The Kentucky Fried Chicken murders
were an armed robbery
and mass murder
which took place at a Kentucky Fried Chicken
restaurant in Kilgore, Texas
in 1983. For over two decades it was among the most tragic unsolved murder cases in Texas history.
1983 Robbery and Murders
On the evening of September 23, 1983, just before the restaurant closed, armed robbers held up the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in Kilgore, Texas, USA. The five people in the restaurant at the time (who were either employees of the restaurant or were waiting for someone there) were abducted, taken to a nearby field, off highway 323 on County Road 232 and each executed in the back of the head with the exception of the manager who ran and was also shot in the head.
The victims' bodies were discovered by local police and Texas Rangers
, and were identified as: David Maxwell (20), Joey Johnson (20), Monty Landers (19), Mary Tyler (37) and Opie Hughes (38).
For 22 years, the case remained unsolved; several people were arrested and one person, James Earl Mankins, Jr., an individual with prior drug convictions who was also the son of a State Representative, was charged with the murders, but was later released after the beginning of pre-trial proceedings due to a lack of evidence.
Finally, in November 2005, two men (already in prison for other crimes) were arrested and charged: Cousins Darnell Hartsfield (44) and Romeo Pinkerton (47). At the time of arrest, Hartsfield was serving a life......