Investigators' notes – April 11, 1958
During the Izard homicide investigation, interviews were conducted with all 153 employees laid off from the Bowlan Glove Factory, all residents of County Road 106, and obvious suspects. The most intensive effort was conducted from Friday, April 11 through Thursday, April 17, 1958.
Many other interviews were conducted in the course of the investigation to verify alibis and gather background information.
Interviews were conducted by Detective Jack McPhail, Deputy Larry Kuhn, Deputy George Lamb, Deputy Martin Black. Detective Dave Lyon in charge of the Missing Persons case conducted separate interviews relating to that case.
The following is the documentation of some of the investigators efforts to track down potential witnesses and suspects on the day of the murders, April 11, 1958.
|1520 hours||At scene with Thomas Joe Hinkley of New Zion Road, RR #3, Box 109, Oxford.
Discovered crime scene at 1445. Called in from Izard kitchen phone at 1452 hours. Hinkley moved body of Richard Izard from original position, did not move body of Lisa Izard or touch garden tools found at scene.
Package being delivered to house contained work shoes from Sears as stated by this witness.
Determined that Hinkley's movements on the afternoon of Friday, April 11, 1958 support the time of arrival at the crime scene as between 1445 and 1446 hours.
Coroner Graves' conclusions on time of death, condition of bodies and degree of blood coagulation at 1505 hours eliminate Hinkley as a suspect in the homicides.
Hinkley's behavior at the scene appeared to indicate some guilty knowledge to investigators. The possibility that his brother, Walter Hinkley may be involved is under investigation.
Key information from Hinkley's interview at scene includes what appeared to investigators as an over‑concern with having blood on his hands, erratic mood swings from distress to anger, hostility toward investigators including spitting at shoes and extreme anger expressed at Walter Hinkley's layoff.
Hinkley's shoes taken for comparison of dirt found in house, determined that dirt on kitchen floor near playpen did not come from Hinkley's shoes.
Hinkley confirms he passed Murphy's bus at County Road 129 at approx. 1435 to 1440 hours.
|1855 hours||Attempt to interview Elliot Perch at the Britt Boarding house, Jefferson Avenue, Oxford, not in room.
Obtained sample of dirt from boarders' entrance area for comparison.
|1915 hours||Stopped at Lisa Izard's parents' home on Woodson Ridge Road. The Grahams have not heard from the children.
Both Eunice and T. J. are distraught. Mrs. Graham has received a sedative but is alert.
T. J. states that he believes the homicides are related to the layoffs. Mrs. Graham believes that Jessie Danahy must have had something to do with it.
They are unaware of any recent trouble in the marriage. They are unaware of any recent financial problems.
Both state that Lisa would have run to Richard or the children's aid if he or they were being attacked, regardless of concern for her own safety.
Richard had not discussed the union issues at Bowlan with them. Lisa stated last Sunday, April 6, after church to Mrs. Graham that she was worried about Richard, he seemed to be worrying about the union vote but wouldn't talk much about it.
|1950 hours||Stopped to set up interview with Elbert Warren at home on Pea Ridge Farm Road , Oxford. No one at home, house dark.
Took dirt sample from drive. Observed worn tread pattern similar to that in Izard drive, called for casting.
|2030 hours||Elroy Murphy of Glewculley Road , Abbeville at station.
Picked up students at Hamblett Elementary 1410 hours. Ricky Izard on bus. Murphy observed Ricky with book bag red and blue, carrying no other items.
Noted nothing unusual with Ricky Izard, nothing unusual at Izard home. Mrs. Izard did not meet bus, however, Murphy states this was not unusual.
Arrived at Izard drive at approx. 1435 hours, turned around at pasture gate .24 miles south of driveway on 106.
Observed Ricky Izard at approx. 200 feet from roadway on drive, passed Hinkley mail truck at County Road 129 at approx. 1436 to 1438 hours.
Altercation over running over Izard mailbox occurred on Thursday, March 27. A check with the County transportation supervisor confirms the reckless driving incidents mentioned by Murphy. Murphy received reprimand but not in danger of losing job.
|2140 hours||Attempt to interview Jessie Danahy at King Road, Box 58, Oxford. Not at home, unable to locate.
|2200 hours||Returned to Elbert Warren residence at Box 87, Pea Ridge Farm Road, Oxford.
Warren was at the sink in the kitchen when I arrived. I observed through the back porch door that he was injured and had blood caked on him. He was not wearing a shirt.
Warren did not want to admit me to the residence. After some brief discussion, I entered the kitchen and observed that Warren had a superficial head wound that had bled profusely. He had scratches to the neck and upper chest area, numerous contusions on his hands and arms, a large bruise on his left lower back, and lacerations on his hands and knuckles.
Warren stated that he had been at Sid's with a large group of men from Bowlan until approx. 1400 hours. He states that Perch had been at the bar until approx. 1330 hours.
Warren states that he left Sid's to look for Perch to discuss getting a job as an organizer for the union. He states that he went to the boarding house on Jefferson and that Perch had not returned there. Warren states he then drove to the reservoir area looking for Perch's car. Warren states that Perch is known to go out there.
Warren claims that he was ambushed while he was looking for Perch by a group of men and beaten. He claims he does not know his assailants, that they clubbed him on the head from behind, threw something over his head and proceeded to kick and punch him. He states that he is sure they are men who were laid off from Bowlan who blamed him for being the ring leader of the union organizing activity and for the layoffs.
He states that he overheard one say that Perch would be better but Warren would do. He feels they were looking for Perch as he was. Warren states he thinks there were four or five men in the group.
Warren's story is suspect. He states he does not know the men, is unsure of the exact location of the attack, that he does not remember getting in any punches yet his injuries indicate otherwise. He states he had been drinking heavily at Sid's and credits the alcohol combined with the beating for his lack of clear memory. Warren states that he was knocked unconscious for hours.
Warren states that when he came to he then went back to the boarding house looking for Perch who was not there. He believes this was at approx. 2000 hours. Warren states that he saw and spoke to no one else since leaving Sid's and was unaware of the Izard homicides.
Warren expressed hostility toward Richard Izard and accused him of selling them (pro-union sympathizers) out. He claims Izard received quite a bit of money from Perch for inside information and for layoff protection. He doesn't know how much. Warren states this was not common knowledge, but that it may have something to do with the homicides.
Warren agreed to have Dr. Mullins come out and take a look at him, I called Mullins who arrived at 2240 hours and examined Warren. Dr. Mullins reports that Warren's injuries are not serious and are consistent with a brawl. The injuries to the hands are likely from punching though Warren has no memory of fighting back in the alleged attack.
Warren agreed to allow this investigator to take his shirt and shoes for testing. He further agreed to be interviewed on Saturday, April 12.
Warren's wife is in Taylor visiting her sister, Warren stated he wanted her away from Oxford during the voting "just in case."
|2310 hours||Interview Robert Abbott, Bell River Road, Oxford.
Abbott states that he did not go to Sid's after leaving Bowlan today. However, his son Frank Abbott did.
Robert states that he left Bowlan at approx. 1155 hours and arrived home at approx. 1230 hours. His wife, Mary Ellen was present at the interview and confirmed the time.
Abbott states that Glenn Johnson, Fred Earle and Lou Nash spent most of the afternoon at the Abbott house arriving at approx. 1330 hours. Abbott states they said they were coming from Sid's, that some of the men with Jimmy Warren were getting too drunk and mean and that Johnson, Earle and Nash felt they ought to leave.
States that his son Frank called at about 1600 hours and informed them of the Izard homicides. Johnson, Earle and Nash left shortly after the call talking about forming a volunteer group to look for the kids.
Abbott states that it is possible that Jimmy Warren might have been mad enough and drunk enough to strike out at Richard Izard.
Abbott provided the following list of the men who worked with Perch as the core group of union organizers: Robert and Frank Abbott, Glenn Johnson, Fred Earle, Joe Mitchell, Lou Nash, Wes Hannaford, Steve Ibello, Ralph Quillens, Elbert Warren and Charlie Duncan.
He states that the group met approx. twice a week at Hannah Waithers house on County Road 106 from March 18th.
He stated that Richard Izard did not attend the meetings, but that Richard Izard was in sympathy with the union efforts which was not well known.
He stated that Perch met with Izard on several occasions to discuss worker protection. Abbott states that he has no knowledge of any payoffs by the Perch or the union to anyone involved.
He states the meetings were to make lists of votes and plans to win over votes. He states no threats of violence were made by anyone in the group and that violence was not part of the planning.
He did state that Jimmy Warren, Walter Hinkley and Howard Hadley were in favor of threatening and roughing up some of those who refused to vote for the union. Abbott states there were some fights but nothing serious to his knowledge. He does not think Elbert Warren would be involved with that group.
|2400 hours||Attempt to interview Elliott Perch at Britt Boarding house, Oxford, not in room.|
Detective, Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department
On April 11, 1958, Deputy Lamb assisted in processing the crime scene, recorded the comings and goings on County Road 106 including arrival times of neighbors.
At 1840 hours, Detective McPhail assigned him to contact Harold Bowlan, owner of Bowlan Glove Factory, and Otis Boyce, Bowlan Glove paymaster to conduct preliminary interviews and obtain the complete layoff list.
He was further assigned to contact Ricky Izard's first grade teacher from the Theora Hamblett Elementary School and Elroy Murphy, driver of County School bus no. 48 to arrange interviews at the Sheriff's Department, and to the task of beginning to verify alibi information.
|1910 hours||No answer at the Bowlan home.
|1915 hours||Contacted Otis Boyce, who will collect the layoff list and bring it to the Sheriff's Department.
Boyce stated that the Bowlan family was vacationing in Memphis, did not know location.
|1925 hours||Contacted Elroy Murphy arranged for interview at 2000 hours with Detective McPhail.
|1945 hours||Contacted Mrs. Constance Worthy, first grade teacher at Hamblett Elementary. She stated that Ricky showed no unusual behavior in class during the day, that he was in a happy mood because it was Friday and he had a new library book to take home.
She is not aware of anyplace in particular that he might go to hide or for help. She will be available for interview through the weekend by the missing persons case team. (copied Det. D. Lyon)
She stated that the Izards are a nice family and is unaware of any tension or trouble in the family. She and her husband would like to help in the search for the children (ref. Moffett).
States that she saw Mr. Richard Izard drop off Ricky Izard at the school this morning and noted nothing unusual. He was driving their pickup truck.
|2015 hours||Interview conducted with Otis Boyce, paymaster at Bowlan Glove Factory. Received layoff list.
Boyce states that Mr. Harold Bowlan finalized the layoff decision after the union vote failed on Thursday, April 10, 1958.
Boyce states Mr. Bowlan drew up the layoff list and presented it to Mr. Boyce at 0900 hours on Friday, April 11. Boyce was instructed to make up final pay envelopes for those on the list by 1100 hours. Mr. Bowlan stated that he wanted the plant cleared by 1230 hours and wanted the payroll to "move along so there was no time for rabble rousers to cause trouble."
Mr. Boyce states that Mr. Harold Bowlan was expecting trouble and told Mr. Boyce that he and his family were leaving for Memphis before noon to be out of it. He advised Mr. Boyce to leave the grounds as soon as payroll was dispersed.
Mr. Boyce states that the payroll was ready at 1100 hours, that Richard Izard announced the layoffs at 1100 hours and that the payroll was dispersed between 1115 hours and 1200 hours.
Boyce states that he was unaware of any trouble. Boyce did not keep a list of the order in which pay envelopes were handed out and does not think he can recall the order. States that the line was moving quickly.
Paymaster's office is located near the employee's main gate and Boyce states that most employees left the grounds immediately after receiving their pay envelopes as they were instructed to do.
The last envelope was given out at 1205 hours. Boyce closed the paymasters office at 1230 hours and left the grounds. He states he saw no one lingering or causing trouble at that time. He states that he overhead a number of the men talking about going to Sid's Tavern.
He does not know where in Memphis Mr. Bowlan is staying, but that Mr. Bowlan has gone to the Peabody Hotel on several other trips.
|2230 hours||Reached Harold Bowlan at Peabody Hotel. Mr. Bowlan was belligerent and uncooperative. He refused the call several times claiming the call was a hoax.
When convinced that it was no hoax, Mr. Bowlan expressed little concern or shock over the deaths of Richard and Lisa Izard. He stated he expected trouble and that is why he was in Memphis.
Mr. Bowlan did not want to return to Oxford until Tuesday, however, finally agreed to return for interview tomorrow. He stated he may leave his family in Memphis for safety.
Mr. Bowlan states that he will be at home by 1300 hours tomorrow. He states he has no knowledge of the homicides or information that will be useful to the investigation.
On this night, April 11, 1958, I was able to verify whereabouts information for the following individuals: Harold Bowlan, Roland Bland, Titus Hawkins, Hannah Waithers.
Deputy, Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department