Capital Murders Near Garrison

The death of a family patriarch who was both admired and feared occurred Tuesday morning in a remote clear cut near Garrison. His name is Maxie Wayne Hart. Those who knew him called him "Sonny".

The word around Nacogdoches County about Maxie Wayne Hart is he can be nice, but cross him and you're in trouble. So it doesn't come as a surprise to those who knew him that his life ended with a bullet.

Sheriff Thomas Kerss spoke from the County Road 169 crime scene. "We have two victims that died of apparent gunshot wounds, and then we have another individual who has several injuries from blunt [force] type trauma."

John Deason is charged with the capital murders of Hart and his son, Clint. Another son, Tony Hart, is a witness. It's believed the three Harts confronted Deason for trespassing, something they had warned him about. A fight broke out, including the ramming of Deason's van by the Hart's truck. Kerss suspects one of the Hart's had a handgun that Deason obtained. Clint died at the hospital. Maxie Wayne "Sonny" Hart died on his own property, just a fraction of the thousands of acres he owned in northern Nacogdoches County and Louisiana.

Hart's property has numerous gas and oil wells. People say cattle, timber, and even a block of casino property in Shreveport are among his holdings. He inherited the property, but never really fit the image of a large landholder. There are horror stories floating around about how Hart would seek revenge against enemies, but he was also known to pay $900 at a cake auction. His reputation follows his sons. Kerss said, "We've had dealings with them from time to time in the past. We're familiar with most of the individuals in the family."

Following the homicides, the Hart's notoriety--true or not--will be the talk of the town.