Raised in Texas, Vic Feazell has become a household name to anyone living in the state from the 80’s to today. Whether you’ve heard his name on his catchy commercials sporting the “Drive Laid Back” slogan or saw him on the nightly news, there is no denying Vic Feazell is a Texas legend.
When Vic was only 17, he took the civil service exam and was hired by the Austin Police Department. When a supervisor noticed Vic’s intelligence and told him he needed to be in college, Vic thought about it and figured out a way. By the early 70’s Vic had graduated from The University of Mary Hardin Baylor and by May of ‘79 he was a graduate of Baylor School of Law. Two days later, he was practicing law. Only ten days after graduation, Vic tried his first jury case, alone, and won it.
He soon set his sights on bigger things, like becoming District Attorney of McLennan County in Waco, Texas. Through a lot of hard work, the young Vic Feazell beat the entrenched incumbent and became one of the youngest DA’s Waco had ever seen. During his 1st term as DA, Vic tried many cases including the famous Lake Waco Triple Murders. In 1984 a jury found David Wayne Spence guilty of the murders and sentenced him to the death penalty. Although he knows justice was done, Vic is now a vocal advocate against the death penalty. A chronicle of the Lake Waco Murders can be found in the award-winning book Careless .
In late 1984 Vic learned that a drifter named Henry Lee Lucas was claiming to have killed over 300 people across the country. The Texas Rangers had custody of Lucas and would announce they solved a new murder every few days. When Lucas confessed to three murders in McLennan County Feazell became suspicious and wanted the Lucas confessions examined more closely. Vic didn’t believe that anyone could kill that many people without leaving any witnesses, fingerprints or other evidence behind.
With the help of Texas Attorney General Jim Mattox, Vic began a large-scale grand jury investigation that resulted in the famous ”Lucas Report”. The report proved Lucas didn’t commit the crimes he claimed to have done. For example, the report proved Lucas was cashing checks in Florida at the same time some of the murders were being committed in Texas. At the time of a murder in Louisiana that Lucas confessed to, he was already in the custody of the Texas Rangers. Due to Vic’s diligence, the information gathered during the investigation still helps law enforcement determine whether they got the right guy.
As great as the Lucas Report seemed to be, it had a severe backlash for Feazell. The Texas Rangers, who had been coaxing Lucas to make all the confessions, found themselves with egg on their faces for closing hundreds of cases Lucas couldn’t have possibly committed. As a result, they became angry. A late-night meeting was held between the “top brass” of the State Police and Texas Rangers, all headed by col. Jim Adams, who had been former deputy director for the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover. With the help of his friends at the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Jim Adams began a retaliatory investigation of Vic. In his private office at State Police Headquarters, Adams told Vic, “We’re not reopening a single Lucas case, but we are investigating you.” He pointed his finger at Vic and said, “If we want you, we’ll get you. You violated the law enforcement brotherhood.”
When he arrived at the courthouse on the morning of September 17th, 1986, Vic was blocked into his parking space by the FBI, State Police, and the Texas Rangers. They arrested him in front of several TV cameras as live programing was interrupted to show Vic being led away in handcuffs. There were nineteen agents in town for Vic’s arrest and the search of his office and home. The arrest came just weeks before election day. Though under indictment, the people of McLennan County saw past the lies and voted Vic in for another term. With the momentum of re-election, help from Attorney Gary Richardson, and the will of God; Vic was found not guilty of all charges on June 29th, 1987. With his innocence proven Vic got back to work as DA.
On September 13th, 1988 Vic sent out a press release stating he would be resigning as District Attorney. After many long hard battles Vic now sought to restore his reputation. He needed to devote his full time to that effort. During the criminal investigation leading up to Vic’s indictment, a reporter from Channel 8 in Dallas named Charles Duncan ran a slanderous, eleven-part, series about Feazell. The series slandered Feazell’s name and added fuel to Vic’s indictment by spreading baseless rumors and lies. The only evidence shown to the federal grand jury that indicted Vic was the Channel 8 series. Vic filed a lawsuit against Channel 8’s owner Belo Broadcasting Corporation. On April 20th, 1991, after weeks of trial, a jury sided with Vic awarded a $58 Million Dollar verdict. This is the largest Libel award in US history and was included in the Guinness Book of World Records.
With the libel verdict behind him and his name vindicated, Vic decided to represent Henry Lee Lucas in all the still-pending murder cases he had confessed to around the country. Vic spent a good part of the 90’s representing Henry Lucas making sure he wasn’t convicted based on any more false confessions. The work done by Vic and others cast enough doubt on the validity of the Lucas confessions that then Governor George W. Bush commuted Henry’s only death penalty case to life. This was a case out of Williamson County referred to only as “Orange Socks,” because that’s the only clothing she was wearing, and her body was never identified. It was the only death penalty case Governor Bush ever commuted. Recently, the new sheriff of Williamson County re-opened the case. It is no longer attributed to Henry Lee Lucas.
Vic spent the rest of the 90’s making movies like “Rhinos”, “Blood, Sweat & Teeth”, “Rage In The Cage” and “Monster Hunter” starring the late David Carradine. Vic also became interested in yoga as a way to exercise and as a lifestyle. He has trained with some of the best yoga teachers in the country and tries to practice several times a week.
Come the 21st century Vic started missing the legal world and decided to form his own law office, The Law Offices of Vic Feazell with offices presently in Austin & Waco, Texas. His offices handle Personal Injury cases from slip & falls to dog bites and 18-wheeler wrecks. We also handle the occasional criminal case.
Vic now spends his time supervising the offices, trying cases, writing books, doing yoga, and recording his Podcast: The Vic Feazell Show (also known as the Vic-Cast). And he Drives Laid Back.
For the last 5 years Vic has been working with director Robert Kenner (Food Inc., Comman & Control) and Taki Oldham on a Netflix produced documentary titled “The Confession Killer” based on the life of Henry Lee Lucas. Vic will be a feature character in the documentary set to be released on December 6, 2019.