MURDER ROCKS CITY AGAIN; FARMER SLAIN, WIFE WOUNDED
• HISTORIC FULL-SIZE PHANTOM KILLER REPRODUCTION PAGE INSIDE! • RAMPAGE LEAVES MANY LIVING IN TERROR
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the fifth of seven editions containing critical front pages that were at news stands during this horrific chapter in Texarkana history. Gazette readers will be able to see this history as it unfolded, see how the stories were played and even get a glimpse of what else was going on during this bloody rampage.
Fearing that a three-week interval was the Phantom’s compulsive pattern, soon after the Spring Lake Park slayings, few dared to park in lovers’ lanes. In fact, Gazette editorials warned that in such dark places death awaited.
By then, most “couples” in parked cars in out-of-the-way scenes were disguised lawmen, Texas Rangers or other officers camouflaged as lovers—with weapons in hand. Even in homes, residents hovered at night behind locked doors, fearful the Phantom might attack any night, anywhere, anytime, even in once-safe homes.
The three-week interval suggested the killer might strike again on Saturday, May 4, 1946. Lawmen girded up for the weekend.
Instead, he struck early the night of Friday, May 3, 10 miles from Texarkana on U.S. Highway 67 in Miller County, this time with a .22-caliber automatic. He killed Virgil Starks, 37-year-old farmer, and critically wounded his wife, Katie, 36. Virgil Starks was shot twice in the back of the head (like Griffin and Moore) as he sat by a window listening to a radio program. Mrs. Starks was shot twice as she tried to telephone for help. Seriously wounded, she managed to run from the house and into the darkness to a neighbor’s house. She lived. The killer escaped.
The jump for the Phantom series on pages 5A and 8A is on Page 6A.