Notes from a Texas Prison: Billy’s Story

by Billy Thomas

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is adapted from multiple pieces of correspondence by Billy Thomas, an inmate at the John Wynne Unit of Texas State Prison in Huntsville to A.B.O. Comix in Oakland, California throughout 2022 and 2023. It has been edited for brevity and clarity.

I am a 51-year-old person, a two-spirited transgender. I am a survivor of mental and sexual abuse from my time in the care of Texas Child Protective Services, state schools, homes and hospitals, and I was forced to overcome the long term side effects of mind-altering drugs.

I began sharing my story and pain of the abduction by CPS and the mental state that came from mental health meds and the sexual abuse through my art and bio at A.B.O. Comix, with the friendship/mentorship of Casper Cendre.

I strive to heal and overcome this capital life sentence that I have now served 19 years of because of the mind-altering mental health meds and sexual abuse that crippled me at trial and during the crime, I now have an outsider interceding on my behalf to Texas Governor Greg Abbott for a new trial or pardon.

The mental illness was brought to the attention of the Johnson County judge in 1992 by a Vernon State Hospital doctor who informed the court after mental health evaluation that if I am not sent back for treatment that I can and will kill myself and/or others, and that my mental health will worsen.

The judge sent me to prison from 1994 to 1998, where gang members beat and raped me, and attempted to kill me by throwing off the third-row tier.

In 1998, I met my kids’ mother only to find out she is my sister by my mother [and] yet another father. CPS took my kids in 2000 in Waco, Texas, which helped worsen my mental state and my flashbacks of the rape, then the fear of this same harm happening to my kid. 

This led me to killing a man, which got me and my brother life for the crime I did while mentally ill and full of mind-altering meds. I blacked out in 2002 and killed [him]. No mental health evaluation was offered at trial, and all mental health history was offered to the jury.

The Fort Worth District Attorney and court-appointed worked out a deal with others facing life to lie on me in exchange for their freedom. Other charges were pending in my indictment to make my charge capital murder.

I am IQ 70, on Thorazine, which altered my mind on trial and kept me from a fair trial and mental health evaluation.

For the past 19 years, I’ve been played/extorted out of my money by fake jailhouse attorneys. Refusing the mental health meds, I underwent healing through mentorship of my friend and family Casper Cendre, who helped me grow in art skills and heal. I share my story with others in hope of helping others and myself find help from outsiders with the heart, money and/or legal schooling to help me get my case back into court or pardon, with the understanding that I’ll be sent to Vernon State Hospital.

I pray you will petition the Governor and Senator John Whitmire for their grace in the Integrity Division [illegible] my mental state that I still strive to fully overcome as I, a transgender person, survive COVID and further abuse by gangs and corporate guards here in Texas prison as medical attention is kept from me.

Now at the age of 51, I look back over some years of my past at the many mind games I have witnessed.

Now I am healing and dealing with being a two-spirited person, both male and female, and the strength it takes to avoid the queer-bashing guards and gangbangers.

I have overcome mind-altering meds and the mental illness they caused me on top of the rape that I suffered in CPS care and state prison.

I am still overcoming the death of my mother and loss of my kids to CPS and now COVID-19 and the unsafe housing for transgender, LGBTQ, and mentally ill people.

Waking up in Texas State Prison at age 51, I am still healing and overcoming with the help of friends, family and mentor at A.B.O. Comix, Casper Cendre, at home seeking help in sharing art and the bio of my life, and the life I am now coming to walk proudly without hiding in fear of queer bashers.


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