Convicted of killing Herbert Elvin Megason, 56, and his son Gary Lynn Megason, 2 with a knife. The motive was drug money. Madden apparently killed the father and son duo and then hid the bodies underwater, weighing them down with logs to prevent their discovery.
Robert Madden, born Sept. 9, 1963, was a troubled young man, spending years in and out of the trouble with the law. Starting at the age of 15, Madden attended multiple drug treatment centers and spent many years after that in prison and on parole.
At age 22 Madden finished his rehab in his third treatment center. The operator of the center, James Bearden, became Madden’s counselor. According to “He was kind of like a scared animal,” Bearden said. “He was a disturbed person.”
Madden always carried a hunting knife, even though weapons were not allowed at the rehab center. “He always had a knife,” Bearden said. “Just like Davy Crocket.” The fact that Bearden thought he was disturbed and yet still allowed him to violate his own rules and carry a knife seems odd upon reflection.
Madden used the knife to skin animals he caught. “He was quite a loner; however, Madden never committed any crimes at Christian Farms,” Bearden said.
Again Bearden seems blind to what is very strange behavior. Skinning animals is not a common past time. In fact it is famously the pastime of serial killers.
For Bearden to walk around, “disturbed” skinning animals and for it to not be seen as strange is itself strange. In many ways, how Bearden was described after the double murder of Gary Megason and his young sons seems to confirm that Madded was a killer. His behavior before the killing seems like a dangerous warning sign.
Stranger still, no one pickup up on the danger signs.
At the punishment phase of his trial, Madden’s psychologist testified to his mental illness. “Madden suffers from a personality avoidance disorder, which Dr. Whitley characterized as a “clinical mental illness” that impairs Madden’s ability “to think and react in a logical manner.”
Madden’s particular personality disorder impairs his ability to interact with others and form relationships, causing him to run from conflict. Thus, the testimony established that a person with a personality avoidance disorder was generally not violent. The disorder does not, however, prevent Madden from understanding the wrongfulness of his actions.”2
This diagnosis would cast serious doubt on Madden’s ability to commit a double murder. The day of the killing involved intense conflict and violence. Even if Madden enjoyed skinning animals, killing two humans is an entirely different matter.
The day of the murders went like this:
“On Sept. 12, 1985 Madden stole the car from the rehab center where he worked, drove to Marquez, Texas and left the vehicle in a dry creek bed after suffering a flat tire.”
At this point it appears that Madden was in a crisis mode. He was acting out, stealing and running away. His disorder was most likely driving him to isolate himself, seeking drugs to remove his mental illness. It would be common behavior for someone with his affliction to relapse on drugs, act out and seek a return to his addiction.
Madden robbed a home soon after that. This was most likely in order to get something of value to sell or exchange for drugs. It is not clear if he was able to find anything in the home he robbed.
Madden roamed for the next three days. He could have scored drugs, and gone on a binge. This would fit a pattern of drug addiction, where the addict escapes from reality and dives into a drug stupor for multiple days.
“Around Sept. 15, Madden encountered Herbert Elvin Megason, 56, and son Gary Lynn Megason, 21, at their weekend home.”
Madden was probably in the home to steal something and get more drugs. Without any sense of reality, this addict would not have thought it outrageous to continue his crime spree. Indeed he most likely felt it justified, worthy of the risk, to get the drugs he so deeply desired.
“The elder Megason suffered two gunshot-chest wounds. The youngest Megason died from a cut to the throat and had numerous gun and knife wounds. Both bodies were bound, put in a creek, and covered with logs and brush.”3
After a three day drug binge, Madden was in another reality. Having never been violent before, he was not himself. It was not clear when or how he procured a shotgun. He was like the many small animals he had skilled for fun. He was outside of himself, looking down on someone else killing these two poor souls.
Madden then took the elder Megason’s pick-up truck, guns, and credit cards. This was new behavior for him. The killing most likely settled into his awareness, and he realized that there was no going back. Might as well take as much as possible and then run as fast as he could.
Officer Gerry Rosier, then deputy sheriff, said that during Madden’s retreat to New Mexico, he used Megason’s Exxon and Texaco cards many times. Madden signed his own name to the receipts and later told police he did so because he did not want to be charged with forgery.
The amazing stupidity that Madden showed by signing his own name to the receipts of a credit card he stole from his own murder victim tell us much about the mind of this killer. Madden is not a very intelligent or sophisticated person.
His fear of being charged with forgery after committing double murder shows a complete lack of understanding and critical thought.
“This became the most substantial evidence to convict Madden,” David Barron, assistant district attorney at the time, said. After tracking the receipts, Madden was arrested in Angel Fire, New Mexico on Oct. 7, 1985.
Madden showed police where and how the incident occurred on Oct. 14, 1985. However, because the confession was not written, nor recorded, the evidence would not be permissible in court.
His willingness to confess and walk police through the crime scene says that he was resigned to his fate. If not he was so simple that he did not completely understand what was happening. Without any sense of self preservation, Madden was walking himself into the death penalty.
Madden was indicted on Oct. 18, 1985. Court-appointed defense attorney William F. Carter tried to plea bargain. “Basically the grounds were because it would cost the city, county, state, whatever, too much money,” said Pamela Megason-Calhoun, daughter and sister of victims. “It’s a small town.”
Madden was convicted. “We felt pretty confident the whole way. We were more concerned whether or not Madden would be sentenced to death because there had not been a capital murder case since the ‘30s in Leon County,” Megason-Calhoun said.
During the trial, Madden was very passive. “He was attentive. He smiled a lot, which seemed to be inappropriate,” district attorney Latham Boone said. Incidentally, Madden’s uncle preached a sermon on mercy at Boone’s church after the conviction.
Madden was sentenced to death on Feb. 26, 1986. After the trial, Madden spoke to Barron. “Madden said, Thank you David and shook my hand,” Barron said.
“Robert’s mind was pretty messed up from a long history of drugs.”
Robert Madden could not really understand what had happened. He did not act in a way that revealed a dark heart, or even a mind capable of comprehending his crime.
With only one stay of execution, Madden went through seven years of appeals.
At his execution he showed a lack of awareness, and even a sense of denial about his guilt. He professed innocence until the end.
His last words were as follows:
“Yes sir, I do. Well, here we are. I apologize for your loss and your pain, but I didn’t kill those people.
Hopefully we will all learn something about ourselves and about each other and we will learn enough to stop the cycle of hate and vengeance and come to value what is really going on in this world.
We can’t look back.
I forgive everyone for this process, which seems to be wrong. We all end up doing experiences which we create.
That is all I have to say about that.
(There were some unintelligible sentences.)”3
Executed May 28, 1997. Madden asked that his final meal “be provided to a homeless person.”