Kansas timeline of crimes and criminals

10/09/2011 7:41 AM

10/09/2011 7:41 AM


May 24 — John Brown and Free State volunteers massacre five men they believe are pro-slavery sympathizers, along Pottawatomie Creek in Franklin County.

Aug. 30 — Nearly 300 Missouri Border Ruffians attack Osawatomie — John Brown’s hometown — and shoot Brown’s son, Frederick. The town is looted and burned.


Dec. 20 — John Brown makes his first and only run into Missouri to free slaves.


Nov. 12 — Russell Hinds of Linn County is hanged by Free State men for returning a runaway slave to his master in Missouri.


Aug. 21 — At 5 a.m., Lawrence is attacked by William Quantrill and his gang of up to 400 men. The raiders kill 150 abolitionists, all of them men.

Early 1870s

From the time they homesteaded in Labette County in 1871 until the spring of 1873, the Bender family kills at least 11, including one child.


Feb. 28 — Jack Ledford and his Star-Bar-Half-Moon Gang ruled the Arkansas River during Wichita’s early days. For two years, he robbed stagecoaches and stole horses _ until Feb. 28, when he is shot and killed by soldiers from Fort Harker.

Aug. 20 — Bloody shoot-out in the Kansas cowtown of Newton kills three men, wounds several.


Jan. 28 — The Kansas Senate begins an investigation into bribery charges against Samuel Clarke Pomeroy, U.S. senator from Kansas nicknamed “Pompous Pom.”

The investigation proves the Senator is splitting profits from the sale of goods to the Pottawatomie tribe and he is accused of bribing a state legislator. Pomeroy’s life is used as a model in Mark Twain’s book, “The Gilded Age,” and displayed as what’s wrong with politicians.


William Barclay “Bat” Masterson begins working as Ford County sheriff.

One night in October, actress Dora Hand is performing in a theater when she is shot by a Texan. A posse led by Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson catches the killer but he is later acquitted.


The Katy Railroad offers a reward of $40,000 for the capture of the Dalton Gang, frequent train robbers in Oklahoma and southern Kansas.

Oct. 5 —Notorious outlaws Grat, Bob and Emmett Dalton see their bank-robbing days abruptly ended in a shoot-out on the dusty streets of Coffeyville.


Dec. 27 — Prohibitionist Carry A. Nation wrecks the bar at Wichita’s Hotel Carey (now known as Eaton Place).


June — Dewey-Berry feud takes place in northwest Kansas. The Berrys are a farm family notorious for firing rifle shots at the cowboys at the Oak Ranch in Rawlins County. On June 3, Daniel, Alpheaus and Burch Berry are found shot to death in the Berry farmyard in Cheyenne County. Roy Dewey, who was shot in his cheek during the fight, says he was shot by Chauncey Dewey.

The bodies of the dead are packed in ice and laid in a corn crib for sightseers to view.


March 26 — Robert F. Stroud, later known as “The Bird Man of Alcatraz,” murders a prison guard in the Leavenworth Penitentiary.


Nov. 23 — “KILL ADAMS AND ROUT GANG,” screams a headline in The Wichita Eagle. Gangster Eddie Adams terrorized the Midwest, killing a handful of police officers and robbing nearly two dozen banks.


Nov. 23 — Adams is shot and killed. The Eagle reported Adams “died with an empty revolver gripped in his right hand, in the style of the western desperado days ‘with his boots on.’ “


John Romulus Brinkley begins broadcasting on his radio station, KFKB, promising “youthful vigor” to American men. Nicknamed the “Goat Gland Doctor,” Brinkley has opened a hospital in Milford, transplanting goat glands into men, despite the fact he doesn’t have a legitimate medical license. His work is proven to be a scam.


Alvin “Creepy” Karpis is sentenced to 10 years at the State Industrial Reformatory in Hutchinson for attempted burglary. Karpis grew up in Topeka running around with gamblers, bootleggers and pimps. Member of the Barker gang and once listed as Public Enemy No. 1 by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.


The Fleagle gang of Finney County. In 1928, Ralph Fleagle and his gang rob a bank in Lamar, Colo. In the robbery, there was a shoot-out, which left the bank president and his son dead. The gang grabs what money it can and escapes with two hostages. The gang bribes a doctor near Dighton to treat one of the robbers’ wounds, then shoots the doctor and hostages. The men are eventually caught and tried during the fall of 1929. It is the first time a single fingerprint is used to convict someone of a crime.


During the summer, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow stay at tourist courts in Great Bend while Bonnie recovers from major injuries she received in a car wreck.


Nov. 15 — Herb and Bonnie Clutter and their children Nancy, 16, and Kenyon, 15, are murdered in their rural Holcomb home.


During late May and June, James Latham and George York, from Jacksonville, Fla., escaped from the disciplinary barracks at Fort Hood, Texas, and embark on an 18-day robbery and murder rampage from Florida to Colorado. They are finally stopped by Kansas authorities. The two are found guilty of the robbery-shooting of Otto Ziegler, 62, who had stopped at a Kansas roadside to help the pair, who were having trouble with a car they stole.


April 14 — Richard Hickock and Perry Smith are hanged at Lansing for the 1959 murder of the Clutter family.


June 22 — James Latham and George York are the last men to be executed by hanging in Kansas.


Jan. 15 — Joseph and Julie Otero are strangled in their home at 803 N. Edgemoor along with two of their children, Josephine, 11, and Joseph II, 9. The murders unleash the beginnings of BTK, a serial killer in Wichita who through the next 25 years would often grip the city in fear. All told, police would link him to 10 murders in the Wichita area.

He calls himself BTK for Bind, Torture and Kill.

Dec. 13 — Francis Donald Nemechek begins a series of murders when Diane Lovette, 19, and Cheryl Young, 21, were abducted after having a flat tire while traveling home to Iowa on I-70. Young’s 2-year-old son, Guy, is left to freeze to death in an empty house. Nemechek also is convicted of the June 30, 1976, murder of Carla Baker, 20, of Hays, who disappeared while riding her bicycle. His final victim, Paula Fabrizius, was a 16-year-old rangerette at a reservoir south of WaKeeney when she was kidnapped, raped, stabbed and thrown over a cliff on Aug. 21, 1976.


Aug. 11 — Michael Soles carries two rifles and a lunch pail filled with ammunition to the top floor of Wichita’s 26-story Garvey building and opens fire, killing three and wounding six. The shooting stops 11 minutes later when he is shot and seriously wounded by police.


July — The car of Sandra Bird, wife of the Rev. Thomas Bird, runs off road near a Lyon County bridge just outside Emporia. The pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Emporia, Rev. Bird is discovered to be having an affair with his church secretary, Lorna Anderson. The two meet in church and plan to kill Anderson’s husband, Martin Anderson, so they can be together. The two are later convicted of their spouses’ deaths.


February — Daniel Remeta, his girlfriend, Lisa Dunn, and a friend, Mark Walter, go on a cross-country shooting spree that begins Feb. 8 with the robbery and murder of a gas station attendant in Ocala, Fla. Over the next week, four other people are shot dead and three seriously wounded in Texas, Arkansas and Kansas. The long ride ends with a gunfight with police in a farmyard near Colby. Walter is killed. Remeta, Dunn and a hitchhiker who had joined them are arrested.


Dec. 30 — The bodies of Kelli Fager, 16, and her sister, Sherri, 9, are found in the Wichita family’s basement hot tub. Phillip Fager, 37, is found shot to death in the living room. Bill Butterworth is charged but later acquitted of the slayings.


Army buddies Terry Nichols, of Herington, and Timothy McVeigh, formerly of Fort Riley, conspire to blow up the Oklahoma City federal building, killing 168 people and injuring 500 others.


Dec. 7 —Relatives find the bodies of the four people in a house in the 1100 block of North Erie. The city of Wichita recoils in horror over the worst killing the city has seen in nearly 27 years.

Dec. 15 — Two brothers, Jonathan and Reginald Carr shoot five young adults in a snowy field after invading their apartment, sexually assaulting them and forcing them to take money out of their accounts at ATMs. Four die.


Feb. 25 — Sixty-year-old former dogcatcher Dennis Rader from Park City is arrested and tied to 10 BTK killings dating to 1974.


May 31 — Abortion provider George Tiller is shot and killed in the foyer of his church.

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