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James Collins, 13-year-old, murders father (1963)
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Thread: James Collins, 13-year-old, murders father (1963)

  1. #1
    Senior Member CnCP Legend JimKay's Avatar
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    James Collins, 13-year-old, murders father (1963)

    A blast from my past. He lived a block away. I thought he was a couple of years older. This really shook up our provincial little Buffalo suburb! I've posted about this before, but had been unable to find the right search terms to turn up newspaper articles.

    From the Tonawanda News, January 21, 1963:



    Same newspaper, January 22, 1963:



    Grace is apparently alive and living out west. No idea what happened to James. Note that New York law at the time only allowed him to be charged with juvenile delinquency!

    The 1960 Pontiac they were driving was on loan from the dealer that was fixing his father's car -- which the son had "borrowed" and cracked up on the icy roads a few days earlier!

  2. #2
    Senior Member CnCP Legend JimKay's Avatar
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    Follow-up article.


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    Senior Member Member AdamSmith's Avatar
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    Ok let's recap this one --

    Money?

    Revenge?

    Or Sex?

    Not money. Clearly not that.

    Revenge? Sex? Maybe a combination of those two. And therefore very lethal.

    In terms of ***********, it looks like the dad was very supportive of his son's gun rights, in this case a shotgun. However it looks like dad did not ever entertain the likelihood that his own son would shoot him over a dispute involving a girlfriend. Bad mistake.

    This is what can happen when you have loaded shotguns stowed away in closets. Which is also the main lesson of Sandyhook Elementary. Or at least one of them.

    If a household is going to have guns, it needs to have them locked up in a gun safe. Same procedure as the military forces use, called an armory.

    These two upstate hillbillies instead managed to get into a shooting feud with each other over a teenaged girl. Yuk!
    Last edited by AdamSmith; 11-23-2013 at 01:27 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member CnCP Legend JimKay's Avatar
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    They were far from being hillbillies. The father had a day job as an engineer at Bell Aircraft, which made advanced helicopters, including the UH-1 "Huey," ubiquitous in Vietnam. Unfortunately, the parents were too busy with their investment to spend much time on their son, though they spent a fair amount of money. I knew him pretty well, and he had all the stuff you wanted at that age. Science kits, good bike, etc. They had one of the nicer homes in the neighborhood. He was intelligent but very wild, and he ran with a rough customer who almost broke my jaw for refusing him a cigarette once. (I had the pleasure, a few years later, of driving my brandy-new Pontiac into a gas station one night, and having the thug come out to pump my gas.) There was more going on than the girlfriend; he shot his father six times, probably meaning he loaded the magazine + one round in the chamber. Forensics showed the father had pellets in his hands and arms, so the son was looking right at him as he fired. That's a lot of anger! He and the thug were previously implicated in vandalizing a converted-barn theater, the Grand Island Playhouse, to the extent that it never reopened, but I don't remember the disposition. They dumped paint all over, among other deeds, and footprints matched their sneakers, which had paint on them. Being juveniles I guess they got off easy, despite essentially putting the non-profit out of business due to uninsured damage. There always are warning signs, which we ignore at our peril!

    I didn't know the girl well, but I recall she wore a LOT of makeup and pinned up the hems of her dresses. Not bad looking if you could see beneath the veneer, but she obviously had issues. The Buffalo papers had better coverage but I can't find any archives from then. After he shot his father he called the girl, tossed the shotgun in the back seat and picked her up. She drove them to NYC, then he took the wheel, which got them noticed by the NYPD.

    The Starkweather-Fugate spree had occurred in 1958. Whether Collins knew of it and planned something similar we'll fortunately never know. He took the shotgun for a reason, obviously.

    Sidebar: The 1973 movie "Badlands," starring a young Charlie Sheen and Sissy Spacek, was based on the Starkweather-Fugate spree. It's a good flick, and the soundtrack has great music. Bruce Springsteen's song "Nebraska" is also based on that case. AFAIK, no one ever wrote a song or made a movie about my neighbor, who has vanished from the chronicles.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Member AdamSmith's Avatar
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    Upscale family but the kid is born under a bad sign. Very interesting family and story. Not hillbillies at all, you are correct. It just sounds like hillbillies due to the shotgun. Lots of anger in that shooting, as you said, Jimkay.

    Back in those times, the worst fear of every suburban parent was that their kid would either get pregnant or make someone else's daughter pregnant.

    These days the families would have a hippy celebration and raise the kid alone.

    This juvie probably did his time and then moved on. That's what juvie punishment was all about in those days. There was no such thing as trying one as an adult.

    If you are searching for someone now, and you can't find them, then they are probably not alive anymore.

    Traffic, dope, and violent crime all take their toll of lives everywhere.

    We had a couple of kids go to prison from my group of school friends as well.

    One for trafficking in dope, and the other for trafficking in fraudulent passports.

    Both of these crimes was related to making money.

    The doper had developmental issues which resulted in the self medication of dope. Then he got involved in directly marketing the drugs. Nobody knows what happened to him. I've googled his name but can't find anything.

    The passport counterfeiter was a strangely bright kid who simply did not want to take orders from anybody, neither his dad nor any boss.

    So he somehow got involved in the dark world of counterfeit passport manufacturing, which got the attention of both ICE and Mosad.

    He did his time in Federal prison for it, and got out. His family told me where he is, but none of them speaks to him anymore.
    Last edited by AdamSmith; 11-23-2013 at 03:14 PM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member CnCP Legend JimKay's Avatar
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    The shotgun is the preferred weapon of the aristocracy!

    The town was largely undeveloped in those days, with our neighborhood on the north and a few more down the road. Lots of places to shoot pheasants and the like. The town is an island, accessed from Buffalo and Niagara Falls by the Thruway and toll bridges. Zooming around on GoogleEarth I can't believe how built-up it's become, but it's been >50 years.

    The shooter in this case has a common name so it would be hard to find him. I found the girl via an obit for her sister. It's interesting to note that the mother's name is never mentioned. It may have been in the local papers. One of them went under years ago, the other's archives don't go back that far.

    I don't know how you get on with your life after murdering someone, especially a parent, unless you're a bonafide psychopath.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Member AdamSmith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimKay View Post
    ...
    I don't know how you get on with your life after murdering someone, especially a parent, unless you're a bonafide psychopath.
    That's always the $64 thousand dollar question for normal, emotionally well developed people.

    But a kid is not yet fully emotionally or anatomically developed.

    Kids kill their parents fairly commonly, as do parents kill their kids.

    These dysfunctional families are the result of neglect or abuse of some kind.

    Neglect is a form of abuse.

    In the case of Money as the cause of murder, I agree, that greed alone must be augmented by being a psychopath. I have met lots of psychopaths in the corporate world. These people are endowed with narcissism as usual, and with taking pleasure in hurting others through their own corporate power.

    In the case of Revenge, the kid or psychopath probably believes that the victim deserved it.

    In the case of Sex, this is simply yet another powerful passion (or vice -- lust) that it easily triggers murder.

    Somehow they live with the murders, yes.

    Everyone who has killed for whatever reason has to live with the killings. That's why Adam Smith in The Wealth Of Nations (1776) observed that the county executioner has the worst, most difficult job there is.

    Just as Harry Truman had to make the decision to drop 2 atomic bombs, resulting in the 200,000+ deaths, mostly civilians, that resulted. I think we can all agree that he was no psychopath, so it must have been hard for him living with that afterwards.
    Last edited by AdamSmith; 11-23-2013 at 03:58 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member CnCP Legend JimKay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdamSmith View Post
    Everyone who has killed for whatever reason has to live with the killings. That's why Adam Smith in The Wealth Of Nations (1776) observed that the county executioner has the worst, most difficult job there is.
    You cite that so often, you should put it in your sig.

    I've been doing more investigating. The thug who slugged me died two years ago this October, aged 63. All I found was a Social Security death record. He died in the same town we lived in. I find myself unable to feel sorry that he's dead. Outliving your enemies is the best revenge!

    One more article. I thought I remembered the parents owned a bar (nicely called a "tavern" in this article). Previous articles called it a restaurant. Google Streetview shows the building still standing and it looks pretty rundown these days. He'd threatened to kill his father before, but maybe the parents didn't get the word. My recollection is that he hid the shotgun under the couch and shot his father while Mr. Collins was cleaning up in a downstairs bathroom before heading to the "tavern." This article says he shot him five times, a full magazine. I wonder if the gun was a "Sweet 16" semi-auto?





  9. #9
    Senior Member Frequent Poster elsie's Avatar
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    Extremely interesting information. Thanks for sharing.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Member AdamSmith's Avatar
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    What are the longs and lats of the tavern on Google, Jim?

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