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  • Writer's pictureMacabre Emporium Pod

Episode 2 - Ronald and the Colonel aren't lovin it


What can you do in 77 minutes? You can watch a television show, make dinner, and enjoy a long chat with a friend. Perhaps even listen to a podcast. But for 50 people, 77 minutes would seem like a lifetime.

July 18th,1984 The burger giant would suddenly, in a blink of an eye, be in the national spotlight from the actions of the piece of shit human, James Oliver Huberty.

James Oliver Huberty was born on October 11, 1942, the youngest of two children his parents, Earl Vincent and Icle (eye-cel) Evalone Huberty, would have. His father was a quality inspector, and his mother was a homemaker. His parents were devout Methodists and would attend church regularly as a family.

When James Hubery was three years old, he contracted polio, and to debilitate his illness, and he had to wear steel and leather leg braces. Even though he recovered from Polio, he would be afflicted by a mild limp for the rest of his life.

His father would buy a 155-acre farm in Mount Eaton, Ohio. His mother refused to move to Ohio, let alone go and see the property. James Huberty's mother would eventually abandon the family and become a Pentecostal street preacher in the Tuscon, Arizona area. Huberty was devastated by the abandonment of his mother, his father, Earl would often find him crying out next to the chicken coop.

Huberty had few friends growing up and took an interest in target shooting. Family friends would recall Huberty as a “queer little boy who was constantly shooting his pistol.”

By the time he reached his teenage years, he would be considered somewhat of an amateur gunsmith.

During high school, he was a constant target for bullies due to his limp and religious upbringing. He would graduate from high school as an average student.

While attending college in 1965 he would meet his wife Etna Markland. After James and Etan would marry James would take on many jobs. Most likely to his introverted personality it wasn’t best for him to deal with the public which would sometimes cause minor conflicts with superiors. Huberty was very proficient as an embalmer, eventually becoming a welder for a few years until he secured a position with Babcock and Wilcox by 1969. He was considered very reliable, and willingly took overtime when it was offered. He and his wife eventually would move to Massillon, Ohio. Where they built a six-unit apartment building they managed and lived in. They would have two daughters, born in 1972 and 1972.

At this point it might sound like a triumph over the tragedy of his life at this point but, unfortunately, James Huberty had a bad temperament. He would frequently slap or punch his daughters, sometimes this piece of trash would hold knives to their throats and beat his wife Etna. She would file a report with the Dept. of family services that he had “messed up” her jaw but, would insist that a majority of his assaults were him only striking her once. She would repeatedly attempt to persuade him to seek counseling, but he would refuse any type of therapy. She would try her best not to try and agitate him to pacify his anxiety, paranoia, and temper. She would develop a way to calm him by reading him tarot cards to predict his future which he would believe.

His co-workers and neighbors would recount Huberty being paranoid and obsessed with firearms. They would say Huberty had a “mental tally” of every little setback, insult, and any source of frustration. He told people he would pay his “debts if they were good or bad.” He encouraged his daughters to fight girls in their neighborhood they were having conflicts.

James Huberty was also a conspiracy theorist, he believed that the escalation of the Cold War was inevitable and believed the President and the Government was conspiring against him. He believed society was collapsing quickly through either economic collapse or nuclear war. He committed himself to survival, so he started to stockpile weapons and ammunition along with other provisions. His family members claimed that you could sit or stand in James’s homes and could reach out and touch a gun.”

For a short time, Huberty moved him and his family to Tijuana, Mexico as he believed that their money from selling their apartment building in 1983 would last longer in Mexico. Speaking very little Spanish it was hard for him to find work in Tijuana. After three months he regretted moving to Mexico and relocated to San Ysidro, California in 1984.

Now back in the United States in Sunny California he was able to find work again as a security guard at a condominium complex but, he was let go for poor performance and physical instability on July 10th.

July 15, he commented to his wife Etna that he believes he is having mental health issues. He finally is now reaching out to get therapy. Two days later he requested an appointment and after leaving his contact information with the receptionist they informed him they would call within in a few hours.

Now, this is where spelling is really important, he never got a call back because the receptionist misspelled his name “Shouberty.” Because of this error, James Huberty’s temperament changed as he had sat quietly by the phone for hours waiting for his call back.

With his polite demeanor showing no sign of an emergency he was labeled “non-crisis” so it would put him on a call-back list of 48 hours.

On July 18, that morning he and his family would visit the zoo. While walking through the zoo with his family he would tell his wife he feels that his life is effectively over since the clinic never returned his call. After eating lunch at McDonald’s, the Huberty family would return home.

After returning home his wife Etna was relaxing in their bedroom and he walks into their bedroom wearing a maroon t-shirt and camo pants he tells his wife “I want to kiss you goodbye.” Etna obliged kissing her husband and asking, “where are you going, I am about to make dinner.” James replies simply with “going hunting…hunting for humans.”

As it's been a long-standing controversy about using killer's names in podcasts and documentaries. from this point on I am going to try my best not to mention his name and only refer to him as limp dick.

Armed with a 9mm Browning semi-automatic pistol, a 9mm Uzi, and a Winchester 12 ga. Pump-action shotgun. Several hundred rounds for each weapon he looks at his daughters as he walks towards the front door and tells them “Goodbye, I won’t be back.”

The Huberty’s lived a very short distance approximately 200 yards or 182 meters for our international listeners. Towards the local supermarket and then towards the post office before entering the parking lot of McDonald’s. I couldn’t find the location of where the supermarket is in reference to the location of the others, but the post office and McDonald’s are side by side.

3:56 p.m. Huberty drives in and parks his sedan in the parking lot. At this time of day, there is a total of 45 customers and employees inside when Huberty entered with his weapon and cloth bag full of ammunition, and a radio.

Minutes after he enters, he takes aim at John Arnold a 16yo employee approximately fifteen feet away, as he takes aim asst. manager Guillermo Flores shouts “Hey, John, that guy is going to shoot you!” Huberty pulls the trigger, and nothing happens. Huberty inspects his gun in this moment the 22yo Neva (knee va) Caine the store’s manager walks toward the counter believing this is a distasteful joke. The manager now walking away from Huberty. After his inspection, Huberty fires his shotgun into the ceiling and then takes aim at the manager shooting her once below the left eye and she dies minutes later.

Immediately after Huberty fires his shotgun at Arnold wounding him in the chest and arm. After Huberty shouts “Everyone on the ground” and refers to everyone as “dirty swine, and assholes” he also claimed he killed a thousand in Vietnam and will kill a thousand more even though he never served in the military. A 25yo Victor Rivera tries to persuade Huberty after his rant and seeing two employees shot, not to shoot anyone else but, Huberty responds by shooting Victor 14 times and shouting shut up as they screamed in pain.

Staff and customers are now trying to hide the best they can behind tables and booths. One survivor recounted hearing Huberty say “to be quiet and keep the kids quiet since he was getting anxiety and he didn't want to kill children.” His attention is drawn toward six women and children huddled together. He first kills a 19yo Maria Colmenero-Silva with a single shot to the chest and then fatally nine-year-old Claudia Perez with nine shots of his Uzi. Perez’s 15yo sister Imelda, once in the hand with the same weapon.

He then fires upon 11yo Aurora Pena with his shotgun. Aurora is first wounded in the leg as they were being shielded by her pregnant aunt Jackie Reyes. Hubery would shoot her 48 times with the Uzi. At this point, an 8mo Carlo Reyes is wailing next to the body of his mother and this piece of shit shoots the child in the back with a single shot.

A 62yo trucker Laurence Versluis was shot and killed next by Huberty before he targets a family seated next to the play area of the restaurant trying to shield their son and his friend. 31yo Blythe Regan Herra is shielding her 11yo son Matao under one as her husband, Ronald Herrera is trying to shield Matao’s friend Keith Thomas directly across from them. Ronald is urging Keith not to move but Thomas was shot four times but not seriously wounded. Ronald was shot six times one being in the head, and he survives as well. His wife and son weren’t so lucky both being killed by numerous shots to the head.

Near them are three women attempting to hide. 24yo Guadalupe del Rio laying against a wall trying to shield her friends 25yo. Gloria Ramirez, and 31yo Arisdelis Vuelevas Vargas. Del Rio is hit several times but wounded, and Rameriez is unhurt, but Vargas receives a single shot to the back of the head and dies later in the hospital the next day. Rameriez would be the only one to live long enough to reach a hospital.

A 45yo banker is killed with a single shot to the chest. Now about 4 pm phones are starting to come in about a child being shot and taken to the post office next door. Dispatchers mistakenly send units on the east side of San Ysidro whereas this is taken place on the west side two miles (three kilometers) away. This error slowed down a lockdown on the area and the only warning bystanders would get by those passing by as well.

Shortly After 4 pm, Lydia Flores drove into the parking lot to the drive-thru. She notices the broken windows and the sound of gunfire. She looks up and there is Huberty just shooting” Flores throws her car in reverse in fight or flight and crashes into a fence and hides in bushes with her 2yo until the shooting stops.

4:05 pm couple Astolfo and Marciel Felix drive towards the restaurant noting the shattered glass Astolfo assumed its renovations in progress and Huberty was a repairman. He takes shots with his shotgun and Uzi and the couple and 4yo daughter. Maricela would survive but is blinded in one eye and leaving her hand unstable. Her husband would also be wounded, in the midst of the chaos he ends up handing off their child to a young woman and police officer who rushed their daughter to the hospital as Astolfo assists his wife who had collapsed against a car. All three of them would survive. It would take two weeks for Astolfo and Marciel two weeks find their daughter in a hospital.

11yo friends, Joshua Coleman, Omarr Alonso Hernandez, and David Flores Delgado are out riding their bikes west of the parking lot to go buy sundaes. They hear someone yelling at them from across the street but can’t make out what they are saying to them. The boys hesitate for a moment before Huberty shoots all three of them. Coleman fell to the ground shod in the back arm and leg. Hernandez was shot multiple times in the back and started starting vomiting according to Coleman. Delgado was shot in the head serval times. Coleman would be the only one of the trio to survive.

After the three young boys, Huberty notices an elderly couple walking toward the entrance. Miguel Victoria Ulloa and Aida Velazquez. Miguel reaches to open the door for his wife and Huberty fires his shotgun. Killing Aida and wounding Miguel. One of the survivors that went uninjured noticed Miguel cradling his wife in his arms wiping the blood from her face and shouting at Huberty. Huberty approaches from the doorway swearing back at him and shooting and killing Miguel with a shot to the head.

After watching the documentary “77 minutes” and other sources I used for this all happened within the first 10 minutes of the first shot. I’m sure you and those that might be listening are wondering where the fuck are the police at this point. Well, the average response time for emergency calls is seven minutes. When the first calls started coming in about a baby being shot police were dispatched to McDonald’s on the other side of San Ysidro. Officer Miguel Rosario first on the scene quickly establishes the disturbance at the correct McDonald's as he is being fired upon by Huberty. The area is now quickly being locked down by responding officers.

Unfortunately, micro peen Huberty had the upper hand on Rosario and the first responding officers with larger caliber weapons (.38 service revolvers for the officers and no cover) and clear lines of sight of the parking lot, there were unable to advance and render aid to those needing it. From law enforcement’s perspective at this time, they are unaware if it's just one or multiple gunmen and from their outside view looking in was obscure because at this point most of the glass windows were shattered not leaving a clear view inside for them along with the position of the sun.

Even with police on the scene limp dick is looking for survivors and shooting those that he believes are faking it. Survivors would recount he would adjust his radio possibly looking for news reports before selecting a music station as he danced while shooting. Making his way into the kitchen he discovers six more employees shouting at them “Oh, there is more. You are trying to hide from me!” He opens fire killing 21yo Paulina Lopez, 19yo Else Borboa-Fierro, and 18yo Margarita Padilla, wounding 17yo Albert Leos. Padilla grabs the hand of 17yo Wendy Flanagan and begins to run and fatal shoots Padilla. Wendy Flanagan would survive hiding in a closet with other employees and a customer. Later on, Albert would crawl to the closet hiding with them after being shot five times and survives. Albert recalls biting on a rag to keep quiet and not to give them away.

After making his way back to the dining area to possibly reload he hears 19yo Jose Perez groaning in pain and shoots him in the head killing him.

4:40 pm sharp shooters arrive and set up on the post office roof next door. At 5:05 pm officers are given the authorization to kill any perpetrator when they have a clear shot at 5:05 pm. Christopher Foster remembers being able to see limp dick sitting on the counter reloading but only could see him from the neck down. At 5:17 pm a single shot rings out but not from Huberty but from sharpshooter Christopher Foster to the chest of Huberty. After 77 minutes James limp dick Huberty is dead after killing 21 people and injuring 19 others.

Response from law enforcement was hindered because of Huberty’s use of multiple weapons making them believe there was more than one shooter or if he had any hostages. Not having a clear view from “spider-webbed glass.”

In the aftermath of the shooting Mc Donalds' suspended all advertisements in the days following and Burger King did the same in solidarity.

McDonald’s would reopen two days after the shooting but, community leaders and McD executives agreed not to reopen it. The building would be demolished in September.

A memorial of 21 hexagon white marble pillars, varying in height representing the ages of the victims sits on the grounds with a satellite campus for Southwestern College (the memorial is designed by mentioned college alumni).

Huberty’s wife would try to sue Mcdonald's saying their food caused his delusions and uncontrollable rage from MSG. Her case was dismissed in 87.

Joan Kroc, the owner of Mc Donalds, created a survivor's fun of 1 million dollars (2.7 million today)



Darnell Hartsfield and Romeo Pinkerton - Kilgore, TX KFC murders
Kilgore, TX KFC Murder Suspects

Imagine it - Kilgore, Texas, 1983. Some people went to work, and others sat down for a meal, not knowing that the day would end with armed robbery and mass murder.

On September 23rd, 1983, a KFC crew would start preparing for the end of their shift. Those that were there were either part of the crew or a loved one waiting to pick up an employee. A girl was on her way inside to check on her mother, Mary Tyler, around 11:30 pm. Her suspicions rose as she got to the doors, only to find them unlocked while the restaurant was supposed to be closed. The girl called her stepfather, Bill, who immediately called the police and then headed for the KFC. Upon entering, nothing seemed to be right. The trash that was to be taken out was sitting by a door, and the cash register was emptied, but there was not one soul inside the building aside from him. Officer upon officer began showing up and going over the scene, collecting evidence as they went. There was not much to gather in the KFC or the field, save for a torn-off piece of a fingernail.

Back in the early 80s, DNA testing wasn’t a thing yet, but it didn’t stop people from wanting the spotlight with statements of the fingernail having its own unique markers (like a fingerprint does). But there will be more on that later.

The next day, 15 miles away, a field of bodies was discovered.

The bodies of the victims were found by Texas Rangers and local police. They were identified as 19-year-old Monte Landers, 20-year-old Joey Johnson, 38-year-old Opie Ann Hughes, 20-year-old David Maxwell, and 37-year-old Mary Tyer.

They were found lying face down and side by side with bullet holes in the back of their heads - with the exception of the on-duty manager, Opie Hughes, who chose to run. Unfortunately, she was not fast enough, as she was also shot in the back of the head. In time, it was found that all 5 of them had been shot at least twice, except for Joey Johnson, who was shot at least three times.

Jurisdiction would play a massive part in determining who would investigate this case - as the KFC and the field the victims were found in would differ in counties, meaning different departments for police/investigations. Neither department wanted to share the investigation; however, both wanted to lay claim and have complete control over the case. As the squabble for which department would take the lead continued, the Texas Rangers would choose to put Captain G. W. Brooks in charge of the investigation.

Early on in the investigation, the name Romeo Pinkerton and cousin Darnell Hartsfield would come up. Flyers were printed and distributed to draw attention to these men, as well as to a man named Elton Winton, to get them to come into the station and have a chat. Nothing ever came of Elton Winton, so his name disappeared from all radars. The cousins, Romeo and Darnell, were let go, as they both had pretty solid alibis.

With the slim-to-none evidence found - AKA the piece of a fingernail - police were claiming that and convinced that this belonged to the perpetrator for years. What do you do when you have a bit of broken fingernail and need a suspect? Well, you go looking for someone with broken nails, of course. They found a man by the name of James Earl Mankins Jr. Why did they choose James? Was it because of his father? - a state representative - or because James had numerous run-ins with the law, primarily for dealing drugs? The investigators wanted a suspect badly, so much so that with damn near NOTHING to go on, they kept James on their radar. He would end up being charged with all of the murders in 1995; however, once the hearing started, the charges were dropped due to lack of evidence. Go fucking figure! Unfortunately for Mankins, all of the speculations would continue to be aimed at him, even after DNA testing confirmed the fingernail did not belong to him.

With Mankins free, they had nothing.

For ten years, the case was cold. Until it warmed up. November of 2005, cousins Darnell Hartsfield and Romeo Pinkerton (remember them from the flyers?) were found and arrested and charged for the murders…while both were incarcerated. But wait…. they were cleared because they had confirmed alibis, right - especially when one of the alibis was that one of the men was incarcerated at the time of the murders. Well, the report was wrong. He had been released two days prior to the murders, and the jail sucked at keeping their records updated. Also, they had their eyes on James Mankins as the guy that did it. Even after being let go.

Pinkerton was in jail for unrelated drug charges, while Hartsfield was serving a life sentence for aggravated perjury that was connected to the KFC case. I am not sure what he did to receive that charge or sentence.

The cousins were charged with capital murder and were looking at being sentenced to death.

In 2007 Pinkerton took a plea deal, as he had a feeling it wouldn't end well for him if he didn’t. The deal was that he would serve five concurrent life terms - meaning he would serve all five at the same time. In 2008, Hartsfield got to stand trial. He was also found guilty of murder, and as with his cousin, he would serve all five life terms concurrently.

During these trials, a bomb was dropped. The prosecution stated that one victim - Opie Hughes - was sexually assaulted, and the semen found on the scene had been DNA tested. The semen didn’t match Pinkerton, Hartsfield, or even her husband. The clothing had laid in evidence for so long that the track of who brought in what evidence and who had come in contact with it was long gone. This led to people claiming there was a third suspect. The prosecution held this bit of information from the families and hoped it would further strengthen their case against the cousins, as they said that they did indeed have the right men.

Significant errors such as the one I just talked about were made throughout this investigation. From the moment Mary Tyler’s daughter and husband walked into the KFC and touched things looking for something would state where the workers had gone, all the way to the very end of the trial. With all of the errors and misinformation surrounding this case, I’m surprised it was solved at all. The murders went unsolved for decades until DNA linked the cousins to it in 2001.

Recent Happenings:

In 2014 one of the men convicted for the murders, Romeo Pinkerton, was up for a parole hearing but was denied due to the history and nature of the offenses. He is up for parole again in May 2024. Pinkerton's cousin, Darnell Hartsfield, will have another parole hearing in January of 2023.

In May of this year (2022), a judge ordered that any mention of the indictment of James Mankins in the 1983 killings of the five KFC employees be expunged from the records in both counties, from the state Department of Public Safety, the State Board of Pardons and Paroles, as well as the national and state crimes information centers.

And that is the case of the KFC Murders.

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