365 Days of Texas True Crime: Retaliation
Tawny the Rock Chick here, your resident true crime aficionado. As interesting as I find true crime from all over to be, it’s the local stuff that I can really dig into. You could say I’m a bit obsessed with researching stories of murder and missing persons from this area. I’ve spent countless hours reading old newspapers articles, requesting files on cases and sifting through data cases online regarding homicide cases that you probably didn’t even know existed. This area holds more sordid secrets than you may know and I’m going to tell you about all of them, one day at a time. It’s 365 Days of Texas True Crime and todays story goes like this…..
On this day, May 3rd, back in 1988, a man named William Wesley Chappell drove to a home in Fort Worth, Tx bound for revenge. Just a year earlier he was accused of and went to trial for the molestation of his former girl friends 3 year old daughter. At the trial the little girls mother and her grandparents all testified against him. He was ultimately convicted in an indecency trial and was sentenced to five years confinement. He was then released on bond pending an appeal. At some point after the trial, the little girls family was standing around outside of the courtroom. As Chappell walked out he was heard telling the victims grandmother, Martha Lindsey, that “It wasn’t over yet” and that he “would get her for that”. A bold statement for a man who was already convicted of molesting a 3 year old child. The little girls mother was afraid for her life, as she was proven rightful so to be. Wesley, who was married at the time, decided the courts got it wrong, and he would just have to fix the situation himself. In January 1988, according to his wife’s testimony, which she gave in exchange for a probated sentence, Wesley had his wife drive him to the home of the mother and grandparents of the baby girl he was convicted of molesting. Jane Sitton, the victims mother, and her mother and step-father all lived together at the time. He attempted to burn the house down with the family in it, likely in an attempt to keep them from testifying at any other subsequent trials/appeals ect… He was unsuccessful however, although the fire caused some damage no one was hurt. Undeterred, Chappell would try again to silence the family that was causing him so much trouble. He put on dark clothing, put on makeup and a wig, and made sure to bring a black ski mask, some gloves, a crowbar, wire cutters, and tossed it in a tote bag with a walkie talkie, a 9-mm gun along with some clips for the gun and a silencer. He then had his wife drive him back to the home on May 3rd, 1988 and drop him off. When she picked him back up just 20 minutes later he told his wife that he had “shot Jane, her mother, and her daddy”. He took some money to make it look like a robbery and the couple drove back to their home in Tennessee where they got rid of as much evidence as they could. Martha Lindsey, Elbert Sitton (her husband) and a daughter, were shot inside the home several times in the face. When he burst into the home wearing the black ski mask he demanded money from Elbert, to which he gave with no hesitation, and then starting shooting. He shot the older couple in their bedroom and shot their daughter who was lying in another bedroom. William Wesley Chappell burst into a home to exact revenge on his ex-girlfriend and her parents. He shot his ex-girlfriends folks but the girl he shot lying in the bed he assumed his ex-girlfriend would be lying in was not his ex-girlfriend, she had already moved out because of the fear she had of Chappell. It was his ex-girlfriends half-sister, Alexandra Heath, he had shot. Chappell claimed the accusations of indecency were unfounded and that they were just after his money. He had settled a personal-injury suit against a church and was awarded $66,000. He was given a check for the money the same month he drove from Tennessee to Texas to apparently, protect his financial interests. Chappell was only charged with the murder of Alexandra Heath at the time and on November 19th, 1989 he was found guilty of capital murder. He was sentenced to death. On November 20th, 2002, well over a decade after the crime, he was executed by lethal injection in Huntsville, Texas. At the time of his execution in 2002 he was the oldest man to be executed in Texas. He was 66.