Three dummies actually but one was never charged. Below is the best photograph you will ever see of Kathleen Maddox. Their family brand of crazy shows up in her later photos but here she looks more mischievous than irascible. I doubted this was even her, asked Patty, she asked someone else, and we found out together this is Kathleen's prison intake photo.
Kathleen looks unconcerned. I'd be a nervous wreck but I probably place a higher value on my toasted Dave's Killer bread with Irish butter and whipped cream cheese so lovingly fortified with a couple of freshly ground coffees (lord have mercy) each morning before a nice bike ride.
Next comes the uncharged dummy, Dummy #3. Rest assured she would've been in the slammer with Kathleen and Luther Maddox if they committed their crime today. Dummy #3's middle name is Ophelia. Not quite the social status afforded to the daughter of Polonius and possibly not as crazy as that Ophelia but then again Ophelia was a fictional character so who knows.
Or maybe she's named after the goddess. I actually never thought of that until now. No worries. Just pick whichever origin story you like best and roll with it. That's all Manson scholarship is a lot of the time anyway amirite?
Our Ophelia is pretty but Art Ophelia will always be prettier. Unless you have like an Arbus but really that's more of a modern concept anyway. Millais' Ophelia is my favorite Ophelia since I know you're wondering. I cut my Photoshop teeth on this painting over and over in the years leading up to Y2K when the world was supposed to end.
Oh, girl. Don't drown yourself. I know my graphics are awful but people occasionally tell me I'm a decent typist. My mom especially. And the friends I make read my posts because I define myself by forced compliments.
I like them french-fried potaters mmhmm.
Luther possibly used some of the robbery money at the barber. He should've waited a few days. The haircut would've been free.
OKAY YEAH SO HERE'S THE BACKSTORY...
I haven't hopped into the Scott family yet. Not sure if I will. Some of you already have the info locked down in private trees and I know it. I see them. Let me in please and I will love you forever.
Or if you think I'm a killer AND a typist you can tell Matt and he will tell me.
As far as the Maddox's go, hold on we're pausing at nature vs. nurture again it's unavoidable, I don't see anything different in their history than I see in my own family history or any of the histories I come across in my genealogy work.
Charlie's maternal grandfather's side of his family, the Maddox's and Carroll's, were in the USA for a good long while before the USA was even a country. They moved westward alongside the big glob moving westward and fought in every war and etc just like Charlie told us. He is a Son of the American Revolution and everything else all the way up to his birth. Relatives who are unaware they're related to Charlie are probably still getting deployed.
Don't kid yourself. Charlie's story is an American one. He wasn't something other than us. He was us.
Let's talk about Charlie's childhood. All of us collectively didn't want to deal with raising him, correct?
Same for the thousands of unwanted little boys living the same awful life right now. Charlie was Kathleen's mess and today's kids are their own mothers' messes, bootstraps and all that, and none of it is ever our problem.
We didn't kill anyone and neither should any of the killers from any of the eras ever.
Rise, oh ye creams and creamettes! The folks across town aren't having problems rising. We're in the land of opportunity for crying out loud!
And then we have the nerve to feign shock and disgust when one of those abandoned little boys emerges from our cages and institutions as a hardened adult who spits at our rules and comes right at us.
The shame. Sure we were busy but our busyness created Charlie. And Charlie was so angry about it he took some suckers down with him so he wouldn't be alone.
Anyway. I'm doing that cart and horse thing again. Let's go back to the lies that put good-hearted dupes like Lynette Fromme into prison.
AND DON'T GET ALL FIRED UP. WE'RE COOL. I'M ABOUT TO LET YOU OFF THE HOOK AND BLAME KATHLEEN...
As much as I can, anyway. Kathleen was a couple of months away from turning thirteen when her dad, Charles Milles Maddox, died at forty-seven from lobar pneumonia. Kathleen would've been in the fall of her 7th grade year if you're playing along from home in America.
Charles Milles Maddox was a career railroad man after he got out of the army. He married nineteen year old Nan Ingram when he was twenty-two. They remained married until his early death. Same address. Four kids spaced every two years. Not quite the wild backdrop our Charlie wanted people to believe when he provided exclusive interviews to author Lynette Fromme for her book Reflexion.
Fine. Whatever. When he wrote her letters.
A year and a half after her dad died, Kathleen's older sister Aileen passed at just twenty. Pneumonia again. She was a business school graduate. According to her obit, Aileen was "very popular and well-liked by a wide circle of friends who are deeply shocked and grieved by the news of her untimely death."
Hmm. Doesn't appear super criminal-ish but hey I'm no Mike McGann. I could be missing something.
Again, Aileen earned her business school degree during the Great Depression.
In case you're keeping score, that's one Maddox sibling removed from the equation. If you read Reflexion, you're aware that Charlie describes his family as such...
For the most part, everyone believes him. Sure, researchers will call out Guinn over a well-worn prostitute comment and beat him to death with it but who goes farther?
There's really no reason to anyway. It's easier to have a villain from the lower classes. Absolves us easier. They are animals.
As usual, I'm using the kindle version of Fromme for easier searching. "Off to another aunt and uncle. Even as a child, I knew they were not smart (93)."
Okay, one aunt is left.
There's that word "popular" again. Maybe it meant criminal a century ago. Let's hire an etymologist.
I don't know what happens to our man Cecil and his bow tie. He immediately drops off the map. Neither Cecil or Glenna look like they live in a shack and lack shoes like Charlie puts out there via his manipulative bullshit.
Glenna remarries a guy named Bill who is an engineer for the railroad. Both Glenna and Bill attended college during the Great Depression. They have one child not fifteen. Like Nan and Charley Maddox, her and Bill live at the same address forever.
Charlie likes to say people in his family had no teeth. I'd bet my teeth that most college educated people then and now have their teeth in their late thirties and early forties.
If you keep reading on to the next page in Kindle Fromme, Charlie has drunk, toothless, uncle Bill acting abusive and doing an improv Boy Named Sue on him in front of Charlie's super-religious, Nazarene, grandmother, Nan.
Maybe you've never been around Bible thumpers for real. It's possible you only think you have. Or perhaps you come from a bunch of dirty teeming Catholics, or Buddhists in their robes, lots of choices, so I will stop what I'm doing and say this to you clearly.
At no point in the history of holy rollers, I'm from down on that big river and my family is from the hills and I've seen Jethro take handfuls of floppy, wiggly snakes from heavy boxes while a skeleton in an old suit next to him froths at the mouth and believes he's speaking ancient secret languages so please hear me out. There is nary a single religious hillbilly grandmother who would not remove her Bible from her purse and smack the life out of Uncle Bill's skull on the charge of day drinking in front of children alone. Not to mention tormenting a child while drunk.
Alcohol does not exist in that world in any acceptable way. Not even a single drop. Corn liquor and the devil fight nightly battles with Wesley and Jesus. Sometimes Calvin helps.
Anyway, and just as a quick aside, Charlie wraps up his charming moonshine story and right away says, "I've never had no one to hold to. The warden, the judge -- they were God to me until I caught them lying (93). "
His comment is so layered. He completely got me. I can't not have empathy for the dude.
As a critical reader, I notice Fromme arranges her book like that here and there. Did she know Charlie lied on that level? Is she acknowledging it? I probably read too much into things.
Next page. Charlie is in court. "Then I ran right into my aunt coming to take me back and on the train again out of Kentucky and on to West Virginia to the prison where mom and Luther were (94)."
And just so we're together on this point, the aunt who retrieves Charlie is Glenna who he said was not smart. All three remaining Maddox siblings are accounted for and Glenna seems to me like she does indeed care about Charlie.
I know others disagree and think Charlie comes from a long line of criminals. That can be totally true with the Scott's but I need evidence outside of "so-and-so told me" to get me off this hill when it comes to the Maddox's and Ingram's. Until then, I'm going to think dad died too early and mom lost control of two of her kids when the traumas of losing their father and sister and everything that goes with it created rebellion inside of them.
I'm possibly missing the mark here. Let's see how Luther and Kathleen did on their famous crime spree of 1939.
Sorry. One odd fact first. Luther and Kathleen committed their crime August 1, 1939. Charlie shot Bernard Crowe August 1, 1969. Yes, I'm aware that Crowe date is also out there as July 1, 1969.
But Bo knows Manson and I go with Bo. We collectively owe that dude so much. Thanks for housing the research year after year, Bo.
I wonder if Charlie knew about the dates coinciding at the time? ooEEoo.
That's not exactly how it went down but the gist is there. I grabbed the clipping from this great post from Deb. There is nothing I will ever find online that she has not found already. The article is one of the shortest of the available options and the deets are almost all in there. Probably why she chose it.
OKAY LET'S GET TO THE CAPER...
August 1, 1939
North Charleston, WVA.
Kathleen (Charlie's mom) and Ophelia are hanging out down by the bars in North Charleston. Kathleen is twenty-one and Ophelia is six years older. They remain into the evening. The report you can print from Deb's above linked article is blurry and you can correct me if you're better at deciphering bold blurry typewriter courier font from 1939 but it looks like Kathleen and Ophelia step into a little dairy convenience store to buy some "cheese" at 10 pm. The word could also be choices or a million other things that start with "c" but cheese seems likely.
Immediately prior to entering what might be named the Valley Doll Dairy, they meet their victim, Frank S. Martin, in the street. Kathleen says in the investigative report that she thought Frank would move on while they were inside the store but he was waiting for the girls when they exited.
I wonder if Frank had any premonitions to flee while he waited? More likely, he stood swaying and salivating while his little general whispered sweet promises of easy conquests. I pictured him smoothing down his hair.
The trio of new friends chat for a moment before Frank invites Kathleen and Ophelia to Dan's Beer Parlor on State Street, which was just a short walk from the store. They drink beer at Dan's until approximately 11:20 pm. Frank, possibly already tipsy considering the hour, makes the mistake of flashing his money to the girls when he pays for a round of drinks.
Frank, Frank, Frank. Not many years away from tripling Kathleen in age but nevertheless thinking he could get some tail from her and or her friend on a random Tuesday night while his wife and kids waited at home. His routine appears kinda practiced at this point but Frankie baby is forty-nine years old and about to find out how much things have changed in the decades since he first debuted in the barroom olympics.
The girls use the restroom together like ladies have forever. Unbeknownst to Frank he has fallen into the company of a pair of vipers. Over the sound of flushing toilets, Kathleen tells Ophelia that "it's awful that some of these old people had to have all the money" (Kathleen Maddox Statement Linked Above).
"I said to Ophelia that I thought I would have part of it too (KM Statement)."
According to Kathleen, Ophelia says something that is blurry but looks like, "I hope I die." That confuses me tbh. I could be misreading her statement or "I hope I die" might be a colloquialism for all I know. After that, Ophelia says, "I feel like reaching out," and does a quick snatching gesture at the air.
Kathleen says both girls laughed. This prompts Kathleen to ask, "Suppose we call Luther?" Her question hangs in the air unanswered as they return to the booth they shared with Frank Martin.
Does Kathleen sit down and realize she's acting like an asshole and decide to leave innocent awful Frank alone? Fuck no. Instead, she casually mentions to Ophelia that another girlfriend has told her about the availability of a room nearby.
Operation Honeypot kicks off and Frank falls right into the trap. Kathleen says he asks her how much the room costs?
$4.50," She replies, batting her innocent eyelids in his wolfish direction.
"Do you have the money, my dear?"
"Why no, silly old poor little me still needs $3.50, Frankie-poo. I have but a single dollar."
(I'm making the dialogue up as I go based on memories of how dames talked in Cagney and Marx Bros movies. You can add your own dialogue in your mind if something works better. I don't judge. I just type.)
Regardless, Frankie-poo peels three fresh greenbacks from his big fat knot, takes two quarters out of his coin purse, and hands it all over while pink cartoon love hearts emerge from the top of his head and flutter above him like adorable little birds.
The game is already over, friends. Frank is the only person involved who doesn't know it yet.
Kathleen soon after sneaks off to the phone to call Luther. Guess where he is?
Yep. Stupid and toothless Glenna and Bill's. Glenna answers. Poor Glenna. She puts Luther on the phone when her younger sisters asks for him. Kathleen tells Luther to meet her, Ophelia, and Frank at the Littlepage Service Station at the Two Mile Bridge. Littlepage might be wrong but it's Littlesomething for sure.
They head over to the gas station. Luther is dropped off soon after. Kathleen says Luther got out of a car but didn't see who was driving or what kind of car it was because of the darkness at the late hour.
Luther hops into Frank's 1932 Packard convertible with the waiting trio. This isn't Frank's car but it's the same make, model year, and color. Not sure about the white walls but they pop right off the screen so they're staying.
Straight away, our crew rolls to the Blue Moon Beer Parlor where they drink and dance.
Here are some 1939 dances in this incredible restored and colorized video I found on YouTube from the 1939 World's Fair. I loved the video so much I watched it for three straight days. There's even a tender, forbidden moment the camera catches and refuses to move on from that is so powerful it almost moved me to tears. All the swoons.
I'll bet you a million dollars that I do not have that Kathleen Maddox was a good dancer. Somebody had to teach Charlie how to make those sparks fly from his fingertips, right? Luther could probably cut a rug too.
While they are dancing together, Kathleen says that Luther asks if Frank really has money. She affirms and he's all okay it's on then let's get paid little sis.
IT'S GO TIME...
I know you want your money shot so let's get to it. Plans for an all-night party are made. Luther and Kathleen convince Frank to take them home to pick up some clothes and etc while leaving Ophelia in the Blue Moon to await their return. Frank doesn't know it but Ophelia is about to cut out as soon as they leave.
Did I forget to mention that everywhere these dummies went that night they were known by the employees and customers? Yep. Shitting where they eat as they say. Let's see if that mattered.
I'm not sure how they got Frank to do it, but Luther and Kathleen have him pull off near that big dirty river and Luther exits the car. Maybe he said he had to pee. Not sure. Doesn't matter.
Luther walks around the convertible to where Frank is sitting. He tells Franks to get out of the car in a quiet, steady voice.
Luther says he ain't playin.
This is a robbery. Gimme your shit, Frank.
Now, the amount is always retold as $35 but Frank actually had $27 in his wallet. That's almost $532 in today's American money. Frank was rolling around with a grip on a Tuesday night, wasn't he?
(And don't be down in the comments talking about how you always have 3k or even 30k on you. It's only going to make me think your penis is small or create some other negative assumption inside my head and same goes for everyone else who reads your comment. Pro tip for pedants.)
I have to watch my negative comments toward readers btw. Matt threatened to dock my spending account over it.
How will I be able to afford Packards with whitewalls if that happens? Is my Charlene Cafritz out there? If you are please remember I'm scared of devil stuff and also don't like hippie smells or even lifestyles where I have to go places with other people and order from servers and fake haha and interact and wear pants with buttons or shoes or any of that omg.
Apologies. I've only had coffee and brownies today and I am flying while trying to reel in this missed deadline.
Here's where I go from not giving a fuck about this robbery to thinking Luther is a piece of shit. After robbing Frank of his billfold and keys, there were no phones to take in those days, Luther blasts Frank over the head with a large ketchup bottle filled with salt that he pilfered from the Blue Moon. Since this happens near Pittsburgh, PA, I'm going with Heinz. They make the best ketchup anyway.
Kathleen hears the bottle break over Frank's noggin. Frank falls to the ground, out cold, and ends up a ditch next to the road. Luther walks back to the car, climbs into the driver's seat, and those cold-hearted motherfuckers drive away and leave Frank for dead.
Ophelia arrives back at "home" the same time Luther and Kathleen do. Together, they go out and dump Frank's car on a side street, walk to a restaurant, get a cab to a local spot that has cabins, rent either one or two, and settle in for the night.
Before we move on, let that sink in. They didn't even try to sell the Packard or hide it until they could. Criminals do things like sell the car. That's what crime is kinda. Essentially, they stepped over $2k in today's money to make $500.
Fortunately, a night watchman for a company where one of Frank's sons later has a career sees Frank crumple to the ground and is able to help. The law arrives by one a.m. in the form of Troopers Musgrave and Starcher. Their investigation begins in the early hours of August 2, 1939.
Luther left the ketchup bottle at the crime scene. He'd told Frank his name was John Ellis so at this point it's still John Ellis' ketchup bottle.
This all takes place at a railroad stop btw. Same company Luther and Kathleen's dad worked for and where toothless engineer Uncle Bill works at the time. All class and gratitude these two.
By one the next afternoon, Troopers Musgrave and Starcher (accompanied by Frank) are in the beer parlors asking around for Kathleen and Ophelia. Because the girls are locals, everyone knows them. The bartenders. The other drunks. The guy who delivers the pretzels.
Even the bar owner at the Blue Moon who immediately went to clean their booth after they left the night before and noticed the missing ketchup bottle.
I said the postmaster too, right?
The investigation doesn't last two hours. The troopers find Kathleen and Ophelia together at home, I'm guessing Glenna's place, Frank id's them, they get arrested, and the party moves downtown.
Kathleen immediately admits to everything and gives up her brother and Ophelia. She says she doesn't know where Luther is but they'd all been day drinking that afternoon at the Daniel Boone Bar BQ on US 60 near Snow Hill, WVA.
The cops head straightaway to the Daniel Boone Bar BQ and of course Luther is there. Let's go, Luther. Okay you got me how'dya figure it out. Shut yer mouth, boy. Slam slam slam go the police car doors and they drive away.
By dinnertime, Luther and Ophelia have given full confessions.
By 7 pm, Frank is back in his abandoned Packard with only a sore head and an angry wife as punishments for his immoral deeds.
There is nothing in the police report about the ketchup bottle being used as a fake gun. Luther is matter-of-fact when describing the robbery in his confession. Not quite something I think a criminal would do but what do I know.
I even asked my cousin Jackie Buns. His real name is a lot like that btw and he's not much of a fan of me calling him that lol. Jackie is a forensic genealogy wizard and I'm always pulling him in on my searches. Anyway, I asked if he thought they admitted to everything so quickly to keep Glenna out of the mix. With a completely emotionless face he sighed and said, "Imagine how many rides she probably gave those two. She likely had no idea what was going on."
Every time I remember that I smile. Jackie cracks me up.
We're almost there, I promise. Luther gets ten years and Kathleen gets five. Ophelia somehow escapes justice. In his statement, I do give credit to Luther for trying to put the crime solely on himself. He possibly saved Ophelia.
Luther also breaks out of prison at one point. Guess where he goes?
Glenna's house where she quickly talks Luther into turning himself in. Toothless, stupid Glenna. Who btw is living in the same place with the same people just like always.
Eventually, Luther serves his time and is freed. Unfortunately, his $27 robbery turns out to be a life sentence. He dies shortly after returning home from prison to Glenna's house. He appears to have turned his life around.
Let's put this to bed. We've all seen the same photos. None of these people look like the Hillbilly Bears. They attended college while people starved in city streets. Their environments appear from the outside at least as decently stable.
Kathleen and Luther immediately admitted to their crime. Criminals don't do that unless there's some benefit in it for them. Denying things and hiring lawyers lessens punishments. Every criminal knows as much.
Luther's sister talked him into turning himself in when he ran away from the prison.
The Maddox's were not criminals. Kathleen and Luther went off the rails and paid the price. Charlie paid the price too. Frank Martin got away with it. Ophelia I followed until the end of her life. She never married or had a family.
There's an interview out there where Charlie says Kathleen committed her crime to feed him. I was going to call that another lie, it surely is, but thinking about him saying that makes me feel awful for him.
Everything, all these things we type and argue about, it all boils down to Charlie's mom had her own issues, she didn't take care of him, we didn't take care of him and MANY others in this milieu, and we are where we are because of it.
The rest of it is just plot points really.
Anyway. I'll see you in the comments. I'm about to lightly nuke another brownie, run my coffee grinder, and start typing up my next things.
Oh! An announcement!
If you'd like to take part in a discussion next weekend hosted by this blog and the members of The Paulcast, I believe we are going live at 1030 pm EST Sunday. We will publish a post here a few hours before the show.
The topic is Karate Dave. Because every story needs a hero.