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Working the Border book by Doyle Holdridge

Doyle Holdridge pictures

Ranger Captain Tony Leal, Doyle Holdridge, and other rangers
Senior Ranger Captain Tony Leal (center) and other Rangers in front of the old Dimmit County Jail.
The photo taken a short time before Doyle Holdridge (in dark glasses) retired.

The old Dimmit County Jail in Carrizo Springs, Texas is one of the oldest jails in Texas. It was built in 1885 from stone left over from the construction of the 1884 courthouse. It is said that the sheriff always kept a pile of rocks in the field next to the jail and would exercise the prisoners by having them break the large stones into small ones.

A second county jail was built in 1937 of reinforced concrete and is still used today. The jail was the scene of a breakout and shootout in 1970, when four prisoners attacked Deputy Sheriff Coleman Lansford and took his keys. The prisoners entered the sheriff's quarters which were on the first floor and took his wife hostage. The Deputy and his wife managed to escape and the jail was under siege by Texas Rangers and other law enforcement agencies. All the prisoners eventually surrendered and one was badly wounded. A few bullet holes from this battle still can be seen around the doors and windows.

In a separate incident, the Sheriff of Dimmit County, Ben Murray, was stabbed to death by two suspects who went to his home on January 6, 1991 to seek revenge as a result of a previous arrest the sheriff made on one of them. The suspects stabbed him in the chest several times with a butcher's knife and shot him once in the head. Ranger Doyle Holdridge obtained a successful confession to the brutal stabbing of his good friend. The killer, Jose Garcia Briseno, and his accomplice Alberto Gonzalez were convicted. Briseno had been on death row since 1992 and was scheduled to be executed on April 7, 2009, but he was granted a stay of execution on April 3, 2009 so the court could consider his appeal.

Additional information about the Briseno case is available from the Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive

© Copyright  - Antonio Zamora