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This podcast is intended for mature audiences, listener discretion is advised. My father and Willie Hester, who was riding in the cyclone in the way it can, and a white picket fence, it was parallel the road. It's a long past, this beautiful horse this quarter horse before that, we're seeing my father turn around and pull in the driveway. The farmer come out and said that his horse here, my father bought him a thousand bucks, you he offered fifteen hundred dollars and he's got your horse.
Little bitty twist would, I guess, were the smartest creatures I know not being human. That was the beginning of the, I guess, the most beautiful friendship my father had with animal.
Billy loved Maulavi Twist and soon purchased several more for the family to ride. But Miller kind of became part of the family and he seemed to have a special connection to the animal. Maybe it was the way the horse loved him back.
With no judgment, no fear to go down there, and he would have either so sour grapes or a green apple or something on him, the horse and he whistle, he was lucky, I did, but he whistle and Miller would come up there and that horse and just take his nose, knock him around to a retreat on him.
The funniest thing you were saying was Miller manhandled my father. But as is always the case, the good times just seem to not last very long. Robert had been riding one of the horses named Red and when he left the gate was left unlocked. Sometime during the night, Mullavey Twist wandered out.
A police officer from a nearby county was driving past the bird's farm and hitting.
The animal was left in grave condition. Now, Miller was right in the middle of the road, he probably couldn't hit, we hit him, but you're not going to the gym heat related, Marcela.
By the time Billy arrived, several other police officers had shown up. He asked one of the deputies, Leon Skinner, if you would call a veterinarian and get him out to try to save more money was no concern within 20 to 30 minutes, tops, for the fire to put in there and pull up in the van. Soon, four more vets showed up at the scene to assess the situation. And they get up, they walk to a hotel, they talk about two minutes and they walk to my father and they will forget this, Mr.
Bird is not good. Miller beat Twist couldn't be saved, and the vets offered to humanely put the horse down. Billy declined, deciding that he would put his friend down himself. It seemed the right thing to do, he sent Bobby Gadis to retrieve a rifle from the house. The police and vets looked on with growing sadness, most had tears in their eyes. By now. Except for the young policeman that hit the horse. The Beauvois policeman spoke up and said all this over a horse I let go of my car and he didn't know who my dad was and everything, just that it's quiet.
You could hear a pin drop for just just a few seconds there. And I remember listening to the deputy grabbing that policeman by the snap of the coat and he pulled them out of the darkness. And I'm obviously used to this, somebody trying to get us all killed. Get your ass out of here. My dad come walking by them going horse. But they looked at him. I said, but I'm fixing to go kill a horse. But I drew that they put a bullet in your head just as simple.
And he meant if I had said one word, he had to kill his ass. And everyone there, I mean, they were that close to him killing every damn one of them. Anyway, they all left. And when they left, it was tears. And Ludlum's as I was it was a sad moment. He made the doctors take five hundred dollars and it won't do. He went down and knelt beside Miller. I seen his face with I never seen my dad I thought was impossible.
So he was really hurt and told me, go home. He said it can but no to go. He said about thirty minutes. Why, he must have covered the horse and we heard a shot.
It my life. Hey, something about a horse, they are compared to other animals.
I was human, and when you see a man in his horse and you see the internal workings, that is, I don't know.
It's pitiful when they lose each other. Billy buried the horse on the family's property. He come home to a little a little laboratory and plant there a green apple tree. The apple tree that Billy planted over Miller B Twist's grave is still there today, one of these days, I'll take my grandkids there and I'll sit in the apple tree and I'll tell the story of little bit twist. And I will. From Imperative Entertainment, this is in the red clay.
In 1967, a friend introduced Bert to a man that would become one of his closest friends and business partners. He was much in the same line of work as Billy Burt, his name, by the way.
And I remember that name, Billy Wayne Davis. Let's just say that it's rarely a good thing when someone is referred to solely by their full name.
I think Lee Harvey Oswald, John Wayne Gacy, you get the picture. He was introduced.
My father, Jimmy Crowe, a mutual friend. Jim Crow had been in a card game over in the west side of Georgia. He met Davis. He knew Davis was a man of means over there.
He got talking to him about his friend Bill Hemmer over here at one Georgia. He said, I bet, Joe, you lied to me.
Davis had access to informants in west Georgia that would provide him with names and addresses of people who were known to keep large sums of money, guns or jewelry in their home.
He kept yourself presentable, conducts and Mr. Davis, he could have been the adviser to the governor.
He didn't advertise the fact that he was a hitman or not because he wouldn't. He only kill for money out of Manhattan, but not legally. Davis operated a used car dealership in Austell, Georgia, that provided a front for the large amounts of cash he was bringing in in any time Davis or Burt needed a car for a job that was less conspicuous than their own, they could easily pull one off his lot and return it after the job was done.
They had a system and it worked. But not everyone was happy about the new friend of Billy's. Here's what I heard over a period of a few weeks after that from the boys, they would tell Father Billy we not lose the salvage and they would let them boys that he's not part of us. This is between me and him. The man got connections all over the state and there's money to be made, but nobody trusted him. 70S meet Mercury Cyclone Filed for action fund to drive.
Billy bought a 1970 mercury cyclone from CWA oyster. It's a legendary machine and classic car circles. But there is a dark backstory to this. I mean, of course there is, and it all started when Billy wrecked his Turino Cobra just a week after acquiring it during a street race against Harold Chancey.
He was forced off the road when a farmer pulled a tractor out into Billy's path, leaving him with no choice but to smash through a barbed wire fence coming to rest in the middle of a pasture. Tom was a well-to-do insurance agent.
Well known in town, he ran a state farm, which was right down the street. My father had insurance on the Toriano with him. He had it for a little over a week. So he took the accident report to Tom Locke at the State Farm Office.
Tom, this is on a Monday or Tuesday. And he told him, he says come back Friday. This ought not be a problem. Well, the next day you see the grocer who also had Karloff's all over Athens. He'd heard about my father losing his new wisky car and he'd run up with my father.
He said he heard about you and her race racing that Rick, he said, listen, I've got something they want. You jump in this car ride to Athens with me. I think you'll be right back in a different car. So my father wrote to Athens with him and there was DoAt Cyclo Mercury 1970.
He took a verse being about it on the spot come by the State Farm to get insurance that Friday morning as he would pick his check for the accident for the Torino, where they sit out there for 30 minutes enough to piss him off before finally time not come out of the back to tell him that had been a problem, that his home office says that they wouldn't go pay off when they asked him why Tom LOPSA will get health insurance. And the meantime, Tom, I said they say they weren't going to pay off.
He says, who the hell are they? I paid you three hundred dollars. Here's the paperwork. Well, Bill, I understand that you don't agree with it, but sue me. That's you're right. OK, so the next Nattie mother had done my pay. All said, you had news that two hours to battery run out of Hunniford.
He left Outis here and told him it is exactly for him connecting wires and then getting home.
He blow this place up with dynamite, Tom Lot rebuilt in one month, he had a new office in the morning of the first day sitting in the office on at the street.
They found him with three bullet holes. And they ruled in the suicide. I ventured to ask the question. Then why did they remove Tom Locke's death, a suicide? What possessed him do that? He just looks back then posed it had no help. They were so right on the force. If they couldn't solve a crime, they were more apt to say accident or if they had the opportunity of suicide rather than murder or foul play and contemplate the minute, he said.
But in a way, when the service didn't pay me for my car, even after I blow this place up here, they commit suicide. That was the the way he thought. Deep in the conservative south of 1970s Atlanta, Mike Thebus, the son of Greek immigrants, was a man driven by endless ambition. He had everything a wife and five kids, the largest mansion in Atlanta, and a rumored 100 million dollar fortune. But the success came at a price as the community shunned him and he became entangled in a web of murder, mob connections and love affairs.
It is the money, obviously, that attracts organized crime.
I don't have any knowledge as to what happened to Mr. Hanna. He was a personal friend of mine, and I just think it's a terrible tragedy.
There's no doubt in my mind that they are nervous at best about having to do business with Mike Devis society.
Do not take it seriously when criminals kill each other. So Mike Thebus walked out this door to freedom.
Some are speculating he may be in Colombia or Costa Rica, countries which before have harbored United States criminals.
This is Gangster House, the unbelievable story of Mike Thebus family man and the so-called Sultan of smut.
Listen and subscribe to Gangster House right now on Apple podcast or wherever you get your podcasts.
They got no war, but that thing, 70, not even a speeding ticket, as a matter of fact, the Dixie Mafia got stronger, bigger, and they were no racist. The government does not like to be have mud on its face. I don't care whether that's Jimmy Carter or any other public official, nor do the agents.
Billy Burt, working hand in hand with Billy Wayne Davis, would embark on a crime spree not seen since the days of the Wild West. They robbed banks in broad daylight. They robbed high stakes underground gambling houses and Davis Wood paper to kill. They were untouchable, invincible. They feared no one and for the right price, no one was safe. But after years of law enforcement making no headway in infiltrating or bringing down the Dixie Mafia, the federal government brought in the best man they had.
If anyone could take control of the situation in northeast Georgia. He could. There was a man named Jim West who was famous in the ATF circles because he had infiltrated a very large moonshine operation in Florida and North Carolina, he had infiltrated it and was successful in bringing it to light the conspiracy of it all.
James Earl West, better known as Jim, was promoted to ATF special agent by Solicitor General Robert Kennedy for infiltrating and bringing down the largest bootleg operation in Florida history at the time.
He actually lived on an Indian reservation for some time while gathering evidence, and his bust unearthed some two and a half million dollars in unpaid alcohol tax.
His special agent title meant that Jim West would take the lead on anything concerning alcohol, firearms, tobacco or taxes, as well as any conspiracy cases.
I guess that law enforcement got together and says, OK, we're going to put the best on it. And they considered him the best because, you know, he had all these commendations. He didn't learn it. So not to early 1970s, they told him to pick his own men, do what he had to do. He had full backup of not only the ATF, but the deal, the GBI, the FBI. But he was in charge of the cold.
It was ATF, ATF always in charge when it was alcohol, tobacco or guns. And if the murders are related to alcohol, tobacco or guns, he's in charge.
Jim West took the assignment and immediately packed up and headed for Georgia.
Jim West comes to Georgia. He moves out here to house in good hope, which is involved Canada, 15 minutes outside of 100 percent. Monroe West was given carte blanche, was allowed to put together a team to support him, knowing all too well that part of this assignment would mean chasing down outlaws and souped up whiskey cars. He knew just the man to have at his side. So Jim was coming to town, he said. A former driver, Jack Bauer.
Jack Berry had the same reputation as Jim West is that his reputation was for being the best driver the ATF had. He had made his bones in the 50s and 60s by being able to drive any car and keep it on the road and keep it with the best.
Of the 165 revenue agents that Jimmy Carter sent to Georgia in 1965 as part of Operation Dry Up still hadn't made much progress in the big picture of things, and it was becoming a bit of an embarrassment. Truth be told. But now that the famous Jim West and Jack Berry were on the case, the Dixie Mafia might finally have something to worry about. I asked Stoney if the atmosphere changed once Western Barry arrived, you could spot every single entity, whether it be ATF, FBI, by this they all drove mostly dark green.
It's not dark green flat, some black, 69, 70 or 71, 80 forward, all 429 motors. But here was a give away from the life of me. I can't figure out why they've done this. They all had black wall tires with a little shiny hubcap and they should have just had a law rolls out of the car. They was absolutely not one unmarked vehicle that didn't scream loud. And it was sort of a carnival atmosphere right here.
They were the joke of the community. Everybody was laughing about it. There never was a atmosphere of dread. But the fun, reckless and carefree days were numbered for Billy Sunday brought in the members of the Dixie Mafia, Jim West quickly resorted to offering money to anyone with information about whiskey still locations. And while anyone with half a brain knew to keep their mouth shut, his plan still worked. People began to talk little by little. They would learn the hard way, though, that this was a colossal mistake.
Jim West would go to people, try to get them to like nulls, and he would offer them one thousand dollars for every time one of them would tell or he still was sick. Once he got them to do that, he had them. He can make them tell more.
But what Jim West didn't know was that Ruth Chancey, who by this time had replaced Cliff Park, is the most powerful kingpin in the South, had friends in high places.
He would go talk to them and get them to her. These deals was what nobody knew, was it? Ruth Chassy had an informant inside of the sheriff's department, inside the wall and inside of the GBA. Here's how it would happen. He would go back and brag to one of his comrades or whoever that so-and-so had just done, the worst was our so-and-so was thinking about testifying. He called the name Will the Informant. And one of these replaces hurt more often than not.
And when they did, within hours, Ruth, we get a call. GMW says it's also about. Well, my father would get a call to come see her after that. And within days, that person would missing.
At first glance, Ruth Chancey looked like a sweet little old lady, but she is considered to be the godmother of the Dixie Mafia. She was powerful, rich and mean, she is reported to have ordered more hits from Diliberto than anyone else by far. She was given the well deserved nickname Ruthless. But even though Billy was paid handsomely by Ruth Chancey each time this happened, even he thought that much of this killing was unnecessary. He resented Jim West for this because in his mind, his hands were tied.
My dad come to really dislike Jim Wallace because he was so promising these people protection and leaving him no choice but to kill them, because when he was asked to take out a snitch, he had to do it for his own survival. Plus the whole group.
So he really had a bad taste for Jim with West continued to pay people for information, promising them protection. And people continued to disappear, but for the time being, he kept his distance from Billy, his family and his close inner circle.
Jim was never approached any of my family or me. He knew we had a shadow of a doubt that he got personal be labor on that level, that he will be gone. In November of 1971, Special Agent Jim West still hot on the heels of Billy Burton, his gang, as well as his partner, held Chance's bootleg operation, had finally found the solid lead he was looking for. Then Walton County Sheriff Frank Thornton knew a man with inside knowledge of Billy in the Chances whisky ring, who he thought might be willing to talk.
You might remember the local grocer named James Dolz or Jim, as most people knew him, who sold large quantities of sugar to bootleggers like Harold Chancey. In 1967, Dolls married Ruth Chancey, and since then that marriage had gone south. Dolls filed for divorce from Ruth, and it was ugly. It Sheriff Thorntons urging he contacted Jim West, offering what information he had on the whole operation and West knew to strike while the iron was hot, J.M. contacted him when he met Ruth Lawson and Sheriff Frank Gaffney.
And Jim Wist promised him federal protection if he would testify about the sugar that he may sell her and what he knew about the whiskey operation.
Tulsa out a statement telling what he knew of the operation and naming names. The information he provided was incorporated into a federal indictment, and he was subpoenaed to testify in a trial to be held in Greenville, South Carolina. Shortly after deputies stood watch it, Dolz his home, and even Sheriff Thornton went so far as to stay overnight, several times sitting on the front porch, shotgun in hand. But neither the deputies nor the sheriff were at his home on the night of November 22nd, 1971, and that's the last day anyone saw Jim Dolz alive.
He was found nearly a month later by a fisherman floating in the nearby Mulberry River. On December 17. Cement blocks had been tied to his neck and ankles with wire coathangers. Five days later, his car would be found submerged in Lake Lanier, north of Atlanta. Billy, Burt and the Dixie Mafia were obvious suspects for Dallas's murder, but there was no evidence to make an arrest and the case was never officially closed. Now, the series of events that unfolded here have been recorded and accepted by law enforcement for more than 47 years.
It wasn't until I started digging around for this podcast that the truth of what really happened on the night of November 22nd, 1971, came to light. I spoke with Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman to see what information he had on the cold case. Here he is right here, him in the bedroom. Joe shows me the actual case file of Jim Dolz, along with graphic pictures of the crime scene with a pool of blood coathangers that was an immobilizes.
Sun was coathangers, and I knew it back in hindsight, looking back clangers. There it is. I have seen this. Oh, Mr. Pre-bid, that's not the report. But this is an FBI document saying spelling has got a lot of stuff. You don't have to leave soon because your friends knew. Dolls was bloated and his skin was pasty white. He was covered in mud and weeds. I've got a strong stomach, but it was hard to look at these pictures knowing that this was a person that I'd been talking about for weeks now.
And I never really connected the dots on this level, at least not until now.
Had always been told that Jenelle's was murdered because he was going to testify in court that higher chance in Ireland was getting sugar from him to make it look, you know, I don't know why, because I'm I'm known for doing this, especially old cases.
I don't know why the hell I didn't go ask been the sun, did he, of you know, I just don't know why chose curiosity got the best of him.
And he called Stoney to see if he would speak with him about the murder or if Stoney even had any information that he didn't already have, or I had to find number to call him and I don't know.
No, not counting massive.
This Bill, St. Bernard said today is said he was calling the arsonist, the Sheriff Walton. Can they said, what can I do for you?
I said, well, look, I asked you something. And if I offended you in any way or piss you off in any way, you just hang up the phone and just forget that I ever called.
He said, well, what is it you want to ask? Massive did better kill Jim. Does he said, Damn, Jody. And I said, do you know about this? And they said, everybody always said that Jim Bauer was killed because of sugar. I said, that's what I've heard forever. I said, Daddy, why kill?
Sheriff Frank Thorton and Jim Wist promised him federal protection if he would testify about the sugar that he inherited and what he knew about the whiskey operation before, he didn't tell them. Was he like the women?
Well, him and Ruth was arguing during their divorce he beat her so bad one time that she was black on her blouse top to bottom. And so when they pulled down to the Terrill's house one day the same room, now she's better.
We'll show you something. She pulled up her blouse, black and blue. He said damn well what happened to you? She said, some bitch beat the hell out of me. I want you to take care of it. But I don't know. OK, next night, Hamit Harrell's Randon Road, taking a load of whiskey software, and sometimes when you went to a rough spot, you had to have somebody ride shotgun with you because when you call them, they're the one ride shotgun had to get out beforehand with a shotgun and get on top of a roof or whatever.
And if somebody tried to take you from Rob, you you know, you had to be ready or headed to that place. I think it was Conyer's, but they said, damn, son, did you see what this is done to your mother house? Yep. Yep. And I want you to clear this list, but I don't want Mumolo nothing.
But Birte got a tip.
Officer Standing Guard Doll's House had been relieved of duty for three hours to go home and spend time with their families for Thanksgiving. It would prove to be a fatal error in judgment. He grabbed Billie Jean Davis and the two dressed as FBI agents in black suits and ties, complete with black sunglasses and Davis counterfeit FBI credentials. They knocked on his front door. And when there was not one law, he was big enough to, my father stood behind you, couldn't really see it.
And when I open the door, they said, we have information that has been harbored here in the media. Jim Doyle said, hell no. So there's not here. Come in live. Well, the second one, though, with my father.
And when Jim Doyle, CTV News over the men, told Dolz they wanted any money he had in the house, as well as a large diamond ring that belonged to Ruth Chancey. Those gave them the ring and fifteen hundred dollars claiming that was all he had in the house. They put him in the car, they brought in the stadium, they come straight to who we live the stadium for that Port Vila when he won them, but after he got out of Dodge Al-Ibrahim because they didn't know it.
One of the guys stepping into his car late in and write it off and or they used up cars to the dam and my dad and one more put him in a boat, hogtied him, took him to Mulberry Road in a different car to get him over a road, which was a dirt road, a wooden bridge, a one lane.
And they take him out and put them on the bridge. He told him that we know you got the right where somebody needs some work tortillas and we'll let you go with the new butter.
He started twisting and flip it and just rolled off into the water before my father had a chance to take the air out of his.
He put it put a man in water unless you cut his stomach or you will float. So that's why he floated one month later. But he wouldn't that water if he had the money with him. That was it. Jim Dolz was killed because he was beating his wife, Ruth, and let's face it, he was likely to end up on Billy's hit list anyway for just telling about the bootleg operation. But it was major news that a well-to-do local businessman, largely respected and liked by most people, had been found floating in the Mulberry River tied to cement blocks.
As you might imagine, the small town was buzzing. Milestone, he didn't really know what took place at the time, he did stumble onto something two days later that even at his young age, raised a giant red flag.
While joyriding with a friend and a few cousins, they got a flat tire. Now, my dad had a 1968 Oldsmobile with a convertible top, and I remembered that the Oldsmobile was part of my grandmother's house right there a mile or so. We went there at 2:00 in the morning, opened the boot to get a jacket and hopefully get another time. And when I opened that boot, the first thing I seen was cement blocks and coat hangers and it hit me.
Now, the news had just had come out about him floating two days before, and this joker with me was 14, 15 years old, this Bentivoglio, I mean, they slammed the move. I said, no, he didn't have a jack in the says was all in blocks to hang in there. I try to minimize I don't remember what I said, but it scared me to death. We didn't call that night and we walked back to my cousin's house, which is three miles away.
And all I could think of was get them.
And did they get as many? Because in my mind I knew it. I knew age 11. Those are cement blocks and the coat hangers that were used to think that man had Billy Burke finally gone too far for the young boy that idolized him.
It didn't affect me. It did not have me traumatize for the fact that they killed all that was on my mind was to warn you so he could rectify his mistake and my mistake of taking somebody to the car and allow them to see what was in it. I felt like I had screwed up. And I want to get on with it and tell him. Stoney got home early the next morning and rushed into the bathroom where his father was shaving. He immediately told him what he'd seen.
My mother said, I wish you all to sit in there and talk to him, want to show you they had a real loving relationship.
I said, did I need to talk to his son?
And I said, Daddy, I need to talk to myself. He had the strangest looking and say, I honey, let me talk to him. So she walked out of the bathroom and they never forget the look on his face. And I said, Daddy, I messed up. We had a flat tire and I want the Ausbil pop side grannie's. And when I do, they were cement blocks and coathangers in there. And his 14 year old boy that I had with Masino.
I closed the boot fence, I could be see them and I seen the alarm and. He said, well, why are you telling me that I'm walking this way?
He told me that just because, Daddy, they just had that man just exploded in that river and he tried his best to take that knowledge from me. He said, Oh, son, no. You think you'd roll them, blocks them. We had so and so he gave me some lame story about what they had to do so-and-so. But he got dressed pretty fast. With the information Stoney provided to Sheriff Joe Chapman, the murder case of Jim Dolz, which had gone unsolved for nearly 48 years, was officially closed.
And I said, well, I'll be damned. So I typed all that up and put it in this file is case closed.
I showed it to Mr. Stern.
Nobody. What's more strange is it did not traumatize, but it didn't. I had no feeling whatsoever for it all.
I was worried for his well-being. It was at that time, the first time in my memory that I knew for a fact what my dad was doing.
That event let me know for a damn thing he'd done it. And my only worry was to help him not get caught.
That sounds crazy. In the red clay is a production of imperative entertainment. It was created, written and reported by me, Sean Qype and I wrote and created the original music score. Executive producers are Jason Hoak and Jeno. Falsetto story editor is Jason Hoak, produced and engineered by Shane Freeman, Jason Hoak and myself, cover art and design by Gina Sullivan. Voice Sessions recorded at three Sound Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. Archival footage licensed courtesy of Brown Media Archives, University of Georgia in WSB TV in Atlanta, Georgia.
In the Red Clay is a 12 episode series with new episodes available every Tuesday. Follow us on Instagram at In the Red Clay podcast. Have questions. Email us at Podcast's at Imperative Entertainment Dotcom. If you like the show, tell your friends and leave us a review. Thanks for listening.