Monday, August 13, 2012

Bonnie & Clyde - The Southlake Connection

A couple of miles northeast of chez Beirne in Southlake stands this simple roadside marker.  I had driven past it countless times, but only recently stopping to see what it commemorated.  Expecting that it was the site of a car accident, I was taken aback when after reading the first few lines on the stone.  It was near this spot on the morning of April 31, 1934 (Easter Sunday) that Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow gunned down and viciously murdered two Texas State Troopers.

The lawmen (Troopers Edward Bryan Wheeler and H.D. Murphy) were on patrol and without suspicion, had stopped to render aid to Barrow's car - which was pulled over to the side on Dove Road.   By this date, Bonnie & Clyde were notorious, having commited numerous robberies and murders on a two year crime spree that took them from Illinois all the way south to Texas.  They were hardened fugitives with neither fear nor respect for the law.  Although it is questionable if Barrow, Parker or their accomplice (Henry Methvin) did the actual killing, the consequences left the public further appalled and raised both the bounty and the efforts to see them captured.

Their run did not last much longer.  A famed Texas Ranger, Frank Hamer, and three fellow officers trailed the Barrow gang into Louisiana.  Hamer, aware of his jurisdiction limits, recruited two local officers and the six lay in wait near Methvin's parants house.  At 9.15am on May 23, 1934, the lawmen emptied approximately 130 rounds into Barrow's Ford.  That was it for Bonnie & Clyde, gone to hell in a hail of bullets.

Apparently the memorable final scene in the movie strarring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway is no exaggeration.

Methvin (whose name sounds like a narcotics and wine conconction), was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 1935 but through some inexplicable dealings, this was commuted... He was paroled in 1942 and but in 1948 met his maker when in a drunken stupour, stumbled across railroad tracks in Louisiana and into the path of an oncoming train.

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