Names in the news, July 14

Posted July 13, 2012, at 4:40 p.m.

On the morning of May 23, 1934, Clyde Barrow — a small-time criminal who had worked his way up to celebrity bank robber and spree killer — stopped his stolen Ford V-8 on a rural road near Gibsland, La. Inside were an arsenal of stolen automatic rifles, sawed-off semi-automatic shotguns, handguns, several thousand rounds of ammunition and, of course, the love of his life, Bonnie Parker. It was 9:15 a.m., and Barrow was carrying his Elgin pocket watch with a Wadsworth 10-carat gold-filled screw-back case. His time had run out. A posse of six fired off 130 rounds, led by Frank Hamer, who had more than 50 kills notched on his belt and was seen as the personification of the macho Texas law enforcement code: “One riot, one ranger.” When the smoke cleared, Barrow was dead — with 17 holes in his body. Reports say Parker had time to scream before she too died, perforated with 26 holes. The watch, however, survived and is being auctioned Sept. 30 in New Hampshire. Officials hope to get $50,000 to $100,000 for the watch, Bobby Livingston, vice president of RR Auction in Amherst, N.H., said in a telephone interview with the Los Angeles Times. Also up for bid are the Colt .38-caliber revolver Parker had pasted to her inner thigh with medical tape and the .45-caliber pistol Barrow kept in his waistband. Each weapon could bring between $100,000 and $200,000, said Livingston. In the ’30s, some gangsters such as John Dillinger and Pretty Boy Floyd were Robin Hood-like figures, celebrated in word and song and later in movies. Bonnie and Clyde also received Hollywood treatment in the 1967 film starring Warren Beattie and Faye Dunaway. During its crime spree from 1931-34, the gang was said to have robbed a dozen or so banks in several states in the Midwest and the South, but the usual target was rural stores and gas stations. The numbers vary depending on the reports, but 13 killings have been blamed on the gang; all but a few were law enforcement officers.

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