Cullen Davis, left, and Jon Farr speak in front of the “48 Hours” cameras in 2016. Star-Telegram archives
Cullen Davis, left, and Jon Farr speak in front of the “48 Hours” cameras in 2016. Star-Telegram archives

Crime

‘48 Hours’ revisits Cullen Davis murder case — what you will and won’t see

May 12, 2017 12:20 PM

UPDATED May 12, 2017 04:17 PM

FORT WORTH

More than 40 years later, people are still fascinated with the Cullen Davis mansion murders.

It’s a story that has it all: A mysterious man in black gunning down four people and killing two; a playboy millionaire accused of trying to kill his flashy, blonde, buxom estranged wife; a flamboyant defense attorney who successfully defends his client; a multiple murder officially unsolved.

Now the infamous murders that still have Texas tongues wagging will get another going over Saturday when the CBS news show “48 Hours” airs its own investigation of what happened at the Fort Worth mansion in 1976. The show is scheduled to air at 9 p.m. Saturday on KTVT/Channel 11.

A short preview provided by the show includes archival footage of the trial and the mansion where Cullen Davis lived with his ex-wife, Priscilla. It also includes a snippet of an interview with Jack Strickland, one of the prosecutors in the case.

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For those who don’t remember the particulars, here they are: In August 1976, four people were shot and two killed at the oil baron’s mansion in southwest Fort Worth. Stan Farr, a former TCU basketball star, and 12-year-old Andrea Wilborn, Priscilla Davis’ daughter from a previous marriage, were killed.

Cullen Davis on the murder victims: 'That's ancient history'

Davis, 82, explains that he doesn't think any more about murder victims Stan Farr and Andrea Wilborn.

Brandon Wade Special

Priscilla Davis and two others identified her estranged husband as the infamous “man in black” — the assailant was dressed all in black. The alleged motive was the Davises’ bitter divorce. Cullen Davis, at the time the richest man in America to ever stand trial on murder charges, has always professed his innocence.

I just cooperated with them. Whatever they wanted to do suited me just fine. I didn’t care. It [the story] will never die, I suppose. But I don’t care.

Cullen Davis

Davis was acquitted of capital murder in the girl’s slaying and of murder-for-hire charges in connection with his divorce case in the 1970s. He was represented by the flamboyant and folksy attorney Richard “Racehorse” Haynes.

“This is a case that involves wealth, that involves sex, that involves vengeance and that involves murder,” defense attorney and former Tarrant County prosecutor Christy Jack says during the show, according to a press release issued by “48 Hours.”

Jack, who did not participate in the prosecution, later says during the show that she doesn’t “think of this case as being unsolved,” the release said. “I think of it as a case as being unproven.”

Reached Friday by the Star-Telegram, Davis, 83, said he has not seen the show or the preview. But he plans on watching. According to the “48 Hours” press release, Davis apparently continues to profess his innocence in the show.

“I know all about it. I participated in some of the filming they did. They’ve been working on it a long, long time. Just finally got it done,” Davis said.

What producers of the show did not include were interviews with the son of one of the murder victims and his attempts to get Davis to confess four decades later.

Cullen Davis on meeting with John Farr

Earlier this year, Davis met for several hours with John Farr, the son of mansion murder victim Stan Farr, and invited him to stay at his house.

Brandon Wade Special

Last year, Jon Farr, the son of Stan Farr, met with Davis — once in front of “48 Hours’ ” cameras — where he forgave Davis for his role in the crime and told him he’s there if Davis wants to get anything off his chest. Both Farr and Davis are born-again Christians.

“He said, ‘You’re a Christian and I’m a Christian and I’m going to forgive you,’ ” Davis told the Star-Telegram last year. “And I said, ‘Well, you don’t need to forgive me. I didn’t shoot your father.’ 

Davis said he didn’t ask them “what all they were going to include.” He said he plans to watch the show.

“I just cooperated with them. Whatever they wanted to do suited me just fine. I didn’t care,” Davis said. “[The story] will never die, I suppose. But I don’t care.”

Cullen Davis recalls the mansion murders

Now 82, Davis says he was at a movie on the night of Aug. 2, 1976 when two were murdered at his Fort Worth mansion. Davis, who was acquitted, says several people conspired to accuse him.

Brandon Wade Special

This story includes material from the Star-Telegram archives

Max B. Baker: 817-390-7714, @MaxbakerBB