Wednesday, April 07, 2010
The Ballad of Billy Joe
(image via The Austin American-Statesman)
Is anyone besides me following the Billy Joe Shaver trial in fabulous Waco, Texas? It's pretty fascinating stuff.
Billy Joe is a not-very-well-known-outside-of-Texas country-ish singer-songwriter (whose songs have been covered by Bob Dylan, Elvis, and Waylon Jennings) whose persona is that of the extreme crusty ole outlaw who has seen pain and suffering you can't even imagine. He is accused of shooting some guy in the face in a bar called Papa Joe's near Waco. The case involves a knife being used to stir a drink, Billy Joe allegedly asking the victim "Where do want it?" (ie, the bullet about to enter his body), a suicide, a woman (of course), and flamboyantly folksy defense attorney Dick DeGuerin, whose former clients include David Kuresh, Tom DeLay, and Kay Baily Hutchinson. DeGuerin already brought people in the courtroom to tears by telling a prospective juror and Iraq veteran something about him being the reason they "are all here," by which he meant an assault-with-a-deadly-weapon trial. His legal strategy includes such statements as "put yourself in Billy Joe's boots."
If I were casting "Where Do You Want It: The Billy Joe Shaver Story," I would put David Carradine in the title role, but unfortunately, as we all know, Mr. Carradine died in an auto-eroric-asphyxiation tragedy in Thailand. Perhaps that awesome guy from Kill Bill who was not David Carradine, the one who played both the sheriff and the Mexican pimp? Michael Parks. He could do it.
Anyway, the victim survived and now has a bullet lodged in his neck.
My favorite story from the jury selection proceedings: One lady said she'd never heard of Billy Joe and couldn't care less, but claimed she wasn't "being tacky." Billy Joe was seen to mutter "ditto" under his breath.
The whole story is already legendary; here's the Dale Watson song about the case called "The Ballad of Billy Joe":