EDITOR’S NOTE: To bring more awareness to the 20th anniversary of an unsolved double homicide, the Waxahachie Daily Light and the Midlothian Mirror are presenting a four-part series on the history of the case to answer why it has been so difficult to close. A story will publish in each Sunday edition of the Daily and Wednesday in the Mirror. This is the third article of four.
To this day, people believe Larry Samples and Galen Boyd are guilty of killing Robbie Biggar and Kasey Roberts in 1994. Samples was Biggar’s boyfriend at the time, and Boyd was an acquaintance to Samples. Both were arrested in 2009, on charges of capital murder for Biggar and Kasey. Both were let go in 2010 after the Ellis County District Attorney at the time ruled there wasn’t enough evidence to indict.
Under the Constitution, both men are innocent until proven guilty, no matter what anyone believes.
However, if there’s anything former law enforcement agents on the case and Kevin and Cheryl Roberts, Biggar’s son-in-law and daughter, can agree on, it’s that mistakes were made during the early investigation and circumstantial evidence, without concrete evidence, has been a frustrating factor in why the case is still open.
“I don’t think it was the number of agencies involved,” Kevin said. “I think it was the unprofessionalism of some of the ones involved. There were a lot of young officers involved that I knew, that I graduated high school with. They wanted to jump up and try to be heroes. But we all know who did it.”
“I’m not going to say all agencies involved, but there were some young ones involved who made some prime mistakes that probably caused it to be open this long,” Cheryl added.
On March 19, 1994, Biggar, a former Lancaster resident, was reported missing. A day later, her grandson, Kasey, was found in a car in front of a Red Oak apartment complex, deceased from heat exhaustion, affidavits stated.
Two days later, on March 22, 1994, Biggar was found on the side of an Ellis County road, on the grounds of what was the Superconducting Super Collider. The Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Biggar died of blunt force trauma to the head, and both as homicides.
“Needless to say, the theory was that it was Larry Samples, because he was the last person to see them both alive. You never could take that away,” said Clint Tims, former lead investigator on the case for the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office. “He didn’t have any alibi, and when he left that car in Red Oak, there had to be somebody that picked him up.”
An interview with Samples on March 22, 1994, the day Biggar’s body was found on the Superconducting Super Collider property in Maypearl, revealed Samples was the last person to see Biggar alive, according to the affidavits. Police, back then, interviewed Cheryl, who said she spoke with her mother at 9 p.m. the day before Biggar went missing on March 19, 1994, according to records. Samples apparently saw Biggar an hour later, between 10 a.m. and midnight, affidavits stated. Biggar was supposed to meet him and others at Lake Whitney for a motorcycle race, but never showed.
When Cheryl and Kevin Roberts talked with Samples while a search team looked for Biggar and Kasey in 1994, they heard, and affidavits confirm, Samples said several times he would help with the search. However, he never did, all three sources stated.
Instead, Cheryl found it odd that whenever they did speak with Samples, he didn’t ask if there had been any news of Kasey or Biggar, but instead asked if they had found the car.
Kasey, who was three weeks shy of 2 years old, would have been 22 this Sunday.
Samples was developed as a person of interest and brought in for questioning multiple times, Tims said and affidavits confirmed.
On one such occasion, Samples voluntarily agreed to a polygraph test by a U.S. Secret Service agent. This was shortly after Samples had been arrested and convicted for forging Biggar’s name on a home improvement bank withdrawal check and a quick deed bill of sale on Biggar’s home in Lancaster, affidavits stated.
The questioning and examination lasted from about 7 p.m., until way into midnight, Tims said. According to reports, Samples showed signs of deception concerning questions involving Biggar and Kasey’s death, but he would not admit to killing them. However, during the questioning, Samples stated “the baby was an accident,” Tims said and affidavits confirm.
At that point during the questioning, Samples stated to investigators he would return on June 6, 1994 and fully confess to the offense, both Tims and records reported. The next line in the affidavits stated “There seems to be no additional follow up reports made or follow ups conducted with Larry Samples regarding his intention to return and fully confess.”
Tims, who was there that night, said the decision to let Samples walk away was made by powers above him. The Waxahachie Daily Light reached out to the Secret Service agent who issued the polygraph test, but calls weren’t returned.
Royce Gothard, who was Tims’ lieutenant and supervisor, was also there the night Samples took the polygraph. Gothard said the fact that there was no concrete evidence allowed Samples to leave. Tims said he reported to Gothard for briefing on the case.
“We had no evidence against him, he was never under arrest,” Gothard said about that night. “We just interviewed him. He volunteered for the polygraph. He could’ve walked out at any time.”
The Waxahachie Daily Light also reached out to R.D. Browning, the Ellis County Chief Deputy at the time of the investigation, who said he wasn’t the best person to talk to about the case and deferred questions to Tims.
After Samples walked free, Tims said the case began taking a toll on him. He left for a year to work for the Ennis Police Department, and the case was handed to Joe Hall, who is now a police chief for Jefferson City.
“I needed to get away, I had too much going on,” Tims said. “Plus, it was just something that would eat and eat and eat.”
During the investigation, several witness interviews said they had firsthand knowledge that Boyd, an acquaintance of Samples, had told them he killed Biggar and Kasey, affidavits stated. Again, no concrete evidence tied Boyd or Samples to the homicides.
Hall, and another officer who is now deceased and who worked for a different law enforcement agency in Ellis County, went to question Boyd, while Boyd was in jail, Tims said. The Waxahachie Daily Light reached out to the late officer's former superior, but received no response.
Tims said during that questioning, the second officer revealed to Boyd details about the case that the officer shouldn’t have. That officer, Tims said, was removed from the case. This was during the time Tims wasn’t with the sheriff’s office, he said, but the case was handed back to him when he returned a year later.
The Waxahachie Daily Light reached out to Hall about the case, but Hall said he usually doesn’t comment on open cases.
“It is a very frustrating thing to not get that closed, I know there’s been a lot of hard working people working on it,” Hall said. “As far as any particulars about it, I don’t feel comfortable talking about any particulars while the case is still open.”
Gothard said he had never spoken with Boyd, never knew how he became involved, but had heard about the incident with revealing sensitive case information.
However, one of the witnesses was a man who shared a cell in prison with Boyd. The witness, said Boyd confronted him, knowing he was involved with the prison ministry, and wanted to get something off his chest, affidavits stated.
At first, the witness dismissed Boyd, telling him to “give it to God,” affidavits stated. Yet, when Boyd said, “the baby was an accident,” the witness stopped his work to listen to very descriptive details that matched up with the case, affidavits stated. Boyd then apparently told the witness, “If you turn on me, I will kill you.”
However, on July 4, 1996, a handwritten letter, documenting details of what Boyd had conveyed to the witness was delivered to an Ellis County judge, according to affidavits. The letter documented each move Boyd made, which resulted in Biggar and Kasey’s death, affidavits stated. Boyd was even identified by the witness in a six-picture line up as the person who told him the information, records showed. The witness voluntarily took a polygraph test with the Texas Rangers, and showed no signs of deception, reports stated. That letter was later presented to the Ellis County District Attorney at the time.
During the investigation, Tims informed Jeff Robertson, a Texas Ranger who worked the cold case unit, of the case. The two talked frequently and Robertson spent a lot of time looking into the case as well, Tims said.
Tims said Robertson also interviewed Boyd, and told Tims he thought Boyd’s head had been filled with too many details about the case to have a true connection to it. Robertson had almost ruled Boyd out as a person of interest, Tims said. The Waxahachie Daily Light tried to reach out to Robertson, but had not received a response by press time.
Tims later left the sheriff’s office in 2008, he said, to work at as a police officer at a community college. That was the last he had anything to do with the case.
“There’s just so much. I can look back now, and it’s just the egos,” Tims said. “I don’t care who gets credit for it, but do it right and get something done. We worked our butts off for that, and we couldn’t do it. It needs closure. It really does.”
Samples and Boyd weren’t brought back in the picture until 2009, when the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office made an extra push to look more closely at their cold cases, said Jason Westmoreland, one of the lead investigators for Ellis County Sheriff’s office at that time. He was a lieutenant over criminal investigations, he said.
Westmoreland started at the sheriff’s office in 2001, and was quickly promoted to the criminal investigation team. He served under sergeant Alvin Sims, who really took hold of the case and dug into it, Westmorland said. In 2010, Westmoreland called the case “one of the greatest unsolved cases” in the county.
“That was my personal opinion, and that’s because a child was involved,” Westmoreland said. “When a child gets killed, to me, that’s more important than anything we were doing at the time. It was the only unsolved case at the time that involved a child.”
Some of the things that stand out to Westmoreland still today are some of the mistakes or things he wished he and others would have been done differently, he said. This included the number of agencies involved. Westmoreland rejoined the sheriff’s office as a reserve officer on March 14, after working for a community college for a couple of years.
With at least five law enforcement agencies involved, Westmoreland said there were simultaneous investigations going on.
“I’m not knocking those investigations,” he said. “But my personal, professional opinion is that there are some personalities in law enforcement that are all Type A personalities. A lot of them want to be the one to solve it. I felt like from looking at some of my reports, that some of that went on. Now was that detrimental to the case? It’s a matter of a personal opinion.”
However, all the information listed earlier, helped Westmoreland and the sheriff’s office issue a probable cause arrest warrant on Aug. 18, 2009 for the arrest of Boyd and Aug. 20, 2009 for Samples.
In 2001, Westmoreland was assigned to work with a Texas Ranger with the cold case unit to go back over the case and test any physical evidence that remained to retest any chances of finding DNA.
“There was nothing, nothing from her fingernail clippings and nothing from the forensic evidence that came back,” he said. “The problem with that is even if she did have Larry Samples’ DNA in her nails, he was her boyfriend. It wouldn’t have proved anything. All the forensic options were exhausted.”
After that, he said, Sims and he spent a lot of time tracking down and talking to witnesses, even though nothing new had developed with the case. Most of the information they gathered, but most of it was hearsay, he said.
“We got to the point where we knew we weren’t going anywhere,” he said. “And to this day, there’s still a good circumstantial case against Larry Samples. We knew that we could articulate an arrest warrant for both of them, and this could’ve been done at any time, based on all the hearsay statements we had, and with him forging her name.”
He said the level of proof required for obtaining a probable cause arrest warrant and the proof beyond reasonable doubt has a huge gap. The Waxahachie Daily Light also tried to reach out to Sims, but received no response.
“We knew this was going to be one of our last ditch efforts to get them in, charge them and arrest them and drag them back to the Ellis County jail, and maybe that would make one of them break,” Westmoreland said. “They had never done that before, and that’s what basically the goal was. The sheriff’s office had always had probable cause to arrest Samples for years. We knew the district attorney’s office was never going to step out on a limb and risk taking this case to trial. So, we did it, and we figured at least we’re making an effort, at least we’re trying.”
Both were arrested that same year on capitol murder charges in the case. Boyd was booked into jail Aug. 19, 2009 and Samples was booked into jail on Aug. 21, 2009
Samples and Boyd were in jail a year before the case started to move toward a grand jury trial.
However, when the district attorney at the time looked at the case in 2010 to determine whether Samples and Boyd could be indicted, the ruling came back that there wasn’t enough to move the case forward. Hearsay evidence is rarely admitted to court, said current Chief Deputy Dennis Brearley, and that had a big role in why the case is still open today he said. He was working the sheriff’s office when the two men were released, and is now briefed on the case occasionally by the current investigator, he said.
The Waxahachie Daily Light did try to reach out to Samples, but received no response.
The difference between probable cause and evidence that proves without a doubt may not be something the general public will fully understand, Brearley said.
“I cannot help but believe the family has that open hole feeling, that missing piece, that void, and it’s bad enough that they lost loved ones,” Brearley said. “But the idea that there still hasn’t been anybody prosecuted has got to just add to that.”