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Authors: Gary M. Lavergne

Tags: #Biography & Autobiography, #General, #Law, #True Crime, #Murder, #test

Bad Boy From Rosebud (9 page)

BOOK: Bad Boy From Rosebud
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Page 31
Dale and asked if he had a belt. Hoping that Kenneth was going to tie her up and leave her alone, Roy happily gave his belt to Kenneth, who promptly threw it back into the car. He then grabbed the broomstick and walked towards Louise, telling Roy Dale to get the belt. As Roy Dale turned to go back to the car he heard an odd sound. Kenneth had gone over to Louise, sat on her chest, and placed the broomstick across her throat. As he pressed her against the white crushed stone, "it sounded like air escaping out of a balloon or air hose," Roy Dale remembered.
"No, no, leave her alone," Roy Dale said in a rare moment of assertion.
"It's got to be done," Kenneth replied.
Kenneth pressed hard enough to break bones in Louise's neck. As she gasped for air and struggled for lift, her arms and legs flapped in a
danse macabre
. Kenneth ordered Roy Dale to hold her legs. When he let go, Kenneth told him to grab her legs againand he did. Roy Dale did as he was told. The second time he grabbed her legs, however, he did not have to struggle to keep her still. By that time Louise could no longer feel the pain inflicted by her captors. Kenneth was reported to have said, "It was like you kill a possum."
Kenneth ordered Roy Dale to turn the car around. Roy did as he was told, and Kenneth continued to press the broomstick across Louise's neck long after she could possibly have held on to her life. Kenneth grabbed her arms and Roy Dale grabbed her legs; they heaved her over a barbed wire fence into a field with long grass. Kenneth crossed the fence and choked her again. Asked by Kenneth to check her heart to make sure she was dead, Roy Dale moved her bra over to feel her chest for a beat. Kenneth then decided that he had better check her body himself after having to tell Roy Dale that her heart was on the left side. That was when he noticed a German Cross necklace around Louise's neck. He ripped it off and put it in his pocket. Kenneth then looked at the gun and noticed that he had fired all of his rounds into Robert and Marcus; he had wanted to shoot Louisejust in case. Then they dragged her to a clump of oak trees with ground covered by dense brush.
And finally, they left her alone.
Page 32
Image not available.
Victims of the 1966 Broomstick Murders.
Courtesy Jack Brand.
On the way back to Roy Dale's house in Marlin, Kenneth and Roy Dale stopped in Hillsboro at a filling station for soft drinks. Kenneth lectured Roy Dale: ''Keep your mouth shut. If the police beat on you, it's better than what'll happen if you tell them. They'll put you in the electric chair."
As they motored south towards Marlin, they tossed out empty shells from Lonnie's pistol. They also threw out the broomstickit would never be found. Later, they stopped near a road sign and buried Robert and Marcus's wallets. After reaching Marlin, they tried unsuccessfully to flush their bloody underwear down a gas station toilet. Frustrated, Kenneth threw the garments on the roof of the station. After reaching Roy Dale's house, they spent the night together in the same bed.
The next morning Roy Dale and Kenneth washed up and went outside. After finding a shovel and a cigar box, Kenneth tried to place the Colt revolver into the box but it did not fit. He ripped out one side of the box, wrapped it in rags and buried it and the gun in a two-foot hole he dug near Roy's garage. In an effort to conceal the burial, he carefully
Page 33
placed leaves over the fresh dirt. Then they went to a car wash and thoroughly washed the inside and outside of the Dodge. While cleaning out the inside Kenneth held up one of Louise's long brown hairs, told Roy Dale that it could "get you convicted" and threw it to the ground.
Later that day, Sunday, August 7, 1966, Roy Dale accompanied Kenneth to Robertson County to pick up a girl named Jo Ann. She and Kenneth had a date that night. Kenneth then took Roy Dale to Richard Boyd's house and went on his date.
In Alvarado, Jack Brand returned home from work at Bell Helicopter at 2:15
to find his wife pacing the floor in a frantic state. Their son, Robert, and his cousin, Marcus, had not yet returned. Immediately, Mr. Brand began searching for the boys. "I drove all night," he said, only to return home to lie down and get some well-deserved rest. For a while, Mr. Brand thought that the boys might have taken off to Little Rock.
Louise's mother did not know to be concerned; she thought all along that Louise was at Rhonda's house only a few homes down Marlene Street. She assured police officers that Louise was "a good girl and always comes home on time."
Early Sunday morning, at about the time Kenneth and Roy Dale awakened and the parents of Louise Sullivan and Robert Brand began to get seriously concerned for the safety of their children, Bill Sanders of Burleson, Texas, was driving west on FM 1017. He intended to go fishing when he spotted a 1955 Ford parked against a fence. Thinking it unusual to see an unattended, parked car with the trunk opened, he stopped to check it out. He was the first to see the grisly scene. Tarrant County Sheriff Lon Evans later said that "it looked like an execution."
Immediately, Sanders went to the McAlister home to call the authorities. In a matter of hours, Rhonda's parents informed the Brands of the senseless tragedy. Before the day was out 250 volunteers and police officers were searching for Louise. The next day, Monday, August 8, over 2,000 people assisted in a search using helicopters, horses and motorcycles.
The search, however, did not conclude until a guide arrivedRoy Dale Green.
Kenneth had dropped Roy Dale off at Richard Boyd's house at about 11:30
on Sunday. Early that afternoon Richard and Roy Dale drove to Richard's girlfriend's house and picked her up for a Sunday afternoon drive. Her name was Shirley, and she and Richard could see that something was clearly wrong with Roy Dale.
Page 34
While seated in the back seat, he began to cry. When a radio news report broke the story of the discovery of two murdered boys in Tarrant County, Roy Dale broke down completely. Richard remembered that Roy Dale "fell over in the seat and started crying again."
Clearly, Richard had to do something; he stopped the car and took a walk with Roy Dale. At that time, Roy Dale confessed to what he and Kenneth had done the night before. Richard, Shirley, and Roy Dale went to Shirley's parents in Bremond. After that they went to the Boyd's home where they called the Sheriff of Robertson County, E. Paul "Sonny" Elliot. Roy Dale was taken to the nearest Justice of the Peace and placed under arrest. Roy Dale and Sheriff Elliot then went to Marlin and picked up the Sheriff of Falls County, Brady Pamplin. The two sheriffs and the hapless youth went directly to Roy Dale's house in Marlin. There, Roy Dale took them to the spot where Kenneth buried the Colt revolver. It had been removed. Before the day was out, Roy Dale was placed in jail in Robertson County and taken back to Fort Worth. It was only his second trip to the city.
As the news broke that a Falls County teenager named Roy Dale Green had confessed to his participation in the murders of Robert Brand, Marcus Dunnam, and Louise Sullivan, a massive search was already underway for Louise's body. The brutality of the murders became public knowledge before much of the law enforcement family, and the general public, learned about the true nature of the relationship between Kenneth McDuff and Roy Dale Green. Consequently, for a short time Roy Dale had a brief reputation for viciousness and brutality. It became readily apparent, however, to the sheriffs, deputies, and newsmen covering the story (including a young
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
reporter named Bob Schieffer), that this stupid and cowardly boy could not have committed those murders. Roy Dale signed his sworn statement in front of several newsmen who quoted him as saying, "I just had to tell it. I kept seeing it. I kept hearing those boys moan."
Kenneth's criminal record, and information from Sheriff Brady Pamplin in Falls County, quickly discounted Roy Dale as a primary villain. And so, two massive searches took place simultaneouslyone for Louise in Johnson County and another for Kenneth in Falls and Robertson Counties.
Page 35
For a while, it appeared as if 2,000 searchers were stumped. The area the parties combed was vast and sparsely populated. Woods, tall grass, and thick brush carpeted much of the landscape. Roy Dale's complete ignorance of the area compounded the problem. "I don't know much about the country up there, but I kept seeing a sign that read Burleson," Roy told the search parties.
Hundreds of volunteers formed skirmish lines and covered the area in successive waves. Skin-divers searched stock tanks and ponds. Officers with binoculars flew low in helicopters in an effort to cover as much area as possible. As dusk drew near that Sunday, Roy Dale had been brought to the area twice to try to remember where he and Kenneth had been. Finally, someone handed Roy Dale a napkin and asked him to draw a map based on his recollection of the events of that evening. When he handed back the napkin, the searchers shifted their efforts to northern Johnson County in an area near Egan. At one point, Roy Dale excitedly hopped over a fence and said, "This looks like it." But the sun was setting and the grass was tall. "I know she's here somewhere," he whispered in frustration, as he was taken back to the Tarrant County Jail. A local Chief of Police, Homer Barnes of Burleson, and several other men decided to stay behind and not give up on the area. They found Louise lying face down beneath the thicket of oak trees, barely visible in the thick grass. Later, two of her uncles arrived at the scene and positively identified her.
Finding Kenneth was not as difficult. Roy Dale knew that Kenneth had a date with a girl from Bremond named Jo Ann. That afternoon, Kenneth and Jo Ann went to Lonnie's house northeast of Rosebud. Jo Ann later stated that Kenneth and Lonnie took something behind a barn. After leaving Lonnie's house, she and Kenneth went to a movie in Temple. Meanwhile, Sheriff Brady Pamplin of Kenneth's native Falls County, and Sheriff Sonny Elliot of Robertson County, where Jo Ann's Bremond home was located, went to Jo Ann's mother, explained the situation, and asked to stay and wait for Kenneth to return.
The two sheriffs lay in wait behind shrubbery when Kenneth drove up with Jo Ann at 10:50
Apparently, his headlights shined through the shrubbery and illuminated Pamplin and Elliot. Kenneth immediately put his car in reverse and floored the accelerator. Just as immediate was the response by the sheriffs. Brady Pamplin fired two rounds of buckshot from a 12-gauge shotgun at Kenneth's radiator and tires. Elliot fired his
Page 36
pistol at the same targets. Jo Ann quickly hit the floorboard of the car and, incredibly, Kenneth managed to get out of the driveway. He did not get far.
Near the M&M Café on Bremond's Main Street, Kenneth spotted Jo Ann's brother in a vehicle. Kenneth jumped in and told the boy that someone was shooting at him and demanded to be taken to the constable. Brady Pamplin had instructed his son, Larry, to stay a safe distance away from where he and Sheriff Elliot waited for McDuff. Larry parked two and one half blocks away from the scene. After the shooting, Larry picked up the two sheriffs, gave chase and caught up to the boys. "I hollered for them to stop and get out of the car with their hands up. They got out of the car and stuck up their hands," the elder Pamplin later testified.
After the gun battle, the cause for which Kenneth was surely aware, the only question he had for officers was whether his insurance would repair the bullet holes in his car.
It was the only time in Kenneth's long and infamous criminal career that law enforcement officers actually fired their weapons at him. That singular experience, however, apparently had a lasting impression, and was enough to give Kenneth an exaggerated and lifelong animosity towards Sheriff Brady Pamplin and his son, Larry Pamplin, his successor in the Falls County Sheriff's Office. With the exception of two of the fourteen counts of burglary that sent him to prison in 1965, there is no record of Kenneth ever being arrested or jailed in Falls County or ever having another direct encounter with the Pamplins. Today, Kenneth Allen McDuff's name is not even in the index of cases in the Falls County Sheriff's Office. Many other jurisdictions, however, would come to deal with Kenneth Allen McDuff.
1 For a full account of the Texas Tower shootings see Gary M. Lavergne,
A Sniper in the Tower: The Charles Whitman Murders
(Denton: University of North Texas Press, 1997).
State of Texas v Kenneth Allen McDuff,
SOF in Cause #93-2139, Volume 29, pgs. 8385; Texas DPS Files:
Report of Investigation,
by John Aycock, May 4, 1992.
Temple Daily Telegram,
August 9, 1966.
State of Texas v Kenneth Allen McDuff,
SOF in Cause #93-2139, Volume 29, pgs. 8990; TCSO Files:
Statement of Roy Dale Green,
August 8, 1966;
Fort Worth Star-Telegram,
August 18 and November 11, 1966; Confidential Document.
BOOK: Bad Boy From Rosebud
5.91Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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