Tuesday, February 23, 2010

It's Time Again-- For The Bonnie & Clyde Polls

It's time to reveal the latest B&C Poll answers-- so here we go. Prior to being killed at Joplin, in addition to his regular duties as a Joplin motor detective-- Harry McGinnis once served as Chief of Detectives for the Joplin Police Dept. McGinnis filled the Chief Detectives post, during an Ed Portley illness. It was Aug Atz, who was not at the Okabena, Minnesota bank-- at the time it was robbed by The Barrow Gang. According to reports at the time, when Aug's daughter Cleo Atz heard the bank alarm-- she summoned her father, along with men at the implement store nearby. Mr. Atz grabbed a .32 caliber revolver and shot at B&C from the the alleyway behind the bank. It was noted, that someone in the car returned fire with a machine gun-- missing Mr. Atz. W. J. Kelly and D. B. Hovenden, were both customers of the bank-- and Sam Frederickson was one of the bank cashiers present that day. Mr. Hovendon was also the man who stopped to ask a suspected Bonnie and Blanche if they needed assistance, as they were spotted stationed in their getaway car-- outside of town earlier that morning.

Only one law enforcement officer or posse member, was said to have been hit by Barrow Gang return fire at Dexfield Park. That lawman was Deputy Sheriff C. C. "Rags" Riley, who as it turns out was a lucky man-- having suffered just a glancing blow to the head, from what was thought to be a shot from a BAR. Just 4 of the 7 BARs present at the National Guard Armory in Ranger, Texas were stolen during The Barrow Gang's invasion on February 20th, 1934. The other 3 BARs were apparently deemed too old and used to be of much purpose to Barrow.

Regarding the shell casings found at the Grapevine murder scene-- all of the above was the correct answer. To me the variety of shell casings found there, illustrates perhaps a more brutal reality than the simple story so often recounted of the Grapevine killings. The sheer scope of firepower used from so many different weapons-- the (3) 16 gauge shotgun blasts, (5) .45 caliber auto shots and (3) 12 gauge shotgun bursts-- apparently used to bring down just 2 motorcycle officers, I feel points to more than one shooter. It doesn't seem the truth-- that it was just a matter of firing a couple of shotgun blasts, in order to fell officers Edward Wheeler and H. D. Murphy. As many make the case that Henry Methvin killed both officers that day-- based on the ballistics evidence l respectfully disagree, in feeling both Clyde and Henry pulled the triggers at Grapevine. Please feel free to comment.

It was Floyd Hamilton's wife Mildred Hamilton, who tied with Marie Barrow, for the shortest sentences at the 1935 B&C Harboring Trial. Both received sentences of just 1 hour. Of all the participants in the saga of Bonnie and Clyde-- interestingly only Henry Barrow, was saved from being charged and receiving time during the Harboring Trial. As we now know that Mr. Barrow participated in many acts of protection for B&C as well as sharing in monies given to Henry and Cumie by the outlaws-- I wonder why Mr. Barrow was precluded from serving time as the others?? Henry was even known to have offered to help Bailey Tynes obtain weapons hidden by Clyde, as brokered through 2 middle men. Even Ted Hinton was known to have gone out of his way to help the elder Mr. Barrow protect his family-- by providing him a weapon and possible insulation from prosecution. Apparently the gentlemanly Henry Barrow, garnered that much respect and perhaps sympathy-- based on his respectful dealings with others.

Gladys Cartwright's 4 month old son was named John. Alonzo was Gladys' husband's name-- while Jack and Mitchell, were Gladys Pritchard Cartwright's brothers. And finally, the Sutherland, Iowa farmer who it's said encountered The Barrow Gang at his farm, helped authorities by leading them to bloody clothing, spent shell casings and by detailing the license plate number 11-2399-- which was also noted in the Fort Dodge service station hold ups. So here too-- the correct answer was all of the above. My thanks as always, for your participation in the B&C Polls. Look for all new polls to be posted soon-- here on The B&CHB.


Jim from Atlanta said...

Re: Grapevine murders, 1934

Question: Did Bonnie shoot one officer in the head according to the witness farmer?

Thank you--I did not know that shell casings were found at Grapevine--the witness, farmer, alleges that Bonnie shot one officer--the fact that other sources show a 16 gauge sawed-off shotgun was her personal toy, indicates that she was a shooter--I have not found any reports of the wounds inflicetd on the officers to support that she shot one officer in the head while he was prone--do you have any info regarding this issue.

A. Winston Woodward said...

The other witnesses who had passed the scene at Grapevine, and turned around in time to see a taller man and shorter man over the bodies of Wheeler and Murphy-- were closer to the murders than was the farmer.

The law tried to pin the killings on Billie Jean and Floyd Hamilton, which it seems wouldn't have stuck-- without the law framing them. It's my understanding ballistics tests made on weapons from the death car-- cleared Billie & Floyd. According to Emma Parker, Henry Methvin confessed to having killed both officers.

My point has been, that with so many different types of shell casings reportedly found at Grapevine-- isn't it more likely that Clyde killed one of the motorcycle patrolmen?? It just seems that too many weapons were involved-- for one person to have wielded, in killing the 2 officers so quickly.

Jim from Atlanta said...

Re: http://video.foxnews.com/v/3873187/wanted-for-murder/

As to farmer Wm Schiffer, he implicates all three--Bonnie wore a brown outfit, Clyde wore a blue shirt (possibly the same shirt he was killed wearing)--Schiffer does not say Bonnie shot one in the head and no mention of "bounced like a ball" I believe that was media hype--but I do believe Bonnie was a murderer--she carried a revolver and used the sawed off 16 gauge.

Jim from Atlanta said...

Its unfortunate that so much evidence was so poorly collected and recorded in B&C killings--just half of modern forensics would answer so many questions--but let me say this, after 20 years of law enforcement, I have no doubt that Bonnie was a murderer. In the Joplin shoot-out, one officer reported Bonnie firing at him with a BAR rifle--imagine that.

A. Winston Woodward said...

The Giggals who were following the 3 motorcycle officers on Texas Highway 114 that day, likely had a better vantage point with which to view the scene of the killings than William Schieffer. With the right photo shot that day looking from the scene to Highway 114 (and if you've been there)-- you can see how close this couple was at that intersection, having flagged down Officer Ivy and then reporting on what they saw. This couple reported seeing the taller and shorter men standing over the bodies. The modern photo (blog right)-- shot from that intersection as it exists today, was one I took in the winter of 2006.

My understanding is, that William Schieffer who lived several hundred yards away (some say nearly a mile from the sight, but still within view)-- wasn't able to identify Bonnie Parker as the woman he saw. However we know Bonnie was there. Clyde's version of this story as told to his family seems to match the Giggal's account. As Joe Palmer (who was said to have there with B&C earlier)-- had gone back to Dallas, that left the men identified by height as being Barrow and Methvin.

However many feel Mr. Schieffer's story made for better press-- and therefore Bonnie was from that point on branded a cold blooded killer. There's ample evidence at least to me, that Bonnie fired weapons at the law on at least 3 occasions-- beginning at the McBride house on January 6th, 1933. W. D. Jones reported that Bonnie fired a weapon there. Then there's the report from Joplin-- and Joe Gunn's account from Reeds Spring closer to end of this saga.

Many former lawmen have commented to me concerning B&C over the years, and not surprisingly take a stand sympathetic to the lawmen's point of view within the history of Bonnie & Clyde. So too do many take a position from the opposite extreme, of finding ways to back the outlaws. By definition and in reality, Bonnie was certainly complicit and an accessory to murder. I've debated that point many times, and don't feel a good case can be made to the contrary.

I do feel it possible that under the right circumstances, if Bonnie had surrendered at the right time-- she may have served a sentence similar to that of Blanche, and been released to live out her life to old age. However by her own choice-- that wasn't meant to be. But there's no evidence that I'm aware of, to substantiate Bonnie actually having hit or killed anyone when firing a weapon. Accessory yes-- in reality a cold blooded killer-- no.

Thanks for your follow up comment.

scott rydberg said...

My Grandma, Cleo Atz (Kuhnau) was in fact at the bank in Okabena that day and once told me the story of how they robbed the bank as she was working there. She did alert her father, but she never told me the rest. Thanks for the update.