365 Days of Texas True Crime: Bobby West
In August of 1982 Bobby West was in Houston, living a life of sex, drugs, drag and rock ‘n’ roll….and loving it. Bobby West moved in with Gonzalo Tagle, a “drag queen” using the name “Roxanne” in April 1982. Roxanne had a regular job but the both of them also made money hustling tricks in the Montrose area of town.
One night while the two were out making money however they could, Roxanne hooked a “trick” named William Longfellow, whom West knew to be a security guard. West decided to ask his companion if she wanted to “roll him” (rob the guy), and Roxanne said yes. West would do the “rolling”.
They decided they would ask Longfellow for a ride home and at some point between there and home they would carry out their plan. Longfellow agreed to giving the two a lift and they all jumped into the front seat of Longfellow’s red Mercury Zephyr and headed toward the apartments on Sage Street where West and Roxanne lived.
About two blocks away from the apartment, Roxanne asked if they could stop so she could get out and pee, when she did Longfellow followed her and West behind him. On the way back to the car with West on Longfellow’s heels before they made it back to the vehicle, West pulls out his knife, grabs Longfellow by the hair, lifting him off the ground and starts stabbing him in the jugular vein. He stabs him six or seven times as he demands to know where the mans money is. Long fellow tells West his money is in his trunk and with that West slams his head against a tree and leaves him for dead.
What Robert West says in his confession and what William Longfellow testify to regarding the attack seem to differ some. Longfellow testifies that West slammed his head against a tree stump several times after stabbing him and then wraps a roll of white cloth or gauze around his head and mouth several times and then held his head under water in a ditch. He says that West then takes his car keys, driver’s license and other identification papers.
Roxanne apparently bolted toward the apartments as soon as the stabbing started. Thinking Longfellow was dead West hops in his new ride, parks the car behind the Windsor Plaza Shopping Center, finds money in a brown paper sack and heads on in.
Meanwhile William Longfellow was able to get to help. He’s taken to the hospital and undergoes five and a half hours of surgery. His stay in the hospital lasts eight days.
In Bobby West’s confession he says he thought he had killed Longfellow. He says he started checking the newspaper to see anything about the incident but never saw anything about a body being found so he just forgot about it. A few weeks later his partner in crime gets arrested for prostitution but when she tries to call home she can’t get ahold of her roommate, who says he was just never home when she called. When the two finally do get to talk Roxanne says that she had told the police that West’s brother, Brett was her lover.
This all according to the confession of Bobby West at the time and the testimony of William Longfellow.
So basically Bobby West is with Roxanne, his roommate, a drag queen who he often goes out to turn tricks with, who was once in a relationship with his brother Brett, when they decide to rob William Longfellow, a man that West later says was Brett’s drug dealer.
Yeah, it’s a lot I know. In a death row interview West says that he never intended to kill Longfellow. He was merely trying to send the man a message. Apparently, and according to West, Longfellow was a drug deal who was trying to act like he ran all the drugs and prostitutes in the area and he just wanted to send him the message that he wasn’t. In the interview he gives on death row he says that after Longfellow got out of the hospital he put out a contract on Brett’s lover, whom was apparently at one time Roxanne, unbeknownst to West. His brother is killed in Houston in May of 1982 and Bobby believes his murder is his fault.
Roxanne and Bobby check into The Memorial Park Hotel on Waugh Drive in Houston in August. The two of them checked into room 447, the room right above a woman name DeAnn Klaus.
West says that he and Roxanne drive to Houston to find out where the drug dealer that killed his brother was. They checked into the hotel where he was staying and started watching and waiting. As West tells it, he was in the parking lot, high on PCP and full of MadDog Wine, when he see’s Longfellow and the prostitute he was staying with go into room 312. DeAnn Klaus works as a waitress at the hotel and she lives there as well. After the two go into the room West says he bolts across the parking lot where he was watching and waiting, dives through the door and into the bed expecting to grab two people but Longfellow had somehow made it out before West had a chance to subdue him.
At this point he’s in the room with DeAnn Klaus alone. As to what happened in the room after that in the death row interview West tries to detach himself from what can only be called a nightmarish scene.
It was just a little after midnight when on August 24th, 1982 when Vickie Stolz and a couple other residents of the motel are sitting in the motels breezeway when they hear commotion coming from room 312. Not long after the commotion is heard, the group see Bobby West leave room 312 and head up some stairs. According to the group his jeans are soaked in blood. Curiosity drives them to go and check out what might have been going on in the room. They see a messy room and DeAnn Klaus’s body, nude, bound, lying face down on the bed.
The police are called and after examining the room and interviewing the witnesses who direct them to the room of the man who came out of what is now a crime scene, Bobby West is arrested.
The pathologist testified to the state of DeAnn Klaus’s body. He tells the jury that DeAnn was bound so tight that it left visible grooves on her ankles and wrists. Her mouth and nose were gagged with a towel tied by a cloth binding that also left heavy pressure grooves in her skin. Her head was covered by a bloody sheet tied by a leather belt wrapped twice around her neck. There was a stab wound in her neck and two in her left arm. There was a six-inch piece of wood sticking two inches out of her back that went four inches into her chest cavity. He says that she died from a combination of asphyxiation by the belt and cloth ligatures around he neck and mouth as well as evidence of manual strangulation, in combination with the wound from the stick penetrating four inches in to her chest cavity.
In the death row interview West says that after he jumps into Klaus’s room his intentions were to get information from her as to what happened to his brother. He says he was high on PCP and loaded with MadDog wine and she just gave him a wrong answer to one of his questions and “just went off”. In a confession that he gave shortly after being arrested he says that he forced his way into her room, took Klaus’s clothes off, gagged her and put a belt around neck. He says he beat her face with a “club” he found in the room until it broke and then he stabbed her with the broken club. He says he hit her with a bottle that breaks and he stabs her with the broken end of the bottle. She was still making noises and he knew he couldn’t leave her like that so decides to grab the sheet and wrap it around her neck and hold it tight until she stopped moving.
Robert Wallace West, Jr waits on death row for 15 years before he is finally executed. In that time he marries a women from England, gets involved in various charities and answers any and all letters he receives while he’s there.
There’s a short interview on SoundCloud that a man named Ken Lorenzo Hamblin Sr. did with Bobby West before he’s executed. If you’re interested you’ll have to listen close, he talks fast and gets off track enough to leave you know really knowing what he even said…..or it could just by my add. Goodluck.