Tuesday, April 2, 2013


4/1/1934 - Egg hunts and celebrations of Christ's resurrection are forgotten when tragedy and death come to the small Texas town of Grapevine on Easter Sunday ... and once again for the state, the deaths can be attributed to the bloody activities of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow.

                                                   Bonnie & Clyde

Not wanting the authorities to ruin the Easter they'd like to spend with family, the outlaw couple selects the town of Grapevine, twenty-five miles northwest of Dallas, as a meeting place.  Word sent to the Barrow service station in West Dallas by their outlaw pal Joe Palmer, the couple and their traveling companion, twenty-one-year-old recent Eastham prison escapee Henry Methvin, park in an area surrounded by farmlands, on a narrow dirt track called Dove Road, a hundred yards away from paved two-lane Highway 114, just outside of town.  Site for the rendezvous chosen, they then spend several quiet hours of the sunny day waiting for the Barrows and Parkers to show up ... Clyde takes a nap in the back of their stolen car, Bonnie becomes tipsy sipping whiskey as she plays with the rabbit she has bought as a surprise Easter present for her mother Emma, a hairy little beast she names Sonny Boy, and Methvin gets liquor hammered as he downs chugs of booze while acting as look-out, watching the road while cradling a Browning Automatic Rifle in his arms.  Their lazy afternoon abruptly ends at about 3:30, when three Texas State Highway Patrol motorcycle officers drive by.


The threesome of officers is composed of Polk Ivy, Hollaway Daniel Murphy, and Edward Bryan Wheeler ... senior officer Ivy, and four year veteran of the force Wheeler, are conducting a training run for Murphy, a rookie taking his first day out on patrol ... his first day, and also his last.  With Ivy in the lead as they roll along 114, all three troopers pass the spot where the outlaws are parked, but Wheeler, noticing a shiny black Ford sedan with yellow wire wheel rims there and thinking it might be motorists stuck in the mud and in need of help, turns around and heads up Dove Road, followed by Murphy (down 114, Ivy will finally notice his partners are no longer following him, but by the time he turns around the day's Easter tragedy has already taken place).  Aware that they will soon have company, a now wide awake Clyde arms himself with a sawed-off shotgun.  As he has done in the past, believing it will be easy to get the jump on the officers, he decides to take the approaching men hostage.  "Let's take them," he whispers to Methvin.  But Methvin, drunk and not with the Clyde long enough to know of his penchant for kidnapping policemen, interprets the command differently and as Wheeler pulls up and begins to dismount, heartlessly and without warning, opens up on the officer with his BAR.

                                                      Browning Automatic Rifle

Hit in the chest by multiple body devastating rounds, Wheeler dies instantly.  Responding to the assault on his partner, Murphy attempts to load and remove his service shotgun from its harness on his motorcycle, but before he can get off a shot he is blasted off his bike by shotgun pellets fired his way courtesy of Clyde, realizing instantly that a kidnapping is now out of the question.  Then Methvin, his blood up, walks over to where Murphy lays helplessly wounded in the road, and at point-blank range, fires several more rounds into the fallen officer.  The murder of both men takes less than ten seconds.

                                      Site of the killings

Plans for their Easter party shattered, bloody bodies in the mud, the three outlaws get back on 114 and race east, heading for what they believe will be the safety of another state, Oklahoma, stopping only briefly to tell what has happened when they see Clyde's brother and sister on their way to the now abandoned meeting spot.  Behind, the state explodes in outrage at yet two more murders that can be attributed to the outlaw couple, especially when one eye-witness to the killings, farmer William Schieffer, claims that Bonnie is actually the killer that shoots Murphy in the head after the rookie is blown off his motorcycle.  Papers across the state demand the pair's deaths ... and death is what they will soon get.  Easter Sunday, 1934, and Bonnie & Clyde have just fifty-two more days left to live ... sadly, it will be enough time for one more killing of a police officer. 

           File:Bonnieclyde f.jpg
                                                    Clyde & Bonnie

On the day he is murdered, Trooper Wheeler is twenty-six-years old, survived by his parents and four siblings.  Future gone in the blink of an eye, newcomer Murphy is dead at the age of twenty-two, only days away from his wedding, scheduled for the 13th of the month ... at his funeral, his tearful twenty-year-old fiancee, Marie Tullis, attends wearing her no longer needed white wedding dress.

                                   Murphy                                       Wheeler

No comments:

Post a Comment