Saturday, September 17, 2011

Entrances, Exits and Procurement…

The neighborhood the Burnham and Wayne families lived in was decidedly lower class and populated by people of very little means. It was just a half a block away from the Denver & Rio Grand railroad tracks. To the west of the homes ran a trolley line which ran late at night in order to accommodate the late shift workers of the Golden Cycle Mill to the west. Below is a (not scale) map of the neighborhood from 1909. The map is running with North on the right side. The arrows indicate the two houses and are pointing in the direction the front doors faced. The houses running along the trolley tracks were all vacant but due to the high use of the road they faced, there were electric street lamps running in front of them. The “Alley” to the east of the two houses was dark.

I think the most likely path of the killer was along the Alley. He could have come in from the west but would have risked being seen entering the back yards of the vacant houses along the trolley line. By coming in from the railroad tracks in the east and cutting south into the Alley, the killer would have been moving in almost complete darkness. Why did he then choose the Wayne’s house to enter? By coming from either the south or the north through the alley he would have passed two other occupied houses first; Joseph and Martha Evans to the south of the Wayne’s house, and Mrs. C. L. Brown's house just across the Alley from the Burnhams. There are two characteristics that stick out to me as possible reasons for skipping those two houses. First, the Browns were African-American. Second, the Evans were in their fifties. Opportunity didn’t seem to be a factor since the killer forced entry into both murder houses so if he was willing to break into those two houses, why not the Evans or Brown homes? "But are implying the murders weren't random!" Kind of, yeah. I don't think the killer actively stalked the victims in Colorado Springs but I also don't believe he just broke into a house without any idea who might be in there. There is circumstantial evidence to suggest the killer observed his victims at Ellsworth and Villisca. I think it is likely he did the same in Colorado Springs. There were numerous spots, including vacant houses, surrounding the crime scenes where the killer could have hidden and observed his targets. A worker on his way to the Golden Cycle Mill reported that he observed a man "loitering" in the vicinity around midnight on the night of the murders. Could this have been our guy?

Maybe one of these guys knows?

No comments: