The Moonlight Murders


The Moonlight murders are a series of unsolved murders that happened on a night thus dubbing as “moonlight murders”.  The series of murders happened around Texarkana on 1946 during a span of 10 weeks.  The unknown killer named by the media as “The Phantom killer” or the “Phantom Slayer” is held responsible for 8 attacks killing 5 of them.  The crimes happened during the weekends that started on February 22, 1946-May 3, 1946.  The killer always attack late at night.

The first two victims were Jimmy Hollis and Mary Jeanne Larey at around 11:55 pm, February 22.  The two were attacked while their car is on park in a place known as lover’s lane.  The couple claimed that they arrived on the scene at around 11:45 and after a mere 10 minutes, a stranger approached them and flashed a flashlight.  They thought it was a policeman but on a closer look they saw a man wearing a white hood on his face with holes that were cut out on its eyes and mouth area.  The man ordered them to get out of the car while holding pistol against them.  Larey and Hollis were able to survive the horrifying attack.  The local media immediately reported the incident and the police ruled it as an isolated incident, but the attack was followed on March 24.

Richard L. Griffin and Polly Ann Moore were discovered dead on a Sunday Morning.  The motorist saw their car parked on a lover’s lane called Rich road.  At that time, the motorist thought they were just sleeping.  In March 27, an edition of Texarkana Gazette made an announcement to its readers:
 You Can Help Solve Murders: Sheriff Bill Presley and his deputies have a difficult task ahead of them as they attempt to solve the shocking double murder discovered Sunday morning. Texarkana residents can help in this investigation and at the same time if they are not careful, they can hinder the investigation and cause the officers to spend many hours following blind trails. Persons who have information which might furnish a clue to the identity of the slayer or slayers or which might indicate a motive for the crime should not divulge such information on street corners or at cold drink stands but should immediately make it available to the officers. Do not spread rumors regardless of how much basis for fact there is in them. Do not say 'I heard' or 'they say', because the chances are that the person listening will repeat your information and enlarge upon it. Before long the story grows to such proportions as to necessitate a detailed investigation by the officers, thereby perhaps pulling them off the true trail and sending them up a blind alley. Stick to facts that you know of your own personal knowledge and relay those facts as quickly as possible to the officers.


On the early Sunday of April 14, Paul Martin and Betty Jo Booker were found dead.  The incident was followed with the death of Virgil Starks and the attack to Katie Starks who managed to survive.  The incident gained fame as it caught the interest of numbers of local newspaper.  The killer was described as 6 feet tall and wearing a mask to conceal his face.

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