A documentary reviewing the controversial deaths of Dennis and Norma Woodruff, two former Rockwall County residents who were killed near Royse City more than 15 years ago, is scheduled to be presented in Greenville next month.
Producers of "Texas Justice: Brandon Woodruff" hope to develop a television series based on the tale of Brandon Dale Woodruff who was found guilty of capital murder in March 2009 involving the deaths of his parents in October 2005.
Richard Ray, formerly of Fox 4 News in Dallas, will headline the event on the evening of May 14 at the Texan Theater, 2712 Lee Street in Greenville and said the plan is to offer the production to a streaming service such as Netflix.
“We’re hoping for one of the big ones,” Ray said, adding the case has also drawn the attention of The Innocence Project in Texas.
“They are covering this full tilt,” he said.
Ray will also moderate a question and answer session following a screening of the documentary. Tickets for the event are $7.50 in advance or $10 at the door and are available through eventbrite.com
As the prosecution was not seeking the death penalty, Woodruff received an automatic sentence of life in prison without parole.
Documentary producer Scott Poggensee with The American Justice Podcast intends to present a Change.org petition to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to hear Woodruff’s appeal, which had collected more than 1,500 signatures.
The film details what became one of the most controversial murder cases in recent memory in Hunt County.
The jury in the 354th District Court returned the guilty verdict after some five hours of deliberations, following two weeks of testimony.
Prior to the trial, the case was the source of months of debate between the prosecution and defense. Then-354th District Court Judge Richard A. Beacom ruled Woodruff’s Sixth Amendment constitutional rights to confidentiality were violated when prosecutors listened to the recordings of telephone calls from the jail between Woodruff and his defense team.
After the Hunt County District Attorney’s Office recused itself from the case, Beacom appointed special prosecutors from the Texas Attorney General’s Office, but refused motions from defense attorneys to throw out the case against Woodruff and dismiss the capital murder indictment outright.
Dennis Woodruff was shot once, then stabbed nine times, while Norma Woodruff was shot as many as five times. Testimony during the trial indicated Dennis Woodruff didn’t put up a fight before he was killed.
Prosecutors argued the residence was found to be locked when a friend of the family was asked to check on the Woodruffs and that nothing of value appeared to have been taken from the home, aside from the couple’s wallets.
A gun connected with the killings has never been found.
At the time they were killed, the Woodruffs were in the process of moving from a residence in Heath in Rockwall County to the Royse City home in Hunt County, as part of an effort to downsize and save enough money to send Brandon Woodruff to Abilene Christian University and their daughter Charla Woodruff to Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, Ark.
In July 2008, Linda Matthews, Norma Woodruff’s sister, found a dagger among the family’s possessions at the Heath residence. Prosecutors have alleged the dagger may have been the weapon used in the stabbings, as a skull compartment at the base contained blood matching Dennis Woodruff’s.
The case has previously been presented back to the 354th District Court for the consideration of a retrial and to the Sixth District Court of Appeals in Texarkana and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, all of which upheld the conviction.