Railroaded: The Homophobic Prosecution of Brandon Woodruff for His Parents’ Murders

In October 2005 nineteen-year-old Brandon Dale Woodruff was charged with murdering his parents in a rural northeast Texas town in the heart of the Bible belt. Dennis and Norma Woodruff had been sitting together on a sofa before the television set on a Sunday evening in their double wide manufactured home in Royse City, and both were shot and stabbed multiple times in their faces. It was a bloodbath.

There was no direct evidence tying the couple’s son to the gruesome crime to warrant his arrest — no eyewitnesses, no murder weapons, no bloody prints — but investigators were convinced the teen boy was living a double life who killed when his two worlds supposedly collided. Brandon was a horse wrangler and attending Abilene Christian University, and he also was a porn actor and dancing at Dallas gay clubs. There was no double life; just a boy coming out.

At trial in March 2009 the prosecution took a coming out story and turned Brandon into The Talented Mr. Ripley. Prosecutors claimed because the boy still was in the process of coming out that he was a duplicitous character which constituted evidence of guilt. Eight jurors believed “that being homosexual or gay is morally wrong,” and the jury convicted him after deliberating only five hours. Brandon Woodruff was railroaded with a homophobic narrative, and is serving a life sentence without parole.

The prosecution also entailed investigative blunders, dirty tricks and questionable evidence which further deprived Brandon Woodruff of a fair trial, and even may have resulted in his wrongful conviction. Brandon Woodruff’s defense counsel stated about Railroaded that author “Mr. Crawford has done an excellent job of setting forth facts — not speculation or prejudice — that show Brandon Woodruff is innocent.”

Author of “The Mafia and the Gays,” “Railroaded: The Homophobic Prosecution of Brandon Woodruff for His Parents’ Murders,” & “Queer Joints, Wiseguys and G-Men”