VA VA - James 'Pat' Akins, 19, Charlottesville, 18 March 1963

Discussion in 'Cold Cases' started by Reader, Sep 28, 2013.

  1. Reader

    Reader New Member

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    http://www.readthehook.com/110166/real-drag-1963-killing-pat-akins-remains-coldest-case

    One of the town's biggest boys lay dead underneath one of the town's smallest cars. Initially, cops claimed that 19-year-old James Patrick Akins had been dragged from Greenwood to Charlottesville under a Triumph TR3.

    "Hit-Run Car Drags Former Rock Hill Star 12 Miles," roared the headline in the Daily Progress on March 19, 1963. The explanation was greeted with immediate incredulity by friends of the muscular athlete and fans of the low-slung British roadster. Disbelief intensified when word spread that the body was found largely intact and devoid of broken bones. The local coroner declared that Akins couldn't have been dragged more than 100 yards.

    While another medical examiner would enter the case and embrace the theory of the dozen-mile-dragging, public opinion never did; the rumor mill went into overdrive.

    "Charlottesville was certainly buzzing," says longtime resident Bob Lyons, who knew both Akins and his father. "Nobody believed the story that a small car dragged him all those miles."

    Fifty years later, last month's reunion for Akins' former Rock Hill Academy schoolmates is still buzzing with questions about his death. The teenagers who lost a friend 50 years ago are now in their in their late 60s, some with teenaged grandchildren of their own. They fear that with each passing year, the chances of resolution— and justice for Akins— diminish.

    "I think all of us want to know what happened to him," says one, Helen Hatzenbeler.

    Now, a woman with connections to the case has come forward to suggest an explanation— one she says she kept secret for most of her life.

    Much more at link.....
     
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  3. bessie

    bessie Administrator Staff Member Administrator Moderator

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    A real drag? 1963 killing of Pat Akins remains the coldest case
    So Akins, the victim, loses control of his convertible and is ejected onto the road. Durham, owner of the local 24 diner, happens to be passing in his Cadillac, and jumps out to offer assistance. Before he makes it across the highway, a speeding Triumph enters out of nowhere, strikes Akins, and continues on without a pause. Durham jumps back into his Cadillac in pursuit of the Triumph. Somehow he manages to actually pass the sports car, so he pulls into a service station to wait for the other car to catch up. When the Triumph passes the service station, Durham shines his lights to make sure it is, indeed, the right car (and not just any old little sports car whizzing by). He then notices something that looked like "a coat hanging underneath the car."

    There's no explanation for why Durham didn't continue the pursuit, or if he did, why and how he ended it. Eventually, he returned to the scene of the accident, picked up Akins' friend Mawyers, who is still there searching around for Akins. After dropping Mawyers off at his home, Durham files a police report at the police station instead of calling from his nearby business, the Tidbit. By now an hour has passed since the Triumph first struck Akins as he struggled to get to his feet after being thrown out onto the highway. When his body is found 12 miles away in Greenesville, it is intact with minor visible injuries. A few days later, a funeral is held with an open casket. No autopsy is performed until seven weeks later when a court order is granted to the Commonwealth's Attorney to have it exhumed. The ME declares the witnesses' account viable.

    If this was a cover up, at least several people would have to be in on it, including local LE. So what would be the motive? And why place the scene of the accident so far away from where the body was eventually found, because that's the part that lends suspicion. No one believes a body could be dragged by a car for 12 miles without being ripped to shreds.
     
  4. ladyvharsen

    ladyvharsen New Member

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    Was Durham connected with LE? A lot of his timeline isn't adding up here....
     
  5. bessie

    bessie Administrator Staff Member Administrator Moderator

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    Welcome to WS, ladyvharsen.

    According to the article, he owned a local business, and didn't have official ties to LE. A lot doesn't add up about his story. I find it very odd that he would have passed up the Triumph on the highway at 3:00 A.M.
     
  6. chrisca

    chrisca New Member

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    I lived in Charlottesville for many years, but not during 1963. The strongest rumors in town years later seemed to be that there was a poker game at the Tidbit that night. Pat was there and did something to make one or some of the poker players mad and they retaliated and killed him. I'll try to find some info about it and post it here, but it won't be info from LE. It's still a much talked about topic among people who knew him.

    It's ludicrous that he would have been dragged 12 miles.
     
  7. chrisca

    chrisca New Member

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    According to the article, his uncle was the assistant Chief of Police back then, "
    Back in Charlottesville, the Triumph was being dusted for fingerprints by Assistant Police Chief Connie O. Durham— Merlin Durham's uncle."

    These are comments people made on the "I grew up in Charlottesville, VA," facebook page and are the same type of stories we used to hear about Pat's death. There are some disagreements, but it's consistent from people who went to his funeral say his face was intact and there were no signs of mutilation like would be expected from what they could see.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/Igrewupalocalredneck

    "I lived in the same neighborhood as Pat. He was older and would give me rides on the handle bars of his bike. I can only relate what I have heard over the years regarding Pat's murder. One of the Durhams ran a gambling operation out of the the Tidbit restaurant. He had a relative who was a detective on the police force and provided protection for the gambling operation. (Sounds like "Porky's"). Supposedly, Pat had run up a gambling tab and either wouldn't or couldn't pay. Somebody made the decision to make an example of Pat. They probably plied him with liquor and arranged to use a stolen car to do their dirty work. Whether they forced his friend to be a conspirator in this, one can only wonder. The owner of the restaurant said that they chased after the sports car reaching speeds of 90+ miles and hour. With approximately 6 inches of clearance and a body the size of Pat's pinned underneath, I don't think that those speeds were attainable. Also, Pat's body was not chewed up like it should have been if he had been under the car for all those miles and at those speeds. I think they had him on his knees when the car hit him and placed him in the car with the driver, drove him in close to town and placed him under the car and drove it to the location where it was later discovered. Mac Whitten was our next door neighbor and his son Tommy, who also became a policeman, did not say directly but alluded to the fact that the Durhams were involved. Supposedly this was common thinking around C'ville but no one could prove it. Besides, the boys in blue have a very tight brotherhood. No one was going to rat out a fellow officer, especially in the 60's. I still think of Pat from time to time and pray that his murder will eventually be solved."


    "What I have been told is Barry and Pat were gambling at the Tidbit with some law enforcement people. Pat accused someone of cheating and he was killed by Durham (co-owner Tidbit) So Durhams claims. The Triumph was hot wired and the owner questioned who claimed to know nothing. Do not know who followed the Triumph but he was probably part of the cover up. When Pat was found underneath the Triumph, the front wheels were almost off the ground, so there was no way he was dragged that far. Barry somehow drove Pat's car and was later charged with driving with no permit. Barry told me to my face, "I know exactly what happened to Pat and will never tell". He was drunk at the time."


    " I don't know what they told him but Barry Mawyer literally had the fear of God put in him."


    "I think the threat included him and his parents. They were half owners in Mawyer Bros. dairy farm which were several farms the two brothers inherited. They sold for very big money, but someone, guess who, borrowed and lost most all the money his parents inherited, forcing them to bankruptcy."


    "Guys used to drag on that straight strip on Saturday nights...."


    "There is a lot of information on this thread line about Pat Akins. Some I feel is accurate and some may not be correct. My Father knew Pat's Father because both of our families lived on Stribling Ave. As to the condition of the body remember that the court ordered that the body be ex-humed which was done and another autopsy was performed with very little additional evidence provided. The reason I heard was the body was simply too mutilated. And I stand by my earlier comment that there are people in the area that has all the answers."


    "Tom: I saw Pat in the coffin & his head was NOT torn up. There were a few bruises on the side of his head & that's ALL. I could see his neck & hands - a few bruises. No cuts that I saw. He just wasn't drug under any car."


    "Tom: It was an open casket & Pat's face, neck & hands were intact. You couldn't see any of the body."


    "Betsy--I understand your frustration--perhaps one day the truth will come forward---but until the people that I think know about this tragedy---and BTW they have not been named yet in this thread line---we will all continue guessing about what happened."
     
  8. December

    December Verified insider - Kathy Jones case

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    What if this is backwards and someone was trying to set up the owner of the Triumph? That someone was probably also mad at Pat, so two birds with one stone.
     
  9. Gardener1850

    Gardener1850 Well-Known Member

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    [h=3]$20,000 Reward Offered in 1963 Cold Case[/h][​IMG]
    http://www.nbc29.com/story/34181252/20000-reward-offered-in-1963-cold-case
     

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