Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Homicidal Irony That Shadowed Jesse Hill Ford

The Tragic Shooting of George Doaks

George Henry Doaks, 21, was a private in the United States Army. On leave in his hometown of Humboldt, he was driving his car with his second cousin, Allie Andrews, 16, and the one-year-old she was babysitting. The trio were on the outskirts of the town. Exactly what the group was doing is a matter of dispute. Many people have speculated that George and Allie were planning a romantic interlude.

George Henry Doaks
George Henry Doaks
Allie insisted that she and her second cousin had no such relationship. They had just been at a dairy bar. On their way home, George got lost. Trying to re-orient himself, he parked on a lane near the Ford driveway.

While the reason George's car was on Ford's property may be disputed, it is known that he was unarmed.

In an odd coincidence, Allie was also a cousin of Dorothy Claybrook.

Sally heard the car drive up and peeked out a window. It was neither Charles nor anyone Sally knew. She woke Jesse up. He looked out the window and was alarmed. Jesse later said he thought it was someone who wanted to attack Charles. Sally called the police to report the trespassers.

Allie Andrews
Allie Andrews
Rifle in hand, Jesse ran out of his house. He fired a warning shot into the air. Then, hitting the the car with the butt of his rifle, Jesse shouted, "You're under arrest! My wife has called the police."

George started his car.

When Jesse saw the car begin to move, he fired again. He claimed that he only meant to shoot out the back window of the vehicle. Jesse believed that if Charles were to drive up, the car "was in a perfect position for an ambush."

The Canterfield Estate
The Canterfield Estate
Later Jesse recalled the confusion of that moment, "The lights [of the car] were still on, you know, and the motor was still running, but there wasn't a sound. I thought, 'Oh, my God - there's something wrong. Something's happened."

The passenger side of the door opened. Holding the baby in her arms, Allie ran down the side of the road.

According to the Life article, Jesse returned to his house and told his wife, "I think I just shot somebody."

Police and an ambulance soon arrived.

A police officer asked Jesse, "Did you shoot at them?"

"Yes," he replied. "Didn't anybody get hurt down there, did they?"

The officer answered, "Looks like that fellow is in pretty bad shape."

"Oh, my God," Jesse moaned.

"Something" had indeed happened. That something was the death of George Doaks Jr. who was killed instantly by a shot to the head.

Imprisoned in Irony states that Jesse was not tested that night for alcohol or drugs, such as methamphetamines, that might have impaired his judgment.

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