Percy Eugene Foreman, criminal-defense lawyer, was born on June 21,
1902, in a log cabin near Cold Springs, Texas. He was one of eight
In 1927 he graduated from the University of Texas law school, where
he had typed manuscripts for extra money. He was admitted to the
State Bar of Texasqv and spent several years as a county prosecutor and
assistant district attorney before entering private practice as a junior
partner in the Houston law firm of Lockett and Foreman.
Foreman, who was known for his unconventional trial strategies, handled
society divorces, and in sixty years of practice defended more than 1,000
Foreman was an extremely competent attorney: by 1958 he had defended
778 accused murderers. One was executed, 52 were sent to prison. The remaining
705 were acquitted of the crimes. Ten years later he had defended another
two hundred murderers. Just one was sent to prison on a life sentence.
Among his most famous clients were James Earl Ray, whom he persuaded
to plead guilty to the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., in exchange
for a life sentence; socialite Candace Mossler's nephew Melvin Lane Powers,
acquitted of a murder charge; Alvin Lee King, who killed five people in
a Baptist church and committed suicide before his trial; and Charles Harrelson,
sentenced to fifteen years for a contract killing and involved in the assassination
of a federal judge in San Antonio.
Foreman preferred cash as payment for his services, but if a client
didn't have any, he would take property instead, including jewelry, real
estate, boats, automobiles, furniture, and artwork. He became a multimillionaire.
Foreman served as president of the National Association of Defense Lawyers.
He was twice married; he and his first wife adopted a son. On April
21, 1957, he married German-born Marguerite Obert, with whom he had one
child. Foreman died on August 25, 1988, and was buried at Forest Park Westheimer.