Unique and historic archive consisting of five bullets attributed to J. D. Goss’s ballistic tests in the case against Bonnie Parker’s sister, Billie Mace, for the Grapevine murders; and 27 original vintage first-generation photos of and related to Bonnie and Clyde, ranging from 4.75 x 3 mug shots to 5 x 7 autopsy and death car photos. This archive was featured on the PBS series History Detectives in 2003; the story behind these items was determined on the show.
The five bullets were originally passed down through the family of J. D. Goss, a ballistics expert who was called in to assist George Lacy in an analysis of test bullets fired from guns recovered from Bonnie and Clyde’s car. These were used in the investigation of the Grapevine murders of two highway patrolmen on Easter Sunday, 1934. Originally, Bonnie Parker’s sister, Billie Mace, was linked to the murders by an eyewitness, making her the prime suspect. However, others—Frank Hamer included—believed that Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were the culprits. When they were killed in an ambush on May 23, 1934, guns were removed from their car—including seven Colt .45s and a Colt .38 revolver—and ballistic tests were undertaken by George Lacy, with Goss’s assistance.
Goss’s involvement in the investigation is described in the May 30, 1934 issue of the Dallas Times Herald, as uncovered by History Detectives, which states, ‘J. D. Goss, ballistics expert…left Dallas Wednesday noon for Houston to aid George M. [sic] Lacy of the Houston police department in examination and tests of bullets taken from the scene of the killing on Easter Sunday.’ On May 31, 1934, Lacy announced that the .45 test bullets fired from one of the Parker-Barrow guns matched the bullets from the scene of the Grapevine slayings. Billie Mace was thus exonerated and released from custody.
Further evidence of the relationship between Lacy and Goss is found in the photographic archive: of the 27 photos which were also in Goss’s possession, seven are stamped on the front with Lacy’s information, “Geo. J. Lacy, Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory, Houston - Texas.” Ten of the photos depict Bonnie and/or Clyde, including five grisly death shots (three of Bonnie and two of Clyde). The others portray members of their gang, as well as their bullet-riddled death car. In overall very good to fine condition. Accompanied by a transcript of the History Detectives show in which this lot was featured, as well as copies of articles related to the archive. An altogether remarkable collection boasting excellent provenance.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.