Sharon Kinne was a neighborhood girl who came from a broken home with an alcoholic mother. She always had many boy friends, even after she married a good little Mormon boy named James Kinne.

Sharon was a deceitful liar and worst of all, a cold blooded killer.

On March 19, 1960, police were called to their home in Independence. James Kinne had been shot in the back of the head while he lay sleeping. Sharon had killed him, but insisted that their 2 1/2 year old daughter had been playing with a family pistol, when it accidentally discharged. The Jackson County Sheriff Department concurred that this could have been the case and his death was ruled an “accidental homicide.”

Within a month of James' death, Sharon had his life insurance money in hand, and the first thing on her list was a flashy new sports car – a blue Ford Thunderbird. She went to a car dealer where she met Walter Jones, the salesman. He was handsome and charming and fresh out of the Marines. However, he was married with two children, but it was a troubled marriage with arguments over his other women.

Sharon was infatuated with Walter and started slipping around with him. It was a hot, fast, and passionate love affair. The following month, the car salesman’s wife was found dead in a nearby farm field with four bullets in her. When the detectives were questioning the husband, it became obvious that he was having an affair with Sharon, because Walter accused her of killing his wife.

Sharon was arrested and charged with murder, but with no murder weapon and no witnesses, she beat that rap for lack of evidence. However, that prompted the investigation of her husband’s death to be reopened and she was once again arrested, this time for the murder of James Kinne. Over the next four years she would be tried three times for the murder of James with mistrials declared each time.

The Kinne trials became a media circus and Sharon loved all the attention. She wanted to portray a picture of innocence for the press and TV people. She wanted the public to think she was being “strong-armed” by the police. Sharon seemed to think she had finally achieved a celebrity status and that she was now “somebody important.”

A fourth trial was scheduled for October 1964, but Sharon skipped bail and took off for Mexico with another boy friend. Soon after arriving south of the border, she was in a motel with yet a different man when shots rang out again. Sharon had put two slugs in his heart with the same gun she had used to kill the car salesman’s wife. The motel manager was also shot and wounded when he ran to the room to see what the gun shots were all about, but he was able to take the gun from her and hold her until police arrived.

Sharon was charged with murder once again and received a 10-year prison sentence in a Mexican jail. She used her “little girl” innocence and grown woman flirtations to bribe the guards for little favors. Then on a visiting Sunday, there was a movie for the visitors' entertainment. Sharon didn’t have any visitors, but she watched the movie just the same. That evening, during the usual bed check, Sharon was nowhere to be found. Maybe she had bribed the jail guards into letting her go, or maybe they just did away with her – no one knows for sure. She simply disappeared into thin air never to be seen again.

Her Jackson County murder warrant for James is still on the books and is the oldest outstanding murder warrant in the county.

Reference: “Peanuts, Kewpie Dolls, and Murder” by Jeanette Melton.

Ted W. Stillwell is available to speak before any club, church, civic, senior, or school groups.

To reach Ted W. Stillwell, send an email to or call him at 816-252-9909.