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.


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Mob Chairman Taken in Hot Springs, Arkansas


Hot Springs, Arkansas, was known as a safe-haven for gangsters, but one unlucky break would take down the chairman of the mafia in 1936. It seemed Lucky Luciano’s luck had turned.


Salvatore Luciano was born in Sicily on November 24, 1897, and immigrated to Manhattan’s Lower East Side with his family when he was a ten-year-old boy. While the other children tried to learn the English language and pushed hard in school, Salvatore was more interested in street life. By the age of fourteen, he dropped out of school and was running drugs. Officially he worked delivering hats, but this was merely a ruse. The hat boxes also came in handy for hiding his illegal wares.


There are several conflicting stories behind “Lucky’s” nickname. Some tales speak of his outwitting rival gangs, while others tell of his near-death experience at the hands of fellow mobsters. Luciano, himself did little to solve the mystery. Lucky told varying stories througout his lifetime.


After a vicious battle between warring factions of the mob, Luciano devises a bloody scheme to take over the New York Mafia. After killing both of the warring crime bosses, Luciano sets about establishing a “corporation-style” criminal empire.


Luciano, with the help of Meyer Lansky, set up the Commission, which included a representative from each of the five families. This Commission would make joint decisions concerning territory disputes and keep the bloodshed to a minimum. Luciano felts all the violence was getting in the way of making a profit. Don’t be fooled. Luciano was a ruthless and violent as the rest of them, maybe more so. Lucky liked making money and didn’t want anything to get in his way.


By 1936, Lucky Luciano was possibly the most powerful man in America. He ran every type of money-making scheme from drugs and prostitution to bootlegging and murder for hire. One might imagine that Murder Incorporated would have brought down the crime boss, but amazingly it was his lucrative prostitution ring that handed him the Public Enemy #1 status.


New York District Attorney, Thomas E. Dewey set out to take down the mafia kingpin and succeeded in 1936. Lucky Luciano got wind of this and fled New York and headed for the Mafia’s Safe Zone in Hot Springs, Arkansas.


Charles “Lucky” Luciano was hiding in the spa city when he was spotted by a New York detective who happened to be in town on another unrelated case. The mobster was strolling along the promenade behind Bath House Row with the chief of Detectives Herbert “Dutch” Akers. Some sources claim he was behind the Ozark Bathhouse.

I took the following pictures of the great pramanade in my trip to Hot Springs last spring.

The promenade entrance from bathhouse row
Looking back at bathhouse row from the top of the promenade

Dewey was called and a fight began between New York and Hot Springs. Local authorities fought Lucky’s extradition back to the city, but New York finally won and Luciano was shipped back up north. Luciano was sent to prison and eventually deported back to Italy.


Next time you visit the Spa City make sure to check out Robert Raines’ Gangster Museum.

510 Central Ave
Hot Springs, Arkansas
501-318-1717

Further Reading:

Arkansas Online

Wikipedia

NY Daily News

Legends of America

Legends of America #2

 Little Rock Soirée

Luciano On Trial

Encyclopedia of Arkansas

Hot Springs Guest Guide

The Gangster Museum of America


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:

NY Post

Texas Cover UPs

Texas Monitor

LawsInTexas.com


Recommended Reading:


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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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“One of the few books written that gives the reader an insight into the criminal mind” – Retired FBI Agent Egelston Raised in a mob-controlled suburb of Chicago, Sidney Heard grew up wanting to be a gangster. He was on probation by the age of thirteen and continued building his criminal resume over the next half a century. He was a professional arsonist for nearly twenty years; escaped from jail twice; ran a gold scandal grossing over a quarter of a million dollars, and that’s just to name a few of his illegal escapades. To top it off, he played a role in one of the most important Supreme Court Decisions of all time (Gideon vs. Wainwright).Sidney’s underworld connections ran from the Chicago-based Italians to the Mexican Mafia. He even worked undercover for the Federal Government at one point in his life. However, all of Sidney’s so-called glory would come with a price. While working undercover for the F.B.I. D.E.A., Sidney became hooked on drugs. He soon found himself staring at 125 years of jail time , a massive criminal record, and pushing his fiftieth birthday. Can a career criminal change? Frank Abagnale’s criminal career lasted ten years and was featured in the movie Catch Me If You Can. Sidney Heard’s criminal career spanned five decades!
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It’s a tale of two judges; one a well-liked defender of the law, and the other a cold-blooded manipulator. Judge C.E. Chillingworth was by all accounts a man of honor, so why were he and his wife taken from their home on June 15, 1955, in the wee hours of the morning, bound, gagged, weighted down, and thrown into the ocean?

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Come Quick!

The Downfall of A Dixie Mafia Kingpin – Kirksey Nix, Jr. Arrested

kirksey nix jr Photo courtesy of The Alexandria Daily Town Talk Newspaper

Kirksey Nix, Jr. survived the Revenge of Buford Pusser, but his freedom would be short-lived. Within a couple of years, a judge’s Cadillac explodes in front of the state capitol, a man dies on Easter morning defending his home against invaders, and one shot to the chest finally brings the Dixie Mafia Kingpin to his knees.


Kirksey McCord Nix, Jr. was the son of a prominent judge in Oklahoma, but that didn’t stop his life of crime. It probably encouraged it. Nix had been on law enforcement radar for a decade, but no charges would stick. After ambushing Sheriff Pusser on New Hope Road, everyone involved felt the wrath of the disfigured lawman. Somehow, Nix would escape, but his freedom wouldn’t last long.

The ambush and killing of Pauline Pusser wasn’t Kirksey’s first slaying. His group of rogues was accused of several home invasions and murders across four different states. It seemed as if nothing could stop this group of murderous thieves. A series of events would lead to Junior’s downfall, and it would start shortly after the death of Pauline Pusser.

The year before the ambush on Pusser, Junior was arrested on felony accounts of burglary and grand larceny. December 29, 1965, Nix and his little gang broke into a boy’s summer camp near Mount Ida, Arkansas. They stole ten rifles, a movie projector, and sporting equipment according to the the Daily Oklahoman’s article on January 22, 1966.

He was in trouble in April of 1966 for passing bad checks and then again in August for using illegal license plates. After paying fines, Nix kicks off a robbery spree that would span several states, and some of these cases would end up in murder. Somehow Junior’s name stays out of the newspapers until the ambush of Sheriff Pusser on August 12, 1967.

Buford Pusser named Kirksey Nix, Jr. and a few others as the shooters who ambushed him on that fateful day in August. After spending hours combing through newspaper archives, I found Junior didn’t make headlines again until 1968 that’s not to say he was laying low.

March 19, 1968, The Daily Oklahoman reported that Kirksey Nix, Jr. pled guilty to some minor charges including reckless driving and the unlawful use of a radio. It seemed Junior had been monitoring the police radio frequencies. Perhaps he was trying to watch out for Pusser. Who knows?

April 30, 1968, Junior is jailed after his gang unsuccessfully tried to rob the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in Atlanta, GA. This time his crew consisted of four men and one unnamed woman. During the robbery attempt, the thieves were disturbed by a guard named Robert P. Fouche. He was wounded in the robbery, but after a brief hospital stay, he made a full recovery.

May 21, 1968, Junior’s father, Judge Kirksey Nix, drove a dark-colored 1967 Cadillac to work and parked in front of the State Capitol. An hour after arriving, the car explodes throwing metal shards all over the area. Luckily no one was hurt in the explosion. Authorities quickly conclude the blast was not caused by a bomb, so what made it erupt into a ball of flames? Supposedly there were a couple of oxygen tanks in the trunk of the car that caused the explosion, but no one knows for sure.

The car had been included in a robbery investigation only four months before it’s explosion. Then it was supposedly owned by Junior. The Lawton Constitution reported on May 24, 1968, that the car had Mississippi license plates and it was registered to Doris D’ Angelo.

This is where the theories start to creep in…

If we take the “other” story of the ambush as fact, then we may know precisely where that dark-colored Cadillac came from and what it was used for.

Lt. Dan Anderson had a dark-colored Cadillac that suddenly disappeared after the death of his son. His family wondered why he got rid of it, and no one really got an explanation.

Was this the car used in the ambush on Buford Pusser?

Who is Doris D’ Angelo?

Doris was married to a local club owner named Dewey D’Angelo. This big-time Dixie Mafia member sheltered Junior and ran his prostitution house in Mississippi. Dan Anderson and a man named Hobbs frequented this local hang out often. Without warning, Dan and Hobbs show up in the back room of the club, and a deal is made for the Cadillac. (There’s never any paperwork on this transaction. This information was passed down by the rumor mill.) A short time later it is blown up in front of the Oklahoma State Capital. Why would it be blown up unless it held vital evidence? A simple defunct robbery wouldn’t warrant such drastic action. I contend that it was the car that Ronnie Anderson borrowed from his dad so he could go out with the guys.

Now that the car is gone, what’s next for Junior? Well, more robberies and murder, of course. During the 1969 Mardi Gras celebrations a group of heavily armed men raids a camp of carnival workers near Lake Pontchartrain. 44-year-old carnival worker Margie George was shot and killed during the raid.

Easter morning in 1971, Nix and his gang break into the home of a wealthy grocer named Frank Corso. Corso is awakened by his wife and grabs a gun. He fires upon the thieves, and they retreat, but not before shooting the homeowner. He dies in his wife’s arms, but his bullet had found its mark. Kirksey Nix, Jr. was hit square in the chest, and the bullet lodged in his abdomen. The next day Junior shos up at St. Paul’s hospital in Dallas where he received treatment before being arrested by Dallas authorities. In 1972, Nix and his cohorts would be convicted of the murder of Corso and received life in prison. The king of the Dixie Mafia had fallen, but it wouldn’t be the last time his name made headlines. Come back next week, and you’ll hear how the king’s reign faired behind bars.


All information used to create this content is a matter of public record and can be easily found online. 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.©2017-2019. All rights reserved.


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Sources for this article have been linked directly into the text of the article.

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This week’s recommended Dixie Mafia Books include:

Timeless Classics: True Crime

Mississippi Mud: Southern Justice and the Dixie Mafia


kirksey nix jr