The Deputy was the one that got the worst deal. Sandman paid with his life. He didn’t get pardoned by President Truman like Sheriff Happy and the other guy, even though he’d only watched them torture that black veteran into confessing. They had needed somebody else to blame after the football player was exonerated. It took J Edgar Hoover getting involved to shake things up and finally get the Sheriff and his men. But they were convicted of violating that man’s civil rights, not for Cricket’s murder.
The cover-up got obvious. Like digging a hole to bury something and leaving a big mound over it. Sandman served his full sentence and then publicly vowed to solve the murder. He started asking all the questions again. Next thing you know, Sandman’s shot dead. First they said he killed himself until the coroner pointed out to a reporter that the bullet entered the back of Sandman’s head.
A Grand Jury was convened. These ordinary people were disgusted by the stonewalling and got their own lawyers and officials on the case - people not involved with the gambling pay-offs and lies. They got hold of Happy’s bank records and saw the money. They drove their own trucks down to Anapra and confiscated illegal slot machines, dumping them on the courthouse lawn. Still, it seemed key witnesses in the murder case either died or changed their stories. They found an official state car like the one a witness mentioned to reporter Mike Finley, out in the desert, torched. That man had told Happy about the car too but it never made it into his report. If it weren’t for that reporter getting on the story, we’d know nothing. Now we only know next to nothing.
Here’s more from March 2022 Taos News Story
Old secrets, strung together into crazy folk-art, protect Cricket’s killer, even though he’s long dead. If viewed from the distance they look like wind chimes of broken glass and rusty metal with twirling sharp edges. This careless construction of lies and deceit still has, even over many decades, many sharp sad pieces.