A man accused of killing two people in a...

BROWNSVILLE, Texas -- A man accused of killing two people in a custody dispute Thursday buried his hands in his face on the witness stand, admitting he beat one victim because, 'I couldn't handle it anymore.'

Billy Staton and his fiancee, Leticia Castro, both 26, were beaten to death July 16, 1982, after going to Paul Wolf's La Feria, Texas, residence to pick up Melanie Staton, Wolf's 3-year-old daughter by Sherry Wolf.


Wolf, 21, is on trial for Miss Castro's death, a Pharr elementary schoolteacher. He is to stand trial later for Staton's death. Mrs. Wolf is to also stand trial for both deaths.

With his face buried in his hands, Paul Wolf, 21, said, 'I began hitting Billy (Staton) in the head. I couldn't handle it anymore.'

Staton inadvertently recorded his killing with a tape recorder he had concealed to gather evidence in the child custody battle with the Wolf.


District Attorney Rey Cantu said the recording, played Wednesday in the courtroom, depicted '23 minutes of death.'

Thursday, Wolf surprised a crowded courtroom when he testified that he had also tape-recorded a visit to his home by Staton.

The tape, played for jurors, included muffled whining sounds defense attorney James Mardis said was Melanie Staton crying because she did not want to go with her father. Mardis said the tape shows Staton 'wasn't sympathetic toward her.'

Mardis said the tape, hidden under a couch in Wolf's home, shows 'there was no love at all.'

Wolf's attorneys, who are using temporary insanity as a defense, contend the child had to see a psychiatrist because of irregular behavior displayed when her father visited.

Wolf testified the child would cry, kick and scream when Staton tried to take her with him during court-regulated child visits.

Wednesday, the state rested its case after playing the tape they say was recorded by Staton the night he was killed.

On the tape, Staton was heard persuading a crying Melanie to come along with him on a boating trip and picnic. She says several times that she does not want to go, then relents.

Suddenly, there are loud thuds, groans from Staton, three more loud blows and the sound of Melanie crying and screaming.


'Get up -- get up. Hurry up,' says a voice identified as that of Wolf.

'Get him up. Get him out of here. Hit him again,' says a voice identified as that of Mrs. Wolf, followed by five more loud blows and the sounds of Staton being dragged and placed in the trunk of his car.

The bodies of the couple were found partially submerged in separate drainage ditches Aug. 6, the day before they were to have been married.

Prosecution witness Glenn Henderson, who already has been sentenced to life in prison for Miss Castro's murder, testified earlier that at some point after Wolf began striking Staton, the two men went out to get Miss Castro. Henderson said Wolf began strangling the woman, then told him to hit her on the head with a claw hammer, which he did several times.

After Staton was hoisted into the trunk, the recorder captured the sounds of the car being driven off, as well as Staton's heavy breathing and a loud gurgling sound a pathologist testified was blood in Staton's lungs.

In exchange for his testimony, charges in Staton's murder against Henderson were dropped.

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