Billy's World


The American-Statesman originally published this series in 2008 in the wake of a sexual-abuse scandal at a Texas Youth Commission lockup that produced a cascade of investigations and reform efforts. Nearly forgotten was the fate of 500 juveniles freed after state lawmakers told the agency to stop locking up misdemeanor offenders.

American-Statesman investigative reporter Eric Dexheimer and photographer Jay Janner chronicled a year in the life of one of those juveniles, Austin’s Billy Byers, as he attempted to find a job and care for his daughter while dealing with bipolar disorder, substance abuse issues and his first misdemeanor criminal charges as an adult.

Three years after the series published, Byers was charged with murder in the 2011 death of 65-year-old Rosemary Lorraine Borges.


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