Within the prison system, he is most noteworthy for what happened during a deadly struggle on April 4, 1981, alongside a drainage ditch called Turkey Creek in the farm fields at the Ellis Unit near Huntsville. When it was over, the farm manager, Billy Moore, lay dead from a gunshot from the warden's pistol and the warden,
Wallace Pack, was drowned. Brown claimed self-defense, saying that Moore had been stealing tires from the prison and was afraid Brown was about to snitch on him.
The trial transcript, detailed in a 2011 book about the case, "The Trials of Eroy Brown: The Case That Shook the Texas Prison System," details the events of that day:
Moore drove Brown to the ditch and called for Pack to join them.
"You ain't going to be able to tell a (expletive) thing on me. You ain't going to tell (expletive) on me," Brown testified Moore told him.
Pack pulled the pistol from his car's trunk, and with Brown handcuffed by his left wrist, threatened to shoot the convict, with the revolver cocked at his temple.
"Shut your (expletive) up, boy. I will splatter your brains all over this street here," Brown testified the warden told him.
Spread-eagled astride Pack's car, Brown struggled to wrest the gun from Pack.
The gun went off five times. Brown was shot in the foot. Moore was fatally shot in the head. A third shot grazed Pack's hand. Pack and Brown continued to fight for the gun, rolling into the water-filled ditch. Pack pushed Brown's face into the muddy water, trying to drown him. Brown rolled on top of the warden in the water.
"I laid on him and laid on him," Brown testified. "I don't know how long I laid on him. He stopped moving."
Prison officials insisted the deaths were murder, and prisons were later named for both Moore and Pack.
Brown went to trial three times. Each time, he was acquitted. The acquittal of a black convict in the deaths of two white prison officials never went over well in the hidebound world of Texas prisons, where prison farms were run like plantations and inmates often called their guard supervisors "boss."Go here for more on the book, The Trials of Eroy Brown, by Michael Berryhill from the University of Texas Press.
By 1984, Texas had agreed to settle a separate federal civil rights case ensuring that Brown and about two dozen other convicts who had assisted in the investigation and other cases would never have to serve time in Texas prisons because it would be too dangerous for them.
That's why Brown has spent the past 26 years in federal prisons in California and South Carolina for the Waco robbery. His attorneys blamed the long sentence on publicity about the prison murders.