On September 28, 1984 the badly decomposed bodies of John Buckels, 38 and 37-year-old Janis Petkas McMahan, both of Houston, were found along Old Hwy 105 near Cleveland in East Montgomery County. Buckels and McMahan were shot to death.
Lt. Dan Norris of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office was only beginning his law enforcement career.
“This was my first homicide scene as a deputy”, recalled Norris.
Norris clearly recalls the 26 year old case. He took the initial on-scene report and then handed it off to investigators when they arrived. He was not directly involved in the continued investigation.
“I was an unpaid reserve of 4 months, a deputy riding with Otis Johnson, unit 3104, when we were dispatched to the call,” Norris said.
When asked about his reaction to the gruesome scene, Norris said, “Expected…just the first one makes one wonder just what other bad things people can do.”
He quickly learned to view such things professionally, and focus on making zero mistakes.
“I would expect to testify and am prepared to do so if a trial is inevitable. I have testified in many murder trials in my career and it would be great to see a suspect in the courtroom for a murder 26 years ago,” Norris said.
Sheriff’s Office detectives conducted interviews in 1984 and followed numerous leads throughout the course of the investigation. While the detectives worked many hours and developed suspect information, all efforts to solve the case were unsuccessful. During the initial investigation blood evidence was discovered and collected by the Houston Police Department but technology at that time did not allow for the type of forensic testing that is available today. The blood evidence remained stored in the Houston Crime Lab for nearly 25 years.
In July of 2009, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Detectives re-opened the murder investigation and located the evidence stored at the Houston Police Department. Using grant funds made available to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office through the National Institute of Justice, DNA testing was applied to the evidence. DNA analysis linked a suspect that had been identified in connection with the murders back in 1984.
In the pursuit of justice and with the full confidence of Sheriff Tommy Gage and support from the District Attorney’s Office, the investigation pushed forward with detectives tracking down witnesses across Texas and in Florida. The efforts culminated in the arrest of 58-year-old Seldon Wayne Colvin on June 2, 2010, at the parole office in Pasadena, Texas after a Montgomery County Grand Jury indicted him on murder and capital murder charges.
Colvin has a lengthy criminal history including several robberies dating back to 1977.