Expect nothing new. As with all accounts much is up for debate. This is a cobbled together sketch with some sources for you to peruse. It contains some graphic images. I am okay with the sketch, overall. Quite a number of posts here. . .
"She was-- beggin' your pardon--a bit of a female dog"
This one is going to be a bit ambitious. . .
I know little to nothing of Francis Hamer. I recall many years ago finding an inscribed copy (inscribed by the author/s, not Hamer. . . he died in 1955) of "I'm Frank Hamer. . ." It had some value even back then, although it was written in 1968. My interests have always been more toward the earlier outlaws/lawmen/gunmen. Although, once I bought a contemporary newspaper with the headlines "Dillinger Slain!" I believe I sealed in plastic and made a wall hanging of it. The good Lord only knows where it went. I really had no idea that it had value as I had bought a bunch of Buffalo Bill dime novels that same trip and thought that they were really neat. So pardon my ignorance and we will try and weather through. Okay?
I will say up front that I admire what I know of Hamer. I have often read his name in the same breath as that of men like Heck Thomas, Madsen, Tilghman, etc. Lofty company.
If the stories are to be believed this man was in scores of gunfights. Tree tall, square jaw, and a fightin' sonova*****. Let's look at his ambush of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. But let us be REAL CLEAR, this will not be the be all end all. It will be a short sketch. WITHOUT ANY DOUBT, THERE ARE BETTER STORIES OF MR. HAMER, EVEN ON GUN FORUMS. But ole Jay will try and weave together something that approximates history
Last edited by Gibson66; 01-09-2013 at 11:24 AM.
Francis Augustus Hamer was born on March 17, 1884 Fairview, Wilson County, Texas.
Frank Hamer was 6'3 1/2" and vacillated between 220-240 lbs. He grew up tough; he began early on working in his father's blacksmith shop and then as a wrangler on an area ranch. From there, he caught on cowboying for the Carr Ranch in western Texas. One particular adventure led directly to him getting work in law enforcement. He helped his bosses at the ranch to capture a horse thief and the local sheriff caught wind of it and it ended up leading to a post with the Texas Rangers. (Strangely enough, three out of his four brothers, also became Rangers.)
"Hamer joined the Rangers in April 1906. He became part of Captain J. H. Rogers' Company C, patrolling the border in south Texas. In 1908 he resigned from the Rangers to become the City Marshal of Navasota, Texas. He served in this position until April 1911 when he became a special officer in Harris County. Hamer rejoined the Ranger in 1915. He was once again patrolling the south Texas border from the Big Bend to Brownsville. The Rangers dealt with arms smugglers, bootleggers, and bandits throughout the area. In 1921 Hamer transferred to Headquarters Company in Austin (now part of Company F) and served as Senior Ranger Captain."
Something on the order of 100 gunfights, 17 wounded in actions, and 53 dead outlaws later, we have an end to Ranger Hamer. . . WOW! Unreal. While no doubt hyperbolic, even lessened, the numbers boggle the mind.
The guns of Hamer are legendary, here are a few. . .
.38 Super, exact gun (?):
"In 1932, when the Texas Ranger-hating Miriam "Ma" Ferguson was elected governor, Hamer quit the Rangers for good. The prison system hired him[in 1934] as a special investigator to hunt down Bonnie and Clyde, which he dutifully and historically did. By that time automobiles had replaced horses and tommy guns had taken the place of buffalo guns. Hamer fascinates us today because he lived forcefully in both of those worlds, spanning the era of the Old West with the Roaring Twenties."
We will next look briefly at that blood drenched Easter Sunday, 1934, that signaled the end of the outlaw careers of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow.
Then, we'll sketch out the ambush.
Last edited by Gibson66; 01-09-2013 at 11:25 AM.
I'm gonna grab a bite of supper. Yeah, here in Kentucky, we eat breakfast, dinner, and supper. We avoid the usual breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Placeholder for the tragic deaths of officers Edward Bryan Wheeler and H.D. Murphy.
From: "I'm Frank Hamer The Life of a Texas Peace Officer"
It seems some of the above may be in error but it certainly served its purpose. It inflamed the country! It awakened many to the actual deeds being perpetrated by this pair.
"Three Texas Highway motorcycle patrolmen, Edward Bryan Wheeler age twenty-six,
H.D. Murphy age twenty-two and Polk Ivy were traveling northwest on Highway 114
and Dove Road, just west of Grapevine. They had cruised past a black Ford V8 with
yellow wheels parked on a side road. Ivy continued on to Roanoke while Murphy
and Wheeler turned around to investigate.
Clyde grabbed a sawed-off shotgun and hid behind the car, while Henry Methvin grabbed
a Browning automatic rifle. Meaning to kidnap the officers and take them for a "joyride",
Clyde said to Methvin "Let's take 'em". Methvin took this to mean "kill 'em".
Not knowing of the impending danger and with guns still holstered, Wheeler who was in
front, approached the car. Clyde prepared to jump him and was surprised when Methvin
fired his weapon striking Wheeler in the chest.
Murphy attempted to grab his shotgun from his motorcycle, Clyde, now faced with a
different situation, fired three blasts at patrolman Murphy. After the smoke cleared,
two more victims were to lose their lives!"
placard at lower left marks spot where officers fell:
The following is an account by Blanche Barrow from the book: "My Life With Bonnie and Clyde"
[The third officer mentioned is Polk Ivy. Not there at the end but was a partner of Wheeler in the Texas Highway Patrol.]
I suspect that Bonnie was credited with something she did NOT do. But it worked out okay for propaganda purposes and indeed, deservedly so. God knows Bonnie had actually been involved in more than enough, whether she had a direct role role here or not.
Decent summary from "bonnieandclydehistory" a web log:
"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). [No idea as to the accuracy of the spent shotshells found. It is disputed.]
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."
Spot where the officers fell (modern):
So, it's now clear that Bonnie Parker did NOT take a direct part in the murder of the patrolmen, Wheeler and Murphy. However, only God knows she had participated in more than her share of horrific deeds. Henry Methvin and Clyde Barrow had been the executioners of the officers. But if the account in "I'm Frank Hamer" is credible, then it is likely Bonnie was present.
No matter. The die was cast. Frank Hamer was on the case now, a special appointee Hamer brought in specifically to get Bonnie and Clyde. As mentioned above:
"n 1934 the retired Capt. Hamer was hired as a Special Investigator for the Texas prison system to track down gangsters Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. " [That from texasranger.org.]
Quote from a website about two fellow Rangers Simmons also contacted concerning the job that Hamer took:
"Simmons wrote that Hamer was one of two lawmen he had had in mind. According to Ranger historian Ben Proctor, two former Ranger captains later said that Simmons had approached each of them first, and that they each turned him down for the identical reason: "We dont ambush people, and we dont kill women." Guinn p. 410. Ralph Fults heard the story from one of the Rangers in 1948. Phillips p. 354 fn.3."
Well tree tall badass Frank Hamer had zero problems with ambushing "female dogs".
After 102 days of hunting, Hamer would introduce the couple to six feet of sod.
Hamer is bottom, right:
So where did they head to immediately following the murders? Well I found a somewhat interesting, if questionable source on this wesite, "texashideout.tripod.com". Give this a read:
" TEXARKANA CONNECTION
Following the slayings of Highway Patrolmen
E.B. Wheeler and H.D. Murphy in Grapevine Texas,
Bonnie and Clyde along with Henry Methvin,
were spotted in and around the Texarkana area.
John Pecorella, remembered the day that Bonnie, Clyde and Henry came into Texarkana.
Clyde had pulled up in front of the Grim Hotel located in downtown Texarkana, Texas, on
State Line Ave. In 1934, the Grim was the "Crown Jewel" of Texarkana, hosting many parties
for the rich. With elegant rooftop gardens, it featured many big name bands' and dancing.
The Grim was the "in" place in Texarkana at that time.
It was also known to host illegal card games for the highrollers of the 30's. Bonnie was
inside the Grim, eating a sandwich, while Clyde and Henry Methvin waited outside in their
car. After a while, Clyde had become edgy, and sent Henry Methvin inside to fetch her.
Bonnie was at the counter eating a sandwich, when Henry entered and pretended to be reading
a magazine. When Bonnie and Henry made eye contact, she then knew that it was time to leave.
An employee at the Grim, had recognized Bonnie from a magazine photograph she had seen of her.
It is believed that the outlaw trio had also robbed the National Guard Armory in Texarkana.
They proceeded north for approximately 5 miles on State Line Ave. which is also US Hwy 71.
They were seen getting drinks at a roadstop at the intersection of US Hwy 71 & Sugar Hill Rd.
Later, they were seen entering into northeastern Oklahoma."
The Grim Hotel:
We do know exactly where they were on May 23, 1934.
Stay tuned. . . v
On February 10, 1934 Frank Hamer began his search to track down down Bonnie and Clyde. He began the way he had learned all those years ago on the Texas prarie. He hunted men as one would hunt game. Clyde was a coyote and Frank had an AR in .223 ready to rock Hamer was spot on in his technique as the outlaw pair was wed to routine. They now had a real man hunter on their trail and on May 23 it would be a told story. . .
Frank had ALWAYS been a lone wolf. He had a profound sense of honor and right and wrong. I think, as he saw a world that embraced shades of gray, he stood fast and he soon became insular. Frank Hamer was not impressed with authority, often regarded it with contempt. He was steeped in the Ranger ethos. He was a man who still held fast to the simple, quaint country values proffered by his family. He was my kind of lawman. However, with this case, he was forced to take on an inter-agency posse. BUT he basically hand chose the members. From wiki:
"In mid-March Henry Methvin's family contacted Bienville Parish Sheriff Henderson Jordan about their son, his legal troubles and his involvement with Barrow. Though Hamer was a lone wolf by nature, after much complicated politicking and negotiation he formed an inter-jurisdictional posse and an ambush plan began to come together. First to join him were Sheriff Jordan and his deputy Prentiss Oakley, an excellent marksman. Hamer brought in fellow former Ranger Manny Gault, who had been fired by "Ma" Ferguson and now worked for the Texas Highway Patrol. Hamer requested that Dallas County Sheriff Smoot Schmid commit his deputy Bob Alcorn full time to the case; Schmid sent Alcorn and another Dallas County deputy, Ted Hinton. The two deputies and Schmid had tried to ambush Barrow and Parker once before, in November 1933, near Sowers, Texas. After examining Barrow's abandoned V-8 Ford at Sowers and seeing that the barrage from his Thompson submachine gun hadn't penetrated its body, Hinton requested a BAR.. . .
On May 21, 1934, the four posse members from Texas were in Shreveport, Louisiana, when they learned that Barrow and Parker were to go to Bienville Parish that evening with Methvin. Barrow had designated the residence of Methvin's parents as a rendezvous in case they were later separated and indeed Methvin did get separated from the pair in Shreveport. The full posse, consisting of Captain Hamer, Dallas County Sheriff's Deputies Bob Alcorn and Ted Hinton (both of whom knew Barrow and Parker by sight), former Texas Ranger B.M. "Manny" Gault, Bienville Parish Sheriff Henderson Jordan, and his deputy Prentiss Oakley, set up an ambush at the rendezvous point along Louisiana State Highway 154 south of Gibsland toward Sailes. Hinton's account has the group in place by 9:00 pm on the 21st and waiting through the whole next day (May 22) with no sign of the outlaw couple, but other accounts have them setting up on the evening of the 22nd."
It was the Louisiana family of Henry Methvin that would begin the unraveling. They contacted authorities and soon Hamer was involved. They were upset that Henry was involved with Barrow and wanted to cut some sort of deal.
Hamer had been informed as to certain movements of the gang by the Louisiana branch of the Methvin family, as is seen above in the actions the posse on May 21, 1934.
Here is the account from, "I'm Frank Hamer":
A welded together account from texashideout.tripod.com. Excellent synopsis.
" The Methvin farm was located southwest of Mount Lebanon. The posse team was expecting Bonnie and Clyde
to show up there in search of Henry. They selected a spot in the brush just off of the road leading up to it.
They were able to see any approaching cars from their vantage point, yet remain hidden from view. Ivy Methvin,
Henry's father, was traveling on that road in his old Model A Ford truck when he was stopped by the lawmen
standing in the middle of the road. They took him into the woods and handcuffed him to a tree and proceeded
to remove one of the truck's wheels so that it would appear to have broken down at that spot. The trap now set,
they took their positions in the thick underbrush. By dawn, after having spent the night in the woods, dirty,
tired and tormented by the ferocious insects and no sight of the desperados, they were ready to head back to
their motel rooms for a hot meal and a bath. However, they agreed to wait it out another thirty minutes before
"calling in the dogs." At about that time, the sound of a car could be heard in the distance traveling at a
high rate of speed. The lawmen then checked their weapons and readied their positions. As the grey Ford V8
came into view, it's occupants were now clearly visible. Frank Hamer said, "It's him"! then Bob Alcorn turned
and whispered to the others - "This is it, it's Clyde"! The car slowed down, upon seeing the familiar truck lying
on the side of the road disabled. It was now about twenty feet away from the lawmen. At Alcorn's command
to "HALT", Bonnie let out a scream! Barrow and Parker reached for their weapons, but never got to fire them.
The bullets found their targets! No less then 167 bullets were fired at the notorious outlaws, Bonnie and Clyde."
As is my custom, we now present some contemporary newspaper accounts; these will be followed by some gruesome images, so be warned.
"Barrow and Woman Are Slain by Police in Louisiana Trap
Bandit Pair Are Riddled With Bullets as Car Speeds at 85 Miles an Hour
Ambuscade on the Highway Ends Long Criminal Career on the Pair
Dillinger Doctor Jailed
Outlaw's Woman Aide Also Convicted -- Moley Submits Crime Report
The War on Crime
Clyde Barrow and a woman companion were killed by police as they drove along a Louisiana highway.
Dillinger's sweetheart and a Minneapolis doctor were convicted of aiding the bandit.
Professor Moley in a report to the President outlined broad plans for law enforcement.
Barrow's End Is Sudden
Special to The New York Times
Shreveport, La., May 23 -- Clyde Barrow, notorious Texas "bad man" and murderer, and his cigar-smoking, quick-shooting woman accomplice, Bonnie Parker, were ambushed and shot to death today in an encounter with Texas Rangers and Sheriff's deputies
The 24-year-old desperado, who was accused of twelve murders in the last two years, and his companion whizzed along a little-traveled, paved road near Gibsland, about fifty miles east of here, at eighty-five miles an hour in a high-speed gray automobile, rushing into a carefully-laid death trap.
Before they could use any of the weapons in the small arsenal they had with them, the Rangers and others in the posse riddled them and their car with a deadly hail of bullets.
The onrushing machine, with the dead man at the wheel, careened crazily for an instant and then catapulted into an embankment. While the wheels of the wrecked machine still whirled, the officers, taking no chances with the gunman who had tricked them so often, poured another volley of bullets into the machine.
Both Died Holding Guns
A moment later the uproar in the otherwise peaceful countryside spot had subsided and the officers swarmed over to the car. They found that Barrow and Bonnie had died with weapons in their hands, prepared to kill at the slightest alarm. The woman was crumpled up on the seat, her head between her knees and a machine gun in her lap. Marrow, a smear of red, wet rags, had been clutching a sawed-off shotgun in one hand as he drove.
The car proved to be a traveling arsenal. In it the officers found three submachine guns, six automatic pistols, one revolver, two sawed-off automatic shotguns and enough ammunition for a siege.
Governor O. K. Allen of Louisiana congratulated Sheriff Anderson Jordan of Bienville Parish, where Barrow and the Parker woman were killed, when he was informed of the details today.
The so-called "Public Enemy No. 1 of the Southwest," a mere hoodlum in Dallas up to 1930, met his end in an ambush that had been planned carefully by Frank Hamer, a former captain in the Texas Rangers, who had clung to Barrow's trail for years.
Hamer, who was recently commissioned as a highway patrolman for the special purpose of getting his man, as well as his gunwoman, trailed Barrow into Bossier Parish, where the criminal was said to have relatives.
It was reported that Hamer had received a tip as to Barrow's whereabouts from the father of a convict who recently escaped from a Texas penitentiary. The father, a resident of Louisiana, whispered the word to the authorities in the hope of winning clemency for his son.
Several weeks ago Hamer and his fellow officers barely missed the couple at a hide-out at Black Lake. Since then, the Rangers and Sheriff's deputies charted the highways that had been frequented by the pair and then quietly adopted a scheme of watchful waiting.
Once again Hamer picked up a "red-hot" clue to Barrow's trail, this time in Bossier Parish. He anticipated that the outlaw and his woman friend would head west toward Texas. Hamer, a Ranger associate, Sheriff Jordan and his men raced ahead to a point on the highway where they got an unobstructed view of the road. There they hid and waited.
Shortly after 9 A.M. the lookouts recognized the eight-cylinder sedan approaching at terrific speed. Some of the officers coolly walked out into the roadway, motioning and shouting for the driver to halt, while those in the ambuscade trained their weapons on the criminals.
Barrow answered by stepping on the accelerator and reaching for a sawed-off shotgun. In a split second the officers of the law, spurred by the knowledge of Barrow's ruthlessness, opened up their death-dealing barrage.
The first volley appeared to have the effect of a bolt of lightning, and the uncontrolled car shot with its topmost speed into the embankment. The law had settled its score with Barrow and his quick-shooting woman accomplice."
Trenton (NJ) Evening News
May 23, 1934
Barrow and Bonnie Parker Shot Dead from Ambush
Riddled by Texas Officers
Public Enemy Fails to Halt Speeding Automobile
Car Wrecked, Bodies Inside
Arcadia, La., May 23.—(AP)—Clyde Barrow and his gunwoman (sic) companion, Bonnie Parker, were beaten to the trigger pull by Texas and Louisiana officers today.
Their crime career ended in a blaze of riot-gun fire when, disregarding a command to halt and unable to get their weapons into play, the desperado and his cigar-smoking girl crumpled up in the front seat of a car traveling about 85 miles an hour.
The car careened into an embankment and was wrecked.
In the wreckage, the officers who had set the trap for the Southwest’s Public Enemy Number One and the Parker woman found both bodies riddled with bullets. Bonnie’s was almost doubled over the machine gun she had held in her lap. Barrow’s broken body was twisted behind the steering wheel, a revolver gripped in one hand.
The car, splintered by gunfire, proved to be a speeding arsenal.
The trap was sprung by Frank Hamer, a former Texas Ranger; B. M. Gault, a highway patrolman; and Ted Hinton and Bob Alcorn, Dallas County sheriffs. Hamer was recently commissioned as a highway patrolman for the special purpose of getting his man—and, in this case, his gunwoman (sic).
Hamer had learned of the highways frequented by the pair and had been watching for weeks.
Hamer and Gault had been watching the Black Lake hideout for two months.
Barely Missed Them
Several weeks ago, they barely missed the couple at the rendezvous. After that, they adopted a policy of “sitting and waiting.”
The bandits’ trail was picked up today by Hamer and three Texas Ranger associates in Rossier Parish, where Barrow was reported to have relatives. They followed the bandit car to Bienville Parish, where the Rangers were joined by Sheriff Henderson Jordan and a staff of deputies.
The officers got ahead of the bandit car and lay in wait until Barrow ran his machine into the ambush.
With the posse, heavily armed, hiding in brush along the paved highway, Barrow’s car broke over the horizon racing at 85 miles an hour. As it approached, an officer yelled, “Halt.”
Barrow and the woman answered by reaching for their guns. They were met by a fusillade from a dozen weapons.
The automobile smashed into an embankment. The officers continued to fire until the bodies were riddled.
Barrow and his companion had led peace officers on a wild chase over half a dozen States. Frequently they were cornered, but either eluded their pursuers or shot it out. They replenished their funds by robbing banks and business houses.
Reports that three other bandit companions of Barrow and the Parker woman had been slain were denied by officers on the scene.
Ready to Shoot Instantly
Barrow was regarded as one of the nation’s most dangerous killers, shooting at the bat of an eye and fleeing in fast automobiles.
Bonnie Parker was charged with participation in most of Barrow’s later crimes. Officers said she was as quick on the trigger as her associate, and just as elusive.
The bodies are being taken to Arcadia, La., 17 miles east of the scene of the killings.
In the wrecked car officers found three army rifles, two sawed-off automatic shotguns, a machine gun, a dozen pistols and large quantities of ammunition. Hamer’s laconic report read:
“We killed Clyde Barrow and Bonnie at 9:15 this morning. They were at Black Lake, a hideout we had been watching for weeks. Clyde and Bonnie did not get to fire a shot. Their car was full of guns and ammunition, but they did not get a chance to use them.”
This copyrighted article was published by the Seattle Daily Times (Seattle, Washington) on May 23, 1934:
Clyde Barrow Blazed Trail of Murder in Southwest
By Associated Press.
Dallas, Tex., Wednesday, May 23.—Clyde (Champion) Barrow, the Southwest’s No. 1 public enemy, was wanted in connection with at least a dozen killings throughout the Southwest, on several of which he faced formal charges of murder.
His police record dates from 1926, when he was arrested in Dallas for automobile theft. In 1930, still known only as a minor hoodlum, he was sentenced to the Texas penitentiary for fourteen years on burglary and theft charges.
Early in 1932 he was granted a general parole by Gov. Ross Sterling, shortly thereafter embarking on his spectacular career of armed robbery and terrorism.
Here are some of the crimes for which Clyde Barrow, either alone on in company with his brother, Marvin, killed by officers in Iowa in 1933, was wanted:
April 30, 1932—Murder of J. W. Bucher, filling station operator at Hillsboro, Tex.
August 5, 1932—Murder of Deputy Sheriff E. C. Moore at Atoka, Okla.
October 11, 1932—Killing of Howard Hall, grocery clerk at Sherman, Tex.
December 25, 1932—Killing of Doyle Johnson at Temple, Tex.
January 7, 1933—Killing of Deputy Sheriff Malcolm Davis in Dallas.
April 13, 1933—Slaying of Constable J. W. Harryman and Detective Harry McBinnis at Joplin, Mo.
June 23, 1933—Killing of Marshal Henry Humphrey at Van Buren, Ark.
January 16, 1934—Killing of Major Crowson, guard at state prison farm near Huntsville, Tex., when Barrow allegedly staged a raid in which Raymond Hamilton, convicted killer and bank robber, and four other convicts were liberated.
April 1, 1934—Killing of E. B. Wheeler and H. D. Murphy, Texas highway patrolmen, near Grapevine, Texas.
April 6, 1934—Killing of Constable Cal Campbell at Miami, Okla.
Bonnie Parker, Barrow’s companion on many of the forays, was charged by officers with active participation in many of the crimes. She was believed to have been with Clyde and his brother, Marvin, when a posse cornered the gang near Dexter, Iowa, July 24, 1933. Clyde and Bonnie eluded officers but Marvin was fatally wounded.
Photographs retrieved by officers from hideouts of the gang showed the Parker woman fondling high-powered firearms and smoking cigars. To an officer whom she and Barrow kidnapped and held captive for a time, however, Bonnie denied she was addicted to tobacco in that form. The pictures had been taken as a lark, she asserted.
This article was published by the Dallas Morning News (Dallas, Texas) on May 24, 1934:
Glad She Died like She Did, Roy Thornton, Bonnie’s Spouse, Says
Houston, Texas, May 23—(AP)—Roy Thornton, 25, convict husband of Bonnie Parker, wily gunwoman, who was slain with Clyde Barrow near Arcadia, La., Wednesday, said he was glad his wife died as she did.
“I’m glad,” he said, “they went out like they did. It was better than getting caught.”
Capt. Ike Kelly, manager of the Retrieve prison farm where Thornton is serving a long sentence for robbery, asked Thornton if he had anything to say.
“I’m no snitcher,” Thornton sneered, “that’s all.”
Thornton previously said he had not seen Bonnie since 1931, when he was sentenced to sixty years in prison. Two months ago Thornton was shot in an attempt to break from the Huntsville State prison.
The Dallas Morning News (Dallas, Texas) published this editorial on May 24, 1934:
Wages of Sin
There has been no question in the minds of the law-abiding that the sinister careers of Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker would end either in the death chair or at the hands of a posse. The only question was when. That has been answered now—not soon enough to have preserved useful lives and property already lost—but with the inevitable comparative speed that overtakes all of their kind. Not in the harsh Mosaic code of the Old Testament, but in the unerring philosophy of the New is found the somber reflection of Paul that the wages of sin is death.
The Barrow-Parker finale cuts a notch on the gun of relentless law, this time tracking down the criminals, cornering and finishing them. The State and Nation owe a debt of thanks to Sheriff Henderson Jordan of Arcadia, La., the Dallas County law officers and a former State ranger who ably finished the job. The community owes a debt to itself and to posterity to see to it, by injunction if need be, that no show is made of the interment of the brutal pair who have met a fate that they deserved.
To what throwback in humanity or flaw in civilization the world owes its Barrows and Dillingers can only be conjectured. It is an evil outcropping whose example spreads and will spread, until juries act sternly to convince the erring that property and life are sacred and punishment speedy and severe.
Clyde being removed from his last ride:
CLYDE BARROW AUTOPSY REPORT
Clyde Barrow's body appeared in the following condition when autopsied:
On the right arm, tattoo picture of girl under which is written Grace on the inner side,
Anchor and shield with initials "USN" on the left forearm
A dagger through a heart and the initials "E.B.W." on left shoulder, a rose and leaves
Gunshot wound in head, center front of left ear, exiting about 2" above right ear
One entering edge of brain above left eye
Several shots entering left shoulder joint
Small glass cut at joint, first finger of right hand
Seven small bullet wounds around middle of right knee
A number of glass wounds
Bullet wound right leg, about middle of outer left knee
Bullet wound on exterior ankle
Wounds about face
Wound 2" above back
A great hole gunshot wound, back of first finger.
Another wound, middle finger at bone, severing the member
BONNIE PARKER AUTOPSY REPORT
Bonnie Parker's body appeared in the following condition when autopsied:
One gold wedding ring on third finger of left hand
Small watch on left arm
A three acorn brooch on dress, in front
One small catholic cross under dress red dress and red shoes tattoo of two hearts with arrow, Above the right knee, names Roy on right side, and Bonnie on the left side
Shot in left breast, going into chest
Shot 4" below ear
Another shot, entering above the right knee
Two shots front leg (left leg?)
Two shots right leg
Gunshot wound around edge of hair, 1 1/2" above the left ear
Another through the mouth on left side, exiting at top of jaw another at middle, just below left jaw
Another above clavicle, left side, going into the neck
Another entering chest 2" below the inner side of left shoulder
Two shots about 2" below left shoulder, fracturing the bone
Another wound on elbow of left arm
Another entering left chest above the heart, breaking ribs
Six shots entering 3" on back region left side
Five pellet wounds about the middle of left side
Cuts from glass on the left ankle
Cut on top of left foot, apparently from glass
Cut on center of right thigh
Cut 6" in length, about 3 1/2" center of right leg
Eight metal fragments centering across the front of face
Exit wounds 6" on the inner side of right leg
Flesh wound underside of right knee
Bullet wound right leg about middle of outer right knee
Wound on center of ankle about 2" above back of foot
Gunshot wound to bone of first finger
Another to the middle finger
Gunshot wound entering fleshy portion of left thigh
Eight bullet wounds striking almost in parallel line on left side
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
Juxtaposed with this: