12-year-old Killer

The story of Edwin Debrow Jr., one of the youngest Texans ever convicted of murder, in his own words

On the night of September 21, 1991 on the eastside of San Antonio I killed a cabdriver by the name of Curtis Edwards. I shot him in the back of the head with a 38 caliber handgun at close range.

On this particular night I had been drinking Thunderbird with grape cool-aid and also drinking night train and Mad Dog 20/20. I also smoked a few joints and I was feeling pretty good. I went to this man's house who was suppose to be my uncle. His name was Floyd. At the time I was carrying a 38 caliber handgun. While I was at his house he asked me did I want to rob a cab driver and I said yeah. He told this other man to go call the cab so he did. At first the cab didn't come so the man went to go call again. This time the cab came and me and my uncle got in. He got in the front passenger seat and I got directly in the back seat behind him (cab driver). My uncle told the cab driver to take us to Burleson Street. I had the gun in my pocket with my shirt untucked. As the cab driver started driving I pulled out the gun and demanded that he give me the money. He refused and instead started driving fast. I shot him in the back of the head while he was driving and the car wrecked into a house. My head was fractured. I ran from Burleson Street all the way to East Commerce and passed out under the train tracks. Just so happen at this time my homeboy's father was coming back from work and he seen me and took me to my mothers house. From there I went to the hospital.

The day I was released from the hospital two police detectives told me that they wanted me for questioning. My stepfather asked them why and they said that I was wanted for questioning about a murder. They asked me questions and I told them that I didn't know what they were talking about.

Edwin Debrow Jr. was, at 12, the youngest person ever charged with murder in Bexar County. A jury gave Debrow 27 years in the slaying of Curtis Edwards, a San Antonio cab driver, even though Debrow had a much older accomplice. Debrow is 22 today and housed in a Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison in Beeville.
Henry Bargas
Edwin Debrow Jr. was, at 12, the youngest person ever charged with murder in Bexar County. A jury gave Debrow 27 years in the slaying of Curtis Edwards, a San Antonio cab driver, even though Debrow had a much older accomplice. Debrow is 22 today and housed in a Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison in Beeville.
Debrow was a 4-foot-8, 79-pound kid when he was arrested in 1991. President George H. Bush singled out the young convicted killer in a speech, calling his case "truly horrifying."
San Antonio Express-News
Debrow was a 4-foot-8, 79-pound kid when he was arrested in 1991. President George H. Bush singled out the young convicted killer in a speech, calling his case "truly horrifying."

From his front porch, Raymond Arevalos saw the figure of a child climb out of a wrecked taxicab. The child took a few steps, then "started to wobble."

"Oh my gosh, that person is hurt bad," Arevalos thought.

Just moments earlier, he'd heard a crash. It was around midnight, and Arevalos, a retired postal worker, was in his bedroom watching television with his wife. At first, he didn't think much of it. Noise was a part of life on the East Side: gunshots, smashing bottles, drunks and dope fiends wandering the street cussing at themselves. Only when a car horn got stuck did Arevalos bother to look outside.

The child took some more wobbly steps, then got down on his knee and said, "Please help me; help me, please."

By the time he moved to help the child, the boy rose and started walking down the street. Arevalos never spoke to him. While his wife called an ambulance, Arevalos and a neighbor looked inside the cab.

He remembers seeing a man "laying flat on his back, just like spread eagle," with blood all over him. Arevalos' wife soon joined them, and she climbed into the cab and checked his pulse. He was dead.

Within a few minutes, the police arrived. As they went about their work, Arthur and Jessie Mae Edwards drove. In the early-morning hours they had received a call from the cops; their son Curtis, a grade-school football coach, father of one and sometime cab driver, was involved in a car accident. They jumped out of bed and raced to the other end of the East Side.

Arthur Edwards arrived in time to identify the body of his son. Curtis Edwards was dead at 33 of a gunshot wound to the back of the head. When the car hit the house, he smashed into the windshield and ended up sprawled on his back.

In the coming days, Curtis Ray Edwards' many friends and relatives would remember him as a man who loved kids. Later, the chief prosecutor at Edwin Debrow Jr.'s trial would tell the San Antonio Express-News that if Edwards' killer "had gotten into his cab and said, 'Look, I need all your money,' Curtis would have given it to him and driven him somewhere."

But little about the slaying makes any sense, and while Edwards' parents were mourning their son--a classmate of Edwin's father--Edwin Debrow Jr. stayed close to his mother's side, even going to work with her during her night shift at the county hospital. She knew he was in trouble, and she was scared. While she worked her shift, Edwin rambled through the hospital corridors. Even at the age of 12 and in the deepest trouble he'd ever been in, Edwin's written recollections speak of bravado. He figured the cops would never get him, because they had no evidence.

He'd apparently forgotten that he left a few things behind that night: a steel six-shooter and a single black tennis shoe, wedged between the backseat and the car door.

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