DICKINSON, TX - The man found shot to death in a ditch by a Dickinson motel June 6, 2008 may have been looking for "one last fling" with crack cocaine as he fought to give it up, his brother said.
But Justin James Wingo, then 24, had encountered the violence that went along with crack at the Dickinson Motel, 2514 Hill Ave., before.
A year before, then 22-year-old Ryan Wingo was with his brother at the motel as he tried to buy drugs when a fight about payment turned violent.
Ryan Wingo was shot once in the chest and once in the leg and spent 22 days in the hospital recovering.
This time, Justin Wingo wasn't as lucky.
Witnesses said Wingo has just pulled up to the motel and within moments a small, dark colored vehicle pulled up and a young,black man got out and demanded money from him. When Wingo was unable to give him the money, the man shot and killed him. The gunman fled in the vehicle he had arrived in and someone else drove Wingo's white, Toyota Tundra away.
The two bullets he took - in the chest and leg just like his brother - killed him before Galveston County Sheriff's deputies arrived at the motel about 4 o'clock in the morning.
Deputies investigating what led to Wingo's death said his white Toyota Tundra pickup was found in flames an hour after the shooting in a Webster parking lot.
Ryan Wingo said he didn't know the men who shot him last year, but his brother knew one of them. No one was ever arrested.
Dennis Wingo, the man's father, said at the time he was determined that his son's murder would not slip through the cracks.
"I don't care if it is a drug deal gone bad," he said. "We're talking about murder."
Moments before the shooting that killed Justin Wingo, he went to an outdoor ATM and tried to withdraw money three times but couldn't get any out, his father said.
"Maybe if he had gone to that ATM and had money, the transaction would have happened and he would have his life," Dennis Wingo said.
The area around the motel was well-known for drug deals but investigators said they hadn't determined whether a drug deal led to Wingo's death.
Ryan Wingo said his brother developed a crack cocaine addiction a year or two before his murder. He was struggling to break away from the drug and had been sober for two months, he said.
Justin Wingo worked as a boilermaker at plants across Texas and Louisiana, most recently in Orange, Texas but got into trouble when he came back home to Dickinson, according to his father.
"Wherever overtime was, he chased it," Dennis Wingo said. "When he got back around here, that's where the access (to crack cocaine) was."
Witnesses told investigators they saw two men with Wingo shortly before he died but didn't provide descriptions.
Justin Wingo died June 6, 2008, at the age of 24. He was survived by his father, Dennis Wingo, and mother, Joan Sweeny; stepmother, Shirley Wingo; brothers, Ryan and Beau Wingo; sisters, Theresa Petters and Candy Rasmussen; grandparents, Roger and Barbara Sweeny; and Andy and Gene Wingo.
He was buried Tuesday, June 10, 2008 at Dickinson Cemetery in Dickinson, Texas.
His killer has never been arrested.
Persons who believe they have information which may be help in the investigation of this case are encouraged to call the Dickinson Police Department (281) 337-4700 or CRIME STOPPERS (409) 945-8477 TIPS