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Bandit's bad baby brother

by Wanda Orton
Wanda Orton

A while back this column recapped the life and crimes of T.J. Golemon, known as the "Red Fox of the Big Thicket" for his ability to out-fox the law while playing hide and seek with his pursuers in the mysterious, pristine forest near Kountze.

Although closely connected with Kountze in Hardin County, the Golemon family - because the father built drilling rigs - once lived near the Goose Creek oil field. Red's brother Darious, 14 years younger, was born in Baytown in 1923. Red was the oldest of six children of Henry and Agnes Golemon, and Darious -- born 14 years after Red - was next to the youngest.

The Golemons had numerous well respected relatives in Baytown, including a branch of the family of Pelly Mayor Fred Pelly.

Unfortunately, Darious grew up with one goal - to follow in the footsteps of the black sheep of the family or, shall we say, the Red Fox.

Hoping that he and Red would become partners in crime, he had a plan. He and his big brother would "take care" of a Beaumont cab driver who had been abusing their sister.

OK. Red had nothing else to do except run from the law on previous criminal charges so he agreed to join Darious in an act of revenge.

Pretending to be ordinary customers, they called the cab driver to pick them up in Beaumont. Then something extraordinary happened. When the cab arrived, they jumped the unsuspecting driver, beat him to a pulp and shot him.

The cabbie survived to tell the tale and, of course, the additional crime made officers all the more determined to capture the Red Fox of the Big Thicket.

Red fled (as usual) but officers arrested Darious. In fact, he was still in jail on the attempted murder charge when his brother died in the gun battle with lawmen on April 11, 1940. Authorities refused to grant him a "compassionate leave" to attend Red's funeral. They probably should have let him go anyway, though, because the attempted murder charge was dropped for lack of evidence.

Eight years later:

On Sept. 28, 1948, a 32-year-old housewife made the fatal mistake of giving a ride to two strangers on the outskirts of Beaumont. The hitchhikers were Darious Golemon and his newly designated partner in crime, Alex Leviness.

Twitchell was returning to her mother's home in Colmesneil near Woodville, where she and her 3-year-old child had been staying. Preparing for her husband's return home from sea duty, Twitchell had been to Beaumont to rent a house.

On Oct. 4, 1948, in the Big Thicket section of Hardin County, her badly decomposed body was found. Her gray Kaiser sedan had been recovered earlier in Harris County.

Before leaving Beaumont, Golemon and Leviness had purchased a pistol at a pawn shop, and according to Leviness, Golemon shot Twitchell twice and then beat her to death with that pistol - so hard that the weapon broke.

The victim had begged for mercy, telling them to take her car but let her live for her family's sake.

Both Goleman and Leviness recanted their confessions, claiming their statements had been forced, but their appeals were denied. The "smoking gun" was the broken pistol that lawmen found buried in an armadillo hole. It matched the serial numbers on the pistol the pair bought in Beaumont.

Alex Leviness was sentenced to life in prison, while Darious Goleman received the death sentence.

On Feb. 4, 1953, the younger brother of Texas outlaw Red Golemon died in the electric chair in the state prison in Huntsville.

Bartee Haile in his book, "Texas Depression-Era Desperadoes," reported the last words of Darious Goleman:

"Pull those damned straps tight and give me all the juice you got, because I'm not going to die easy."

In that way, the two Golemon brothers - despite their age difference -- really were alike. With one of them gunned down in shootout and other one electrocuted years later in prison, neither faced an easy death.



Wanda Orton Baytown Sun Columnist
"Wandering" September 20 , 2015 columns

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