The photo here-- shows the spot of the Grapevine murders. This is the modern day turnoff from TX Hwy 114 where the dual killings occurred-- near the crest of the hill on the far side of the road. April 1st, marks 76 years since the Grapevine murders, which many feel turned the tide of public opinion against Clyde & Bonnie-- and thus spelled the beginning of the end for the outlaws. By that juncture in 1934, not only was a determined posse on their heels-- due to the embarrassment to law enforcement from the Eastham breakout, but due to Grapevine-- the murders of a young H.D. Murphy and Edward Bryant Wheeler seemed to shock the senses of the populous, once perhaps more than evenly split in favor of Barrow. The effects of the Grapevine killings seemed swift, as law enforcement is said to have been galvanized by the deaths of such young officers. Wheeler had been on the force for just 4 years-- and for Murphy, although he had seen weights and measures duty-- April 1st, 1934 was his very 1st day on motorcycle patrol. The photo
B&C legend has it that Clyde had tried a number of times via Joe Palmer, to set up Ray Hamilton for death-- based on a falling out Clyde had with Ray, over a bad split of the Lancaster Bank monies. Although Clyde had been unsuccessful previously, on this particular Easter Sunday-- his plan had a chance to work. Clyde, Bonnie, Henry Methvin and Joe Palmer arrived at about 10:30 AM and parked just off Texas Highway 114. The 5th passenger in the Barrow car that day, was Bonnie's rabbit Sonny Boy-- whom she planned to give to her mother Emma.
Meanwhile for their Easter morning, Ray Hamilton and Mary O'Dare had just released Mrs. Cam Gunter and her child-- after having kidnapped them the night before, soon after Mary had wrecked the car she and Ray were traveling in. After releasing Mrs. Gunter, Ray had stolen a new Ford sedan-- which ironically was virtually identical to the Barrow Gang car, right down to the yellow wheels. By then, Ray and Mary were headed from Houston to Dallas, unaware of the fate that might await them. Clyde had sent Joe Palmer to Dallas to alert the family concerning where to meet them. That left Clyde, Bonnie, Henry and Sonny Boy in the car parked about 100 yards off the main road.
The rest of the story as they say is history. About 3:30 PM Motorcycle Officers Wheeler, Murphy and Polk Ivy approached while on patrol. While Ivy went on ahead, Wheeler and Murphy turned off the road to investigate a black car they spotted in the distance. Most believe in mistaking Clyde's instructions, Henry Methvin open fire killing Wheeler. Murphy in hurriedly trying to load his shotgun which he carried unloaded-- was then felled by Clyde. One of the more interesting aspects of this story to me, is the sheer firepower apparently levied by Clyde and Henry-- in killing these 2 officers. News accounts from the time, list the spent shell casings found as including-- (3) 16 gauge shotgun shells, (5) .45 caliber auto shells, (3) 12 gauge shotgun shells and (1) rifle shell (thought to be from a BAR).
However next to the slain officers, the greatest immediate impact of the Grapevine incident-- may have been to Bonnie Parker. A report from a witness named William Schieffer, who lived several hundred yards away-- had Bonnie standing over the body of Officer Murphy and finishing him off, by rolling him over and firing into his chest. However Mr. and Mrs. Fred Giggal, who were following Wheeler and Murphy when they turned off-- then had heard shots and doubled back-- claimed they saw the taller of 2 men fire shots into a body on the ground. Never the less for Bonnie, it was too late. Once the newspapers got a hold of the Grapevine story-- Bonnie had been labeled a cold blooded killer.
Now whether Grapevine was the turning point, and beginning of the end for Bonnie and Clyde is debatable. Many believe it was Eastham which spelled the end for Barrow and his paramour. My take is-- that because Eastham had caused a physical posse to be sent out against them, which would claim their lives-- that Eastham was indeed the beginning of the end. But if that's true, then the outrage that was Grapevine-- sealed the deal.