Three lives hang in the balance this morning as Dr. James Grigson pulls up in a gleaming white Cadillac, ready to make his rounds. The tall Texan with one hand on the wheel and one hand on his flamboyant golden cigarette holder, the legendary forensic psychiatrist known as "Dr. Death", is about to head out for the West Texas prairie to do some testifying. Indeed, for the Doctor - the traveling expert witness for hire, the courtroom terror of death-penalty foes - this is going to be the most extraordinarily concentrated stretch of testifying he's ever done. Three death-penalty trials in three Texas towns in two days.
In "Travels with Dr. Death", Ron Rosenbaum profiles legendary Texas forensic psychiatrist James Grigson, who, as of this reporting, had testified in court against 124 murderers. Acting on his advice, and his weird, unproven theories, juries had sentenced 115 of them to death, leading some opponents to call Grigson the "hanging shrink".
"Travels with Dr. Death" was originally published in Vanity Fair, May 1990.