Brandon Biggs was a high school senior in 2001 when the task of planning his father’s funeral fell to him.
“All I got was a phone call from a detective on a Sunday morning,” Biggs said.
The body of Gregory Glenn Biggs had been found on the morning of Oct. 27, 2001. But in the months to come, the death of Biggs would evolve into one of the most sensational — and bizarre — murders in Tarrant County history.
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His case became known as the “windshield murder.”
Chante Jawan Mallard was driving on a long curve from East Loop 820 to U.S. 287 in southeast Fort Worth when she hit Biggs, a 37-year-old homeless man. He crashed through her windshield and she kept driving, with Biggs partially inside her car, until she got home.
She parked her car in the garage, with Biggs’ torso on the dashboard and his feet dangling on the car’s roof, but he was still alive.
And that is where he died overnight, a crime that one prosecutor said “redefined inhumanity.”
Mallard was convicted of murder in 2003 — a young Brandon testified at the trial — and she is serving her 50-year sentence at the Murray Unit in Gatesville.
Brandon attended college and earned a $10,000 scholarship after writing an essay about his father’s death. The scholarship was generated through Compassion, a newsletter written and edited by Death Row inmates.
Sixteen years after his father’s death, Brandon describes his life as ordinary. He’s a college graduate, married with three children. His family lives in Albany and he commutes daily to Brownwood, where he manages a hardware store.
‘It was quite sensationalized’
He doesn’t talk much about his father’s death, but it seems to follow him at every turn.
“As time goes by, this is new for people, and you know, I live it. I live it every day,” Brandon said.
Film and TV shows inspired by the crime have been and continue to be adapted, though none quite as accurate as Brandon would like, he said. He’s tried to go as far as suing to shut down production of the film “Stuck,” which was released in 2007.
“I walked into the Blockbuster store one day … and I mean they had the video of it there on the shelf, you know,” Brandon Biggs said. “It was quite sensationalized and fictionalized for the most part.”
In 2015, the second season of “Fargo” used a man-through-windshield crash as one of its plot lines.
Earlier this year, Brandon said he was approached by a TV network looking to adapt the story into a true crime documentary, which he declined to do.
Other reminders come when he checks in on the people involved with the trial. Clete Denel Jackson, who got time for helping move Biggs’ body, has been in and out of prison on firearms- and drug-related charges. He’s set to be released again in late November.
“It’s just a constant remembrance,” Brandon said. “That’s probably the simplest way to put it. I mean anything from songs on the radio to I don’t know, I really don't know, it’s just numerous.”
‘Helped bring people together’
Mallard, whose prison cell is about 80 miles southeast of Brownwood, becomes eligible for probation in March 2027.
Brandon hasn’t spoken to Mallard and says he doesn’t plan on changing that, although he’s forgiven her.
“What would she say? It’s like, ‘huh, well, you know, you tried to burn evidence in your back yard so, uh, how’d that work out?’ ” he said. “Do you talk about the weather? I don’t know, you know, so it’s not something I could foresee being fruitful.”
The tragedy did prompt a positive — Brandon has gotten closer to his father’s side of the family. Before his father’s death, Brandon described the relationship as estranged.
“Tragic as it was, it helped bring people together, so that’s positive,” he said.
Because he could not find anyone on his father’s side of the family at the time, he was left to make arrangements for the funeral.
“Try doing some of that when you’re a senior in high school,” Brandon said.
The funeral was held Oct. 31 in Dallas, with Brandon, his mother and maternal grandparents the only ones present to say goodbye.
Brandon’s mother, Meredith Biggs, 78, died Sept. 26 in Greenville, he said.
‘He’s remembered daily’
These days, taking care of his family is Brandon’s main priority. He tries to keep the unpleasant reminders of the accident from crossing into their lives.
“They don’t know anything about my father and I don’t keep pictures of him around so that they won’t ask questions,” Brandon said. “Because, how do you approach that subject with them?”
He has, however, tried to keep the memory of his dad’s life alive for himself.
A self-employed bricklayer, Biggs had fallen on hard times at the time of his death. He’d lost his truck because he couldn’t make the payments, and without a truck, he had trouble finding a job. That left him homeless for about two years.
“He was a remarkably good man, you know. Considering all the stuff that he dealt with personally,” Brandon said.
One of those daily reminders lives on through his 7-year-old son, who bears two middle names, each of his grandfathers’ first names.
“I don’t run around the house calling him by his middle name or anything. I leave my wife to do that,” Brandon said. “He’s remembered daily.”
This story includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.