From R. Barri Flowers, award-winning criminologist and the bestselling author of Murderess on the Loose, Murder of the Doctor’s Wife, Murder at the Pencil Factory, and The Sex Slave Murders, comes the gripping historical true crime short, Murdered by the King of Western Swing: The Beating Death of Ella Mae Cooley in 1961.
On Monday, April 3, 1961, thirty-eight-year-old former vocalist Ella Mae Cooley was beaten to death in her home in Willow Springs, an unincorporated area located in Kern County, California. The cruelty of the crime was shocking to local residents in the normally idyllic community. A greater shock was that the murder was committed by the victim’s fifty-year-old husband, Donnell Clyde Cooley, a well-known big band leader, musician, actor, host of a television variety show, and businessman.
Ella Mae and Donnell Clyde, who generally went by the name Spade Cooley, were both struggling with accusations of unfaithfulness in their marriage that had produced two children. They were in the midst of a divorce when tragedy struck. Cooley snapped in deciding to end the marriage prematurely by murdering his wife
The horrific assault was witnessed by the couple’s fourteen-year-old daughter, Melody, who would testify against her father at his trial. In spite of her untimely presence at the crime scene, Cooley sought to attribute Ella Mae’s death to an accident. This fell flat, as did a short-lived attempt to plead insanity in the death of his wife.
Spade Cooley would be convicted of murder and sent to prison for his heinous act of criminality, forever casting a shadow over a successful career in Western swing music and television.
See how this tragic story of celebrity, suspicion, and homicidal rage unfolds in the historical crime of passion.
Included is a complete bonus historical short tale, The Gold Special Train Robbery: Deadly Crimes of the D’Autremont Brothers, as well as excerpts from the author’s bestselling true crime book, Serial Killer Couples; the riveting historical true crime short, Murder of the Banker's Daughter: The Killing of Marion Parker; and the gripping historical true crime tale, Mass Murder in the Sky: The Bombing of Flight 629.