Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Ken McElroy

Murder in Broad Daylight

Shortly, McElroy decided it was time to go. He got a six-pack for the road and gestured Trena toward the door. Most of the men followed him outside, joining some who had not gone into the bar. In all, 45 potential witnesses were on the scene.


Trena climbed in the passenger seat of the Chevy Silverado, and with some effort McElroy hoisted his 250 pounds behind the wheel.

Witnesses said the corners of McElroy's mouth curled into a defiant smile as he sat there. He theatrically withdrew a Camel and put it to his lips. He did not get a chance to light it.

Two rifle shots rang out from the left, followed by four more from the rear, and perhaps others from directions unknown. Some men hit the ground. A few ran.

Trena, with blood splattered on her clothing, scrambled out of the truck screaming. One of the men hustled her to safety.

In Broad Daylight
In Broad Daylight

Sheriff Estes heard the radio call for a shooting in Skidmore and hurried back to town to find McElroy dead. He could see that the new Chevy bore bullet holes from several guns.

It was a murder in broad daylight on a small-town Main Street that was witnessed by up to four dozen people. But the sheriff soon learned that nobody saw a thing, even the men Trena McElroy said were standing just a few steps away when the shooting began.

Skidmore citizens bid good riddance.

Alice at Ken's gravesite
Alice at Ken's gravesite

The postmaster, Jim Hartman, said McElroy's killers should get a medal, not a noose. He likened them to the inventors of penicillin. "Nobody tried to hang them for finding a way to kill a germ," Hartman said.

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