Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Ken McElroy

A Mysterious Shooting

When the case finally came to trial, McFadin outmatched a newly elected district attorney in her first serious felony trial.

Henry testified that McElroy was the man who shot him, and two neighbors said they saw the suspect speed away from the scene just after the shooting. But McFadin came up with two witnesses, both coon hunters, who said they were with McElroy far from the Henry farm at the hour of the shooting. The jury voted to acquit—unanimously siding with McElroy over the word of a victim who looked his attacker in the eye from four feet away.

Jaws dropped in Skidmore over the verdict. McElroy went around town bragging that he might as well have killed Henry. A couple of months later, Henry was on his tractor during the fall harvest when he saw a truck parked at the edge of the field he was working. As he got closer, he could see it was McElroy's truck. His bulky figure stood crouched over a gate. He was holding a rifle, pointing it at the tractor. Even over the diesel engine noise, Henry heard the report of a gunshot. McElroy strolled to his truck, pegged the weapon in its rifle rack and drove off. McElroy had delivered his closing statement to Henry.

There was no retaliation against McElroy by townspeople in the Henry shooting. Henry was a married man with three children. Gossip went around that the mysterious shooting had to do with a woman, which is still believed to this day.

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