Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Gary Krist: The Einstein of Crime

Perfect Crime

In the fall of 1968, Gary Krist searched methodically for the perfect victim for his perfect crime.

In his memoir, "Life," Krist claimed that he spent weeks in the Miami public library, poring over social registers and newspaper clippings to find a target. He winnowed a list of 100 possible victims to just 10, then eliminated those one by one until a single name was left: Barbara Jane Mackle.

Barbara Jane Mackle
Barbara Jane Mackle

Her father, Robert Mackle, 57, co-owned the Deltona Corp., a pioneer of planned communities in Florida, with his brothers Elliott and Frank Jr.

Logo: Deltona Corp.
Logo: Deltona Corp.

Frank Mackle Sr. had developed Key Biscayne as cheap housing for returning soldiers in the 1950s. The modest $10,000 houses became known as "Mackles."

Frank Sr.'s sons replicated his success on Key Biscayne with community development projects across the Sunshine State, including Deltona, now a city outside Orlando with 75,000 residents; Spring Hill and Citrus Springs, north of Tampa; St. Augustine Shores on Florida's northeast coast; Sunny Hills, near Panama City, and the ritzy Marco Island, south of Fort Myers.

The Mackle brothers had become players in politics when Richard Nixon bought a modest "Mackle" on Key Biscayne that later became the unofficial winter White House.

Robert Mackle forged a friendship with both Nixon and his Key Biscayne neighbor and advisor, Bebe Rebozo.

Bebe Rebozo (left) & President Nixon
Bebe Rebozo (left) & President Nixon

Krist learned that Robert Mackle lived with his family in a mansion on a golf course at 4111 San Amaro Drive in Coral Gables, south of Miami. He and his wife, Jane, had two children, Robert Jr., 24, and Barbara, 20.

Krist's research revealed that Barbara, a tall brunette, was a junior coed at Emory University in Atlanta.

Emory University campus
Emory University campus

A newspaper profile of Mackle placed the value of his firm at $65 million.

Gary Krist didn't want all of Mackle's money. Just $500,000 of it.

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