1. Danny Joe Neal was born on 15 March 1941 in Brown Co, Texas.
Sheriff of Brown Co from 11/11/1971 to 12/31/1978
Danny J. NEAL was appointed on October 11, 1971, and was elected November 7, 1972, re-elected November 2, 1976, and served until January 1, 1981. Contributed by Patsy Johnson in Brownwood at email@example.com
Danny married Warrenetta Jean Gowan.
They had the following children:
2M i. Cody Joe Neal was born in Brown Co, Texas.
3M ii Corey Clay Neal was born in Brown Co, Texas.
4F iii. Chanda Layne Neal was born in Brown Co,
Taking Wood Alcohol Kills Two
A story in the Brownwood Bulletin, dated April 18, 1974, stated that two inmates from the jail were taken to Hendrick Memorial Hospital in Abilene in critical condition after having apparently consumed wood alcohol in the jail. Three other inmates were still in the Brownwood hospital that morning in fair condition. Five others also drank the wood alcohol but showed no symptoms of being ill.
According to Brown County Sheriff Danny Neal, the wood alcohol was given to the inmates by a trusty who took the bottle from the supply closet and substituted water for the contents so the jailer could not know the difference. The bottle in the closet was marked with cross bones and skull on its label. The word “poison” was written and the statement on the label said “wood alcohol is a violent poison. It cannot be taken internally without causing blindness, serious physical decay resulting in death.”
Both of the prisoners, Tommy Newton, 18, and Jim Edwards, 18, died as a result of drinking the wood alcohol. Thirteen other inmates ended up in the hospital as a result of drinking the poison.
Danny Neal began his law enforcement career with the Brownwood Police Department under Chief Bill Donahoo. He then went to the Sheriff’s Department under Sheriff Joe Townsend.
He was appointed Sherriff when Townsend was appointed Probation Officer. He was sheriff for nine years and almost two months.
He was the last sheriff to live in the old jail, across from the Courthouse.
The weather was stormy during this time period, with 3 tornadoes touching down in Brown County from 1976 to 1979.
During the 1970’s, Texas was still experiencing a population growth. Businesses were booming. Crime was running rampant. Where there was growth erupting at such a rapid pace, there were rumors of corruption. Word on the street in West Texas, was that if it was illegal, immoral, or sinful, you could get it in Brownwood. Throughout Brown County there was controversy and allegations of County government officials and prominent citizens being engaged in organized crime and corruption milling around. The County Judge James Bunnell died in a car accident, which was thoroughly investigated to assure that it was an accident. Brown County needed all the help it could get. DPS Texas Ranger Nornan Autry spent considerable time investigating these allegations and those of an illegal gambling ring and kickbacks. The US DEA and DPS Narcotics spent a considerable time investigating the trafficking of drugs from Brown County to nationally known celebrities and athletes. The Grand Jurors were kept very busy. There were never enough officers to go around, and never enough money to fund the investigations. But justice prevailed and things finally settled down.
He relocated in Midland, Texas for a while.