June 25, 2013

William Daniel Jones

W.D. Jones was born on May 15, 1916 to a poor family, his sharecropper father moving them all to Dallas in 1921 where Jones met and became friends with Clyde Barrow, who was seven years his senior. When Clyde left town to begin his criminal career, William stayed behind, learning the "trade" on his own by stealing cars and working for bootleggers. Clyde returned home during Christmas 1930 with his new girlfriend Bonnie, met up with his childhood buddy and asked him to keep watch over their car while the two slept.

The next morning, Jones did some quick repairs on the car and accepted Clyde's offer to ride with them. In a matter of days, he was involved in his first murder. In Temple, Texas, Clyde spotted a car with the keys left in it and instructed Jones to start it up while he and Bonnie switched their things from their old car to the new one. When the owner showed up and tried to struggle over the door, Clyde shot him in the head and ordered Jones to step on it. From then on, Jones was a member of the Barrow gang and would remain so for eight months.

He was more the mechanic or driver than a gunman, usually remaining in the car with Bonnie while Clyde and another member would rob gas stations, taking care of the steering while the others took shots at whomever was following them. He was involved in the several shootouts, from Joplin, Missouri to Platte City, Iowa, driving the gang from one town to another in a perpetual quest to avoid capture. After Clyde's brother Buck and his wife Blanche were captured in Dexter, Iowa, Jones decided he had better jump ship before he was either gunned down or arrested for something more serious than he could handle.

When the gang was in Mississippi, Jones took off and hitched his way back to Texas, where he was quickly captured in Houston. He claimed he was a virtual prisoner of the gang, forced to work for them, tied down at night to prevent his escape; the authorities didn't believe him, but having no evidence of hard crime, they sentenced him to only six years in prison. After he served his term, he drifted from job to job, hooking himself on drugs and alcohol. He surfaced in 1968 to sue Warner Brothers over what he felt was a libelous portrayal of him in the movie Bonnie and Clyde. When the suit was thrown out, he gave an interview with Playboy magazine on his time with the Barrow gang, still insisting he was an unwilling dupe, caught up by circumstance. Six years later, on August 20, 1974, Jones was shotgunned to death during a failed drug transaction.

GPS Coordinates
29° 54.789, -095° 18.927

Garden of the Apostles
Brookside Memorial Park

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