Thursday, July 1, 2010

"But when the air cleared, I counted at least 25 cops- city, county and state" Billie Parker

The story of The Sowers Ambush has been told and re-told over the years-- but never quite like this. Within her unpublished manuscript, Billie Parker Moon spends considerable time speaking of Sowers. And rightfully so-- for Billie had a unique advantage in relaying her account of this dramatic Bonnie & Clyde event. Not only was she present to witness this November 1933 Texas ambush attempt 1st hand (including being shot at)-- but as an insider with an intimate closeness to Bonnie & Clyde, Billie was privy to many unique details as told by the outlaws after this waylay occurred. Thus Billie's able to fill in gaps previously untold, and provide a "gripping" account from ground zero. I'll say this-- based on Billie's recollections of this story, as Ricky Ricardo would say-- it seems some who've recounted differing versions of this event over the years, may have some esplanin' to do-- with Billie's account now known.

The identification of Sowers as the ambush location, has always been a bit of a misnomer-- as Sowers both today as in yesteryear was an unincorporated community. Those who live in this community today, find themselves within the city limits of Irving, Texas. As such, Billie never identifies Sowers by name. Rather she calls this location Grapevine, for the community which was nearby. But there's no mistaking Billie's description of this incident, as being the same episode we've come to know as The Sowers Ambush. In November of '33, the actual location of the ambush was the crossroads of Texas Hwy 10 and Esters Road. Today, with an updated highway system, this spot would be the intersection of Texas Hwy 183 and Esters Road.

So without further delay-- see how many new pieces of information you can find within Billie's account of Sowers. There were just 4 lawmen present for the ambush, as wheeled out for photos by the Dallas Sheriff's Office, right??-- or 6 lawmen as reported by the newspapers?? Not according to Billie-- not by a long shot.

Also pay close attention to Billie's description of the Sowers informant. Although she's reluctant to name "him" by name-- by process of elimination within Billie's account of who was present, along with her explanation of this man's role that evening-- to me Billie leaves little doubt concerning both the identity of the Sower's informant, and her hatred for this individual. This man's reported participation with the families that November evening, has been confirmed many times by those present over the years.. and within Billie's account, now reconfirmed.  You'll also learn in fabulous detail, what happened to B&C after the ambush. So here we go, and as always-- I relate these wonderful Billie accounts verbatim. Bonnie & Clyde's quotes are emboldened.

"The Ford rolled slowly down the road and then faltered, as if the driver momentarily was unsure of himself and the situation. The car's light blinked on and off in a prearranged signal which had become familiar through long use. The flashing lights were answered in kind from a second car parked further down the road. Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow had returned home for another visit with their families. The scene was familiar to all of us. We had met them before in out-of-the-way places around the Dallas area. Clyde had telephoned earlier that evening to arrange the Grapevine meeting. As Bonnie's only sister, I took our mother along and we were joined by Clyde's mother, sister and younger brother. A family friend drove the car we were in."

"The Ford, reassured by the exchange of signals, gathered speed as it closed the distance between it and our waiting car. The Ford moved in front of our car and the headlights illuminated the front seat. As usual, Clyde was at the wheel with Bonnie close beside him. The kids had made it back in one piece-- something on which we never could depend. A grin which had been building on Clyde's face turned to a grimmace as the Ford slowly rolled to a stop. A flash of red light erupted from a bar ditch alongside the road. It was accompanied by a popping noise which sounded for all the world to me like firecrackers at a Fourth of July celebration. It was the beginning of a gun battle which Bonnie would say later was "the closest we ever came to dying."

"It took a few moments for me to realize the ditch alongside the road was filled to the brim with cops of all shapes, sizes and services. The headlights of our car still were trained on the Ford and, pushed by an instinct I didn't know existed, I reached across the front seat and killed the lights, shrouding the Ford in darkness. Flickering gunfire outlined the ditch in flashes of red and the miniature thunder from the guns rapidly became deafening inside our car. Clyde, always an excellent driver even in the worst of situations, shoved the Ford into gear and sped down the road in a storm of gravel and gunfire."

"Bonnie and Clyde escaped that night but not without considerable loss. Clyde had been hit two or three times in his legs and a bullet lodged in one of Bonnie's knees. They almost bled to death before reaching Salisaw, Oklahoma, and the safety offered them at the home of the brother of Pretty Boy Floyd. It was later that we realized the "family friend" who drove the car for us that night had told police of the planned meeting. He sold them out for a used car and a few dollars lawmen were offering for the end of Bonnie and Clyde. They had been betrayed by a man they called friend. A similar betrayal on a lonely road near Gibsland, Louisiana, two years later would cost them their lives."

"There was no glamor in the lives of those kids. Just like there was no glamor that long ago night in Grapevine. Bonnie told me later she had a premonition about the meeting. "When we pulled onto that road, something didn't look right," she said. Clyde slowed the car and gave the signal. When it was returned from our car, Clyde told her "It'll be alright, honey. We need to see the folks. Moments later, the air was filled with gunfire and both Bonnie and Clyde were bleeding badly from gunshot wounds."

"The newspapers said the next day that six officers were involved in the ambush. But when the air cleared, I counted at least 25 cops-- city, county and state. There never was a time when six cops would attempt to capture Bonnie and Clyde, even from ambush." "That's the closest we've ever come to dying," Bonnie told me later. "They almost killed us right there on that road." Clyde, in an almost superhuman effort, got the car moving and eluded pursuing squad cars."

"They drove to an old well as they headed for Oklahoma. Bonnie told me they pulled the car up to the well and Clyde dragged himself out, trying to get to the cold water which would staunch the flow of blood from their wounds. "We must have passed out about the same time," Bonnie said. "When I came to, Clyde was lying between the car and the well. He was out cold and his pants were soaked in blood." At the well, they managed to bind their wounds and recover sufficiently to get to Salisaw where Floyd's brother looked after them until they were fully healed."

One thing that's struck me from Billie's account of Sowers, was how close the 2 cars were when the shooting started. I've asked both Jim Knight who owns a well known Bonnie & Clyde replica car, and L. J. "Boots" Hinton who raced cars in his youth and grew up during that period-- how close these cars would have been, for the headlights of one to illuminate the seats of the other. With just a 6 volt battery to power the headlights, which although they looked big-- were mostly reflectors with small light bulbs-- "damn close" was one answer I received.

Plus, unless Clyde turned around when B&C fled the scene-- they would have driven right past the families car, while the shooting was under way. Sowers was the incident, which after it's conclusion Dallas Sheriff "Smoot" Schmid issued his order-- that no engagement with B&C would be allowed when civilians were present. It seems that was for good reason. I've heard that Clyde was incensed, that the families were fired upon that night. Based on Billie's description, it's a wonder no one from the families were shot or killed.

In his foreword to Billie's book, Clint Kelley explains that the only man Billie really hates is the former friend whom she refused to identify by name. He was the man who drove the family car on a windy night in Grapevine, when Bonnie and Clyde almost were killed as they attempted to meet with their families. "That man sold them out for a used car and a few dollars," she said. "His only motive was profit. He didn't have a son to save like Mr. Methvin did." And for all familiar with those present for the 2 back to back family meetings that fateful November in '33-- Joe Bill Francis was the man known to have driven the families to their rendezvous with Bonnie & Clyde.  

More on Billie's feelings concerning the Methvins and the ambush of Bonnie and Clyde in a later post. They'll be more to come from Billie's manuscript soon. My thanks to Stephanie Charlesworth from The UK, who I recall providing this hard to find photo of Billie within a past B&C debate. Ah, that was a good one. A friendly reminder-- these Billie Parker recollections are ©2010 The B&CHB by A. W. Woodward

Was Billie's account of The Sowers Ambush what you expected?? I welcome your comments.


BarefootOkieGal said...

Billie's revelations are so interesting to me! I do wish she had put together a complete book - I know her stories will come to an end soon, and I just wish there was more material available like this.

Billie's description of the incident is so much more graphic than accounts written by others - as you mention, Winston, those two cars has to be pretty darned close in order for them to be able to see the expression on Clyde's face! Bonnie expressed the thought that this was the closest that she and Clyde had come to death yet, and I'm imagining that the fact that their families were so close added to the horror - I know Bonnie and Clyde had to be aware that they were possibly endangering their families by their visits, and this incident had to bring that home with a vengeance. Knowing how they loved their families, I can imagine that this incident absolutely infuriated the two of them - and perhaps gave them an inkling of how desperate the cops were to stop them, to have stooped so low as to stage an ambush with civilians in the possible line of fire. That had to really drive home the fact that they had passed the point of no return.

Depending on which account of the final ambush you read, there are civilians present who could potentially have gotten in the way - the men driving the logging truck, Ivy Methvyn (if he was indeed hiding under his truck and was not tied to a tree with the posse) and there was the possibility in Methvyn's mind that his son might be in the car with Bonnie and Clyde after all. (Of course Methvyn was a criminal and if they had accidentally shot him down while killing Bonnie and Clyde, I don't think the law would have lost any sleep over it.)

I certainly don't see that this ambush was justified, and I'm glad that in the aftermath, it was agreed not to put civilians into jeopardy again. In the case of the final ambush, it seems that they were trying to make sure that they wouldn't end up shooting the guys in the logging truck accidentally. (I'll bet the sight of that truck bearing down on the ambush site almost gave the posse members heart attacks!)

A. Winston Woodward said...

Hi Cindy--

There are a number of Billie's revelations concerning Sowers, I'm sure many will find interesting. The knowledge concerning the involvement of the Floyd family in helping B&C, confirms the Floyd's accounts of this event. Also the number of lawmen present that night as stated by Billie, absolutely contradicts law enforcement accounts of Sowers.

Sheriff Schmid was said by those in the know, to have wanted the glory of capturing B&C for the Dallas Sheriff's Department. Schmid's documented reluctance to cooperate with other law enforcement agencies prior to Sowers-- seems to bear this out. It appears, that perhaps there was some pretty good down home cookin'-- expressed to the media concerning Sowers.

Plus I've always heard it said, that Bob Alcorn expressed a desire to have the Texas State Highway Patrol present at Sowers-- to aid in capturing B&C, but that Sheriff Schmid refused. According to Billie, someone pursued B&C at the end of the Sowers incident. This makes you wonder, concerning the competence of the plan. With additional law enforcement available, why wouldn't roadblocks have been set up covering all possible escape routes??

In my view, you as many will be right to comment on the question of the lawmen's desperation??-- in firing on innocents in attempting to bring down B&C. I don't believe harboring, was an offense punishable by death.

One of the gems of Billie's account, has to be the well story-- where B&C pass out from their injuries, falling just short of gaining relief until later on. I too wish Billie had completed her book. Those involved or who would know, have told me that the materials I have-- are all that's known to exist from Billie's literary effort. I'm still searching for Clint Kelley. I'm hoping there's more of Billie's manuscript to find. If anyone who reads this, knows anything of a Clint Kelley from Dallas in the 1970's-- I would appreciate knowing.

BarefootOkieGal said...

Considering that no one was sentenced to death for harboring Bonnie and Clyde, I'd have to agree with you, Winston, that it was not a capital crime!

There is plenty of debate as to the legality of the final ambush; I wouldn't even want to examine the legal issues (or illegal issues!) of this botched ambush. I think that it got to the point where police officers were thinking as much of the "glory" of capturing B&C as they were thinking of getting rid of them.

Considering the number of times that B&C managed to escape, it is odd that any possible escape route would not have been teeming with armed officers ready to shoot and kill. Previous experience should have taught the police that they would not be taken easily!

I am eagerly awaiting the next installment...

joe from Canada said...

Hi Winston and Cindy
My first attempt at sending this emailed seems to have failed here goes another try
I have read Billie Jean account as presented in the blog and like any incident there seems to be a couple of versions

In THE FAMILY STORY OF BONNIE AND CLYDE by P Steele and Marie Barrow Scoma, Marie paints a picture that when Clyde arrived at the meeting place he slowed down his car (no indicication of closeness) to their car- they were spotted by the lawmen who opened fire.

B&C in their escape do highjack a car driven by Thomas James and Paul Reich. (Difficult to highjack another car when you are both wounded in the legs. There was no mention on the number of officers but there does not appear to be too many- say four. The car abondoned by B&C was inspected the next day and found to have a number of dents as the bullet from Thompson submachine guns did not penetrate the car

In BONNIE AND CLYDE THE LIVES BEGIND THE LEGEND by Paul Schneider, the authour combines both Marie's version and Billie Jean's. In this version the autos actually pass each other but Clyde does not stop fearing something but just as he is about a car lenght away the shooting starts. All Marie and Billie Jean could do was try to cover their mothers.

In this version:
Bonnie is firing back as per Ted Hinton
there are four officers in the posse Sheriff Scmhmid, Ted hinton, Bob Alcorn and Ed Castor

B&C are wounded but there is no carjacking to escape.

In this book the author seems to indicate that That Marie thought Billie Jean or Joe Francis. Why did Marie think Billie Jean????

Anonymous said...

Three observatons about Billie's account of Sowers. In all other accounts, including Marie's, the family car left at the same moment as Clyde and Bonnie's car but in the other direction. Also according to Marie, she (Marie) was the only one with her head up and looking out the back window of the car as it speed away. How could Billie have counted let alone seen 25 officers? Since most of the "known" officers wore suits how could one distinguish between city, county and state? How long was the time frame between the first shot and both cars leaving? Seconds, a minute? It seems it would be hard to count heads as you were leaving the scene, in the dark, afraid for your life, possibly ducking but at least flinching at every shot.
How long was it that they realized the family friend had made a deal? Days, weeks, months or years? In the midst of all the alligations as to who might have been the informant it is interesting to note that both Marie and Floyd Hamilton had concluded that it had to be one of two people, and Billie was one of those two. By no means am I suggesting she was the informant. It just is a little too easy to cast stones years later when you are suspected also. The supposed family friend informant drove the same vehicle he had before, during and after Sowers. One again must ask the question when did this revelation about the family friend suddenly occur to everyone? It certainly wasn't at the time as he continued to take the family to meetings, and had continued dealings with Clyde. It's again speculation fueled by hindsight and second guessing. To those who knew Cumie she liked to talk about the "kids" and what was going on. In the FBI reports there is at least one direct revelation (unknown at the time) that one informant was told by Cumie that there was a meeting that night (not Sowers) with Clyde, Nell couldn't make it, and that the family friend was driving them in his car. This was reported by the informant with a discription of the car and the driver but he was unable to get the plate number.
Lastly, the family friend had been with Clyde and LC and others at times. He had first hand reports of all the shoot-outs and what could go and mostly did go wrong at them. He had been under fire before. Why would he place himself in a position of danger and those whom he loved? Since the meet was scheduled ahead of time it would have been easy to beg off with some excuse and allow someone else to drive.
Just a few thoughts to ponder. It still is a mystery.

A. Winston Woodward said...

Hello Joe--

I don't think there's doubt about 2 things you brought up-- yes B&C did hijack a car to replace their Sowers car, which was shot up and displayed afterward. And yes, B&C were both shot through the legs-- when they hijacked their replacement car.

Ted Hinton claimed to have been grazed by as many as 3 shots at Sowers. Billie doesn't even mention return fire from Bonnie or Clyde. I must say, I'm really not sure what I think about the lawmen's accounts of Sowers at this point. If Clyde or Bonnie got any shots off, it seems they had a very limited opportunity to have returned fire.

I have it on good authority based on info from a well respected individual who interviewed Marie, that although Marie initially thought the Sowers informant was either Joe Bill Francis or Billie Jean-- that Marie did finally reveal at one point, she believed the informant could have been Joe Bill. Floyd Hamilton told this same interviewer it was Joe Bill-- no doubt about it.

I have little doubt about the identity of the Sowers informant. I feel Joe Bill Francis was the Sowers informant. I feel the memo within the Dallas FBI files, from Acting Dallas SAC McCormack to J. Edgar Hoover concerning Joe Bill is the smoking gun. I feel it's ludicrous to believe, that Billie would have put both Bonnie and her mother in danger of being killed. Plus Billie wasn't squeezed by the law, until more than 5 months later concerning the Grapevine killings-- which she had nothing to do with. Joe Bill could easily have been pressured by the authorities at any time. I feel the family member or person close to the families, mentioned more than once within the FBI files as being Bob Alcorn's informant for Sowers-- was Joe Bill.

I am preparing a post on Joe Bill Francis which will appear sometime this Summer. In doing research for this piece, I've double checked with a number of B&C authors concerning info on Joe Bill. Joe Bill Francis apparently never presented a defense or issued a denial, concerning suspicions concerning him and Sowers. And although a Francis family member has told me there's info available to exonerate Joe Bill-- I don't believe a hint of this info has been advanced. It seems to me, you defend the ones you love if they can be defended.

I would love to see evidence to support Joe Bill's innocence if it exists. I have now offered this blog to Joe Bill's family twice, to use as a forum for his support. To date, I've received no reply to my offer.

A. Winston Woodward said...

Hello Anonymous--

I would politely say that unfortunately, there's no way of answering so many of the questions you pose. Your multiple question format, with considerable supposition weaved in to such minutely detailed queries (which in my view cannot be known)-- makes it tough to comment on them. I'm not a supposition type of guy, when it comes to B&C History.

I've addressed the Sowers informant within my last comment to this post-- info I hope you and others might find interesting, concerning Marie Barrow's and Floyd Hamilton's impressions of the Sowers informant, as related to me by someone who knew them both. I don't feel there's viable evidence pointing to Billie Jean, concerning her being the Sowers informant. However there's much known, with which to consider Joe Bill as the informant.

Concerning your observations about the Francis' relations with the Barrows-- you bring up a good point, which I feel may best be explained in knowing that Nell Barrow married a Francis as well. That would make the Barrow/Francis relationship complicated but necessary, concerning the knowledge that Joe Bill may have betrayed them. Joe Bill was not married to Marie at the time of the Sowers ambush attempt. He "was" a family friend and he was there. Also he apparently did drive that night.

I for one, am not here to cast doubt on Billie's eyewitness accounts. I'm happy just to have them, and be able to publish her 1st hand stories for all to see and enjoy for this history. Not that I won't question Billie's accounts in some ways, should I need to. I've asked those who knew Billie intimately, about her honesty-- which seemed steadfast and true.

My impression both from Billie's Journal notes and Billie's manuscript, is that her accounts seem quite credible. Also Texas State Highway Patrolmen wore distinctive uniforms, as did mainstream Dallas police officers. The only "suits" likely at Sowers-- would have been from the Sheriff's Department and perhaps Detectives. I would ask if Billie said she witnessed 25 law enforcement officers at Sowers-- who would you or I be, to suppose somehow based on some split second scenario-- that she didn't?? I can't and won't go there.

Also as I am not fond of anonymity for this B&C forum, perhaps you would kindly identify yourself within your next comment. You are most welcome, to add your thoughts to this forum. I only ask that those here on The B&CHB-- support their thoughts with their names.

A. Winston Woodward said...

I wanted to throw my 2 cents in, regarding a couple of expressions made concerning Sowers.

The B&C rumor mill once going (whether related to B&C sexual rumors or otherwise)-- to me, has a remarkable habit of being self perpetuating-- without employing the evidence at hand. Concerning Billie possibly being the Sowers informant, I'd love for someone to explain why that makes sense-- and what evidence exists to support it??

I don't mean to be impolite to Marie Barrow, but for those aware of her statements over the years-- I've heard it expressed by those who knew her, that she perhaps wasn't always the best source of information. Concerning Billie at Sowers, there's no independent evidence I know of-- that supports even the possibility that Billie was the informant.

There is however, a good bit of knowledge to implicate Joe Bill Francis. I continue to point to the FBI document I mentioned, as being in my opinion-- the smoking gun to incriminate Joe Bill. A question to ask??-- why would Director Hoover himself, be asked specifically by the Dallas Bureau-- to protect the knowledge that they had requested the fingerprints of Joe Bill Francis, from the Dallas Police?? Why would that be important??-- and what would have made Joe Bill so special, as to warrant such secrecy concerning him??

Joe Bill was also reportedly witnessed being picked up by the police, immediately outside of Emma Parker's house at one point. Aren't the police known to create diversions, to aid those they wish to protect?? That rounding up of Joe Bill in plain sight of the families, seems as if it could have been a convenient way for the law to have a conversation with Joe Bill-- and also create a diversion to deflect suspicion from him as well. My understanding is, Cumie Barrow's reaction to that incident was to blame the police. Mission accomplished??

Concerning the law shooting at an informant, whether it be the Sowers informant that windy November night in '33-- or Ivy Methvin, if he was indeed in the road at Sailes as some claim-- after the example of Sowers, does anyone feel the law was that conscious of protecting by-standers-- especially if related to these outlaws??

As I've mentioned before, my take is that the law could do pretty much whatever it wanted to in the mid 1930's-- to stop the scourge of rampant crime. Their tactics and mentality (including the use of torture techniques which are known)-- in my view, were more equal to those of criminals than some might have you believe. Would the law have minded if they hit the Sowers informant, or Ivy Methvin or for that matter Henry, if he had been in the back seat of the Warren car?? That's a good question.

I subscribe to the view, that that's the way it was during those unique times of the 1930's. Some can criticize those folks using our vantage points of moral standing today if desired-- but that doesn't make it right to do so or change anything, nor should it. B&C History is what it was-- and the truths concerning it, can't be undone.

joe from Canada said...

If life teaches us anything , it's that anything is possible.In response to your question as to how it may make sence that Billie may have been involved in Sowers, the following is a possible scenario

By Nov 1933, both families were probably stressed to great amounts. Both families may have felt that the end was truly near and as we know verbal attempts were made to get Bonnie to leave Clyde which she would not on her own accord.

This may have been an attempt to give the law Clyde in exchange for Bonnie. I know what you are going to say that the family members were put in danger but that may not have been the original plan. Maybe it was felt that Clyde would not shoot back with family there. Maybe the plan was to sneak up on Clyde. Let's not forget that the Parker family felt that this was all Clyde's fault.

Then that night as the cars passed each other and Clyde did not stop fearing something was not right the plan went wrong as as they saw Clyde possibly getting away, the lawmen opened fire.

other possible scenarios
-- a family member may have let it slip innocently that they were busy that night. Fearing afyer the incident that they would not be trusted never said anything

My point is that anyone could have given up the meeting that night for whatever reason- ranging from saving someone- to ending the entire saga (with no casualties) to reward money.

A. Winston Woodward said...

Hi Joe--

I would respectfully say, the problem with the scenarios you build so well-- is the documentation which exists, which clearly spells out the groundwork being laid for the Sowers ambush attempt so long in advance. The informant-- said to be a family member or friend of the families, was ID'd as having been Bob Alcorn's informant. Thus, this person was a Dallas Sheriff's Department cooperative-- who worked with them at some length to help set up Sowers. To me, that eliminates Charlie Stovall.

It's documented that not just 1 but 2 clandestine family meetings were witnessed, prior to finalizing the Sowers ambush attempt. It's noted these dry runs, were executed to make sure their informant's info was good. So this informant tipped off the law 3 times concerning family meetings with Bonnie & Clyde. As such, this wasn't just some spur of the moment thing. Also no mention is made of an effort to save Bonnie at Clyde's expense. I'm not sure any such offer was ever made to save Bonnie. After 2 successful observations of B&C family meetings, Sheriff Schmid was said to have been convinced of their informant's worth-- and as such, then finalized the Sowers trap.

The Bureau of Investigation had their own informant, who was close to Sheriff Schmid. Based on this intelligence, apparently the Bureau of Investigation witnessed both preliminary family meetings-- spying on Schmid and Alcorn, who were spying on B&C. Within their own records it's said, the Bureau didn't act to take down B&C on those occasions-- out of respect for Sheriff Schmid's upcoming ambush attempt.

The issue I have with scenarios formed by any of us who gaze upon this history now, is that scenarios are usually invented to support one theory or another. The difference between history and fiction, is that history relies on factual accounts and evidence-- which can be substantiated. It's fun to guess and fantasize in all of this, but unfortunately the ending destination of such frustrating exercises in creative thought is usually the same-- you end up no where. When not enough fact is known to build a case, the case just can't be built. In this situation, there seems ample circumstantial evidence to incriminate Joe Bill-- but really no evidence of any kind, to incriminate Billie Parker. Just a couple of impressions, which later were clarified to again point at Joe Bill.

Knowing what I do of Bonnie and Billie and of the Parker family, as told to me by living individuals who knew them well-- I cannot fathom Billie having put Bonnie, Emma or anyone else at risk-- by helping to set up an ambush where lawmen were armed to the teeth, and who shot recklessly in an attempt to bring down B&C at any cost.

Joe Bill does seem to have his supporters, who may wish for an alternative informant to be proven. Or perhaps many of these individuals, are just exercising their right to think creatively about the Sowers ambush?? The problem with this wishful or creative thinking, seems to be all the arrows pointing to Joe Bill-- based on accounts which he himself apparently never denied. Again this seems to be a case where when there's smoke there's fire. Unfortunately for Joe Bill, without a viable alternate suspect with some sort of evidence to actually incriminate them-- based on many factors which have stood the test of time-- it's Joe Bill's suspicion concerning Sowers which appears to be smoking.

As mentioned, I have most willingly offered this B&C forum-- for those who have claimed evidence exists to exonerate Joe Bill Francis. No one would be happier than I, to see this supportive information come forth-- and as such this open invitation stands. I've been approached with the hint of this evidence said to exist, but then asked to maintain my silence on why this info has not been advanced. My feeling is "if" this info truly exists, for Joe Bill's sake-- I would politely ask why this knowledge is not brought forth??