Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Ken McElroy

The Last Straw

After beating 22 criminal raps, McElroy finally had been convicted of assault for shooting a 70-year-old grocer whom he had terrorized for months. He was sentenced to two years in prison, but Skidmore was shocked when McElroy was in town just hours after the conviction—freed on bail during a 21-day appeal reprieve.

McElroy had walked into the D&G Tavern brandishing an assault rifle. He ordered a beer and began muttering threats about finishing off the grocer. That was the last straw—the event that prompted townsfolk to convene the Legion meeting.

McElroy was back at the D&G while the meeting was being held down the street. He parked his fat rear end on a stool beside his wife, Trena—the former 13-year-old—and ordered a redneck breakfast: beer, Camel cigarettes, Rolaids.

McElroy achieved his goal that morning. The crowd inside the Legion Hall tittered with the news that he was in town.

As the session broke up, the sheriff pulled out, headed back toward his office in the Nodaway County seat of Maryville, 15 miles north. The Legion crowd walked down Main Street to the D&G, and about 30 went inside, including men who had never been in the bar before. Some ordered a beer or soda. Most simply stood and stared.

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