Night of the Wolf: Murder at the Glass Key

About 7 a.m. on May 14, 1990 four men in a 1983 Oldsmobile pulled in to the parking lot of the Glass Key Café at 800 East Luella Street.

By 1990 the Glass Key had become one of those places that people didn’t just stumble across. It was one of those places that people knew about by word of mouth.
And sometimes those words were whispered.

The nondescript brick building that housed the Glass Key is located east of downtown on a dead-end street and squeezed between a swath of four railroad tracks on the west and Interstate 35W on the east.
For years the Glass Key Café had been a popular place to eat, especially for residents of the nearby Butler Place housing project, who were boxed in by I-35W, I-30, and Spur 280 but who could reach the café via Luella Street under I-35W.
But expansion of I-35W and rerouting of traffic on its frontage roads further isolated the café. Daytime business suffered so much that café owner Albert Huey-You allowed the Glass Key to be used after hours for gambling parties.
The café’s reputation quickly deteriorated.
“You go in there and you might not come back out,” one Butler Place resident said.
The Star-Telegram reported in 1990 that at least three homicides had occurred at the Glass Key in the past.
Robert Reyna, operations administrator for the Fort Worth Housing Authority, said residents of Butler Place had complained to police for years about gambling and drug dealing at the cafe.
“That has been an issue since I’ve been here and probably longer,” said Reyna, a nine-year employee of the housing authority. “Residents, resident groups, and associations have all asked the police to do whatever it took to shut that place down.”
Police had been dispatched to the Glass Key 344 times in 1989, according to department records, and sixty-seven arrests were made. The Star-Telegram wrote that the Glass Key was the most active address for police action in 1989.
Fort Worth municipal court records show that Huey-You had been ticketed for gambling at the café at least six times since January 1989.
But one police officer said police raids were seldom fruitful because gamblers posted lookouts at the cafe. And unless police could witness gambling, no formal arrests could be made. Instead, police issued misdemeanor gambling citations, which carried a $60 fine.
Real estate listings say the 1935 commercial building on Luella Street has 640 square feet of floor space.

That space was filled on the Sunday night of May 13, 1990 by twenty to fifty people. They were attending an all-night high-stakes dice game.
The game essentially was a (under)world series of gambling between Robert “Austin” Satterwhite, thirty, and Billy Edd “Unc” Farmer, fifty-three, both high-stakes gamblers with drug convictions.
Satterwhite carried a nine-millimeter pistol and wore a bulletproof vest.
As much as a quarter-million dollars was in the cafe that night.
As the game progressed past midnight, the dice were not favoring Farmer.
As he and Satterwhite rolled the dice, now and then switch engines pulling boxcars and oil tanks rumbled past on the railroad tracks just 150 feet away. In the Glass Key glassware on the shelves tinkled.
At 7 a.m. the next morning the sun had just risen over the Butler Place roofs to the east.
Satterwhite complained of exhaustion and wanted to end the game.
And why not?
Satterwhite had $60,000 cash in a money belt and an IOU from Farmer for $90,000 in his pocket.
By now the gamblers in the Glass Key could hear Monday morning traffic picking up on the interstate.
Perhaps they also heard the gritty spew of gravel on the parking lot outside as a stolen 1983 Oldsmobile drove in. Four people emerged from the car. One wore a wolf mask, another a gorilla mask, and the other two ski masks. All of them carried high-powered shotguns and rifles.
While two of the masked people stood guard outside the Glass Key, Wolf Man and one associate hurried to the front door.
Inside the cafe people were sitting around tables.
The two invaders barged through the door waving their guns.
“Task force! Task force!” they shouted as if to create the impression that they were police officers raiding the gambling party.
One of the invaders also shouted, “Get Austin!”
(Did the order mean kill Satterwhite or merely get his money?)
“Put your money on the table,” Wolf Man ordered to the people in the room.
The terrified people in the small space complied. All except Satterwhite.
Wolf Man shot him in the head point-blank.
A third associate came in from the parking lot to help bag the money and jewels that now covered the table.
Then, without warning, the threesome began shooting wildly.
The 640 square feet of the Glass Key was filled with screams and gunshots and breaking glass as people dived for cover under tables and behind counters.
Three more gamblers were shot to death, including one man who had been asleep.
A fifth gambler was shot in the parking lot as the raiders fled. He died five days later.
Four other gamblers were injured. Café owner Huey-You was slightly injured by a shotgun pellet.
Gambler Billy Edd Farmer escaped injury by hiding under a table.
The room was filled with moaning and crying as Wolf Man and his two associates walked outside, where their lookout awaited.
The raiders in their haste to escape fled without taking Satterwhite’s money belt containing $60,000.
The foursome drove to a residence where they divided the money and then got rid of the stolen car.

Police Chief Thomas Windham surveyed the bloody scene and called it “the most violent of this type that we’ve had in some time.”
Police said the raiders got away with as much as $200,000 despite leaving $60,000 behind.
Had the raiders known that so much money would be in the café that night, or had they just gotten lucky?
Police Captain Randy Ely said, “With a dice game of that magnitude, . . . it would be difficult to keep a lid on that.”
As for the fact that one of the raiders shouted, “Get Austin!” as they burst in, Ely said, “We’re looking at the possibility that it was a hit, that it was a robbery. We’re looking at all possibilities.”

On May 17 police arrested two brothers, ages nineteen and twenty-two, on capital murder warrants in connection with the Glass Key murders after an informant linked the brothers to the raid. The two were arrested peacefully. Meanwhile police used tear gas when they raided two houses looking for two other suspects in the murders. Those two suspects were not apprehended.

As the two brothers remained in jail, the gambler who had been shot in the parking lot died, becoming the fifth fatality of the Glass Key raid.
The two brothers were soon released for lack of evidence. After that false lead, police were stymied, and the Glass Key case threatened to go cold.
Months grew into years.
None of the witnesses to the raid could identify the raiders because the raiders had worn masks. Other people who might have had information kept silent for fear of retribution. Still others might have kept silent because they, too, had crimes to hide from investigation.
With the passage of time crimes become more difficult to solve because the memory of witnesses fades and evidence becomes more difficult to recover.
But Fort Worth police, especially homicide detective Thomas Boetcher, would not let the case grow cold.

Fast-forward six years. In 1996 police identified three of the four Glass Key raiders.
Police said Julian Burt, by then twenty-seven, had been Wolf Man. He had done most of the shooting.
Burt by 1996 was serving thirty-five years in prison for killing two men in what police said was a hit on drug dealers eight months after the Glass Key raid.
Police believed that Burt had been at the gambling party that night, saw the amount of money being flashed, and planned the robbery.
Homicide sergeant Paul Kratz said, “He and maybe others were at the Glass Key before the shooting . . . left the Glass Key, and gathered up this group of people, and put together the robbery plan.”
Malcolm Griffin, who was eighteen at the time of the robbery, admitted his involvement. Griffin, too, by 1996 was in prison—for aggravated robbery.
Police believed that Griffin shot the fifth victim, who was in the Glass Key parking lot as the raiders fled.
Anthony “Tony” Fennell, who was seventeen at the time of the robbery, was arrested and charged with capital murder. He admitted being the lookout man who stayed outside the café.
Police were still seeking a fourth suspect.
The four suspects were friends and lived in Benbrook, police said.

Later in 1996 the fourth suspect, Robby Robinson, then thirty-one, was identified, arrested, and indicted. He admitted to bagging the loot during the robbery.

Two years later Robinson, Fennell, and Griffin reached plea agreements with prosecutors in exchange for their testimony against Wolf Man Burt.
Robinson was sentenced to forty-two years in prison.
Anthony Fennell was sentenced to thirty-five years.
Malcolm Griffin was sentenced to life in prison and would die there in 2002.

Fast-forward to 2003—almost thirteen years after five people were murdered at the Glass Key Café.
In a plea agreement with prosecutors, Julian Burt, by then thirty-three, pleaded guilty to two charges of capital murder and one of murder in the Glass Key raid.
He was sentenced to life in prison on each charge.
Case closed.

Assistant District Attorney Greg Miller said police investigators had been frustrated by the lack of information that came in after the crime as years passed with no arrests.
“But they never gave up,” Miller said of the investigators. “Through dogged perseverance, they identified all the suspects. They did a wonderful job.”

(Thanks to retired Fort Worth police sergeant and historian Kevin Foster for his help.)

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13 Responses to Night of the Wolf: Murder at the Glass Key

  1. Mike says:

    This is a shout out to the one and only Julian burt from honky in indiana solid as a rock keep your head up in there

  2. Thanks Hometown!! Grateful for the reporting and wishing you continued sucess.

  3. t says:

    Julian Burt is my uncle . He was a kid who due to his environment and life at the time made the wrong decisions. He has changed his life around for the better . Became the great man he always had on the inside! He became a mentor , motivational speaker , writer , poet and a hell of a role model . I appreciate the history because the victim’s story’s deserve to be heard , but I hope those who read this look into the many accomplishments and positive things he has done in the 30 + years he’s been away . Most solid person I’ve ever met in my life , never would go against his friends and the people he loved ! He will be home soon to continue to put a more positive twist on his legacy! This does not define him . Family over everything

    • John Noblett says:

      I knew Julian when he went by the name “Fats”! He was not a good man then, but neither was I. We all change!!! I spent 17 years in TDC myself. Back in the day Fat was the meanest man this side of the dirt and the prison wire; I have forgiven him for the issue we had. God bless the new man. If I run into him during my trips to prison with Bill Glass Ministry I will wish him my best!!!

  4. Chino says:

    I got to meet this man I can honestly say he one of the realest dudes I’ve meet I met him in a dark world he’s a man of God great guy

  5. Ivan Reed says:

    I love this site and the history that it speaks of on the gangsters in fort Worth let’s spread it around and mention all the gangsters of fort Worth unfortunately the glass key murders brought about the reality of living a gangster life and being in gangster environments if one lays down in fire he surely to come up burnt.
    what people don’t know about Julian Bert AKA wolf mask is that he is a humble man who would give you the shirt off his back but don’t cross his path wrong hats off to a true OG Big Homie who chose thug Life and now lives with the consequences. Had a chance to meet with him in the 2000s we sat broke bread and discussed lifestyles as it is stated in gangster lifestyle it’s eat or be eaten

  6. Troy McKelroy says:

    ‘Not surprised Boetcher got his man. Helluva detective.

  7. Scotty Short says:

    I met a guy in Athens Texas who was there right before the robbery happened and witnessed the guys come in with masks. He had been gambling and told me he had this overwhelming feeling that he needed to leave right then. He had won a great deal of cash and was trying to tuck it in his pockets and in his jacket while walking with his head down. He was not paying attention and bumped into one of the robbers as they were walking in. He apologized and the the robber acted as if he was angry and wanted to retaliate but another robber stopped him and basically told him to let it go because it wasnt the reason they were there. The guy relaying this story to me said that he went to his girlfriends house early that morning after the altercation and went to sleep. Later she woke him up and showed him the live news report about the murders at the Glass Key.

  8. Douglas Smith says:

    Thanks Handlebar! Enjoyed the read…

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