In Broad Daylight: A Murder in Skidmore, Missouri
Harry N. MacLean
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FOR TEN YEARS, HE TERRORIZED THEM WITHOUT MERCY…
Ken McElroy robbed, raped, burned, shot, and maimed the citizens of Skidmore, Missouri, without conscience or remorse. Again and again, the law had failed to stop him.
UNTIL THEY TOOK JUSTICE INTO THEIR OWN HANDS.
On July 10, 1981, Ken was shot to death on the main street of this small farming community. Forty-five people watched. No indictments were ever issued, no trial held…and the town of Skidmore protected the killers with silence. With this powerful, true-life account, Edgar Award-winning author Harry N. MacLean reveals what drove a community of everyday American citizens to commit murder…
IN BROAD DAYLIGHT
families—were each represented by at least one member. Left out was Red Smith, who was stuck behind the bar at the tavern, as usual. The gathering soon became rowdy as some men went over the past failures of the law, others talked about the caravan of McElroy trucks and the time the machine gun was hanging in his rear window, and a few suggested various other ways—some of them violent—of dealing with Ken McElroy. Finally, Pete Ward stepped forward and took the floor. “No guns,” he said
fixed up the big house with new windows, a new roof, and a paint job, making it one of the more attractive places in town. Bo loved to spend spring and summer evenings in the large garden behind the house, tending to his corn, tomatoes, squash, and beans. Fishing was his other love, and he knew many of the ponds and rivers in Nodaway County. For her part, when the work day was done, Lois preferred to sit on the porch drinking coffee and chatting with Evelyn Sumy, her neighbor from across the
make out a large form behind the wheel. As she slowed, the Dodge slowed, staying about ten yards behind her. When she turned into her drive, the Dodge slowed almost to a stop, but when she got to the house and looked back, the truck was gone. McElroy let almost a full month pass before visiting the Bowenkamps again, just long enough for them to begin to relax and think maybe the trouble was over. On May 29, Bo and Lois arrived home from the store a few minutes after six and ate a light supper.
in the eye. “And we want you off it.” McElroy flushed. “Nobody tells me what to do,” he replied in a low, taut voice. He turned away from Bo and walked over to the drive beside the tavern where the four boys lounged in clear view of the loading dock. Handing the boys a $5 bill, McElroy told them to go inside the tavern and get something to drink. Then he turned and walked back to the loading dock. Bo had stepped back into the store to retrieve the knife and finish cutting up the cardboard
McElroy got out and walked to the front of his truck. When he pointed the gun at the front door of the grocery store, the customer figured that McElroy was going to blow the place to pieces. McElroy stood there for about five minutes, got back in his truck, and pulled out, heading south. The other three trucks fell in behind him. The pressure began to wear on Bo and Lois. Business at the store continued to drop off; as long as McElroy’s truck was parked near the store, nobody would come in.