By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
"When I met Mouse, I bonded with him," says the friend. "He was like me as far as his thinking. We were both trying to get sober. When I moved to Dallas, I still wasn't sure what I wanted. I was still into it, still hanging my flags and saying all the same shit, calling people 'nigger' and shit. I didn't know which direction to go, but Mouse was kind of the thing that brought me over to the other side.
"He was my way away from that lifestyle."
At first, Mouse thought he was being mugged. It was about 3 a.m., and he was entering his Haskell Avenue apartment after a long night at the Galaxy. He had gone into the apartment to put away his backpack, then returned outside to fetch his bicycle. It was then that someone tried to crack his skull with a blackjack.
But Mouse was wearing his trademark cowboy hat that bears an "REO Speedealer" logo and other innocuous slogans, and the blackjack glanced off the brim. Then he felt someone starting to punch him--at least, that's what he thought.
Thoughts started racing through his head: "Aw, fuck, I'm getting robbed by a bunch of the East Side Loco guys." But they knew Mouse and liked him, even gave him nicknames like "Big Red" back when Mouse dyed his hair. No way this was them, he thought, no way.
As Mouse recalls it, his attackers punched him repeatedly as he struggled, and threw empty Budweiser bottles at him that he blocked with his hands. He could feel their fists--or what he thought were their fists--digging into his kidneys and lungs. He felt the fire of repeated blows to the left side of his body.
And he struggled long enough to get a look at his attackers--long enough, he claims, to recognize his old friends.
Finally, he broke free and crawled back into his apartment. He shut the door and struggled to get into a back room. He thought maybe he could escape out the back door when he heard a car or maybe a truck screech out of the parking lot. "Maybe that was it," he hoped and prayed.
But then he looked back and saw the trail of blood that stretched from the front door to the back room, a grisly scene captured in photos a friend took the next day. The blood was so thick it was almost black.
"That's when I knew they had been stabbing me all along--and not punching me, and I flipped out," Mouse recalls with vague detachment. "My mind just kind of went wild: 'I'm stabbed. Aw, fuck, what do I do now?'"
He crawled outside again--without even looking to see if his attackers were waiting to finish the job--and made it to a next-door neighbor's apartment. The neighbor called for an ambulance, and when it arrived, Mouse was passed out in the driveway, drenched in his own gore.
In the ambulance on the way to Baylor University Medical Center, Mouse recalls, he could hear the paramedics talking to the hospital over the radio. They said he had lost a lot of blood and probably wouldn't survive. He remembers yelling that he was still alive and that he was going to make it.
"I woke up in the hospital, and a day had passed," he says. "All that time they were doing surgery, I must have been out. They said I was pretty much on the verge of death the whole time--either on the verge of death or had already died and come back. They were like, 'Man, you've got a strong will to live,' but I've always had a strong will to live."
In the following weeks, almost every Deep Ellum club held at least one benefit to help Mouse pay his medical bills, for which he had no insurance.
"That really amazed me," he says now of the bands and club owners that helped him. "I couldn't believe I had that many supporters and people that would actually band together and put their differences aside for something like that. It just made me feel so...I don't know...so incredibly happy."
In September, Mouse picked two suspects out of two separate police photo lineups. They were charged with attempted murder. Shortly after that, he testified before a grand jury, and both men were indicted.
One of the men had a history of skinhead-related violence. In 1991, he had been sentenced to eight years in the Texas Department of Corrections for assaulting another man with a metal pipe during a fight that broke out at a skinhead party. Though he pled guilty to the charges, he was released from TDC inOctober 1992, after having served a little more than a year in prison. The other man indicted for attempting to murder Mouse also had a record, though he had only been convicted of misdemeanor trespassing.
According to the defendants' lawyer, Andy Konradi, one man said he knew the Confederate Hammerskins but was not actually a member; the other claimed the organization had long since disbanded, though he was also an active participant in the skinhead movement.