‘Marion Miley Killed by Burglars,’ the lead story on the front of the September 28, 1941 Lexington Herald-Leader blared. The 27 year-old golf celebrity’s death even rated a two-column headline on the front page of the New York Times.
Miley was a six-time winner of the Kentucky Amateur Golf title and at one time bested Babe Didrikson, one of the greatest female golfers of all time.
She and her mother, Mrs. Elsa Miley, manager of the golf club, were awakened early the previous morning by two men who broke open the door to their upstairs apartment over the Lexington Country Club.
“Give us the money,” the men demanded in the near dark as they brandished guns and a flashlight.
A startled Elsa Miley retrieved $150 from her clothes closet and a much smaller amount from her purse. The robbers, expecting much more, became irate.
“Where’s the $5,000,” one of them asked as he beat the older lady with a heavy piece of metal he brought up from downstairs.
“There is no $5,000,” she attempted to respond. “This is all that I have.”
The other intruder proceeded to shoot Elsa Miley three times in the abdomen, the second and third shots coming after she fell to the floor.
Marion Miley was a stout, young athlete but she was no match for the armed gunmen. When she attempted to defend her mother she was dealt several punishing blows before being shot in the back of her head. She slumped unconscious to the floor. The robbers then fled.
Several minutes later the elder Mrs. Miley struggled to her feet and picked up the phone to call help but found that the line was dead. She staggered to the steps and along the way stumbled into her dead daughter lying in a pool of blood in the hallway. Mrs. Miley clung to the banisters as she struggled down the stairs and out the still open door. Her injuries made it difficult for her but she eventually got to the Ben-Mar Sanitarium 500 yards away.
Resort manager J. M. Giles answered the bell a few minutes after 4 a.m. and caught Mrs. Miley as her listless, bloody body fell into his arms. Health workers were present and soon began attending to Elsa Miley as Giles called the police.
The wounded woman did her best to give an account of the break-in and shooting before she lapsed into unconsciousness. Later in the day she awoke and was interviewed by Fayette County Chief Investigator John McCord.
The Lexington paper told of Marion Miley’s death and a “welter of blood over the bed, walls, carpeting and floor.”
The police interviewed Raymond “Skeeter” Baxter, groundskeeper of the course, who often slept in the caddy shack.
“Yes, I stayed in the caddy shack last night,” the distraught worker affirmed. “I often stay here when Mr. Miley is out of town. I try to protect them. Mrs. Miley was like a second mother to me.”
The police found where the intruders gained entry through a window in the rear of the building. They found the electrical switch turned off and the phone wires cut. Very few clues were found.
Elsa Miley was of little help as she lingered near death. The attack came in the darkness of night. Everyone was saddened when Elsa died on October 1.
The police went to each residence in the area but no one had heard anything nor did they have any useful information.
“We are stymied right now on this double murder,” investigator McCord said. “If anyone knows anything, no matter how insignificant they think it may be, we want to hear from them.”
Seventeen year-old Hugh Cramer thought he may have seen something so he contacted the police. Although his information was obscure it would help break open the case and send three men to the electric chair.
“When I brought the newspaper by the country club that morning there was a shiny new Buick parked next to the Miley’s two cars,” the young man, who delivered the Lexington newspaper in the area, told them. “I know their cars because I see them every day. That morning there was a new Buick. It was new and shiny and it was either blue or gray in color. It was a bluish-gray color.”
“Men I want you to check every Buick dealer in Kentucky to see who sold new gray-blue Buick’s in the last few months,” McCord ordered his men.
Editor’s note: Louisville police officers find useful information that helps solve this double murder in an upcoming segment. Jadon Gibson is a freelance writer from Harrogate, TN. His writings are both historical and nostalgic in nature and can be read periodically at bereaonline.com. Don’t miss a single issue!
A Voice for God – A Voice for Good
The heavy winds and rain blasted through Texas and then Florida bringing heartache, despair and prayer. Many families were uprooted and had to abandon their homes.
We were fortunate. My wife’s son Remo, wife Mahalla, three children and Mahalla’s mother came to stay with us last Saturday and remained until today (Saturday, September 16) when they left to return to their Melbourne, Florida home. We were blessed to be able to help make a difficult time more bearable for them and for us too. We didn’t worry about them like we would have had they remained in Florida or in Savannah, Georgia where they considered holing up in a motel. Our good Lord in Heaven has been so good to me.
Remo’s boss drove by his home Wednesday and found no damage around his property. That was a big relief for them. Many Floridians lost everything except what they had with them. Many are deceased. Others are injured, uprooted or both.
They are a devout Christian family seven days a week. During the week we heard much praying, reading and reciting Bible verses, singing songs of praise than ever. It was uplifting. All three girls, Maki age 19, Michelle 14 and Anna 12, are happy souls and make near perfect grades. They have no bad habits nor inclination in that direction.
Mahalla, Remo’s wife and the girl’s mother, is tremendously strong in her faith. As I write this on Thursday night September 14 they are in our living room harmonizing beautifully, (I’m not one prone for false praise), a hymn ‘Jesus We Enthrone You.’ In one of my earlier inspirations that was printed and broadcasted I mentioned a chronic pain I often had in my right shoulder before Mahalla grasped and prayed over it when we visited them in Abilene, Texas about four years ago. The pain turned down and off just like turning down the volume on a radio or tv.
Remo didn’t miss a single day of work all week. He is Lead Support Technician for Ford Motor and is in daily contact with their global affiliates. He was on the internet with headset and mic each day.
God has been so good to me for allowing us to have them in our family. My two sons are also teachers in Berkeley and Virginia Beach. Neither smoke, drink or use drugs and they don’t curse… except Robert may blurt out a four letter word if he hits his finger with a hammer. I’ve been guilty of that too.
Many families have problems with one or more of their children. Parents who tell their children about Jesus from a young age have an excellent chance of having good kids. Have them attend Sunday School. They will like it and find a better class of friends.
As they grow up talk to your children about situations to be on guard for and a proper reaction if and when they do arise. It’s much better to have these conversations earlier rather than later when the tears are falling.
My good my Lord in Heaven has been so good to me and He will be to you and your children. Keep Him in your heart and plant the seed that will grow in the hearts of your youngsters. They will flourish and you’ll be pleased with them.