#1: Statement of Ernest Burkhart Regarding the Murder of Henry Roan (January 6, 1926)(transcription of Bureau of Investigation report)


 Fairfax, Okla.

Here’s the following statement to F. E. Smith and F. B. White on January 6, 1926.

Some time several weeks before Henry Roan was found murdered, I went with Bill Hale to Henry Grammer’s ranch, and while there Bill Hale called my attention to a man who was there working for Grammer, and told me this man’s name was John Ramsey, and that he was a man who would stand pat and keep his mouth shut. That on one occasion in the past Henry Grammer was caught with some stolen cattle and that Grammer got Ramsey to say that he, Ramsey, stole the cattle, which cleared Grammer and that Ramsey served a sentence in McAlester Penitentiary for the theft of these cattle. Some time about one year and a half before Roan’s death Hale took out a policy on Henry Roan’s life for twenty-five thousand dollars, and told me the reason he got this policy was on account of the fact of Henry Roan having family trouble and drinking very hard and he had made one attempt to commit suicide, and he did not figure he would live long. After Hale and I left Grammer’s ranch, and after he pointed Ramsey out to me, Hale said he would put Ramsey on Henry Roan’s trail, that Ramsey would either give him some poison whiskey, or shoot him and lay a gun beside him and everybody would think he committed suicide. A few days later Ramsey came down to Fairfax and I was walking down the street and ran on to Ramsey and Bill Hale talking something about buying a Ford Roadster at Ponca City. Ramsey then left, stating he would go to Ponca by way of Pawnee and Perry over Santa Fe and Frisco. After Ramsey left, Hale told me he had given Ramsey the money to buy a Ford Roadster, as Ramsey had no way to get around and kill Roan and get away, that it would be necessary for Ramsey to steer Roan around and keep up with him and get him to a place where he could bump him. In a few days Ramsey returned to Fairfax in a new Ford Roadster, which I understood he bought at Ponca City. I saw Ramsey around town in this car for the next few days. About a week before Henry Roan’s body was found, Ramsey walked up to me on the street at Fairfax and inquired for Hale. I told him I did not know where he was. Ramsey then told me to tell Hale the job was all right and not to worry, that it happened out in the Sol Smith pasture, I later saw Hale and told him what Ramsey had said. Ramsey left Fairfax, going to his home at Ripley. In a few days Ramsey came back to Fairfax, and later went to Grammer’s place. Shortly thereafter Henry Roan’s body was found dead in his car. A few days later Ramsey came back to Fairfax and stayed a short time and went on to Ripley. Some time after Roan’s body was found, possibly a month later, Bill Hale told me he had paid Ramsey the balance he owed Ramsey for killing Roan, which make the job cost him the Ford car and the balance, being a total of one thousand dollars. Some time after Roan was found dead I asked Ramsey how it happened, and Ramsey said he met Roan on the road running from Fairfax to Burbank and got in Roan’s car with him, sitting on the back seat, and they drove off and under the hill, he telling Roan they would take a drink, and when they got to the right place out of sight of the road, he shot Roan, and walked back to the top of the hill where he had met Roan and left his car, and drove on in to Fairfax. He told me he shot Roan with a .45 automatic pistol.

#2: Statement of Ernest Burkhart Regarding the Murders of Bill and Rita Smith (January 6, 1926)(transcription of Bureau of Investigation report)

Made following statement to Agents M. S. Smith, John K. Wren and T. B. White, at Guthrie, Oklahoma, January 6, 1926

On this date, having made a detailed statement to Mr. Smith and M. R. White setting out all information then in my possession concerning the murder of Henry Road, the following details concern the murder of W. E. Smith and family.

Some time in 1918 there was a money transaction between Bill Hale and W. E. Smith in which Hale loaned Smith $5,500.00. As I remember, some time in 1920, or possibly in 1919, Hale told me that W. E. Smith had given him, Hale, a check for $6,000.00; that $5,500.00 of this money would cover the amount Smith owed him, and the $500.00 would cover interest. Some time later I was at Bill Hale’s ranch, and W. E. Smith drove up with his wife, and I saw Hale and Smith talking. I was at the barn, about one hundred yards away. In a short time Smith and wife left. After they had gone Hale came to the barn and told me that Smith wanted him, Hale, to give him, Smith, back the $6,000.00 check that he, Smith, had previously paid him, Hale, Smith trying to leave the impression with his wife that Hale owed him, Smith, $6,000.00 In a very short time Smith again drove up, by himself. Hale went out to where Smith was and they talked for about 20 minutes and Smith again left. Some time after Smith left Hale told me that he was not going to give the money back to Smith; that he had waited too long before Smith had paid him. From then on bad feeling existed between Hale and Smith.

Some time, possibly a year or more later, Hale told me he believed he could have Smith bumped off some time. Later Hale told me he believed he would have Smith bumped off. Later, in conversation, Hale told me that he had either been to see Al Spencer, or thought he would go to see Al Spencer and get him to bump Smith off. This conversation, the best I can recollect, was some time about one year before Smith was killed. About this time something happened to Spencer, I don’t remember what, and Hale said something to me about not knowing where he was and something about getting Fred Rowe to go with him to see Spencer. Later Hale told me he was going to see Grammer and get him to furnish a man to bump Smith, and he did go, or at least left and said he was going to Grammer’s. About a week later Hale told me that Grammer told him that he would have Blackie Thompson do it; that he had rather trust Blackie than any one. Hale said he would go and see Al Spencer; that he did not know where Spencer was, but he would get Fred Rowe to go with him and get Max Billingsley and Max Billingsley would tell him. About two or three weeks after this he said that he had talked to Al Spencer and that Al Spencer was gone and out of the country and that he, Hale, would go and see Grammer, and just shortly after that he, Hale, said that Grammer told him he, Grammer, would have Blackie Thompson do it. Some time after that Hale told me that Blackie could not be found, or was out of the country.