A Look Back at the 1983 KFC Massacre

Ghost Town


It was one of the most infamous crimes ever committed in east texas. Five people kidnapped from kilgore. Kfc then shot to death now. Thirty five years later. One of the men convicted could soon be set free on september twenty third. Nineteen eighty-three kim. Tyler stopped by kilgore texas. Kfc or and eleven pm to see for mom. Mary was still working to her shock. She found the restaurants door open and blood covering the floor. Kim ran out screaming. This begins one of the most mysterious texas mass slayings and as you can imagine. There are a lot of texas mortars. Today we're gonna talk about the infamous kentucky fried chicken murders so like we said on september twenty third. Nineteen eighty-three mary. Tyler was thirty seven. Opie hughes thirty nine. And joey johnson twenty or on-duty at the kfc and kilgore david maxwell twenty one employees at the restaurant who was off duty and just kind of hanging out and monty landers only nineteen was a friend of theirs and they were both there to visit with joey. The restaurant was about to close. It was likely around eight or nine pm in this two hour between eight or nine. Pm and eleven pm. When kim tyler found the blood inside the restaurant something terrible happened the next day. Five bodies were found by an oilfield worker off county road to thirty two four. Were shot point blank in the head. Their bodies were all pointing north. The fifth was found a ways later one of the women who was assaulted and facing a different direction. Obviously the town was shocked. Close-knit everything you'd think of conservative. Leaning as the police started investigating they started putting some of the pieces together. But since the murders happened between county. Lines ruskin greg counties. It meant it was already a contentious investigation. You'd think about an investigation anyway especially at this time. Nineteen eighty-three probably didn't get all the evidence. Maybe not as thorough as they would have liked and so this complicated things even more soon. The texas rangers also be involved appointed by the department of public safety to keep the case. Organiz sensing the tension between the two different counties. Two cousins from tyler. Romeo pinkerton darnell hartsfield became suspects just weeks after the killings but joe records at the time falsely indicated. The men might have been in jail at the time throwing the cops off their sent though. Hundreds of tips poured in more than a decade. When by before rusk county grand jury began meeting to an indictment in april nineteen ninety-five. The grand jury charged. James earl mankins junior. The son of texas representative with five counts of capital murder. Mankins who had conflicted pass to say the least and his wife deborah who also became a suspect had tied to the scene. There was a fingernail found on the victim's clothing and mankins was missing the same looking fingernail and the to fit while he was charged with the murders he was later released after beginning of pretrial proceedings due to a lack of conclusive

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