The Moonlight Murderer

The Moonlight Murderer or, more commonly, the Phantom, was a serial killer that operated in Texarkana, Texas between February 23 and May 4 of 1946. Full Story
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Hellcat

Broken Arrow, OK

#1 Jun 2, 2009
Never have heard the phantom killer being called the moonlight murderer before.

Since: Feb 09

Location hidden

#2 Jun 3, 2009
That article was horribly written.

Where exactly did the first victims (Hollis and Larey) get assaulted? I always heard it was "Up Richmond road where Lovers Lane used to be." Lotta help that is...

What about the house the Starks were shot in? Where's that?

someone post a google map with the locations on it.
Wounded

AOL

#3 Jun 3, 2009
TXSBoy wrote:
That article was horribly written.
Where exactly did the first victims (Hollis and Larey) get assaulted? I always heard it was "Up Richmond road where Lovers Lane used to be." Lotta help that is...
What about the house the Starks were shot in? Where's that?
someone post a google map with the locations on it.
You post it smart azz!!
The Lurker

Texarkana, TX

#4 Jun 3, 2009
Not well written and riddled with inaccuracies.

The most glaring is that the article says the chief suspect was released for lack of evidence. Youell Swinney, who almost certainly was the Phantom Killer, was not released. He was prosecuted on car theft and sent away for life under the three felonies rule in Texas at the time. In the 1970s he was released when an earlier conviction was overturned, but went right back to prison a year later on another charge. He died in Dallas of Alzheimers.

The moonlight murderer was one of many nicknames for the killer in those days. The Phantom Killer has stuck through the years, but it wasn't the only one.

Since: Feb 09

Location hidden

#5 Jun 3, 2009
Wounded wrote:
<quoted text>
You post it smart azz!!
creepy....
imissmyhometown

Hanford, CA

#6 Jun 3, 2009
Very creepy! I remember when we rented the movie from Blockbuster... I heard he was never caught, is that true?

Since: Jun 09

Hanford, CA

#7 Jun 3, 2009
The that dreaded SUNDOWN!!!

Since: Jun 09

Hanford, CA

#8 Jun 3, 2009
OOps that is "the town that dreaded sundown" LOL
The Lurker

Texarkana, TX

#9 Jun 4, 2009
Youell Swinney was almost certainly the Phantom Killer. His wife, who was with him when he killed Booker/Martin, led police to evidence that Swinney had dumped after the killings. She gave details only someone at the scene could know. But she could not testify against her husband under the law at the time.

The police and prosecutor didn't have enough to go to trial, but they did have Swinney on a stolen car charge, which was why he and his wife had been arrested in the first place. Since that was Swinney's third felony, it meant a life sentence.

In the 70s, Swinney appealed an earlier conviction - Judge Jack Carter was his court appointed attorney - and won. He was released. He went back in within a year for counterfeiting.

He died in 1994 in a Dallas nursing home, suffering from dementia.

Chancees are, though, that Swinney did not kill Virgil Starks and shoot Starks' wife. That was most likely unrelated to the Phantom killings, though it was lumped in with them since it happened at the same time.

Since: Feb 09

Location hidden

#10 Jun 4, 2009
Anyone know exactly where thee killings took place?
The Lurker

Texarkana, TX

#11 Jun 4, 2009
The place where Mary Jeanne Larey and Jimmy Hollis were attacked is now Central Mall. Specifically, the front parking lot near the main sign. They both survived the attack. This was outside the city limits and wooded at the time.

Richard Grffin and Polly Ann Moore were found in his car on South Robinson Road. The location was just off Highway 67 (7th street), not far from where Club Dallas was then located. Again, outside the city and wooded.

Paul Martin's car was found in Spring Lake Park. But his body was found in a drainage ditch on the south side of Cork lane, just past where North Park Road turns off to go to the Northridge area, roughly where the Boots and Saddle arena is now.
Betty Jo Booker was found west of Summerhill Road. If you travel west on Moores Lane past Commercial National and turn left on Fernwood, the body was found about 1/4 of a mile down the road on the left in what were woods. The body was found not far from the road and, according to crime scene photos, was fully clothed and wearing an overcoat.

The Starks farm was on Highway 67, past the Electric Cowboy and a few miles out.
Hellcat

Broken Arrow, OK

#12 Jun 4, 2009
The Lurker wrote:
Chancees are, though, that Swinney did not kill Virgil Starks and shoot Starks' wife. That was most likely unrelated to the Phantom killings, though it was lumped in with them since it happened at the same time.
And it was officially never solved, I guess.
Hellcat

Broken Arrow, OK

#13 Jun 4, 2009
The Lurker wrote:
The place where Mary Jeanne Larey and Jimmy Hollis were attacked is now Central Mall. Specifically, the front parking lot near the main sign. They both survived the attack. This was outside the city limits and wooded at the time.
Richard Grffin and Polly Ann Moore were found in his car on South Robinson Road. The location was just off Highway 67 (7th street), not far from where Club Dallas was then located. Again, outside the city and wooded.
Paul Martin's car was found in Spring Lake Park. But his body was found in a drainage ditch on the south side of Cork lane, just past where North Park Road turns off to go to the Northridge area, roughly where the Boots and Saddle arena is now.
Betty Jo Booker was found west of Summerhill Road. If you travel west on Moores Lane past Commercial National and turn left on Fernwood, the body was found about 1/4 of a mile down the road on the left in what were woods. The body was found not far from the road and, according to crime scene photos, was fully clothed and wearing an overcoat.
The Starks farm was on Highway 67, past the Electric Cowboy and a few miles out.
That is so interesting. Thank you for sharing your knowledge of this historical case with us.

I am looking for it to be in the Gazette's Texarkana top 10 events.

Since: Nov 07

AOL

#14 Jun 4, 2009
The Lurker wrote:
Not well written and riddled with inaccuracies.
The most glaring is that the article says the chief suspect was released for lack of evidence. Youell Swinney, who almost certainly was the Phantom Killer, was not released. He was prosecuted on car theft and sent away for life under the three felonies rule in Texas at the time. In the 1970s he was released when an earlier conviction was overturned, but went right back to prison a year later on another charge. He died in Dallas of Alzheimers.
The moonlight murderer was one of many nicknames for the killer in those days. The Phantom Killer has stuck through the years, but it wasn't the only one.
Yep, you are very close to right.

Since: Feb 09

Location hidden

#15 Jun 5, 2009
The Lurker wrote:
The place where Mary Jeanne Larey and Jimmy Hollis were attacked is now Central Mall. Specifically, the front parking lot near the main sign. They both survived the attack. This was outside the city limits and wooded at the time.
Richard Grffin and Polly Ann Moore were found in his car on South Robinson Road. The location was just off Highway 67 (7th street), not far from where Club Dallas was then located. Again, outside the city and wooded.
Paul Martin's car was found in Spring Lake Park. But his body was found in a drainage ditch on the south side of Cork lane, just past where North Park Road turns off to go to the Northridge area, roughly where the Boots and Saddle arena is now.
Betty Jo Booker was found west of Summerhill Road. If you travel west on Moores Lane past Commercial National and turn left on Fernwood, the body was found about 1/4 of a mile down the road on the left in what were woods. The body was found not far from the road and, according to crime scene photos, was fully clothed and wearing an overcoat.
The Starks farm was on Highway 67, past the Electric Cowboy and a few miles out.
Cool, now all I have to do is find a route on google maps and plan next halloween.

Since: Nov 07

AOL

#16 Jun 8, 2009
The Lurker wrote:
The place where Mary Jeanne Larey and Jimmy Hollis were attacked is now Central Mall. Specifically, the front parking lot near the main sign. They both survived the attack. This was outside the city limits and wooded at the time.
Richard Grffin and Polly Ann Moore were found in his car on South Robinson Road. The location was just off Highway 67 (7th street), not far from where Club Dallas was then located. Again, outside the city and wooded.
Paul Martin's car was found in Spring Lake Park. But his body was found in a drainage ditch on the south side of Cork lane, just past where North Park Road turns off to go to the Northridge area, roughly where the Boots and Saddle arena is now.
Betty Jo Booker was found west of Summerhill Road. If you travel west on Moores Lane past Commercial National and turn left on Fernwood, the body was found about 1/4 of a mile down the road on the left in what were woods. The body was found not far from the road and, according to crime scene photos, was fully clothed and wearing an overcoat.
The Starks farm was on Highway 67, past the Electric Cowboy and a few miles out.
Are you old enough to have fished in Cork`s Lake that was on the Dairy??
Hellcat

Broken Arrow, OK

#17 Jun 9, 2009
I thought the article in the Gazette today was pretty much spot on.
WhatsWrongWithPe ople

Texarkana, AR

#18 Jun 11, 2009
Just a long shot question here...

Does any body know the name of one of
Suspects in the case....
A feed store owner in Texarkana?

The report I read didn't say any reason
For discounting him. Such as latent prints
Not matching or anything.

Just curious, I know of a family that did
Have a feed store many years ago.

Since: Jun 09

Scrotum, Idaho

#19 Jun 20, 2009
It was also a pretty big deal when Charles B. Pierce filmed "The Town That Dreaded Sundown" in Texarkana in the late 1970s.

The killer's face was never shown - the camera would occasionally fast focus on some work boots that the killer was supposedly wearing.

One of the last scenes of the movie shows a line of people waiting to actually see the movie in the current time in front of what is now the Perot Theater. The camera did a very fast closeup - and there in the line were the work boots of the killer that were shown thoughout the movie!

Seeing that movie in Texarkana - it was IMPOSSIBLE not to quickly look back over your shoulder while there in the theater.

WhatsWrongWithPe ople

United States

#20 Jun 21, 2009
I have yet to see the movie. Tried renting it years back and not
One rental store had it. Seems they were never returned
To the store. Ha. Must have been a great movie to pay outragious
Late fees back then. Any body know where I can find one now?

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