Sunday, October 5, 2014

                                         Tracy Murphree, Donna Fielder, Christine Metcalf
                                          (Tracy is in the book and Christine is my daughter)

I am completing a book about the Roanoke murder of Susan Bailey by her 17-year-old daughter, Jennifer, her 13-year-old son, David, and 16-year-old Paul, Jennifer's boyfriend. I need a book title and am having trouble. So I'm having a title contest for my Facebook and other friends. Here is the synopsis of the book. Come up with a title and let me know. The winner will get a free book when they are published and a credit in the book for the name. Good luck!

                                                     ABOUT THE BOOK

Roanoke Police Detective Brian Peterson checked on the meat he was smoking on his barbecue cooker and then resumed his comfortable seat on his patio. It was a rare Saturday when he didn’t get called out to investigate a crime, and the weather was good for a late September day in Texas.
“This has been such a beautiful day,” he told his wife, Ivy. “It would be just my luck to catch a homicide.”
“Don’t jinx it,” Ivy said. “Don’t talk about it. You know that will jinx a day without a callout.”
But the jinx was in – had been for days. Before that night in 2008 was over, Peterson would be called to a house of horrors to find poisoned pudding, a bathtub set up for an electrocution, a baseball bat on a bed, a butcher knife in a bloody tub, a hank of chopped-off hair and a mother stabbed to death by her own teen-aged children.
A subsequent investigation revealed a pact among a seventeen-year-old girl, her thirteen-year-old brother, her sixteen-year-old boyfriend and his other girlfriend, fourteen, to kill their parents, steal their money, cars and credit cards and flee to Canada.
They were dead serious about it.
Jennifer Bailey, her little brother David, and her boyfriend Paul Henson swarmed Susan Bailey that night when she got home from work and stabbed her twenty-six times. They left her bloody body in the upstairs hallway and fled in her car.
Merrilee White’s mother awoke earlier that week in her Fort Worth, Texas, home to find her daughter standing over her with a raised butcher knife. She was able to call 911 and convince her daughter to drop the knife. Merrilee was in Fort Worth juvenile custody when the rest of the sorry story played out. She was hysterical because she had planned to go with the others and she didn’t want to be left behind. Both Jennifer and Merrilee were dating Paul Henson, who claimed that each girl was dating one of his two personalities, so he really wasn’t cheating on either one of them. They bought that. He even convinced them that they should all have sex together.
Paul stole his father’s pistol and planned to use it on his parents but didn’t get the chance. With him waiting to shoot them at home, they unknowingly decided to take in a movie after work that night. When they didn’t return he gave up and went to Jennifer’s house to help her and her little brother kill their mom.
Susan Bailey, 43, was the unlucky one. She and her daughter disagreed about Paul. Susan thought her daughter should not date him. Jennifer thought she was in love and hated her mother for trying to keep them apart. On September 25, 2008, they took turns stabbing her and slashing her throat and left her lying in an upstairs hallway on a carpet soggy with her blood.
Then the three began the long drive to Canada with no real plan and not much money. They made it as far as Yankton, South Dakota. There, an alert police officer spotted a car full of teens pulled up to a closed gasoline station after the city curfew. They were trying to steal gas. They were broke. Their stories didn’t make much sense. The car was registered to Susan Bailey. He took them to the station and called Roanoke, Texas, police. Did they know anything about these kids or the woman the car was registered to?
They did. On the preceding Tuesday, Paul’s father reported him as a runaway and believed he might be at Jennifer’s house. Officers didn’t find him there, but they found his packed bags and driver’s license. They returned later that day when Susan found a loaded magazine for a pistol. They searched again but didn’t find the gun.
On Friday Susan’s mother called from Minnesota to report she couldn’t reach her daughter and she was worried. Susan had not gone into work that day, she said. An officer went to the house but no one answered the door and the car was gone. He returned on Saturday but again no one appeared to be home.
When Roanoke officers heard the news from South Dakota that her children and another boy had been detained in Susan’s car, they knew something was terribly wrong. They entered the house through a window and found the teens’ awful handiwork.
This is the story of four disturbed teens who played Dungeons and Dragons, who claimed to practice Wicca and read a demonic bible, who listened to a type of music that encouraged bloodletting and suicide; the story of a mother who worked two jobs to care for her children and was too busy and exhausted to realize what was really going on in her house. It is the story of several police officers who would not rest until they achieved justice for Susan Bailey. It is a cautionary tale for busy parents everywhere who might want to take a harder look at what their children are up to.


  1. Did you ever complete this book? I was in Denton County Jail while Jennifer Bailey was held there pre-trial. We never met but another inmate I befriended, Dale,a significantly older woman, had to be moved twice due to Jennifer's obsessive clinging to her. The cops eventually spoke to Dale and showed her a picture that illustrated why the authorities were so concerned: it seems that Dale and Susan Bailey could have easily passed for sisters. Creepy stuff! But I'd love to read your book when you finish, so let me know if you're done!

  2. Hi Donna,

    I love your books!

    I am a lifelong Denton resident and true crime buff. I wondered if you remember the 1970 murder of Robbie Doreen Birthright by two Denton High School students? I remember hearing that at least one of those students had been released by the late 1970s. Do you know anything about what happened regarding Ms. Birthright's murderers?

    Thank you so much,