Monday, April 1, 2013

Butler Pitch & Putt Story

Albert Winston Kinser, who went by 'Winston', and his brother John Douglas Kinser, 'Doug', had grown up playing golf.  The Kinser brothers leased property from the City of Austin in 1949 to create their dream:  A 9-hole golf course near downtown Austin known as Butler Park Pitch and Putt.

These were the LBJ years.  In 1948, after serving for twelve years as a United States Representative, LBJ was elected U.S. Senator.  LBJ had four siblings, and one of them was his sister Josefa Johnson.  With an interest in politics, she had worked actively in his recent Senate campaign.

Josefa was a single woman in 1952 after two divorces.  Malcom (Mac) Wallace, an associate of LBJ's working for the United States Department of Agriculture in Texas, was a married man.

Rumors were that Josefa was having affairs with both Mac Wallace and Doug Kinser; and that Doug Kinser was also having an affair with Mac Wallace's wife.  

On 22nd October, 1951, Mac Wallace walked into the clubhouse of the Butler Park Pitch and Putt, pulled out a gun and shot Doug Kinser multiple times in cold blood.  A customer heard the shooting and noted the license plate as the vehicle escaped.  Mac Wallace was apprehended -- the weapon was found in his car as was the blood of his victim.

On February 1st, 1952, Wallace resigned from his government job and was represented in court seventeen days later by LBJ's attorney, John Cofer.   

It might be possible to assume that the motive was jealousy, which was what Cofer claimed in court.  However, the outcome of the trial was so bizarre that other motives come to mind.   

Barr McClellan, a lawyer who worked in Austin for a firm closely linked to LBJ, offers insights beneath the facade in his 2003 book Blood Money and Power: How L.B.J. Killed J.F.K.  Was it possible that Doug Kinser knew about possible wrongdoings of LBJ from conversations with Josefa? McClellan mentions that Doug had asked Josefa to approach her brother to ask for financial help.  LBJ refused, and the implications of blackmail arose. 

During the murder trial, Wallace never testified in his own defense.  

The jury's verdict was "murder with malice afore-thought".  Eleven of the jurors were for the death penalty and the twelfth argued for life in prison.   Judge Charles O. Betts overruled the jury, announced a sentence of five years imprisonment and then suspended the sentence.   Wallace was freed.

History -- or perhaps rumor-- has it that this wasn't the only murder committed by Wallace.  The list of his covert criminal activity goes on to include the possibility that he was one of the gunmen who shot JFK.  His finger prints have been positively identified with those found on a box at the scene of the sniper's nest.  He died at age 49 in a one-car crash in 1971.

Butler Pitch & Putt
201 Lee Barton Dr, Austin, TX
(512) 477-4430 ‎ ·