26 YEAR OLD MICHELLE WENDY HAUPT WAS STABBED AND STRANGLED BY A CONVICTED FELON WHO ENTERED HER APARTMENT WITH A STOLEN PASS KEY.
HER MURDER FORCED TEXAS LANDLORDS TO BEEF UP SECURITY TO COMPLY WITH THE NATION’S FIRST KEYLESS DEAD BOLT LAW.
ON OCTOBER 19TH OF 1991, THE ASSISTANT MANAGER OF HAUPT’S APARTMENT COMPLEX WHO HAD FIVE BURGLARY CONVICTIONS BEFORE BEING HIRED GAVE A PASS KEY TO HIS BROTHER, BOBBY LEE HINES.
IN THE EARLY HOURS OF THE FOLLOWING SUNDAY MORNING, HAUPT’S NEIGHBORS HEARD A WOMAN SCREAMING FOR 15-MINUTES AND WHAT SOUNDED LIKE A BOWLING BALL BEING DROPPED ONTO THE FLOOR 20-TIMES.
HINES WHO WAS THEN 19-YEARS OLD USED THE PASS KEY TO SURPRISE HAUPT IN HER APARTMENT. HINES STABBED HAUPT 18-TIMES WITH AN ICE PICK BEFORE STRANGLING HER WITH A SPEAKER CORD.
WHEN POLICE APPREHENDED HINES THEY FOUND HAUPT’S GOLD SAND-DOLLAR NECKLACE AMONG HIS POSSESSIONS.
HINES WAS CONVICTED OF CAPITAL MURDER AND EXECUTED ON OCTOBER 24, 2012.
BEFORE HIS LETHAL INJECTION, HINES’ FINAL WORDS WERE: “I KNOW I TOOK SOMEBODY SPECIAL FROM Y’ALL. I KNOW IT WASN’T RIGHT; IT WAS WRONG. I WISH I COULD GIVE IT BACK, BUT I KNOW I CAN’T. I WISH THERE WAS SOMETHING I COULD DO. I DON’T BELIEVE TAKING MY LIFE WILL SOLVE ANYTHING. I BELIEVE BEING LOCKED UP FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE, HAVING TO THINK ABOUT WHAT I DID, THAT WOULD BE MORE OF A PUNISHMENT. TO DO THIS IS SETTING ME FREE.”
TWO COMPANIES THAT WERE THEN CO OWNED BY DALLAS REAL ESTATE INVESTOR CRAIG HALL WHICH MANAGED THE COMPLEX SETTLED A WRONGFUL DEATH SUIT BY HAUPT’S FAMILY FOR MORE THAN FIVE MILLION DOLLARS.
STOLEN PASS KEYS HELPED CRIMINALS OPEN THE DOOR ON AN ESTIMATED 150 RAPE VICTIMS IN 1993 BEFORE THE A LEGAL CRACKDOWN.
THE CASE PROMPTED TEXAS LAWMAKERS TO PASS THE KEYLESS DEAD BOLT LAW ON DECEMBER 12, 1994.
THE PROVISIONS OF THE TEXAS’ KEYLESS DEAD BOLT LAW ARE
- THE TENANT CAN INSTALL THE LOCK AND DEDUCT IT’S COST FROM THE MONTHLY RENT.
- OR THE TENANT CAN SUE THE LANDLORD INTO COMPLYING.
- OR THE TENANT CAN SUE THE LANDLORD FOR UP TO 500 DOLLARS IN DAMAGES.
AT TIME OF THE LAW’S PASSAGE, DOUG LIEBMAN, HAUPT’S STEPBROTHER, SAID “I BELIEVE THAT IF IT HELPS SOMEONE ELSE OR PROTECTS YOUNG WOMEN LIVING ALONE FROM HERE ON OUT CERTAINLY THERE’S SOMETHING TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT.”
THE LAW REQUIRES ALL RENTAL PROPERTIES TO PUT KEYLESS DEAD BOLTS ON EXTERIOR DOORS THAT ONLY THE TENANT CAN UNLOCK FROM INSIDE.
THE LOCK MUST BE PLACED BETWEEN THREE AND FOUR FEET ABOVE THE FLOOR.
IN ADDITION THE LAW REQUIRES A KEY LOCKING DOOR KNOB OR KEYED DEADBOLT AS WELL AS PEEPHOLES AND EXTRA SECURITY ON SLIDING GLASS DOORS.
THE LAW MAKES EXCEPTIONS FOR ELDERLY RESIDENTS THAT NEED TO BE CHECKED ON BY LANDLORDS.
CRIME VICTIMS GROUPS SAY THE LAW SHOULD ALSO HAVE REQUIRED LANDLORDS TO INSTALL STURDIER KICK PROOF DOORS.
Wendy was my best friend ❤️. I was just reading about the fact that her death was not totally in vain many many people including me, lived safely behind the locks that were not there for her. She knew. Something was so off the night before and the last night she was alive. I am not looking for attention or anything it’s just something I have been thinking about for the last few months.
Robert Riggs says
Jean, thank you so much for telling us about Wendy. Untold lives have probably been saved the law promoted by her murder.
Dale Bellingshausen says
My parents adored Wendy! She would come over to eat with us quite often. She knew she couldn’t cook worth a darn and she also didn’t drive due to health reasons. Since Bobby Lee Hines was arrested soon after he murdered her, I was never contacted by the Police.
She went by her middle name Wendy. She grew her hair out long and lost a lot of weight! She became this beautiful woman ready to take on the world with her pretty smile! She asked me to take some photos of her “New Look” and I did. I painted a cool design on the wall of her dining room and one night, I brought over some old speakers and hooked up her stereo. I left shortly after midnight. I heard her lock the door behind me as I left. I was the last one to see her. What would happen to her hours later, haunts me to this day!