Anarchy in Amarillo

Being a punk in the Panhandle was never easy. But when Brian Deneke crossed paths with an angry mob of football jocks, he never imagined it could get him killed.

Clark "didn't know the difference between a skin, a punk, and a goth," concludes David Trew. "He took the view that all punks were these violent, aggressive people."

He did it, he adds, "because people in Amarillo would buy it."


Chris Oles and his girlfriend, Jacqui Balderaz, sit on the median where Brian Deneke's crushed body came to rest. Both regret participating in the December 12, 1997, street fight that led to Deneke's death.
Mark Graham
Chris Oles and his girlfriend, Jacqui Balderaz, sit on the median where Brian Deneke's crushed body came to rest. Both regret participating in the December 12, 1997, street fight that led to Deneke's death.
Over and over, friends describe defendant Dustin Camp as a "good kid." An Amarillo jury would find him guilty of manslaughter in Deneke's death.
Mark Graham
Over and over, friends describe defendant Dustin Camp as a "good kid." An Amarillo jury would find him guilty of manslaughter in Deneke's death.

You cannot feel his pain.

Dustin Camp sits at home, sunken into a couch, eyes fixed on the TV. The crackling humor has dulled; Mr. Obnoxious has grown up, slowed down, flattened out. He's not quite the same, say two buddies, Justin Devore and John Lyon, who have stuck with him through everything.

You think this is easy for him? Well, Dustin's gotta be home by 10 every night. He can't even go hunting -- that involves firearms. And he can't even party -- that would show up on a drug test.

He goes to the mall, and people stare. They whisper. They point.

And -- can you believe it? -- on Mondays after work, he has to go to an anger management class. And Dustin's no angry dude, his friends say. He's a good kid. A good kid, they say again, as though repetition will convince you.

OK, so someone got killed. No one really wanted a someone to get killed.

"They think because he murdered someone, he's a bad person," Lyon says.

Life is rough.

But at least it's life.

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