“This old world is made sweeter by the lives of folks like you”
The Texas Rattlesnake and Suicide Sal, aka Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, were not lovers on a romantic, albeit criminal, spree across America as the myth has it. For a start, he was homosexual. The gruesome twosome met in January 1930. The next month Barrow was jailed but Parker smuggled a gun into the prison and he escaped on 11 March. He was recaptured a week later and spent the next two years inside. He was released on 2 February 1932 and the pair began the killing orgy that left 13 people dead. They also sent poetry about their exploits, written by Bonnie, to newspapers for publication.
The first victim was a shop owner in Hillsboro and after that Bonnie and Clyde indiscriminately killed anyone who got in their way. They escaped two police ambushes — one in Missouri on 19 July 1933 and another on a motorway near Sowers, Texas four months later on 22 December. 1933 was the year that the FBI took an interest in Parker and Barrow because they had driven a stolen car across state lines.
Route 154, Louisiana, USA
Wednesday 23 May 1934
On 23 May 1934 as they returned to Black Lake, Louisiana, a third ambush was set. This time the police did not miss and a six-man posse waited for the pair’s V-8 Ford sedan. The criminals died in a hail of bullets on Route 154 13 km (8 mi) south of Gibsland. Bonnie Parker, aged just 23, sustained more than 50 gunshot wounds and her sidekick, two years older, was hit 27 times.
Soon souvenir hunters arrived and one even tried to hack off Clyde’s ear. Bonnie’s gravestone reads “This old world is made sweeter by the lives of folks like you”. When he heard the news, John Dillinger (search the article) was pleased — he thought the pair was “giving bank robbery a bad name”.