She shot her second estranged husband, after he drunkenly barged through the front door of their apartment. Police arrested her in January 1956 and charged her with assault with a deadly weapon. But when she told the jury about her husband’s abusive behavior, the charges against her were dropped, it was a rare victory for a woman who had taken the law into her own hands.
Shortly after her only legitimate theater appearance in Dallas, playing the part of “Rita Marlowe” in a 1957 Dallas Little Theater’s production of “Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter”, she was sentenced to 15 years in Texas for possession of four-fifths of an ounce ofMarijuana.
Candy wrote a book of poems; “A Gentle Mind” while in prison, and when few years later was pardoned by “Texas Governor John Connally”, she appeared to have no clue as to why he did so, when she was asked about the pardon.
The rare victory after killing her husband, the severity of Marijuana’s Punishment in Texas, her book of poems, and how she went on to make a name for herself as an exotic dancer, a movie consultant, a government witness against a mobster, and one of Texas’ “Perfect Texans”, is one of the most interesting subjects I’ve researched ever!
At 13 after a sexual abuse from a neighbor and babysitter, she ran away from home and went to Dallas, where she worked in a motel. She married her first husband, “Billy Debbs”, an alleged safecracker, but one year later the marriage ended after Debbs was sent to prison.
She started spending her evenings dancing at nightclubs, where men would woo her, saying they would pay her to have sex. She was what she had to do to survive, she was a poor girl with no education, she thought she could save money to go to college someday.
But one day a man forced her to be filmed while having sex with another, she was a 15 years old girl being molested in front of a camera. The grainy black and white movie titled “Smart Aleck” (1951), was one of the widely circulated of the early underground pornographic films, she has been called the “First Porn Star”.
In 1957, when she performed on the legitimate stage of the “Dallas Little Theater”, there were many people who wanted to get rid of her as there were who wanted to ogle her. Among her enemies were the old-money Dallas women’s clubs, composed of the wives of many of the prominent men who had been willing to pay up to $500 to see her behind bars.
Police officers tapped her phone and kept her apartment under constant surveillance, they raided her apartment on October 1957 and found a small quantity ofMarijuana hidden in her bra. Convicted ofCannabis possession, she was sentenced under the Lone Star State’s draconian drug laws to “15 Years In The Hoosegow”.
She was arrested and always claimed she was merely holding theWeed for someone else who set her up with the cops. The arrest and harsh sentence for the marijuana possession were the result of indignation by Dallas’ society wives after she received publicity when charges were dropped against her for shooting her second husband.
The indignation probably also resulted when some learned of their husbands’ familiarity with her in a professional capacity, either as a stripper or a prostitute. In any event, the DA’s found thePot. However, the warrant was blank and theDope was a planted by a friend of Candy’s, who asked her to hide the marijuana for few days, shortly before the police arrived. The police said they found enough weed to roll 125 joints, but the truth there was less than an ounce, which would be a misdemeanor today!
She was served three years and 91 days, during which time she wrote her book of poems, and in 1969, she was arrested again for marijuana possession, in Central Texas town of Brownwood. But to the dismay of the Brownwood district attorney, who had apparently wanted to rid his town of what he perceived as an undesirable influence, a judge threw out the case.
“Texas Monthly” magazine, in 1984, listed her as one of history’s “Perfect Texans”. She died at the age of 70 in Victoria, Texas from pneumonia.
A life filled with many twists and turns, ups and downs, successes and failures. That was “Juanita Slusher’s Story”, that when she was interviewed by “Texas Monthly” at the age of 66, she responded to a question about the porno movie with:
I thought I could save my money to go to college someday, but sometimes things just don’t work out like you’d planned.