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Sharon Elizabeth KINNE






A.K.A.: "La Pistolera" ("the gunfighter")
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: She was one of the most remarkable criminals in U.S. history. A housewife, she turned cold-blooded killer. In 1969 she escaped from a Mexican prison and disappeared without a trace
Number of victims: 3
Date of murders: 1960 / 1964
Date of arrest: September 18, 1964
Date of birth: November 30, 1939
Victims profile: James Kinne, 25 (her husband) / Patricia Jones, 23 (wife of Kinne's boyfriend) / Francisco Paredes Ordoñez
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Missouri, USA / Mexico City, Mexico
Status: Kinne was convicted in October 1965 of the Mexican crimes and sentenced to ten years in prison. Escaped from the Mexican prison on December 7, 1969. Despite extensive manhunts, her whereabouts are unknown.
photo gallery

Sharon Elizabeth Kinne (born Sharon Elizabeth Hall, November 30, 1939), known in Mexico as La Pistolera, is an American murderer who is the subject of the longest currently outstanding arrest warrant for murder in the history of Kansas City, Missouri; and one of the longest outstanding felony warrants in American history.

Her case is the subject of the Investigation Discovery series A Crime to Remember episode "Luck Be a Lady" (Season 4 Episode 2, 2016).

In 1960, Kinne was associated with two mysterious deaths. On March 19 of that year, her husband, James Kinne, was found shot in the head with the couple's two-year-old daughter playing nearby. Sharon Kinne claimed that the little girl, who had often been allowed to play with her father's guns, had accidentally shot him, and police were initially unable to disprove this theory.

The case was closed as an accidental death and remained that way until the evening of May 27, when the body of twenty-three-year-old Patricia Jones, a local file clerk, was found by Kinne and a boyfriend in a secluded area.

Investigation showed that Jones had been the wife of another of Kinne's boyfriends, and that Jones's husband had tried to break off his affair with Kinne shortly before Patricia Jones went missing. When Kinne admitted to having been the last person to speak to Patricia Jones, she was charged with Jones's death and, upon further investigation of his death, with the murder of James Kinne.

Kinne went to trial for the murder of Patricia Jones in June 1961 and was acquitted. A January 1962 trial on charges of murdering her husband ended in conviction and a sentence of life in prison, but the verdict was overturned because of procedural irregularities.

The case went to a second trial, which ended within days in a mistrial. A third trial on the charge of murdering her husband ended in a hung jury in July 1964. Kinne was released on bond following the third trial and subsequently traveled to Mexico before a scheduled fourth trial could be held in October 1964.

In Mexico, Kinne and her traveling companion, Francis Puglise, were soon caught up in another criminal case when Kinne, claiming to have been acting in self-defense, shot and killed a Mexican-born American citizen named Francisco Parades Ordoñez, who she claimed attempted to rape her. An employee of the hotel in which the shooting occurred, responding to the sound of gunshots, was also wounded but survived.

Investigation into the shootings showed that Ordoñez was shot with the same weapon that killed Patricia Jones. Kinne was convicted in October 1965 of the Mexican crimes and sentenced to ten years in prison, later lengthened to thirteen years after judicial review. Kinne escaped from the Mexican prison in December 1969. Despite extensive manhunts, her whereabouts are unknown.

Early life and marriage

Sharon Elizabeth Hall was born in on November 30, 1939, in Independence, Missouri. When she was in junior high, Doris and Eugene Hall moved the family to Washington, but by the time Sharon was fifteen they had returned to Missouri, where Sharon attended William Chrisman High School.

Sixteen-year-old Sharon met twenty-two-year-old college student James Kinne at a church function in the summer of 1956, and the couple dated regularly until Kinne returned to Brigham Young University in the fall. Sharon, reportedly deeply interested in finding a partner with prospects and who could take her away from Independence, soon wrote a letter to Kinne at school informing him that she was pregnant by him.

Kinne took leave from his college and returned to Independence, where he married Sharon on October 18, 1956. The couple's marriage license identified sixteen-year-old Sharon as being eighteen and a widow; though she later refused to address the assertion, Sharon told people at the time that she had been married when she lived in Washington, to a man who later died in a car accident. The new couple held a second, more formal wedding the next year in the Salt Lake Temple, after Sharon had completed the process of converting to Mormonism.

After their wedding, the couple returned to Provo, Utah, where Kinne had been attending college, but at the end of the fall semester, Kinne again put his studies on hold. He and his new wife returned to Independence, where both took jobs—Sharon, babysitting and tending shops, and James as an electrical engineer at Bendix Aviation. Although Sharon claimed to have miscarried the child that had brought about their marriage, she soon became pregnant again. In the fall of 1957, she gave birth to a girl they named Danna.

Sharon was reportedly a free spender who expected finer things out of life, but on Kinne's salary they lived first in a rented home next to his parents and then in a ranch-style house they had built at 17009 E. 26th Terrace in Independence. Kinne worked the night shift at the Bendix, and his wife initially filled her days first with shopping and later with other men. By the time the couple had a second child, Troy, Sharon was carrying on a regular affair with a friend from her high school days, John Boldizs.

By early 1960, James Kinne was contemplating divorce, partially because of his wife's spendthrift habits and partially because he strongly suspected she was being unfaithful to him. He spoke to his parents about the possibility of divorce on March 18, 1960, telling them that Sharon had agreed to give him a divorce if he allowed her to keep the house and the couple's daughter and paid her $1,000, but the elder Kinnes, devout Mormons, urged James to stay in his marriage. Sharon, too, was thinking about ways out of the marriage; according to John Boldizs, she once offered him $1,000 to kill her husband or find someone who would, although he later claimed that she may have been joking.

1960 deaths

James Kinne

According to Sharon Kinne, at around 5:30 p.m. on the evening of March 19 she heard a gunshot from the direction of the bedroom in which her husband was sleeping. Entering the room, she found two-and-a-half-year-old Danna on the bed next to her father. Danna was holding one of James's guns, a .22 caliber Hi-Standard semi-automatic target pistol, and James was bleeding from an apparent gunshot wound in the back of his head. Kinne called the police, but James Kinne was dead by the time the ambulance carrying him arrived at the hospital.

Police were unable to recover any fingerprints from the well-oiled grip of the pistol, and a paraffin test for gunshot residue was not performed on Danna or Sharon Kinne. Multiple people, including family and neighbors, told police that James had often allowed Danna to play with his guns, and in a test by investigating officers, Danna proved able to pull the trigger on a gun matching the one that had killed her father. With no evidence to the contrary, investigators ruled the case an accidental homicide.

The pistol that killed James Kinne was taken into police custody and never returned to the widow, despite her efforts to reclaim it; she later had a male friend secretly buy her a .22 caliber automatic pistol. When the friend told her that he had registered the gun in her name, she requested that he re-register it under a name other than hers.

With the investigation into his death closed, James Kinne was buried and his wife collected on his life insurance policies, valued at about $29,000.

Patricia Jones

Patricia Jones was born Patricia Clements, one of six children born to Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Clements of St. Joseph, Missouri. After graduating from a local high school, she married Walter T. Jones, Jr., her high school sweetheart. Walter Jones enlisted in the Marine Corps shortly after their marriage, and the couple relocated to the west coast while Jones served. After his discharge from the military, they returned to the midwest and settled in Independence with their two children. By 1960, almost five years into the marriage, Patricia was working as a file clerk for the Internal Revenue Service, while her husband sold cars.

Despite his marriage and children, Walter Jones reportedly had a wandering eye. On April 18, he met Sharon Kinne when she bought a Ford Thunderbird from his dealership using some of the insurance payout from her husband's death, and the two began an affair shortly thereafter. Kinne viewed him as a prospect for a second husband, but Jones was uninterested in leaving his wife despite the rockiness of their relationship. When he declined to go on a trip to Washington with her in May, Kinne reluctantly went with her brother instead. Although the couple reunited on May 25, shortly after Kinne returned to Missouri, the relationship was quickly set on the rocks when Kinne told Jones that she was pregnant and he was the father of the baby. Jones, instead of responding with what Kinne expected to be an agreement to divorce his wife, ended the affair.

According to Kinne's later testimony, on the afternoon of May 26 she contacted Patricia Jones at Jones's office and told her that Walter Jones was having an affair with Kinne's sister. Kinne then met with Patricia Jones that evening to discuss the matter further before dropping her off near the Jones house.

Patricia Jones never made it to her house that evening, according to her husband. Walter Jones filed a missing persons report with police the next day and began calling people he thought might have seen his wife. He got a lead when he spoke to friends of Patricia's who carpooled to work with her. The friends told Jones that Patricia had reported receiving a phone call that day from an unnamed woman who wanted to meet with her. She had asked the carpool driver to drop her off at a street corner in Independence, which he had done. The occupants of the carpool had seen a woman waiting for Jones in another car at the shop but did not recognize her. They nevertheless provided a description of the unknown woman to Jones.

Suspicious of the identity of the unknown woman based on the carpoolers' general description, Walter Jones called Sharon Kinne and asked if she had seen or spoken to his wife. Kinne allowed that she had, indeed, seen Patricia that day; she had met her to tell her about Walter's affair.

According to Kinne, she last saw Patricia where she dropped her off near the Jones house, speaking to an unknown man in a green 1957 Ford. Based on Kinne's admission over the phone, Walter Jones met with her late Friday evening and insisted she give him more details about where his wife was; he later admitted to going so far as to hold a key to her throat threateningly. Kinne's response was, after leaving Jones, to call John Boldizs and ask him to help her search for Patricia Jones.

Shortly before midnight, and within hours of Kinne's conversation with Walter Jones, she and Boldizs had found the body of a woman in a secluded area approximately one mile outside of Independence. According to Boldizs, he had been the one to suggest searching the area in which they encountered the body; it was a spot to which they had often gone on dates before.

The body, dressed in a black sweater and yellow skirt, was soon identified as the missing Patricia Jones. Jones had been hit with four shots from a .22 caliber pistol. Although the fatal wound was a shot to Jones's head, entering near her mouth on an upward trajectory, she also had one through and through bullet wound to her abdomen and two penetrating gunshot wounds to her shoulders on a downward trajectory through her body. Powder burns on the hemline of her skirt, which had been raised to her waist, indicated that the gun had been fired from close range at least once. Initial reports and investigation placed Jones's time of death at approximately 9 p.m. on May 27.

She was buried on May 31.

Arrest and investigation

Investigators immediately began to question Sharon Kinne, James Boldizs, and Walter Jones. All three were questioned on May 28. Jones and Boldizs both gave written statements admitting to have been dating Sharon Kinne and both agreed to lie detector tests; Kinne gave an oral statement to police but declined to sign a written one or take a lie detector test.

Kinne was questioned again on the morning of May 30, and Boldizs on May 31. The scheduled polygraphs for the two men were performed on June 1, and both men were deemed to have been truthful in their statements. Kinne's brother Eugene was also questioned on May 31, but declined to answer questions.

While police questioned potential suspects and witnesses, other investigators focused on processing the crime scene. Repeated attempts were made to find the bullet that had passed through Jones's body and the murder weapon, including the sifting of dirt at the crime scene for bullets and the deployment of a troop of Boy Scouts to search for a gun.

A .22 caliber rifle slug was eventually found buried in the ground where Jones's body had been found, providing evidence that at least some of her wounds had been sustained at the place her body was found. Though investigators went so far as to drag the bottom of nearby bodies of water, the gun that had shot Jones—assumed to be a .22 caliber pistol—could not be found.

Buildings near where Jones's body had been located were also searched for blood and gunshot evidence, in accordance with police's theory that Jones had been attacked elsewhere and then transported outdoors. A "white, powdery substance" found in Jones's hair was initially believed to a trace evidence of some other crime scene area—an idea which fueled the search of nearby buildings—but was later determined to be fly eggs.

Kinne was arrested at her home for the murder around 11 p.m. on May 31, the same night as Patricia Jones's funeral. The same day, the Jackson County Sheriff requested that prosecutors consider a second charge of murder, this one for the death of James Kinne.

Kinne's lawyers, Alex Peebles and Martha Sperry Hickman, filed a writ of habeas corpus with the court the next morning, and a hearing that afternoon resulted in her release on $20,000 bond while she awaited a preliminary hearing originally scheduled for June 16.

Police were able to rule out the .22 caliber pistol that had killed Kinne's husband as the murder weapon in Jones's death; that gun was still in the possession of the sheriff's office. However, a man who worked with Kinne admitted to having secretly purchased a new .22 caliber pistol at her request in the beginning of May.

Police were unable to locate the gun in question when they searched Kinne's house, though they did find an empty box that they believed had once held a gun. Kinne at first claimed to investigators that she had lost the gun on a trip to Washington, then stated simply that the gun had disappeared.

Walter Jones was taken into custody on June 2 as a material witness to the case and was freed the same day on $2,000 bond.

The initial autopsy performed on Patricia Jones was criticized by police and prosecutors, who felt that the recovery of bullets and the testing of stomach contents should have been done. Dr. Hugh Owens, who had performed the autopsy, argued that he had recovered one of the presumed three bullets present in the body, and that because the body had been "prepared" by an undertaker prior to autopsy, any chemical tests on stomach contents would have been useless. Owens did add when asked that he had not seen any food apparent in the stomach at autopsy. The body of Patricia Jones was exhumed on June 17 in order to collect the bullets that had been left behind at the original autopsy, as well as to gather what samples of tissue and stomach contents were possible.

Kinne's arraignment on July 11 resulted in denial of bail, but the Kansas City Court of Appeals struck down the ruling days later based on the prosecution's reliance on circumstantial evidence. Kinne was freed on $24,000 (worth $188,976 in 2013 dollars) bond on July 18.

After a delay in her trial date due to her advanced pregnancy, Kinne gave birth to a daughter she named Marla Christine on January 16, 1961.

Trials for 1960 murders

Trial in the death of Patricia Jones (1961)

Though charged with both the murders of Patricia Jones and James Kinne, Sharon Kinne was tried separately for the two crimes. Her trial for the murder of Patricia Jones began in mid-June 1961, with jury selection beginning on or about June 13 and the trial commencing days later with an all-male jury.

Opening arguments by both prosecution and defense set up cases based on purported times of death. Basing their assertion on pathologist-given testimony that Jones had died about six hours after she ate lunch on May 26, the prosecution claimed that Jones had died more than 24 hours before Kinne and Boldizs found her body; defense attorneys argued that death had more likely occurred six to eight hours prior.

Prosecutor J. Arnott Hill cited testimony by Chief of Detectives Lieutenant Harry Nesbitt and by Patricia Jones's husband, Walter, as evidence of Kinne's motive for the crime: the detective recalled statements by Kinne that she was afraid Jones was drifting away from her despite the financial support she offered him, and Jones testified that Kinne had told him she was pregnant by him and he had thereafter attempted to end the relationship.

The prosecution was unable to firmly establish that Kinne owned or had once had the weapon that killed Jones, though both Kinne's known pistol and the one that fired the bullets that killed Jones were .22 caliber weapons. Roy Thrush, the man who sold the pistol to Kinne's coworker, had led police to a tree that contained what he claimed to be bullets he had fired from that pistol; however, when the bullets were extracted from the tree trunk, tests showed that the extracted bullets were not identifiable as having come from the weapon that killed Jones.

The prosecution rested its case on June 21 after calling 27 witnesses. Kinne's defense, which took less than two days and involved fourteen witnesses other than Kinne—who did not testify— focused on breaking down the State's claims of motive and means, arguing that Kinne had no reason to kill Jones and that the .22 caliber pistol she was alleged to have owned had not been proven to be the murder weapon.

After slightly over one and a half hours of deliberation, the jury, citing "just too many loopholes" left in the prosecution's case, found Kinne not guilty. Immediately after the delivery of the verdict, juror Ogden Stephens asked Kinne for her autograph, which she was photographed giving to him. Kinne was returned to jail the same day to await trial for the murder of her husband.

First trial in the death of James Kinne (1962)

Despite her acquittal in the case of the murder of Patricia Jones, Kinne remained under charges for the murder of her husband, James Kinne. When jury selection began on January 8, 1962, District Attorney J. Arnott Hill noted that he did not intend to pursue the death penalty in the case.

The prosecution's case rested largely on their contention that Kinne had been so interested in seeing her husband removed that she had been willing to pay for his murder, supported by the grand-jury testimony of John Boldizs. Boldizs, though nominally a witness for the prosecution, weakened his testimony on the stand during the trial by claiming that Kinne's offer to pay him $1,000 in return for James Kinne's murder could have been a joke, and Hill was forced to attack his own witness's credibility.

Further prosecution testimony alleged that the Kinne's marriage had been on the verge of dissolution at the time of James Kinne's death, that Sharon Kinne's adultery had been a cause of this, and that Sharon Kinne had known that she would collect her husband's $29,000 in life insurance policies only if she were still his wife.

The defense, led by attorneys Martha Hickman and James Patrick Quinn, focused on the circumstantial quality of the prosecution's evidence, noting that prior police investigation had determined James Kinne's death to be "obviously accidental" and that the jury was obligated to assume innocence on the defendant's part no matter how unpleasant they found her moral character to be. The defense, too, attacked the reliability of John Boldizs's testimony, calling him a "poor, mixed-up kid" who would "sign anything".

Kinne's attorneys also presented testimony from witnesses supporting the viability of the theory that Danna Kinne had shot her father, including statements that guns had been regularly left within Danna's reach at the family home, that Danna was able to pull the triggers on toy guns with stiffer trigger pulls than the weapon that caused Kinne's death, and that Danna had often been observed pretending to fire guns in play.

The trial ended in conviction on January 11 after five and a half hours of deliberation. In April of the same year, she was formally sentenced to life in prison. She began to serve her sentence in the Missouri Reformatory for Women.

Later interviews with jurors from the trial revealed that "three or four ballots" had been taken before the "guilty" verdict was reached, beginning with the jury solidly divided and moving progressively toward unanimity for conviction. One juror told the Kansas City Star that Kinne's morals had not been considered at issue by the jury, and that she thought no juror had been aware of Kinne's previously being tried for the murder of Patricia Jones.

Despite the verdict, James Kinne's family continued to believe the best of their daughter-in-law, telling reporters on the day of the verdict, "[W]e can't find it in our hearts to say anything bad about her" and "We still don't feel that she committed murder." Kinne herself told reporters that she felt the verdict was a mistake, and that she regretted her previous enthusiasm for having a woman on the jury.

The next week, Kinne's lawyers requested that she be released on bond, supported by a community petition signed by 132 supporters of her innocence. The motion was denied on the basis of first-degree murder not being a bailable offense; presiding judge Tom J. Stubbs also counseled Kinne's lawyers that he felt their involvement in such a petition at a time when a motion for bond was being considered was "highly improper".

A subsequent defense motion requested that Kinne's conviction be vacated because the jury had delivered its verdict based on "surmise and speculation" rather than "substantial evidence". The motion also listed a series of procedural errors that Kinne's counsel alleged had taken place before and during the trial, including a juror taking "incomplete" notes, attorneys for both sides of the case having disputed John Boldizs's testimony, and an incorrect number of potential jurors being provided for selection.

The motion was denied by Judge Stubbs in April 1962, but appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court, which in March 1963 reversed Kinne's conviction and ordered a new trial on the basis of Kinne's defense having been denied adequate peremptory challenges during jury selection in her trial.

Kinne was denied an opportunity for bail in May 1963, but that ruling was overturned in July and Kinne was released on $25,000 bond, posted by her brother. The state's request that the Missouri Supreme Court re-consider its position on Kinne's conviction was granted, but in October 1963 that hearing resulted in further grounds being found for a new trial, this time on the basis of the prosecutor having been allowed to cross-examine a prosecution witness. A second request for a re-hearing on the validity of Kinne's conviction was denied by the Missouri Supreme Court. Kinne and her children moved in with her mother and awaited the start of her new trial.

Second trial in the death of James Kinne (1964)

Kinne's second trial for the murder of James Kinne began on March 23, 1964. As jury selection got underway that day, the public was initially barred from the proceedings, but the restriction was soon loosened and the media were allowed into the courtroom.

An unusually long jury selection process made the first day of the trial last fourteen hours, beginning at 9 a.m. and not ending until nearly midnight the same day; presiding judge Paul Carver noted that due to the notoriety of the case, he had been forced to choose between sequestering the entire jury pool overnight and forcing the court into a long day. The eventual jury, all men, were immediately sequestered, but days later, a mistrial was declared after it emerged that a law partner of prosecutor Lawrence Gepford had once been retained by one of the jurors.

Third trial in the death of James Kinne (1964)

Kinne's third trial for the murder of James Kinne, originally scheduled to begin early in June 1964, began instead on June 29. Assistant prosecutor Donald L. Mason declared at jury selection that he intended to death-qualify the jury, a process in which a prosecutor peremptorily challenges any juror who automatically opposes the death penalty, and jury selection once again took more than twelve hours in one day.

John Boldizs's testimony in this trial remained contradictory as to whether he believed Kinne's offer had been intended seriously, but he added this time that after James Kinne's death, Sharon Kinne had asked that Boldizs not tell authorities about her $1,000 offer for the death of her husband.

A new witness, a female acquaintance of Kinne's, testified that Kinne had once joked that the woman should "get rid of [the woman's] old man like [Kinne] did", but defense cross-examination highlighted inconsistencies between this testimony and a similar quote the woman had offered at a previous deposition. For the first time at any of her trials, Kinne took the stand on the last day of this trial to issue a categorical denial of all charges.

The all-male jury deadlocked seven-to-five in favor of acquittal in this trial, resulting in a second mistrial.

Death of Francisco Paredes Ordoñez

A fourth trial in the death of James Kinne was scheduled for October 1964; however, in September 1964, Kinne, still free on her $25,000 bond, traveled to Mexico with an alleged lover, Francis Samuel Puglise leaving her children with James Kinne's father and traveling as Pugliese's wife under the name Jeanette Pugliese.

The couple later said that they had come to Mexico to get married. Under the legal terms of her bail, Kinne was permitted to leave the country, but her contract with the company that posted her bond prohibited her from leaving Missouri without written permission from the company's agents.

After crossing the border, the couple registered at a local hotel, Hotel Gin, again as husband and wife. Kinne, saying that she felt unsafe in the foreign country, bought a pistol—which meant that the couple now possessed multiple guns, having brought one or two with them from the United States.

On the night of September 18, 1964, Kinne left the hotel without Pugliese, either to acquire money because the couple was running low or to get medicine she required. Kinne encountered Francisco Parades Ordoñez, a Mexican-born American citizen, at a bar that night and accompanied him back to his room in Hotel La Vada.

According to Kinne's account, she went with Ordoñez to see photographs he offered to show her, but he soon began to make sexual advances toward her and she was forced to fire her gun at him in an attempt to protect herself. Kinne maintained later that she had had no intention of killing or harming Ordoñez, and had intended only to frighten him, but her bullets struck him in the chest and killed him. Responding to the sound of gunfire, hotel employee Enrique Martinez Rueda entered the room. Kinne fired again and hit Rueda in the shoulder. Wounded, Rueda fled the room, locking Kinne inside, and called the police.

Police, rejecting Kinne's story, theorized that she had gone out that evening intending robbery, and had chosen Ordoñez as her victim. When he resisted her orders to give her his money, police believed, Kinne had shot him.

Arrest, investigation, and trial

Police responding to Hotel La Vada arrested Kinne on charges of homicide and assault with a deadly weapon. Kinne maintained that she had not intended to harm Ordoñez, merely to frighten him, and that she had fired her weapon at Rueda because she feared that he, too, was coming to attack her. Police searched Kinne's purse, finding a gun and fifty shells, and then the couple's room at Hotel Gin, where they found two more guns and another supply of shells.

Authorities took Francis Pugliese into custody there, initially holding him without charge and later filing charges of entering the country illegally and carrying an unlicensed gun. The gun found in the couple's room that night was later proven through ballistics to be the same gun that killed Patricia Jones in 1960, but because Kinne had already been acquitted of that crime, she could not be charged again for it based on the new evidence.

Pugliese was held at the Palacio de Lecumberri, while Kinne was initially placed in a women's prison before being transferred to Lecumberri for her trial.

The couple were arraigned on September 26 and held for trial. In October, Kinne's attorney, Higinio Lara, filed a recurso de amparo, similar to a writ of habeas corpus, asserting that Mexico was violating Kinne's constitutional rights by holding her for a shooting committed in self-defense. The request was denied and both Kinne and Pugliese were tried in the summer of 1965.

Pugliese, cleared of the charges against him, was deported to the United States, but Kinne was convicted on October 18 of the homicide of Ordoñez. Despite rumors that she would receive probation and be deported like Pugliese, Kinne was instead sentenced to a 10-year prison term for the crimes; when she was officially notified of the sentence the next day, she asserted that she would appeal her conviction. Kinne was returned to the women's prison to serve her sentence. There, she was nicknamed "La Pistolera" ("the gunfighter"), a nickname subsequently adopted by the Mexican press.

Kinne's appeal, rather than overturning her sentence, lengthened it. The three-man superior court which heard her case overturned one aspect of her conviction—charges of attempted robbery—but upheld her murder conviction and increased her sentence from ten to thirteen years, saying that her original sentence had been too lenient.


On December 7, 1969, Kinne was not present for a routine 5 p.m. roll-call at the Ixtapalapan prison where she was serving her sentence, but her absence was not officially noted until she also failed to show up at a second roll-call later that evening. The news of her disappearance was not reported to Mexico City police until 2 a.m. the following morning.

A manhunt was then arranged, initially focusing on the northern Mexican states due to authorities' belief that Kinne may have been heading for the last known whereabouts of a former inmate to whom she had grown close while they were in prison together, but also encompassing country-wide transport hubs and eventually circling back to the Mexico City area. American authorities, including the FBI, were also alerted of Mexican authorities' belief that Kinne may have been attempting to work her way back into her native country, but the FBI noted that it was unlikely to have jurisdiction in the case.

Initial police speculation was that Kinne had bribed guards to look the other way while she escaped the prison—an unusual blackout had been reported at the prison on the evening of and at the approximate time of her escape, and investigation showed that a door that should have been locked had been left unsecured —but further questioning of prison guards and administration showed that oversight at the prison was generally lax and that it was staffed by fewer guards than it should have been.

News reports of the time reported numerous theories about Kinne's escape, including that she had bribed prison guards, that she may have enlisted the help of a supposed boyfriend who was a Mexico City policeman, that Kinne's mother had been involved in the escape plan, that a former Mexican secret service agent had assisted in her escape, and that Kinne may have disguised herself as a man to effect her escape. A more modern theory speculates that the family of Francisco Parades Ordoñez had helped her escape and then killed her.

The intensive manhunt for Kinne was short-lived, however; by December 18, the Mexican secret service and the Mexico City district attorney's office were both reporting that they were no longer involved in searching for the escaped prisoner, while the federal district attorney was reporting that responsibility for the hunt belonged to the city district attorney's office.

Investigators speculated that Kinne had already crossed the border from Mexico into Guatemala, mooting the purpose of a Mexican manhunt, but noted that Kinne was fluent in Spanish after her years in Mexican prison, and she could therefore be "get[ting] along rather well" in nearly any Spanish-speaking area of the world. Despite vowing to keep the case open and their investigation running until Kinne was back in custody, by the end of December 1969, authorities were forced to admit that they had run out of investigative leads to pursue.

More than forty years after her escape, Kinne remains at large, her whereabouts and ultimate fate unknown.

Current status

Kinne's arrest and conviction in Mexico had implications for the status of her Missouri legal entanglements. Because she was being held in Mexico on October 26, 1964—the scheduled date for her fourth trial in the murder of her husband—Kinne's $25,000 bond was revoked on that date. Though the United Bond Insurance Company, which had posted the bond, argued that paperwork irregularities rendered the issuance of Kinne's bail illegal, the court ordered the company to forfeit the bond. Kinne was reportedly concerned about the monetary implications of this forfeiture: "I could always use the money," the Altus Times-Democrat quoted her as saying. "I don't intend to spend all my life in jail."

A $30,000 supersedeas bond was issued in August 1965 as the United Bond Insurance Company continued to dispute the payment of Kinne's original $25,000 bond. The supersedeas bond allowed the company to defer payment of the $25,000 bond until a ruling on the matter was handed down by the Missouri Supreme Court, but when that court upheld the bond's forfeiture, the $25,000 was paid to the State of Missouri in October 1965. The United Bond Insurance Company later filed suit against Kinne's family to recover the cost of the bail, lawyer's fees, and searching for Kinne after her escape.

Shortly before her scheduled Missouri trial date, Kinne's Missouri counsel filed a motion to change the venue of any eventual fourth trial in the death of James Kinne, claiming that news coverage of Kinne's cases had so prejudiced residents of Jackson County against her that it would be impossible for her to get a fair trial there.

When Kinne failed to appear for the murder of her husband, a warrant was issued for her arrest in October 1964. It is still outstanding 50 years later—making it the oldest outstanding murder warrant known to exist in the Kansas City area. Kinne's status in the Mexican system also remains outstanding, though authorities have pointed out that at the time of her escape, jailbreak was not a crime under Mexican law; if she were re-captured there, she would have only to serve out the remainder of her outstanding sentence.

Psychology and motivation

In a segment of the Investigation Discovery series Deadly Women covering the Kinne case, episode entitled "Born bad", James Hays, author of I'm just an Ordinary Girl: The Sharon Kinne Story speculates that Kinne committed her first murder for pecuniary gain, hoping to cash in on James Kinne's life insurance policy, and that she began to derive pleasure from killing at that point.

Former FBI profiler Candice DeLong supports this assertion with her theory that Kinne is a sociopath, lacking in remorse and empathy, and therefore had no compunction about killing to get what she wanted — be it life insurance, marriage to her boyfriend, or cash. This idea is echoed by some of those involved in prosecuting Kinne, who feel that she was a "psychopath" and born bad and that "her solution to a problem was to kill somebody". Even those who believe in her guilt, however, note that Kinne had a certain appeal, describing her as "rather attractive" and admitting that they grew to like her. The Mammoth Book of True Crime describes her as a relative rarity, a "pretty" criminal.

In I'm just an Ordinary Girl: The Sharon Kinne Story, Hays also asserts that Kinne was inspired to kill her husband by a police magazine she read that told the story of Lillian Chastain, a Virginia woman who shot her husband during an argument and blamed the gunshot on the couple's two-year-old daughter. Charges against Chastain were filed in February 1960, weeks before James Kinne's death.


Sharon Kinne

She was one of the most remarkable criminals in U.S. history. A housewife, she turned cold-blooded killer. In 1969 she escaped from a Mexican prison and disappeared without a trace.

by J. J. Maloney -

In 1960 Sharon Kinne was an attractive 20-year-old Jackson County, Mo., housewife with two children, and was having an affair with John Boldizs, a friend from high-school.

She and her husband, James, 25, were having frequent arguments. Sharon wanted a new Thunderbird, and she wanted a vacation trip. She often lied about having paid bills. The Kinnes were deeply in debt.

On March 19, 1960 -- a Saturday afternoon – James, who – his relatives say -- knew she was cheating on him, reportedly told Sharon he would file for divorce the following Monday.

So Sharon Kinne did the only sensible thing, for her: She shot James in the head while he was napping and said her 2-year-old daughter Danna did it while playing with daddy's gun -- a .22-caliber Hi-Standard pistol. When the Jackson County Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the house just east of Independence, Mo., they found the gun lying on the bed beside James.

Sharon, who appeared to have been crying, said she’d been in the bathroom when she heard the little girl ask, "How does this thing work, Daddy, how does it work?" Sharon said she then heard a shot and rushed into the bedroom to find Danna standing beside the bed.

Sharon told the deputies her husband was a gun lover, who often left guns laying around where the children might reach them. This was confirmed by James’ parents, Mr. And Mrs. Haggard Kinne.

The gun, recently oiled, had so much oil it would not hold fingerprints. The police failed to take paraffin tests from Sharon and the daughter – saying such tests are unreliable.

The police bought that original story. They came to the house and showed the gun to the little girl -- who played with the safety. They thought it was possible the little girl had done it.

As soon as Sharon collected the insurance money from James' death, she raced out and bought a brand new blue Ford Thunderbird.

Several weeks later she went to have air conditioning installed in her car, and the salesman talked her into trading for a new Thunderbird with air conditioning already installed – for $500 difference. She took a liking to the good-looking salesman, Walter Jones. She returned several times to have more work done on her car, and started an affair with Jones. She met Jones on April 18, 1960, a month after the death of her husband.

Sharon took a trip in mid-May, 1960, to Washington state to visit a cousin. When she returned she told Walter Jones she was pregnant, and demanded that he marry her. He failed to leap at the offer.

Then, two days later, Jones’ wife disappeared. The last person seen with Patricia Jones was Sharon Kinne. Kinne would later say she had met with Jones to tell her that Walter Jones was having an affair with Sharon’s sister – a sister who didn’t exist.

Patricia Jones was at first reported missing. Kinne told Walter Jones that she had met with Patricia, told her that Walter was having an affair with her sister (she had no sister) but that she had then driven Patricia home and let her out of the car. Jones told police that he put a knife to Kinne's throat and demanded that she tell him where Patricia was.

Kinne pretended to look for Patricia Jones, accompanied by John Boldizs, and "discovered" the body. On May 27, 1960, the body of Mrs. Patricia Jones, of Independence, was found shot to death in a lovers lane on the southeast edge of town. She had been shot four times.

Sharon told Boldizs to say he was alone when he found the body, but he quickly caved in when police began to focus on him, wanting to know why he'd been on a lover's lane alone at midnight (Kinne had torn the victim's clothes, to make it look like a sex crime).

Boldizs and Walter Jones took polygraph tests and passed. Sharon said since she was innocent there was no need to take a test – and that her attorney advised against it.

On June 1, 1960, Sharon was charged with the murder of Patricia Jones and released on $20,000 bail. A month later Sharon was indicted for both murders.

Sharon’s mother, Doris E. Hall, was a secretary at the law firm of Quinn & Peebles – at that time the most renowned criminal law firm in Kansas City. J. Arnot "June" Hill, also a prominent criminal lawyer, prosecuted the case.

Because of Sharon’s pregnancy, her trial in the Patricia Jones murder was delayed, and did not begin until June, 1961 (her daughter, Maria Christine, was born Jan. 16, 1961).

At the first trial witnesses testified to having seen Patricia Jones get into a car with Kinne, and Patricia was never seen again alive. A number of witnesses testified to Sharon’s sex life – that she was a domineering personality, and possessive (by courtney at testsforge). Throughout all of this Sharon sat calm, composed – looking at the jury, taking notes.

The prosecutors proved Kinne had bought a .22-caliber Hi-Standard pistol, and that she said she misplaced it or lost it while vacationing in Seattle. In a search of her house they’d found an empty box for a Hi-Standard pistol.

An airline pilot who’d originally owned the gun, remembered during trial that he’d test-fired the gun near Olathe, Ks., and the prosecution recessed the trial to go retrieve the slugs from that test-firing.

The bullets they retrieved failed to match the bullets that killed Patricia Jones.

Sharon Kinne was found not guilty in the murder of Patricia Jones. Applause rang through the courtroom and one juror asked for her autograph.

Sharon’s second trial, for the murder of her husband, didn’t go so well. After only three days of trial she was convicted on Jan. 11, 1962, and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

This time the courtroom also rang with applause.

Sharon's cool, murderous style perfectly suited her to jail and prison. She quickly took over the jail tank they put her in, and started a sexual relationship with a former WAC named Margaret Hopkins. Even though her case was still on appeal, she was shipped off to the women’s prison at Tipton, Mo.

In March, 1963, the Missouri Supreme Court overturned her conviction and ordered a new trial. Bond was set at $25,000. This time it took four months to raise the bond.

Her second trial for the murder of her husband began on March 24, 1964. It ended in a mistrial when it was learned that one of the jurors had been represented by a former law partner of the prosecutor, Lawrence F. Gepford.

Three months later Sharon went on trial for the fourth time. By this time the public was virtually hypnotized by Sharon Kinne, that slender, deadly girl who, like a cat, seemed to have nine lives.

At this third trial for the murder of James Kinne, the prosecution revealed what became known as the "Precious Tomcat" letters – the letters Sharon had written to Margaret Hopkins. Sharon and Hopkins had even entered into a handwritten "marriage contract." As a postcript to one letters to Hopkins, Sharon asked Hopkins to go to Sharon’s grandmother’s home, and retrieve the .22-caliber High Standard that the prosecution had been looking for. The letter said the gun was hidden in a wall by the chimney.

The police searched the home of Sharon’s grandmother, at 300 South Fuller. It would later be learned that the grandmother had moved, and the police had searched the wrong house.

John Boldizs testified that Sharon had offered him $1,000 to murder James Kinne. Margaret Hopkins took the stand and said Sharon had confessed both murders to her. Sharon took the stand and said Hopkins and Boldizs were lying.

Under questioning by a defense lawyer, Boldizs said that maybe Sharon had been kidding.

The jury could not agree on a verdict, so the court set a fourth trial date in the murder of James Kinne for October, 1964.

Prior to going to jail and prison, Sharon had kept a low profile. In fact her mother had moved in with her to run interference with anyone who came around. After having been in prison, however, Sharon went wild.

She began to hang out on the 12th Street strip – and area of cheap Mafia bars that ran generally from the Muehlebach Hotel at 12th and Baltimore to 12th and Broadway. There were other nearby bars also, but she had an affinity for the mob bars.

While in prison, of course, the prostitutes in there would have told her about that area -- about the high profile criminals who hung out in that area (particularly the Mafia guys themselves).

It would later be learned that the law firm of Quinn & Peebles was mob connected. In fact, in the late 1970s, Nick Civella, head of the Mafia in Kansas City, used to go to Quinn and Peebles to make his personal telephone calls, to get around federal wiretaps (they fooled him, however; the government wiretapped the phones at the law firm).

Bobby Ashe, one of the most renowned criminals in Kansas City history, told me in 1973 that Sharon had slept with a lot of the guys on 12th Street – and that, while most women who did so were held in low regard, that was not true of Sharon. Ashe said Sharon didn't turn tricks, as such, but that a number of guys on the street would slip her a few hundred dollars any time she needed it. Sharon felt safe on 12th Street, because she was among people who didn’t talk to cops. Also, she was highly respected there – after all, she had proven she was not only a killer, but knew how to keep her own mouth shut.

Sometime in the summer of 1964, Sharon met a small-time thief and con artist named Samuel Puglise. She and Puglise ended up signing a handwritten "marriage contract," similar to the one Sharon had signed with Margaret Hopkins.

By September of 1964, Sharon and Puglise decided to go to Mexico. Before leaving, Sharon wrote a series of bad checks - which suggests she was not planning to return. Sharon Kinne was a clever woman - clever enough to know the Jackson County authorities would use those bad checks to bury her in prison. It appears she’d concluded her luck was running out in Kansas City.

In Mexico she left Puglise at the motel room they'd rented, then picked up Francisco Parades Ordonoz, a Mexican born American, and went with him to a motel, where they registered as man and wife. Several hours later Sharon shot Ordonoz twice in the heart. Sharon tried to get away, but the gate to the motel was locked. When the motel manager, Enrique Rueda, refused to open the gate, Sharon shot him. He then managed to wrestle the gun away from her and held her for the police.

Sharon told the Mexican authorities that she’d gone with Ordonoz because she was sick and needed medicine, and needed someone who could speak Spanish. She said she thought he was taking her to her hotel, but took her to his instead. She said that when Ordonoz attacked her, she shot him in self-defense.

The Mexican authorities yawned – and charged her with homicide, bodily injury and attempted robbery.

A U.S. embassy representative who visited her, later told reporters that she’d said, "I’ve shot men before and managed to get out of it." The newspapers in Mexico called her La Pistolera.

Sharon quickly learned that Mexican criminal law does not allow for bail in serious crimes like murder. She was reportedly enraged to learn this.

The media, including the Saturday Evening Post, flocked to Mexico to cover Kinne.

When police searched Kinne's motel room, they’d arrested Puglise (who was eventually deported) and they found two pistols, one of them a rusted .22-caliber Hi-Standard pistol.

Don Mason, an assistant Jackson County Prosecutor (later a Circuit Judge), flew to Mexico but the Mexicans refused to turn the gun over. They did, however, test fire the gun and give those slugs to mason. Ballistic tests determined it was the gun that killed Patricia Jones, and the serial number on the gun matched the empty box recovered from Sharon’s home prior to trial in the Jones case. However, since Sharon had already been acquitted of the Patricia Jones murder, under the double jeopardy clause of the Constitution, she could never be retried for that crime.

After languishing in a Mexican jail for a year, Kinne was sentenced to 10 years in prison. She appealed the conviction, and the Mexican appellate court raised her sentence to 13 years, largely because she was unrepentant.

At first, Sharon claimed to Kansas City Star reporters that she didn’t do well in Mexican jails. She said she was in a cell with 15 other women, and didn’t speak Spanish. She complained that her family hadn’t stuck by her – that a person with a family and some money could not only buy better food, but get out of prison on the weekends.

As time went by, she did admit to one reporter that things had improved. The guards were afraid of her, she said, and she ran a little store in the prison.

Most Americans fare poorly in Mexican prisons, but Sharon Kinne was no ordinary American. She ruled. She took pride in the fact that her fellow convicts were afraid of her. She also told one interviewer in Mexico, "I'm just an ordinary girl."

On Dec. 7, 1969, Sharon Kinne disappeared from Ixtapalapa Women's Prison. Although she was discovered missing at 9 p.m., no senior prison authorities were notified until 2 a.m.

There are those who argue that Sharon is dead – that only death could explain the fact she has never been caught.

But Sharon may have wised up. She had a lot of time in prison to listen to older, wiser convicts. Time to reflect on her own mistakes – the way she’d failed to cover her tracks, the way she’d failed to get rid of incriminating evidence.

She even had time to reflect on the error of her ways.

It would appear that she’d finally made a friend in prison – either another female convict, or a guard. Someone willing to wait on the other side of the eight foot wall of the prison, with a car – willing to drive her to the Guatemala border.

The best bet is that Sharon Kinne found a lonely man with money, and married him. Someone who lived far away from the United States.

Wherever she is, Sharon Kinne will always be La Pistolera.


Maybe I’ll Meet You on the Run

Mark Gribben -

Sharon Elizabeth Hill Kinne is not a typical serial killer. She was very specific in her choice of victims and had a solid motive for killing each one. Most interesting, Sharon is one of few who has escaped from prison, remained at large, and may even still be alive somewhere south of the border with Mexico.

The Murder of James Kinne

The daughter of an alcoholic single mother, Kinne grew up fast in Independence, Missouri, thanks to her beauty and physique.

In 1956 at a church social, Sharon Hill, then 16, met her eventual husband and first murder victim, James Kinne. Although he was a shy Mormon attending school in Provo, Utah, John, 22, was smitten with the blonde beauty and they began a heated sexual relationship. But when the summer ended, John returned to Utah to continue his studies, promising never to forget Sharon and pledging to write.

The two corresponded by mail and at the end of the year Sharon wrote to John telling him (falsely) that she was pregnant. John returned to Independence and the two were married, living next door to John’s parents. Unable to get pregnant to cover up her lie, Sharon opted for the next best thing. She pretended to have a miscarriage.

Later that year, however, Sharon did become pregnant, giving birth to a baby girl the couple named Danna.

By 1959 Sharon had bored of James and his plain vanilla lifestyle and took several lovers. Her most-frequent partner was her former high school beau, John Boldizs, who, as an ice cream vendor, had access to a lot more flavors.

James, however, could not admit his marriage was over and unsuccessfully tried to work things out with Sharon. For him divorce was out of the question. By this time Sharon had given birth to a son, Troy. Unable to get rid of her husband by the traditional method, Sharon chose a much more radical means.

On March 19, 1961, a single shot broke the quiet in the Kinne bungalow. According to her later statement to police, Sharon rushed into the bedroom where James was napping. Standing beside the bed, or so she claimed, was 21/2-year-old Danna. A .22 caliber pistol, one of several in the Kinne house, was on the bed beside John, who was bleeding from a fatal gunshot wound to the head. It appeared Danna had accidentally shot her father to death.

At first the police were quite skeptical that a toddler could pull the trigger on a pistol, but when Danna demonstrated that she could, that, combined with the lack of evidence of foul play, prompted the coroner to pronounce the death an accidental homicide.

The Murder of Patricia Jones

Once the insurance check cleared, Sharon headed to Kansas City, where she bought a new powder-blue Thunderbird and met a new lover.

“Sharon was in the market for a car; (salesman) Walter Jones was in the market for a little side action,” The Kansas City Star reported in a retrospective. “Despite a wife and kids at home, Walter enjoyed messing around. And what a day it was when he met Sharon Kinne; he sold a car and began a new affair.”

Over the next few weeks Walter and Sharon enjoyed a few dates and once spent the night in a motel.

As these things tend to do, the affair cooled and Walter announced that he was reconciling with his wife, Patricia, a clerk with the Internal Revenue Service. But Sharon, who was also still seeing Boldizs, did not want things to end until she said it was time. She told Walter she was pregnant, but he did not fall for the ruse.

“I told her to wait and see what happened,” Walter testified at one of Sharon’s trials. “I told her it was all over between us.”

Having her bluff called sent Sharon into a rage.

“Naked and screaming, Sharon followed Walter’s car into the street, cursing and threatening to get even with him, as neighbors watched carrying-ons of a woman who had lost her husband less than three months earlier,” the Star reported.

Abandoned by Walter, Sharon was determined to get even. She contacted Walter’s 23-year-old wife and arranged a meeting for May 26, 1960 in a quiet area outside Kansas City. Sharon’s plan was not to ruin the Jones marriage by ratting out Walter. Instead, she pulled out a pistol and fired four shots into Patricia in the form of a cross (well, the prosecutor pointed out it was cross-shaped, but a secular perspective yields a diamond shape).

It was not a foolproof plan. Before she left for the meeting Patricia told some friends that she was going to see Sharon. The last time anyone saw her alive is when her friends watched her get into Sharon’s Thunderbird.

When Patricia failed to return home and Walter learned of the planned meeting between his wife and ex-lover, he immediately suspected foul play. He confronted Sharon. Walter told authorities that he searched Sharon’s purse for evidence. The 6-foot, 200 lb. car salesman also held a knife to Sharon’s throat and asked her if she knew anything about Patricia’s whereabouts.

Sharon was nonplussed. “No,” she responded.

Two days later Kansas City police received a telephone call from Boldizs that he and Sharon had been out looking for Patricia when Sharon suggested they call off the search and go parking at one of their favorite spots. Driving down the lovers lane, Boldizs’s headlights shone on what he thought was a pile of abandoned clothes. Sharon was more certain of what they saw, Boldizs testified later.

“Is that her?” Sharon asked. “It could be her. I’ll bet that’s her!”

When Walter was cleared by a polygraph test, suspicion naturally turned to Sharon and Boldizs. But Boldizs also passed the lie detector test. Sharon refused to give any statement or take a polygraph.

On June 1, 1961, Sharon was charged with Patricia’s murder, even though authorities did not have a gun or any direct evidence that Sharon was involved. The circumstantial evidence should have been more than enough to establish her guilt. A co-worker of Sharon’s at a local camera store, told police that he bought a .22 pistol for her. Sharon told police she took the pistol with her to visit relatives in Washington state and left it there. Later she claimed it was lost. It would turn up much later.

Shreds of weeds — they were wild oats — were also found on the undercarriage of Sharon’s car.

Not one to let the grass grow under his feet, Walter Jones left town and remarried two months after Patricia was murdered. Eight months after Patricia was slain and more than 10 months after James died, Sharon gave birth to another daughter.

After a 10-day trial in 1961 involving 27 prosecution witnesses and 14 defense ones, an all-male jury acquitted Sharon of killing Patricia Jones. Perhaps it helped that her defense attorney said he could not defend her morals, and “it was obvious that she likes boys.” A juror told the prosecutors after the trial that the state’s case had “just too many loopholes.” Another juror asked Sharon for her autograph.

Sharon on Trial Again (and Again and Again)

Sharon was not off the hook yet; the prosecution had already arrested her for James Kinne’s murder and a January 1962 trial was planned.

John Boldizs was supposed to be the prosecution’s star witness in the trial; during his grand jury testimony he said Sharon had offered him $1,000 to kill James Kinne.

It was approximately two weeks to four weeks before Kinne’s death. W was talking about her husband. She said, ‘Would you kill my husband for $1,000?’ I said, ‘No. Hell no.’
‘Do you know of anybody that would?’
I said ‘Yes; I know somebody.’
She said, ‘If you find somebody, let me know.’
I said, ‘Yes.’ But I never did.”

The prosecutor pressed him.

“Do you have a feeling she was serious in her request?”

Boldizs replied: “I believe so, now.”

However, when he took the stand at trial, Boldizs hedged while expanding on the conversation:

“Man, I’d like to carry you off if you wasn’t married,” Boldizs recalled saying.

“Well, I’ll just give you a grand,” Sharon reportedly replied. “You can bump off my old man.”

Sharon’s defense attorney, James Quinn, asked him if he thought it was a joke.

“It was just like if I’d say to you, ‘I’d give you $100 to jump off city hall,'” Boldizs answered.

Prosecutor J. Arnot Hill attempted to do damage control during his summation. “(Boldizs) now tries to take the sting out of what he said before,” Hill told the jury. “I’ll leave it up to you to draw your deductions as to why he changed his testimony.”

Meanwhile, Quinn attempted to smooth over Sharon’s reputation, telling jurors that it was not their role to judge her for being loose.

“What ever breach of the moral law, she has suffered and her God will chastise her,” he said. “She has done plenty of penance for that.”

After 51/2 hours of deliberation, the jury convicted Sharon of first degree murder. Meeting the verdict with a stoic appearance, Sharon was sentenced to life in prison.

“Not until she was changing into her jail uniform did a few tears mist her eyes,” a jail matron told the Associated Press. “She didn’t weep. She said she didn’t feel too good.”

Sharon told her attorneys that she was confident she would be freed on appeal, and she was right. In 1963 the Missouri Supreme Court found enough errors in the trial record that she was granted a new trial. The second trial was an abortive affair. Just a few days into it, the judge declared a mistrial when it was learned that one of the jurors had once been a client of one of the prosecutor’s law partners.

The third trial began in the summer of 1964 and was almost a repeat of the first, except that Sharon took the stand for the first time.

Her performance, as one would expect for a woman like Sharon Kinne, was masterful. She blamed 21/2-old Danna for the murder.

Dressed in black, Sharon recounted her version of how James was killed. He had just cleaned his .22 and left it on the pillow beside him while he took a nap. The couple was supposed to attend a church function and she was in the bathroom getting ready.

Danna came into the bathroom trying to get me to play with her. She made several trips to the bedroom trying to get attention from James. She brought in several toys and asked him questions. Then I heard Danna in the bedroom. She was saying ‘Show me this, Daddy. Show me this.’ just as she had done several times before with her toys.

And I heard a shot, I guess it was a shot. I went into the bedroom and Danna was standing there and James was lying there and I saw the blood and I thought he was dead. I picked up Danna and put her on the couch and called James’s father.

After two days of deliberation the jury announced that it was hopelessly deadlocked and a mistrial was declared. Immediately Prosecutor Hill announced that the state would try her a third time for James Kinne’s murder.

La Pistolera

Free on $25,000 bond posted by her in-laws, Sharon was awaiting her next trial when she decided to take a vacation to Mexico City with a new friend, Sam Puglise of Chicago. The pair met a few months earlier in Kansas City and she fell in love with him. She said they were in Mexico to get married.

However, on September 18, 1964, the lovebirds had a quarrel and Sharon left the hotel room. She decided to get a drink in a nearby bar, when she met Francisco Paredes Ordonez, an American ex-patriot. She later told authorities that when she began to feel ill, Parades offered to take him to his hotel room.

“I lay down; he took off his jacket and got me a glass of water,” she said. “After a while I started to feel better and told Mr. Paredes that I was leaving. He made some advances. When I pushed him away, he hit me and then put his knee on my stomach. He hit me several times,” she continued. “He covered my mouth so I could not scream, but I managed to throw him off and onto the floor. It give me time to pull my gun from my purse. I fired — I don’t know how many times; one or two.”

In her haste to escape, Sharon also shot and wounded the hotel clerk.

Investigators later determined that the serial number on Sharon’s gun was the same that was being sought in the Patricia Jones murder.

Mexican justice was swift, and after a brief trial, the woman known to Mexicans as La Pistolera was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison. She appealed, of course, and was surprised by a quirk in Mexican justice when the appeals court added 3 more years to her term.

That was not the end of Sharon Kinne, however. In December 1969, Sharon once again made headlines when she escaped from a suburban Mexico City women’s prison. Her escape was aided by a former Mexican secret service agent and several ex-prisoners, authorities said. Lax security allowed her to scramble over a wall. A subsequent investigation revealed that four guard towers were unmanned. It was not likely that this was part of the escape plan, however. The towers were used as trash dumps.

Sharon had plenty of money to aid her escape. The ex-agent was suspected of a recent robbery where $15,000 American was stolen from two couriers.

From December 7, 1969, Sharon Kinne has been on the run. Authorities have said they believe she made it over the border to Guatemala.

Although she would be in her late 70s, there is no reason to doubt that she is still alive. The strongest evidence that she is dead, however, is that she has not been linked to any other murders.



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