View Full Version : Interesting stories of August 1977

07-17-2009, 01:38 PM
Here's a strange bit of the story that often gets ignored.
About 4am on the 18th, funeral day, Alice Marie Hovatar, Juanita Joanne Johnson and Tammy Baiter were just hanging out and chatting with the other 300 or so mourners holding an all night vigil in front of the mansion (as you do).
Treatise Wheeler, came driving through the area in a 1963 white Ford.
He was driving south on Elvis Presley Blvd, but turned off into some lots on the right, (where Elvis Inc. is located now) and he turned around to head back north, here.
His tires were burning.
I don't think the girls knew what hit them.
Literally. Wheeler barreled through the crowd, going about 40 or 50 mph. Officer F. M. McCann, who was standing nearby stated, " I heard the noise of his tires screeching and turned just in time to see his car hit the three bodies..
One of the bodies flew up in the air about five feet and landed on the windshield.
A second was plastered against the front of the car.
The third was being dragged under the car.
He dragged her about 20 yards."
The car kept going, dragging the Baiter girl, but began sputtering from the impact of the bodies and slowed to a halt about a block away.
Wheeler jumps out and does a runner, but the cops nabbed him.
There were three 16-year-old girls in the car with him.
Charming host.
Cops said he was staggering, incoherent, and legally drunk.
The victims were taken to City of Memphis Hospital.
The two dead girls (Hovatar and Johnson) were mangled beyond recognition, and their purses and identity papers were scattered on the highway.
The really scary thing about this part of it were the Elvis fans that were watching.
After the initial excitement calmed, some of them yelled out, "Let's lynch him!"

I wonder where the girls ended up.
And whatever happened to the one that lived?
And whatever happened to the man who hit them?

Source: ElvisTKC

07-17-2009, 01:47 PM
Printed Tuesday 9th May 1978

Mrs. Aloha Johnson, right and daughter-in-law, Mrs Sandra Johnson


Press-Scimitar Staff Writer

"There is no justice in Memphis," said Mrs. Aloha Johnson, looking sad and some-what exhausted.
She had been standing all afternoon in 'front of Graceland mansion, holding a placard protesting the recent sentence given to the driver whose car killed her 19-year-old daughter and another young woman during the vigil by fans in front of the Elvis Presley home last August.

Mrs. Johnson feels there should have been a stiffer penalty for the driver, who got 10 years' imprisonment.
Frustration and a feeling of helplessness have gripped Mrs. Johnson ever since her daughter, Juanita Joanne Johnson, was struck and killed in front of the singer's home by an automobile driven by Treatise Wheeler III.

Wheeler was charged with the early morning traffic deaths of Miss Johnson, 19, and Alice Hovatar, 19, of Monroe, La., and the critical injuring of a third young woman, Tammy Baiter, 17, of St. Clair, Mo., as all three girls stood outside Presley's Whitehaven home on the day of the entertainer's funeral.

Wheeler last week pleaded guilty to two counts of second degree murder and re¬ceived a 10-year sentences

"We believe the sentence was unfair, “Mrs. Johnson said.
"The Memphis courts obviously believe that my daughter's life was of no more value than a sentence that boy probably only will serve five years of.
That's two and a half years for each death.
Is that justice?"
Mrs. Johnson's poster listed several offenses she said Wheeler was charged with, including driving while intoxicated, hit and run, public drunkenness and injuring Miss Baiter.
Mrs. Johnson scored a large zero for time of punishment after each listing on the card.

Her daughter-in-law, Mrs. Sandra John¬son, stood beside her, holding a large portrait of Joanne, as the family called her.
The picture, donated by the Johnson family, usually hangs in a restaurant across the street from Graceland.
The restaurant loaned the Johnsons the picture for the afternoon.

"When (the family), heard about the Wheeler boy's sentencing, we all burst into tears. It was just like hearing about Joanne's death all over again," Mrs. John¬son said.
"I don't see why this case had to have the punishment all wrapped up before the case even came to trial," she said.
"This type of thing needs to be stopped."
Wheeler received the minimum sentence on a guilty plea to second degree murder.
The maximum is life in prison.

During last week's plea bargaining, Attorney General Hugh Stanton Jr. said de¬fendants in drunken driving accidents resulting in deaths usually are offered a one-year prison sentence on an involuntary manslaughter charge.

Stanton said he considered the Wheeler case to be "extremely aggravated," and the state recommended a 10-year sentence.

Source: ElvisTKC

07-17-2009, 01:50 PM
"I can't do anything about that sentence now," Mrs. Johnson said, adding she hopes to speak with Stanton and Criminal Court Judge William H. Williams, in whose court the case was handled.

"We came up here six or eight weeks ago and at that time, a Memphis resident told me not to be surprised if the boy didn't receive a harsh sentence.
The Memphis woman said it happens all the time.
"I just feel I most protest what hap¬pened and try in my own small way to change the way the system is run.
What if that boy gets out soon and does the same thing over again?

"I don't think I could live with myself if I didn't at least try," she said.
"If any change comes from my efforts, your city will benefit more than I will."

She said she had talked briefly with Vernon Presley, Elvis' father, as he entered the Graceland grounds yesterday.
"He didn't seem anxious to talk with me.
He came up but didn't ask us in," she said.
Mrs. Johnson is scheduled to leave Memphis for her Monroe, La., home tonight.

Meanwhile, Tammy Baiter, the third girl who was injured in the traffic accident, is back in Memphis for an operation to join leg muscles ripped apart by the accident.
Speaking from her Methodist Hospital room, Miss Baiter agreed with Mrs. Johnson about the sentence.
"I don't think he was given a fair sentence.
It's top short," she said.
"He hasn’t even been tried yet for what he did to me and I don't know if he ever will.
"I want him to be taken to court for it and I don't want him to get out too soon," she said.

Miss Baiter said she re-entered Methodist Hospital May 1 - to have several pieces of muscle rejoined in her right leg.
"When he hit me, a piece of the car went into my leg and tore about four inches of it," Miss Baiter said.
"They didn't think at first I'd ever be able to walk again, but I have, and this operation will help, even more."

She said the injured leg is "a little bit shorter" than her left leg, but a slight build in her right shoe will help adjust for it.
"I'm going home (today)," she said.
"They thought they'd have to keep me two weeks, but I'm really healing fast.
I'm going to visit Graceland and hopefully Mr. (Vernon) Presley before I go."

Miss Baiter has not been able to return to school, where she would have been in the 11th grade, but instead has been taking classes at home.

"It eliminates the pressure, but I don't think I'm going to be able to catch up," she said.
She has missed eight months of school.

Source: ElvisTKC

07-17-2009, 01:55 PM
This NewsPaper Story (September 1977), sums up the bodysnatching Attempt with more details than in most reports

Ronnie Adkins, who tipped off police about the attempt to steal Elvis Presley's body, at the door of the Presley Mausoleum.

Inside story of the Elvis bodysnatching by ex-Marine who tipped off the police

A MAN who took part in the attempt to snatch Elvis Presley's body told for the first time this week the inside story of the macabre plot.

Ex-Marine Ronnie Adkins, a convicted burglar, alleged that the scheme was financed by a wealthy businessman who planned to hold the rock idol's body for a $10 million ransom.

Adkins, 26, of Memphis, Term., was one of three men arrested by police who were waiting in ambush near the Presley mausoleum in the Forest Hills cemetery in Memphis last month.
A fourth member of the gang escaped in his car.

Adkins, who said he tipped off police about the snatch attempt, told THE STAR: "Another 20 minutes and we would have had the body.
If I had not told the police what was happening, there was no way they would have known about it.

"As it was, I thought they were never going to spring the trap that I knew they had set up."

The other men arrested were Raymond Green, 25, and Bruce Nelson, 30, both of Memphis.
Adkins said he didn't know the identity of the fourth man.
"The deal was we would get $10,000 each," he said.
"We would snatch the body, hand it over and get our money."
Adkins said he was first contacted about the plan by Nelson, an old schoolfriend.
"I was pretty sick at the thought of stealing a body," he said.
"I met Elvis and I had a lot of respect for the guy.
The reason why I went along with the idea was to make sure these people wouldn't be able to steal Elvis's body."

Adkins claimed that the gang made their first attempt to grab Elvis's body on August 16, the day Presley died.

Source: ElvisTKC

07-17-2009, 01:58 PM
The attempt was abandoned after Green and Nelson took flight when a policeman drove up to the Memphis funeral home in his squad car hoping to view the body, Adkins alleged.
He said he tipped off police about both attempts to steal the body.

Adkins described to THE STAR how he had driven to the cemetery in his car — he was the only one with a car — while Green and Nelson arrived on a motorcycle.

"I didn't completely trust them, so I had my shotgun in the car trunk. But they both had pistols.
All the guns were left in the car, which we parked about 100 yards from the mausoleum," he said.
"We got into the cemetery by climbing into a tree overhanging the fence.
"We stayed there for about 20 minutes while Green and Nelson made sure there were no security guards about.

"I asked Green why the fourth man was needed and he told me it would take the four of us to jerk the 900 Ib. casket loose in the crypt so we could get at the body.
"Green and I crawled 50 yards on our bellies then we ran the last 50 yards up to the back of the mausoleum.
We had a big wrench, some bolt cutters and a pry bar and we started to break the lock on the door.

"Nelson and the other man were coming across the graveyard when Green shouted that there were police around.
We grabbed the tools and the four of us took off.
"We climbed over the same tree we had used to get in the cemetery.

"Green, Nelson and myself jumped into my car and drove off.
The other guy got in his own car and took off."

Adkins said they were stopped by a police roadblock after a quarter of a mile.
The three were charged with trespassing and attempting to steal a body. The charges were later dropped.

Source: ElvisTKC

07-17-2009, 02:38 PM
That was a very interesting read.
Thanks for sharing.
I've never read it before. Again thank you my friend

07-17-2009, 05:52 PM
Thanks for those, very interesting


07-17-2009, 06:24 PM
That was a very interesting read.
Thanks for sharing.
I've never read it before. Again thank you my friend

You are welcome my friend:notworthy:notworthy

07-17-2009, 06:24 PM
Thanks for those, very interesting


You are welcome :notworthy:notworthy

07-17-2009, 06:41 PM
Thanks for posting those... very interesting reads! (y)