Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Greenlease Kidnapping

Bonnie and Carl

By May 1951 Hall had turned to crime to support his lifestyle, which at that point amounted to a daily fifth of whiskey and a nightly flop on skid row. He was arrested that month in Milwaukee for vagrancy and fraud. Penniless, he had tried to sell a car he did not own.

He made his way back to Kansas City that summer, bought a Saturday Night Special and embarked on a series of taxicab robberies notable only because they were so pathetic. He grabbed a grand total of $33 in eight robberies before being collared on September 16.

He pleaded guilty to two stickups and was sent up the river on a five-year sentence that lasted a year and three months. He was released on April 24, 1953, thanks in part to the work of Bernard Patton, a St. Joseph attorney who had done legal work for Hall on his various business enterprises.

Patton found Hall a St. Joe apartment for $50 a month, then he secured his former clients release by arranging a job as a salesman at an auto dealership. When Hall was fired for drinking, Patton scrounged up a second used-car job. Again he was fired, and again Patton came through, finding Hall a job selling life insurance.

He sold one policy. His client was Bonnie Heady, the woman he picked up at the Pony Express in St. Joe.

Heady was born Bonnie Brown in 1912 on a Missouri farm. Her mother died young, and she was raised by an aunt, who later described the child as happy, carefree, normal and sweet.

Like Hall, Bonnie tried college but dropped out and married Vernon Heady, a livestock merchant at the St. Joe Stockyards. They had a 17-year childless marriage that had the appearance of respectability. The couple bred and showed pedigreed boxer dogs. Bonnie became an accomplished horsewoman, frequently riding in St. Joe parades.

She inherited a 360-acre family farm when her father died, and she earned a decent monthly income by renting the place to a tenant farmer.

Over time, Vernon Heady noticed that Bonnie, a social drinker, was becoming a serious drinker. She imbibed at home alone with increasing frequency and lost interest in her passions, horses and boxer dogs.

The marriage came to an acrimonious end in 1950. Bonnie got the couples house in St. Joe, and a man of questionable reputation moved in while Vernons side of the bed was still warm. The man flattered Bonnie about her lovemaking skills, convincing her she should put those skills to capitalistic use.

Bonnie and the man remodeled a spare bedroom into a sexy barroom, with dim lighting, a comfortable sofa, a liquor cabinet and nudie pictures on the walls. Soon St. Joe cabbies were delivering lonely men to Bonnie Headys boudoir bar for private sexual consultations. She estimated that she serviced 150 different sexual clients over a couple of years.

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