Former PR man recalls slain friend
By Dixon Cartwright
GLADEWATER, Texas--The recent death by lethal injection of a death-row prisoner in Texas brought back poignant memories of a "strange" last visit with a friend for a former employee of Ambassador College.
If you are an American or Canadian, you probably read about the execution of Joseph Stanley Faulder, who was put to death by the State of Texas June 17 for the brutal stabbing death of Inez Phillips.
Mrs. Phillips, a 75-year-old widow, died with a butcher knife in her heart in her Gladewater home July 9, 1975.
Mr. Faulder's tenure of more than two decades on death row at the prison in Huntsville had prompted delegations of Canadians over the years to visit the Texas and U.S. capitals to protest his incarceration. The protesters claimed that, under international law, the Texas court system should have informed the government in Ottawa of Mr. Faulder's arrest.
The protesters also claimed that the affluence of Mrs. Phillips' surviving relatives provided them an unfair advantage by enabling them to privately finance the investigation that led to the capture of her killer.
Texas officials say they did not know Mr. Faulder, who was carrying a driver's license from a U.S. state, was a Canadian.
Scene from a movie
The news of Mr. Faulder's demise brought back memories of Mrs. Phillips for Bob Haworth of Orlando, Fla., who in 1975 was a resident of Gladewater, member of the Worldwide Church of God and public-relations director for Ambassador College, eight miles west of here.
Mr. Haworth believes he, his young daughter and a friend of his daughter were the last people to see Mrs. Phillips alive. He and his wife, the former Sandy Holladay, had known Mrs. Phillips and her late husband, Loyce, for years.
The morning after Mr. Haworth's brief visit with Mrs. Phillips, her body was discovered. She had been bound, gagged, beaten and stabbed with a butcher knife that was still embedded deep in her chest. Her residence, on North Main Street in Gladewater, had been ransacked and burglarized.
Mr. Haworth's last visit with Mrs. Phillips could have been a scene from a movie. He and his 5-year-old daughter, Holly, and Amy Dickerson, 5-year-old daughter of Dick and Karen Dickerson of Big Sandy, stepped up to Mrs. Phillips' back door to hand her some produce from the Haworths' garden.
"We always went to the back of her house," Mr. Haworth told a writer for The Journal. "We knocked, and she came to the door a little disheveled looking. She hardly opened the door, and she was very nervous. I thought she wasn't feeling well. It was strange. We handed her the things and left."
Looking back on that incident, Mr. Haworth believes the murderer and his female accomplice were present with Mrs. Phillips but concealed behind the barely opened door. Mr. Haworth thinks the elderly Gladewater resident was doing her best to shield him and his two young companions from danger.
"I think she was protecting us from the killers, and that's what her son thought at that time," Mr. Haworth said. "She was a wonderful lady, and her husband was a wonderful man. We knew the whole family."
Although several Canadians figured prominently in protests of Mr. Faulder's frequently rescheduled execution, another group, the Canadian Justice Foundation of Calgary, Alta., wrote to Gladewater businessman Jack Phillips, son of the murder victim, to express a different view.
"Many Canadians believe that Faulder should be sentenced to death and are angered by Canadian politicians and soft-on-crime advocates who are trying to help Faulder escape punishment for his crime," wrote foundation director Shawn Howard as quoted in the Gladewater Mirror of June 23. "Canadian citizenship is not a get-out-of-jail-free card."
Mr. Howard criticized his government for failing to extend sympathy to members of the Phillips family and said it had "shown contempt for them by trying to free Faulder and have him returned to Canada where he would be released from prison immediately."
Mr. Howard expressed sympathy and said he hopes the Phillips family "can begin to find the peace that has escaped you for more than 20 years. We recognize that your lives will never be the same."
Mr. Faulder, 61, was one of 178 people Texas has executed since the state resumed capital punishment in 1982.
© The Journal: News of the Churches of God