Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

Author:David Grann
Language: eng
Format: epub, mobi
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Published: 2017-04-17T16:00:00+00:00

As White and his men worked to corroborate the details in Lawson’s confession, they felt a growing urgency to get Hale and his nephews off the streets. The attorney and guardian Comstock, who White no longer doubted was helping investigators by persuading witnesses to talk, had begun to receive threats to his life. He was now sleeping in his office, in downtown Pawhuska, with his .44-caliber English Bulldog by his side. “Once, when he went to open the window, he found sticks of dynamite behind the curtain,” a relative recalled. He was able to dispose of them. But, the relative added, “Hale and his bunch were determined to kill him.”

White was also very concerned about the fate of Mollie Burkhart. Although White had received reports that she was sick with diabetes, he was suspicious. Hale had successfully arranged, corpse by corpse, for Mollie to inherit the majority of her family members’ wealth. Yet the plot seemed unfinished. Hale had access to Mollie’s fortune through Ernest, but his nephew did not yet directly control it, and would do so only if Mollie died and bequeathed it to him. A servant in Mollie’s house had told an agent that one night Ernest had muttered to her while drunk that he was afraid something would happen to Mollie. Even Ernest seemed terrified of the plan’s inevitable denouement.

John Wren, the Ute agent, had recently spoken to Mollie’s priest, who said that she had stopped coming to church, which was unlike her, and that he had heard she was being forcibly kept away by family members. The priest was sufficiently alarmed that he had broken the tenet of parishioner confidentiality. Soon after, the priest reported that he had received a secret message from Mollie: she was afraid that someone was trying to poison her. Given that poisoned whiskey had been one of the killers’ preferred methods, the priest sent word back warning Mollie “not to drink any liquor of any kind under any circumstances.”

But Mollie’s diabetes seemed to have provided an even more devious way to deliver the poison. Some of the town’s doctors, including the Shoun brothers, had been giving her injections of what was supposed to be insulin, but instead of improving, Mollie seemed to be getting worse. Government officials working for the Office of Indian Affairs were also concerned that Mollie was slowly being poisoned. A Justice Department official had noted that her “illness is very suspicious, to say the least.” It was urgent, the official went on, to “get this patient to some reputable hospital for diagnosis and treatment free from the interference of her husband.”

By the end of December 1925, White felt that he could no longer wait. He had not finished confirming many details in Lawson’s confession, and there remained certain contradictions. In addition to Lawson having made mention of Kirby, he had insisted that Hale was in Fairfax at the time of the explosion rather than in Fort Worth with Grammer, as some witnesses had claimed. Nevertheless, White


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