Tag Archive for Mexico

Maybe I’ll Meet You on the Run

Sharon Kinne

Sharon Elizabeth Hill Kinne is not a typical serial killer. She was very specific in her choice of victims and had a solid motive for killing each one. Most interesting, Sharon is one of few who has escaped from prison, remained at large, and may even still be alive somewhere south of the border with Mexico.

The Murder of James Kinne

The daughter of an alcoholic single mother, Kinne grew up fast in Independence, Missouri, thanks to her beauty and physique.
 
In 1956 at a church social, Sharon Hill, then 16, met her eventual husband and first murder victim, James Kinne. Although he was a shy Mormon attending school in Provo, Utah, John, 22, was smitten with the blonde beauty and they began a heated sexual relationship. But when the summer ended, James returned to Utah to continue his studies, promising never to forget Sharon and pledging to write.
 
The two corresponded by mail and at the end of the year Sharon wrote to James telling him (falsely) that she was pregnant. James returned to Independence and the two were married, living next door to his parents. Unable to get pregnant to cover up her lie, Sharon opted for the next best thing. She pretended to have a miscarriage.
 
Later that year, however, Sharon did become pregnant, giving birth to a baby girl the couple named Danna.
 
By 1959 Sharon had bored of James and his plain vanilla lifestyle and took several lovers. Her most-frequent partner was her former high school beau, John Boldizs, who, as an ice cream vendor, had access to a lot more flavors.
 
James, however, could not admit his marriage was over and unsuccessfully tried to work things out with Sharon. For him divorce was out of the question. By this time Sharon had given birth to a son, Troy. Unable to get rid of her husband by the traditional method, Sharon chose a much more radical means.
 
James KinneOn March 19, 1961, a single shot broke the quiet in the Kinne bungalow. According to her later statement to police, Sharon rushed into the bedroom where James was napping. Standing beside the bed, or so she claimed, was 21/2-year-old Danna. A .22 caliber pistol, one of several in the Kinne house, was on the bed beside John, who was bleeding from a fatal gunshot wound to the head. It appeared Danna had accidentally shot her father to death.
 
At first the police were quite skeptical that a toddler could pull the trigger on a pistol, but when Danna demonstrated that she could, that, combined with the lack of evidence of foul play, prompted the coroner to pronounce the death an accidental homicide.

The Murder of Patricia Jones

Once the insurance check cleared, Sharon headed to Kansas City, where she bought a new powder-blue Thunderbird and met a new lover.
 
“Sharon was in the market for a car; (salesman) Walter Jones was in the market for a little side action,” The Kansas City Star reported in a retrospective. “Despite a wife and kids at home, Walter enjoyed messing around. And what a day it was when he met Sharon Kinne; he sold a car and began a new affair.”
 
Over the next few weeks Walter and Sharon enjoyed a few dates and once spent the night in a motel.
 
As these things tend to do, the affair cooled and Walter announced that he was reconciling with his wife, Patricia, a clerk with the Internal Revenue Service. But Sharon, who was also still seeing Boldizs, did not want things to end until she said it was time. She told Walter she was pregnant, but he did not fall for the ruse.
 
“I told her to wait and see what happened,” Walter testified at one of Sharon’s trials. “I told her it was all over between us.”
 
Having her bluff called sent Sharon into a rage.
 
“Naked and screaming, Sharon followed Walter’s car into the street, cursing and threatening to get even with him, as neighbors watched carrying-ons of a woman who had lost her husband less than three months earlier,” the Star reported.
 
Abandoned by Walter, Sharon was determined to get even. She contacted Walter’s 23-year-old wife and arranged a meeting for May 26, 1960 in a quiet area outside Kansas City. Sharon’s plan was not to ruin the Jones marriage by ratting out Walter. Instead, she pulled out a pistol and fired four shots into Patricia in the form of a cross (well, the prosecutor pointed out it was cross-shaped, but a secular perspective yields a diamond shape).
 
It was not a foolproof plan. Before she left for the meeting Patricia told some friends that she was going to see Sharon. The last time anyone saw her alive is when her friends watched her get into Sharon’s Thunderbird.
 
When Patricia failed to return home and Walter learned of the planned meeting between his wife and ex-lover, he immediately suspected foul play. He confronted Sharon. Walter told authorities that he searched Sharon’s purse for evidence. The 6-foot, 200 lb. car salesman also held a knife to Sharon’s throat and asked her if she knew anything about Patricia’s whereabouts.
 
Sharon was nonplussed. “No,” she responded.
 
Two days later Kansas City police received a telephone call from Boldizs that he and Sharon had been out looking for Patricia when Sharon suggested they call off the search and go parking at one of their favorite spots. Driving down the lovers lane, Boldizs’s headlights shone on what he thought was a pile of abandoned clothes. Sharon was more certain of what they saw, Boldizs testified later.
 
“Is that her?” Sharon asked. “It could be her. I’ll bet that’s her!”
 
When Walter was cleared by a polygraph test, suspicion naturally turned to Sharon and Boldizs. But Boldizs also passed the lie detector test. Sharon refused to give any statement or take a polygraph.
 
On June 1, 1961, Sharon was charged with Patricia’s murder, even though authorities did not have a gun or any direct evidence that Sharon was involved. The circumstantial evidence should have been more than enough to establish her guilt. A co-worker of Sharon’s at a local camera store, told police that he bought a .22 pistol for her. Sharon told police she took the pistol with her to visit relatives in Washington state and left it there. Later she claimed it was lost. It would turn up much later.
 
Shreds of weeds — they were wild oats — were also found on the undercarriage of Sharon’s car.
 
Not one to let the grass grow under his feet, Walter Jones left town and remarried two months after Patricia was murdered. Eight months after Patricia was slain and more than 10 months after James died, Sharon gave birth to another daughter.
 
After a 10-day trial in 1961 involving 27 prosecution witnesses and 14 defense ones, an all-male jury acquitted Sharon of killing Patricia Jones. Perhaps it helped that her defense attorney said he could not defend her morals, and “it was obvious that she likes boys.” A juror told the prosecutors after the trial that the state’s case had “just too many loopholes.” Another juror asked Sharon for her autograph.

Sharon on Trial Again (and Again and Again)

Sharon was not off the hook yet; the prosecution had already arrested her for James Kinne’s murder and a January 1962 trial was planned.
 
John Boldizs was supposed to be the prosecution’s star witness in the trial; during his grand jury testimony he said Sharon had offered him $1,000 to kill James Kinne.


It was approximately two weeks to four weeks before Kinne’s death. W was talking about her husband. She said, ‘Would you kill my husband for $1,000?’ I said, ‘No. Hell no.’
‘Do you know of anybody that would?’
I said ‘Yes; I know somebody.’
She said, ‘If you find somebody, let me know.’
I said, ‘Yes.’ But I never did.”

The prosecutor pressed him.
 
“Do you have a feeling she was serious in her request?”
 
Boldizs replied: “I believe so, now.”
 
However, when he took the stand at trial, Boldizs hedged while expanding on the conversation:
 
“Man, I’d like to carry you off if you wasn’t married,” Boldizs recalled saying.
 
“Well, I’ll just give you a grand,” Sharon reportedly replied. “You can bump off my old man.”
 
Sharon’s defense attorney, James Quinn, asked him if he thought it was a joke.
 
“It was just like if I’d say to you, ‘I’d give you $100 to jump off city hall,'” Boldizs answered.
 
Prosecutor J. Arnot Hill attempted to do damage control during his summation. “(Boldizs) now tries to take the sting out of what he said before,” Hill told the jury. “I’ll leave it up to you to draw your deductions as to why he changed his testimony.”
 
Meanwhile, Quinn attempted to smooth over Sharon’s reputation, telling jurors that it was not their role to judge her for being loose.
 
“What ever breach of the moral law, she has suffered and her God will chastise her,” he said. “She has done plenty of penance for that.”
 
After 51/2 hours of deliberation, the jury convicted Sharon of first degree murder. Meeting the verdict with a stoic appearance, Sharon was sentenced to life in prison.
 
“Not until she was changing into her jail uniform did a few tears mist her eyes,” a jail matron told the Associated Press. “She didn’t weep. She said she didn’t feel too good.”
 
Sharon told her attorneys that she was confident she would be freed on appeal, and she was right. In 1963 the Missouri Supreme Court found enough errors in the trial record that she was granted a new trial. The second trial was an abortive affair. Just a few days into it, the judge declared a mistrial when it was learned that one of the jurors had once been a client of one of the prosecutor’s law partners.
 
The third trial began in the summer of 1964 and was almost a repeat of the first, except that Sharon took the stand for the first time.
 
Sharon KinneHer performance, as one would expect for a woman like Sharon Kinne, was masterful. She blamed 21/2-old Danna for the murder.
 
Dressed in black, Sharon recounted her version of how James was killed. He had just cleaned his .22 and left it on the pillow beside him while he took a nap. The couple was supposed to attend a church function and she was in the bathroom getting ready.

Danna came into the bathroom trying to get me to play with her. She made several trips to the bedroom trying to get attention from James. She brought in several toys and asked him questions. Then I heard Danna in the bedroom. She was saying ‘Show me this, Daddy. Show me this.’ just as she had done several times before with her toys.
And I heard a shot, I guess it was a shot. I went into the bedroom and Danna was standing there and James was lying there and I saw the blood and I thought he was dead. I picked up Danna and put her on the couch and called James’s father.

After two days of deliberation the jury announced that it was hopelessly deadlocked and a mistrial was declared. Immediately Prosecutor Hill announced that the state would try her a third time for James Kinne’s murder.

La Pistolera

Sharon Kinne mugFree on $25,000 bond posted by her in-laws, Sharon was awaiting her next trial when she decided to take a vacation to Mexico City with a new friend, Sam Puglise of Chicago. The pair met a few months earlier in Kansas City and she fell in love with him. She said they were in Mexico to get married.
 
However, on September 18, 1964, the lovebirds had a quarrel and Sharon left the hotel room. She decided to get a drink in a nearby bar, when she met Francisco Paredes Ordonez, an American ex-patriot. She later told authorities that when she began to feel ill, Parades offered to take him to his hotel room.
 
“I lay down; he took off his jacket and got me a glass of water,” she said. “After a while I started to feel better and told Mr. Paredes that I was leaving. He made some advances. When I pushed him away, he hit me and then put his knee on my stomach. He hit me several times,” she continued. “He covered my mouth so I could not scream, but I managed to throw him off and onto the floor. It give me time to pull my gun from my purse. I fired — I don’t know how many times; one or two.”
 
In her haste to escape, Sharon also shot and wounded the hotel clerk.
 
Investigators later determined that the serial number on Sharon’s gun was the same that was being sought in the Patricia Jones murder.
 
Mexican justice was swift, and after a brief trial, the woman known to Mexicans as La Pistolera was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison. She appealed, of course, and was surprised by a quirk in Mexican justice when the appeals court added 3 more years to her term.
 
That was not the end of Sharon Kinne, however. In December 1969, Sharon once again made headlines when she escaped from a suburban Mexico City women’s prison. Her escape was aided by a former Mexican secret service agent and several ex-prisoners, authorities said. Lax security allowed her to scramble over a wall. A subsequent investigation revealed that four guard towers were unmanned. It was not likely that this was part of the escape plan, however. The towers were used as trash dumps.
 
Kinne Age ProgressingSharon had plenty of money to aid her escape. The ex-agent was suspected of a recent robbery where $15,000 American was stolen from two couriers.
 
From December 7, 1969, Sharon Kinne has been on the run. Authorities have said they believe she made it over the border to Guatemala.
 
Although she would be in her late 70s, there is no reason to doubt that she is still alive. The strongest evidence that she is dead, however, is that she has not been linked to any other murders.

Murder in Three Acts

George Edgerly

George Edgerly has had more brushes with greatness than most career criminals. In 1960, with the help of F. Lee Bailey, Edgerly beat a murder rap and years later he was prosecuted by John Kerry for the 1975 rape of a Massachusetts prostitute.
 
F. Lee Bailey, of course, is perhaps one of America’s best known defense attorneys with clients like O.J. Simpson and Patty Hearst, among many others. John Kerry is the former senator from Massachusetts and 2004 Democratic Party nominee for President of the United States. Until the end of the Obama Administration in January 2017, he was the Secretary of State of the United States, which disproves the belief that there are no second acts in America.
 
Bailey and Kerry both pulled a victory out of what appeared to be sure defeat, and in each case their performances helped thrust them into the limelight and on to better things.
 
But this isn’t a story about Bailey or Kerry. It is the sordid tale of murder and mayhem which seemed to follow George Edgerly throughout his life.

Act I: The Murder of Elizabeth Edgerly

The story begins in December 1959, when Edgerly’s 25-year-old wife, Elizabeth disappeared after a confrontation with her husband, in Lowell, Mass., across the river from their home in Dracut. The couple had had a stormy relationship and Edgerly reportedly had a wicked temper. On more than one occasion, Elizabeth was seen with bruises and cuts that she blamed on her husband, and several witnesses testified at his 1960 murder trial that Edgerly and Elizabeth had been fighting the day she disappeared.
 
Elizabeth’s disappearance on December 27, 1959, was the climax of an escalating month-long fight between the husband and wife that began on Thanksgiving Day when several people heard Edgerly tell his wife, “I’ll kill you yet” when she asked him to go out and buy a loaf of bread. Edgerly was irked because his brother-in-law and his wife were sharing Thanksgiving dinner despite the fact that Edgerly was unemployed at the time.
 
Two weeks before Elizabeth vanished, Edgerly’s temper once again raised its head when Elizabeth, her brother, and another man were enjoying a few drinks at the Tremont Cafe. Edgerly appeared and tried to pull Elizabeth out of the booth. Elizabeth’s brother, Francis Hawkins, accompanied his sister out to Edgerly’s car and when Edgerly emerged from the tavern, he attempted to throttle Hawkins. The unidentified friend happened to have a handgun and Edgerly reportedly tried to grab it from him.
 
“He would have killed the three of us,” Hawkins said on the stand.
 
On December 27, Hawkins, Elizabeth, and Edgerly were drinking together at the Three Pines Restaurant in Middleton, where they ate dinner. The trio then headed to an Allenhurst restaurant where they continued to drink. Hawkins was upset that his wife had become pregnant by another man, and the trio was discussing his options. After about three hours of drinking, the group left and headed back toward Dracut. Both Hawkins and the barmaid said that Elizabeth was so intoxicated when she left the bar that she had to be physically helped to the car. Hawkins said she was unconscious when Edgerly dropped him off at around 11:15 p.m.
 
No one ever saw Elizabeth Edgerly alive again.
 
Hawkins and Edgerly met up again around 4:30 a.m., and Hawkins noted that his brother-in-law had changed clothes. Hawkins asked about his sister and Edgerly told him she had “taken off” at the corner of Pawtucket and School streets in Lowell.
 
“Betty won’t be home tonight,” Edgerly told his brother-in-law.
 
When Hawkins saw Edgerly in the early morning hours of December 28, he said Edgerly was holding his right hand inside his coat and kept it there until he went into a shed behind his home where he remained for three or four minutes.
 
Edgerly did not report his wife missing because, according to him, it wasn’t unusual for her to disappear for days at a time. After Elizabeth’s mother contacted police, Edgerly told them that he had stopped to aid a motorist stuck in the snow at the intersection of Pawtucket and School and when he returned she had vanished.
 
Edgerly became a suspect in his wife’s disappearance when he offered differing accounts of his actions after Elizabeth vanished and contradicted himself about what he was wearing that night.
 
However, without a body, no outward signs of foul play, and a woman who was known to spend days away from home, the police had no case against him.
 
Over the next several months Edgerly was repeatedly questioned by police and according to testimony at his murder trial, took more than 20 lie detector tests. It was not until April 11, 1960 that police were able to get the results they were seeking.
 
“Now we have what we want,” Lieutenant George Harnois of the District Attorney’s office told Edgerly after that final test. “I think you killed her.”
 
Edgerly was nonplussed.
 
“You have the right to your own opinion,” he replied.
 
Edgerly had been brought into headquarters for questioning that day because two young boys had found a dismembered female torso in a Dracut brook. The head, arms, and legs were missing, but police surmised that it belonged to Elzabeth.
 
The autopsy revealed that the woman had been slain just a couple of hours after she had eaten, and that the killer had taken great pains to hide the woman’s identity. The killer had used a hacksaw to dismember the corpse and then taken a knife to remove signs of a goiter.
 
A search of Edgerly’s shed revealed a package of 12 hacksaw blades with four missing. Police could not find a hacksaw and Edgerly, an automobile mechanic, said he had lost his about a year before.
 
Police also found evidence of bloody clothes in the trunk of Edgerly’s car, which he explained away as the result of an assault on his wife before Christmas, when she was absent for a few days.
 
About a week after the torso was found, a search of the area revealed the legs that belonged with the torso. Missing, however, was one foot that was malformed because of a previous injury.
 
Edgerly went on trial in February 1960, and Bailey joined the defense team about halfway through the 17-day affair.
 
“George was an interesting guy, pretty unflappable. He was screwing both his mother-in-law and his wife’s sisters. That was evidence in the trial,” Bailey told Jeffrey Toobin in a 2004 New Yorker article on John Kerry. “He was sitting in an iron cage in the middle of the courtroom, which is where defendants used to have to sit in those days.”
 
Bailey was called in to refute the polygraph testimony, and his masterful cross-examination and summing up were credited by many with helping Edgerly win an acquittal.
 
“This is a case of circumstantial evidence,” Bailey told jurors. “Nobody saw Edgerly murder his wife and no one so testified. Circumstantial evidence is like a chain and no chain is stronger than its weakest link.”
 
For their part, the prosecutors admitted that Hawkins was a convicted criminal who hated his brother-in-law, but that the jurors should not hold that against him. The state acknowledged that the case was circumstantial, but explained that this was to be expected.
 
“When a man intends to kill his wife, he does not invite the same people to the murder that he invited to the wedding,” prosecutor Frank Monarski told jurors.
 
After 10 hours, the jury decided that the state had not overcome the burden of proof and Edgerly was freed.

Act II: Motorgate

On February 1, 1974, a Beverly, Mass. resident spotted something washed up on the shore of the Danvers River. Investigating, he realized it was a corpse and police were summoned. What began as a routine murder investigation would quietly become a national scandal involving the country’s largest automobile manufacturer. Several people would go to jail for fraud and theft, and George Edgerly would end up on trial for murder once again.
 
The victim, Francis Smith, was a Boston resident who was employed as a district service representative for General Motors’s Chevrolet Division. Police quickly recreated his last day alive, finding that he had spent his workday at the automobile dealership owned by R. Gordon Butler in Lowell. The last known people to see him that day were a Butler Chevy service department employee, James Dolson, and his boss, George Edgerly. It was Smith’s job to monitor Butler’s warranty repair jobs. The large dealership was expected to perform about $30,000 in monthly warranty work, but Butler was doing nearly twice that.
 
While police in Middlesex County looked at the criminal side of things, auditors with General Motors began to examine the company’s warranty program for possible fraud. The company would eventually uncover hundreds of thousands of dollars in padded warranty repair bills and large-scale violations of the company’s ethics policy that forbids employees from accepting anything other than “nominal” gifts from dealerships. General Motors would maintain a tight lid on the extent of the problem, but after a 15-month internal investigation, about 36 employees in the company’s Northeast offices were summarily terminated for “violating company policies.”
 
About the same time that the employees were terminated, Butler, Edgerly, and the dealership’s general manager were indicted by a Boston grand jury for theft and fraud.
 
Under the direction of the that trio, repairmen for the dealership were submitting false claims to General Motors for warranty work. Customers would bring in their cars for simple repairs — which the mechanics would do — but GM was billed for extensive repair jobs like engine rebuilds and transmission work. GM not only paid for the repairs that were never done, but would also send replacement parts that were subsequently sold to other customers.
 
When the press got wind of the story in those post-Watergate years, the scandal was quickly dubbed “Motorgate.”
 
In 1976, Edgerly was sentenced to three to five years in prison. Butler and his general manager, Theodore Kemos, were given two years in prison and fined $2,500 each.
 
For Edgerly, however, the conviction in that case was small potatoes. A month after Smith’s body was found, Edgerly had been indicted for his murder.

Interlude: The Edgerly Rape Case

John Kerry was beginning his public service career as an assistant district attorney when he was tapped to serve as prosecutor in Edgerly’s 1977 rape case. It was not a very strong case against Edgerly, despite the witnesses to the assault.
 
The rape began on January 1, 1975 when Edgerly and three other men picked up the young woman, a prostitute, at a Merrimack Street bar in Lowell and drove the woman to a wooded area where they forced her to perform oral sex. She also claimed that Edgerly attempted to rape her, “but was unable to complete the act.” After the assault, the men drove their victim back to the bar.
 
“Kerry told me this Edgerly was a lucky guy. This could be a snakebit case. It was not a slam dunk,” one of Kerry’s co-workers told Toobin in the New Yorker article. “Nobody was going to try that case if you were looking just to put a notch in your belt.”
 
Edgerly held the upper hand in the case, Kerry acknowledged.
 
“It was an improbable kind of case,” Kerry told Toobin. “The victim was very suspect because of her life style and background. The bottom line was that she did not consent, the bottom line was that she had been raped.”
 
Raped or not, the victim had not helped her own case by trying to extort money from Edgerly to make the case go away. She admitted on the stand that she was willing to accept money from Edgerly, but said it was simply a ruse to get him to admit his guilt.
 
The other men in the car — each of whom admitted he had lied in previous statements to investigators — testified that Edgerly, 49, had sexually assaulted the woman and the jury convicted him of rape. For the first time in his life, Edgerly was given serious jail time: 18-to-30 years.

Act III: The Murder of Frank Smith

The break in the Smith murder case came long before investigators in the Motorgate fraud case wrapped up their probe — and before Edgerly faced off with John Kerry.
 
A few weeks after Smith’s body turned up in the marsh along the Danvers River, police were called to the local hospital where James Dolson — the Butler Chevy employee who spent the last day with Edgerly and Smith — was lying near death from a stab wound. He wanted to talk to authorities.
 
Dolson told police that he had witnessed Edgerly shoot Smith and dump his body in the Danvers River after a 12-hour booze fest. Over the course of their liquid lunch that stretched late into the night, Edgerly was reportedly waving a pistol around and at one point asked Smith “if he wanted to go for a ride.”
 
Dolson found his tongue after Edgerly lured him to a remote cabin and stabbed him. Another man, Jackie Shanahan, was also present that day and turned state’s evidence to avoid being charged himself.
 
Edgerly, already serving time for his role in Motorgate and for rape, was charged with assault against Dolson. At trial, he took the stand and said Shanahan stabbed Dolson because of some feud between the two men. Shanahan denied this, but Edgerly was acquitted.
 
In 1978, Edgerly went on trial for Smith’s murder. The evidence against him was once again circumstantial, but with Dolson’s admission of seeing Edgerly shoot Smith — a man he had reason to want dead — this time it was Edgerly who faced an uphill battle to establish his innocence.
 
At trial, the prosecution introduced witnesses who would testify that Edgerly asked them for a gun, saying there was someone “he wanted to frighten,” and Shanahan, who admitted getting the pistol for his friend.
 
Shanahan also testified that Edgerly wanted to get rid of Dolson “because he saw him kill someone.”
 
Edgerly took the stand in his own defense and blamed the killing on his old boss, Gordon Butler.
 
Butler, Edgerly claimed, was involved in drug smuggling. On one trip to Mexico, Edgerly found that Dolson was carrying two aerosol bottles filled with drugs for Butler. Edgerly told the jury that he dumped out the drugs in an airport bathroom.
 
Butler and his Motorgate co-conspirator, Ted Kemos, began pressuring Edgerly for the drugs, claiming that they were connected with the Boston Mob. Panicking, Edgerly told Kemos that Smith had taken the drugs.
 
It was the Mob that killed Smith, he said.
 
The jury did not believe him, and in 1978, Edgerly was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.
 
Edgerly, now an extremely old man, is in custody at the Massachusetts Department of Corrections Shirley Institution.