On February 29th, 1996 I was partying with friends; drinking and smoking pot. I took a powerful sedative called Rohypnol. I was already on parole for getting caught with LSD and meth, so this wasn’t the greatest idea, but it’s the truth of what happened. Needless to say, I didn’t learn my lesson from my prior stint with the law, but I wasn’t a bad person. I just wasn’t making the greatest choices. I wanted my life to be fun and that was how we had fun back then.
I was 24 years old. I had a beautiful wife, named Diana. She was slender and had beautiful blonde hair. I loved her. When we found out we were having our son, I married her. I wanted to do the right thing by her, take responsibility and be a man. I wasn’t ready to be a father, but I was going to do what had to be done.
However, Diana had her issues. She was depressed a lot and angry at times. She was very possessive and needed a lot of attention. She got so angry sometimes, she became abusive. There was a police report filed from the time she punched me. But after every argument, all was forgiven and we moved on. We did the best we could but all in all, we were a couple of kids, even though she was older than I was. Unfortunately, she was suicidal and had discussed it with a number of people, before attempting it in the past.
On the night of February 29th, 1996 she finally managed to succeed. I only wish she got the help she needed before that tragic day.
After getting fairly wasted with my friends, I got a ride home because I was too intoxicated to drive. I didn’t usually get that plastered, but I did that evening. I didn’t even remember where I left my car, which was later discovered in Denny’s parking lot. All I remember is one friend drove me home and I walked in the door. That’s when Diana was threatening to kill herself with our shotgun. I tried taking the shotgun away from her, like I have been able to do on two previous occasions. This time I couldn’t get it from her. I don’t know if it’s because of how intoxicated I was or how determined she was, but at that moment, I failed. I couldn’t save her again.
MOMENTS AFTER DIANA’S SUICIDE
When Diana shot herself, I was in total shock and despair. I could barely talk, I was hysterical. My wife had just shot herself, right in front of me. Not only was I hysterical, I was scared. I lost my wife! I was also already on parole for drug charges, plus there was a gun involved, I had been drinking and smoking pot, and I was high on Rohypnol. To make matters worse, I had some pot in the house as well. Regardless of the reasons I would violate my parole, my wife laid dead in front of me. Terrified, I called my mother. What does a scared kid do when they’re afraid? They call mom. Not only did I call my mom first, but I also called my wife’s mother, too. I couldn’t make sense of anything happening right then. Diana was hurt, and I was alone. I was terrified of getting into trouble again, and I didn’t trust the Garland Police Department (Garland, TX, Dallas County).
POLICE ARRIVAL AND DENIAL OF MY RIGHT TO AN ATTORNEY
It was Diana’s family that called the Police on my behalf. When Garland Police Officers arrived, they kept asking me questions about what happened. My mind was racing, my anxiety was through the roof and because of my state of mind, I just couldn’t think.
The Police read me my rights at the scene, because I had conflicting statements in all of my panic. Although I’m not sure exactly what it was that I said to them, I know I kept asking for an attorney. I was denied the opportunity to speak to my attorney! My stepdad, Robert Lee Caldwell Jr, had my aunt, Helen Bright, who is an attorney, on the phone. My stepdad told the Police at the scene, that my attorney was on the phone and wanted to speak with me. The Police threatened to arrest my stepdad and kept denying me the right to speak to my attorney.
Once at the Police station, they swabbed my hands for gun powder residue, which later came up as negative (in contrast, my wife’s showed positive).
Detective Thompson continued to interrogate me further, even though he didn’t tell me I was being taped. I asked multiple times and he denied it repeatedly. He also admitted that they knew of my wife’s suicide problems and they knew she shot herself.
I was in total shock and despair after this traumatic event; I couldn’t think. The Police kept questioning me (even after I kept asking for an attorney) at the station. Detective Thompson kept trying to coerce me into saying things. I had nothing to hide. I didn’t shoot my wife, but I was still scared of getting into trouble for felonious possession of a firearm. I was also exceedingly intoxicated, and on parole. I tried keeping myself away from the whole thing when I was questioned. I told a few stories out of shock, but I’m innocent of killing my wife. I figured the evidence would prove this, regardless of what I said.
TRIAL AND FURTHER INVESTIGATIONS
What I didn’t know until years later, was that Garland Police Department called a Texas Ranger – Ranger Sheen – to the scene to do a blood spatter analysis. Ranger Sheen started his investigation and was told to stop just after getting started. Ranger Sheen was tasked with trying to interpret where the gun was by using strands to plot the path of the blood. After only 4 strands were placed, he was halted. The average number of strands in blood spatter analysis is 200. If he was allowed to do his job, it would have shown I was innocent of firing the weapon immediately. However, the Garland Police Department interfered with my due process rights in this investigation!
Also, I knew something was wrong with the photos of the scene. The shotgun was lying across my wife’s chest. I remember it on the floor, on her left side. But now it’s across her chest. Emma Profit, the Medical Examiner’s Field Agent, said the scene did not look like a suicide because of the placement of the shotgun.
The First Responders moved the shotgun and didn’t tell the medical examiner! I have evidence of this. I have 2 Police Reports that were withheld from my Attorneys by the Prosecutors. While testifying, Officer C.M. Reed was led by Terri McVea, the Lead Prosecutor, into saying the gun was across my wife’s chest. He changed his testimony on the stand, and we didn’t have the Police Reports, to refute this. Emma Profit used this in her Report to the Medical Examiner Sheila Spotswood, saying the gun looked as if it was placed there, across her chest.
I did not move the gun, I couldn’t have. I was already out of the house with the First Responders.
Medical Examiner, Dr Sheila Spotswood says she was heavily influenced by Detective Thompson, to rule the death of my wife as a homicide, despite all the evidence of suicide. Detective Thompson continually interfered by calling the Medical Examiner’s office, telling her that I had all these different stories. Dr Sheila Spotswood relied on “words” and not evidence in her death ruling.
Neither Emma Profit nor Dr Sheila Spotswood knew that the First Responders moved the shotgun and placed it across my wife’s chest. They never knew that from a Police Report, withheld from my defense team, states that when the detective picked up the shotgun, blood poured out of the end of it. This proves the barrels were in my wife’s mouth when she pulled the trigger.
Dr. Sheila Spotswood never knew any of this. Nor did she know that two Forensic Serologists, Dr. John V Planz and Dr Elizabeth L Hendal, never detected any high velocity blood spatter on my clothing. This was also withheld from my defense team.
Dr. Sheila Spotswood didn’t know my wife had high levels of antimony on her hands because she fired the weapon. My hands did not. There is much more Dr. Sheila Spotswood never got to see nor probably. She just relied on “words” and let the Garland Police Department hinder her death investigation. I never had a chance. Maybe she would change her mind if she looked at the evidence.
Dr. John V Planz and Dr. Elizabeth L. Hendal examined the clothing I wore that night, specifically a pair of green denim jeans. Neither expert detected any high velocity blood spatter on the pants, only a smear which was DNA tested. However, their examination and pictorial was withheld from my defense team. We never knew about them, nor did they testify. The two doctors never detected any high velocity blood spatter on my pants because I was lying flat on my stomach when the shotgun discharged.
However, two years later, two days before trial, the Prosecution flew in an out of state blood spatter expert named Tom Bevel. According to Tom Bevel’s testimony, he went to SWIFS, 2 days before trial, met with SWIFS serologist Kathy Long, checked out the pants and blood autopsy samples and all of a sudden found 14 additional high velocity blood spatter stains on the front left pants leg. However, there are not any laboratory notes on forensic DNA testing done to their findings.
1. How did the high velocity blood spatter get on the front of my pants almost 2 years later, 2 days before trial?
2. Why wasn’t it documented?
3. Why wasn’t this blood spatter tested? The blood smear found 2 years earlier was tested.
4. Why would Tom Bevel need the blood autopsy samples if he was only looking at my pants?
5. Why withhold Dr. Planz and Dr. Hendals findings? Why didn’t they testify? They were the two experts who examined the clothing first.
Christopher A. Radke #806352
2661 FM 2054
Tennessee Colony, TEXAS 75884
THE PANTS NEED TO BE EXAMINED AND TESTED, WHY?
· The state of Texas used Tom Bevel and his so-called “findings” to place me in a standing position,
with my left leg forward, in control of the weapon, aiming the shotgun down, to prove the identity of the shooter at trial. Terri McVea, the prosecutor, and her assistant Christine Schwann, had to prove the elements in the indictment.
· According to Forensic Pathologist Dr. Harry J. Bonnell, there wouldn’t be any high velocity blood spatter anyway because the wound was an intra-oral wound and the expanding gasses pushed the shot outward. The police report saying blood poured out of the barrels when the detective picked up the shotgun was withheld because it proves the barrels were in my wife’s mouth when she pulled the trigger (thus, the intra-oral wound) and would raise questions on how the barrel would fill up with blood if the gun was aimed downward and away from the body as Tom Bevel testified to.
· Photos of my clothing taken that night were withheld from my defense team as well. They are not on record. Also I have proof that Terri McVea, Dallas County prosecutor, withheld Dr. Planz and Dr. Hendal’s examinations. See for yourselves where my attorney and the court discovers them in possession of SWIFS DNA analyst Carolynn Van Winkle during her testimony, where she admits she didn’t do any testing in my case but her signature is on all the lab sheets.
· Dr. Harry J. Bonnell agrees that DNA testing needs to be done on the pants to determine where this high velocity blood spatter came from 2 years later. Through forensic DNA testing, new testing techniques done by qualified experts and all the evidence proves that I am innocent and I was wrongfully convicted in the death of my wife.
1. I need Counsel in my representation to be exonerated.
2. I need a full, independent autopsy done. This, I hope, with all the other evidence would sway Dr. Shiela Spotswood in changing her ruling of death.
3. I need Dr. Planz and Dr. Hendal interviewed so they can back up their examinations and anything else they remember about the case.
4. I need a blood spatter expert to examine the clothing (the pants, specifically) to validate Dr. Bonnell’s affidavit and Dr. Planz and Dr. Hendal’s examination by looking at the photos taken of my clothing and the scene before Tom Bevel looked at the pants.
5. I would like to know why the first prosecutor Martha Hollowell dropped the case after hiring suicide doctor Charles Von Keper to evaluate the case. Dr. Von Keper testified on my behalf.
** PLEASE NOTE THAT MORE INFORMATION AND EVIDENCE RELATING TO CHRIS RADKE'S INNOCENCE CAN BE FOUND ON HIS OWN WEBSITE **