Deadly Secrets



 Photo courtesy of the Murdered In Mississippi Facebook Page

This article has been re-blogged from Synova Ink with permission

A gambling addiction got him mixed up in something too big to handle, but impossible to escape. He held his tongue after the ambush of Buford Pusser although his car may have been used without his knowledge. He kept their secrets despite them killing his crippled son, and he fought valiantly to keep his daughter safe. Now, it was time to pay the piper and Lt. Dan Anderson knew it. 


If you have been following my Mobster Monday posts, then you have heard the name Lt. Dan Anderson before. His story is interwoven throughout the entire series on the Dixie Mafia going all the way back to Buford Pusser up at the state line. By this point, it has been established that Anderson’s Cadillac was most likely the one used in the ambush of Buford Pusser and his wife on New Hope Rd. on August 12, 1967. Strangely, this car disappeared right after the death of Ronnie Anderson, Dan’s son.

For years, Phyllis, Dan’s daughter called the Gulfport police department begging them to look into her brother’s mysterious suicide case. They always refused to re-open the case and within minutes of her call to the police, Dan would call her and tell her to back off. This was the game for over thirty years until the fragile house of cards began to crumble one day in the fall of 2002. The sweet and sassy southern bell always visited her father over the holidays to celebrate his birthday. It was a tradition to go to the local waffle house and this year was no different. A chance encounter during this trip would bring down the house and culminate in the death of Dan Anderson.

During the meal, Phyllis noticed her father’s demeanor change drastically as he looked past her into the booth behind them.

“That Son of a $&%$%” he mumbled.

Startled, Phyllis started to turn and look but received a quiet rebuke from her father. A few minutes later the man strolled past the table glaring at Dan Anderson and his daughter. Dan waited a short while before speaking and then asked his daughter if she knew who the man was that just left the building? Of course, she had no idea.

“That’s the ol’ boy who killed Ronnie.”

Shocked, Phyllis sat watching her father as he visibly withdrew into a shell of a man. After 36 years her father had finally admitted what Phyllis had believed all along. She was shocked to find out that the killer was the roommate her brother had trusted and shared a house with. Dan Anderson had been constantly intimidated by the man for over three decades. What changed? Why would Dan finally drop such a bombshell? Was his son’s killer threatening to kill Phyllis too? We may never know.

After the holidays things began to escalate quickly. Late February or early March Dan’s attorney found a housekeeper to help around the house. He was always a tidy person who hated to have a cluttered space. A woman came to help out, but strangely never really cleaned anything. Aggravated by her, Dan called Phyllis and asked if she would come to throw out the housekeeper. Phyllis happened to have her leg in a cast all the way up to her hip but promised to come as soon as she could get it off. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be soon enough.

A few days later, Phyllis speaks with the housekeeper and tells her to ship out because she would be coming to Mississippi soon. Within days she would travel back to Gulfport, but not to throw out a housekeeper. She would be attending to her father’s final affairs.

April 18, 2003, around midnight Phyllis would receive the call that would tear her heart out. Dan Anderson was dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

“Not again!” was all Phyllis could think.

The official story:

Dan Anderson, 80 had sent the housekeeper out to buy cigarettes because they were out. She found him when she returned dead at the end of the driveway. His pants were undone and he was in his sock feet. The subsequent autopsy was full of strange details and discrepancies and recently more information has come out leading us to wonder if the entire report was fabricated. We will wait until next week to dive into the conspiracy surrounding the death of Dan Anderson and why Phyllis believes her father was a victim of a gangland-style slaying. Stay tuned folks. This ride’s not over yet.


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THIS LIST OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. THE SOURCE LINKS ARE PLACED WITHIN THE BODY OF THE TEXT.

This week’s Recommended Documentary:


Moonshine and the Dixie Mafia

This week’s Recommended Reading:


Wrath of the Dixie Mafia


All information used to create this content is a matter of public record and can be easily found online. Any participation or alleged involvement of any party mentioned within this site is purely speculation. As the law states, an individual is innocent until PROVEN guilty. I do not own the photos used in this post. All photos are used under the fair use act. No copyright infringement intended.©2017-2019. All rights reserved.


If you’d like to check out Synova’s true crime books follow this link to her Amazon Author Page.

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Ashton Kutcher Look-Alike Slaughtered By Dixie Mafia



Ashton Kutcher Look-Alike Slaughtered By Dixie Mafia
Photo courtesy of NeimanLab.org

A disabled boy is used as a pawn in a sadistic game and then slaughtered. A suicide is staged. Fifty-one years later, his sister still cries out for justice.


Unlike his handsome Hollywood look-alike, Ronnie Anderson was tragic from the beginning. At the age of three, Polio ravaged his legs, leaving him dependent on leg braces to stand and move. He was a beautiful boy looking for love and acceptance but found it hard to find friends. While they were all outside playing, he would sit in the window and watch. This picture of him crying for fellowship with his peers still haunts his sister five decades later.

At the age of 17, Ronnie decided to move out of his father’s house and share expenses with an older boy. He got his first job working at McDonald’s, and it seemed as if life were about to begin for this lonely polio victim. If he could have only seen into the future a few months, he would have stayed home with his dad.

Unfortunately, the poor guy was in such need of approval; he became an easy target for malicious predators.

A phone rang at Sheriff Buford Pusser’s house in the early hours of August 12, 1967. It was a simple drunk and disorderly call, but his wife Pauline didn’t want him to go alone. Ever since Buford killed Louise Hathcock, he had been receiving threatening calls. One caller claimed, “the sheriff would be hunted down like a dog and shot.” An article in the Daily News would go into more detail about those threats. Unfortunately, by then, the slaughter had already begun.

Buford & Pauline Pusser drove out to the scene expecting a few drunks to be causing a ruckus. What waited for them in the shadows behind the church was more violent, and Pauline Pusser was the target. (This wouldn’t be known until recently when an anonymous witness came forward with information.) The sheriff had stepped over a line when he killed Hathcock and now Towhead White was going to avenge the death of his lover. White was in prison, but he had plenty of associates to handle the job. One such associate was Kirksey Nix, and another happened to be the roommate of Ronnie Anderson.

The original plan was to have “the little crippled boy” (or so he was referenced to by this witness) to knock on the door and lure Pauline out of the house. The crew of killers would take care of the rest. Of course, Ronnie had no way of knowing what would happen. The plan was changed when they saw Pauline get in the car with her husband.

Once the sheriff’s car passed the church, the murder-wagon pulled out behind them. (Some reports claim there were two dark-colored cars, and others claim there was one. I could not find definite proof of two cars although I have a pretty good idea what happened to that dark-green Cadillac a few weeks later.) As the car of thugs caught up to the sheriff, a passenger opened fire upon the Pussers with a .30 caliber automatic rifle.

Pauline was hit in the head and slumped down in the seat next to Buford. He ducked instinctively and slammed on the gas pedal. The car lurched forward, and he struggled to keep it between the ditches. The firing squad followed hard, but a couple of miles down the road it looked like the rugged sheriff had lost his tail. He was wrong. Buford had pulled over to check on his wife when the firing squad emerged out of the darkness and the onslaught of ammunition peppered the police car once again.

A bullet slammed into Buford’s jawbone, causing it to explode, and he slumped over in the seat. The mighty 6′ 6″ former wrestler was down for the count. Silence filled the pre-dawn air around the car. His attackers were gone. As mental clarity returned to the dying man, he mumbled a call for help into the police radio. Blinded by blood and fueled by rage, the sheriff drove himself to the nearby hospital, but it was too late for his beloved Pauline.

Life in McNairy County would never be the same.

Bloodlust was in the air, & revenge was coming.

Buford Pusser was wheeled into the emergency surgery. He would undergo a dozen of them over the next 18 days of torment. His detractors railed on him for missing his wife’s funeral, and they still do to this day. The original newspaper articles claim he was still in the hospital during the funeral. Buford Pusser was a roughneck, backwoods, in your face type of sheriff, but something changed within him during those weeks in the hospital. He went in a controversial lawman, but he came out looking for blood.

Can you blame the man for wanting to avenge the slaughter of his wife?

At first, Buford claimed to know his attackers and even named a few names, but by the end of his recovery, he had changed his story. Was the trama too much for him, or was he going to exact his own revenge outside the confines of the law? Lost in this cruel game of vigilante justice was the murder of the pawn.

Back at home in Gulfport, Mississippi, Ronnie Anderson had gotten an invitation to stay a few days with his older sister Phyllis. He was excited to go and desperately wanted to get away from the terrors of his roommate. He was last seen packing and ironing his clothes. Within an hour, he was dead.

Who killed the sweet Ashton Kutcher look-alike?

Dan Anderson got notified almost immediately after returning home from visiting Ronnie.

“Ronnie tried to kill himself.”

Dan rushed to the hospital only to be met in the waiting room by his ex-wife. (Rose also happened to be the roommate’s aunt.) She explained that Ronnie had died from a gunshot wound to the face. It didn’t make any sense. How could all of this happen within an hour or so?

Story #1:

Ronnie fought with his girlfriend Cathy, so he walked upstairs and shot himself in the face with a .410 shotgun.

Story #2:
Ronnie and his roommate had just returned from buying Ronnie some “deck shoes” when a friend stops by with two guns. The .410 was supposed to be missing a firing pin and was inoperable. Somehow this was a terrible mistake, and Ronnie’s death was from an accidental shooting.
Problems with both theories:

As you know, Ronnie was a polio victim in a bulky leg brace. This disease also left him with one leg quite a bit smaller than the other one. So, buying shoes was a complicated process. First, he had to purchase two separate pairs in different sizes, and then they had to be sent to his doctor to have them fitted with special plates to hook to his braces. There was no way Ronnie could wear so-called “deck shoes” in the first place.

Also, supposedly, Ronnie placed the gun between his feet and pulled the trigger to shoot himself in the face. With his reduced strength in his legs and feet and the brace, this would be impossible. Ronnie couldn’t hold anything between his feet.

Another strange issue:

Why didn’t anyone call the police? Instead, the roommate called his aunt, who washed Ronnie, got rid of the weapon and then took him to the hospital. Of course, the poor boy died in route. He never had a chance.

The night before the funeral, Phyllis was so distraught with grief her doctor prescribed sleeping pills to help her rest, but the nightmares continued. A once beautiful boy stood headless outside her bedroom window banging trying to get in. Phyllis tried desperately to pry open the glass, but it wouldn’t budge. This reoccurring dream would haunt her for years.

During her tormented slumber, a woman calls the house frantically asking to speak with Phyllis. Her husband refuses to wake her and ask to take a message. The woman refuses but finally, she breaks down and says her name is Cathy.

“They killed him. They killed him,” she gasps into the phone just before the line goes dead.

After the funeral, Phyllis took all her theories to law enforcement, but they refused to class the case as anything other than suicide. Her father, Dan Anderson worked as a deputy in the area and knew of the corruption, but found his hands tied. What was he to do? They had killed his son; now, his daughter was in their sights if he dared to fight it. Every time she called into the police department, Phyllis would receive a call from her dad immediately afterward.

“Leave it alone before you get someone else killed,” he demanded on one such call.

At this time no one, including Phyllis, had even heard of the Dixie Mafia. Fifty years later, a witness stepped forward, claiming to know the truth about Ronnie’s death. In reality, he was lured to the docks, beaten to death by a group of guys, and his roommate shot him in the face to stage a suicide.

When will his blood be avenged?

Next week we will dive deeper into Buford Pusser’s revenge as the Dixie Bloodbath continues.


The following links are for the benefit of Synova’s readers and are not an all inclusive source listing.

Further Reading:

Daily Journal

Wikimapia

Synova’s Youtube Video


All information used to create this content is a matter of public record and can be easily found online. Any participation or alleged involvement of any party mentioned within this site is purely speculation. As the law states, an individual is Innocent until PROVEN guilty. ©2017-2019. All rights reserved.

This post as been re-blogged from Synova Ink with permission


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free.

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Ashton Kutcher Look-Alike Slaughtered By Dixie Mafia



1ST RICO INDICTMENT WAS NOT AGAINST THE ITALIANS. IT WAS AGAINST THE DIXIE MAFIA

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This article has been re-blogged from Synova Ink with permission

For those of you who don’t believe in the existence of the Dixie Mafia consider this. Three full years before the RICO act was used in New York to take down the Italian Mafia, it was used in Georgia to take down Dixie Mafia Kingpin John “J.C.” Hawkins.


Everyone has heard how the U.S. Attorney’s office used the RICO act to attack the Italian Mafia and ultimately take it down. Although it still exists to this day, the Mafia isn’t nearly as powerful as it was back in the early 1970s. Even Wikipedia claims the RICO act was first used in 1979 to take down the Italians.


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THE SCREENSHOT IS TAKEN FROM WIKIPEDIA

While diving deeper into my research of the Dixie Mafia, I found a startling truth. The RICO Act wasn’t used first on the Italians. It was used against a Dixie Mafia Kingpin named J.C. Hawkins out of Georgia three full years before the highly-publicized case in New York. Although the Dixie Mafia doesn’t have the structure and organization of the famous Italian crew, this grassroots criminal enterprise spans the southern states like weeds in a garden.
The term “Dixie Mafia” was coined in the 1960s by Mississippi State Police investigator, Rex Armistead. He hoped it would draw the attention of police and the media to the connections between the criminal factions. For decades everyone argued over the existence of the Italian mafia before it became indisputable. Now the same pattern is happening about the Dixie Mafia. While they have been called everything from the Cornbread La Cosa Nostra to the Hillbilly Mob, the fact that there is a criminal organization in the south should be indisputable. Why are people still arguing over this point? I contend Hollywood glamorized the Italian organization and they haven’t touched the southern counterpart.


More about the first RICO indictment:

The RICO indictment case out of Macon, GA started with a rock group called the Allman Brothers band.

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PHOTO COURTESY OF CAPRICORN RECORDS – ITEMPHOTO FRONTPHOTO BACK, PUBLIC DOMAIN, HTTPS://COMMONS.WIKIMEDIA.ORG/W/INDEX.PHP?CURID=39713595

They were called the “Godfathers of Southern Rock,” but now drug dealers with ties to the Georgia faction of the Dixie Mafia will destroy what’s left of the band.


The Allman Brothers Band had reached the lofty heights of stardom by 1976, but those heights were hard to maintain with ties to Georgia’s faction of the Dixie Mafia. Drugs, band member disputes, lavish living, and one giant push by law enforcement spelled the end of the famous rock group.

The band that would be later known for hits like Ramblin Man and Midnight Rider was formed by two brothers Gregg and Duane in 1969. The next seven years would be plagued with trouble, but they would finally scratch their way to the top. Things started falling apart, however, when the eldest brother Duane was killed in a motorcycle accident on October 29, 1971. The band somehow kept it together and seemed stronger than ever, but it wouldn’t last long.

Gregg Allman’s former bodyguard and now road manager, John “Scooter” Herring was allegedly supplying the band and others with narcotics. His activities and his ties to Dixie Mafia Kingpin J. C. Hawkins had come under scrutiny by law enforcement. Scooter’s supplier was a pharmacist Joey Fuchs. At one point Fuchs found his pharmacy stock so obviously low, that he staged a robbery to cover the drugs he had stolen and sold to Herring. 

Scooter Herring and Joey Fuchs were arrested and indicted on May 30, 1976. Witnesses were called in from around the music industry including Gregg Allman. Everyone in the band refused to “rat out” their friend, but Allman facing charges of his own agreed to testify against his former manager. This action was the final straw that broke up the group. 

The feds were happy to take down Fuchs and Herring, but their main target was the big boss J.C. Hawkins. They would get their chance in a much-publicized RICO trial in July 1976. Hawkins and the crew were convicted of several racketeering charges, drug charges and much more. During the trial, the rockstar Gregg Allman had to be under heavy guard. Hawkins, who had a history of taking out witnesses, had put a price on Allman’s head. $100,000 was a lot of money back in 1976, and that’s what the kingpin was willing to pay if someone took out Allman.

Scooter Herring was convicted of five drug charges and sentenced to 75 years in prison. Herring who had also been a former bodyguard for J.C. Hawkins was now behind bars. He refused to snitch on anyone, but Fuchs and Allman didn’t share his sentiment. Viewing Allman’s testimony as an act of betrayal, the band officially broke up. They would reunite on a few occasions over the next few decades, but they would never achieve the same level of success as their first run in the early 1970s.

An appeals court later overturned Herring’s conviction. He would face another trial in 1979 where he would plead guilty to lesser charges and receive five years. Eventually, Scooter received a presidential pardon from Jimmy Carter, and he ended up serving only three years. Many believed he took the rap for Allman, but there wasn’t any proof. Several southern rock groups performed charity concerts and raised the money to foot Scooter’s legal bill. Scooter went on working in the music industry and was beloved by all who knew him. No one will ever know if the allegations were true or false, but Herring spent the rest of his life on the fringes of Rock and Roll as a manager for different bands.

Gregg Allman wrote a book titled My Cross to Bear in later in life. He says he was told by Scooter to pin everything on the big guy. Of course, there is no way to verify this claim. Was the ex-bodyguard still trying to protect the drug-addled celebrity, or was he actually guilty? Who knows? Whatever the case may be, the feds ended up taking down their man Hawkins with the first RICO trial. 


THIS OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS. SYNOVA STRIVES TO CITE ALL THE SOURCES USED DURING HER CASE STUDY, BUT OCCASIONALLY A SOURCE MAY BE MISSED BY MISTAKE. IT IS NOT INTENTIONAL, AND NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED.


Further Reading:

gangsterreport.com/

sofa-king-cool-magazine.com

recoveryunplugged.com

wikipedia

openjurist.org

groups.google.com

gatewaymacon.org

texarkanagazette.com

newspapers.com


This week’s Recommended Reading:

My Cross to Bear


Dixie Mafia Gangster: The Audacious Criminal Career of Willie Foster Sellers: A True-Crime Story

For those who like to read gritty crime novels, check out the latest from my friend and fellow writer, Wayne Clingman. 


Narco Saints


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free.

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ALL INFORMATION USED TO CREATE THIS CONTENT IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD AND CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE OR CAN BE VERIFIED BY THE GUEST BLOGGER. ANY PARTICIPATION OR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF ANY PARTY MENTIONED WITHIN THIS SITE IS PURELY SPECULATION. AS THE LAW STATES, AN INDIVIDUAL IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. I DO NOT OWN THE PHOTOS USED IN THIS POST. ALL PHOTOS ARE USED UNDER THE FAIR USE ACT. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. ANY AND ALL OPINIONS ARE THAT OF THE GUEST BLOGGER AND DON’T NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SYNOVA INK©2017-2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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SUICIDE OR DIXIE MAFIA HIT? – DEATH OF NORMAN LADNER

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PHOTO COURTESY OF UNSOLVED MYSTERIES 

This article has been re-blogged from Synova Ink with permission

A seventeen-year-old boy spends his days exploring his family’s 122-acre property. Even at a tender age, Norman Ladner was an experienced outdoorsman. He loved hunting, fishing, and exploring the nature around him. Why then was he shot in the head and left in the woods to die? Did he witness one of the Dixie Mafia’s narcotics planes? Was the radio device found hanging in a nearby tree used to signal a drop? Thirty years later, these questions are still unanswered.


On August 21, 1989, Norman Ladner spent the day exploring his family land like he had done almost every day. Ladner was the oldest child and was very responsible. Everyone that remembers him tells of his dependability and his kindness. The Ladner family also owned the local country store. When Norman finished his day of exploring the outdoors, he would usually show up at the store to help his parents close up shop and prepare for the next day. You could set your watch by him. Norman always strolled in around 7 pm. On occasion, he would be closer to 7:30, but never later. On this night, his father began to worry when his son never showed up at the store. Norman Ladner Sr. hurried home to see if his son was in his woodworking shop in the barn. The teenager was nowhere to be found.

Worried, but not frightened, the father gathered a few friends and together they formed a search party. Everyone thought the boy had gotten lost, or maybe injured. No one expected what they would find in those woods on that fateful night. Sr. stumbled upon his son laying beneath a tree. When he reached down and touched his boy, the chill of death shot through him. The distraught father sat with his son in the dark woods until his search party to could return to the house to call the police. 

Pearl County Sheriff Lorance Lumpkin arrived on the scene around 10 pm. There he found Norman laying on his back with his legs curled up underneath him. He was rolled partially to the side a gunshot wound in his temple. From the outset, the authorities began speculating the death was a horrible accident. Perhaps the teenager had jumped down from the tree and fell. Maybe the impact caused his rifle to go off.

A few days later, the coroner came into the family store with two deputies to speak to the family about his results. He told the family that he was 90% sure it was a terrible accident. Strangely, when the official ruling came out a few days later, it was classed as suicide. The family was shocked. They couldn’t believe it. Nothing about it made sense. Norman was a happy child. If it were suicide, why did he have a large gash on the top of his head?

The family went to the sheriff and tried to speak about the case, but the sheriff flat out said they were wrong. It was a suicide, and they were just grieving parents who refused to see the truth. 

Evidence Against The Suicide Theory:

  • Why did the boy have a gash on TOP of his head, and how does that relate to suicide? I wasn’t doing a handstand while trying to hold a rifle and shoot himself in the temple.
  • I was unable to verify this, but it was once reported that the head wound had live maggots while the temple wound held larva. This would lead one to believe that the head wound came first, and the temple wound was secondary.
  • The police never processed the scene as a crime scene. They didn’t find a bullet. The father would find one on his own later.
  • Norman’s gun was never tested or fingerprinted. 
  • No one determined what type of weapon that killed him. They never checked because they believed it was his own gun from the beginning. 
  • Norman’s wallet with $140 was missing. I’m sure he just stole his own money, threw away his wallet, and marched into the woods to shoot himself, right? I don’t think so!

The family repeatedly tried to get the sheriff to reopen the case, but he flat out refused. The father, desperate for answers went out into the woods to begin his own investigation. There in the dirt under where his son’s head would have been, they found a bullet with human blood and hair. It seemed to the father that his son was slumped on the ground rolled to the side and someone standing above him shot the boy through the temple. The bullet then traveled through the hair and skull and buried into the dirt. It makes sense. If the boy had somehow pulled the trigger on his own rifle, then the gun would have flown through the air and landed at another location.

I should also mention that in some reports the boy was carrying a shotgun and other stories call it a rifle, so I cannot say what type of gun the boy had. I can tell you that it was most likely a shotgun. Either way, it isn’t easy to shoot oneself in the temple with a shotgun or a rifle. 

Still desperate for answers, the poor father took the bullet to the sheriff and was immediately dismissed. The police claimed that since they didn’t find the bullet, then they couldn’t prove it was the one who killed Norman. The father argued that they didn’t look for a bullet, but it was no use. Since he was getting nowhere with the local sheriff, Norman Sr. took the bullet to the state ballistics lab. He explained how the bullet was too long to fit in his son’s gun and asked the examiner to look over the bullet. The results came back inconclusive siting the same lines as the sheriff almost verbatim. To make matters worse, when the bullet was returned to the family, it was a different one than the bullet they had sent in.

During their frequent trips to the coroner’s office, Norman’s mother was approached by a stranger. He asked if he could discuss her son’s case with her, so of course, the mother agreed to step away and speak with him. When the pair were out of earshot of her husband, the stranger turned and uttered a chilling threat to the poor mother. He told her that she had other children and she should just drop this investigation and raise them because they’d never find Norman’s killer. Frightened, she hurried back to Norman Sr. and told him about the threat. The man was gone before anyone could find him. 

Determined to find the truth, the now somewhat paranoid father makes another trip into the woods to find clues. Three hundred yards from his son’s position, he saw a strange object hanging in a tree. It was a homemade radio device of sorts covered in tape and wires with a small antenna protruding from the top. Of course, the father took it to the sheriff and was dismissed. Norman then turned to a neighbor and told him about the device. The neighbor put him in contact with a retired DEA agent who lived in the area. 

The DEA agent knew what the strange object was immediately and explained these devices transmit signals. The narcotics plans would fly over an area, and when the signal was picked up on their devices, then they would drop their load of drugs. Was this the answer the family had been looking for? Did their poor boy run up on a drug trafficker and a narcotics drop?

To make matters worse, the sheriff would later be charged with dogfighting and other illegal activities. Although some believe he had ties to the local group of Dixie Mafia drug cartel, nothing has been proven. Norman Ladner, Sr. died in 2003, and the sheriff died in 2007. Thirty years have passed, and most of the witnesses are long gone. What evidence the family found is no longer available. Still, questions remain. What happened to Norman Ladner? Was it suicide or murder?


THIS LIST OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS. SYNOVA STRIVES TO CITE ALL THE SOURCES USED DURING HER CASE STUDY, BUT OCCASIONALLY A SOURCE MAY BE MISSED BY MISTAKE. IT IS NOT INTENTIONAL, AND NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED.

Further Reading:

Unsolved

Only In Your State

Trace Evidence Podcast Video 

picayuneitem.com


This week’s Recommended Reading:


The Boys on the Tracks


The Life and Times of Frank Balistrieri: The Last, Most Powerful Godfather of Milwaukee


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free.

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SIGN UP HERE


ALL INFORMATION USED TO CREATE THIS CONTENT IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD AND CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE OR CAN BE VERIFIED BY THE GUEST BLOGGER. ANY PARTICIPATION OR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF ANY PARTY MENTIONED WITHIN THIS SITE IS PURELY SPECULATION. AS THE LAW STATES, AN INDIVIDUAL IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. I DO NOT OWN THE PHOTOS USED IN THIS POST. ALL PHOTOS ARE USED UNDER THE FAIR USE ACT. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. ANY AND ALL OPINIONS ARE THAT OF THE GUEST BLOGGER AND DON’T NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SYNOVA INK©2017-2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

If you’d like to check out Synova’s true crime books follow this link to her Amazon Author Page.

Synova’s Amazon Author Page

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TIP FROM DYING WITNESS BREAKS 46-YR-OLD DIXIE MAFIA COLD CASE


PHOTO COURTESY OF KNOX NEWS ARCHIVES
This article has been re-blogged from Synova Ink with Permission

While this case isn’t from Mississippi per se, the underworld connections in this case are deeply intertwined with the known Dixie Mafia members in Biloxi, MS.

A trucker was found dead in the cab of his tractor-trailer. Bullet holes riddled the man’s torso and the cab of his truck. John Constant was shot 17 times by a high powered rifle, but there wasn’t any blood in the cab leading investigators to wonder if the hit was staged. Forty-six years later a dying witness blows this frozen case wide open. Will the killer finally face justice?


John Raymond Constant, Jr. was found murdered in the cab of his truck on March 16, 1973. The tractor-trailer truck was parked near the Little Tennessee River just off Hwy 411. The driver had suffered seventeen gunshot wounds, but police quickly began to suspect the crime scene was staged. Although the cab was riddled with bullets and Mr. Constant was shot multiple times, there was no blood found at the scene.

A witness lived in the area recalled hearing a car with a loud exhaust come by followed by what sounded like gunfire. A few moments later, he heard the vehicle pass again. Was this man ambushed while he rested in his cab, or was the scene staged? Was the car with the loud exhaust filled with the killers, or was it the escape route after staging the scene?

Strange Side Note:

The tractor-trailer truck’s emergency flashers were left blinking. Obviously, whoever did this wasn’t too worried about being caught, or they would have hidden the truck and shut off the lights.

Possible Motive:

Why would anyone want to murder this man? It seems Constant was starting to keep records of the shipments he was hauling. These shipments included bootleg cigarettes and black market items shipped by the local chapter of the Dixie Mafia. Family members claim John had been threatened and had decided to go to the FBI with his records.

Within a few months, outside investigators were brought in to form a task force since there were rumors of involvement by prominent citizens in the local community. Investigators wondered if this case could be tied to the Ray Owenby murder in June of 1973. The two men were good friends, and both were murdered three months apart.

Ray Owenby was shot while clearing land for development in Spring City, TN. He was shot four times but still managed to drive the bulldozer a mile down the road to find help. He collapsed upon arrival. No suspects emerged in the case, but the similarities made police wonder if there was a connection.

Investigators believe John Constant was killed the day before his body was found and was transported to the location. Witnesses would emerge early in the investigation that seemed to corroborate this theory. Constant was seen at a garage in Etowah owned by H.B. Calhoun. Another man claimed to have seen John Constant and two men at a car wash in Etowah on March 15. While the witness washed his car, he heard something like firecrackers, and then a truck drove away with someone slumped in the seat. The witness was put under hypnosis, and a few new details emerged. The driver was Marvin Ray “Big John” Pittman, and the other man was supposedly Harold Buckner.

Big John Pittman was a drifter and worked as a hitman for the Dixie Mafia. He would eventually be murdered in his home in Tampa, Florida. His body was found on June 5, 1975. He had been shot once in the temple and left for dead.

Harold Buckner’s story doesn’t have such a quick ending. Buckner would be arrested in September 1982 after a witness came forward on their deathbed. Buckner had just run for Sheriff and lost and claimed it was a politically motivated arrest. It would take a year, but the charges were eventually dropped due to lack of evidence. To this day, Buckner claims he was framed, and the investigation was nothing more than a “witch hunt.”

After the deathbed witness statement and the subsequent events, the case sat dormant for decades. Richar Fisher, former D.A. told reporters that he always believed several people had a hand in the murder plot against John Constant. If something didn’t come up soon, everyone would be dead.

Although the case went cold, the victim’s family believed they knew the murderer from the beginning and fingered Max Calhoun (son of H.B. Calhoun). John’s two brothers threatened the Calhoun family within weeks of the murder, and eventually, a protection order was placed on them.

“I am confident in my mind that you set my brother up to be murdered.” – Harold Constant to Max Calhoun.

Forty-six years later, a witness comes forward, and her story could finally solve this case, but is it too late for justice?

Arwana Lee Amos,65 came forward in December 2018 with a statement. Amos is terminally ill and wanted to tell police what she knew about the historic case before she passed away. Law enforcement has not released the details of her statement, but soon afterward they arrested the 67-year-old Max Calhoun.

After half a century is justice possible in this case? The alleged shooter was killed decades ago, and the only man left standing is Calhoun. Is he the one? Time will tell, but who knows how long this chain of murder extends?


THIS LIST OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS. SYNOVA STRIVES TO CITE ALL THE SOURCES USED DURING HER CASE STUDY, BUT OCCASIONALLY A SOURCE MAY BE MISSED BY MISTAKE. IT IS NOT INTENTIONAL, AND NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED.

Further Reading:

Newspapers.com

middle Tennessee mysteries

knoxnews.com

The daily times

advocate and democrat

tba.org

knoxnews.com


This week’s Recommended Reading:

Mississippi Mud: Southern Justice and the Dixie Mafia

Rock Solid, The True Story of Georgia’s Dixie Mafia


If you enjoy this content, don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free.

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ALL INFORMATION USED TO CREATE THIS CONTENT IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD AND CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE OR CAN BE VERIFIED BY THE GUEST BLOGGER. ANY PARTICIPATION OR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF ANY PARTY MENTIONED WITHIN THIS SITE IS PURELY SPECULATION. AS THE LAW STATES, AN INDIVIDUAL IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. I DO NOT OWN THE PHOTOS USED IN THIS POST. ALL PHOTOS ARE USED UNDER THE FAIR USE ACT. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. ANY AND ALL OPINIONS ARE THAT OF THE GUEST BLOGGER AND DON’T NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SYNOVA INK©2017-2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

If you’d like to check out Synova’s true crime books follow this link to her Amazon Author Page.

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A Strange Suicide – The Controversy Surrounding the Autopsy & Death of Lt. Dan Anderson

Photo courtesy of the Murdered In Mississippi Facebook Page

This article has been re-blogged from Synova Ink with permission

A very tidy 80-yr-old trudges out through his grassy lawn in his sock feet with his pants undone, shoots himself in the head, falls backward leaving an abrasion on the back of his head, and then flops over cutting his shin and bruising the top of his toes. If that wasn’t enough to question the suicide ruling then hold on, there’s more. Why did he have gun powder residue on BOTH hands when the hairpin trigger on his service revolver was easily manageable? Why did the blood splatter on his pants look as if he were kneeling? Why were the bullet casings destroyed a few days later WITHOUT the consent of family? Why was the daughter’s name forged on the consent form?


April 18, 2003:
Around 4:30 pm, Lt. Dan Anderson supposedly walked out to his driveway and shot himself in the head with his service revolver. Anderson lived on a busy street, yet there weren’t any witnesses during rush hour traffic. Years later the police somehow drag up two people who say they heard a gunshot sometime in the afternoon, but no one can find these witnesses to re-question them. It seemed they appeared just in time for the FOIA request but disappeared again afterward. Who knows? All of that is merely speculation. I will let you speculate on your own time. Here are the facts of this case as I can prove from interviewing the victim’s family and working through the official autopsy.


Ms. Learn told the police that Dan had sent her to the store to buy cigarettes, and when she returned, she found him in the driveway. The FOIA documents clearly state what she told the police. Learn told the investigator that she parked right behind Dan Anderson’s Cadillac and she confirmed that this car was still there when she moved out of the house later that day after the death of Anderson. I will tell you why that is significant later.
Around midnight Phyllis received a phone call from her father’s attorney stating that Dan Anderson had committed suicide. She fell to the floor, devastated and screamed, “not again.” She packed up and went to Gulfport. When she got there the coroner, Gary Hargrove wouldn’t allow her to see her father’s body. Instead of showing some compassion for the grieving family, he chose to be rude and arrogant. Since she wasn’t getting anywhere with the coroner, Phyllis drove over to her father’s house. She expected to see some evidence of a crime. Instead, the house looked like nothing had happened. There wasn’t any crime scene tape, the driveway was clean, and there weren’t any bloodstains. She walked into the house looking for evidence of violence but found none. It was as if time had stopped, and this was a bad dream.


Dan liked to keep everything neat and tidy, but the house looked as if it had been detailed. There wasn’t a speck of dust in the place. To make matters worse, Learn had lived there for a month, and there wasn’t any evidence of her left. Phyllis said she couldn’t even find a bobby pin. In the FOIA papers MS. Learn said she only lived there four days, but Phyllis had received a phone call about her two weeks before her father’s death, so we know that’s a lie.


As Phyllis slowly took in her surroundings, she noticed something odd. On the nightstand by her father’s bed was a carton of cigarettes with four packs in it. She walked into the den where her father spent a lot of time, and there were two more packs on the end table. One pack was full, and the other was only missing four cigarettes. Why had Learn gone out for cigarettes when there were so many packs laying around the house?
She also noticed that her father’s valuables had been taken. He was a 33rd degree Mason and had beautiful rings, but they were nowhere to be found. All the china and crystal in the house had been thinned out and the remaining pieces spaced out on the shelves so their removal wouldn’t be apparent. The more she looked, the more she noticed things missing. Also, the Cadillac wasn’t in the driveway anymore. Police would later claim that it had been sold months before her father’s death but remember the FOIA papers said that it was IN THE DRIVEWAY on the day of Anderson’s death.


Now let’s move on to the autopsy report. If you aren’t already questioning this case and its suicide ruling the first few lines of the autopsy report will force you to question it.


The autopsy diagnoses dated 4-19-2003 states the following:

  1. One recent gunshot wound of the head entering the right temple, contact, exiting the left temple through the brain (no bullet in the wound)
  2. blood spatter and powder particles on BOTH HANDS

Ok. It also states that his pants were unbuttoned and the zipper down. His socks were covered in dry plant material. It also indicates that his fingernails and toenails were neatly clipped and clean.
Ok. Here goes the rant…


Dan Anderson was a tidy person, and I’ve been told that wouldn’t go outside in his sock feet. If he wanted to, there was a driveway and a sidewalk to walk on. He was particular enough to have nice nails, but he ran outside with his pants undone?


The documents say one hammerless Smith & Wesson 38 service revolver, four bullets, one shell casing, and one leather holster was recovered from the scene. No one recovered the spent bullet. The autopsy said it was a through and through wound, so why wasn’t it recovered in the grass? No ballistics testing was done to prove that this gun was the weapon used to kill Anderson. To make it even worse, the FOIA request shows the police department destroyed the bullets and shell casing four days after Anderson’s death. They sent Phyllis a copy of this release that she supposedly had signed. Phyllis swears she has never seen the paper before and the signature on the bottom of it was not hers.


Who signed Phyllis’ name?


Dan Anderson was 80, but he was a strong man and didn’t suffer from Parkinson’s disease. Why then would he have to use both hands to fire his service revolver? Remember the autopsy said there was gunshot residue and blood spatter on BOTH hands. Anderson showed no signs of suicidal tendencies.


Now here comes the outline of the wounds found on Dan Anderson’s body, excluding the gunshot wound. To reconstruct these wounds, I got help from my son. I drew all the markings on his hands and legs with a washable marker and photographed them. This is what I found.


Left index fingertip anteriorly (meaning the palm side) there was a fresh wound. The left middle finger dorsally (meaning the backside of the hand) over the proximal Phalanx was another wound. Proximal Phalanx means the backside of the hand down between the base of the finger and the first knuckle.


The autopsy also states he had a large wound on the FRONT of his RIGHT shin and on the top of the right big toe. Lastly, it says he had an abrasion on the back of the left-hand side of his head just above the hairline. Dan Anderson had male pattern baldness.


If Lt. Anderson somehow shot himself with both hands and fell BACKWARD, that would account for the wound on the back of his head. If this is the case, then why the scrape down his right shin and his right toe? If he fell FORWARD, he might receive a small abrasion on his knee, but not a large scrape, and he wouldn’t have a wound on the back of his head.


My armchair conclusion is Lt. Anderson’s death should not be ruled suicide. It is highly unlikely that this man would suddenly decide to send off his housekeeper, undo his pants, walk out in his front yard and shoot himself using both hands on his snub-nosed revolver. He wasn’t drunk. He wasn’t suicidal, and he cared about neatness enough to keep both his fingernails and toenails groomed.


The officials would like to make you believe this is what happened, and to add to the fairytale, he must have shot, then fell forward, dragged himself around the yard scrapping his leg up, then dropped down upon his back hitting the back of his head. If all of that makes sense to you, then I must add all the details of the missing items and the missing Cadillac. If you believe all of that, then I have some oceanfront property in Kansas that I would like to sell to you.


After writing about this case a year ago, Phyllis has been blessed to find a forensic investigator willing to take on her case. This investigator has found many new details about this case, and witnesses have come forward to clear up some missing links. Now, there is some indication that the original autopsy might have been manipulated to bolster the suicide claims. Unfortunately, those details must be held close until after the trial, but you can bet your bottom dollar I will be writing more about it when I get the green light.


THIS LIST OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS. Synova strives to cite all the sources used during her case study, but occasionally a source may be missed by mistake. It is not intentional, and no copyright infringement is intended.

More Information On This Case:

BlogTalkRadio

ForeverMissed

Slabbed

Murdered In Mississippi


This week’s Recommended Reading:


If you enjoy this content, don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free.

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All information used to create this content is a matter of public record and can be easily found online or can be verified by the guest blogger. Any participation or alleged involvement of any party mentioned within this site is purely speculation. As the law states, an individual is innocent until PROVEN guilty. I do not own the photos used in this post. All photos are used under the fair use act. No copyright infringement intended.©2017-2019. All rights reserved.


If you’d like to check out Synova’s true crime books follow this link to her Amazon Author Page.

Synova’s Amazon Author Page


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Deadly Secrets: The Death of A Father

 Photo courtesy of the Murdered In Mississippi Facebook Page

This article has been re-blogged from Synova Ink with permission

A gambling addiction got him mixed up in something too big to handle, but impossible to escape. He held his tongue after the ambush of Buford Pusser although his car may have been used without his knowledge. He kept their secrets despite them killing his crippled son, and he fought valiantly to keep his daughter safe. Now, it was time to pay the piper and Lt. Dan Anderson knew it. 


If you have been following my Mobster Monday posts, then you have heard the name Lt. Dan Anderson before. His story is interwoven throughout the entire series on the Dixie Mafia going all the way back to Buford Pusser up at the state line. By this point, it has been established that Anderson’s Cadillac was most likely the one used in the ambush of Buford Pusser and his wife on New Hope Rd. on August 12, 1967. Strangely, this car disappeared right after the death of Ronnie Anderson, Dan’s son.

For years, Phyllis, Dan’s daughter called the Gulfport police department begging them to look into her brother’s mysterious suicide case. They always refused to re-open the case and within minutes of her call to the police, Dan would call her and tell her to back off. This was the game for over thirty years until the fragile house of cards began to crumble one day in the fall of 2002. The sweet and sassy southern bell always visited her father over the holidays to celebrate his birthday. It was a tradition to go to the local waffle house and this year was no different. A chance encounter during this trip would bring down the house and culminate in the death of Dan Anderson.

During the meal, Phyllis noticed her father’s demeanor change drastically as he looked past her into the booth behind them.

“That Son of a $&%$%” he mumbled.

Startled, Phyllis started to turn and look but received a quiet rebuke from her father. A few minutes later the man strolled past the table glaring at Dan Anderson and his daughter. Dan waited a short while before speaking and then asked his daughter if she knew who the man was that just left the building? Of course, she had no idea.

“That’s the ol’ boy who killed Ronnie.”

Shocked, Phyllis sat watching her father as he visibly withdrew into a shell of a man. After 36 years her father had finally admitted what Phyllis had believed all along. She was shocked to find out that the killer was the roommate her brother had trusted and shared a house with. Dan Anderson had been constantly intimidated by the man for over three decades. What changed? Why would Dan finally drop such a bombshell? Was his son’s killer threatening to kill Phyllis too? We may never know.

After the holidays things began to escalate quickly. Late February or early March Dan’s attorney found a housekeeper to help around the house. He was always a tidy person who hated to have a cluttered space. A woman came to help out, but strangely never really cleaned anything. Aggravated by her, Dan called Phyllis and asked if she would come to throw out the housekeeper. Phyllis happened to have her leg in a cast all the way up to her hip but promised to come as soon as she could get it off. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be soon enough.

A few days later, Phyllis speaks with the housekeeper and tells her to ship out because she would be coming to Mississippi soon. Within days she would travel back to Gulfport, but not to throw out a housekeeper. She would be attending to her father’s final affairs.

April 18, 2003, around midnight Phyllis would receive the call that would tear her heart out. Dan Anderson was dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

“Not again!” was all Phyllis could think.

The official story:

Dan Anderson, 80 had sent the housekeeper out to buy cigarettes because they were out. She found him when she returned dead at the end of the driveway. His pants were undone and he was in his sock feet. The subsequent autopsy was full of strange details and discrepancies and recently more information has come out leading us to wonder if the entire report was fabricated. We will wait until next week to dive into the conspiracy surrounding the death of Dan Anderson and why Phyllis believes her father was a victim of a gangland-style slaying. Stay tuned folks. This ride’s not over yet.


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free.

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THIS LIST OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. THE SOURCE LINKS ARE PLACED WITHIN THE BODY OF THE TEXT.

This week’s Recommended Documentary:


Moonshine and the Dixie Mafia

This week’s Recommended Reading:


Wrath of the Dixie Mafia


All information used to create this content is a matter of public record and can be easily found online. Any participation or alleged involvement of any party mentioned within this site is purely speculation. As the law states, an individual is innocent until PROVEN guilty. I do not own the photos used in this post. All photos are used under the fair use act. No copyright infringement intended.©2017-2019. All rights reserved.


If you’d like to check out Synova’s true crime books follow this link to her Amazon Author Page.

Synova’s Amazon Author Page


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DIXIE MAFIA EXPOSED – JUSTICE FOR THE SHERRY MURDERS

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PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CLARION-LEDGER MAY 22, 1991

Article re-blogged from Synova Ink with Permission


The battle raged for ten long years, but two warriors refused to abandon the case. Lynn Sherry Sposito and FBI agent Keith Bell kept fighting until justice was served for the murders of Judge Vincent Sherry and his wife Margaret.


How did this criminal enterprise finally crumble? Although it would take a decade to find justice for the Sherry murders, the foundations began to erode when investigators learned of the Dixie Mafia’s involvement. The first clue came in rather quickly after a neighbor spoke to Lynn Sposito about a strange car in the area on the night of her parent’s murder.

The Greenwood Commonwealth reported on the abandoned car believed to be the getaway car. It was found on September 22, 1987, within a couple of miles from the Sherry house. This 1981 Ford Fairmont would lead straight back to the Dixie Mafia and would get the case rolling.

 PHOTO COURTESY OF THE GREENWOOD COMMONWEALTH SEPTEMBER 24, 1987

Not only was this vehicle found close to the murder scene, but it also matched the description given by the neighbor. Strangely, the dome light had been purposely dismantled and the bulb removed. Whoever was driving this car did not want to be seen when he opened the car door.

The car had been stolen off a lot shortly before the murder. Some reports say it was stolen the day before, but in the book Mississippi Mud, it says the car was stolen on the same day. This is not the only discrepancy reported in the book and newspapers. You must remember that both the newspapers and the book were written as the story broke, so they could only write what was known at the time. It is easier to write a story decades afterward in my opinion.

The license plates on this stolen car were registered to another abandoned vehicle from three years earlier. This stolen Firebird had been abandoned in front of an apartment complex. A known Dixie Mafia member named Lenny Sweatman had stripped the car for parts before it was towed away. That tangled web is what led the investigators to the doorstep of the Dixie Mafia. Sweatman would lead to the club owner, Mike Gillich. Gillich would lead back to Kirksey Nix and his Lonely Hearts scam.

The scam was on the police radar for a while and investigators wondered if the murder was connected, but they had no proof. It would take a couple of snitches, a little legal wrangling, and a lot of patience to bring down the killers.

Bobby Joe Fabian was serving a life sentence in Angola prison when he decided to work with investigators in hopes of shortening his sentence. Fabian was the informant who would officially link the scam to the murders. He told of Kirksey Nix’s involvement and implicated Pete Halat. He also told authorities that known hitman, John Ransom was the triggerman. This would later be proved false, but it was enough to get the ball rolling.

Bill Rhodes, an associate of Ransom turned states evidence and claimed he had been hired to drive the getaway car. He claims to have met with Mike Gillich and Pete Halat several months before the murder. Rhodes was to drive and Ransom was to kill the Sherry’s, but this plan fell through when John Ransom was arrested five months before the death of the Sherrys.

As it turns out, Ransom provided the weapon used to kill the judge and his wife, but was not the triggerman as first alleged. Eventually, investigators persuaded Mike Gillich to turn informant. When he finally told his side of the story he spoke in great detail even telling how the hitman put superglue on his fingers so he wouldn’t leave prints behind in the house. He also gives the name of the actual triggerman. Thomas Leslie Holcomb was offered $20,000 to kill the Sherrys.

Nix and the crew were indicted in May 1991, but Pete Halat somehow escaped the noose. It was difficult for investigators seeing the Mayor’s smiling face on the news knowing he was involved in murder, but knowing they didn’t have enough evidence to charge him. Finally, their day came when Gillich spilled the beans and Pete Halat was convicted in 1997.

Halat was working with Nix’s former girlfriend Sheri La Sharpe. Together they would stash the money in a safety deposit box, but Halat got greedy and moved the money to a different safety deposit box that only he had access to. Conveniently there was one other name on the box. Judge Vincent Sherry. Sherry had been Halat’s law partner before he left to become a judge. This would give Halat an “out” when Nix eventually noticed the money was missing. Now Halat could blame the innocent judge for the theft and Halat could get off scot-free.

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PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ENTERPRISE-JOURNAL SEPT 23, 1997

Although the Sherrys got justice, this story will continue next week with the only man to have inside information on this case. His knowledge would eventually lead to his death and his murder would be labeled suicide. Find out more about Lt. Dan Anderson’s connection to this case and his murder next week.


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free.

SIGN UP HERE


THIS LIST OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS.

Further Reading:

Sun Herald Article

WLOX

Caselaw

Djournal.com

newspapers.com


This week’s Recommended Documentary:

714PTozrNpL._SX300_

Biloxi Confidential

This week’s Recommended Reading:


Mississippi Mud: Southern Justice and the Dixie Mafia


All information used to create this content is a matter of public record and can be easily found online. Any participation or alleged involvement of any party mentioned within this site is purely speculation. As the law states, an individual is innocent until PROVEN guilty. I do not own the photos used in this post. All photos are used under the fair use act. No copyright infringement intended.©2017-2019. All rights reserved.


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LONELY HEART SCAM LEADS TO THE MURDER OF A JUDGE AND HIS WIFE

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PHOTO COURTESY OF THE MURDERED IN MISSISSIPPI FACEBOOK PAGE

This post has been re-blogged from Synova Ink with permission

Judge Vincent Sherry and his wife Margaret were assassinated in their own home on the night of September 14, 1987. It would take ten years to finally bring all of the culprits to justice, but thirty years later there’s still a part of the story that hasn’t been told. Who found the bodies first? I will give you one guess and it isn’t who you think.


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PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CLARION-LEDGER SEPTEMBER 17, 1989

The official story says Pete Halat and a junior partner found the bodies of Judge Sherry and his wife on September 16, 1987. Thirty years later a new voice has arisen to tell a different story. Lt. Dan Anderson was working as the bailiff for Judge Sherry and was worried when he didn’t show up for court. He called Pete Halat thinking he would know where to find the judge since he wasn’t answering the phone. Halat brushed off his questions claiming the Judge had a habit of being late. Finally, Anderson gets upset and tells Halat he is going to drive over to the house and check on Vincent and Margret. This sparks concern in the law partner. Halat tells him to wait and he would go along too.

Together the two men meet at the Sherrys’ house. Anderson knocks on the door and it opens. Inside he discovers the horrific scene. Overwhelmed with grief from the death of his friend, Anderson is told to go home. Halat promised to take care of everything. Instead, he waits until the next day and took a junior partner along to conveniently find the bodies.

Lt. Anderson returns home distraught after seeing the corpses of his friends. Before he could get himself together, his daughter Phyllis happened to call. On this rare occasion, Dan Anderson poured out his emotional story to his daughter giving details of the crime scene. Phyllis listened and tried to console her father and promised to call and check on him later that evening. When evening came, her father was back to his tight-lipped self and refused to speak of it again. Phyllis had no way of knowing that her father was being forced into silence. She assumed it was his quiet way of dealing with trauma.

Over three hundred people would attend the funeral service for the Sherrys. The event was held at the Blessed Virgin Mary Cathedral on Howard Ave. in Biloxi. The Clarion-Ledger also reported the strange eulogy given by Pete Halat. He wasn’t scheduled to speak at this service but chose to stand and speak anyways. His extremely long speech seemed to be more of a campaign speech for his upcoming mayoral campaign. He railed about the corruption in Biloxi and spoke of the deceased couple rarely. It made everyone including investigators begin to turn a wary eye on the lawyer.

Last week we left you with the story of the abandoned Ford Fairmont. To recap, it was seen by a neighbor the night the Sherry’s were murdered. This tip would lead back to a man by the name of Lenny Sweatman. Investigators knew if Sweatman was involved then another Dixie Mafia member would be close by. Mike Gillich owned the Golden Nugget nightclub and was good friends with the notorious Sweatman.

The case reached a stagnant point and looked like it might be going cold, but Lynn Sposito, the Sherry’s daughter kept pushing forward. She knew she must get enough evidence to draw in the FBI. They were working behind the scenes but didn’t officially join the investigation until August 1989 when they found definite ties to the Dixie Mafia.

During the murder investigation, another case was running parallel to this story. Kirksey Nix, Jr. had been running a scam from behind the bars of the Angola Prison. Nix had acquired hundreds of thousands of dollars through this scam. His goal was to “buy” his way out of his life sentence. With the rampant corruption in Mississippi at the time, this was quite possible to do. The investigators would label it the Lonely Hearts Scam.

The Scam:

Nix found a way to take advantage of lonely gay men by placing singles ads in the local gay magazines. He would talk of how corrupt the place was and how mistreated he was for being gay. Of course, Kirksey Nix was not homosexual in the least, he simply played a part to con money out of these pen pals. To make matters even more treacherous, he would then turn around afterward and blackmail the men if they were still “in the closet.”

Now inmates cannot have that kind of cash just lying around their cells, so Nix put together a complex scheme to shuffle the cash into a safety deposit box. Who’s name was on the box? Pete Halat and Nix’s girlfriend Sheri La Ra Sharpe. The plan was to store the cash in the safety deposit box until it was time to buy Nix out of his legal troubles, but Halat became greedy and stole $100,000 from the box. To cover his tracks he moved the cash to a box assigned to himself and his law partner Judge Sherry. That way when Nix noticed the money missing he could blame it on the judge.

This all sounds good in theory, but there was one problem. They didn’t have the evidence to put Halat away. It would take ten long years before investigators could find enough to convict him. In the meantime, Pete Halat continued his mayoral campaign and became the 12th mayor of Biloxi, Mississippi.

This complicated the investigation greatly and the FBI had to keep their findings close to home. They couldn’t work as close to local law enforcement as they would have hoped knowing that Halat had confederates in the force.

Next week I will dive more into the investigations, the snitches, and the battles that finally brought down Nix and Halat. Stay tuned guys.


THIS LIST OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS.

Further Reading:

FBI Files

Newsweek article

FBI page

NY Times

Revolvy Article

WLBT

Wikipedia

Biloxi confidential


This week’s Recommending Reading:

Mississippi Mud: Southern Justice and the Dixie Mafia


All information used to create this content is a matter of public record and can be easily found online. Any participation or alleged involvement of any party mentioned within this site is purely speculation. As the law states, an individual is Innocent until PROVEN guilty. I do not own the photos used in this post. All photos are used under the fair use act. No copyright infringement intended.©2017-2019. All rights reserved.


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