When a small-town girl dreams of escaping Independence, Missouri, and grows bored with her Mormon husband, what can she do? Divorce wasn’t an option, and her affairs were becoming cumbersome. She staged a murder and blamed it on their two-yr-old. The murder of James Kinne would ignite a bloody tale only Hollywood could conceive. Unfortunately, this story is true, and after the death of at least three, a media circus, and prison escape, the blood-thirsty vixen disappears. What happened to Sharon Kinne? Is she still out there luring men to their graves?
Sharon Elizabeth Hall was born in Independence, Missouri, on November 30, 1939. This suburb of Kansas City couldn’t hold the dreams of young Sharon, and everyone knew she wanted out. She loved reading fashion magazines and anything about Hollywood. She was a small-town girl headed to California. By the age of sixteen, the young blond-headed beauty was busy looking for a boy who would help her escape Independence.
James Kinne was a polite, good-looking Mormon boy a few years older than Sharon, but he was in college, and it looked like he was going places. Could he be her white knight ready to whisk her away from small-town life? Manipulative from the beginning, Sharon took the young fervently religious boy head-on and quickly beguiled him into a torrent love affair over the summer. The next fall, however, he was headed back to college and seemed to have no intention of taking her with him. This behavior simply would not do. Sharon had other designs for the young man, and she wouldn’t stop.
That fall, James gets a frantic call from his summertime fling. Sharon was pregnant and now came social astigmatism. What could the good-hearted young man do? It was the 1950s. He was compelled to drop out of college and make things right by marrying Sharon. It’s at this point in the story a strange little side note pops in. In all the articles I’ve read and all the documentaries I’ve watched, I didn’t find anyone who focused on this point.
To get married, Sharon had to be eighteen or have her parent’s consent. Sharon simply lied on the paperwork claiming she was an eighteen-year-old widow who lost her husband in a car accident. While this tidbit of info may seem unimportant, wait until the end of this story and tell me what you think.
James and Sharon married on October 18, 1956. The expected child never arrived. Sharon hoped to get pregnant right away to cover up her scheme, but when this didn’t work, she simply feigned a miscarriage. She did finally get pregnant and gave birth to their daughter Danna in the fall of 1957. It was a good thing too. She would need her daughter in a couple of years for an alibi.
After conquering her mild-mannered man, she quickly realized he wasn’t going to bring her the life of luxury she had hoped for. Sharon began having a string of affairs almost immediately after her marriage. It didn’t take James long to decide he wanted a divorce, but his devout parents encouraged him to stay married. This decision frustrated Sharon even more. She wanted out of Independence, but she was stuck, and now she was also trapped in a marriage she no longer wanted. What does she do? The unthinkable.
On March 19, 1960, the police received a call about a shooting. James Kinne lay dying on his bed, shot by his own gun. When the police arrived, a distraught looking wife explains her daughter was playing with the gun, and it simply went off killing James. Police believed the woman; she was always convincing. A few days later, the investigators run a little test and have the child try to shoot an unloaded gun like the one that killed James. They hoped to discredit Sharon’s story but were surprised when the child was not only able to pick up the weapon, and she was able to turn off the safety and to pull the trigger. The police had no case against the widow.
Two months later, another death drew the attention of the local police. A devoted wife and homemaker was found murdered near a lovers lane out on Phelps Rd. The victim was shot four times, her underclothes stolen, and her dress was pulled up around her chest. It looked like rape and murder, but something was off to investigators. Whoever had done this had thought it through enough to pick up the shell casings. It was beginning to look more like a planned hit.
The victim was quickly identified as Patricia Jones, the wife of a local car salesman named Walter. Walter had recently sold a beautiful young widow a Thunderbird and quickly began having an affair with the vixen. The girlfriend was none other than Sharon Kinne. Kinne had just received $29,000 (worth $250,000.00 today) from the insurance company after her husband’s death. In fact, after a few days of investigation, the police discovered that Sharon was in the middle of trying the same tactics on Wayne as she did her husband years earlier. Sharon had confronted Wayne claiming she was pregnant and demanded that he leave his wife for her. When he refused, Sharon made other plans. While this story seems obvious, convicting the manipulative criminal would be another story.
Instantly, Sharon Kinne became an overnight sensation. The media was everywhere, and Sharon loved every minute of it. She was smug, arrogant, and beautiful. Some reports claim she owned the courtroom. When the jury found her “not guilty,” a juror tracked her down afterward and asked for an autograph. While the media loved her, the police weren’t finished. They were going to see that this woman was put behind bars.
In January 1962, Sharon was again in the courtroom, but this time she was accused of murdering her husband. This time she was found guilty, but eighteen months later, it was overturned on a technicality. Sharon was released until a new trial could be set. The third trial ended up in a mistrial, and just before a fourth trip to the courtroom, Sharon slipped town and headed towards Mexico with yet another male fling.
On September 18, 1964, Sharon was arrested in a Mexican hotel. On the bed lay a dead Mexican-American named Francisco Parades Ordonez. Sharon tried to escape after shooting Francisco but ran directly into the arm of the hotel employee. Enrique Rueda heard the gunshots and was on his way to see what was going on when the beautiful blond woman fled the room. She shot him in the arm in her attempt to flee, but Rueda pushed her back into the room and locked her in until the police could arrive. She tried to pull her normal games, but they didn’t work this time.
Not one of the Mexican policemen believed she had shot the man in self-defense. If Ordonez was trying to rape her, then why was he shot in the back? While searching the room, they found a couple of different guns and a small cache of ammunition. This finding earned Sharon the nickname “La Pistolera: The female gunfighter.”
Missouri’s Black Widow couldn’t seem to face justice in a rural court of law but faced it in the Mexican system. She was sentenced to thirteen years for the murder of Ordonez. It looked like a fitting end for the murderous vixen, but this story is far from over.
On the night of December 7, 1969, the woman’s prison was having a movie night when the lights went out. After the electricity came back on, Sharon Kinne was nowhere to be found. The Black Widow had escaped, and she’s still missing fifty years later.
While Mexican authorities organized a search, it didn’t take long for them to run out of leads. The case is still open. Some believe she made it across the border into Guatemala, others believe she had inside help to escape the prison and is now back in America.
While in prison for the murder of Ordonez, Sharon missed the fourth trial for the murder of her husband, James. If she were ever found, she could still face a murder trial half a century after the crime.
Missouri investigators couldn’t pin the murder of Patricia Jones on her because they never found the murder weapon. In the meantime, Sharon was acquitted of this murder. Unfortunately, the Mexican authorities found the gun when they searched her hotel room after the shooting of Ordonez. Ballistics matched the gun to Patricia’s case, but it was too late. Due to double jeopardy laws in this country, Sharon can never be tried for Patricia’s murder again.
Where is Sharon Kinne? Is she still out there manipulating, conning, and killing her way through life? How many victims does she have? I have mentioned three, but remember that little lie she told to get married to James? Was she actually married before, and if so, was her 1st husband’s death an accident?
Like so many tales, this one leaves us with more questions than answers. Sharon Kinne would be in her seventies now. It is quite possible she is still alive and living life as someone’s grandma.
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