Murder of Diane Maxwell

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The 1969 murder of Diane Maxwell involved the death of Diane Maxwell, a 25-year-old phone operator for Southwestern Bell, who was found raped and killed in a shack in December 1969 in Houston, Texas.


On December 14, 1969, 25-year-old Diane Maxwell (b. 1944) was walking to her job as a phone operator for Southwestern Bell, but never made it to the building. Later that day, a man by the name of William Bell noticed a man walking away from a shack. When Bell came to look in the shack, he found the raped, dead body of Maxwell, and immediately notified police.

However, the case remained unsolved due to the lack of computer technology. In 1986, seventeen years after the incident, they reopened the case, but could not solve it again, and the case remained closed until July 2003, 34 years after the murder was committed. A batch of forensics they had performed in 1969 was found by Houston police, who located James Ray Davis (African-American), a lifetime criminal, last convicted of kidnapping a young girl, who was considered the perpetrator of the Maxwell rape and murder, which was confirmed by DNA evidence, which established that he did rape her. Davis was convicted of first degree murder (the robbery, rape, and kidnapping statute of limitations had expired) shortly afterward, and was sentenced to life without parole.

In 2008, the case was featured in the Forensic Files episode "Brotherly Love."


  • American)sentenced-34-years-after-diane-maxwell-jackson-murder James Ray Davis (African American) life sentence offers closure in 1969 murder,; accessed December 9, 2014.
  • FBI report on the murder Diane Maxwell Houston Cold Case Solved accessed 19 December 2014
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