The purpose of this blog is to highlight the stories of individuals who are not able to participate in telephone interviews, due to strict rules set by the DOC. Designed Conviction is committed to sharing and promoting stories about individuals who are making positive contributions to their prison communities as well as communities outside of the prison walls, through art, education, outreach and donations.
Davey Crocket has been incarcerated in Texas since 1988 for murder with a deadly weapon, he was 18 years old at the time of the crime and given 4 life sentences. Davey plea bargained in 1990 in Texas and Arkansas agreed for him to do all his time in Texas, now that he has been paroled in Texas, Arkansas is refusing to let him out claiming they don’t have parole in Arkansas on life sentences. That wasn’t the plea bargain that they all agreed on in 1990, Davey is now 51 years old.
Since his incarceration Davey has found himself through art, and continues to strive for understanding through his work. In his own words “I have come to learn that writing and expressing your thoughts is an art all on its own. And I have some deep thoughts and emotions that I long to express.”
- Would you say that art has changed your life? How?
I do believe art has changed my life. When I was growing up in a single parent home, with a mother who always had to work. I was left to myself. Not knowing which direction to go, I just ran around willy nilly, acting and doing the same things as the kids I would find myself around.
But when I came to prison, I realized that I needed an identity. At first it was just to be a badass. Fight, don’t back down, be the most violent prisoner on the farm. I was soon introduced to the world of tattooing. So I was influenced to brush up on my drawing skills. I started tattooing on my own legs, but picked it up fast. Soon many were waiting in line to have me work on them.
It became my new identity. Many started calling me by the nickname tattoo. I was soon one of the top tattooists in the Unit and as it goes I would be shipped to another Unit.Soon I was known all over the prison system. I often run into guys who I worked on 20 years ago and recognize the work and flash back in time. Times have changed and styles of work have changed. And some of these new guys coming in and tattooing are very good. I laid it all down or hung up my guns as they say 10+ years ago.
But that art form gave me direction and gave me something to focus on. There is a lot of work that goes into planning a tattoo, the making of the tattoo gun that will perform to your liking. It was a way of life for 20 years for me.
- What is your favorite form of artistic expression?
As I have aged my interests have changed. I am not a songwriter, but music touches me. I hear a song and think “how do they do that?” The words sometimes just talk to me. My all time favorite singer is Merle Haggard. And the words to some of his songs really speak to me. “Going Where the Lonely Go” “Always on a Mountain When I Fall” “Momma Tried” etc. They seem to tell my story.
- How has art helped you deal with your sentence?
I was able to get involved with the craft shop and started working with leather. It was a little more demanding than tattooing. There was a lot more responsibility involved. Because you had people in the world sending you their hard earned money for an item they asked you to make for them. I had to learn some business ways, I had to brush up on my social skills. I had to learn to manage money to be able to reorder supplies. I felt like somebody. I was proud of my accomplishments, I had to clean up a lot of my bad behavior because it would get me kicked out of the shop. A lot of my friends and family had sent me money to help support me in the shop. And I, for the first time, had a sense of obligation. This form of art (leather) helped mature me. However, Covid-19 has caused the unit to close down the craft shop.
- Do you find that art helps you process remorse, guilt and regret? Can you share some of your writing with us?
You mentioned that I had said, writing is a form of art, and it’s true. And writing has helped me with those things, remorse, guilt and regret. I hope to be able to obtain some copies of things I wrote while going through some very troubled and trying times. One was written at the time my older brother was going through the execution process here in Texas. That’s another story. The others were written after the family of one of the victims in my crimes came to see me after 21 years in prison and told me they forgave me. Very emotional situation. I tell that story in one of the articles I wish to share.
- What would you like the general public to know about you?
That question alone causes me to become emotional. Because I am not articulate enough to put the words together that would properly describe how I feel. So I am left with just a few words that tell how I feel. I am Sorry! I really have a good heart. I have the ability to show empathy towards others. I’m not in prison because I’m just some cold blooded murderer as you may see a character play in a movie. I was 18 and made some very bad choices that affected so many people’s lives. I know this, and I regret it. And I truly mean it when I say “ I am sorry.”
- If you could go back in time and talk to your 18 year old self, what would you say?
Slow Down! Wait, something will come along that will give you direction. Don’t get in the way of opportunities waiting for you. And if you don’t do anything else, don’t go into that house the morning of March 7th 1988, things will go wrong.
I know I have some legal issues in my situation that if I had the right help I could get them corrected. I would love to get out and be with my Mom and my family. 30 years is a long time. I hadn’t even graduated High School when I came to prison. When I dream I am 18.
This crime happened in 1988 March 7th, I was locked up for an unrelated crime (auto theft) at the end of March. My crimes were shown on “Unsolved Mysteries” in the early 90’s and it is played even now. So anyone who wants a closer look can watch that, but they do have some of the facts wrong. I am willing to answer any questions anyone may have.
I want to thank Designed Conviction for this opportunity to share my story with those who are interested. I think it is great that someone has had the opportunity and ability to put together these magazines “Inside” and “Outside” to get stories out to the public. And it also influences us in prison to take opportunities to express ourselves in art, whatever it may be.
RT 2 Box 4400
Gatesville, TX 76597
We at Designed Conviction thank Davey for participating in this written interview.
In Trouble Again
By Davey Crockett 2020
I was looking at these stairs in front of my cell today, in 1990-91 when I was in this unit I would never use the steps. I would sit on the rail and slide down, from row to row like it was nothing. I was 21 years old. I am 51 now and I would not attempt that for anything. I would fall and break my neck.
I can remember getting into a fight and going to PHD then being given 15 days solitary. I can remember every time I was given solitary it was like taking a nap and waking up, it was all over. Now, the thought of getting locked up just causes me so much anxiety that I feel sick.
I don’t do drugs or drink, I keep my opinions to myself to avoid conflict. That was not always me, but at some point I changed. At one time close custody and job side were no different to me, it was all the same. I was in prison, no matter where I laid my head.
However, at some point I started to care about where I was and what I was doing. It was as if my life had a dimmer switch. Slowly the light was getting brighter and brighter.
A lot of people give up on us once we come to prison, and a lot of us lose any and all confidence in ourselves. But I grew up in here, and I matured just like anyone in the world would have. I learned that my actions affect others and not just myself.
That’s why I went 14 years without a case (I’m referring to maj. cases), I was so proud of that. And never intended to ever get into any trouble again. This mess I have found myself in was not intentional. I just woke up one day and realized my situation.
I guess the lights dimmed on me for a moment.