Johnny Mack Brown

Episode 19: True Believer

Biographies | Show notes | Subscribe on Apple Podcasts | Other listening options

True Believer introduces Danny Jones, Frank Looper’s protege, and lets him explain what was happening behind the scenes with Frank Looper in the months before his death. For more, read the show notes or listen to the episode above.

Just discovering Murder, etc.? This story is meant to be heard in the order of episodes. Make sure you start with Episode 1.


Clint Eastwood’s Protege

When rookie Greenville City Police Officer Danny Jones met Lt. Frank Looper, he thought he’d found Greenville County’s version of Clint Eastwood. Jones spent the next 40 years doing what he could to live as Looper would have, both in an effort to help his community and preserve Looper’s legacy.

Below are photos of Danny Jones today and some of his favorite memories from his career in law enforcement.

If you want to research just like we did on Murder, etc., start with Newspapers.com.
Newspapers.com

Try Newspapers.com FREE for 7 days

BEFORE AND AFTER TABLE ROCK

Before 1971, Table Rock Laboratories had eight locations in Greenville County. The 45,000-square-foot facility just south of I-85 consolidated all of Table Rock’s operations into one very vulnerable building. The City of Greenville greased the skids to make the project happen and annexed the property.

To see a bird’s-eye view of the property before and after Table Rock, use the slider on the image below.

Join today for bonus episodes and more

Interested? Sign up today.

Support Murder, etc.

If you believe Murder, etc. is doing important work, please consider supporting its efforts with a donation to help cover the costs of research and production.

Donate any amount on PayPal or, if you prefer Venmo, you can quickly send your donation to @MurderETC.

If you’d prefer to offer your support while joining Amateurs ETC, visit the Murder, etc. Patreon page today to help the investigation continue.


This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Screen-Shot-2019-03-05-at-12.14.27-AM-150x150.png


Show notes:

True Believer is an epic episode that explains the beginnings of the American War on Drugs that turned Lt. Frank Looper into one of its first soldiers. The episode then introduces Frank Looper’s protege, Danny Jones, who takes listeners behind the scenes to what was happening with Frank Looper in the last months of his life.

The episode also explores Looper’s other fellow narcs, their relationship with future Greenville County Sheriff Johnny Mack Brown, and Brown’s relationship with corrupt cop Carl “Bub” Skelton.

Fast Eddie Williamson returns with another phone call from prison and delves deeper into who he says shot up the Looper home not long before the murders.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Screen-Shot-2019-03-05-at-12.14.27-AM-150x150.png

Featured interviews in True Believer

Episode 18: The Road to Six Mile

Fast Eddie Williamson opens up about the Dawson Gang, and more.

Episode 17: Greenville, We Have a Problem

Biographies | Show notes | Subscribe on Apple Podcasts | Other listening options

Greenville, We Have a Problem digs into the rampant violence in Greenville, SC in 1975, one of the years Greenville County was the murder capital of South Carolina, and then digs into Leonard Brown’s vault of tape recordings from the 1970s when he was working to prove Sheriff Cash Williams was corrupt. For more, read the show notes or listen to the episode above.


#yeahTHATmurder

In the mid-1970s, Greenville County was the murder capital of South Carolina, and led the state in almost every category of serious crime. Here’s 1975 Greenville: By the Numbers:

Mr. X

Greenville, SC’s first homicide victim in 1975 was found wrapped in a bedspread, tied up, beaten, doused in gasoline, and partially burned. Authorities never identified his body and never discovered who killed the man. The victim remains buried in a potter’s field in northern Greenville County. The sketch below is the only thing we have to identify Mr. X. Resolver Media producers are currently working to identify the man. Someone killed Mr. X just after New Year’s Day in 1975. Some tips have indicated the man might have been from Atlanta. If you have any information about who Mr. X might be, please go to our contact page and let us know.

The Inventions of Ray Hamby

Thomas Ray Hamby was Greenville’s court jester, though it’s not entirely clear he was aware of his role. People who knew him described him as everything from a genius to a nut. During the 1970s gas crisis, he invented a device that protected gas tanks from siphon hoses. He also invented a sex machine he intended to sell to women’s prisons. When that didn’t work out, he used the machine to put on traveling sex shows in a motor home. That landed him in jail and began his feud with Greenville County Sheriff Cash Williams. Below are pictures of some of Hamby’s efforts. (Thanks to Leonard Brown and Leonard Brown, Jr. for providing some of this material.)

Charlie Russo

The City of Greenville Police and the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office, like nearly every department in the country, have many cold cases. One of Greenville’s most famous is the murder of Charlie Russo, an accomplished saxophone player who toured with big band trumpet player Charlie Spivak. You can learn more about Russo below. To see some of the other cold cases from the city of Greenville, click here.

Pee Wee

The year Greenville, SC was the murder capital of South Carolina, the state finally captured serial killer Donald “Pee Wee” Gaskins, who claimed to have killed more than 100 people. Gaskins killed his last victim with a homemade bomb in prison.

RESOURCES

Join today for bonus episodes and more

Interested? Sign up today.

Support Murder, etc.

If you believe Murder, etc. is doing important work, please consider supporting its efforts with a donation to help cover the costs of research and production.

Donate any amount on PayPal or, if you prefer Venmo, you can quickly send your donation to @MurderETC.

If you’d prefer to offer your support while joining Amateurs ETC, visit the Murder, etc. Patreon page today to help the investigation continue.


This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Screen-Shot-2019-03-05-at-12.14.27-AM-150x150.png


Show notes:

Greenville, We Have a Problem begins with the story of Ray Hamby, who used some very unorthodox methods to attack Greenville County Sheriff Cash Williams.

The episode then digs into just how crime-ridden and murderous Greenville County was in 1975, the year Frank and Rufus Looper were murdered.

Then, producer Brad Willis digs into Leonard Brown’s vault of tapes. Brown recorded many conversations in the 1970s in an attempt to prove Sheriff Williams was actively working to have his political opponents murdered.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Screen-Shot-2019-03-05-at-12.14.27-AM-150x150.png

Featured interviews in Greenville, We Have a Problem

Episode 5: Bub

Carl “Bub” Skelton was an expert in catching crooks. It’s easier when you’re a crook yourself.

Episode 2: Finding Frank Looper

The warning shots weren’t enough to scare the county’s top drug cop. The next shots scared a community for another four decades. Frank Looper’s family looks back at a compassionate hunter and the warnings he ignored in a fight against organized crime.

Episode 1: January 31, 1975

One warm winter day changes a southern city forever.

Top