May 29, 1979 : Woody Harrelson’s father is arrested for murder

Introduction

Judge John Wood, known as “Maximum John,” is assassinated outside his San Antonio, Texas, home as he bent down to look at a flat tire on his car. Actor Woody Harrelson’s father, Charles Harrelson, was charged with the murder after evidence revealed that drug kingpin Jimmy Chagra, whose case was about to come up before “Maximum John,” had paid him $250,000.

Chagra, worried about the sentence that was soon to be imposed by Judge Wood, apparently conspired with his wife and brother to hire Harrelson to carry out the murder. Shattered bullet fragments found at the scene were traced to a .240 Wetherby MarkV rifle—the type recently purchased by Harrelson’s wife, Jo Ann. Harrelson, who had a prior conviction for murder in 1968, was convicted and sentenced to two life sentences in prison. Jo Ann, convicted of conspiracy to obstruct justice and perjufy, was later paroled. Woody Harrelson funded his father’s appeals,enlisting the aid of famed attorney Alan Dershowitz.

Charles Harrelson died on March 15, 2007, at age 69 of a heart attack in his cell at Colorado’s Supermax federal prison.

Article Details:

May 29, 1979 : Woody Harrelson’s father is arrested for murder

  • Author

    History.com Staff

  • Website Name

    History.com

  • Year Published

    2009

  • Title

    May 29, 1979 : Woody Harrelson’s father is arrested for murder

  • URL

    http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/woody-harrelsons-father-is-arrested-for-murder

  • Access Date

    November 22, 2017

  • Publisher

    A+E Networks