By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
In December 2000 we told you how thieves stole Ronnie Wilson's wallet, which she accidentally left at a Tom Thumb store, then used her identification to rack up some $10,000 worth of goods--everything from a new television to Blockbuster videos ("Mall Rats," December 7, 2000). "Raped" is how Wilson described the situation back then, which is when Wilson was eight months into what became a three-year mission to track down the thieves. Wilson's efforts, which involved the constant pestering of cops and prosecutors, paid off last summer when Collin County authorities tossed 29-year-old Heather Nicole Brown in the clink on felony forgery charges. Wilson couldn't have been happier--she thought she would, at last, have a chance to confront the person who had put her life in a blender.
Wilson wanted to ask the woman two questions: Where's my wallet? And, did you consider what I had to go through every time you signed a receipt? It's no wonder Wilson broke out in tears last week when she showed up at the Collin County Courthouse only to discover that Brown had already copped a plea, received five years' community supervision and was back on the streets. "Nobody can give me one good excuse to explain why nobody...called me," Wilson reported from the courthouse, where she was waiting to talk to the prosecuting attorney.
Wilson wants to know if he'll haul Brown back into court so she can make a victim's impact statement, but she's beginning to suspect that'll never happen. "This just proves they don't see me as a victim," says Wilson, who says being blown off by the cops is almost as bad as having her identity stolen in the first place.
The event proved that, as former Governor Ann Richards said by way of introduction, Texans are willing to honor anyone who so much as changed planes at Love Field in 1963. Hence, this year's honorees included Amarillo native Cyd Charisse, who, at 81, was still the hottest birthday girl in the room; Cast Away screenwriter and Texas Monthly founding editor William Broyles Jr., who said writing scripts is "like raising children for adoption"; Red-Headed Stranger Willie Nelson, who, as an actor, is a great singer; the reclusive Badlands director Terrence Malick, who showed up, thanked his family, then disappeared into the humid night; the late Mexico-born actor Gilbert Roland; and Houston-born Jack Valenti, longtime president of the Motion Picture Association of America and a possible gnome.
The honorees got us thinking: Shouldn't the Texas Film Hall of Fame think about paying tribute to real Texas visionaries instead of the guy who wrote Planet of the Apes? (That'd be Broyles, whose screenplay wasn't even used, which is lucky for him.) How about Dallas' L.M. Kit Carson, who wrote and starred in the 1968 mockumentary David Holzman's Diary? Or Austin's Tobe Hooper, whose 1974 Texas Chainsaw Massacre redefined the horror-film genre? Or Pacific Arts founder--and Monkee man--Mike Nesmith? Or Owen Wilson and Wes Anderson, who have more well-written films on their résumés than Broyles? Or, hell, how about Abraham Zapruder, whose one film is perhaps the most famous Texas-made movie ever, ahem, shot?