Gene Paul Norris

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Gene Paul Norris - LIFE AND DEATH OF A KILLER -I Mis Gun Was for...
LIFE AND DEATH OF A KILLER -I Mis Gun Was for Hire Editor's note: Gene Paul Norris was described by lawmen as the most dangerous man in the Southwest before he died in a hail of bullets last April. This is the first of two dispatches outlin ing his career of robbery and murder. By JOHN G. WARNER FORT WORTH, Tex. (UP) Slight, boyish-looking Gene Paul Norris would kill anyone tor a price. When his gun wasn't hired, he had no trouble finding uses for it. Norris pulled some of the most darinjr robberies the Southwest has seen since -Prohibition days He was. without doubt, the worst killer Texas has known since the turn of the century. His record is far worse than that of Clyde Barrow. "It is widely rumored in the un derworld that Norris killed 40 persons," Texas Ranger Capt Jay Banks says. "That's a pretty well-founded rumor, too." Other estimates come lower, such as that of Fort Worth Police Chief Cato Hightower, .who cred its Norris with nine murders. All of those directly concerned Fort Worth, however. Norris was the triggerman in the Dallas -Fort Worth gang, and several of the gangland killings are attributed to his gun. Norris, black-haired and smil ing beneath the baleful eyes of a rattlesnake, didn't come cheap. The underworld rumors his fee at 55,000 for. one killing. DAYS NUMBERED Not all were contracted. Norris killed to protect himself, also. "If he used a man to help him on a job, that man's days were probably numbered," Banks says. Norris didn't like loose witnesses hanging around. Gene Paul followed his older brother Pete into the bloody life. Pete was soon derailed and is now serving a grand total of 700 years in prisoa It has been said the thing Gene Paul wanted most was to free Pete, once the FBI's public enemy No. 1. He tried once, springing his brother from a prison farm, and drew eight years in Huntsville Penitentiary for his trouble. After serving two years of that sentence and gaining parole, Nor ris drifted to Fort Worth, where he teamed with Alcatraz graduate Floyd Hill. In October, 1953, Hill and a ma chine gun-wielding pal held up a trio of Cuban gun-runners at the Western Hills Motel in Port Worth. The take was $248,000 Hill's partner was undoubtedly Norris, but he beat the rap. Although the gun-runners iden tified him as the man who was to have helped them obtain muni tions for a revolt in Cuba and instead robbed them, the jury acquitted Norris when he produced witnesses saying he was in Duncan, Okla., at the time. HILL ARRESTED Hill wasn't so lucky. The FBI arrested him while he was dig ging up his share of the loot and he was convicted. Norris went back to prison, however, as a pa role violator and was released in 1955. He drove a truck to a Wichita Falls warehouse, posed as a new salesman for an oilueld equipment company, and drove off with thousands of dollars worth of equipment But a trucker saw him and was scheduled to star for .the prosecution. One night before the trial the witness disappeared. Norris, in Fort Worth, caused enough trouble in a tavern to be tossed in jail that night. He had a perfect alibi, therefore, when the trucker was found in a crude grave near Burkburnett last year, his head bashed in. It was possibly only the first time Norris had to get someone else to do a job. Norris was credited, among oth er things, with the deaths of gangsters Leroy. (Tincy) Eggles- ton, Frank Cates, Olen Ray Tyler and Edward Eugene. Townley and his wife, dope peddlers who have been missing for months. Okla homa City bootlegger -Orville Lindsay Chambless, implicated in the Western Hills job, has been missing for some time also. FRANK CATES CASE Norris was reported to have been hired as the trigger in a plot to erase four Oklahoma City boot leggers. The case of Frank Cates shows something of Norris nature. Cates, a 61-year-old rum-runner, procurer, confidence man and hot gem dealer, became interested in gambling. He set up shop on the outskirts of Fort Worth but de-i cided he wasn't making enough. He hired Norris to eliminate six competing gamblers. Cates didn't stop there. He hired the late Jack Nesbitt to kill Norris after Norris eliminated the gamblers. Gene Paul caught wind of this doublecross and on Aug. 2, 1956, a bomb ripped Cates' house, nearly killing him. Soon after Cates recovered, Norris called him and said he had some hot diamonds to dispose of. On the night of Oct 8, 1956, Cates went to a meeting with Norris at a lonely spot near Watauga in Tarrant County. Cates' body was found in his car the next day, torn by a shot gun blast. Next The last big job. I - er to-air by ' If s ".-V

Clipped from
  1. The San Bernardino County Sun,
  2. 16 Oct 1957, Wed,
  3. Page 3

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