Marion Linden’s Life of Crime, Conclusion

Marion Linden morphed from a Ohio high school football star in 1932, to a failed felon with a death wish in Nebraska in 1936. His plan to die in a hail of police bullets in Omaha, thereby easing his parent’s Depression era monetary woes, went south faster than a freight train to Georgia. Marion was given a break, three years probation, and didn’t do any prison time for his dangerous and idiotic behavior.

Marion wasn’t supposed to leave Nebraska, but that didn’t stop him. He married 18-year-old Arlene Fagor in Denver, Colorado, on December 5, 1936. Marriage can be a maturing experience for some, but evidently not for Marion. His good behavior and his marriage lasted all of two months before ending in gun fire. Marion shot Arlene in the heart when he learned that she had been unfaithful to him while he searched for work in Texas. Found guilty of voluntary manslaughter, Marion was sentenced to from seven to eight years in a Colorado prison.

linden headline2By now may be wondering what Marion’s criminal behavior in Ohio, Nebraska, and Colorado has got to do with Los Angeles. Simple. Like many others before him, following his release from prison the ex-con moved to Los Angeles–land of bright blue skies, sunny beaches and, in Marion’s case, third chances. Prison may have mellowed him, and perhaps it did–for a while.  From 1940 to 1957 if he committed any crimes they weren’t serious enough to get his name into the newspapers. Unfortunately, Marion proved to be incapable of keeping his life on track.

On Sunday, March 17, 1957, St. Patrick’s Day, Leo Wise, a 34-year-old LAPD officer from  University Division, was on his evening rounds when he responded to the shouts of a bartender at a bar at Pico and Figueroa. Wise arrived to find an extremely intoxicated man creating a disturbance. Wise pulled the man onto the sidewalk outside the bar and patted him down, but didn’t find a weapon. Officer Wise said, “I don’t want to see you on the street anymore. Go home.” The patrolman then walked off in one direction and the drunk lurched off in another. After watching Officer Wise depart, the man returned to his spot in front of the bar.

When Officer Wise returned later in the evening he found the man where he’d left him. Wise said, “I thought I told you to go home.”  He patted the man down and once again he didn’t find a weapon.  Because the man hadn’t complied with his suggestion to go home and sleep it off, Officer Wise had no other option but to arrest the scofflaw.

Wise walked over to the police call box to request transportation for the man’s trip to the drunk tank–he never saw the pistol.  The man shot twice, hitting Wise in the neck and side. The wounded officer fell to the sidewalk but he managed pull out his service revolver. He got off two shots before the man jumped into a car and drove away.

A small crowd gathered around the fallen officer to render aid. Wise waved them off and gasped, “Take the number of those plates and call the police!”  Officer Wise died of his wounds.

Mexican national Luis Alatorre was driving by the bar with three companions. He witnessed the shooting and didn’t hesitate to drive after the suspect.  Alatorre and his friends flagged down motorcycle officers, Charles Sturtevant and Lloyd Nelson, who continued the pursuit. They stopped the man at Alvarado and 11th.  Alatorre and his companions, who had followed in the motor officers’ wake, pulled up and shouted, “Be careful, he has a gun. He just shot a policeman.” The man yelled at the officers, “you took me, but I got one …  I would like to shoot some more, just like I did the last copper. I’ll bet he is dead.”  The suspect spat in the face of the officer who was handcuffing him.

More officers arrived and one of them said, “Let me have him for a while and I will fix him.” The arresting officer replied that the suspect  “is under arrest and in my custody, so leave him alone.” The suspect said: “Thank you, buddy, for stopping these $#!%&* from beating me up. I’ll beat this in court. You are a good guy.”

linden booked photoLieutenant Gebhart took the suspect to Homicide Division. As they drove, the suspect said:  “I hope you have me for murder. I shot that #@$%&*cop and I intended to kill him. If I had an opportunity I would kill all of you. … I tried to shoot him in the heart. … I shot him with a .32 and I didn’t think it would do that much damage, but I hoped it would.”

The suspect was taken to LAPD’s Homicide Division where he was identified as Marion Linden. Lieutenant Gebhart, and several other officers later testified that Linden, even though he was handcuffed, had kicked and spat at officers and knocked furniture about. Lieutenant Gebhart heard Marion say that three years earlier he had been “framed” by two policemen on a charge of interfering with an officer.  He insisted that the officers had perjured themselves . He was convicted of the charges and during his 90 days in jail he made up his mind that he was going to kill a cop.

Marion bragged that: “it took the jury eight hours of deliberation on a misdemeanor charge to convict me …I’m very tough to beat.”  He also said that he had beaten one other murder rap and he would beat the charges against him for the murder of Leo Wise.

Marion was wrong. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to death.

Two years later, on July 30, 1959, Lt. Governor Glenn M. Anderson granted Marion a clemency hearing. The hearing came just in time. Marion was scheduled to go to the gas chamber in about a week. Governor Brown told reporters he wouldn’t interfere in the case, and left for a junket in Puerto Rico.

Marion’s execution was delayed while he acted in Pro Per and filed his own appeals. A few minor errors were corrected in the trial record but, apart from that, nothing substantive was changed. Marion’s death penalty stood.

On January 1, 1960, a fist fight broke out on death row. Marion and several other inmates, including the infamous “Red Light Bandit”, Caryl Chessman, got into an argument in their exercise area as they were about to watch the Rose Bowl game on TV. The fight ended when one of the combatants smashed the television on the floor and guards came in to separate the inmates. The fray was likely instigated by Chessman, but each of the other men saw an opportunity to mix it up and jumped in. They had nothing to lose.linden executed

Marion’s early life had showed promise, but somewhere along the line he lost his way. He became a violent and bitter man intent on murder. On July 12, 1961 forty-three year-old Marion James Linden paid for his life of crime in California’s gas chamber.

In the Line of Duty, Conclusion

adams-and-john-lawOn October 24, 1946, Tony Adams limped into Judge Leroy Dawson’s courtroom and was formally charged with the murder of California Highway Patrolman Steve Sodel. He was also indicted for grand theft of the Chevy sedan which belonged to Jeanne Trude. Adams was manacled to Lieutenant John Law of the sheriff’s department, presumably to prevent him from making another escape attempt. Adams’ attorney, William E. Turner, waived reading of the complaint and Judge Dawson set a hearing date.

Adams, an occasional artist’s model, had at least one person in his corner. Beverly Lounsbury, 23, ex-cashier at a Sunset Strip night club that was one of Adams’ regular night spots. Lounsbury visited Adams in the County Jail on the morning of his arraignment. She said that Adams had broken a date with her for the night before Sodel’s murder. Lounsbury told Lieutenant Law, “I feel sorry for him and wanted to tell him so. He told me you fellows didn’t believe him when he said he threw the gun away but he swore he was telling the truth.”adams-cuffed

A jury of nine women and three men was selected to determine Adams’ fate. Attorney William Turner must have worked hard to get nine women on the jury. There was no doubt that Adams was a handsome guy, referred to in the newspapers at the Playboy Killer. Perhaps, if he was lucky, the women jurors could be swayed by the defendant’s good looks. Adams was going to need all the luck he could get. He had drawn Judge Charles W. Fricke.  The judge was a former prosecutor with a reputation for being a tough on lawbreakers. For their part, the prosecutors John Barnes and Fred Henderson didn’t care what Adams looked like, they made it clear that they intended to seek the gas chamber for the alleged cop killer.jeanne-louise-smith

Beverly Lounsbury found a seat in spectator section of Fricke’s courtroom. She told reporters “I’m not sure myself that Tony is guilty of the crime they charge him with. He needs a friend and I’m going to stick by him.”

One of the prosecution witnesses was a former girlfriend of Adams’, Jeanne Louise Smith. The car hop testified that she and Adams had dated briefly while she was separated from her husband. On the evening of September 14, Adams had shown up at her workplace to show her something. “He called me to the rear of the drive-in stand and showed me this gun. I asked him what he was doing with it, but he didn’t answer. He merely stood there, holding the gun in one hand and jingling a bunch of cartridges in his other hand.” Unfamiliar with guns, Smith was shown several different types of firearms but she was unable to say whether Adams had shown her a revolver or another type of gun.

Frances Sodel, the slain officer’s widow, took the stand and, wiping away tears, she identified a photo of her husband and articles of clothing which were discovered in the shallow grave with Steve Sodel’s bullet riddled body.

Frederic D. Newbarr had performed the autopsy on Sodel and he testified that the officer had been shot in the chest five times.

Jack Singleton identified Adams as the man who had stopped him and asked for help in extricating his car from sand alongside the road. Singleton said he had a feeling that the car was hot, so when he saw Officer Sodel he flagged him down and reported his suspicions. Sodel took off after the black sedan.

In his testimony service station operator John Rose said “I heard sounds of automobiles traveling at a high rate of speed and then a black Chevrolet zoomed east on Jefferson closely followed by a California Highway Patrol car. Neither car made the boulevard stop and I think they were going about 65 or 70 miles an hour. I knew the Highway patrol car was Sodel’s because I had seen it many times before.” Rose said he watched both cars disappear from view, then he went back to work.

Jeanne Trude and Elyse Pearl Brown

Jeanne Trude and Elyse Pearl Brown

Jeanne Trude told the court how Adams had introduced himself to her and a girlfriend, movie extra, Elyse Pearl Brown, at the Jococo Club. She said Adams accompanied them to Dave’s Blue Room on the Sunset Strip where, “Miss Brown and myself ordered dinner at Dave’s but Tony just asked for a cup of coffee. He said he was suffering from malaria. Then he excused himself and left. I didn’t see him again, but when I went to get my car I discovered it was gone. I saw it again two weeks later and instead of being gray it was painted black–and not very well, at that.”

The hat-check girl/former cashier and reputed girl friend of the defendant testified that he had visited her a couple of days prior to the slaying. He had a gun, a handful of cartridges and an electric razor he claimed he had won in a poker game the previous night. Adams wanted her to hold the gun for him but she refused. He then told her to “keep quiet about the whole thing.”

One of Adams’ neighbors, Gordon Briggs, testified that he had seen him wearing a paint stained work shirt late in the afternoon of September 17. When Briggs asked about the stains Adams told him,  “I’ve been helping a friend fix some pipes.”

Adams’ explanation for the paint was refuted by Police Chemist Ray Pinker. Pinker said he took samples of paint from the stolen car and matched them to the paint on Adams’ work shirt. They were identical. Pinker had also examined the undercarriage of the stolen car for evidence and had found weeds similar to those found near Sodel’s shallow grave.

Adams’ defense opened their case with two alibi witnesses. The first was Armand Martinez who worked at a cafe at 219 N. Vermont Avenue. He told jurors that Adams couldn’t have committed the murder because he was in the cafe lunching with a beautiful blonde at the time of the crime.

Next on the witness stand was Alvin Faith, a bartender. At 3 p.m. on the day of Sodel’s disappearance he said that Adams was in his bar. “Adams had a nosebleed. So I got him some ice and told him to go back to the restroom.”

Fletcher Herndon, an employee of the Studio Club at 3668 Beverly Boulevard, said that Adams was a frequent customer and had been in at about 11 p.m. on September 17 and asked whether a woman named Selznick had been in looking for him. Selznick?! At the mention of the name name Adams grimaced at Herndon and began to shake his head vigorously back and forth. Herndon didn’t get the message fast enough. He said it was his understanding that the woman was married to a “movie man”. Is it possible that Irene Mayer Selznick, wife of producer David O. Selznick, was seeing pretty boy Tony Adams? In Hollywood, anything is possible.

Adams’ attorneys decided to put their client on the stand to testify in his own defense. Under direct examination by William Turner, Adams denied being Sodel’s killer. Once Turner had finished Prosecutor John Barnes grilled Adams in a blistering cross-examination.roosevelt_sodel

The only thing Adams would admit to was that he had accompanied Jeanne Trude from the Jococo Club to Dave’s Blue Room. He claimed that he left the table when he realized he didn’t have funds sufficient to pay for dinner. Rather than face the embarrassment, he left.  In the parking lot Adams claimed he met a “Mr. Cudahy”–a guy he knew from one of the bars in town–and they’d driven downtown looking for women to pick up.

According to Adams, the mysterious Mr. Cudahy told him he as leaving for New York the next evening and offered Adams a ride. They arranged to meet the next day. Adams said they drove to Las Vegas, but he discovered Cudahy was carrying a box filled with guns. Adams said he “ditched” Cudahy and went on to New York by bus. He told the court “The first time I knew I was wanted for any crime was when I heard it over the radio on a murder program. When my name was mentioned you could have knocked me through the floor.”

Adams claimed the statements he’d made to New York City detectives, in which he had copped to stealing Jean Trude’s car and getting rid of two guns the day following Sodel’s murder, had been made under duress. Adams said he was questioned continuously by a group of at least 6 detectives. One of them, he said, kept slamming a blackjack on the table and  telling Adams that he was a candidate for Harts Field  (a local pauper’s cemetery in).

In closing arguments the prosecutors wove together all of the circumstantial evidence that linked the defendant to the murder. They made a compelling case.

The Defense Attorneys John Irwin and William Turner weren’t left with much. All they could do was maintain that the State had failed to prove its case. They said that there was no definite link between Adams and the murder of Steve Sodel.

The jurors would have to weigh the evidence and testimony and make up their own minds.

The jury deliberated for four hours before notifying Judge Fricke that they had reached a verdict. Frances Sodel said beside another CHP widow, Mrs. Loren Roosevelt as they waited for the verdict to be read. Adams, dressed in a brown pin-striped suit, sat at the defense table with his head in his hands. Jury foreman Edward A. Mohr handed the decision to the court clerk, who then handed it to Judge Fricke. Adams was found guilty of the murder of Steve Sodel. But rather than the gas chamber the jury recommended life without parole.

Why hadn’t the jury handed Adams, a cold-blooded cop killer, a ticket to California’s gas chamber? Evidently the verdict was a compromise, reached when one of the female jurors declared that she would, “sit in the jury room for six months if if necessary” rather than condemn Adams to death.adams-pic

After hearing the verdict, Adams posed for news photographers and said, “I am satisfied with the jury’s verdict. My attorneys, Richard Erwin and William Turner, have given me a fair shake. I’m very lucky.”

Certainly luckier than Steve Sodel and his family.

Epilogue —  According to records, Tony Adams arrived at San Quentin on February 1, 1947.  Adams’ prison register indicates that he was married with one child. His marital status never came up at trial, although his numerous girlfriends and other female acquaintance did. It is entirely possible that he abandoned his wife and child, likely in New York. One wonders if his wife and child ever knew where he went or what happened to him. Adams didn’t spent much time at San Quentin before being transferred to Folsom Prison on April 17, 1947.  As far as I know he remained there until he was paroled. I haven’t been able to discover the date of his parole, but I sincerely hope his looks were long gone by the time he was released. He had a reputation for using women by trading on his looks.  Several women to whom he owed money came forward to talk to sheriff’s department detectives. I prefer to believe that by the time he left prison he had nothing left to trade. Albert Anthony Adams died in Huntington Beach, California on August 15, 2000.

A bronze memorial plaque honoring Steve Sodel was set in cement at the base of a tree at the Sheriff’s Honor Farm (known as Wayside) in Castaic by Sheriff’s Department American Legion Star Post 309.

Note: Many thanks to my friend, Mike Fratantoni,  for sharing this story with me.

Dead Woman Walking: The Duchess

spinelli_lastpicNinety years following the undeserved hanging of a young Mexican woman named Juanita for the stabbing death of the Americano who was trying to rape her, another woman named Juanita was sentenced to die. They may have shared a name, but the two Juanitas were polar opposites.

Spinelli, known as The Duchess, was the 50-something mother of three, and the leader of a robber gang in Northern California. Her nickname was bestowed upon her by her gang who thought she had a regal air; but to anyone else who had ever met her the nickname had to have seemed ironic because there was nothing royal about Spinelli — neither in her appearance, nor in her actions.

By 1940, Juanita had three children: Lorraine (21), Joseph (17) and Vincent (9). Sure, she had kids, but Spinelli wasn’t anyone’s idea of a warm or loving mother. She had been described as a “scheming, cold, cruel woman” who was the head of an underworld gang, an ex-wrestler and a knife-thrower who could pin a poker chip at 15 paces!

charmed_to_meet_you_pin_up_girl_snake_retro_speckcase-p176106105673390941vu1z1_400Over the years, Juanita had dragged her kids from the oil fields of Texas, where she’d worked as a waitress and washerwoman, to Salt Lake City where they joined a carnival. Juanita ran a gambling wheel and Lorraine was a snake girl in the sideshow.

After they quit the sideshow, Juanita and the kids hitchhiked north and landed in Kilgore, Idaho. Her son Joseph vaguely recollected that while they were in Kilgore his mother met and married a man named Robinson.The family spent a couple of years in Idaho as sheepherders, then the Duchess moved them all (sans Robinson) to Texas. The kids were an inconvenience, so Juanita placed them in a Catholic children’s home and took off for Mexico. When she finally returned Joseph and Lorraine discovered that they had a new half-brother, Vincent.

The Spinelli’s drifted from Texas to Detroit, Michigan. Lorraine had finally had enough and she ran away to California, but the whole family hitchhiked after her! It wasn’t a mother’s love that compelled Juanita to chase after her daughter, the girl was an earner. When Lorraine wasn’t working in a sideshow Juanita was using her to lure new members into the gang. She may, or may not, have stopped short of actually pimping out Lorraine, but in any event it’s no wonder that the girl had taken off.

At some point during her wanderings the Duchess had picked up a common-law Duke, Michael Simeone, who was about 20 years her junior.

In early April 1940, the unholy clan had committed the robbery of a barbecue stand in San Francisco during which the proprietor was shot and killed. What do you do after you’ve committed a robbery and murder? Well, if you’re the Spinelli gang you go on a picnic to discuss plans for more crimes.

On April 14, 1940, while the gang was picnicking on the banks of the Sacramento River, the Duchess decided that one member of the mob, nineteen year old Robert Sherrad, had a big mouth and that he’d been “talking too much” about the fatal robbery to his barroom companions.  Fearing that Sherrad would bring heat down on the gang, Juanita ordered her minions to bump off the potential squealer.

Spinelli slipped chloral hydrate into Sherrad’s whiskey and once he was unconscious the kid was driven to the Freeport Bridge in Sacramento and dumped into the river to drown.spinelli_stayed2

The killers had left Sherrad’s clothes neatly folded on the bank of the river so that it would appear that the young man had committed suicide. The cops weren’t fooled and it didn’t take them long to bust the Duchess and her wretched brood.

Juanita Spinella enters San Quentin [Corbis photo]

Juanita Spinella enters San Quentin [Corbis photo]

Juanita Spinelli, Michael Siomeone and Gordon Hawkins were tried and sentenced to death for Sherrad’s murder. Another gang member, Albert Ives, was found “innocent by reason of insanity” and sentenced to an asylum.

Spinelli was reprieved a couple of times but, try as he might, Governor Olson couldn’t find a reason to commute her sentence. Eithel Leta Juanita Spinelli was simply too evil  to be allowed to live.

Only Spinelli and Simeone would be put to death; and Juanita has the dubious distinction of being the first woman to be executed in California’s lethal gas chamber.

Even San Quentin Warden Clinton Duffy (who was not a death penalty supporter) said of Spinelli: “She was the coldest, hardest character, male or female, that I had ever known, and was utterly lacking in feminine appeal. The Duchess was a hag, as evil as a witch. Horrible to look at, impossible to like, but she was still a woman, and I dreaded the thought of ordering her execution.”

 NEXT TIME: Dead Woman Walking continues.

 

Bad Girls 101

I’m going to turn my attention away from female victims for the time being because I want to focus on the bad girls of L.A.; but before I dig in to individual cases, I want to provide a little background on women behaving badly.

For a wildly entertaining glimpse into female felons behind bars, I highly recommend the 1933 film “Ladies They Talk About”. In fact, let’s consider it as a tutorial for Bad Girls 101.

No Los Angeles jail records exist from the early 1850s until 1888. In February 1888 it was recorded that there were 213 men in jail and only 3 women. The women who were most likely to have been arrested were prostitutes, called “soiled doves”.

Working girls came to the attention of social reformers more often than jailers, and so it went for years. However, the number of female inmates in Los Angeles continued to rise through the 1910s into the 1920s.

In 1926 the new Hall of Justice opened, and prisoners were transferred to the jail that was located on the 9th through the 15th floors. By 1927 the 181 female inmates had outgrown their accommodations on the 13th floor, and the roof chapel had to be converted to a dormitory to handle the overflow.

Hall of Justice, showing Broadway and Temple St. elevations. Old Hall of Justice showing its south elevation is seen in lower right background, behind county jail.  [LAPL Photo]

Hall of Justice, showing Broadway and Temple St. elevations. Old Hall of Justice showing its south elevation is seen in lower right background, behind county jail. [LAPL Photo]

In its early days California didn’t have a women’s prison, so the ladies did their time in San Quentin.

The problems with incarcerating women in a primarily male facility are overwhelming. The 17th century English poet Richard Lovelace said:

“Stone walls do not a prison make, Nor iron bars a cage.”

Stone walls and iron bars also make lousy prophylactics.

In the 1870s a female inmate, Nellie Maguire (who’d been convicted of grand larceny) became pregnant while incarcerated at San Quentin. The father of her child was likely a favored inmate who was given free run of the prison.

In 1901 prison reform in California was getting attention from women’s groups, temperance unions, and politicians. It took a couple of decades, and some bitter political battles, but finally in April 1927 the state legislature passed the reformatory bill which authorized $25,000 for site selection for a women’s facility. After months of work a 1,683 acre site in the Tehachapi Mountains was selected for the California Institution for Women.

In August 1933 the first contingent of twenty-eight prisoners left San Quentin for Tehachapi. Finally, in November 1933, all 134 San Quentin women were in their new quarters.

monahanThe Superintendent of Tehachapi in the mid/late 1930s was Florence Monahan. Monahan was a long time reformer, and her goal was to release women from Tehachapi who would become self-respecting citizens, instead of bitter, beaten women who would be determined to get back at society.

Some of the reforms instituted by Monahan included ditching the drab prison uniforms and replacing them with colorful frocks. Monahan said “We plan to revise all clothing. It must be suitable, economical and decent. But why should the women wear something they hate?”

tehachapi_style

Prisoners were fitted for their new dresses in a sewing room covered with photos torn from the pages of fashion magazines.

The prisoners were no longer required to wear sober footwear in black, white or dark blue. One woman ordered some red sandals from a catalog, and wore them proudly – with everything.

Other freedoms for female inmates included keeping pets, and living in what were referred to as cottages. There were no bars at Tehachapi.  And Tehachapi wasn’t only influencing the lives of women doing time there; it was also becoming part of the public consciousness.double_indemnity_1944_580x861

For instance in the 1944 film DOUBLE INDEMNITY, Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray) tries to dissuade Phyllis Dietrichson (Barbara Stanwyck) from carrying out the murder for insurance money plot she’s hatching against her husband by telling her: “….then there was a case of a guy that was found shot. His wife said he was cleaning a gun and his stomach got in the way. All she collected was a 3 to 10 stretch in Tehachapi.”

My favorite film reference to Tehachapi is from the 1941 film, THE MALTESE FALCON. Even though he’s in love with her, Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) decides to hand Brigid O’Shaunessy (Mary Astor) over to the cops because she murdered his partner. However, he says that may wait for her: “Well, if you get a good break, you will be out of Tehachapi in 20 years and you can come back to me then. I hope they don’t hang you precious, by that sweet neck.”

There was a significant increase in incarceration rates among women in the mid-1930s, and less than one year following its opening Tehachapi was near capacity.

What kind of woman ended up in Tehachapi? You may be surprised. Ninety percent of the women were first time offenders, and fourteen percent of them had been convicted of murder! Their median age was 37, and eighty percent of them were Caucasian. Nearly half of the inmates came from Los Angeles!

Is there something about Los Angeles that brings out the evil in a woman? Crime writer Raymond Chandler speculated that a local weather phenomenon could cause a woman to contemplate murder. He wrote:

“There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands’ necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge.”

The stock market crashed in October of 1929 and flapper bandits gave way to gun molls and Tommy guns.

Bonnie Parker & Clyde Barrow

Bonnie Parker & Roy Thornton, her husband. They married as teenagers and never divorced.

The Depression of the 1930s resulted in the perpetration of darker crimes. Women became involved in bandit gangs – they didn’t stay at home and roll bandages for the wounded thugs in their lives, they were active participants in kidnappings, bank robberies, and murders.

Many of the most notorious gangs of the Depression operated out of the mid-west. Everyone has heard of Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker.

Bonnie took an active role in the Barrow Gang’s misdeeds, and she had no illusions about how she and Clyde would end their days. The last few lines of her poem THE BALLAD OF BONNIE AND CLYDE read:

They don’t think they’re tough or desperate
They know the law always wins
They’ve been shot at before, but they do not ignore
That death is the wages of sin.
BONNIE & CLYDE
Some day they’ll go down together
And they’ll bury them side by side
To few it’ll be grief, to the law a relief
But it’s death for Bonnie and Clyde.

How did Bonnie & Clyde pay the wages of sin?

During 1933, before they died in a hail of bullets, Bonnie & Clyde were on the run from the law in the Midwest. L.A. had a criminal duo too, Burmah and Thomas White.

NEXT TIME: L.A.’s own Bonnie & Clyde: Burmah & Thomas White.