Over the years Clint Peoples has become an expert in homicide investigation. He has worked hard at understanding the processes by which one undertakes to scientifically gather and sift evidence leading to solving a murder case. There is some intuition involved in each case, but mostly it is just hard work. And it is with the hard work in mind that Peoples states that he has missed on "very, very few" murder cases in his half century in law enforcement. But according to his wife, the most perplexed he ever was on an investigation of any sort was the
Henry H. Marshall case. "I'll go to my grave knowing Henry Marshall was murdered," Peoples says in acknowledging this, his most puzzling investigation, one of the "very, very few" he has not been able to solve.
Henry Marshall, age fifty-one, lived in Bryan with his wife and ten-year-old son Donald. He was employed by the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Committee of the United States Department of Agriculture, working out of College Station. His boss described him as a "highly respected and dedicated public servant" who had been offered higher positions in Washington which he had refused, preferring to live in Bryan. Marshall carried a heavy work load which had caused him to have a "health problem" and threatened to reduce his working capacity to half-time. Some persons close to him were aware that Marshall had a bed in or near his office where he rested every day, and he told his brother-in-law, L. M. Owens, that he had a knot in his back which might be cancer. Others believed he had a heart condition, but whatever health problem he had it was not of recent origin. Marshall had lived with it a long time.
Saturday, June 3, 1961 was a day off, which offered Marshall the opportunity to go out to his ranch in Robertson County to look around and do some work. This "place"; as ranch or farm properties are sometimes called, was Marshall's hobby, his special interest, and he spent a lot of time at it. L. M. Owens worked for him on the place sometimes mending fences, seeing to crops and feeding the cattle. Owens noticed that Marshall recently had taken to driving in a back pasture where he looked over the feeder and talked quite a bit about it. It seemed a little unusual but Owens did not dwell on it. On June 3, Marshall stopped by the Owens house early before going thirteen miles northwest of Franklin to talk with Joe Pruitt and Wylie Grace, who with Lewis Taylor, were loading some hay on a truck. They were about ready to drive out of the Pruitt field when Marshall drove up in his Chevrolet pickup.
Marshall gave Pruitt a $36 check for baling hay and he tried to pay Grace for cutting the hay, but Grace declined. They visited for about twenty minutes and then, by 8:00 am, Marshall was gone. He went to his ranch and was involved in his normal activities and last seen at 10:30 a.m. by Jim and Martha Wood, a black couple who lived nearby. When he did not report home late in the afternoon, Mrs. Marshall called to get Owens to find him. Owens and Irving Bennett found him dead near the feeder at 6:30 pm.
When Robertson County Sheriff Howard Stegall, Deputy E. P. (Sonny) Elliott, and Ranger O. L. Luther arrived later, they looked around and decided it was suicide. Marshall had been shot five times with his .22 caliber rifle, which was found near the body. Marshall's glasses, watch, and pencils had been removed from their places and were on the seat of the pickup along with a single edge razor blade. At a quick glance it looked like suicide, and that is what they called it. No one paid attention to the fact that the rifle had a bolt action, one which had to be worked every time the rifle was fired. The following morning, Sunday, with the greenery of Central Texas at its best in late Spring (really early Summer in this locale) and the birds flitting and twittering overhead. Deputy Elliott took justice of the Peace Lee Farmer out to the scene. It looked like suicide to Farmer, so he recorded it as such in his official report. While there, Elliott picked up a spent .22 caliber cartridge casing.
Meanwhile the family gathered. From Denison about dawn on June 4 came Mrs. Marshall's sister and her two sons, nineteen-year-old Jackie Leroy Anderson and fifteen year-old Jerry Wayne Anderson. They were naturally curious as they looked at Uncle Henry's pickup which had blood smeared on it in several places, on the right side near the door handle, on the hood and right rear fender and on the left door just below the door handle. They also saw a dent, six to eight inches in diameter, centered in the lower half of the right door. Owens and the Anderson boys drove out to Marshall's farm that morning and just out of curiosity, placed the pickup at the same place Owens had found it. They then looked around and found a raisin box and some cigarette butts which had been smoked down to the filter so they could not tell what kind they were. They picked up the filters and put them in the raisin box which got lost later. Owens convinced them that it was suicide, saying, "Remember, I know more about Henry Marshall than you think I do. I worked for him and was with him a lot." When they got back to Franklin, Owens asked the young men to wash the truck, and they did.
Henry Marshall was buried as the family returned to normalcy. Mrs. Marshall soon went to Lee Farmer to ask that the cause of death be changed from suicide, but Farmer thought he was right, so he stuck to it. That ended things. Ended them that is, until May, 1962, when Secretary of Agriculture Orville Freeman stated that Henry Marshall had been a "key figure" in the investigation of the affairs of Billie Sol Estes. The connection was cotton allotments. Estes found cotton farming to be profitable so he set out in 1960 to grow all he could. He discovered that the only obstacle to growing more cotton and making more money was that the federal government imposed strict acreage controls in exchange for its price supports on cotton. The acreage allotment remains with the land and it cannot otherwise be sold or exchanged. Once acreage allotment for cotton is set, it stays with the land and is sold with it. The only exception to the rule is on land taken away by the right of eminent domain. When this happened, then the allotment could be transferred to other land bought by the same person within three years. These transfers had to be approved by the Department of Agriculture, and in Texas they were screened at College Station by Henry Marshall. Estes saw the loophole in cotton allotments and went right to it. He persuaded farmers in Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia and Alabama who had lost cotton land by eminent domain to purchase land from him. The plan was for a farmer to buy the land, place the cotton allotment on it, and then lease it to Estes for $50 per acre. The farmer was to pay Estes for the land purchase in four installments, but it was understood in advance that the farmer would fail to make the first payment, after which Estes would foreclose. The final result was that Estes still had the land, only now it was an acreage upon which cotton could be grown. By June, 1961, Estes was already in trouble over his cotton allotments because agriculture officials were onto his scheme, and it is a coincidence that he started getting in trouble at the same time as Henry Marshall's death. Homer Garrison had the "coincidence" called to his attention, after which he decided that a closer look should be had. Garrison assigned Peoples to investigate. Taking Ranger Johnny Krumnow with him, Peoples began on May 10, 1962, and he made his report to Garrison on July 13. In between, Rangers Krumnow, Hendrichs, Luther, Horton, Wilson, Riddles, J. S. Nance and Glenn Elliott had questioned everybody connected or possibly connected with the death. Mrs. Marshall, L. M. Owens, Irving Bennett, and Bob Marshall, Henry Marshall's brother, had all taken polygraph tests which showed that they knew nothing of how Marshall had met his death.
By May 21 Peoples had enough evidence to convince District Judge John M. Barron and County Attorney Bryan Russ to call a grand jury "for the purpose of obtaining evidence regarding Marshall's death." Peoples was the first to present for all the proceedings so he could hear witnesses' testimony. Fifty-five witnesses testified in the five weeks of hearings. The grand jury was concerning itself with whether it was suicide or homicide, but Peoples was already convinced it was the latter and he was trying to decide who had done it. That afternoon, judge Barron ordered that the body be disinterred for autopsy. Peoples was there when they brought the casket out of the ground to be taken to the Callaway-Jones Funeral Home in Bryan.
Dr. Joseph A. Jachimczyk, the chief medical examiner for Harris County, was called to Bryan to do the autopsy. Jachimczyk was a veteran in his trade, a man who had worked with some 15,000 corpses, one who performed autopsies daily. He was assisted by Dr. Ray Cruse of Hearne and James L. Turner, an investigator from his own staff. In addition to Peoples, those present were Judge Barron, Sheriff Stegall, Fred R. Rymer, DPS ballistics expert Charles H. Beardsley, Cal Killingsworth, and Dr. James I. Lindsay. The vault was opened at 7:30 a.m., the body identified by Manley Jones, the embalmer of almost a year ago, and the examination of the body began at 8:30. Jachimczyk was thorough in his work. He went through the body systematically looking at everything, describing the "thin layer of black mold, which scraped off fairly easily" and the "scalp which slipped readily off the calvarium upon touching." But such thing were incidental to the doctor's research. He wanted to know the cause of death. To this end he took ninety-seven specimens for examination.
His twelve-page report concluded that Marshall came to his death as a result of five gunshot wounds in the chest and abdomen. Three of the wounds were "rapidly incapacitating," while two would require a little more time. Marshall, he felt, could not have lived more that thirty minutes after he sustained the wounds. He found two further complicating factors. Marshall had a bruise on the left side of the head and he had a 15 per cent carbon monoxide saturation in the blood from the left chest cavity, which he said could have been as high as 30 per cent at the time of death. For the grand jury, the punch-line of the report was Jachimczyk's final conclusion: "Being familiar with bizarre gunshot injuries, one cannot say, however, on a purely scientific basis that a verdict of suicide is absolutely impossible in this case; most improbable, but not impossible." He pronounced it as a "possible suicide, probable homicide."
Dr. Jachimczyk telephoned his findings to Judge Barron on May 24 as the investigation proceeded. Peoples was in Austin the following day giving Garrison a briefing after which "The Boss" said to keep going. On May 29 and May 30 Peoples conferred with judge Barron, County Attorney Russ and the grand jury, and he did it again on June 4. June 3, the first anniversary of Marshall's death, found him in the maelstrom of a mystery. After the grand jury had considered the evidence presented, they concluded on June 25 that there was no reason to change the verdict from suicide. Jury Foreman Goree Matthews did state that they agreed to come back into session at any time to hear additional evidence. County Attorney Bryan Russ agreed, stating that he had "no evidence to indicate that it was other than suicide." Sheriff Stegall was asked if he thought Marshall could have worked the bolt on the rifle to reload after each shot, and he replied that he thought it possible. "I do know this," he continued, "a man can stand up under a lot of lead. A .22 does not have much shocking power... I saw a man hit four times once and walk off." Since that time the legal question of Marshall' death - suicide or murder - has not been opened.
For Peoples the case never stopped. He continued to have his Rangers follow every lead, doing the coordinating and analyzing himself. On July 13, 1962 he made an extensive report to Colonel Garrison, a part of which reads: Our investigation reveals that for Mr. Henry Marshall to have committed suicide the following acts would have had to occur:
 The first act of Mr. Marshall would have been to take carbon monoxide. (Pathologist's report reveals that 15% carbon monoxide was present at time of autopsy one year later and 15% would have been lost from embalming processes, a lethal dose consisting of 40%)
 Mr. Marshall would have had to dispose of the facilities with which the carbon monoxide was administered
 Mr. Marshall received a serious brain injury on the left side of his head from a fall and a cut over his left eye, causing the eye to protrude.
 Severe bruises with skin breakage on the back of his hands.
 Blood left on the right side of the pickup truck, also on rear and left side of pickup.
 Mr. Marshall would have had to cut off the motor on the pickup.
 Absence of blood inside of pickup after motor was cut off.
 Absence of blood on front of Mr. Marshall's shirt.
 Shirt of deceased was open with no bullet holes in front.
 Nitrites present only on tail of Mr. Marshall's shirt (back side).
 A deep dent present on right side of pickup caused by some type of instrument other than a human hand or head which was placed there on this date.
 Due to lack of blood on front of shirt but considerable blood present around pickup creates another mystery.
 Investigation revealed that it was difficult for Mr. Marshall to straighten out his right arm, which was due to a prior injury, and it would have been necessary for him to pull the trigger with his left hand.
After all of the above acts Mr. Henry Marshall would have had to have sufficient control of his equilibrium to have fired five bullets into the front of his left abdomen with a .22 bolt-action rifle, taking it down each time and ejecting the shell. The five bullets passing through Mr. Marshall's body traveled at a substantially straight angle which would indicate that he had to have extreme control of his equilibrium, after receiving all injuries from falls preceding the shooting of himself. From the direction of travel of bullets Mr. Marshall would have had entrance wounds which would have been more difficult. This fact was determined by the pattern of spent shells which were found by this Division and other parties after the death of Henry Marshall. Markers were placed by parties who found the spent shells at the time. Tests were made of the gun to establish a pattern of shell ejections which revealed that they were of a pattern identical to those found at the scene. Sand in the entire area was sifted; no bullets present. Mine detector was used; no other spent shells found.
A conclusion reached from this investigation is that had Mr. Henry Marshall shot himself before all of the acts above pointed out he would have had to return to where the empty shells were found and then collapse, which under the circumstances above mentioned would have been impossible for the following reasons: (1) Investigation reveals that there was no blood present on the ground other than where the body was found, (2) the only blood present on Henry Marshall's shirt was at the exit holes in the back and was a very small amount, (3) autopsy reveals that three of the shots were incapacitating, one severing the aorta and two paralyzing, and (4) autopsy report also reveals that the man died quickly from internal hemorrhaging.
It is a conclusion of this writer that Mr. Marshall did not live long after shots were fired into his body for the reason that so long as there is life in the body, the heart is pumping and so long as the heart is pumping, blood will flow from the exit of a gunshot wound. Reasonable deductions are that Mr. Marshall did not move from the location where the shots were fired into his body. It would have been impossible for him to have first fired the shots with such accuracy under the influence of carbon monoxide, secondly committed the acts above mentioned and return to the spot where the shells were found and died. It is reasonable to conclude that this would not have been possible for him to have returned and scuffed up the ground with his foot as indicated in a dying condition. Witnesses reveal that the ground was scuffed up with his foot where he was found lying.
An extensive investigation was conducted, as result of the suicidal ruling, to determine the reason for suicide motivation; no reason can be established. All reports reveal that Mr. Henry Marshall was a dedicated, honest and loyal government employee. Records also reveal that due to the vast operation of the cotton and grain program of Texas and Mr. Marshall's reluctance to approve many shady aspects he, without a doubt, created animosity among people who were attempting to accomplish their goals. From the findings of this investigation it is my personal opinion that it would have been beneficial to a vast number of shady operators for Mr. Henry Marshall to have been disposed of. It is my conclusion from the extensive investigation made by this department with the assistance of the scientific approach, evidence obtained, witnesses' testimonies, physical checks and tests made at the scene, it would have been utterly impossible for Mr. Marshall to have taken his own life.