Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation (M.H.M.R.)
Murder Victims Families' for Human Rights
Rusk State Hospital
armed conflict and persecution
civil and political rights
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VIRGINIA RAYMOND: The voice that's speaking now is Virginia Raymond. I am here with Gabriel Solis behind the camera. S-O-L-I-S. Gabriel Solis and Virginia Raymond
here at Tina Duroy's home, did I say that right, Duroy?
TINA DUROY: [affirms]
DUROY: D-U-R-O-Y, you said "i," didn't you?
RAYMOND: Oh, you spell it again for me.
RAYMOND: D-U-R-O-Y [Deleted home address] In Conroe, Texas.
RAYMOND: Thank you, Tina.
DUROY: You're welcome.
RAYMOND: We're here and we've talked about this before. But just for the record, we are here at the request of Susannah Sheffer whom you already know.
Actually, I've never met her but you know her with Murder Victims Families for Human Rights.
RAYMOND: Do you understand that? And do you understand why she asked us to do this interview?
DUROY: Yes ma'am I do.
RAYMOND: And can you just generally say what that is?
DUROY: I think she's just trying to get both sides of the story about people that's been murdered and their family that's lost them, getting their side. And
the people that their family has murdered and our side. And how it creates more victims.
RAYMOND: Okay. And also so we're going to talk about that. Thank you. And we're also going to talk specifically at some point it will come up, of course,
about mental illness and about your family's struggles to get James some help. And the relationship of that to the tragic outcomes. So she and the M.V.F.H.R. are intending to publish a report
that will have information from this interview in it.
RAYMOND: And that's okay with you?
RAYMOND: Okay, thanks. Well, if you wouldn't mind, first tell us about your family. Tell us about yourself and your family.
DUROY: Well, James was my older brother and I was the second child, then I have two siblings, brothers that are younger than me.
DUROY: And we grew up with a very loving family. My grandparents were great. We had just a very loving family. We had normal family functions: Easter
picnics, family get-togethers, such as, you know.
DUROY: But when we were growing up we started noticing changes in James. He lived with my grandparents and not with my mother and I.
RAYMOND: So, how much older—what year was James born?
DUROY: In sixty and I was born in sixty-three. I just turned forty-five, and James would've been what, forty-eight this year. He was born on leap year day in
February. So he's actually only had what, five birthdays? How many birthdays? I don't know.
RAYMOND: Four, right?
DUROY: Yeah, four or five.
RAYMOND: I mean twelve, or however many he would have had five years ago, I guess.
RAYMOND: Tell me, we're in Conroe. You grew up in Conroe?
DUROY: We grew up actually by Greenspoint, where the Greenspoint Mall came in is where we actually when I was like in first grade, but we grew up in the
Houston vicinity. And then my mother married my stepfather, and we moved to Conroe.
DUROY: That's why I'm in Conroe. And James came here with us and lived with us for a while but he proceeded to have problems so, mental problems.
RAYMOND: How old was he when you—
DUROY: Actually, whenever we started noticing it, there was like little things that we started noticing when he was like eleven. And then when he was
fourteen is when it really came out.
DUROY: And then when he was seventeen is when it triggered very bad because something happened to him that triggered his schizophrenia; which they say
something traumatic has to happen to make you—to make it trigger, and he was brutally raped at the age of seventeen.
RAYMOND: Do you want to tell us about that? Or do you want to start back—
DUROY: Sure, I mean I'll tell you about it. He was seventeen and I was fourteen. And I didn't know about it, and one of my friends had the newspaper and she
told me about it.
DUROY: So I went home crying and it was on the front page of the paper that my brother had been picked up hitchhiking and he was brutally raped by two men,
and he got away and ran to the police department. And then after that, after that happened, he was not the same person. He had had a girlfriend at that time.
DUROY: They were serious. Patricia was her name. They were a serious couple. But when that happened something just triggered, he just changed. I think he
just became a very paranoid, scared person that somebody was going to hurt him.
DUROY: He did. I mean he was always paranoid of everybody to me. He was—as a child growing up with him, James and I were very close because he was my big
brother, of course, and then I can remember things as children that we did.
DUROY: When we'd go to the river with our family, I'd seen a snake one time and nailed it on the board or when we'd go to the restaurant he'd eat all the
packs of butter because he liked it. But I noticed that he was being real different.
DUROY: Anyway when I found out about that he had been raped I went home and asked my mother and she cried and she said it was true that it did happen. Well,
the men got off. They were not charged of the major charge.
DUROY: They got the lesser charge and they are now bail bondsmen here in Conroe, so. But anyway my mother was very distraught over that. And after that my
brother wanted to buy a gun and kill the man, and everything else. And so we tried to get help for him and put him in a mental hospital.
DUROY: We drove him—he was in a Galveston hospital and we would go see him all the time. But like I said when he turned eighteen and the medical insurance
ran out we couldn't afford it, so.
RAYMOND: What were the things that you said he was a little different, even before this horrible thing happened, when he was a little boy? You said he
started acting different.
DUROY: At about eleven maybe he would just like shy away from people, as to where when he was younger he was a very people person, he loved it. I mean
everybody loves James. James was everybody's favorite. He was a very sweet, artistic, articulate, I mean he was just very intelligent, very intelligent.
DUROY: And still to the day he died I thought he was very smart. I mean he was very smart and that's why when they passed the mentally ill law that if you
were mentally ill they wouldn't execute you, well they based it on I.Q.s. And my brother was not book smart by any means, because he went to the ninth grade. But he could hear something and he
could remember it.
RAYMOND: And you said when he was fourteen things got worse? What—
DUROY: Yeah. He just became real reclusive and wanted to be by himself. And started listening to different music like the more of the hard music. And just
being real introverted.
RAYMOND: So, this is like seventy-four?
DUROY: Yes ma'am.
RAYMOND: Something like that. And do you know if anything had happened or it was—
DUROY: Not until he was seventeen and when the rape happened. I know nothing happened. James was the first grandchild in my family. My grandparents idolized
James. They loved him. When my grandfather found out that James murdered somebody he had a stroke.
DUROY: And then my grandmother was like James' mother. So he was very spoiled. He was, but he was a good kid. But he just started becoming very paranoid. And
he was hearing voices, demand hallucinations.
RAYMOND: So he was in Galveston for how long?
DUROY: Which trip?
RAYMOND: Oh, okay. So tell me about the different, there were different—
TINA DUROY: Well there was a mental hospital there that I can remember when he was seventeen. I guess I was thirteen, fourteen.
DUROY: He was there. He tried to commit suicide by drinking liquid bleach. They had gone on an outing at Astroworld. He went out the window and was gone for
three or four weeks. We couldn't find him, and I can remember my mother and I going to homeless shelters in Houston looking for him. At an early age like that I can remember.
RAYMOND: How did you find him?
DUROY: How did we find him? Usually in a way we don't want to find him: with the police department.
RAYMOND: And so this was when he was seventeen. Had you tried to find mental health for him before, services?
DUROY: I mean there are, in our country, there are no mental—there's Rusk [Rusk State Hospital]. But that's a lot of money, a lot of—I mean it is. To me, if
we quit putting so much money into our prison system and put more money into our mental health system, we'd be a lot better off. Our prison system would be a lot less. But we don't.
RAYMOND: So while he was a teenager you were trying to get him help, you and your mother?
DUROY: Even up until the time that he committed the crime that he did, my parents were still—my stepfather and my mother were getting him help. He was going
to M.H.M.R. here in Conroe. They'd get him back regulated on his medications, three days later he'd be out on the street again.
DUROY: He was getting Social Security, but I don't understand how they could expect a man to take his medication and know what he's doing when you have
blackouts and you don't know what's going on. And by no means am I saying what my brother did was right, by no means.
DUROY: And I'm sorry. And my family has lived in guilt about it for a long time. I mean I'm not making excuses. I'm not saying my brother was mentally ill
and that was his excuse. But if he could have gotten the help that he deserved from this country, or our society, things would've been different.
DUROY: We fought for it. And that's why I think that I'm just—I hope that things change, I do hope things change. I just don't think people understand mental
illness until you live with it. You could be book smart, you could read about it all day long, these psychologists, you can read about it all day long.
DUROY: Like I could read about anorexic and I'll never understand it. But until you've lived with it, until you've seen the severity of it, you don't
RAYMOND: When you were a teenager and James was—or you were younger and James was having these problems, was he living at your house at that point or at his
DUROY: He lived back and forth actually. My grandparents lived in Greenspoint and we lived here in Conroe. And he lived back and forth. And at the time when
he was living with us at my parent's house he was a freshman in high school and I was in junior high school and he would do a lot for my friends and I.
DUROY: But he had this big black rug that he hung up and he would isolate himself in his dark hole.
RAYMOND: What kinds of—what was he like when he was himself, when he was doing well?
DUROY: Funny. Always happy. Do anything to help anybody. Laughed. He was a sweetheart. And when he was in one of his manic moods he would look at you and ask
crazy questions and laugh at you like, you know, I mean he would just— he would be in fear.
DUROY: People would look at him and be fearful of him when he was actually fearful of them. James never hurt anybody up until this crime. In the police
record it says that he committed this crime to go back to jail so he wouldn't hurt anybody or do anything.
RAYMOND: Why do you think he—do you think that's true?
DUROY: Yes. He told me when I got his stay of execution in November, he told me that if he could be put back in the prison population, he would want to stay
alive, but living on Death Row he would not. And you don't even want me to begin about the visits, visiting my brother on Death Row.
DUROY: No. Or going to T.C. Jester in Richmond at the psychiatric prison when my brother was there for eating his own feces and drinking his own urine. I
mean my brother—he probably didn't have his teeth in. The hardest time for me, for me is because nobody else was [inaudible].
DUROY: The hardest time for me was at the time of the execution. The anticipating your brother dying, how do you do that?
RAYMOND: Tina you were telling before we turned on the tape the different ways in which James'—the murder, the trial, and everything, hurt your family but I
don't think we have that in the interview. so.
DUROY: I had just started a new job. I was a car salesman. This was when women first started selling cars. I worked for Goodson Honda. And I had just started
and I went to my boss and told him what was going on. And I took a leave of absence for thirty days.
DUROY: And I sat through the jury selection because my mother couldn't. I sat there and wrote it on a spiral notepad everyday about everything that happened.
I was just there, you know. I was there.
RAYMOND: And were you talking to Stover at the time?
DUROY: Oh, sure. He was a very flirtatious. He was asking me out. And of course this was you know—and my mother was like, "Go out with him Tina and just see
if he can try and help your brother." And I was like, "Nope." But he would let me bring my brother candy.
DUROY: I brought James candy everyday. But they were giving my brother [Haloperidol] I think it's called, a sedative, and he fell asleep during court. And
they tried to say that that was because he didn't care. They used that against him in court. The prosecutor came over and touched my brother on the shoulder and said, "This man is a killer." He
touched my brother. Anyway.
RAYMOND: Did you know any of the jurors? Have you ever talked to any of the jurors?
DUROY: Oh, there are plenty of jurors. They said if they would have known the question was if they gave James life would he ever be eligible for parole, and
they could not answer that question. There has been two jurors come back since and said they wished they would have voted the other way.
DUROY: My ex-mother in law was out in the court with me a lot, and she was a nurse and she was just—yeah they just didn't understand. There was not enough
information for the jury from the defense to prove my brother—but I promise you from the floor stacked up this high there was medical records of my brother. It wasn't his first thing.
RAYMOND: You said your mother couldn't go to the trial.
DUROY: No. My mother was a very nervous person, and a very emotional person and, I mean, she couldn't take it so I was like her backbone. We all looked—I
mean our mother was the best. But my mother had to be a witness, a character witness for the defense at the end to ask to not give my brother lethal injection—or capital murder. She
hyperventilated on the witness stand.
RAYMOND: So you took—you went through it and your mom was affected by the execution. Was she still alive when—
DUROY: My mother gave up and died so she would not witness my brother to die.
RAYMOND: What do you mean that she gave up?
DUROY: My mother had emphysema and asthma and she gave up; she smoked like a chimney, she didn't care, she was in depression, she was in her room all the
time. She gave up. And she said, "I will not watch them kill my son." She died three years before he was executed.
DUROY: Actually, a year after his execution date was given and two years—his first execution in three years [inaudible].
RAYMOND: So she died in—I'm trying to figure that out.
DUROY: Okay James died in—wait, wait, wait, wait. I've been married five years, four years, and he's been gone five. He died in ‘03.
RAYMOND: In '03.
DUROY: And I married in ‘04. And my mother died in ‘01. She died in ‘01.
RAYMOND: And your father—
DUROY: Died in ‘07, last year.
RAYMOND: Just recently.
DUROY: Wait. This is ‘08—it was ‘06. He was gone a year ago last October. It was ‘06.
RAYMOND: And was he able to participate in—
DUROY: Oh, my dad—in the book you'll see when we're walking to the execution my baby brother that's in California, my dad—we're all walking over. And the
camera—they take a picture.
DUROY: Yeah, my dad—after my mom died—my dad even though he was James' stepfather continuously gave him money in his account and he continuously— he promised
my mother he would take care of my brother and he did.
RAYMOND: Did James also have a biological father?
DUROY: Yep. Yep.
RAYMOND: Was he involved?
DUROY: Nope. He wasn't. And when my dad died the inheritance, because James had a living biological father, we had to get a statement signed that he would
not take it so my brother that just left here we went to— he would not meet us but his daughter did and he's mentally ill himself.
DUROY: He's a very paranoid man, he carries a gun everywhere he goes, and she said that he wouldn't let her be involved with James, but she's forty now and
she didn't—and I told her I'm his only sister so I didn't want anything to do with them.
DUROY: I wanted them to sign off on my parent's property and that was it. If they can't be around for the bad stuff, then they don't need to be around for
anything. That's the way I feel. And my brother that just left here, he suffers bad.
DUROY: He does. I mean he's younger than me, but he suffers. He was my mother's baby. He and my mother were the closest. And for my mom to be gone, it's
just—I mean we're very young to be without our parents.
Tina Duroy is the sister of James Blake Colburn, who was executed on March 26, 2003 for the 1994 murder of Peggy Murphy. In the beginning of Video 1, Duroy discusses her childhood, her early family life, and growing up with James; she then narrates the events that she believes contributed to the triggering of her brother's schizophrenia and describes perceived changes in his personality and his experiences as his condition worsened. Duroy then discusses the capital murder trial and her family's responses to James' conviction and sentence. In Video 2, Duroy describes the effects of the execution and the process leading up to it on her immediate family members. She also continues to reflect on how the broader community responded to James' situation, as well as the social stigma surrounding mental illness. She then describes her activities during James' last days, including her stay at the Hospitality House in Huntsville, her last interaction with James, her witnessing of James' execution, and her experience at the funeral home. Duroy concludes by offering her thoughts on society's responses to mental illness, and the intersection of mental illness and the criminal justice system. Throughout this interview, Duroy shares photographs taken by Fabian Biasio, which document her life during James' last days and were compiled as part of a 2005 exhibit "Diary of an Execution." This interview took place on August 11, 2008, at Tina's home in Conroe, Montgomery County, Texas.
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Tina DuroyRole: Narrator
Texas After Violence ProjectRole: Collaborator
Virginia Marie RaymondRole: Interviewer
Gabriel Daniel SolisRole: Videographer
Gabriel Daniel SolisRole: Transcriber
Kimberly Ambrosini-BaconRole: Proofreader
North America--United States--Texas
North America--United States--Texas--Austin
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