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Bonnie & Clyde's Revenge on Eastham

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Bonnie & Clyde's Revenge on Eastham



Originally published by American History magazine. Published Online: June 12, 2006


Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow sat in their Ford V-8 coupe on a quiet Texas country road on Saturday evening, January 13, 1934. They were waiting for Floyd Hamilton and an ex-convict named Jimmy Mullens to return. The two men had slipped through the barbed wire perimeter surrounding Eastham prison farm, part of the Texas Prison System, to hide an old inner tube beneath a drainage culvert near the prison's camp 1. Inside the tube were two Colt .45 automatics and several clips of ammunition, placed there in preparation for a jailbreak planned for January 16. At one point the camp dogs started howling and barking in their kennels, but the guards paid no attention. Hamilton and Mullens rejoined Bonnie and Clyde a few minutes later. Barrow then drove to Dallas and dropped off Hamilton, but he kept Mullens in the car so he could keep an eye on him. He didn't trust Mullens.

Floyd Hamilton returned to Eastham the following day for his regular biweekly visit with his younger brother, Raymond, who was serving 266 years in prison for auto theft, armed robbery, and murder. During that visit, Floyd filled Raymond in on the details of the proposed prison break.

On Monday, an inmate named Aubrey Skelley set out to retrieve the weapons. Skelley was a building tender, a trusty position that allowed him to move about the prison with a certain amount of freedom. He managed to smuggle the inner tube into the camp 1 dormitory and deliver it to Joe Palmer. Palmer, serving 25 years for robbery, hid the inner tube and its contents in his mattress. (Other sources swear the guns were hidden in one of the brush piles Eastham work squads would clear the next day.)

Word that the break would take place the following morning reached the two other prisoners who would take part–Henry Methvin, serving 10 years for robbery and attempted murder, and a killer named Hilton Bybee.

Tuesday January 16 dawned damp and chilly. A thick fog rising from the nearby Trinity River blanketed the countryside. South of camp 1, Parker, Barrow, and Mullens waited in a thickly wooded area Scissors-32x32.png Read More




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