the town that dreaded sundown real story
Written by on December 19, 2020
However, Youell started acting out and committed his first burglary, stealing candy from a local business, while living with Cleo. Convinced that Virgil had dropped something and broken it, Katie left the bedroom to attend to her husband, but found that Virgil was slumped dead in his armchair, blood seeping down his neck. Join the Wicked Horror Staff. Richard L. Griffin (29) and his girlfriend Polly Ann More (17) were found dead in his car from gunshot wounds to the head. Â This indicated the entry of the FBI into the Texarkana murders case, another large law enforcement agency to aid the small town. The car thief was identified as Youell Lee Swinney and was subsequently booked and taken to a cell at the Miller County Jail. However, 26 years later, after filing and withdrawing appeals and being extremely persistent, Youell Swinney was released from prison as a result of a habeas corpus proceeding. Although the population doubled and the economy was thriving, crime was also on the rise. A minor relative of Swinney recalled his habits, which included leaving the car parked in a certain Texarkana lot. Pierce, who also played patrolman A.C. Benson a.k.a. Pierce's. Toys, Gifts, Collectibles, Board Games & Horror Lifestyle Items. Even though they both agreed that the person who attacked them was tall, approximately six feet, and male, they disagreed on the suspect’s race. Please enter your username or email address. The shirt was almost identified by Virgil Starks’ wife, however, she could not be sure. Special thanks to C. Harden, D. Cathey, and A. Texarkana was actually very diverse, with a massive wave of immigrants during the 1920s leading to a mixture of Irish, Italian, German, Jewish, Greek, French, and a sizeable African American population. His wife Katie was a stunning brunette woman who was devoted to her husband (Assassin’s Bullets Kill Virgil Stark, 1946). Even today the film is shown once a year around Halloween in an outdoor theater in Texarkana. Aside from murder, Texarkana was also regularly the site of high-speed chases with police in pursuit of traffickers running liquor from Louisiana to Oklahoma, as well as shootouts, hold-ups, and knife fights. The officers tried to interview the victims who were identified as Jimmy Hollis and Mary Jeanne Larey at the scene, but Hollis was so badly injured he could barely retain consciousness. Later examination suggested that the murderer had faced her when he shot her at point blank range. In this new, regular series, Wicked Horror’s resident true crime expert April Bennett takes a look at one of these cases in an attempt to better understand why it remains open. Ben Johnson stars as Captain J.D. He caught up with her, sexually assaulted her, but let her go after the attack. Upon arrest of Swinney, the murders abruptly stopped. After Youell was moved from his father’s to his mother’s repeatedly his older brother Cleo and his wife finally took Youell in, to offer stability to the troubled young man. Elsewhere, Veronicagrows concerned for Archie when she realizes the lengths he would go to seek revenge against the person terrorizing Rive… Do you think that the murders were committed by Youell Swinney? She stated that she was not sure where her new husband was located at that particular time. There was one limitation to her statements, though she was married to the suspect and therefore protected by privilege not to testify against him. He was 77 years old. Katie judged that Virgil had been shot from the outside of their living room window from the holes in their glass. Find many great new & used options and get the best deals for THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN (VHS, 1976) Based on true story at the best online prices at eBay! She also knew about a datebook taken from Martin’s pocket, which he threw into the bushes and was later secretly retrieved by Sheriff Bill Presley. They titled their article â€œTexarkana Terror, Southern City is panicked by the killer who shoots according to scheduleâ€ a fact that was only true in one instance, but mostly the article covered the reaction of the citizens in the wake of the murders. You want me for more than stealing cars! This attitude was not helped when the Lone Wolf himself was caught reenacting one of the crime scenes in a local man’s barn in the middle of the night without the property owner’s permission. You Know You Want It! The annual showing of The Town that Dreaded Sundown attracts a crowd of several hundred people who anxiously wait for the show as a Halloween tradition (something that features in the 2014 remake of the same name). Ben Johnson as Captain J.D. Presley, a 50 year old widower, had known tragedy personally himself, as ten years before this case, both his wife and oldest daughter had died in a car accident. Peggy Swinney stated that on the night of April 13, 1946, she and Youell Swinney had left the hotel they were staying at and drove to Spring Lake Park, where Youell told her that he was going to find someone there to rob. People from all over the country flocked to the town, following the opening of the Red River Ordnance Depot and Lone Star Army Ammunition Plant. However, while law enforcement did attribute this attack to the Phantom, there were doubts if this was really the work of the elusive serial killer. Also, the police did not believe the victims at first and thought they were hiding the identity of the gunman, but pieces of evidence corroborated their story. His wife immediately ran to the telephone, but before she could use it the assailant fired two more shots, both entering her face. Local and federal law enforcement seemed to be kicking everything into high gear, but nothing was reassuring the people of Texarkana. While the Phantom was busy terrorizing Texarkana, a string of auto thefts and subsequent abandonment of the stolen vehicles was simultaneously taking place. The sheriff believed that the attack on Larey and Hollis was just a part of the normal criminal activity in Texarkana, or even an isolated event, so the police department did not believe that an active, involved search of the suspect was necessary. However, when Lone Wolf Gonzaullas sent a Ranger to Corpus Christi, the man was cleared from the suspicion of the murders. Peggy later stated that, when Youell returned to the hotel, he was covered in blood, which she wiped away with a towel that was later found by investigators under the mattress, exactly where she said she had left it. Moore was found face down in the backseat, her purse opened as if the perpetrator sifted through it for cash and valuables. On January 13, 1947, Youell Swinney was indicted for felony theft as his previous convictions were also recognized by the Bowie County Grand Jury, making him a habitual criminal, a charge that could result in a life sentence. So, instead of charging him with murder and having a jury possibly dismiss the case, authorities on both the Texas and Arkansas sides decided to get Swinney off the streets. However, Charles B. Pierce’s film was not an accurate depiction of what occurred, and took many liberties with the facts. They assumed it was a police officer making his nightly rounds, but instead they were confronted by an armed, masked man with a flashlight and a gun. When first responders arrived to process the scene, the ambulance and law enforcement vehicles attracted a lot of attention from nearby citizens. However, in spite of this, there was some evidence found at the scene of the crime that came in handy. Low-Budget, Homemade Trashy Horror Cinema. This anxiety was in full swing coming into June 1946, when Life magazine featured a massive spread about the ensuing panic. Simply put, it is a must-see. Corey Holland and Jami Lerner leave the film to talk and kiss in a secluded area. When the trouble first started, he was moved repeatedly again, but this time between his brother, his mother, and his grandparents, despite his father still legally retaining full custody. Even though Youell was the youngest, his low birth order garnered no sympathy from his parents and he was often forgotten and set aside in favor of his siblings. Sheriff Presley and the Chief of Police of the Texas side of Texarkana received the call and were the first to respond to the scene. When she was later taken to the crime scene, Peggy Swinney was able to identify the exact location where Paul Martin’s car was parked on the night of April 13, 1946. Sometime during the evening, the couple was blinded by a stranger’s flashlight. However, from accounts of neighbors and friends of the family, Stanley was a cold father who did not particularly care for his own children. Trooper Charley Boyd, with no other leads, occasionally drove by the lot to keep an eye out for the vehicle, not expecting to see much of anything. Approached by Cleon Partain, a knowledgeable car trader, the man stated that he was interested in selling his vehicle due to unemployment and an inability to make the payments. However, hope came in the form of a suspect who reportedly asked a sales clerk at a music store on April 20th 1946 if the shop would be interested in buying an alto Bundy Saxophone.. Texarkana residents also turned on the Texas Rangers and the FBI, claiming that they were ten thousand dollars worth of cowboy boots and big, white hats and fifteen cents worth of brains.. In the two months that followed, 1,300 suspects were dragged to the police station and interviewed before being released. Suspicious of the man, Partain memorized the license plate number, which was unusual to that area, and sent a coworker, Hibbett Lee, to report to Homer Carter, an Arkansas Marshal of the town of Atlanta, Arkansas. Her body was undisturbed and relatively untouched–she looked like she had just fallen asleep. Meanwhile, when Betty finds herself at the center of a deepening mystery, her decision to keep some parts of it from Jughead causes further friction between the two. Although the murders occurred over 70 years ago, these books were published within the last several years. After securing the scene with techniques taught to them by the Texas Rangers and the FBI agent, Sheriff Presley recruited Texarkana residents to search for Betty Jo Booker. He claimed five casualties and heavily traumatized three others while simultaneously throwing an entire town into hysterics. However, The Town That Dreaded Sundown did upset many of the residents and even resulted in an (unsuccessful) lawsuit from one a brother of one of the victims. News of the bizarre and horrific killings transfixed an entire nation on the small town of Texarkana, Texas in early 1946, and the case remains one of the most notorious unsolved crimes in U.S. history. The original The Town That Dreaded Sundown was filmed on site in Texarkana and it’s since become what the town is now known for. The Town That Dreaded Sundown is a 1976 English Horror movie directed by Charles B. He pledged to the people of the town that he would stay until he jailed or killed the Phantom and supposedly earned the nickname of Lone Wolf since he had a nasty habit of taking on perpetrators in physical confrontations and exit the fight victorious. The killer was at a distance of about 18-22 inches from the window where he could have clearly seen the back of Virgil’s head. Pierce's The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976). He had grown up rough and looked it, with a scar on the left side of his upper lip and another near one of his eyebrows. Furthermore, Virgil was shot with rounds from a .22 rifle, not a .32 caliber handgun as the other victims had been. Law enforcement, along with the FBI and the Texas Rangers also unsuccessfully implemented traps on Lover’s Lane trying to lure the Phantom out to cars that looked like his victims. Upon inspection, Partain asked the apparent owner if he had the title for the car. One day in late June, the stolen Plymouth was noticed and confirmed as the same vehicle for which the police were looking. Virgil was shot and killed while sitting in a chair in his living room. After the sudden divorce of his parents at the age of nine, Youell was forced to move in with his father full time and only occasionally stayed with his mother. Exclusive Interview: Bryan Woods and Scott Beck on Nightlight, Advance Review Slasher – Episodes One and Two, Cry Little Sister: A Defense of Dawn Summers. You will receive a link to create a new password via email. The real killer was never found. First, we're re-opening the cold case on one of America's more notorious killers in David Fincher's Zodiac (2007), before heading down south to hunt The Texarkana Phantom in Charles B. Dubbed the “Texarkana Moonlight Murders” by the press, eight people were attacked and five were murdered within the span of three months. Yet another photograph illustrated a family relaxing in their front room, with the windows and doors sealed tight and their rifle just within arm’s reach. Or maybe it’s a … See related Ridley Scott interview: The Martian, Prometheus sequels Ridley Scott interview: Blade Runner 2049, Alien and more 2.4 The Town That Dreaded Sundown At the end of tonight's exhilarating episode, Jughead grimly states that "Riverdale would no longer be the town with pep, from now on it would be the town that dreaded sundown." Free Horror Movies – Watch 600+ Horror Movies! She was later released from the Miller County Jail on December 19, 1946. 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Centered in Texarkana, Texas in 1946 a series of assaults and murders by a man wearing a sack over his face turns the friendly town into a community that quickly becomes scared of it's own shadow. However, these efforts would be for nothing, since the Phantom would soon strike again. The True Story Behind The Town that Dreaded Sundown, Belzebuth is Not for the Faint of Heart [Review], Seven of the Most Blatantly Obvious Halloween Rip-Offs. At the behest of Sheriff Presley, when other officers–and the Texas Rangers, who had arrived on the scene to help and find clues–arrived they found Paul Martin’s abandoned Coupe a mile away with the keys still in the ignition. The Town That Dreaded Sundown is a 1976 American thriller film directed and produced by Charles B. Copyright © 2019 WickedHorror.com - All Rights Reserved. In 2003, the Texas Parks & Recreation department has started showing the original film in Spring Lake Park in Texarkana, TX. We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. The Town That Dreaded Sundown (TTTDS) is a good example of why true stories should rarely be copied verbatim when making films.. Once I’d become accustomed to the older style of acting that pervades this film, in which the actors seem to have been told to ‘make it look like you’re acting, acting with all the sweat that you can muster!’ In this article, we will be taking a look at the true stories that inspired some So begins The Town That Dreaded Sundown, Charles B. Griffin was found on his knees behind the front seat, his pants pulled down to his ankles with the pockets turned out and his head resting on his hands, as if he were asleep. The Town That Dreaded Sundown was a 1976 docudrama based on actual crimes committed in Texarkana in 1946. Click Here! The Texarkana Phantom’s attacks (which later inspired the classic horror movie The Town That Dreaded Sundown) took place between February 1946 and July 1946. It was then that Tackett knew then that he had found his suspect. Related: The Town That Dreaded Sundown: Every Difference Between The Original And Remake. Upon arriving to Texarkana and making his outlandish promise to the citizens, Lone Wolf Gonzaullas released a special notice which read that they were looking for the Phantom. Arkansas State Trooper, Max Tackett noticed the link in the timeline of the stolen, then abandoned vehicles and the murders that were being committed elsewhere. He claimed that his tenant, Youell Swinney, had failed to pay his rent for a few weeks, which was considered a criminal offense in Arkansas, and had presumably skipped town. There have been numerous unique cases throughout history, some of which remain unsolved to this day, such as the Jack the Ripper killings, the Zodiac murders, and the Black Dahlia slaying. Katie gathered her courage and miraculously was able to run out of the front door to a neighbor who took her to the hospital. As the Texarkana Gazette reported the following day, â€œMurder Rocks City Again Farmer Slain, Wife Wounded (1946), the Lone Wolf and other law enforcement ran an ad in the newspaper desperately trying to link the flashlight to the crime scene. While the town of Texarkana was initially rocked and rattled by the tragic events of 1946, The Town that Dreaded Sundown has now grown into a longstanding tradition. The Town That Dreaded Sundown tells the story of a masked murderer who terrorized Texarkana in 1946 – and it was so captivating that a sequel was made just a few years ago. Unlike popular crime films such as Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers (1994), which was loosely inspired by a variety of events, and David Fincher’s Zodiac, which focused on one man’s obsession with a real serial killer, Sundown carried the weight of crimes that affected real people. After her husband, and Booker’s stepfather, Clark Brown, dismissed Bessie’s anxiety as over-exaggeration, Bessie insisted that Clark start making phone calls in order to find her daughter. The man happened to glance at his barn, where he saw several flashes, and after calling the police and arming himself with a shotgun, he alongside law enforcement were about to lit up the barn with gunfire. The notice made a point that it was a gold-plated Bundy E-flat Alto saxophone, serial #2535â€ and urged pawnshops and music stores to please pay attention to anyone who may want to sell Booker’s instrument. Came after just 21 days after the attack, sheriff Presley sent them Texarkana. Others were out of the many blunders that would occur in the Phantom would soon strike.... Soon after, police appeared and a will stalk theaters once again, this time with names! 22Nd, an innocent black man was cleared from the outside of their living room cell at the Miller Jail. 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