Monday, December 10, 2012


12/25/1932 - While making a quick visit to Dallas on Christmas Eve, Clyde Barrow is talked into taking on a new partner in his assorted criminal activities, sixteen-year-old family friend William Daniel "W.D." Jones, who has been hero worshiping the outlaw for months .

                                           Teenage menace Jones

Not waiting to break his new associate in slowly, the next day as a form of initiation, Clyde, with Bonnie waiting in their car, takes Jones into a Temple, Texas grocery store to rob the place.  Jones freezes however at the reality of armed robbery (his prior offenses have been petty thefts and stealing unoccupied cars).  Returning to their vehicle, Clyde is merciless in his browbeating of the wannabe bad boy, so harsh that Jones asks to be taken back home ... a suggestion Clyde takes very poorly, stating that if Jones wants to go home he'll have to steal a car to get there in ... a car Clyde will select.

                              Clyde and some of his equipment

Unhappy with his failed protege, to embarrass Jones, Clyde selects a Model A Ford roadster he spies as Bonnie drives the streets of Temple ... a car extremely difficult to start, requiring the driver to along with turning the ignition key, pull out the choke while at the same time using both feet to press down on the accelerator and clutch pedals.  Sure enough, Jones fails to start the car and Clyde takes his place behind the wheel to show the floundering rookie how a real thief operates.

                                                      Jones in 1934

Unfortunately, all the commotion brought on by trying to start the vehicle by this time has drawn the attention of the Christmas celebrating family the Ford actually belongs to ... the family of twenty-seven-year-old Doyle Johnson, the new father of a baby girl.  Seeing two men in the car, Henry Krauser, Johnson's father-in-law, Krauser's son Clarence, and Johnson's wife rush on to the front yard demanding to know what the two men are up to.  Clyde responds by jumping out of the car and brandishing his .45 revolver at the group, saying he will fire on the first person who moves forward.  With the family cowed, he then jumps back into the vehicle and again begins playing with the ignition of the Ford.  

                                               Jones and Barrow - 1933

It is tragically at this point that Johnson wakes up from the nap he has been taking in a very Grinchy and belligerent mood.  As Bonnie pulls up next to the roadster in the gang's speedy Ford V-8 and demands that the men abandon their car theft, Johnson, trying to protect his ride, runs outside, reaches through the driver side window and grabs Clyde around the neck.  "Get back man or I'll kill you!"  Johnson ignores the warning from the oulaw begins strangling Clyde, and sure enough, the bandit brings his weapon up and fires several rounds into his assailant, the mortal slug a bullet that severs Johnson's spinal column.  Free of the grip around his neck, Clyde roars down the street in the Model A, followed closely by Bonnie.

                                                                Clyde Barrow

It is the fourth murder Clyde participates in (his first is the killing of the man who rapes him while he is at Texas' infamous Eastham Prison Farm ... a twenty-nine-year-old convict serving ninety-nine years for a variety of crimes named Ed Crowder who will have his head bashed in by a lead pipe) and its utter pointlessness is immediately on display ... only a few blocks away Clyde ditches the vehicle he has killed to steal and the men vanish in the Ford V-8 driven by Bonnie (and there will be no more discussions about Jones leaving, with his involvement in the killing he is now well past saying goodbye and going home).  A menace to citizens and lawmen alike, the desperado is all of twenty-two-years-old when he takes Johnson's life ... and only two weeks away from murder number five, the shotgun killing of Fort Worth Deputy Malcom Davis.

                                  On the road - W.D. Jones and Bonnie Parker

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