Georgia Pardons and Parole Board Hearing - July 12, 2002
(via video tape)
Hello, I'm Jack Deason Jr. I live in Jones County.
I want to tell you a little about Buck Fugate.
Buck Fugate and I were close friends for around 14 years. Buck has always done me a lot of favors. I moved, Buck moved into my neighborhood in 1973. I stayed . . . he was right in back of my home there across a small field. And Buck and Pattie they came in and had meals with us. They was a close family and I just don't know anything that I can say bad about Buck Fugate.
It's hard to believe that Buck would commit murder the way they claimed he did. I will go to my grave believing that.
Buck was the type... he was good with his hands, he worked around the neighborhood, he helped people out. He had a garden each year, took vegetables around to the neighbors.
And after Mark came along Buck and Pattie was one happy family and they were that way until I moved away in 1988. I say moved away, I moved across town and stayed until about a year and then I came back in the same neighborhood. And I think of Buck now, and Pattie, every time I go by his house, right back of my house here.
Pattie, she took up a lot of time with my oldest daughter. Pattie was good with horses, she liked to ride horses, do the barrel race. And at no time did you ever known Buck to refuse her to go with her to one of these barrel races. I've saw Buck go off with her to, to show these horses. I've been with Buck when he bought her a horse.
And like I say it's just hard to believe that Buck would do something like this.
But to tell you a little bit about myself. I'm Jack Deason. I've never been in jail, I've never been arrested for anything. I'm 69 years of age. I'm retired from the US Government, Robins Air Force Base. I was the Industrial Regular supervisor after 40 years. I'm retired from the National Guard at 38 years. I've enjoyed retired life.
But Buck is, it's been something that's constantly on my mind... I just can't believe that Buck did what he's accused of doing.
I would like to apology at this time to the Parole Board I guess some of you think that why isn't Jack Deason up here if he's that concerned. But I have planned a cruise with my oldest daughter, the same daughter, Cheryl, used to, that Pattie taught to ride horses. She was also close to Buck. She stayed over at Buck's and Pattie's house just as much as my house back then, except to just come home to eat and sleep because she was like Pattie about these horses. At this time I have got to go on this because they have just determined my daughter has got cancer. She has never been on a cruise and she is the one who booked this cruise before she knew she had cancer, so, we will be going on that. I'm sorry I could not be there in person.
But just to mention Buck... like I said, Buck was a friend to me and Buck would do things for Pattie that I just, I just couldn't imagine he would do things the way he did. When Pattie said something Buck would go do it. If it was to spend a thousand dollars on a horse he would come up with the money and he would go do it.
Like I said before Buck was good with his hands. He worked for a machine shop there in Macon here. And if anyway that you people on the Parole Board there can see fit to spare Buck's life... I know I would appreciate it and some of the other neighbors around here would appreciate it also. Because I just don't think Buck deserves the death penalty. Came up with Pattie and Brandon but it was just a close family and again I would like to ask if the Parole Board would spare Buck's life.
Okay, I'm outside my home now. I wish it was where we could get out with the camera so we could get a picture of Buck's house. Buck is right... Buck's home is right to my left of where I'm standing here. The cameraman is trying to get a shot of it, but . . . this is where this used to be just a big field out here where Pattie rode horses all the time and Buck was out there helping her and doing different things. I lived right across the field over here. In fact down here in front of me is a tank that is probably 25 years old that Buck made when he was working in the machine shop at Wade and Sons. And Buck was just good at anything that he started to do. Buck was a fine fellow.
Buck did not drink, Pattie did not drink. Buck did not smoke and Pattie did not smoke. It was just an overall... after Mark came along it was a close-knit family.
I would just like to say at this time I'm sorry I can not be up there to face you and tell you that I would like to see you folks up there to spare Buck's life. If he spends the rest of his life in prison that is better than taking someone’s life.
I will go to my grave believing that Buck Fugate is not guilty of coming straight out the way the paper and all stated, and shot his wife, Pat.
FUGATE – SUMMARY OF CONTACTS MADE
Person Interviewed: Hellen Deason
(any misspelled words were left as shown in affidavit)
She told me she really didn’t have anything to tell me. She told me they were always good neighbors. She told me her kids would ride Pattie’s horses when they weren’t in school. She told me they were nice and Buck was smart as a whip and could make anything with his hands.
Hellen said her husband.has a meeting tonight but I could call around 9:30. She told me he was Shriner and he has meetings almost every night. Hellen said this was a new meeting, so she didn’t know what time he’d be home, but 9:30 is a good bet.
I asked Hellen if she would talk with me further. She told me she didn’t want to testify. She told me her husband would say the same things she would say. She told me she gets really nervous. I told Hellen I just wanted to talk with her further and she told me she would really rather not.
I thanked Hellen for her time and said I would call Jack later on.
Person Interviewed: Jack Deason
(any misspelled words were left as shown in affidavit)
Jack told me he and Buck were close friends. He told me he was very surprised by what happened. He told me Buck was a Jack of all trades, that he could do anything with his hands. Jack told me Buck would help him fix his automobiles and not charge him one penny. He told me Buck would bring things over from his garden, although Jack had a garden of his own. Jack said he would bring over cucumbers and tomatoes. He told me at that time Buck and Pat did everything together. Jack told me Buck fixed his washing machine, dryer and his air conditioner. Jack told me he could call him about anything.
Jack told me Buck built his own house. He said you won’t find another one like it. Jack told me his youngest daughter was born about the same time Mark was born. Jack told me that at that time if there was anything Pattie wanted, he [Buck] would do it for her. Jack said Buck would bring feed in or get her another horse, anything she wanted.
Jack told me Buck was always right with Pattie. He told me when Mark was born they were even closer. Jack told me his youngest was about the same age as Mark.
Jack told me that Pattie’s grand daddy, owned all the land around. He told me Buck would go in and clean up things and cut the grass for her grand dad.
I asked Jack if he ever went over to their house. He told me they would, for friendly visits. Jack said he would just tell Buck what he needed to fix and Buck would come over and get it straightened out.
I asked Jack how many years he was neighbors with the Fugates he told me they moved there in 1972. He told me they knew them before they even built the house. He told me they were living in a trailer on her granddad’s land and they (the Deasons) moved in on New Years day. Jack told me Buck just stopped by and helped them move in.
I asked Jack if the Fugates had any animals. He told me they had horses and a couple of dogs. Buck told me Pattie helped build the house they lived in.
Jack told me Pattie’s brother [Wrong, was Pattie's father] got power of attorney even before her grand dad died and sold off the land. Jack said Pattie got some kind of settlement though, cause it wasn’t long after that they got the property up at the lake. Jack told me he never went to the house at the lake. He told me that Buck and Pattie built it together.
Pattie’s brother had died several years before this and it was Pattie's father, Mr. P.D. Nelson who was given Power of Attorney for his father. Pattie’s granddad never died until several years after she and Wallace [Buck] moved to the lake. Although Pattie did help in building the houses, both houses were mainly built by Wallace and his family members.
Jack told me Pattie and Buck were really close. He told me they worked real close raising money for the volunteer fire department. Jack told me they were close there is no doubt about it. Jack told me he never saw Buck loose his temper either.
Jack told me about some lawyer contacting him the first time Buck went to trial, but he never got a call back from him.
Deason, Jack & Hellen
(Petitioner's Exhibit #31 - 12/29/1995)
Jack Deason, had he been called, would have testified that he had know Mr. Fugate as a neighbor and close friend ever since 1972, when on New Years' Day of that year Mr. Fugate introduced himself and offered to help Mr. Deason move in to his house near Mr. Fugate's. (R1-12-Pet. Exh. 31). In subsequent years, Mr. Deason observed that Mr. Fugate was "very generous to me and my family. He would help me fix my automobiles and other things whenever I asked him to. He never charged me anything for my help." Id. Mr. Deason also knew Pattie Fugate, and "always thought of [the Fugate’s] as being very close. I know they worked closely together in raising money for the volunteer fire department after they moved to the lake.".
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