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Thomas Cullen Davis (born September 22, 1933 in Fort Worth, Texas) is an American oil heir. He was acquitted of the murders of his stepdaughter and his estranged wife's boyfriend, then hiring a hitman to kill his estranged wife and a judge. A billionaire at the time, he is the wealthiest man to have stood trial for murder in the United States.
In August 1976, Davis was charged with the murder of his estranged wife's boyfriend, Stan Farr, and her daughter, Andrea Wilborn. Davis' wife, Priscilla Davis, had filed for divorce in 1974, but in 1976 the divorce proceedings were still ongoing and the divorce had not been made official. Farr and Wilborn had been shot dead, and Davis' wife Priscilla wounded, by a gunman who entered their home in Fort Worth on August 2, 1976. In November 1977, after what has been called "one of the most expensive murder investigations and trials in Texas history," a jury found Davis not guilty. The children of Stan Farr later sued Davis for wrongful death and were awarded $250,000 in a settlement.
In 2004, Billy Vickers, a man sentenced to death in an unrelated case, claimed that he had been the person who murdered Farr and Wilborn.
In 1978, Davis was arrested again, this time for allegedly hiring a hitman to murder his wife Priscilla, as well as the judge overseeing their ongoing divorce litigation. The case hinged around a tape-recorded conversation between Davis and an undercover employee posing as a hitman, during which Davis was alleged to have asked the undercover employee to murder his wife; this trial, Texas v. Davis, has been called one of the first uses of forensic discourse analysis of tape-recorded evidence in a legal setting. A discourse analyst testified that Davis' words in the tape did not constitute solicitation of murder; and Davis was ultimately acquitted.
According to truTV, Davis lost most of his oil fortune in the recession of the 1980s, and was eventually forced to sell his mansion and declare bankruptcy. Priscilla Davis died of breast cancer on February 19, 2001.
According to the profile on Power Privilege and Justice and on A&E's American Justice, Cullen Davis became a born-again Christian and is now a Christian missionary.
A book on Cullen Davis, Texas vs. Davis (ISBN 0-451-17054-7), was written by Mike Cochran. Davis was also the subject of the book Texas Justice by Cartwright, which was made into a TV movie starring Peter Strauss as Cullen and Heather Locklear as Priscilla.
The case was covered in a chapter of Creating Language Crimes (ISBN 978-0195181661) by Roger W. Shuy, a linguistics professor who was a witness in the case.