All Episodes

January 23, 2024 46 mins

The murder of Ken McElroy comes off like a story from a cheap paperback book you’d get to read on a plane. But this is a true crime story, set in Missouri in the early 80s. And boy does it pack a punch.

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Mark as Played
Transcript

Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:01):
If you're going to Send Francisco or Seattle, you should
come to our live shows.

Speaker 2 (00:10):
That's right, well done, Chuck. We are still selling tickets
to our live shows on January twenty fourth and twenty
six On January twenty fourth in Seattle at the Paramount
Theater and on January twenty sixth in San Francisco at
Sydney Goldstein Theater. Tickets are still available to come see us.
Hats off to Portland for selling out our show at
Revolution Hall already, and sorry to everybody who got shut out.

Speaker 1 (00:32):
That's right. So where can they get tickets at our website?

Speaker 2 (00:35):
Right?

Speaker 1 (00:35):
Stuff youshould do dot com yeah.

Speaker 2 (00:37):
Or linktree slash sysk.

Speaker 1 (00:39):
We'll see everybody then. Welcome to Stuff You Should Know,
a production of iHeartRadio.

Speaker 2 (00:52):
Hey, and welcome to the podcast. I'm Josh and there's
Chuck and Jerry's here too, pushing us around as usual
for this episode of Stuff you Should.

Speaker 1 (01:00):
Know, our second episode for us of the New Year.
And why didn't we save like a pretty happy one
to get going with.

Speaker 2 (01:11):
I don't know, I don't know, Probably because we knew
we were going to be so bummed out after Jonestown.
We needed something that was a pick me up. And
what's crazy is this story actually is a pick me
up compared to Jonestown.

Speaker 1 (01:24):
Oh boy, that's tough to parse out. So thank you
Tolivia for diving into this tough story. And also this episode,
we want to issue a very big trigger warning because
in it we are going to talk about a very
bad man and some of the bad things he did,
which included sexual assault and some of which were with minors.

(01:50):
So trigger warning. Know that going in. There's no way
around it.

Speaker 2 (01:56):
There's very few stories that have like a clear cut villain,
but this is one of them. And the villain who's
also the center of our story. The person at the
center of our story is a man named ken Rex McElroy. Yeah,
which I mean all you need to hear is that name, really,
I think, and it kind of just puts a weird

(02:19):
chill down your spine that you can't quite identify yet.

Speaker 1 (02:22):
Yeah, this is a story that you may have heard
of before. There's no shortage of content about Ken McElroy.
There was a book written in nineteen eighty eight by
Harry McLain, a crime writer, called in Broad Daylight, You
Know What's Coming colon our murder in Skidmore, Missouri. There
was a documentary just a few years ago in twenty

(02:44):
nineteen called a documentary series actually called No One Saw
a Thing, of which I watched at the first episode.

Speaker 2 (02:51):
How is it? I didn't get a chance to yet.

Speaker 1 (02:53):
Well, we'll talk about it. It's okay.

Speaker 2 (02:56):
It's got like a seven plus on IMDb. That's really
saying something.

Speaker 1 (03:00):
Yeah, Chuck gives it a six minus.

Speaker 2 (03:03):
Okay, Still it's not too bad.

Speaker 1 (03:05):
It's okay. I mean, not a ton of light was shed.
So maybe it's because if I went into it blind
it might have been a little better.

Speaker 2 (03:12):
Gotcha.

Speaker 1 (03:13):
But there's also a nineteen ninety one TV movie starring
Brian Denahey and Marcia gay Harden, which I actually I
watched a very bad YouTube version of it. Mostly I
scribbed through a little bit of it. But it's actually
not terrible for a nineteen ninety one TV movie, largely
because Brian Dennehey is perfectly cast and awesome.

Speaker 2 (03:33):
Yeah, he really is. I don't understand why they changed
the names. Did Harry MacLean change the names for in
Broad Daylight?

Speaker 1 (03:43):
I didn't read the book, but I don't know. Sometimes
they do that with TV movies. Huh, well, regardlessly the innocent.

Speaker 2 (03:50):
You know, I scrubbed ahead to the last probably thirty minutes,
so all the good stuff.

Speaker 1 (03:56):
That's kind of all you need.

Speaker 2 (03:57):
And you're right. Brian Denney was great and Marcia J.
Harden did a great job at the really important point.

Speaker 1 (04:04):
Yeah, she's a tremendous actor, as was Denney. Rip Brian Denney.

Speaker 2 (04:09):
So Ken Rex McElroy. He was from Skidmore, Missouri. That's
where this story takes place. He was the fifteenth of
sixteen kids. From what I saw, he was born in
nineteen thirty four. And you can be the wealthiest person
in your state and have sixteen kids and you're still
going to be hard scrabble. Sure, his dad wasn't the

(04:31):
wealthiest person in the state. So the mcelroys grew up
kind of doing what they could to make their own way.
And Ken himself, I saw either he made it up
to age fifteen in school, which is a surprising statistic
to me after I know a little more about him.
I also saw that he was illiterate, which I would

(04:52):
definitely believe more than the fact that he made it
up to age fifteen in school. Either way, at a
young age, he he started taking up crime. You get
the impression not just out of necessity, but also probably
out of a certain amount of pleasure.

Speaker 1 (05:08):
Yeah, and this was to frame it. And then nineteen forties.
He was born in thirty four, so by the time
he was criming, it was in nineteen forties. One thing
we should mention is, and I'm glad Livia dug this up,
and this is no way excusing any of his behaviors,
but when he was eighteen year years old, he was

(05:28):
a working construction and there was an accident where some
very heavy cribbing fell about thirty feet and hit him
in the head. He had a construction helmet, but it
cut his scalp, so it clearly, you know, provided minimal protection.
And he said that he had a steel plate implanted
and had episodes of blackout episodes and pain throughout the

(05:49):
rest of his life. And it should be noted that
one common denominator in many cases of you know, sick
people who do awful things is head injury when they're younger,
so that very well may have been the case. Again,
not excusing anything he did, but we're trying to paint
a full picture here.

Speaker 2 (06:08):
He was like a modern day Phineas Gage.

Speaker 1 (06:11):
Yeah, exactly. And like you said, it seemed like he
enjoyed criming from a young age. He was a pretty
I mean this is before the accident, even he was
a pretty disturbed young man.

Speaker 2 (06:27):
Yeah. Oh, I have to say, yeah, I would say
I would definitely agree with that. But he did do stuff.
He wasn't just like a lay about like. He was
a kind of an industrious criminal. He also trained hunting dogs.
He was a dealer of antiques, a buyer and seller,

(06:49):
but more than anything, he was a cattle wrestler. Apparently,
the year before his death, the county that Skidaways in
our Skidmores and not a Way county, the cattle thefts
were six times that of any other place in the state.
It led the state in cattle thefts, and apparently a

(07:10):
lot of that was Ken McElroy. He was flush with cash.
He would buy new cars, he could support. He ended
up having at least ten kids could support them all.
He had a lot of money and all of it
essentially was from crime. Because he had a tiny little
farm and he wasn't making much of any money off

(07:33):
of that. He was making it from stealing.

Speaker 1 (07:36):
Yeah, and when we say he had a lot of money,
it's not the kind of it's not wealth. He had
the kind of money for a criminal in the nineteen
sixties and Skidmore, Missouri.

Speaker 2 (07:50):
He had skid More money.

Speaker 1 (07:51):
Yeah, which is to say, oh, I hope there's no
skid Marians. There's a couple hundred of them, well listening
to us.

Speaker 2 (08:00):
Yeah, I just assume the whole town listens to us.

Speaker 1 (08:02):
Anyway, they're probably so sick of the story. But he's
the kind of money guy that like he always had
like a few grand in his pocket with a big,
fat money roll, like that kind of dude. He was
a big guy. He was like six two or sixty three,
had this sort of here again kind of like Jim
Jones men of the time, had this jet black hair

(08:25):
and these huge side burns. He was imposing. But he
picked on people smaller than him. He picked on women
and children and young girls and took advantage of all
these people. And he was arrested and charged at least
twenty one times without being convicted. And if you're thinking, like,
how in the world does that happen? When people know

(08:46):
he's committing crimes, he's getting arrested of these committing these crimes.
It's because he had a very, I guess good slippery
attorney named Richard Jean mcfahten who was supposedly a mob
attorney in Kansas City. And upon their first meeting, he
was like, you can't afford me, and McElroy said, let

(09:09):
me be the judge of that, pulled out that big
fat roll from his pocket, threw it on the desk,
and McFadden was delighted to have him as a cash
paying client who listened to him.

Speaker 2 (09:21):
Yeah, so McFadden was so was so good at getting
them off. He well, actually they worked together. McFadden was
good at getting him off, but it was he probably
wouldn't have been nearly as successful as Ken McElroy hadn't
have been also a very active participant in getting himself off.

(09:44):
So Gene McFadden would get delay after delay, all these
procedural delays to just really put as much time between
Ken McElroy's arrest and the actual trial date as possible,
and then Ken McElroy would get busy intimidating witnesses, and
if it got closer and closer to trial and in

(10:06):
a jury wasn't paneled. He would intimidate the jurors. He
would threaten their lives. He would threaten the lives of
their families. He would threaten to burn their houses down.
He would threaten to kill them. He would threaten not
just with words, he would intimidate them by parking in
their driveways, by brandishing guns at them, by shooting guns
in the air, sometimes in the night, outside of their house,

(10:29):
like just It would take a couple of these for
the average person to be like, I can't this is
not what I've signed up for. This guy is scaring
me to death. Some people lasted longer than others, but
most of the time, almost in every single time, eventually
he would intimidate enough of the witnesses that the cases

(10:49):
would fall apart. And that is how he became what
Crime Library referred to as this teflon coated hicic.

Speaker 1 (10:59):
Yeah, absolutely like he shot a guy in the stomach
in July of nineteen seventy six, a guy named Romayne Henry.
And yes, you heard me right, Romaine Farmer spelled exactly
like the lettuce? Was he named after the lettuce? Because
was he a lettuce farmer?

Speaker 2 (11:14):
I don't know. Did they farm letus in Missouri.

Speaker 1 (11:17):
They did in you in Arizona, I think just.

Speaker 2 (11:20):
For the sake of this story. Yes, he absolutely was
a Romaine Lettuce farmer. His parents raised him to be.

Speaker 1 (11:26):
One and named him after that Lettuce. So he was
shot in the stomach with a shotgun, was not killed,
and it got away with it, you know. In the documentary,
like Romaine Henry pulls up his shirt and he's like,
here's where he shot me, and court witnesses he you know,
like you said earlier, he was one of his side hustles,

(11:47):
was raising and training and selling hunting dogs, and he
was well liked by some people, like the people that
he dealt with with these hunting dogs. Other crime type
people liked him. So he had this stable of dudes
that would go to court and testify on his behalf
and provide him with alibis and say, like, he didn't

(12:08):
shoot him in the stomach. He was with us at
the time of the shooting. So he got away with
shooting Romayne Henry in the stomach with a shotgun. Even.

Speaker 2 (12:16):
Yeah, and just to make sure that you understand what
kind of person Kim McElroy was the reason that he
shot Romayne Henry in the stomach was because Romayne Henry
approached him and said, hey, will you please not shoot
pheasants out of season on my land anymore? And Kim
McElroy responded by shooting him in the stomach because he
told him basically to stop shooting birds illegally on that

(12:39):
man's land.

Speaker 1 (12:40):
Yeah, it didn't matter who you were. There was a cop,
even a highway patrolman named Richard Stratton hashtag hero. Yeah
who had you know? Plenty of run ends, obviously with
McElroy because like you said, this is a town of
you know, a few hundred people at the time. I
think yep, maybe like four or five hundred again, and
so everyone knew this guy, including obviously Richard Stratton, and

(13:04):
he had a bunch of run ins, And so McElroy
started threatening his home and his family. One day, his wife,
Margaret was on our way to church. She got in
the car to go to church and McRoy walks up
to the car, puts a shotgun in her face. And
he did that to cops, wives, he did it to judges.
The county magistrate, Montgomery Wilson, was so fearful that he

(13:26):
wouldn't take these cases. He would have them move to
other nearby counties like he was. People called him the
town bully, but that is the kindest way to describe him,
because he was also a child molester and rapist.

Speaker 2 (13:42):
Yeah, I say we take a break and then come
back and talk about this, all.

Speaker 1 (13:45):
Right, We'll be right back, all right. So when we

(14:10):
left off, I leveled a pretty serious allegation, which is
absolutely true, that Ken McElroy was a child molester and rapist.
And this is one hundred percent true. The story gets
very twisted and convoluted here, but it's kind of hard
to follow along because he was married and then had

(14:30):
a girlfriend and a wife at the same time, but
then another one and then another. Wooden would come in
and they're overlapping, and he's having kids with most of them,
and it gets very confusing. But like you said, he
fathered ten kids. A lot of them were with underage girls.
He got married for the first time in nineteen fifty
two when he was eighteen and his wife, Alita was sixteen,

(14:52):
and he is not like he calmed down or anything.
He would pray and stalk in groom girls as young
as twelve thirteen years old, one of which was a
fifteen year old name Sharon, and they it was sort
of a familiar pattern where he would he would groom
and stalk these young teenage girls. He would abuse them,

(15:16):
he would rape them and threaten them with death and
somehow end up with them and not not somehow through
coercion and threaten intimidation.

Speaker 2 (15:26):
Yeah, and he would get so he would be married already,
and like you said, he'd be stalking and raping and
abusing some other younger girl at the same time. And
then inevitably, when charges were about to be brought against
him because of his like rape and abuse and in
one case shooting of one of the girls, he would

(15:50):
he would convince them to marry him. He would go
to his wife and be like, we have to get
divorced because I got to marry this girl so that
she won't testify against me. And he would be successful.
And if they refused at first, he would use those
same tactics that he used to intimidate witnesses to intimidate
these girls into marrying him and becoming his wife. And

(16:14):
then astoundingly, he would go find a younger girl and
start the whole thing over again. Like this guy got
married more than once to keep the girl that he
was raping from testifying against him, because back then a
wife couldn't testify against her husband.

Speaker 1 (16:30):
Yeah. So, I mean, we don't need to get into
every single one of those details, but suffice it to
say this was happening over and over and over remarkably sometimes.
You know. Obviously, these girls parents would put up a
fight and get involved, and he would intimidate and threaten
them to the point where at one point he and

(16:52):
this is the wife he had sort of when the
final incident went down. Trina McLeod, who he got together with,
this just so sick. When she was twelve or thirteen
year years old, was like picking her up from the
school bus. Yeah, and school officials were like, something's going
on with this creep. No one ever did anything, got
her pregnant at fourteen, and moved her into the house

(17:14):
he shared with the previous young girl that he was with.
So he had a son with Trina in nineteen seventy three,
and a couple of others with this young girl, Alice,
and went to Trina's parents' house. They obviously are saying like,
you can't keep our daughter like this, and he held

(17:36):
them back at gunpoint, brought the girls back, continue to
abuse them, and then eventually he would burn down the
house of Trina McLeod's parents and shoot and kill their
family dog. Yeah, is he a bad enough guy at
this point? All right, dear listener.

Speaker 2 (17:53):
Apparently he somehow Trina ended up being treated by a
doctor somewhere or other. The doctor got the story out
of her, and the doctor was like, wait, can you
tell me all that one more time? And I guess
she did. And the doctor called the authorities, and this
time McElroy was in a lot of trouble and they

(18:14):
took Trina to child services and took her to a
family foster, a foster family, and he started stalking the
foster family and stalking their biological kids and threatening to
rape and kill them. And that foster family would not
give in. They were protecting Trina up until the time.
Trina's like, all right, I forgive you. I'm going back

(18:34):
to you, and I'm sure that foster family is like,
oh my god, I can't believe Yeah, I can't believe this,
Like can you can't make that decision? And she did
and he got away with it yet again because he
got her to marry him to keep her from being
able to even testify against her and Gene McFadden in

(18:55):
a show of just how sleazy lawyers can be, served
as the way witness to their wedding. I think she
was fifteen at the time, and at the end of
the ceremony got her to sign a document saying all
the things she told that doctor were lies and they
lived as husband and wife.

Speaker 1 (19:13):
That's right. So this is this was his final wife,
young trinam Cloud. He apparently got her parents because you know,
you needed to have permission to get married at that age,
and her parents acquiesced because he threatened to burn down
the new house that they either bought or built. And
this is where I get to the documentary, like a

(19:33):
lot of it should be taken with a grain of salt,
because some of the local townspeople they interview are clearly
sort of just maybe don't have all the facts straight.
Because someone in that documentary said that he burned their
house down again and shot their other new dog, and
I didn't see anywhere else where that happened. I think
it was just a threat or whatever.

Speaker 2 (19:52):
He killed a monkey too, right, That's what I heard.

Speaker 1 (19:56):
Deal with the documentary. So this is the this is
going on. He's terrorizing this town. Everyone knows he's an
awful guy. He's just can't be overstated what an awful
creep that he is. And I mean creep isn't even
that's way too soft to describe a guy like this. Finally,

(20:19):
in nineteen eighty he sort of pushes his luck. As
Livia would call this section, things have kind of come
a little bit to a head. They're these local shopkeepers.
They ran the B and B grocery there in town
Lois and Earnest bow Bowen Camp and they apparently his

(20:39):
you know, his kids would go in there and chop
lifts all the time, his very young kids. And one
of his young daughters, her name was Tonya or Tanya,
I'm not sure how that was pronounced.

Speaker 2 (20:49):
Na.

Speaker 1 (20:50):
Tanya was like four years old and was stealing candy
from the store. They confronted this young girl, and of
course McElroy wouldn't stand for that, so he starts up
with his usual routine, parking outside their store, staring them down,
brandishing a shotgun and carrying it around with him. And
in July of that year, McElroy approached bo Bowen Camp

(21:14):
the grocery store owner. They had a brief conversation and
he shot this seventy year old man through the neck again,
not killing him, but wounding him.

Speaker 2 (21:23):
Yeah, and so Bo and Lois Bowen Camp were like
beloved in the town. Oh yeah, this is a big deal.
He had assaulted and a beloved elderly shopkeeper, grocer who
fed the town, and even McElroy knew it was a

(21:43):
big deal. He fled, he tried to get out of
the state. And you mentioned Richard Stratton, the Missouri Highway
patrolman who had run ins over and over and over
again with Ken McElroy. Well, he was out on patrol
night when that happened or that day, I guess, and
he got the all points bulletin er to be on

(22:04):
the lookout for Ken McElroy. And at the time, the
Sheriff's office, the rest of the Highway patrol they were
setting up roadblocks, looking on every highway that they could
for Ken McElroy. But Richard Stratton said, no, I know
this guy. He's got a police scanner. He knows exactly
where they are. He's going to take every back road
he confined to get to Kansas and get out of
the state and lay low for a while, and Richard

(22:26):
Stratton said, I know he's going to have to go
through Fillmore, Missouri to get to Kansas, and I'm going
to stake that place out. And in short order, Ken
McElroy came driving through in his Silverado with Trina in
the seat and he ended up getting busted by Richard Stratton.
He was caught. And this again even he knew this
one was a big deal.

Speaker 1 (22:46):
Yeah, yeah, he finally was taken into custody this time.
He I don't know if he just had an instinct
that there was probably no way out of this one,
but he hired his trusteelawyer again McFadden, who said, all right,
let's move this thing to Harrison County first of all,
and here's our plan is. We're going to say that

(23:08):
this was a dispute with Bowen Camp. This this sort
of argument you guys had over your daughter's stealing, and
that he pulled a knife on you and that it
was self defense and you were you were forced to
do that. He was still using his you know, typical
playbook intimidation tactics on the Bowen Camps, but they refused
to budget, which was great so that was their that

(23:30):
was their defense. We should also mention while this is
going on, he continues his reign of terror on the town.
There's a there was a Christian church whose minister was
Tim Warren. And if you don't know anything about sort
of small town actually probably even larger town ministers. Part
of their job they don't just get up there and

(23:51):
preach on Sundays, is they have to minister to the
congregation in their community. So they will do things. Preachers
and ministers will like come and check in on people
they're sick. They will visit people in the hospital if
they're injured or you know, or having some troubles. And
this is what Tim Warren was doing when he checked
in on, or had planned to check in on Lois

(24:11):
Bowen Camp and he got a call saying, don't go
see old man Bowen Camp. It's gonna be bad news
for you. He did it under cover by borrowing a
friend's truck and going in that but got a call
was like, hey, I knew that that was you there
within your friend's truck. Nice try and if you do
this again, I'm going to rape and murder your wife.

Speaker 2 (24:33):
Yeah, So the reverend, the local reverend, Reverend Lovejoy is
just told that his wife is going to be raped
and murdered.

Speaker 1 (24:41):
Right, that's right.

Speaker 2 (24:43):
I didn't get what the point of that was, did you.
I didn't see any interpretation of that. I just saw
it explained or described. I never saw it explained.

Speaker 1 (24:52):
Well, I think just anyone sort of on the Bowen
Camp side, because who knows, like the reverend could have
been and called to testify or something.

Speaker 2 (25:01):
He knows, I got you.

Speaker 1 (25:02):
That makes me think he was just trying to shut
it all down, kind of like with the town marshall.

Speaker 2 (25:07):
Right, yeah, so the town marshal nice setup. David Dunbar
was twenty four at the time, and if you were
town marshall of Skidmore, you not only had to call
the sheriff when there was an actual, real, real trouble
because you weren't really allowed to do anything. You had
to provide your own gun. The city would pay for

(25:28):
your ammunition, but you had to provide your own gun.
And David Dunbar was like, I don't even care about
this job. I took this job because I wanted to
win a bet that I had with my buddy for
a case of beer, right, and so In short order,
he gets pulled into this whole thing by Ken McElroy,
who pulls a gun on him, holds him at gunpoint.
I saw it for like twenty minutes at the Punkin Festival.

Speaker 1 (25:51):
Yeah, not punkin Junkin'.

Speaker 2 (25:53):
No, the Punkin Festival or the Punkin show. That's what
I saw it as.

Speaker 1 (25:56):
Yeah, they chunked in no punks, yes.

Speaker 2 (25:58):
No, but David Dunbar. David Dunbar did say like, that's
it for me, man, I really didn't care that much
about this job anyway. I'm not going to stand up
to Ken McElroy. You guys need to find yourself another
marshal and they said, fine, we will, and then they couldn't.
So the town was without a marshall even for a
little while.

Speaker 1 (26:18):
They probably didn't need one.

Speaker 2 (26:20):
I mean, it doesn't sound like it was very effective
as positions go. And also the other thing I said,
they need to call the sheriff. I saw someone intimate
that the sheriff may not have either taken Ken McElroy
and the trouble he caused seriously, or he may have
been a friend or a sympathetic ally or something to
Ken McElroy, because apparently he was not super responsive to

(26:44):
Ken McElroy trouble calls.

Speaker 1 (26:47):
You know, he was interviewed in this documentary. He certainly
didn't seem sympathetic. He might have been intimidated as well.

Speaker 2 (26:54):
Yeah, I guess that's possible. I wouldn't blame him, frankly.

Speaker 1 (26:58):
So this takes more than a year, I'm sorry, close
to a year to come to trial because of all
the delays that you know, McFadden, that's his game. Finally
it does and there's another green. Like almost everyone in
this story seems like they were like very young at
the time. Yeah. The prosecutor, his name was David Baird.
He was a super young attorney. He was the county
prosecutor so named, just a few months earlier, and all

(27:22):
of a sudden, this kid is charged with prosecuting the case.
He convicted him of second degree assault and sentenced him
to two years in jail. And this was the very
first conviction after this year's long reign of terror on
this town that he faced. Of course, McFadden appealed. The
judge said you're out on forty thousand dollars bail, and

(27:45):
Baird said, oh, it sounds fine to me.

Speaker 2 (27:48):
Yeah, So like after shooting Bo Bo and Camp getting
caught by the highway patrol, he gets let out on
forty thousand dollars bond, which he probably paid his bail
in cash from his pocket, and the town was like,
you've got to be kidding me, Like you let this
guy free. Okay, we will will hang in there. We're

(28:09):
just gonna ride this out. And almost immediately Ken McRoy
was like, how can I get my bond revoked? I know,
I'll go show up at the local tavern in Skidmore,
the DNG Tavern, and I'll bring a M one carbine
rifle with bayonet on me, and I'll talk about how
I'm going to use it to finish off Bo Bowen
Camp in front of everybody in the bar. And that's

(28:31):
exactly what he did. And there just happened to be
a couple of brave souls. One of them was Pete Ward,
I think it was he and his sons who went
and fo like confronted him about it and then went
and filed the complaint and said this guy needs his
bond revoked, And a bond hearing was set up ten
days from then, and that set up all of the

(28:51):
machinations that were now going to bring this story to
its climax? Is it time for ad break? Have we
had a second one?

Speaker 1 (29:01):
I mean, if that's not a perfect setup for ad breakman,
we've never had one.

Speaker 2 (29:27):
So I said that Ken McElroy has basically just brandished
an arm. He's walking around town talking about he's going
to finish off the guy he's been now convicted of assaulting.
But he's out on bail, and Pete Ward and his
sons go file a complaint and a bond hearing to
see if his bond should be revoked is set up
for ten days, and those ten days pass, and on

(29:48):
the tenth day, the day of his bond hearing, a
group of farmers around town who have just had it
up to here with Ken McElroy come to the American
Legion Hall to basically go to court with Pete Ward
and Bobo and Camp and show solidarity but also show
that these guys are protected. You better not mess with them.

Speaker 1 (30:08):
Yeah. Absolutely. By most accounts, it was most of the
adults in the town were at this American Legion Hall meeting.
I think there were like a little over one hundred
adults maybe living there, and it seemed like eighty of
them were at this American Legion Hall meeting.

Speaker 2 (30:27):
Yeah, there was a lot of people there.

Speaker 1 (30:29):
So they find out there that McFadden had gotten that
hearing delayed, that bond hearing delayed for ten more days,
so instead of July tenth, it's going to be July twentieth.
They called the sheriff Danny EST's in that we talked about,
and he basically said, you know, there's nothing that we
can do about it. And this is where I think

(30:51):
that maybe I don't think he was friendly to McElroy.
I think he was just a law about biting sheriff
that was like, you know, what do you want to do,
like go kill this guy in the street, Like, we
can't do that. All we can do is keep tabs
on this guy and you know, stick together. It is
probably a good idea. So they said, that's a great idea.
We should form a large group and stalk him, follow

(31:13):
him around. Their strengthen numbers if we get enough of
us together, Like what's this guy gonna do? Kill all
of us? There are some people that were at this
meeting that was like, you know, no one was talking
about doing anything more than that. Other people said, yeah,
there were some people that were so you know, pissed
off about all this, that were like, we need to

(31:34):
take matters into our own hands, Vigilanti style. And they
found out at this meeting that he's back in town
with his wife. They went to the tavern, the DNG tavern,
still morning, mind you. They're in there drinking and they
all go down there. They walk in there as a

(31:56):
group and fill this tavern about fifty to sixty people,
and it's clear what's going on. McElroy would not be intimidated.
He did leave, but he apparently just sort of thumbed
his nose in their faces, bought a six pack to go,
and was like, you know, let's get out of here, Trina,
and walked out.

Speaker 2 (32:16):
Yeah, so this crowd was like, okay, I kind of
like this following this guy around, watching his every step thing,
And they actually walked out of the bar with him,
and supposedly there was between thirty and sixty people. Some
people had cleared out. Romayne Henry, who meet shot in
the stomach before, said that he sensed that this crowd
was possibly out for blood and he didn't want to

(32:38):
have anything to do with it, so he laughed. So
not everybody who was in the VFW Hall or the
American Legion Hall was in the parking lot of the
D ANDNG tavern, but a significant number of people were
and they had Ken McElroy and Trina surrounded in Ken
McElroy Silverado. Ken McElroy apparent lee had the car turned on,

(33:02):
still had him park. He pulled out a cigarette and
I saw that he either had just lit it or
was about to light it when somebody shot him in
the head with a high powered hunting rifle and then
followed that up with a shot to the neck, with
Trina right next to him, who was suddenly covered in
his blood.

Speaker 1 (33:22):
Yeah, through the back wind shield of the pickup truck,
I imagine instantly killed him with that first shot. His
foot slams on the gas and this thing is revving
at like full bore. This old truck starts smoking and
eventually blows the engine and it just goes silent. Trina

(33:43):
apparently urinated herself, was initially told to stay in the
car or she would be killed two and then gets
hustled out of this truck into a nearby bank, and
a bunch of more shooting happens until the shooting stops.
It's about twenty seconds worth of shooting. People go up

(34:05):
peek in this truck. McElroy is hunched over. No one
helps the guy at all, and in the end they
figure out he was hit by two different bullet types,
so two different guns had actually made contact with his body,
two different bullets. So, you know, in the documentary again

(34:27):
there were people that were like, you know, five or
six people shot him, three or four people shot him,
like everyone sort of got their own story, but as
far as the you know, autopsy goes, there were two
different calibers of bullet.

Speaker 2 (34:38):
Yeah, because here's the twist to this whole story. We
don't know at the very least, the law can't say
who killed Kim McElroy. They were between thirty to sixty
people who were standing right there when he was killed
from several feet away, and no no one saw a thing.

(35:01):
The town circled the wagons and clammed up to this.

Speaker 1 (35:05):
Day, Yeah, the town fully cleared out right after that,
and like he was just sitting there alone in the
middle of town, dead in his truck. Apparently they went
into some local businesses in this One woman in the
documentary said, we were just sort of hanging out in there,
and someone came in and said it's over. You can
sleep tonight. Now just stand behind us.

Speaker 2 (35:27):
Yeah, and they did, man, I mean they did the
law I saw. Depending on who you ask, the law
took this very seriously like any other murder, and investigated
and tried to prosecute it. Others are like, yeah, the
local law didn't try that hard because everybody knew that
this was actually justice, even though it was a grotesque

(35:48):
form of justice.

Speaker 1 (35:49):
Yeah.

Speaker 2 (35:50):
Either way, no one was ever prosecuted. No one was
even ever arrested or charged with the murder of Ken
mackleroy because not a single witness would crack. There was
apparently one witness who shortly after said that they saw
a man named del Clement and another man speed off

(36:12):
very quickly right after the shooting, and that person apparently said, oh,
I'm sorry, I was mistaken. That's the closest the cops
got to a witness statement about who may have shot
Ken McElroy. No one would say anything. Some people were
interviewed five to six times. Yeah, and no one cracked.

(36:34):
They would not crack. And yet whoever said that they
saw del Clement speed off was probably telling the truth
because Trina Ken's wife, who by this time is twenty
four and looks a lot like somebody who would have
been friends with Eileen Warnos, it says that she turned
around right before the shooting started and saw very clearly

(36:57):
Dell Clement, owner co owner of the DG TAB, taking
aim and shooting Ken McElroy in the head with his
deer rifle.

Speaker 1 (37:05):
Yeah, he was not only the owner of the tavern,
but he had a livestock that had been pilfered. Apparently
it was a big hot head, and I get the
sense took great pleasure in pulling that trigger, as the
sense I got. There was a lady in the documentary
and again this is the grain of salt, that said
that the main gun was thrown in a river. So

(37:26):
I was like, oh, very interesting. I hadn't heard that
anywhere else. But she also said right after that she
heard that they had McElroy's head in a head somewhere
and a freezer thing. So they couldn't do like more,
I guess bullet ballistics work or whatever.

Speaker 2 (37:44):
Yeah, you couldn't find it because it was stolen by
a monkey.

Speaker 1 (37:48):
Yeah, I don't think that happened. There was another guy
in there named Britt Small, and I get the feeling
they just kind of gathered up whoever was still around
and was like, you know, talk to me. And Britt
was a local guy, Vietnam veteran. He was like, you
know what, the only mistake they made is that they
let Trina live. I would have killed him in his driveway.
I would have ambushed them, both, killed her and him

(38:09):
and burned his house down. That's what I would have done.

Speaker 2 (38:11):
Well, she if you read newspaper accounts, like immediately after,
the Kansas City Star had a couple of articles like
the week after like she's scared to death or she
sounded scared to death that she was going to be next,
or that her kids were going to be murdered. And
then of course the townspeople that they interviewed for the
same article are like, no one wishes her and ill

(38:32):
will right, you know, she's not in any danger, but
she swore that she was told to stay out of Skidmore,
doon't ever come back, or else she was going to
get it and her kids would be after that. It's
I don't know. It probably just depends on which town
person you talk to.

Speaker 1 (38:46):
I mean, both things can be true, they could have
felt like she was a victim, but also please leave.

Speaker 2 (38:50):
Yeah, exactly. And apparently when she was hustled off to
the bank, whoever did that saved her life because even
if they hadn't have been aiming for she probably would
have gotten hip by a straight bullet after that second round.
But when she was hustled at the bank, there was
like a crowd, like you said to people there that
seemed to be just sitting there watching, like people knew
what was about to happen or what was going down.

(39:12):
And she said they didn't need to do them like that,
and someone said they had no choice. So even if
you didn't agree with that mob, justice that had taken place,
and you were a Skidmore resident, at the very least
you weren't about to turn on your fellow townspeople, certainly
not for the likes of somebody like Ken McElroy or Trina.

Speaker 1 (39:36):
Yeah. And in the end, you know, they couldn't with
only Trina's word, there was nothing they could do that
young Prosecutor Baird and the FBI said, you know, this
is all we've got. We can't move forward. Everyone else
is saying they don't know what happened. The FBI closed
their investigation on September two, nineteen eighty two, and I

(39:57):
believe the share off. I'm sorry. The LEAs chief how
Riddle was running the investigation, and he said, you know,
he was really trying to get this case to go
to trial because he's he is a law enforcement officer.
And they weren't all like great mob justice, you know,
they're like, we we should have handled it to begin with,
but you certainly can't handle it this way. And he

(40:18):
said it was the most frustrating case of his career
and basically, like this town got away with murder.

Speaker 2 (40:24):
Yeah, and if the local law enforcement didn't work hard enough,
that was par for the course. Because if there was
any theme to this aside from this horrible bully, it
was the local institutions failing the community time after time
after time after time for any number of reasons because
they were intimidated, because they were crupt, who knows, but

(40:46):
that was like the subtext of this whole thing is
that this community essentially had to take matters into their
own hands or else this guy was going to eventually
kill somebody, and they just decided that that was not
going to happen. They were going to stop before it happened,
so it's tough to fault them for what they did.
Even though I don't agree with that. Still I understand

(41:08):
why they did it well.

Speaker 1 (41:11):
I think you cannot agree with mob justice and also
say the town of Skidmore in the world was probably
better off without this child rapist walking around.

Speaker 2 (41:22):
Yeah, no, you're right. I like your theories. I'm going
to subscribe to your newsletter.

Speaker 1 (41:28):
So as for Clement, the supposed one of the supposed shooters,
he never said a thing about it. He died in
two thousand and nine. Trina in nineteen eighty five filed
a wrongful death civil case against the mayor, Clement, and
the sheriff for five million bucks, settled for seventeen thousand,
six hundred. The defendants didn't have to admit to any wrongdoing.

(41:52):
They just wanted it to go away. She got remarried
and a couple of years before that in nineteen eighty three,
so two years after the killing, and she died in
twenty twelve. And you know, there was no mention of
that life of hers in her obituary. I think she
really put it behind her, and I hope at some point,

(42:13):
you know, there are interviews with her. That's the one
interesting thing about the doc, Like not too long after
their interviews with Trina McLeod. I would hope that at
some point she realized that she was a victim.

Speaker 2 (42:25):
Yeah.

Speaker 1 (42:26):
I hope so too, and came to on that.

Speaker 2 (42:28):
But who knows, because I mean, you there's a there's
a certain amount of like grudging admiration you have for
at the very least. It's like, man, this girl is
so twisted. She was like a really ardent defendant of
her husband's reputation and honor and memory and like really

(42:50):
went would she was really like mad that they had
killed him.

Speaker 1 (42:54):
Yeah.

Speaker 2 (42:56):
One other detail I saw was that she offered a
five thousand dollar reward for information about who killed them.
Somebody had come forward, but she didn't have five thousand dollars.
She was putting it up against the movie rights. She
presumed she would eventually be paid for. Oh interesting, Yeah,
so I'm not sure. I don't think anybody would have
taken the five grand anyway, but certainly not a phantom

(43:18):
five grand that didn't actually exist yet.

Speaker 1 (43:20):
Yeah. As for the attorney, he was always like he
was never like, you know, I really regret representing that
dirt bag. He was pretty proud of his work. He
had a long career as a lobbyist working in the
legislature there in Missouri, and apparently would like buy copies
of McLean's book and have McLean sign them and hand

(43:42):
them out to all the delegates in the state Senate.
He died in twenty twelve, Like I said, very proud
of his work. And Stratton, the highway patrolman that we mentioned,
was the guy who in an interview said, you know
they did what they did because we didn't do our job.
I think he felt forever bad that the law enforcement

(44:04):
had failed that town.

Speaker 2 (44:05):
Yeah. He also said in that same interview he knew
for sure who did it, and he was never going.

Speaker 1 (44:09):
To say I think it was Clement, I just don't
know who the second shooter was. The guy that says
he would have killed them both and burned their house down,
claims that he knew the second shooter, but he wouldn't
say it either.

Speaker 2 (44:19):
Yeah, you got anything else?

Speaker 1 (44:22):
I got nothing else?

Speaker 2 (44:24):
Quite a story, yeah, man, Yeah, thanks and thanks Olivia
for helping us with it. And since Chuck said good pick,
that means, of course it's time for a brand new
listener mail.

Speaker 1 (44:38):
That's right. This is a follow up on our what
I thought was a really good episode that I enjoyed
on Kenton Grua and the Grand Canyon River speed Record.
Great episode on that guys. I read the book a
few years ago, and to answer a question you had
about the eleven pm start time, as I recall, you're
correct in their desire to employ the cover of darkness.

(44:58):
There was also another, probably more important issue that led
to that decision. Per my recollection of the book, it
was the timing of when they would run into the
rapids where they eventually swamp the boat. It was a
stretch they'd expected would be the crux of the trip.
As you pointed out, Kitting and his team were tenured
river rats who knew all the river like the back

(45:18):
of their hand. However, the unique dynamics of the unprecedented
CFS meant that they were uncertain of exactly how fast
they would be moving. By starting when they did, they
were able to more or less ensure that section of
the river where they flipped would be squarely in the
middle of the day. A good worst case scenario and
good pre planning. And that's from Noah. That sounds like

(45:39):
a very reasonable assertion.

Speaker 2 (45:41):
Yeah, thanks a lot, Noah. I'm not going to challenge
him on it. Heck no, yeah. Okay. Well, if you
want to be like Noah and be like, hey, I
got you guys. You have a question, I'm in Noah,
then get in touch with us. Do it like Noah did,
Do everything like Noah did. Send us an email to
podcast at iHeartRadio dot com.

Speaker 1 (46:05):
Stuff you Should Know is a production of iHeartRadio. For
more podcasts my heart Radio, visit the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts,
or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.

Stuff You Should Know News

Advertise With Us

Follow Us On

Hosts And Creators

Josh Clark

Josh Clark

Chuck Bryant

Chuck Bryant

Show Links

Order Our BookRSSStoreSYSK ArmyAbout

Popular Podcasts

The Bright Side

The Bright Side

Start your day with The Bright Side, a new daily podcast from Hello Sunshine. Co-hosted by journalist, TV host, and podcaster, Danielle Robay and Emmy-nominated journalist, host, and producer, Simone Boyce, The Bright Side brings your daily dose of culture and inspiration – with the latest trends, celebrity interviews, and real conversations with women doing amazing things while navigating life’s transitions, big and small. The Bright Side is a talk show created to inspire, educate, and empower women as they tackle life each day and add joy to their morning routines. Join Danielle and Simone and the Hello Sunshine community every weekday for entertainment, culture, wellness, books, and more.

Ways To Win

Ways To Win

Winning is an everyday mindset, and the coaches are here to help. Hosts Craig Robinson and John Calipari use their on-court wisdom to solve your off-court problems. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Dateline NBC

Dateline NBC

Current and classic episodes, featuring compelling true-crime mysteries, powerful documentaries and in-depth investigations.

Music, radio and podcasts, all free. Listen online or download the iHeart App.

Connect

© 2024 iHeartMedia, Inc.