HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) --A Houston legend has passed away. Richard 'Racehorse' Haynes celebrated his 90th birthday this month. It would be the last time his friends from over the years would see him.
He was not tall, but a giant in the courtroom. Defense attorney Dick Deguerin said he would sit in on trials to observe Haynes' trademark style, which amounted to intense questioning of witnesses.
"He was the kind of guy who would walk into a courtroom and take it over," Deguerin said fondly. "He was charming and quick-witted and could find humor in the midst of dark circumstances, and juries appreciated that."
Haynes was Houston-born and earned his law degree at the University of Houston. He once said he became a lawyer on a Friday and was in court on Monday. The name "Racehorse" came from a coach, and it stuck.
He earned a reputation for representing DWI clients as an aggressive attorney. Over time, he graduated to more high-profile cases. They included Vickie Daniels, accused of killing her husband, who was the Texas House Speaker and son of former governor Price Daniels. She was acquitted.
Texas millionaire T. Cullen was another client who was charged with killing his 12-year-old stepdaughter and his estranged wife's lover and plotting to kill his wife. Haynes won an acquittal.
On a lighter case, he represented Morgana the "Kissing Bandit," who trespassed onto the Astrodome playing field to kiss pitcher Nolan Ryan. She was arrested. Haynes convinced the court that she fell on the field.
Dan Cogdell was a young attorney when he went to work for Haynes. He had followed the Daniels trial and decided he wanted to be a lawyer and work for Racehorse Haynes.
He was one of a number of young attorneys that learned the art of good lawyering, of how to read and reach a jury from their mentor.
"Lions like that should always be understood and studied," he said.
Racehorse slowed down after the death three years ago of his wife, Naomi, friends said. Funeral services are pending.
"I already miss him, but more than that, I regret that others won't have the chance to learn and study from him. If I'm (made taller), it's because I stood on the shoulders of a five foot seven giant," Cogdell said.
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