Rawlinson knew he was hearing the early stages of a confession and mentioned that an investigator from Smith County would soon be arriving. Goad had looked puzzled at the suggestion. "What does Smith County have to do with it?" he asked. "Nothing happened to her in Smith County."
Then he requested that Henderson County Sheriff Ronny Brownlow be contacted. "He's a friend of mine," Goad told the officer, "and I've got to tell him about something that happened over there."
Yet for all the telltale signs that something ugly and violent had occurred, it appeared no one wanted to take charge of the case. The Dallas police who arrived at the scene did take photographs and agree to arrange for Goad's car to be towed to the impound lot in the event it became necessary to search it for evidence. But they informed the transit officers that the case was theirs to deal with, suggesting they simply take Goad to the Dallas County jail and await the arrival of Smith County officials. When Rawlinson mentioned the comments he'd heard about "Stacey" and the location of the motel where Goad said he was staying, suggesting the missing woman might be found there, he got only disinterested shrugs.
Then, the following morning, Alejandro says, he and Rawlinson were told by superiors to drop the weapons charge--filed to detain the suspect. DART Police Chief Juan Rodriguez says he has no recollection of anyone suggesting the charges be dropped. But, according to Alejandro, it was only when calls came to the transit police headquarters from both Smith and Henderson counties as well as Athens-based Texas Ranger Steve Foster, urging that Goad be kept in jail until their arrival, that the idea was dismissed.
Alejandro, a former member of the SMU Police Department and in his fourth year with DART, began to sense that he had unwittingly waded into hot water.
It wasn't until midday Monday that a Smith County investigator finally arrived at the Dallas County jail and attempted to interview Goad. "I got nothing to say to you," the prisoner said. "Where's Ronny Brownlow [the Henderson County sheriff]?"
A call to Brownlow was quickly arranged, and Goad told him that he "wanted to come clean." Brownlow informed him that Ranger Foster was on his way.
Alejandro and Rawlinson, out of the investigative loop, had returned to their regular duties by the time Foster was hearing details of one of the strangest crimes he'd encountered in his 24-year career:
As a tape recorder spun, Goad told of how he and Stacey Jones had lived together in Tyler for eight months but had recently separated after Jones had become increasingly despondent over financial problems and heavy use of methamphetamine.
On the night the mother of a 5-year-old son disappeared, Goad said he had visited her home and while there fell asleep, only to be wakened by Jones at around 4 a.m. "She just told me she was tired of living," he recalled, "and said, 'Come on, let's take that trip we've been talking about.'" He and Jones, he explained, had been discussing a suicide pact--"going out in a blaze of glory"--that would put her growing depression to an end. Goad was to kill her, then himself.
They had driven for several hours, he told the ranger, before reaching a country road near the community of Brownsboro in Henderson County.
"She said, 'You gonna do it?' I said, 'Yeah,'" Goad related. "She grabbed the steering wheel and braced herself and turned to me and kind of smiled and then looked out the window. She said, 'Make sure, you know, you do it. I'm suffering.'"
Goad said he had then shot her six times with the .22. Only when he realized that she was still alive and pleading for him to "do something" had he fired a shot from the 30-06 rifle into her body.
For the next several days, he had driven aimlessly with his victim hidden in the trunk. When the stench began to filter into the car, he had stopped at a convenience store and purchased 20 sacks of ice to pack around the body. Finally, he had dumped Jones' corpse near an abandoned farmhouse outside Ennis in rural Ellis County and driven to Dallas.
Goad agreed to take the Ranger to the body. Thus a horrific mystery that had stretched across four counties was solved.
Last September, in Ellis County District Court in Waxahachie, Jerry Thomas Goad was sentenced to life in prison. Among those testifying for the prosecution were DART officers Alejandro and Rawlinson.