three hours before he was scheduled to be executed. Pam’s family was devastated by yet another delay in their 21 year wait for justice in this case. They hope the stay will be temporary and the execution will go forward as soon as possible. UPDATE: The Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments in this case this spring, with a decision expected by summer. UPDATE: Prosecutor’s agreed, with the family’s approval, to a plea bargain deal that will keep Penry in prison for the rest of his life.
In memory of Joe Price and Jack Moseley
Letter from DA about Penry
Houston Press Article details Penry’s crimes and excuses