Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Biloxi Confidential

The Gypsy Camp Murder

The trail of blood that followed Nix nearly everywhere he went didn't end with the shooting of the Pussers. He was just warming up. On February 18, 1969, just before Mardi Gras, four heavily armed men in military fatigues and facial disguises raided a trailer camp north of New Orleans, in Covington, Louisiana. The camp's residents, a group of self-styled Gypsies, ran a carnival and were reported to have large sums of cash on the premises.

The masked and armed gunmen shackled the camp's residents and plundered their safes, taking a reported $12,000 in cash and jewels. Margie George, the 44-year-old "Gypsy Queen," however, refused to cooperate. When she stubbornly declined to divulge the combination to her safe, one of the attackers split her skull open with a hatchet. Another one of the raiders shot her in what was left of her head with a .45. The assailants then made off with their haul.

Two days later, police were questioning a friend of Nix's, Bobby Gail Gwinn. He denied taking part in the camp attack but admitted that he, Nix, and three other men with criminal records had been in the vicinity, taking target practice at a nearby dump. Investigators found bullet casings at the dump that matched those recovered from the gypsy camp. Warrants were issued for five men, including Nix, and all but he were arrested shortly afterward.

Nix decided, instead, to voluntarily surrender to authorities in Georgia on lesser charges lodged against him there. By refusing to waive extradition to Louisiana, he was assured of not standing trial there during the period of his incarceration in Georgia. While Nix was in jail, Gwinn was murdered and the state lost its star witness. The man suspected of killing Gwinn was killed, himself, two years later. Without stronger evidence and no corroborating eyewitnesses to the Margie George murder, the state's case fell apart. In the fall of 1970 Nix was out of jail in Georgia and free and clear of any charges in the gypsy camp murder.

He might have quit there, but the urge to continue his lawless ways was apparently too strong to resist. Less than a year later, Nix's string of good luck ran out. In gangster parlance, "he got sloppy," and it cost him his freedom — and very nearly his life. 

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