Bonnie Brown Heady and Carl Austin Hall

On September 28, 1953, Bonnie Heady and Carl Hall kidnapped Robert “Bobby” Greenlease, Jr., the six-year old son of millionaire Kansas City car dealer Robert Greenlease. The kidnapping occurred when Heady, posing as Bobby’s aunt, picked him up from school.

Kansas City Times, January 6, 1953

They demanded and received a ransom of $600,000, a record amount at that date. By that time, however, young Bobby had already been killed on a farm just across the state line in Kansas.

Kansas City Times, September 29, 1953

With no clues as to their identities or whereabouts, Heady and Hall moved to St. Louis. However, their lavish spending drew attention and they were soon linked to the kidnapping. They were arrested in St. Louis on October 6. Bobby’s body was recovered the next day.

Heady and Hall were tried in federal court in Kansas City and were convicted and sentenced to death on November 19, 1953. They were executed in the gas chamber at Missouri State Prison in Jefferson City a month later, on December 18, 1953.

Eighty-one days had passed since the kidnapping.

Author: Bill Lofquist

I am a sociologist and death penalty scholar at the State University of New York at Geneseo. I am also a Pittsburgh native. My present research focuses on the history of the death penalty in Allegheny County (Pittsburgh), Pa. This website is dedicated to collecting, analyzing, and sharing information about all Allegheny County cases in which a death sentence was imposed. Please share any questions or comments, errors or omissions, or other matters of interest related to these cases or to the broader history of the death penalty in Allegheny County.

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