For Houstonians it has become quite common to see civil rights activist Quanell X at news conferences supporting families who have lost a loved one to violence. Some praise him for his work, others see him in a more negative light.
But this news conference was different. It was personal. Tears flowed from Quanell X’s eyes as he talked about his little brother — one of four people murdered in a south Houston home 17 years ago. After that day, Quanell had to look after his brother’s sons who lost their dad.
“I did my best, because they were babies when he died. I did my best to be the best kind of father figure I could be to them in the absence of their father.”
Police have charged three men with capital murder, including Dewayne Eythell. Investigators cracked the case after receiving a confession letter from Eythell who was in prison and remains there on other charges. Mary Dozier was at the news conference. She lost her son Robert on that day in 1992.
“This has been the hardest thing in my life that I have had to deal with — this brutal murder of my son.”
Dozier thanked God for giving her strength.
“I thank him for letting me, on the last day of my son’s life, having seen him, hug him and kiss him and hear him say ‘I love you mom’. And that has been a blessing.”
Quanell X says he never gave up looking for his brother’s killers. He wouldn’t say whether his own investigation had anything to do with the confession letter, but says he will be a witness testifying during the trial. Sergeant Brian Harris talked about a possible motive for the confession.
“When people are in prison, for as many years as Eythll has been in, they have time to think about the mistakes they’ve made in their lives and how even though they’ve made mistakes, they can have an impact on the future and so that was his real motivating factor.”
As for Quanell X, the murders changed his life. And since then, he’s been working to change the lives of others.
“When this happened, I vowed revenge and I wanted to know. But I remember brother Roberts said to me on that day, he said, ‘brother what do you want more? Do you want change or revenge? And I wanted change, and so from that moment forward, I have worked so hard to make change in this community.”
All three suspects are currently prison for other crimes. And while authorities believe they have a strong case, there is one person they believe saw the crime who was a juvenile at the time. Now that the suspects are behind bars, they are asking that person to come forward and help keep the men locked up for good.
Video courtesy of the Houston Chronicle and can also be found at Chron.com.