The Secret Service’s First Female Fatality


The United States Secret Service is synonymous with the protection of the President. The legislation creating the agency was on Abraham Lincoln’s desk when he was assassinated on the evening of April 14, 1865, and the organization was formally established ten weeks later.

The Secret Service, however, was not initially given the task of protecting the President; that responsibility came thirty-seven years later following the assassination of President William McKinley.

As the Civil War ended in April 1865, a currency war was still being fought. Over a third of the currency in circulation was believed to be bogus. The Department of the Treasury established the Secret Service to combat the counterfeit currency crisis. Though it is now under the Department of Homeland Security, investigating counterfeiting crimes is still one of the Secret Service’s primary responsibilities.

Twenty-six-year-old Julie Cross was one of the few female Secret Service Special Agents in 1980. While investigating a counterfeiting operation on June 4, she became the first female Secret Service Special Agent to be killed in the line of duty.

Julie Cross seemed destined for a law enforcement career, first in her community and then serving her country. Her interest in police work started when she was young. She lost both of her parents by age ten and was raised by her brother, a reserve police officer.

After graduating with a Criminal Justice degree from San Diego State University, Julie became an officer with the San Diego Police Department. Three years later, she was accepted by the United States Secret Service.

On June 1, 1980, Julie was assigned to a team of agents investigating a man suspected of producing counterfeit currency in Los Angeles.

Three days later, on June 4, eight Secret Service Agents were scattered in a section of Westchester, an area of Los Angeles near the International Airport. The agents were staking out the apartment complex of the suspected counterfeiter.

Julie and her partner, Special Agent Lloyd Bulman, were in an unmarked car at the street’s end. They were assigned to follow the suspect if he exited the apartment and entered his vehicle. Another Secret Service Agent sat in an unmarked van across the street from the residence.

The agents were awaiting word that the warrant had been signed to arrest the suspect. Agents Bulman and Cross noticed a brown vehicle, either an early ’70s Buick or Pontiac, drive past them and turn a corner. Approximately five minutes later, they saw the same vehicle drive past them again, but this time the driver parked 100 feet in front of them. Two black men exited the vehicle and went into a different apartment complex from the one under surveillance.

Approximately five minutes later, the agents saw the men exit the apartment complex, enter their vehicle, and drive off again.

Five to ten minutes later, after darkness had fallen, Agent Cross, sitting on the passenger side of the surveillance car, noticed a man with a gun approaching from the rear. Another armed man approached the driver’s side of the vehicle. Julie was able to exit the car and get her gun drawn on her assailant. She had him place his hands on the vehicle, but the second gunman got the drop on Agent Bulman and held a gun on him before he could get out. A standoff ensued.

With his gun aimed at Bulman, the driver’s side assailant ordered Agent Cross to let his partner go; she refused. Bulman tried to reason with his assailant; the gunmen seemed surprised and panicked when he told them he and Cross were Secret Service Agents.

Agent Cross’s assailant came to the driver’s side of the car, took the key out of the ignition, and removed a shotgun from inside. Agent Bulman did not see what occurred, but the assailant had somehow freed himself from Agent Cross.

What happened next is also not clear. The next thing Agent Bulman noticed, his partner jumped into the front of the car, and three gunshots rang out. As Bulman then fought with his assailant outside the car, Agent Cross’s assailant shot several times but did not hit him. Bulman pretended he had been hit and feigned being dead. As he did so, the assailants made their way to their car and fled.

Bulman ran back to his car to radio for help. None of the other Secret Service agents had heard the gunshots, which were drowned out by the roar of low-flying jets.

Police and ambulances arrived quickly, but not in time. Special Agent Julie Cross was pronounced dead three days after beginning her assignment in Los Angeles.

She was the first female Special Agent to be killed in the 115-year history of the Secret Service.

The attackers made off with two weapons from the agents, a Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum Revolver and a Remington Model 870 shotgun.

Under hypnosis, Agent Bulman recalled details enabling composite sketches of the suspects to be developed. Both assailants were black. One stood around 6’2″ and the other around 5’10”. Each weighed approximately 180-190 lbs.

The men were driving a brown 1970-72 Buick or Potomac two-door car.

In 1992, twelve years after the murder of Julie Cross, Andre Alexander was arrested for a 1978 triple murder in Palms. The victims, coincidentally, were involved in counterfeiting.

Alexander was operating a money-order forgery scheme and had not paid his cohorts. After they threatened to go to the police, he murdered them. Alexander was convicted of the triple murder.

In their investigation of Alexander, authorities found evidence suggesting his involvement in the murder of Julie Cross twelve years earlier. He bore a resemblance to the composite of one of the suspects, and a pair of prescription glasses found at the scene was identical to a pair he wore in 1980.

Lloyd Bulman identified Alexander as the passenger-side assailant from a photo line-up. Vehicle records showed Alexander drove a medium-sized faded brown car at the time of the murder.

At his trial, Alexander’s former girlfriend testified a blood-splattered Alexander arrived at her house on the evening of the murder carrying a shotgun in a blood-soaked bag. She also said he told her he had murdered someone near the airport but pressured her not to say anything.

Terry Brock, a long-time friend of Alexander, was identified by Special Agent Bulman as the second gunman. At the time of the shooting, Alexander’s girlfriend was Brock’s sister.

Andre Alexander was convicted of the murder of Secret Service Special Agent Julie Cross in 1996 and was sentenced to death. His final appeal was exhausted in 2010. He remains on death row and is incarcerated at California’s infamous San Quentin prison.

I could not find any source stating what punishment Terry brock received.

Investigators are certain the murder of Secret Service Agent Julie Cross was a random act unrelated to the counterfeit operation she was investigating.

It was only a coincidence that Andre Alexander was later involved in counterfeiting. I found nothing indicating he was associated with the counterfeiter Special Agents Cross and Bulman were staking out on the evening of her murder.


THIS LIST OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS. SYNOVA STRIVES TO CITE ALL THE SOURCES USED DURING HER CASE STUDY, BUT OCCASIONALLY A SOURCE MAY BE MISSED BY MISTAKE. IT IS NOT INTENTIONAL, AND NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED.


More Info:

Associated Press
United State Secret Service
Unsolved Mysteries


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Ian Granstra is a writer and a native Iowan now living in  Arkansas.Growing up, he enjoyed watching real-life crime shows and further researching the stories featured. He wrote about many of them on his personal Facebook page, and several people suggested he should start a group featuring his writings. Ian founded the Facebook group “Murders, Missing People and More Mysteries” in August of 2018 he writes about many cold cases. The group also features many current criminal cases in the news. When Ian isn’t writing, he enjoys exercising, traveling and collecting sports cards. He’s also a big animal lover (his Facebook nickname is “beagle lover.”)


ALL INFORMATION USED TO CREATE THIS CONTENT IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD AND CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE OR CAN BE VERIFIED BY THE GUEST BLOGGER. ANY PARTICIPATION OR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF ANY PARTY MENTIONED WITHIN THIS SITE IS PURELY SPECULATION. AS THE LAW STATES, AN INDIVIDUAL IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. I DO NOT OWN THE PHOTOS USED IN THIS POST. ALL PHOTOS ARE USED UNDER THE FAIR USE ACT. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. ANY AND ALL OPINIONS ARE THAT OF THE GUEST BLOGGER AND DON’T NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SYNOVA INK©2017-2020. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


Where’s the Line of Culpability? The Margo Freshwater Story


Carrying her young grandchild, Tonya McCarter walked through the parking lot of a local gym in Columbus, Ohio, on the morning of August 13, 2002. Her husband, Daryl, her adult grandson, and his fiance were all there when two men approached the group and asked Tonya for her name. She replied, “Tonya McCarter.” But one of the men, an undercover policeman, replied he had reason to believe she was a woman who had escaped prison over thirty years earlier. Daryl and his son laughed at the question; Tonya, however, remained stoic. Her past had finally caught up with her.

Tonya McCarter’s real name was Margo Freshwater. For 32 years, she had been living a lie, unbeknownst to her friends and family. She was a convicted murderer who had escaped a Tennessee prison after serving only eighteen months of a 99-year sentence.

Margo Freshwater’s life, from naive teenager to escaped inmate to fugitive mother and grandmother, had come full circle.

In the fall of 1966, 18-year-old Margo Freshwater’s world was crumbling. A native of Worthington, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus, she had dropped out of high school after becoming pregnant. After being dumped by her boyfriend, the penniless Margo gave her son up for adoption and, shortly after that, attempted suicide.

Margo soon had another boyfriend, Al Schlereth, but he had his problems. After several minor brushes with the law, he was arrested for armed robbery in Memphis, Tennessee.

Desperate to free her new beau, Margo traveled to Memphis, where she sought the help of attorney Glenn Nash.

Margo had no money to pay Nash and couldn’t even afford a place to stay. Although he was also broke, Nash agreed to take the case pro-bono and put Freshwater up at a local boarding house.

Glenn Nash had once been a respected attorney. Friends and colleagues described him as extremely bright, and tests would later show he had a genius-level I.Q. Nash, however, was also tormented as his alcoholism was out of control. Although he had been cleared the year before of two federal charges involving theft of money orders and treasury bonds, he was still under investigation by the Memphis Bar Association for other instances of misconduct. Paranoia had overtaken him, and he believed agents from the bar were conspiring against him. Nash’s marriage was crumbling as he descended into perpetual drunkenness, and, many believed, he was losing his grip on reality.

Had Margo Freshwater visited Glenn Nash several years earlier, all would likely have been fine. But when the attractive but troubled teen walked into the equally troubled lawyer’s office in the fall of 1966, it was a recipe for disaster. An immediate spark ignited between the two tormented souls, which soon exploded into a fire that raged out of control. The 18-year-old high school dropout and the married 41-year-old paranoid and alcoholic lawyer began an affair.

Margo’s first boyfriend had left her with an illegitimate child; her second lover was imprisoned, but the third man in Margo’s quest for love was not the charm as he would lead her imprisonment.

On December 6, 1966, Nash told Margo’s landlady the couple was going bowling; they instead went on a killing spree, striking in three states.

The first stop was the Square Deal liquor store in Memphis. After entering the store, Nash pointed a gun at the store clerk, 60-year-old Hillman Robbins, and ordered him to give him the money from the cash register, approximately $600.

Nash then ordered Margo to stay behind the cash register while he took Hillman into the back room. During that time, a customer came into the store and later told investigators that a friendly Margo waited on him and gave no indication that she was in trouble.

As Margo waited on the customer, Nash tied up Hillman with rope in the backroom. He then shot him five times in the head, using two guns, a .22 caliber and a .38 caliber.

Witnesses saw a man and a woman fleeing the liquor store and get into a white Ford Fairlane. Glenn Nash owned such a vehicle.

Whether Margo knew of Nash’s intentions to rob the liquor store and to kill the clerk is still debated, as is her culpability in the subsequent events.

Twelve days later, on December 18, a nearly identical crime occurred over 1,000 miles away at the Jackson Mini Market convenience store in Oakland Park, Florida, a part of metropolitan Fort Lauderdale.

Witnesses reported hearing gunshots and seeing a man and woman fleeing the store and getting into a white Ford Fairlane. When police arrived at the store, they found the body of 44-year-old clerk Esther Bouryea. She had been shot multiple times in the neck and had been bound with a rope just like Hillman Robbins.

Nearby, an abandoned Ford Fairlane was found along a highway shoulder. It was registered to Glenn Nash of Memphis, Tennessee. Inside, police found ropes and shell casings matching those used in the murder of Hillman Robbins. Margo was identified as Nash’s companion, and an All Points Bulletin (APB) was issued for the pair’s arrest.

On December 28, ten days later, the body of 55-year-old cab driver C.C. Suratt was found in a ditch in Mississippi. He had been shot twice in the back of the head. Shell casings matched those used in the murders of Hillman Robbins and Esther Bouyea.

Nash and Freshwater had returned home and resumed killing. Surratt is believed to have been shot after picking up the pair just across the state line in Millington, Tennessee.

After staking out bus stations throughout Tennessee and Mississippi, police spotted Nash and Freshwater at a Greenville, Mississippi station, 150 miles south of Memphis near the southeastern Arkansas border.

The couple was arrested and charged with the murders of Hillman Robbins and C.C. Suratt; only Nash was charged with the murder of Esther Bouyea.

After a psychiatric examination, however, Nash was declared insane and incompetent to stand trial. He was instead sentenced to incarceration in a mental hospital.

Despite never having fired a shot, Freshwater stood trial twice for the murder of C.C. Surratt. She claimed Nash was violent and out of control, believing all three victims were members of the bar association who were “out to get him.” She insisted she was fearful of Nash and participated in the crimes out of fear for her own life.

Both trials resulted in hung juries, and mistrials were declared. The state declined to try her a third time for the murder of C.C. Surratt.

Three years later, in 1969, Margo was tried for the murder of the first victim, Hillman Robbins. Nash was still deemed insane and would not stand trial in the courtroom where he had tried several cases before his descent into madness.

Freshwater again claimed that Nash was holding her prisoner, and she was terrified of him. She testified she had no idea he planned to kill Hillman Robbins when they robbed the liquor store in Memphis and that Nash forced her to participate in the subsequent robbery and murders of Esther Bouyea C.C. Surratt.

Freshwater, however, was fresh out of luck with the Memphis jury. They did not believe her claims of captivity and, although she had not pulled the trigger, found her guilty of the murder of Hillman Robbins. She was sentenced to 99 years in prison.

The state of Florida sought to charge Nash, alone, for the murder of Esther Bouyea, but the insanity ruling prevented them from doing so. Freshwater was never charged in connection with her murder.

Freshwater was incarcerated at the Tennessee State Prison for Women in Nashville. After serving only 18 months of her 99-year sentence, she took it upon herself to make a fresh start.

On October 4, 1970, she and several other inmates were being escorted by an unarmed guard outside the prison. Freshwater and another inmate, Faye Fairchild, scaled the prison’s barbed-wire fence and made a run for freedom. Both women were young and fit; Margo had run track in high school. In contrast, the guard was older and not in good shape. The women quickly ran out of his view and hitched a ride to freedom.

The women made their way to Baltimore, Maryland, where Fairchild had a family. After laying low for several weeks, they were seen on the street saying goodbye to each other.

Fairchild was apprehended; several sources say she was captured two years later in Chicago, but another says it was only a couple of days after being last seen in Baltimore. Yet another source says she stayed at large for over 20 years, not being captured until the early 1990s.

Margo Freshwater stayed off the radar for over three decades.

Authorities eventually came to believe Freshwater was using the names “Tonya” and “Tanya.” In 2002, investigators used police computer databases to check nationwide for anyone named “Tonya” or “Tanya” with Freshwater’s birth date of June 4, 1948.

They found that a woman named Tonya McCarter had the same date of birth. What caught investigators’ eyes was that the woman lived in Worthington, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus, where Margo Freshwater had been born and lived before her life of crime. Employment records showed the woman had not worked from 1966-70, the same time Margo Freshwater was jailed and then imprisoned.

When investigators obtained a copy of Tonya McCartor’s driver’s license, they were astounded by the similarities between the woman and an old photo of a young Margo Freshwater.

Tonya McCarter was arrested as she was leaving the Columbus health club on May 19, 2002. Fingerprints confirmed she was Margo Freshwater.

With her true identity uncovered, Freshwater revealed the details of her three-plus decades as a fugitive. She had avoided detection by not resuming her criminal career and by living a simple life.

Amazingly, Margo Freshwater lived many years undetected in the town where she had grown up.

After escaping prison, Freshwater told investigators she and Fairchild hitched a ride with a trucker to Baltimore. From there, Fairchild took a train to Chicago; Freshwater went to Ashland, Ohio, 80 miles southwest of Columbus. She obtained a driver’s license and social security number under the name Tonya Myers. She found work as a waitress and lived at a boarding house.

Freshwater soon gave birth to a son. She said she was pregnant when she escaped from prison but refused to divulge the father; he is believed to have been a prison guard. She had been imprisoned for 18 months, so Nash could not be the father.

Freshwater began dating Phillip Zimmerman, a man she had met at the Ashland boarding house. She told him she had been raped in a juvenile jail while serving time for petty theft. Although they were never married, Freshwater and Zimmerman raised her son and had a daughter together before parting ways after seven years.

Freshwater then married and had a son with Joseph Hudkins, a railroad worker from Columbus. After he died in 1988, Freshwater, under the name Tonya Hudkins, began working as an administrative assistant for MetLife Insurance. Through her job, she came in contact with many people in her hometown, but she never “met” anyone who recognized her.

Freshwater had cut off all contact with her family. She said she had encountered an aunt and a high school classmate while in public, but neither recognized her.

Freshwater met Daryl McCarter, a long-haul trucker, through a telephone dating service in 1998. When they married within a few months, she quit her job with MetLife Insurance to travel the country together.

Freshwater was returned to the Tennessee State Prison for women, the same prison she had escaped from 31 1/2 years earlier to serve her 99-year sentence. After having served nine years, however, Freshwater’s conviction for the murder of Hillman Robbins was overturned.

Johnny Box, a cellmate of Glenn Nash, wrote a letter in 1969 to the district attorney prosecuting Freshwater. He said Nash told him that he alone had killed Hillman Robbins and confirmed Margo’s claims of being controlled. However, it was learned that the district attorney provided only one page of the letter to Freshwater’s lawyers.

A Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled the full letter should have been turned over to the defense team, and Freshwater was given a new trial. In October 2011, the court accepted Freshwater’s best interest guilty plea, allowing her to plead guilty to the murder of Hillman Robbins while maintaining her innocence.

Margo Freshwater had spent, in total, approximately 10 1/2 years in prison and was given credit for time served. She was released from prison in November 2011. Daryl McCarter took his wife back after her release from prison.

Now 71-years-old and legally named Tonya McCarter, Margo Freshwater lives in Worthington, Ohio, where she was born.

Glenn Nash was released from the mental hospital in 1983, declared fit to re-enter society. Despite efforts to try him for the murders, he was still ruled to have been insane at the time, and the courts have not allowed his prosecution.

Nash returned to his wife, to whom he was married when he had the affair with Freshwater. A 2011 article states he was living in West Memphis, Arkansas. He appears to have stayed out of further trouble.

Freshwater and Nash both say they had no contact with each other after Freshwater’s escape from prison. The 2011 article said Nash was contacted after Freshwater’s release from prison that year, but he refused to comment.

As far as I can tell, Glenn Nash is still alive at age 93-94.

The saga of Margo Freshwater has been compared to that of Patty Hearst, who was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army and subsequently committed several crimes in conjunction with group members. Both women claimed to have committed their crimes out of fear and manipulation.

It is interesting that Freshwater lived as a fugitive under the name “Tonya” and that Patty Hearst went by the name “Tanya” while an SLA member.

Hillman Robbins Jr., whose father was the first person killed by Nash, was a professional golfer who had a successful amateur career, highlighted by winning the 1957 U.S. Amateur. Hillman Jr. died at age 49 in 1981.


THIS LIST OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS. SYNOVA STRIVES TO CITE ALL THE SOURCES USED DURING HER CASE STUDY, BUT OCCASIONALLY A SOURCE MAY BE MISSED BY MISTAKE. IT IS NOT INTENTIONAL, AND NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED.


More Info:
• Unsolved Mysteries


More photos for this case can be found on Synova’s Patreon page! Check them using the button below

Support Synova’s Cause:

EACH WEEK SYNOVA HIGHLIGHTS OBSCURE COLD CASES ON HER BLOG AS A VICTIMS’ ADVOCATE WITH MISSOURI MISSING ORGANIZATION. SHE NEVER CHARGES FOR HER SERVICES. IF YOU’D LIKE TO SUPPORT HER IN THIS WORTHY CAUSE, PLEASE CHECK OUT THE AFFILIATE LINKS ON THIS PAGE. BY PURCHASING ONE OF HER BOOKS, OR USING THESE LINKS YOU WILL BE SUPPORTING SYNOVA’S WORK ON COLD CASES AND WILL ENSURE HER ABILITY TO CONTINUE TO GIVE A VOICE TO THE VICTIM’S FAMILY.


American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst

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More About Our Wonderful Guest Blogger:

Ian Granstra is a writer and a native Iowan now living in  Arkansas.Growing up, he enjoyed watching real-life crime shows and further researching the stories featured. He wrote about many of them on his personal Facebook page, and several people suggested he should start a group featuring his writings. Ian founded the Facebook group “Murders, Missing People and More Mysteries” in August of 2018 he writes about many cold cases. The group also features many current criminal cases in the news. When Ian isn’t writing, he enjoys exercising, traveling and collecting sports cards. He’s also a big animal lover (his Facebook nickname is “beagle lover.”)


ALL INFORMATION USED TO CREATE THIS CONTENT IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD AND CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE OR CAN BE VERIFIED BY THE GUEST BLOGGER. ANY PARTICIPATION OR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF ANY PARTY MENTIONED WITHIN THIS SITE IS PURELY SPECULATION. AS THE LAW STATES, AN INDIVIDUAL IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. I DO NOT OWN THE PHOTOS USED IN THIS POST. ALL PHOTOS ARE USED UNDER THE FAIR USE ACT. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. ANY AND ALL OPINIONS ARE THAT OF THE GUEST BLOGGER AND DON’T NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SYNOVA INK©2017-2020. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


A Prime Target: The Murder of Prime Minister Olof Palme


A Prime Crime

The nation’s Chief Executive is shot while in public and is rushed to the hospital. Doctors work feverishly but are unable to save him. A shocked nation goes into mourning. Years after the assassination, conspiracy theories abound as to who was responsible.

Such an occurrence describes the globally known assassination of United States President John F. Kennedy over 56 years ago. It also describes a murder occurring in 1986, which, outside of Scandinavia, is lesser-known.
The Prime Minister of Sweden is the Nordic country’s equivalent of the President of the United States. Thus, the assassination of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme can rightfully be compared to President Kennedy.
A cornucopia of conspiracy claims continues to surround both crimes. One huge factor, however, separates the two assassinations. History has officially closed the book on the Kennedy assassination, but the murder of Prime Minister Palme is still open.

Olof Plame became Prime Minister of Sweden in 1969, a position he held until his murder 17 years later. He was the leader of the left-wing Swedish Social Democrat Party.

Palme’s reign coincided with the escalation of Cold War tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union. He adopted a policy of non-alignment with both superpowers and spoke critically of both countries’ foreign policies.

Palme drew the particular ire of the United States when he became the first Western head of state to visit Cuba following the 1959 revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power. His speech praising the revolutionaries was not well received by Cuba’s neighbor to the north.

Prime Minister Palme valued his independence and was determined to live as ordinary as possible for a head of state. He was often seen in public without any bodyguard protection; the evening of February 28, 1986, was one such occasion.

Despite protests from his entourage, the Prime Minister gave his protectors the evening off as he looked forward to a night at the movies with his family.

That evening Palme and his wife Lisbet met their son Marten and his girlfriend at Stockholm’s Grand Cinema, where they watched the comedy “The Mozart Brothers.” After the movie ended at approximately 11:00 p.m., the foursome chatted for fifteen minutes before the two couples headed their separate ways. Olof and Lisbet Palme began walking toward the Hötorget metro station.

After crossing the street, the Palmes briefly stopped to gaze at some displays in a shop window before continuing past a corner deli.

Several minutes later, officially at 11:21 p.m., according to Swedish authorities, a man approached the couple from behind and twice shot the Prime Minister in his back at point-blank range. After firing a third shot that grazed Mrs. Palme, the perpetrator jogged into the darkness.

Paramedics quickly arrived on the scene and rushed Sweden’s first couple to Sabbatsberg Hospital. The shots had severed the Prime Minister’s spinal column and aorta, and he was pronounced dead. Lisbet Palme was not seriously wounded.

Multiple people witnessed the shooting but could provide only vague descriptions of the assassin. He was generally described as between 30-50 years-old, 6″-6’2″ tall, 185-200 pounds, and wearing a dark jacket or coat. The descriptions varied so much that police deemed them insufficient to develop a composite sketch of the suspect.

The shots were determined to have probably been fired from a Winchester-Western .357 Magnum 158 grain metal piercing revolver. The two bullets recovered from the street were the only forensic evidence as such weapons do not automatically eject cartridge cases.

Based on the bullets’ lack of certain characteristic deformations, investigators concluded the shots had been fired from a barrel not shorter than 4 inches, meaning the murder weapon would have been a conspicuously large handgun.

Thirty-three-year-old Victor Gunnarsson, a right-wing extremist who hated Palme’s polices, was immediately declared the prime suspect in the murder of the Prime Minister. He matched the general description of the assassin. A witness placed Gunnarsson at a bar near the Grand Cinema that evening, voicing his discontent about the Swedish leader to anyone who would listen.

Gunnarsson was arrested but soon released after no one picked him out of a police lineup. Nothing linked him to the killing, but he was guilty in the eyes of public opinion.

Ostracized and unable to find work in his home country, Gunnarsson moved the United States, settling in Salisbury, North Carolina, a town of approximately 33,000 people in the west-central part of the Tar Heel state. In January 1994, Gunnarsson’s near-naked body was found in a wooded area about 90 miles from his home. He had been shot twice in the head with a .22 caliber firearm.

Olof Palme’s murder has been called the Swedish equivalent of President Kennedy’s assassination. Gunnarsson was not the likely assassin, and he was not silenced for the same reason many believe Lee Harvey Oswald was killed. Instead, he was shot to death by a jealous former boyfriend of the woman he had recently begun dating.

Regardless, many in Gunnarsson’s homeland still believe his murder was poetic justice. Despite his disdain for Olof Palme, no evidence has been found linking him to the assassination.

In December 1988, almost three years after Prime Minister Palme’s murder, an alcoholic and drug user named Christer Pettersson was charged with the murder after Lisbet Palme picked him out of a lineup as her husband’s killer. Pettersson, who had previously been convicted of manslaughter, was convicted of Palme’s murder, but the verdict was overturned on appeal the following year.

The Swedish appellate court cited several reasons for reversing the lower court’s decision.

• Failure of the prosecution to produce the murder weapon;
• Lack of a motive for the murder;
• Doubts about the reliability of Mrs. Palme’s identification of
Pettersson and her testimony; and
• “extremely gross errors” by the police in arranging the lineup.

In the late 1990s, several people came forward saying Pettersson had confessed to killing the Prime Minister. He allegedly told associates it was a case of mistaken identity. He had intended to kill fellow drug dealer Sigvard Cedergren. Cedergren resembled Olof Palme and often walked along the same route the Prime Minister was walking that evening. However, the claims were made by petty criminals who altered their stories, and officials deemed the contentions uncredible.

Pettersson was awarded about $50,000 in compensation for defamation by the police and wrongful imprisonment. He quickly squandered his windfall on alcohol and drugs but augmented his income through media interviews.

In 1998, the Swedish Supreme Court rejected an appeal to retry Pettersson. He died from a cerebral hemorrhage in 2004, legally declared not guilty in the assassination of Prime Minister Olof Palme.

As with the assassination of President Kennedy, no shortage of conspiracy theories exist regarding the murder of Prime Minister Palme. Some of the opinions are listed below.

• He was silenced by the CIA for his support of communist Cuba
• As the U.N. mediator seeking an end to the Iran-Iraq war, he was
assassinated because he fell afoul of Iran-Contra
• He was taken out by an operative of the former Yugoslavian security service.
• He was killed by the South African Cooperation Bureau for speaking out against Apartheid.
• His murder was linked with arms trades to India.

• He was killed by Chilean Fascists for granting asylum to leftist
Chileans following the overthrow of Salvador Allende in 1973.
• He was killed by a conspiracy among Swedish right-wing extremist police officers.
• He was killed by the PKK (Kurdish Worker’s Party) for the arrests of Kurds living in Sweden.

Olof and Lisbet Palme had been married for thirty years at the time of his assassination.

Lisbet did not remarry. She died in October 2018 at age 87, still believing Christer Pettersson was the man who had murdered her husband.

On February 18, 2020, Krister Petersson, the Swedish chief prosecutor in charge of the investigation into the assassination of Prime Minister Olof Palme, announced a likely assassin had been identified and that further information will be provided at a later date.

Petersson, (different spelling and no relation to Christer Pettersson) also announced that if prosecutors are denied the opportunity to try the suspect, they will close the investigation into the murder of the Prime Minister.


THIS LIST OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS. SYNOVA STRIVES TO CITE ALL THE SOURCES USED DURING HER CASE STUDY, BUT OCCASIONALLY A SOURCE MAY BE MISSED BY MISTAKE. IT IS NOT INTENTIONAL, AND NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED.


Further Reading:
Dagens Nyheter
Los Angeles Times
New York Times


Recommended Reading:

Blood on the Snow: The Killing of Olof Palme

More About Our Wonderful Guest Blogger:

Ian Granstra is a writer and a native Iowan now living in  Arkansas.Growing up, he enjoyed watching real-life crime shows and further researching the stories featured. He wrote about many of them on his personal Facebook page, and several people suggested he should start a group featuring his writings. Ian founded the Facebook group “Murders, Missing People and More Mysteries” in August of 2018 he writes about many cold cases. The group also features many current criminal cases in the news. When Ian isn’t writing, he enjoys exercising, traveling and collecting sports cards. He’s also a big animal lover (his Facebook nickname is “beagle lover.”)


Support Synova’s Cause:

EACH WEEK SYNOVA HIGHLIGHTS OBSCURE COLD CASES ON HER BLOG AS A VICTIMS’ ADVOCATE WITH MISSOURI MISSING ORGANIZATION. SHE NEVER CHARGES FOR HER SERVICES. IF YOU’D LIKE TO SUPPORT HER IN THIS WORTHY CAUSE, PLEASE CHECK OUT THE AFFILIATE LINKS ON THIS PAGE. BY PURCHASING ONE OF HER BOOKS, OR USING THESE LINKS YOU WILL BE SUPPORTING SYNOVA’S WORK ON COLD CASES AND WILL ENSURE HER ABILITY TO CONTINUE TO GIVE A VOICE TO THE VICTIM’S FAMILY.


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ALL INFORMATION USED TO CREATE THIS CONTENT IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD AND CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE OR CAN BE VERIFIED BY THE GUEST BLOGGER. ANY PARTICIPATION OR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF ANY PARTY MENTIONED WITHIN THIS SITE IS PURELY SPECULATION. AS THE LAW STATES, AN INDIVIDUAL IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. I DO NOT OWN THE PHOTOS USED IN THIS POST. ALL PHOTOS ARE USED UNDER THE FAIR USE ACT. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. ANY AND ALL OPINIONS ARE THAT OF THE GUEST BLOGGER AND DON’T NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SYNOVA INK©2017-2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


The 1st RICO Indictment Wasn’t Against The Italians. It was Used against The Dixie Mafia

Screenshot 2019-09-21 at 11.42.03 AM
Screenshot taken from https://www.gatewaymacon.org/top-5-lists/top-5-surprising-facts-5.cms

For those of you who don’t believe in the existence of the Dixie Mafia consider this. Three full years before the R.I.C.O. act was used in New York to take down the Italian Mafia, it was used in Georgia to take down Dixie Mafia Kingpin John “J.C.” Hawkins.


Everyone has heard how the U.S. Attorney’s office used the R.I.C.O. act to attack the Italian Mafia and ultimately take it down. Although it still exists to this day, the Mafia isn’t nearly as powerful as it was back in the early 1970s. Even Wikipedia claims the R.I.C.O. act was first used in 1979 to take down the Italians.


Screenshot 2019-09-21 at 11.39.44 AM
The screenshot is taken from Wikipedia

While diving deeper into my research of the Dixie Mafia, I found a startling truth. The R.I.C.O. Act wasn’t used first on the Italians. It was used against a Dixie Mafia Kingpin named J.C. Hawkins out of Georgia three full years before the highly-publicized case in New York. Although the Dixie Mafia doesn’t have the structure and organization of the famous Italian crew, this grassroots criminal enterprise spans the southern states like weeds in a garden.

The term “Dixie Mafia” was coined in the 1960s by Mississippi State Police investigator, Rex Armistead. He hoped it would draw the attention of police and the media to the connections between the criminal factions. For decades everyone argued over the existence of the Italian mafia before it became indisputable. Now the same pattern is happening about the Dixie Mafia. While they have been called everything from the Cornbread La Cosa Nostra to the Hillbilly Mob, the fact that there is a criminal organization in the south should be indisputable. Why are people still arguing over this point? I contend Hollywood glamorized the Italian organization and they haven’t touched the southern counterpart.


More about the first RICO indictment:

The R.I.C.O. indictment case out of Macon, GA started with a rock group called the Allman Brothers band.

The_Allman_Brothers_Band_(1972).jpeg
Photo courtesy of Capricorn Records – itemphoto frontphoto back, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39713595

They were called the “Godfathers of Southern Rock,” but now drug dealers with ties to the Georgia faction of the Dixie Mafia will destroy what’s left of the band.


The Allman Brothers Band had reached the lofty heights of stardom by 1976, but those heights were hard to maintain with ties to Georgia’s faction of the Dixie Mafia. Drugs, band member disputes, lavish living, and one giant push by law enforcement spelled the end of the famous rock group.
The band that would be later known for hits like Ramblin Man and Midnight Rider was formed by two brothers Gregg and Duane in 1969. The next seven years would be plagued with trouble, but they would finally scratch their way to the top. Things started falling apart, however, when the eldest brother Duane was killed in a motorcycle accident on October 29, 1971. The band somehow kept it together and seemed stronger than ever, but it wouldn’t last long.


Gregg Allman’s former bodyguard and now road manager, John “Scooter” Herring was allegedly supplying the band and others with narcotics. His activities and his ties to Dixie Mafia Kingpin J. C. Hawkins had come under scrutiny by law enforcement. Scooter’s supplier was a pharmacist Joey Fuchs. At one point Fuchs found his pharmacy stock so obviously low, that he staged a robbery to cover the drugs he had stolen and sold to Herring.
Scooter Herring and Joey Fuchs were arrested and indicted on May 30, 1976. Witnesses were called in from around the music industry including Gregg Allman. Everyone in the band refused to “rat out” their friend, but Allman facing charges of his own agreed to testify against his former manager. This action was the final straw that broke up the group.


The feds were happy to take down Fuchs and Herring, but their main target was the big boss J.C. Hawkins. They would get their chance in a much-publicized RICO trial in July 1976. Hawkins and the crew were convicted of several racketeering charges, drug charges and much more. During the trial, the rockstar Gregg Allman had to be under heavy guard. Hawkins, who had a history of taking out witnesses, had put a price on Allman’s head. $100,000 was a lot of money back in 1976, and that’s what the kingpin was willing to pay if someone took out Allman.


Scooter Herring was convicted of five drug charges and sentenced to 75 years in prison. Herring who had also been a former bodyguard for J.C. Hawkins was now behind bars. He refused to snitch on anyone, but Fuchs and Allman didn’t share his sentiment. Viewing Allman’s testimony as an act of betrayal, the band officially broke up. They would reunite on a few occasions over the next few decades, but they would never achieve the same level of success as their first run in the early 1970s.


An appeals court later overturned Herring’s conviction. He would face another trial in 1979 where he would plead guilty to lesser charges and receive five years. Eventually, Scooter received a presidential pardon from Jimmy Carter, and he ended up serving only three years. Many believed he took the rap for Allman, but there wasn’t any proof. Several southern rock groups performed charity concerts and raised the money to foot Scooter’s legal bill. Scooter went on working in the music industry and was beloved by all who knew him. No one will ever know if the allegations were true or false, but Herring spent the rest of his life on the fringes of Rock and Roll as a manager for different bands.


Gregg Allman wrote a book titled My Cross to Bear in later in life. He says he was told by Scooter to pin everything on the big guy. Of course, there is no way to verify this claim. Was the ex-bodyguard still trying to protect the drug-addled celebrity, or was he actually guilty? Who knows? Whatever the case may be, the feds ended up taking down their man Hawkins with the first RICO trial.


THIS OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS. SYNOVA STRIVES TO CITE ALL THE SOURCES USED DURING HER CASE STUDY, BUT OCCASIONALLY A SOURCE MAY BE MISSED BY MISTAKE. IT IS NOT INTENTIONAL, AND NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED.


Further Reading:

gangsterreport.com/

sofa-king-cool-magazine.com

recoveryunplugged.com

wikipedia

openjurist.org

groups.google.com

gatewaymacon.org

texarkanagazette.com

newspapers.com


This week’s Recommended Reading:

My Cross to Bear

Dixie Mafia Gangster: The Audacious Criminal Career of Willie Foster Sellers: A True-Crime Story


Support Synova’s Cause:

EACH WEEK SYNOVA HIGHLIGHTS OBSCURE COLD CASES ON HER BLOG AS A VICTIMS’ ADVOCATE WITH MISSOURI MISSING ORGANIZATION. SHE NEVER CHARGES FOR HER SERVICES. IF YOU’D LIKE TO SUPPORT HER IN THIS WORTHY CAUSE, PLEASE CHECK OUT THE AFFILIATE LINKS ON THIS PAGE. BY PURCHASING ONE OF HER BOOKS, OR USING THESE LINKS YOU WILL BE SUPPORTING SYNOVA’S WORK ON COLD CASES AND WILL ENSURE HER ABILITY TO CONTINUE TO GIVE A VOICE TO THE VICTIM’S FAMILY.


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free.

SIGN UP HERE


Recommended Reading:

“There is no other group anywhere in the country as mobile and as well organized as the Dixie Mafia” – Agent James Duff, Georgia State Organized Crime Intelligence Unit (1974)

Deep in the heart of Dixie lies a hidden evil. It’s tentacles stretch from state to state, from county to county. The Dixie Mafia has produced infamous outlaws, bank robbers, and murderers. The story contains tidbits from each of their lives and even includes the story of a famous sheriff, but this book is not about them.

Silenced by the Dixie Mafia is about a big sister who has fought for answers for over five decades. It’s about a father who was an ex-alcoholic turned into a gambling addict. A father’s decisions would lead to the death of his disabled son and eventually lead to his own demise. Now left alone to find answers and make sense of the chaos is a brave little southern belle named Phyllis. 

Tying back to the ambush of Sheriff Buford Pusser on August 12, 1967, this story will change history as we know it. The world knew nothing about the Dixie Mafia until the murders of Judge Vincent Sherry and his wife Margaret in 1987. This public assassination brought this band of ruthless criminals into view, but the truth was still hidden until the death of the Andersons. 

A portion of the profits of this book will go to support the Missouri Missing Organization.


ALL INFORMATION USED TO CREATE THIS CONTENT IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD AND CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE OR CAN BE VERIFIED BY THE GUEST BLOGGER. ANY PARTICIPATION OR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF ANY PARTY MENTIONED WITHIN THIS SITE IS PURELY SPECULATION. AS THE LAW STATES, AN INDIVIDUAL IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. I DO NOT OWN THE PHOTOS USED IN THIS POST. ALL PHOTOS ARE USED UNDER THE FAIR USE ACT. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. ANY AND ALL OPINIONS ARE THAT OF THE GUEST BLOGGER AND DON’T NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SYNOVA INK©2017-2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


Screenshot 2019-09-21 at 11.42.03 AM

109 Yr Old Triple Murder Mystery – The Murder of Janie Sharp

Photo courtesy of Find A Grave

She was slaughtered while walking home along a country road in Rural Hill, Mississippi. Her murder leads to an overturned conviction, an acquittal, two more murders, and a trial that would divide the community. The local paper bred chaos and sensationalism, the truth was forgotten and 109 years later we still don’t know who killed Janie Sharp.


Peninnah Janie Sharp was born on April 14, 1892, to William and Martha Sharp. They had a large family with eight children. Janie was well-liked in the rural farming community and was an excellent dressmaker. On July 21, 1910, Janie helped her mother clean up the dishes from the noon meal before setting out to town. She walked the mile and a half to the local post office and then continued to the general store. She was seen leaving the store around 3 pm, but she never made it home.

By nightfall, the entire community was worried about the 18-year-old and several local men created a search party. Armed with torches they searched well up into the night until they finally broke up with a promise to resume searching in the morning.

Along the way home, Janie’s brother, Lee continued his search. He looked along the west side of the road and followed the ravine that leads down to the water. Around 2 am, a gruesome sight confronted him. There laying half-submerged in the muddy water was his sister. Her throat had been slashed from ear to ear. Several stab wounds were under her chin and she had suffered severe blunt force trauma to the head. The sight caused her brother to faint. I can’t imagine how horror-stricken the poor brother was after witnessing such a sight flickering in the light of his torch.

Lee Sharp began to scream for help and ran to find his father. William came and removed his daughter from the desolate site and carried her home. William Sharp suffered from palsy. The thought of this disabled father stumbling through the darkness trying to carry his child home is heart-wrenching, but this story is just beginning.

The next morning a crowd gathered including Sheriff Hull. The crime scene was examined and told a terrible tale. According to the footprints in the area and the strewn belongings of Ms. Sharp it appeared she put up quite a fight. Two to three areas looked as if a terrible scuffle had taken place and it looked like poor Janie had escaped her captor more than once. Who could have such a thing?

No one had noticed any strangers in the area and suspicions immediately fell on a local boy named Swinton Parmenter. Some say he was acting strangely during the search. Others say he had a thing for Janie, but nothing could be proven. Did that matter? No. Before nightfall, Permenter would be surrounded by a lynch mob. 

This tale is far from over. There will be a trial, actually two trials, a conviction, and an acquittal. Two more suspects will be named, and the investigator who found them will be brutally murdered. Swinton’s brother will be killed, and all the while a local paper will stir up a lynch mob. Unfortunately during all of this, the truth will be lost in t


THIS LIST OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS. SYNOVA STRIVES TO CITE ALL THE SOURCES USED DURING HER CASE STUDY, BUT OCCASIONALLY A SOURCE MAY BE MISSED BY MISTAKE. IT IS NOT INTENTIONAL, AND NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED.

Further Reading:

Find A Grave

Reddit

Winston Web News Article (There is a series of eight articles on this site. Only the first article has been linked. I encourage you to read them all if you have time)


Recommended Reading:

You can read more about this case in Murder in Rural Hill by W. McCulley.


Support Synova’s Cause:

EACH WEEK SYNOVA HIGHLIGHTS OBSCURE COLD CASES ON HER BLOG AS A VICTIMS’ ADVOCATE WITH MISSOURI MISSING ORGANIZATION. SHE NEVER CHARGES FOR HER SERVICES. IF YOU’D LIKE TO SUPPORT HER IN THIS WORTHY CAUSE, PLEASE CHECK OUT THE AFFILIATE LINKS ON THIS PAGE. BY PURCHASING ONE OF HER BOOKS, OR USING THESE LINKS YOU WILL BE SUPPORTING SYNOVA’S WORK ON COLD CASES AND WILL ENSURE HER ABILITY TO CONTINUE TO GIVE A VOICE TO THE VICTIM’S FAMILY.


ALL INFORMATION USED TO CREATE THIS CONTENT IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD AND CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE OR CAN BE VERIFIED BY THE GUEST BLOGGER. ANY PARTICIPATION OR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF ANY PARTY MENTIONED WITHIN THIS SITE IS PURELY SPECULATION. AS THE LAW STATES, AN INDIVIDUAL IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. I DO NOT OWN THE PHOTOS USED IN THIS POST. ALL PHOTOS ARE USED UNDER THE FAIR USE ACT. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. ANY AND ALL OPINIONS ARE THAT OF THE GUEST BLOGGER AND DON’T NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SYNOVA INK©2017-2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


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Mobster Monday: Salvatore “Sally Bugs” Briguglio

Salvatore “Sally Bugs” Briguglio has been the prime suspect in the Hoffa case since 1985. Who was this man, and what happened to him?
Salvatore “Sally Bugs” Briguglio was a New Jersey loanshark and mafia hitman. He wasn’t tied to the Teamsters at first, but strangely he was given the coveted job of Secretary/Treasurer immediately after the former treasurer’s murder.


Anthony “Three Finger Tony” Castellitto was beaten to death and strangled at his cottage in Kerhonkson, New York. The hit was ordered by Genovese Capo, Anthony (Tony Pro) Provenzano, and was carried out by the diminutive New Jersy loanshark. Like so many other hits, the killer received a promotion afterward and stepped into the victim’s job.


It’s a well-known fact that Tony Pro had a dispute with Hoffa. They were scheduled to meet up on the day of Hoffa’s disappearance, but Provenzano never showed. The FBI has believed that Sally Bugs was hired to kill Hoffa by Provenzano since the beginning.

By 1978, Sally Bugs was in trouble with both the law and his mobster buddies. He was scheduled to appear in court for the 1961 murder of Castellitto, and rumors were going around that he was working a deal with the Feds.

March 21, 1978, Salvatore Briguglio was standing outside Andrea’s Doria Social Club on Mulberry St in Manhattan’s Little Italy. It was just after 11 pm when two men approached him. Some witnesses claim they saw the three men discussing something, while other witnesses say the two hooded men said nothing.


Whatever the case, Sally Bugs was knocked off his feet and shot. The two men emptied their weapons before fleeing the scene. Four bullets entered his skull, and one hit him in the chest. Salvatore Briguglio was gone.


No doubt, Provenzano breathed a sigh of relief as he heard the news, but it would be short-lived. It is unclear whether Sally Bugs was working with the Feds or not, but there was definitely a snitch in their midst.


Salvatore Sinno was working the law enforcement behind the scenes, and when it came time for trial, Provenzano and his cohorts were all convicted of the hit on Castellitto.


So what happened to Jimmy Hoffa? We may never know for sure, but the FBI still believes the triggerman was Salvatore Briguglio.


Further Reading:

The Mob Museum

https://mafia.wikia.org/wiki/Salvatore_Briguglio


ALL INFORMATION USED TO CREATE THIS CONTENT IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD AND CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE OR CAN BE VERIFIED BY THE GUEST BLOGGER. ANY PARTICIPATION OR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF ANY PARTY MENTIONED WITHIN THIS SITE IS PURELY SPECULATION. AS THE LAW STATES, AN INDIVIDUAL IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. I DO NOT OWN THE PHOTOS USED IN THIS POST. ALL PHOTOS ARE USED UNDER THE FAIR USE ACT. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. ANY AND ALL OPINIONS ARE THAT OF THE GUEST BLOGGER AND DON’T NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SYNOVA INK©2017-2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Recommended Reading: 

Support Synova’s Cause:

EACH WEEK SYNOVA HIGHLIGHTS OBSCURE COLD CASES ON HER BLOG AS A VICTIMS’ ADVOCATE WITH MISSOURI MISSING ORGANIZATION. SHE NEVER CHARGES FOR HER SERVICES. IF YOU’D LIKE TO SUPPORT HER IN THIS WORTHY CAUSE, PLEASE CHECK OUT THE AFFILIATE LINKS ON THIS PAGE. BY PURCHASING ONE OF HER BOOKS, OR USING THESE LINKS YOU WILL BE SUPPORTING SYNOVA’S WORK ON COLD CASES AND WILL ENSURE HER ABILITY TO CONTINUE TO GIVE A VOICE TO THE VICTIM’S FAMILY.


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free.

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Shattered: behind every story is a shattered life

Every year Synova compiles the most popular blog post from the previous year into a case files book. In 2018, Synova Ink was filled with serial killer cases, cold cases, famous cases, and many obscure unsolved missing persons’ cases. Don’t miss this one. 

Order your copy of Synova’s New Casefiles book HERE!


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Come Quick!

Ruthlessness Knows No Gender – Louise Hathcock

Photo courtesy of Find A Grave

“I’d just as soon have Al Capone gunning for me as Louise Hathcock” – Deputy Peatie Plunk

She’s been called the Queen of the State Line Mob. She’s been called ruthless and bloodthirsty, and she definitely wasn’t a “Mob Moll.” Louise Hathcock was the mobster, and the local men were her companions.

Laura Louise Anderson was born on Wednesday, March 19, 1919, to Shelton and Bessie Anderson. After the stock market crash in 1929 and her father leaving in 1935, Louise was moved to McNairy County, Tennessee. By eighteen, Louise decided her life was going to be different. She refused to be dirt poor, and she would do anything to change it. With her mother’s help, Louise landed a job working as a bookkeeper for Nelson Timlake at the State Line Club. Tennessee would never be the same.

The precocious teenager flirted with every man that came near and found she liked the game of “conquering” men, but there was one that seemed oblivious to her advances; Jack Hathcock. Of course, forbidden fruit is always the most enticing, so soon Louise began pursuing Jack relentlessly. He too would fall prey to her feminine wiles, and eventually asked her to marry him. There was one problem with this proposal. She wasn’t sure she wanted Jack now. She had lost interest, but he was on his way to the top, and she wanted to be rich and powerful. Louise finally agreed to become Mrs. Hathcock.

Now we have a name change, but what changed Louise from a money-hungry, promiscuous teenager to the ruthless mobster? That process would take time, bloodshed, and a lot of pain. While Jack promised her a life filled with excitement, money, and good times, Louise Hathcock found bloodshed, brutality, male domination, and fear.

One of many breaking points came in February 1940. Louise had grown tired of Jack’s domestic abuse and his utter domination. Louise had been stepping out on Jack, and this time Nelson Timlake found out about it. Nelson was like a serrogate father to Jack after his own father died, so this infuriated him as if she had been cheating on his own son.

Nelson told Jack what happened and where to find his wife. Jack and a friend tore out of town to chase down the wayward bride. No one was going to make Jack Hathcock look like a punk. After a brutal ordeal, Louise was nearly killed and ended up in the hospital. Of course, the sheriff was paid off, and the beaten woman was “encouraged” to drop all charges.

After this brutal encounter with her husband and his friends, Louise knew she would not let herself get into such a situation again. No man was going to brutalize the 5’2″ Louise again. Fear kept her in line for a little while, but this prison wouldn’t hold the fire growing inside her. The bouncers would make sure Louise didn’t get to close to any of the customers and kept her under a watchful eye.

Instead of turning away from the violence, Louise began to embrace it, and her eager mind began soaking up the knowledge of the state line’s inner workings. It might take awhile, but eventually Louise Hathcock would become the mobster and the men around her would become her “prisoners.”

Fights, murders, and robberies were commonplace at the State Line Club, and Louise began carrying a small ball-pean hammer around in her apron to fix the pictures as they were knocked off the walls. Soon she began using the hammer on the heads of her clients as well. As a teenager, Buford Pusser actually witnessed her beat a client to death with that hammer. When the “paid off” sheriff arrived, he was told the man died of a heart attack.

In January 1949 Jack and Louise Hathcock acquired the State Line Club, the Rainbow Room, and Foam City from Nelson Timlake. She was now one step closer to her dreams of being out from under the thumb of domineering men. Her marriage was a sham and everyone, but Jack knew it, but Louise made sure no one could prove her extramarital affairs.

Louise worked hard to keep her affairs a secret until James Everett “Pee Wee” Walker came into the picture. While “Pee Wee” was married to a beautiful woman, the lure of the powerful Louise Hathcock drew him in. On the other hand, Louise found out what it was like to fall entirely in love with someone. Now she was in Jack’s shoes because although Pee Wee talked of leaving his wife for her, he really had no intention of doing so.

The affair carried on for over a year before Nelson Timlake found out about it. This would be the beginning of the end for Jack and Louise. Nelson called in some “boys” to take care of Pee Wee, and meanwhile, Nelson went had had dinner with Jack. While they were there, Jack happily talked about his plans for building a new club, and more importantly, there were plenty of witnesses to provide an alibi.

On June 13, 1957, Nelson’s thugs found Pee Wee and beat him to a bloody pulp before shooting him execution-style. Now no one in his right mind would ever mess with Louise again. This would be the final straw for Louise. Something inside her died along that dirt path with her lover. She quickly divorced Jack Hathcock and over a short period of time acquired part ownership in the Shamrock Motel.

Louise took charge of the infamous motel and at one particular business meeting told her employees how much she hated the “Yankees.” She said the south may have lost the Civil War, but as far as she was concerned if a Yankee walked into the Shamrock they were fair game and she wanted every cent they carried in with them. If her “girls” couldn’t seduce the men into the trailers out back or talk them into gambling away all their money, they would be beaten and robbed before their stay at the hotel ended.

If anyone complained to the police, their bodies would be found at the bottom of the lake. Louise wanted money, and she would do anything for it. As far as she was concerned “Yankees” were subhuman, and they deserved to lose every dime they had. While Louise’s power grew day by day, her mind and emotions began to deteriorate, and soon hard liquor was her constant companion. It had been her crutch since marrying Jack, but now it was all that seemed to keep her going. That, and her hatred for Jack Hathcock. She continually plotted ways to kill her ex-husband, and on May 22, 1964, Louise hatched her evil plan and nothing was going to stop her, not even a beating.

Louise literally had one of her men beat her up then she had someone call Jack to come over. He walked into an ambush, but the bruises on Louise won her a free pass of self-defense. Now Louise was in charge, and no one could stop her.

Murders, extortion, prostitution was commonplace, and soon the law enforcement was waging war on the state line. When Buford Pusser became sheriff, the war escalated drastically. Although he’s credited with cleaning up the state line, there were a lot of law enforcement departments trying to clean up the corruption, but B.P. would be the one to take out the ruthless Louise Hathcock in a blaze of gunfire.

Her life spiraled out of control in the years after Jack’s murder, and she was facing some serious jail time. There weren’t enough of “her people” in law enforcement anymore to buy her way out of it this time. By now her looks had faded, she was broken, and she probably figured it was about over. Maybe that’s why she pulled a gun on a sheriff. Perhaps it was one last act of defiance, or maybe it was suicide by cop. We will never know.

It was a stormy night when a couple of Yankees turned in to the Shamrock Hotel looking for a place to ride out the storm. They were welcomed in warmly, and something slipped into their drinks. Soon they were unconscious in their room when a dark figure moved inside. When they awoke in the morning, all of their money and her purse was missing. The couple hurried to the counter in a panic, hoping to find sympathy and support. Instead, they found a very drunk Louise Hathcock spewing out venom and curses. The terrified couple flew out the door when Hathcock reached into her apron. The police were called from a payphone.

February 1, 1966, Sheriff Buford Pusser, Deputy Pettie Plunk, and Deputy Jim Moffett arrived with warrants in hand to search the Shamrock. This wasn’t the first time they had complaints of robberies there. This would be the last time, though.

When the lawmen walked in, they were greeted with a barrage of cursing that would make a sailor blush. Intoxicated wasn’t a strong enough word for the firestorm that stood behind the counter. They tried to explain they were looking for a missing purse, but Louise started ranting about a car. She wasn’t making any sense. After a few moments, she asks Buford Pusser to have a private chat. He took the search warrants and followed her to apartment one. That’s where she lived. He had no idea what was running through her head as she fingered the cold metal object in the pocket of her sweater.

After isolating the big man, she turned on him with her snub-nosed .38 caliber and fired a shot at the sheriff. He seeing the glint of gunmetal dropped down onto the bed. In her drunken state, she missed his head, and the bullet ended up firing through the window and wedging itself into a post outside. She leveled her gun between the lawman’s eyes and fired again, but it misfired giving Buford time to draw is 41 Magnum and fire back. He didn’t miss, but she kept pulling the gun back up until she took three bullets and landed on the floor. There in the very spot where she plotted the bloodshed of her ex-husband, Louise Hathcock faded into history.

Some conspiracy theorists like to try and say Buford Pusser shot her of his own accord, but I tend to believe she was finished and she knew it. Louise loved being the big boss. She loved the finer things in life. She wouldn’t survive a lengthy prison sentence. To me, a non-local observer, it seems she committed suicide by cop.

A grand jury cleared the sheriff of any wrong-doing, and in a later interview, Pettie Plunk was quoted saying “I’d compare her with Al Capone. I’d just as soon have Al Capone gunning for me as Louise Hathcock.” Maybe that’s the type of legacy she wanted to leave behind. Who knows? What changed this poor girl desperate for money into a ruthless killer? We may never know, and I don’t claim to have the education in psychology to explain it. Whatever the case, Louise Hathcock’s name will be remembered.


THIS OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS. SYNOVA STRIVES TO CITE ALL THE SOURCES USED DURING HER CASE STUDY, BUT OCCASIONALLY A SOURCE MAY BE MISSED BY MISTAKE. IT IS NOT INTENTIONAL, AND NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED.


Further Reading:

Louise Hathcock: Queen of the State Line Mob by: Robert Broughton and Revonda Foster Kirby

Ghost Tales Of The State Line Mob By: Robert Broughton

Wikipedia

This week’s Recommended Reading:

52 Years Since Ronnie Anderson Was Slaughtered By the Dixie Mafia

Ashton Kutcher Look-Alike Slaughtered By Dixie Mafia

PHOTO COURTESY OF NEIMANLAB.ORG

It has been 52 years today since this disabled boy was used as a pawn in a sadistic game and then slaughtered.


Unlike his handsome Hollywood look-alike, Ronnie Anderson was tragic from the beginning. At the age of three, Polio ravaged his legs, leaving him dependent on leg braces to stand and move. He was a beautiful boy looking for love and acceptance but found it hard to find friends. While they were all outside playing, he would sit in the window and watch. This picture of him crying for fellowship with his peers still haunts his sister five decades later.

At the age of 17, Ronnie decided to move out of his father’s house and share expenses with an older boy. He got his first job working at McDonald’s, and it seemed as if life were about to begin for this lonely polio victim. If he could have only seen into the future a few months, he would have stayed home with his dad.

Unfortunately, the poor guy was in such need of approval; he became an easy target for malicious predators.

A phone rang at Sheriff Buford Pusser’s house in the early hours of August 12, 1967. It was a simple drunk and disorderly call, but his wife Pauline didn’t want him to go alone. Ever since Buford killed Louise Hathcock, he had been receiving threatening calls. One caller claimed, “the sheriff would be hunted down like a dog and shot.” An article in the Daily News would go into more detail about those threats. Unfortunately, by then, the slaughter had already begun.

Buford & Pauline Pusser drove out to the scene expecting a few drunks to be causing a ruckus. What waited for them in the shadows behind the church was more violent, and Pauline Pusser was the target. (This wouldn’t be known until recently when an anonymous witness came forward with information.) The sheriff had stepped over a line when he killed Hathcock and now Towhead White was going to avenge the death of his lover. White was in prison, but he had plenty of associates to handle the job. One such associate was Kirksey Nix, and another happened to be the roommate of Ronnie Anderson.

The original plan was to have “the little crippled boy” (or so he was referenced to by this witness) to knock on the door and lure Pauline out of the house. The crew of killers would take care of the rest. Of course, Ronnie had no way of knowing what would happen. The plan was changed when they saw Pauline get in the car with her husband.

Once the sheriff’s car passed the church, the murder-wagon pulled out behind them. (Some reports claim there were two dark-colored cars, and others claim there was one. I could not find definite proof of two cars although I have a pretty good idea what happened to that dark-green Cadillac a few weeks later.) As the car of thugs caught up to the sheriff, a passenger opened fire upon the Pussers with a .30 caliber automatic rifle.

Pauline was hit in the head and slumped down in the seat next to Buford. He ducked instinctively and slammed on the gas pedal. The car lurched forward, and he struggled to keep it between the ditches. The firing squad followed hard, but a couple of miles down the road it looked like the rugged sheriff had lost his tail. He was wrong. Buford had pulled over to check on his wife when the firing squad emerged out of the darkness and the onslaught of ammunition peppered the police car once again.

A bullet slammed into Buford’s jawbone, causing it to explode, and he slumped over in the seat. The mighty 6′ 6″ former wrestler was down for the count. Silence filled the pre-dawn air around the car. His attackers were gone. As mental clarity returned to the dying man, he mumbled a call for help into the police radio. Blinded by blood and fueled by rage, the sheriff drove himself to the nearby hospital, but it was too late for his beloved Pauline.

Life in McNairy County would never be the same.

Bloodlust was in the air, & revenge was coming.

Buford Pusser was wheeled into the emergency surgery. He would undergo a dozen of them over the next 18 days of torment. His detractors railed on him for missing his wife’s funeral, and they still do to this day. The original newspaper articles claim he was still in the hospital during the funeral. Buford Pusser was a roughneck, backwoods, in your face type of sheriff, but something changed within him during those weeks in the hospital. He went in a controversial lawman, but he came out looking for blood.

Can you blame the man for wanting to avenge the slaughter of his wife?

At first, Buford claimed to know his attackers and even named a few names, but by the end of his recovery, he had changed his story. Was the trama too much for him, or was he going to exact his own revenge outside the confines of the law? Lost in this cruel game of vigilante justice was the murder of the pawn.

Back at home in Gulfport, Mississippi, Ronnie Anderson had gotten an invitation to stay a few days with his older sister Phyllis. He was excited to go and desperately wanted to get away from the terrors of his roommate. He was last seen packing and ironing his clothes. Within an hour, he was dead.

Who killed the sweet Ashton Kutcher look-alike?

Dan Anderson got notified almost immediately after returning home from visiting Ronnie.

“Ronnie tried to kill himself.”

Dan rushed to the hospital only to be met in the waiting room by his ex-wife. (Rose also happened to be the roommate’s aunt.) She explained that Ronnie had died from a gunshot wound to the face. It didn’t make any sense. How could all of this happen within an hour or so?

Story #1:

Ronnie fought with his girlfriend Cathy, so he walked upstairs and shot himself in the face with a .410 shotgun.

Story #2:
Ronnie and his roommate had just returned from buying Ronnie some “deck shoes” when a friend stops by with two guns. The .410 was supposed to be missing a firing pin and was inoperable. Somehow this was a terrible mistake, and Ronnie’s death was from an accidental shooting.
Problems with both theories:

As you know, Ronnie was a polio victim in a bulky leg brace. This disease also left him with one leg quite a bit smaller than the other one. So, buying shoes was a complicated process. First, he had to purchase two separate pairs in different sizes, and then they had to be sent to his doctor to have them fitted with special plates to hook to his braces. There was no way Ronnie could wear so-called “deck shoes” in the first place.

Also, supposedly, Ronnie placed the gun between his feet and pulled the trigger to shoot himself in the face. With his reduced strength in his legs and feet and the brace, this would be impossible. Ronnie couldn’t hold anything between his feet.

Another strange issue:

Why didn’t anyone call the police? Instead, the roommate called his aunt, who washed Ronnie, got rid of the weapon and then took him to the hospital. Of course, the poor boy died in route. He never had a chance.

The night before the funeral, Phyllis was so distraught with grief her doctor prescribed sleeping pills to help her rest, but the nightmares continued. A once beautiful boy stood headless outside her bedroom window banging trying to get in. Phyllis tried desperately to pry open the glass, but it wouldn’t budge. This reoccurring dream would haunt her for years.

During her tormented slumber, a woman calls the house frantically asking to speak with Phyllis. Her husband refuses to wake her and ask to take a message. The woman refuses but finally, she breaks down and says her name is Cathy.

“They killed him. They killed him,” she gasps into the phone just before the line goes dead.

After the funeral, Phyllis took all her theories to law enforcement, but they refused to class the case as anything other than suicide. Her father, Dan Anderson worked as a deputy in the area and knew of the corruption, but found his hands tied. What was he to do? They had killed his son; now, his daughter was in their sights if he dared to fight it. Every time she called into the police department, Phyllis would receive a call from her dad immediately afterward.

“Leave it alone before you get someone else killed,” he demanded on one such call.

At this time no one, including Phyllis, had even heard of the Dixie Mafia. Fifty years later, a witness stepped forward, claiming to know the truth about Ronnie’s death. In reality, he was lured to the docks, beaten to death by a group of guys, and his roommate shot him in the face to stage a suicide.

When will his blood be avenged?

Last Monday we learned that the RICO Act wasn’t used on the Italian Mafia first. It was used against a Dixie Mafia kingpin out of Georgia in 1976. After much publicity, many hours of investigations, and the word of a few witnesses that have recently stepped forward, Phyllis is now hoping to use this great law to find justice for her brother.


The following links are for the benefit of Synova’s readers and are not an all-inclusive source listing.

Further Reading:

Daily Journal

Wikimapia

Synova’s Youtube Video


This Week’s Recommended Dixie Mafia Book:

Ghost Tales of The State Line Mob: Novel Based on Actual Events

Dixie Mafia Gangster: The Audacious Criminal Career of Willie Foster Sellers: A True-Crime Story

For those who like to read gritty crime novels, check out the latest from my friend and fellow writer, Wayne Clingman. 

Narco Saints


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free.

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ALL INFORMATION USED TO CREATE THIS CONTENT IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD AND CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE OR CAN BE VERIFIED BY THE GUEST BLOGGER. ANY PARTICIPATION OR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF ANY PARTY MENTIONED WITHIN THIS SITE IS PURELY SPECULATION. AS THE LAW STATES, AN INDIVIDUAL IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. I DO NOT OWN THE PHOTOS USED IN THIS POST. ALL PHOTOS ARE USED UNDER THE FAIR USE ACT. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. ANY AND ALL OPINIONS ARE THAT OF THE GUEST BLOGGER AND DON’T NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SYNOVA INK©2017-2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Ashton Kutcher Look-Alike Slaughtered By Dixie Mafia

1st RICO Indictment WAS NOT against the Italians. It was against the Dixie Mafia

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Screenshot taken from https://www.gatewaymacon.org/top-5-lists/top-5-surprising-facts-5.cms

For those of you who don’t believe in the existence of the Dixie Mafia consider this. Three full years before the R.I.C.O. act was used in New York to take down the Italian Mafia, it was used in Georgia to take down Dixie Mafia Kingpin John “J.C.” Hawkins.


Everyone has heard how the U.S. Attorney’s office used the R.I.C.O. act to attack the Italian Mafia and ultimately take it down. Although it still exists to this day, the Mafia isn’t nearly as powerful as it was back in the early 1970s. Even Wikipedia claims the R.I.C.O. act was first used in 1979 to take down the Italians.


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The screenshot is taken from Wikipedia

While diving deeper into my research of the Dixie Mafia, I found a startling truth. The R.I.C.O. Act wasn’t used first on the Italians. It was used against a Dixie Mafia Kingpin named J.C. Hawkins out of Georgia three full years before the highly-publicized case in New York. Although the Dixie Mafia doesn’t have the structure and organization of the famous Italian crew, this grassroots criminal enterprise spans the southern states like weeds in a garden.

The term “Dixie Mafia” was coined in the 1960s by Mississippi State Police investigator, Rex Armistead. He hoped it would draw the attention of police and the media to the connections between the criminal factions. For decades everyone argued over the existence of the Italian mafia before it became indisputable. Now the same pattern is happening about the Dixie Mafia. While they have been called everything from the Cornbread La Cosa Nostra to the Hillbilly Mob, the fact that there is a criminal organization in the south should be indisputable. Why are people still arguing over this point? I contend Hollywood glamorized the Italian organization and they haven’t touched the southern counterpart.


More about the first RICO indictment:

The R.I.C.O. indictment case out of Macon, GA started with a rock group called the Allman Brothers band.

The_Allman_Brothers_Band_(1972).jpeg

Photo courtesy of Capricorn Records – itemphoto frontphoto back, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39713595

They were called the “Godfathers of Southern Rock,” but now drug dealers with ties to the Georgia faction of the Dixie Mafia will destroy what’s left of the band.


The Allman Brothers Band had reached the lofty heights of stardom by 1976, but those heights were hard to maintain with ties to Georgia’s faction of the Dixie Mafia. Drugs, band member disputes, lavish living, and one giant push by law enforcement spelled the end of the famous rock group.
The band that would be later known for hits like Ramblin Man and Midnight Rider was formed by two brothers Gregg and Duane in 1969. The next seven years would be plagued with trouble, but they would finally scratch their way to the top. Things started falling apart, however, when the eldest brother Duane was killed in a motorcycle accident on October 29, 1971. The band somehow kept it together and seemed stronger than ever, but it wouldn’t last long.
Gregg Allman’s former bodyguard and now road manager, John “Scooter” Herring was allegedly supplying the band and others with narcotics. His activities and his ties to Dixie Mafia Kingpin J. C. Hawkins had come under scrutiny by law enforcement. Scooter’s supplier was a pharmacist Joey Fuchs. At one point Fuchs found his pharmacy stock so obviously low, that he staged a robbery to cover the drugs he had stolen and sold to Herring.
Scooter Herring and Joey Fuchs were arrested and indicted on May 30, 1976. Witnesses were called in from around the music industry including Gregg Allman. Everyone in the band refused to “rat out” their friend, but Allman facing charges of his own agreed to testify against his former manager. This action was the final straw that broke up the group.
The feds were happy to take down Fuchs and Herring, but their main target was the big boss J.C. Hawkins. They would get their chance in a much-publicized RICO trial in July 1976. Hawkins and the crew were convicted of several racketeering charges, drug charges and much more. During the trial, the rockstar Gregg Allman had to be under heavy guard. Hawkins, who had a history of taking out witnesses, had put a price on Allman’s head. $100,000 was a lot of money back in 1976, and that’s what the kingpin was willing to pay if someone took out Allman.
Scooter Herring was convicted of five drug charges and sentenced to 75 years in prison. Herring who had also been a former bodyguard for J.C. Hawkins was now behind bars. He refused to snitch on anyone, but Fuchs and Allman didn’t share his sentiment. Viewing Allman’s testimony as an act of betrayal, the band officially broke up. They would reunite on a few occasions over the next few decades, but they would never achieve the same level of success as their first run in the early 1970s.
An appeals court later overturned Herring’s conviction. He would face another trial in 1979 where he would plead guilty to lesser charges and receive five years. Eventually, Scooter received a presidential pardon from Jimmy Carter, and he ended up serving only three years. Many believed he took the rap for Allman, but there wasn’t any proof. Several southern rock groups performed charity concerts and raised the money to foot Scooter’s legal bill. Scooter went on working in the music industry and was beloved by all who knew him. No one will ever know if the allegations were true or false, but Herring spent the rest of his life on the fringes of Rock and Roll as a manager for different bands.
Gregg Allman wrote a book titled My Cross to Bear in later in life. He says he was told by Scooter to pin everything on the big guy. Of course, there is no way to verify this claim. Was the ex-bodyguard still trying to protect the drug-addled celebrity, or was he actually guilty? Who knows? Whatever the case may be, the feds ended up taking down their man Hawkins with the first RICO trial.


THIS OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS. SYNOVA STRIVES TO CITE ALL THE SOURCES USED DURING HER CASE STUDY, BUT OCCASIONALLY A SOURCE MAY BE MISSED BY MISTAKE. IT IS NOT INTENTIONAL, AND NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED.


Further Reading:

gangsterreport.com/

sofa-king-cool-magazine.com

recoveryunplugged.com

wikipedia

openjurist.org

groups.google.com

gatewaymacon.org

texarkanagazette.com

newspapers.com


This week’s Recommended Reading:

My Cross to Bear

Dixie Mafia Gangster: The Audacious Criminal Career of Willie Foster Sellers: A True-Crime Story


Support Synova’s Cause:

EACH WEEK SYNOVA HIGHLIGHTS OBSCURE COLD CASES ON HER BLOG AS A VICTIMS’ ADVOCATE WITH MISSOURI MISSING ORGANIZATION. SHE NEVER CHARGES FOR HER SERVICES. IF YOU’D LIKE TO SUPPORT HER IN THIS WORTHY CAUSE, PLEASE CHECK OUT THE AFFILIATE LINKS ON THIS PAGE. BY PURCHASING ONE OF HER BOOKS, OR USING THESE LINKS YOU WILL BE SUPPORTING SYNOVA’S WORK ON COLD CASES AND WILL ENSURE HER ABILITY TO CONTINUE TO GIVE A VOICE TO THE VICTIM’S FAMILY.


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Recommended Reading:

Follow the heart-rending cases Synova first wrote about on her blog in 2018. Filled with missing persons’ cases, unsolved homicides, and even serial killer cases, this book will give you a greater insight into the shattered lives behind every story. Cases Included in this book: Jayme Closs, Haley Owens, Josh Robinson, Timothy Cunningham, Carol Blades, Pam Hupp, Arthur Ream, Angela Hammond, The Springfield Three, Jennifer Harris, Danny King, Angie Yarnell, Jack Robinson, Madelin Edman, Alexis Patterson, Amber Wilde, Sandra Bertolas, Jennifer Casper-Ross, Crystal Soulier, Jody Ricard, Carmen Owens, Brandon Tyree McCullough & The I-70 Serial Killer.

A portion of the profits of this book will go to support the Missouri Missing Organization.


If you’d like to check out Synova’s true crime books follow this link to her Amazon Author Page.


ALL INFORMATION USED TO CREATE THIS CONTENT IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD AND CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE OR CAN BE VERIFIED BY THE GUEST BLOGGER. ANY PARTICIPATION OR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF ANY PARTY MENTIONED WITHIN THIS SITE IS PURELY SPECULATION. AS THE LAW STATES, AN INDIVIDUAL IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. I DO NOT OWN THE PHOTOS USED IN THIS POST. ALL PHOTOS ARE USED UNDER THE FAIR USE ACT. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. ANY AND ALL OPINIONS ARE THAT OF THE GUEST BLOGGER AND DON’T NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SYNOVA INK©2017-2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


ALL INFORMATION USED TO CREATE THIS CONTENT IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD AND CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE OR CAN BE VERIFIED BY THE GUEST BLOGGER. ANY PARTICIPATION OR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF ANY PARTY MENTIONED WITHIN THIS SITE IS PURELY SPECULATION. AS THE LAW STATES, AN INDIVIDUAL IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. I DO NOT OWN THE PHOTOS USED IN THIS POST. ALL PHOTOS ARE USED UNDER THE FAIR USE ACT. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. ANY AND ALL OPINIONS ARE THAT OF THE GUEST BLOGGER AND DON’T NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SYNOVA INK©2017-2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Tip From Dying Witness Breaks 46-yr-old Dixie Mafia Cold Case

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Photo courtesy of Knox News Archives

A trucker was found dead in the cab of his tractor-trailer. Bullet holes riddled the man’s torso and the cab of his truck. John Constant was shot 17 times by a high powered rifle, but there wasn’t any blood in the cab leading investigators to wonder if the hit was staged. Forty-six years later a dying witness blows this frozen case wide open. Will the killer finally face justice?


This blog post is a part of a series of stories about the Dixie Mafia. Make sure to subscribe to Synova’s True Crime Newsletter so you don’t miss out on any of the stories.

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John Raymond Constant, Jr. was found murdered in the cab of his truck on March 16, 1973. The tractor-trailer truck was parked near the Little Tennessee River just off Hwy 411. The driver had suffered seventeen gunshot wounds, but police quickly began to suspect the crime scene was staged. Although the cab was riddled with bullets and Mr. Constant was shot multiple times, there was no blood found at the scene.

A witness lived in the area recalled hearing a car with a loud exhaust come by followed by what sounded like gunfire. A few moments later, he heard the vehicle pass again. Was this man ambushed while he rested in his cab, or was the scene staged? Was the car with the loud exhaust filled with the killers, or was it the escape route after staging the scene?

Strange Side Note:

The tractor-trailer truck’s emergency flashers were left blinking. Obviously, whoever did this wasn’t too worried about being caught, or they would have hidden the truck and shut off the lights.

Possible Motive:

Why would anyone want to murder this man? It seems Constant was starting to keep records of the shipments he was hauling. These shipments included bootleg cigarettes and black market items shipped by the local chapter of the Dixie Mafia. Family members claim John had been threatened and had decided to go to the FBI with his records.

Within a few months, outside investigators were brought in to form a task force since there were rumors of involvement by prominent citizens in the local community. Investigators wondered if this case could be tied to the Ray Owenby murder in June of 1973. The two men were good friends, and both were murdered three months apart.

Ray Owenby was shot while clearing land for development in Spring City, TN. He was shot four times but still managed to drive the bulldozer a mile down the road to find help. He collapsed upon arrival. No suspects emerged in the case, but the similarities made police wonder if there was a connection.

Investigators believe John Constant was killed the day before his body was found and was transported to the location. Witnesses would emerge early in the investigation that seemed to corroborate this theory. Constant was seen at a garage in Etowah owned by H.B. Calhoun. Another man claimed to have seen John Constant and two men at a car wash in Etowah on March 15. While the witness washed his car, he heard something like firecrackers, and then a truck drove away with someone slumped in the seat. The witness was put under hypnosis, and a few new details emerged. The driver was Marvin Ray “Big John” Pittman, and the other man was supposedly Harold Buckner.

Big John Pittman was a drifter and worked as a hitman for the Dixie Mafia. He would eventually be murdered in his home in Tampa, Florida. His body was found on June 5, 1975. He had been shot once in the temple and left for dead.

Harold Buckner’s story doesn’t have such a quick ending. Buckner would be arrested in September 1982 after a witness came forward on their deathbed. Buckner had just run for Sheriff and lost and claimed it was a politically motivated arrest. It would take a year, but the charges were eventually dropped due to lack of evidence. To this day, Buckner claims he was framed, and the investigation was nothing more than a “witch hunt.”

After the deathbed witness statement and the subsequent events, the case sat dormant for decades. Richar Fisher, former D.A. told reporters that he always believed several people had a hand in the murder plot against John Constant. If something didn’t come up soon, everyone would be dead.

Although the case went cold, the victim’s family believed they knew the murderer from the beginning and fingered Max Calhoun (son of H.B. Calhoun). John’s two brothers threatened the Calhoun family within weeks of the murder, and eventually, a protection order was placed on them.

“I am confident in my mind that you set my brother up to be murdered.” – Harold Constant to Max Calhoun.

Forty-six years later, a witness comes forward, and her story could finally solve this case, but is it too late for justice?

Arwana Lee Amos,65 came forward in December 2018 with a statement. Amos is terminally ill and wanted to tell police what she knew about the historic case before she passed away. Law enforcement has not released the details of her statement, but soon afterward they arrested the 67-year-old Max Calhoun.

After half a century is justice possible in this case? The alleged shooter was killed decades ago, and the only man left standing is Calhoun. Is he the one? Time will tell, but who knows how long this chain of murder extends?


THIS LIST OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS. SYNOVA STRIVES TO CITE ALL THE SOURCES USED DURING HER CASE STUDY, BUT OCCASIONALLY A SOURCE MAY BE MISSED BY MISTAKE. IT IS NOT INTENTIONAL, AND NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED.

Further Reading:

Newspapers.com

middle Tennessee mysteries

knoxnews.com

The daily times

advocate and democrat

tba.org

knoxnews.com


This week’s Recommended Reading:

Mississippi Mud: Southern Justice and the Dixie Mafia

Rock Solid, The True Story of Georgia’s Dixie Mafia


If you enjoy this content, don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free.

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All information used to create this content is a matter of public record and can be easily found online or can be verified by the guest blogger. Any participation or alleged involvement of any party mentioned within this site is purely speculation. As the law states, an individual is innocent until PROVEN guilty. I do not own the photos used in this post. All photos are used under the fair use act. No copyright infringement intended. Any and all opinions are that of the guest blogger and don’t necessarily reflect the views of Synova Ink©2017-2019. All rights reserved.

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Back Cover Summary:

Deep in the heart of Dixie lies a hidden evil. It’s tentacles stretch from state to state, from county to county. The Dixie Mafia has produced infamous outlaws, bank robbers, and murderers. The story contains tidbits from each of their lives and even includes the story of a famous sheriff, but this book is not about them.

Silenced by the Dixie Mafia is about a big sister who has fought for answers for over five decades. It’s about a father who was an ex-alcoholic turned into a gambling addict. A father’s decisions would lead to the death of his disabled son and eventually lead to his own demise. Now left alone to find answers and make sense of the chaos is a brave little southern belle named Phyllis. 

Tying back to the ambush of Sheriff Buford Pusser on August 12, 1967, this story will change history as we know it. The world knew nothing about the Dixie Mafia until the murders of Judge Vincent Sherry and his wife Margaret in 1987. This public assassination brought this band of ruthless criminals into view, but the truth was still hidden until the death of the Andersons.

 Preorder Your Book Here


If you’d like to check out Synova’s other true crime books follow this link to her Amazon Author Page.


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