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  • John 7:07 pm on December 14, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: todville mansion murders houston texas seabrook runaway bill list   

    My Todville Mansion Story

    We snuck in through an open area, where the brick wall was not yet completed in the atrium. The murder of Bill List had not yet happened and the place was under construction.

    My friend Gary and I were in 5th grade. The year was 1980. I know the year because we lived in Pasadena at the time, and I recall that my dad would be picking me up later that day to go home and I did not want to go. I wanted to stay another day with Gary and his grandparents.

    The house and grounds were still under construction. We only entered the north side of the house, closest to the road but adjacent to his grandparents back yard. Their cul-de-sac neighborhood was called Gay Vista at the time. The tiny turnaround street is now called Bay Vista. Because of what happened years later at the mansion, they must have changed the name for obvious reasons.

    It was mid-morning on a Sunday, and we knew the watchman slept in a tiny camper near the back section of the house. We had seen him around the day before. We basically just wanted to see what it looked like inside the mansion. We didn’t get very far. As we mired at the huge basement bar, filled with gaudy cocktail lounge furniture and fixtures, not yet set up nor decorated, we heard a door slam and someone coming to the entrance. We had made a bit of noise when we knocked a box of nails from a counter. We ducked behind some tables and booths, and tried to hide or wait out our fate.

    “Come out you MFs! I have a gun and I am going to call the Po-Leece!”. The room was dark, but from our hiding spot, in the doorway about 40′ away, we could see a long haired redneck guy holding a length of chain in one hand and a tire iron in the other. He screamed this time, cursing us to come out. I guess he thought we were probably adults or teenagers at least, who were there to steal.

    I begged my friend not to go out, but in an instant, Gary shouted, “We’re comin!”. As we climbed over kitschy cocktail lounge furniture and fixtures, the man must have had a sigh of relief. We were just kids, he saw.

    He yelled at us some more, and made us leave. “Next time I am calling the cops, and they will tell your parents”, he said. We walked off unhurt, our curiosity somewhat fulfilled, yet we were a bit shaken. We were 11 years old.

     
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  • John 5:52 pm on December 14, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: todville mansion murders houston texas seabrook runaway bill list   

    The List Mansion Murder – Bill List 

    Credit to Taggerez at findadeath…

    The List Mansion Murder – Bill List

    Dining Room in the mansion

    Dining Room in the mansion

    Back in 1984, Bill List was 57-year-old successful businessman. He was known as a braggart with a quick temper and a very hard man to get along with. He was a disagreeable complainer. In his native Ohio Bill List also had a record as a sex offender. In 1959 he was sent to prison for molesting teen-age boys. Some of the boys said it happened after he promised them jobs and expected sex in return. A ninth-grade dropout, he told a prison psychologist he knew he was a homosexual when he was 8. Bill’s idea of sexual gratification involved more than intercourse. It was a blend of sadomasochism and filth; of pain and degradation. A witness to one of the sex sessions said he threw up afterward. After he was paroled in 1962 he moved to Texas.

    Bill owned a trailer manufacturing business and prospered during the oil boom in the 1970s making trailers to haul drilling pipe. To celebrate that success, List built a 34,000-square-foot mansion at 3300 Todville Road in Seabrook, southeast of Houston. Backed to the edge of Galveston Bay, the brick and iron building rose three stories out of an otherwise middle-class neighborhood of unremarkable stilted bay front homes.

    When List poured the slab for the building the neighbors worried that an apartment complex was going to be built. He dug a reflecting pond the length of the driveway and used the dirt to build up the bay front lot. The house was divided into two wings with an atrium in the center and a catwalk between the wings at the second level. He covered the enormous verandas with iron bars. The ballroom in the front had terrazzo tile from Mexico on the floors. In the foyer, a fountain spouted water under the apex of two staircases that united at the ceiling. A 20-foot, U-shaped bar was at one side of the huge room, and a fireplace with a semicircular white brick bench around it was at the other end. On the first level beneath the entrance, a 40-by-70-foot game room had a pool table and 20-foot octagonal bar. There was a 40-foot swimming pool in the three-story atrium and hundreds of plants growing from brick planter boxes. A Jacuzzi at one end of the atrium, on a second-level balcony, overflowed water into a fountain below it. There was a 30-foot table in the dining room. The master bedroom suite upstairs, Bill’s apartment, had its own kitchen.

    Yet, despite all the money spent to build it, the mansion was hideous. One visitor described the furnishings as “contemporary Holiday Inn.” The prices of some of the wall paintings were written in Magic Marker on the back. The carpets were not the expensive type you’d expect in such a place. The three-foot electric circuit box was located in the living room. The central air-conditioning units were on the verandas. A steam table, complete with sneeze guard,” was in the dining room The iron bars on the facade made it look like a prison, which it was.

    To satisfy his sexual desires, Bill cruised Houston’s lower Westheimer strip in the Montrose district almost every weekend and picked up street hustlers. He preferred them in their teens. List would pick up a few boys, keep them drugged and locked in the mansion, providing everything for them but freedom while they provided him with sex. Some would stay and others would eventually be let go. Rumors still circulate that Bill List killed several of these boys in house. By September of 1984, List had several young men living in the grotesque mansion with him. One of them was 19-year-old Elbert Ervin Homan whose street name was “Smiley.” Cocky and confident, Smiley was a doper and a veteran street hustler who had once knifed another kid to steal his jeep. Jeff Statton, a 16-year-old homosexual who’d spent time in prison for auto theft and in a mental hospital was also living in the List mansion as was a kid named Joey, a hustler Bill picked up on one of his weekend trips to Montrose. Also there was Tim, a 19-year-old hustler from Belleville, Ill, whose street name was “Peppermint.”

    Sick of Bill and his freaky sex scenes, the foursome made up their minds to break out of the stark brick house. After shooting up heroin one morning while Bill was at work, they began hurling plates through the windows and tossing potted plants into the pool. Joey began writing obscenities about List in red ink on a wall. Smiley took the pen and wrote what amounted to his confession: “Bill List’s a very sick man. He is going to die. Smiley 1984.” The next three or four hours were constant activity. Food was pulled from the refrigerators and thrown on the walls. Cushions were ripped open. The chandeliers and light fixtures were broken, and a house plant the size of a tree was rammed through a wall in the dining room. Furniture was smashed. Hundreds of planters were broken. The lawn furniture was tossed into the pool. Lamps were broken. A glass top from a table was dropped out of third floor bedroom window to shatter on the atrium floor. The pool was brown with dirt from broken planters. Laundry detergent was dumped in the Jacuzzi and the suds began dripping into the fountain below.

    They were literally looking for new things to break when Bill List’s Pontiac pulled into the drive. They got Bill’s shotgun from his bedroom closet and a box of shells. The only thing left was to decide who was going to use it. Smiley took it and went downstairs, and aimed the gun at the level he thought Bill’s head would be when he walked in. When the door to the garage opened and Bill walked in, someone, either Tim or Joey, shouted, Hi, Bill!” Bill’s foot was on the second step of the staircase. It was in that split second between drawing breath and responding that Smiley pulled the trigger. List grabbed at his head and dropped. Jeff went to the catwalk and looked down at Smiley standing over List’s body. The blood from Bill’s head was oozing toward the garage door and Smiley was urinating on the body.

    It took them less than five minutes to pack what they were taking and start driving. Nobody was talking in the car and Jeff stuck a Tina Turner tape in the cassette player. There was fear among them but no real regret, at least for Jeff and Smiley. Tim wanted out. They bought him a plane ticket with a credit card from Bill’s wallet and sent him back to Illinois. They went to the home of two of Jeff’s friends and told them about the killing. That night, Jeff said, they went to Bill’s business (Jeff had a key) and took Bill’s company checkbook. They ate at a Denny’s restaurant and all stayed together in the same Holiday Inn motel room. They went shopping until one of the stolen cards was confiscated by a clerk. Smiley got a new suit. Joey got some leather pants. With what was in Bill’s wallet and what they got from forging checks on his account, they had a few hundred. They lost $200 in a heroin deal ripoff. When they tried to cash that one last check at an icehouse they were caught by an off-duty deputy who worked there part-time. The deputy called List’s business to verify the check Smiley was trying to cash and was told List had been murdered and the check was no good.

    For years after the death of Bill List, the mansion was up for sale and yet no one would buy it. Caretakers were brought in to maintain the property and eventually a bunch of people who had a rock and roll band rented it for a while. Nobody stayed long. Ultimately, a land developer bought the List Mansion and tore it down. In its place he built stucco condos with clay tile roofs. There is nothing left of the list mansion except the sorted stories of what went on there by old time residents. The people who live in the condos – few of whom know the property’s past — have reported sighting a strange creature roaming the grounds, as well as noises, feelings of being watched, and shadowy figures moving around the area.

     
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