Friday, January 25, 2013

Bonnie & Clyde Amatuer Coroner's Night Revisited

OK-- Since some wish to dredge up the Frank Hamer brutal shooting of Bonnie from the right side of the death car, as espoused by Jones, Fischer and Guinn-- such an analysis requires the "bloody dimple" on Bonnie's right cheek, to be an entrance wound not noted by Dr. James Wade within his Coroner's Inquest report of May 23rd, 1934.  Either that, or this theory implies a cover-up by Wade-- in succumbing to pressure by one would assume Frank Hamer, to avoid the embarrassment of such an action on his part.

However as Hamer wasn't known as a man who minced words or feelings, and his feelings toward Bonnie (apparently largely based on a jaded impression of the Grapevine killings) were adequatelexpressed-- such hedging of any determined action he participated in makes little sense.  It's all gobbledygook to me.  My response to such reckless Bonnie & Clyde supposition and sensationalism-- is to simply say "prove it".    

There are those still living, who remember James Wade as man of great integrity.  In defense of the real Coroner Dr. Wade-- we could begin with this photo of a cleaned up Bonnie-- which shows what many have always thought was a cute Bonnie Parker indeed having dimples.  But we've already known that from photos of her when alive.  But I wonder what happened to that bullet hole within her right cheek, so "clearly visible" within the bloody Bonnie photo?? I guess it just goes to show-- blood within a dimple, does not good history make.

Time to quote Jeff Guinn as per Jones and Fischer-- "As the Ford gradually rolled to stop in the ditch beside the road, Hamer hustled down the hill, brandishing his powerful Colt Monitor Machine Rifle.  He was taking no chances. First, he fired a burst into Bonnie through the rear passenger window.  Then, when the car had completely stopped, the six-foot, three-inch Hamer walked forward, leaning his towering frame over the front seat where Bonnie was slumped, and fired a final series of shots down through the window and windshield directly into her".  

"Ummm"-- I don't think so.  Without forensic evidence to support such a colorful description, this story may qualify for some elitist award of fiction-- but lacks credibility from an historical viewpoint.  "So many" point-blank and powerfully punishing shots.  Apparently it's too bad Hamer was such a poor shot-- "and" from such close range. For based on the record both written and photographic-- it seems he missed her.

For the record-- this is the photo and description from the Jones/Fischer report which started this whole brew ha ha-- and inspired Jeff Guinn to travel a slippery slope, when forming his interpretation of the ambush-- seemingly laced with large and poisonous doses of fantasy.  Besides addressing elements of the Warren Fordor vehicle, by a man who built a remarkable replica car-- no one associated with the Jones/Fischer report was an expert on any element commented on-- ie: forensic science, crime scene investigation or photography.  However by the time this creative analysis was published-- it had been decided Bonnie's "bloody dimple" was an entrance wound, and the true entrance wound as noted by Dr. Wade-- had miraculously morphed into a scornful and vindictive exit wound. 

Dr. Wade's notation of this wound was as follows-- "another through the mouth on left side, exiting at top of jaw".  Please compare this photo and analysis, to the photo of a cleaned up Bonnie above for the truth.  But I can just hear the conspiracy theorists now-- "well then, they must have doctored the photos".  "Oh please"-- but I do hope those with such inclinations, find more valuable things
to do in life .  

It's likely we will never know all that really occurred at the ambush of Bonnie & Clyde.  Hamer for example, said the Warren Car was traveling at a high rate of speed when the shooting commenced.  All other accounts have the car stopped or barely moving, which logic also supports.  Too many inconsistencies to address, in a post dedicated to the desire by some to over-sensationalize the already sensational-- and others to exploit unproven grandiose "theories"-- which I think are correctly classified by many including me, as what they are-- creative and "wanting" supposition.

And one last thing-- I absolutely want to address a comment made to me, that according to more than one source-- Ted Hinton stated that Frank Hamer had fired into the right window of the death car.  And based on the wounds in Bonnie's face-- even though Ted said Hamer used a .45 caliber, this individual surmised (surely proper admission)-- that based on it's penetrating power, Hamer instead used a .38 for this grisly task.  Well for those who know me, you'll know I didn't hesitate to go to the best source concerning Ted Hinton-- his Son L. J. "Boots" Hinton, who's both a good friend and most accurate relayer of information known concerning his father. 

I read the entire creative statement as espoused by this gentleman, in support of the Hamer assassin's theory to "Boots".  While decorum dictates I not print Mr. Hinton's response-- it's suffice to say, these comments attributed to Ted by those lacking both historical
knowledge and diligence-- are surely not correct. 

According to Ted Hinton and Bob Alcorn as told both publicly and in private-- Ted was the first officer to the car, trying 1st to open Clyde's door-- but when it wouldn't budge (as it had been blown shut by gun fire)-- Ted was said to have hurdled the hood of the Warren car to open Bonnie's door.  Alcorn apparently offered colorful comment, that he was afraid Ted might hurt himself in his haste to reach the death car.  It seems to me, those who wish "so mightily" for the Hamer vindictive elimination of Bonnie twaddle to be true-- are getting so bold, as to just make things up now.  But that seems in keeping with this whole "theory" doesn't it?? 

of course, no rebuke of Bonnie & Clyde lore would be quite complete-- without continued thanks to Jeff Guinn, for bringing unsubstantiated and sensationalized fodder to the forefront.  I suppose for some, it's best to keep Jeff's fateful words in mind when sorting through Bonnie & Clyde History--
a clever quote, which might allow a creative writer historical license to infinity and beyond.  Jeff said-- "all written history is ultimately best guess". 

Well here's a quote from me-- "No, it's not".
You know, I always try to be polite, fair and patient within the realm of Bonnie & Clyde History. However, I "will" call it like I see it.  And when studying Bonnie & Clyde, one thing's for sure-- for many it's a polarizing and emotional experience.  It seems when some travel dimly lit paths-- they strive to see what isn't there.  It's easy to float the sensational, and criticize those of us who do our best to "keep the gate"-- when it comes to historical truth.  These days it seems so simple to imagine scenarios without merit, and spread them like wildfire through modern means.  My feeling is rumor and innuendo within history, have always been a fact of life.  What seems different today-- is the personal tact some people take, when they cannot defend historical positions or plain get caught within a web of the non-defensible. 

Many will note, when I make statements concerning this history I rarely use absolutes-- a trait I am most conscious of.  For I know how hard it is to prove what's hard to prove-- so long after the fact.  Therefore I feel it best in most circumstances, to leave a little wiggle room.  I only wish some would realize, when they say with "absolute assurity" that some far-out notion is true-- keep building upon it with reckless abandon, advance contrived rumor and make personal attacks when asked to consider logic and employ diligence within their quest-- they would have the graciousness to take a step back and ponder their position.  What a refreshing change that would be.

Some might say I should heed my own words when it comes to Jeff Guinn.  Perhaps a fair comment.  But to me the difference with Guinn-- is sensationalism shouldn't have been allowed to trump diligence within a widely distributed work.  It's my opinion, Jeff had the opportunity and was expected to exercise heightened diligence when writing an historical account-- something it seems he wasn't used to. Now everyone and their brother quotes "Go Down Together" as being Gospel when it comes to Bonnie & Clyde.  "Yep"-- Bonnie was a prostitute and Hamer acted like a crazed assassin, hellbent on filling a hated Bonnie Parker full 'o lead.  Jeff Guinn said so.  Well while Jeff has long since left this history to write of other things-- those of us who seek the truth, are left to clean up his mess.  Someone has to.         


Nicole Ferrier said...

Ya that whole Bonnie was a hooker thing...I don't know man, she lived with her uppity mom for most of that time I think she and Ray lived on thier own for what maybe a year?

I know Jan Fortune's book is another "Take with a grain of salt" reads....but one can hope that the diary entries and letters were real. If those were the genuine article, then there is no way that sweet girl who was so hopelessly in love was peddeling her wares.

She seems so sweet (And 'woefully blue" in her letters to Clyde when he is in jail, they just don't paint her as a woman who is ok with sharing her body with someone she isn't madly in love with.

Her "roll call" of the famous ladies of the night could have very easily been comprised of the poor and disenfranchised people Bonnie fed at her own expence when she was a waitress.

Frances said...

Very interesting - I read the book you mentioned and found that there was a lot of "information" that I had never heard of. Where did he get the "new" information?????

A. Winston Woodward said...

Hello Frances. By the "book you mentioned" I assume you mean Go Down Together, the Jeff Guinn offering-- as the Jones/Fischer report was never released en mass, and is hard to find today. Jeff confirmed to me, he used the Jones/Fischer report as the basis for his ambush scenario. When you have a moment-- look up the articles available here, concerning Go Down Together and the Jones/Fischer report for my analyses of these B&C "works". Although both efforts claimed care in their making-- I don't view either as impressive. Supposed facts based on supposition-- doesn't work for me.

Robert Herndon said...

I spent over 20 years as a police officer and homicide investigator, retiring as a police chief in 2011. I see a number of things here that don't add up. First are the accounts that the firing started before the car was in line with the shooters and the statement that the automatic weapons were "empty by the time the car got even with us," does not support the physical evidence present on the car.

Interesting too are the claims that Hinton ran up to the passenegr's side of the car and opened fire on the occupants - I am inclined to believe this. Consider the coroner's mention of a wound through the face of Parker, from right to left, and the line of wounds described "in a row" on her body. The shooters opened fire on the left (driver's side) of the car, so a right to left wound would have to have been delivered in the manner claimed in the account. What are your thoughts???

A. Winston Woodward said...

Hello Robert. Thanks much for your comment. Please review Dr. Wade's notes carefully. The shots through Bonnie's head are noted as "gunshot wound around edge of hair, 1 1/2" above the left ear" and "another through the mouth on left side, exiting at top of jaw" and "another at middle, just below left jaw". Concerning the reference to wounds noted by Dr. Wade, it seems the only right side notation was "bullet wound right leg about middle of outer right knee". Wade doesn't mention whether this was an entry or exit wound.

The reference to parallel bullet wounds-- "three parallel lines of bullets striking right side of back from base of neck to angular right capular to middle of back bone, one striking midway of back, breaking backbone"-- again seems non-conclusive re: what is thought known of the shooters. Only Ted Hinton was said to have used a BAR, capable of leaving multiple in-line shots. Capt. Hamer was rumored to have used a machine gun as well-- but this assertion isn't supported by the account of Sheriff Jordan, who said Hamer used an automatic shotgun in the ambush-- or photographic evidence (although not absolute)-- which show posse weapons on the roof of the Warren car post ambush. Of course, posse members could've lied re: the ambush here and there. Now they wouldn't have done that, would they?? :)

Also it was Hamer said by Jeff Guinn via the Jones/Fischer report-- to have been the one at the right of the car at the end. Hinton as recounted by his son-- had emptied his BAR from within their hiding spot, and then trailed the car from behind-- firing at the rear of the car with a .45 auto pistol. However-- don't forget Bob Alcorn's statement, that it was he who flanked the car at the end of the firing-- and shot at Bonnie's side with his rifle. There are but only a few bullet holes evident on the right side of the vehicle. One might think, if Hamer "was" standing at Bonnie's window-- he best get out of the way of Bullets fired by Alcorn.

Ambush accounts are a frustrating lot-- in that 2 members of the posse, never really made detailed accountings of the event. And eyewitness accounts which "were" recorded for history-- conflict with one another, even though a couple of these remembrances were made within just a day of the carnage. Then there are those recounted memories made months and even years later.

My feeling is-- despite the sensationalized ambush account as "envisioned" by Jeff Guinn based on the Jone's/Fischer report which also "envisions" (I'll be kind)-- Hamer assassinating Bonnie from her right side, based on a photo with an arrow pointing in exactly the opposite direction (wrong way) of Dr. Wade's hands on notation of Bonnie's wounds-- well, I can keep talking about often-- I think this "embellishment" of the facts, no matter how keenly desired for fame or book sales-- cannot be supported without additional evidence unlikely to ever be realized.

Sunny Flowers said...

Hi! I love your site & blog. There are a number of large bullet holes in the windshield on Bonnie's side. If you don't think Hamer did it after the car was stopped, then how did they get there? Someone had to shoot thru the windshield. Thanks

A. Winston Woodward said...

According to L. J. "Boots" Hinton, Ted Hinton's Son, as per Ted (and told to me directly)-- Hamer and Manny Gault were positioned at the end of the shooting line, based on the direction B&C's car traveled. At some point during the firing, Hamer shot at the windshield (Bonnie's side) as it was thought Bonnie was leaning to her right to position herself to shoot out her window. Well to me, that may have been what was perceived in the heat of the moment-- however, within a more likely truth, Bonnie was already quickly dead or dying-- and was blown to her right against her passenger door where she was found, by gunfire from her left. Based on the carnage and firepower used-- what other explanation could there be??

I would love for someone with ballistics knowledge to comment-- as according to Henderson Jordan, Hamer used an automatic shotgun as his main weapon of choice that day, not one of a variety of weapons as written of over the years. "Boots" has also said, shotgun was loaded with the largest shot. Holes in windshield may be evidence of that.

A. Winston Woodward said...

P.S.-- It's important for me to note, that I believe there's more to the ambush than meets the eye. Too many conflicting stories-- too many attempts to frame this event within contexts perhaps contrived??

I like many, am not sure at all the ambush happened as stated. Something seems covered up-- but as all participants are long gone now, it's up to us to piece together the clues-- and hope there are enough of them to learn the truth.

admariv said...

Being shot at from your left would understandably push you towards your right. However, in the photos that we see moments after the shooting, we see B leaning on her left, onto C. Was this because of the posse pushing her that way for the photo op? I have heard also, but have never seen any evidence of, was that B fell out of the car when they opened the door. That would go along with shooting from the left side. Have you also heard anything of that nature or do you have any idea why shes pictured laying on the side she was shot from?

A. Winston Woodward said...

Hi admariv-- As stories differ from the ambush posse-- no way to tell. However-- unless someone, anyone-- can provide definitive proof of wounds on Bonnie's right side, which don't seem to exist within Dr. James Wade's notations or within photos taken at the time-- then logically, there was no fateful barrage from Bonnie's right. No Photoshop then. Also photos taken that afternoon, were hand-developed and printed that night, and sold the next morning. It's been reported-- King Murphy and his wife stayed up the night, in getting those photos ready for the following day. No time for even crude photographic hanky panky. So wounds that were there-- were wounds you saw.

Anonymous said...

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