Billy Staton and Leticia Castro (Letty Castro) were murdered by Sherry Wolf, Paul Wolf, and Glenn Henderson over a custody dispute. Billy Staton (George William Billy Staton Jr. ) and his fiancee and elementary school teacher, Leticia Castro, disappeared in the summer of 1982 and were found dead weeks later in a drainage canal. The victim unwittingly taped his own death. Sherry Wolf, age 21, her husband, Paul Wolf, age 26, and their friend, Glenn Henderson, age 19, are all serving life in prison for the crime.
True Crime In Texas: Man Tape Records Own Murder
Leticia Castro and her fiance, Billy Staton, disappeared in July of 1982. The couple had plans to marry on Saturday, August 7. At the time, Leticia taught fourth grade at Buckner Elementary School in Pharr. Billy Staton worked as a construction foreman. Their burned-out car was found in a cotton grove two weeks after they went missing.
On August 6, 1982, a private detective investigating the disappearance of Billy Staton and Leticia Castro found Leticia’s body in a Rio Grande Valley canal. Sherry Wolf, Billy Staton’s ex-wife, confessed to the crime and directed police where they could find Billy Staton’s body, which was located the same day in another part of the canal drainage ditch. Both bodies were in a deep state of decomposition.
After police pulled Billy Staton’s body from the canal, a tape recorder was located on his stomach. The tape recorded the victim’s murder and the agony that he suffered in the minutes after he was bludgeoned to death with an iron bar and a hammer.
Billy Staton wanted visitation rights to see his daughter, who was between two and three-years-old at the time. An enraged Sherry Wolf and Paul Wolf wanted to get rid of Billy, so he’d leave them alone.
The day of his murder, Billy Staton sensed something could go wrong. Before heading to Sherry Wolf and Paul Wolf’s home to pick up little Melanie Staton, Billy shoved a tape recorder under his shirt and taped it to his stomach to show the judge how belligerent Sherry and Paul Wolf were whenever he tried to see his daughter.
Upon arriving at the residence on Friday, July 16, 1982, just before 7 p.m., Leticia Castro sat in the car as Billy Staton entered the home. Then out of nowhere, Paul Wolf attacked Billy with the bar, striking him repeatedly, Glenn Henderson told the police. He also saw Paul Wolf choking Leticia Castro in the car. Paul Wolf instructed Glenn Henderson to grab the hammer and strike Leticia in the head with it. Henderson followed Wolf’s instructions. Later, they moved the cars and discarded the bodies in the canal.
A court record describes the events this way.
“After dragging the body down into the water, [Paul] Wolf told [Glenn] Henderson to return to the car and to get the shotgun. When Henderson returned with the gun, Wolf told him to shoot Castro, and he did. Wolf and Henderson then drove to another location where Staton’s body was dumped in a canal. They then disposed of Staton’s car in a different canal. [They] then went to Henderson’s house and cleaned blood off the gun and hammer. [Glenn] Henderson () turned() the hammer and shotgun over to police.”
A coroner’s autopsy report stated Billy Staton was struck several times in the head, leaving part of the skull missing. They theorized that Staton’s head was either up against a wall or on the floor as the killer swung the iron bar. Leticia “Letty” Castro sustained a shotgun blast to the head.
At trial, jurors listened to the tape that captured Billy Staton’s blood-curdling cries as he moaned and groaned in pain while deadly blows were inflicted upon him, the New York Times reported. Glenn Henderson was the state’s star witness. He said Sherry Wolf and Paul Wolf strategically planned the murder and detailed how it would be carried out. The plan was to sneak up on Billy by surprise and “whack him.”
Texas farmer Paul Wolf claimed he was insane when he committed the murder. He said they were locked into an ugly custody battle, and they couldn’t take it anymore. The couple was desperate. Sherry Wolf’s daughter, Melanie, didn’t want to go with her dad and his girlfriend.
She often kicked and cried. “I don’t like Billy or Letty,” the child allegedly stated. Sometimes, she’d wake up in the middle of the night screaming,” according to Sherry and Paul Wolf.
Where is Billy’s daughter, Melanie, today?
Back in 2008, Billy Staton’s daughter, Melanie Staton, was writing a fiction novel based on the murder called “23 Minutes to Die.” Here’s an excerpt.
“Parking my red Thunderbird in the church parking lot, I jumped out quickly. I was late for Bible Class. I practically ran up the sidewalk. Then I saw Sherry. She was wearing my dress again. The one I had lent her to wear to someone’s wedding, and she never returned it. Although she was six months pregnant, she really did look pretty in my dress. It hung just right, soft and flowing, on her petite body. I was rushing past Sherry on my way to class and almost didn’t notice her. “Oh, Hey, Sherry,” I called out. She actually jumped. Then she quickly shifted her eyes away from me. “Oh, Hi, Annie.” she said. I thought I heard a nervous quiver in her voice.”
[Main image via he files of Traciy Curry-Reyes]