Sharon Elizabeth Hall. Our murderess of the week. Also known as “La Pistolera” and Jeanette Pugliese, she currently holds the longest standing arrest warrant in Missouri and the longest standing felony warrant in the United States.
Sharon was born on November 30, 1939 in Independence, Missouri. Her parents were Eugene and Doris Hall. She seems to have had a pretty average life growing up. Her family did move a few times. They relocated to Washington when she was in middle school for a brief period of time, but when she was 15 the Hall family was back in Missouri.
She met her would-be first husband when she was 16 and he was 22-James Kinne. They met through a church function, and dated over the summer of 1956 before James had to return to BYU for college in the fall. They continued to correspond throughout the year, and according to those who knew her, she was increasingly looking for opportunities to leave Independence, Missouri. Eventually, she wrote James a letter saying that she was pregnant with his baby, and they were married on Oct 18 1956. They had another, more formal wedding the following year at the Salt Lake Temple once Sharon had completed the process of becoming Mormon,.
After their wedding, they moved to Provo, Utah where James went to finish school at BYU. But that didn’t last long because they decided to move back to Independence at the end of the fall semester. James worked as an electrical engineer and Sharon worked odd jobs as a babysitter and part time in retail,. She claimed to have miscarried the child she’d been pregnant with at the beginning of their marriage, and was soon pregnant again. Her first child was born soon after moving back to Independence, and her name was Danna,.
Sharon had a habit of spending money that she didn’t have. She would buy the nicest and most expensive things that she felt she deserved. They rented a house near Jame’s parents at first, and then they moved to a ranch house they had built once they got more settled. James ended up working the night shift, and Sharon found some extracurriculars to fill her time with after she’d had their second child, Troy. Mainly, a friend from high school, John Boldizs.
Their marriage began to show cracks in early 1960s. James wanted a divorce, and talked to his parents about it on March 18, saying that Sharon had agreed to one if he let her keep the house, their daughter, and $1000.
It seems Sharon wanted out of the marriage too. Apparently, she’d offered Boldizs $1000 to either kill her husband or find someone to kill him for her. But, of course, this was just a joke, you see.
And then, on March 19.
According to Sharon, at 5:30 PM, she heard a gunshot from the bedroom where James was sleeping. She had been “making herself pretty” for the night in the bathroom before going to wake her husband for his evening shift. When she went to the room, she saw their 2 ½ daughter on the bed next to her husband, holding one of his guns. James was bleeding from a gunshot wound to the back of the head. He was rushed to the hospital, but died on the way there.
No fingerprints were found on the gun, and there wasn’t a gunshot residue test done on their daughter or Sharon. Apparently, and this was actually confirmed by friends and neighbors, James actually let the 2 year old play with his guns???? I WOULD HOPE HE HAD MORE COMMON SENSE THAN TO LET A BABY PLAY WITH LOADED GUNS but WHO KNOWS.
The police tested this with an unloaded gun, and saw that Danna was able to actually pull the trigger, so ultimately it was ruled as an accidental death. The police confiscated the gun that killed James, even though Sharon apparently wanted it back for some reason. When they refused, she had a male friend of hers buy her a .22 automatic pistol and register it in a name other than her own.
After the investigation ended, Sharon collected James’ life insurance policy of 29,000. Which, in today’s money, was around 230,000.
And James’ parents continued to completely support her. They refused to hear anything negative about the woman who had birthed their grandchild, and made themselves helpful in any way possible for the now grieving 20 year old.
She used some of this insurance money to buy a Ford Thunderbird, which is where she met Walter Jones-a man she viewed as her perspective second husband. However, he was already married to a woman named Patricia Jones. They’d been married for 5 rocky years when Walter met Sharon on April 18, almost a month exactly after her husband's death. They soon began having an affair.
In May, Sharon invited him on a trip with her to Washington. However, Walter refused, and Sharon went with her brother instead. They reunited on May 25th, and Sharon had some news for Walter. She was pregnant, and he was the father. Sound familiar?
However, instead of agreeing to divorce Patricia, he broke up with Sharon instead. Which, was not what she expected. On May 26th, Sharon called Patricia at her office and told her that Walter was having an affair, not with herself, but with Sharon’s sister. They agreed to meet, and then supposedly Sharon dropped her off after their meeting near the Jones house.
According to Walter, Patricia never made it home. He filed a missing person’s report and started calling people to see if they knew what happened to her. He got ahold of her work carpool group, and got a lead there. See, her carpool coworkers told Walter that Patricia had gotten a strange call at work, and had asked to be dropped off on a street corner to meet with an unnamed woman. This coworker then described what they had seen of this woman before leaving, and that description was enough to make Walter call Sharon. She admitted to having called Patricia, and meeting up with her, but insisted that she had dropped her off near her home, and when she did she saw that Patricia was talking to a man in a green 1957 Ford.
Walter and Sharon met in person on Friday, where he tried to force more details out of her about meeting with his wife and where she actually was. He was suspicious, and honestly pretty rightfully so.
After their meeting ended, Sharon decided to call Boldizs, and asked him to help her look for Patricia. And, can you believe it, around midnight they found a body that matched the description of Patricia Jones, in a black sweater and yellow skirt. The area she was found in turned out to be a spot that they had often gone to on dates before.
She had been shot four times by a .22 pistol. Investigator’s estimated that she had died around 9 Pm May 27th.
On the 28th, Sharon, Boldizs, and Walter were all brought in for questioning. Both Walter and Boldizs said they’d had a relationship of some sort with Sharon, and agreed to take a polygraph test as well as give written and oral statements. Sharon gave an oral statement, but declined to give a written one or be considered for a polygraph. And I know now that polygraph’s aren’t the end all be all of criminal investigations, but still. You look pretty guilty, Sharon. Denying the polygraph didn’t help you.
The crime scene was also investigated and, get this, the police utilized BOY SCOUTS to help sift dirt to find possible bullets. The 70s man. Eventually a bullet shell for a .22 caliber was found in the dirt where Patricia’s body had been, but the murder weapon wasn’t found there or in any nearby bodies of water, even though those places were dragged.
Patricia’s funeral was on May 31st, and Sharon was arrested around 11 p.m that day. In addition for the charges against her for possibly murdering Patricia, the Jackson County sheriff wanted to have a possible second charge of murder for James Kinne also added on.
While out on $24000 (almost $200k as of 2013) bond Sharon gave birth to a daughter named Marla Christine on January 16, 1961.
Sharon’s first trial began in mid-June. The prosecution focused on the fact that Sharon would have had motive due to being pregnant and Walter not leaving his wife for her, as well as having had someone else buy her a gun that was the same make and model as the one used during the murder. The defense mostly focused on poking loopholes in testimonies given and testifying that other than just happening to own the same type of gun as the one that killed Patricia, there wasn’t any solid evidence to prove she was guilty. After an hour and a half of deliberation by the all male jury, she was acquitted.
However, her second trial was soon to begin so she didn’t get to enjoy her freedom that long. She was actually held in jail until her next trial began on Jan 8th 1962. This trial would originally lead to her being found guilty, but then due to public demand and pressure, that verdict was later reversed. The jury itself admitted to being divided, and due to clerical errors of some sort, the previous verdict was reversed and a new trial for the murder of James Kinne began. .
Which led to the second trial in the death of James Kinne in 1964...only to have that one also be declared a mistrial after there was a conflict of interest among the jurors.
And then, the third trial that began in June 1964. And, after hearing all testimony and witness accounts, ended with another mistrial.
And so, another, 4th trial was scheduled for October of 1964. However, in September, Sharon and her new boyfriend Francis Samuel Puglise took a trip to Mexico, apparently to get married. They checked in to the Hotel Gin, and Sharon said that she didn’t feel safe in a foreign country, so she brought a gun with her, to help keep her safe. In addition to the one or two that the couple had already brought with them.
On September 18, 1964 Sharon went out to either get more money as she and Francis were running low, or to get medicine for herself. There’s been different statements depending on who you ask. She ended up meeting a man named Francisco Paredes Ordoñez at a bar, obviously on her way to either get money or medicine, whatever. And then followed him back to his hotel room, where she shot him in the chest. Her reasoning was that she had followed him to see some photographs he’d taken. And when they got to the hotel room and he made sexual advances towards her that made her uncomfortable, she shot him to protect herself.
She also shot the hotel worker Enrique Martinez Rueda when he came to see what was going on, luckily just in the arm, and he was able to lock her inside the hotel room and call the police.
She told her story to the police when they showed up, but they weren’t inclined to believe her. Instead, their theory was that she had tried to rob Francisco, and when he refused to give her money,, she shot him. They arrested her on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and homicide. Sharon insisted that she had not meant to hurt Francisco, or Enqrique. She’d only shot him because she thought he was going to attack her too.
When the police searched her purse, they found 50 shells and the gun. They then searched her hotel room at Hotel Gin and found 2 more guns and more shells.
One of those guns was proven through ballistics to be the same gun that murdered Patricia Jones in 1960.
But, and this is just truly awful, because she had already been acquitted for that crime, she couldn’t be charged for it again based on the new evidence. Both Sharon and her lover were arrested. Her lover was deported, but Sharon was placed in a women’s prison before being transferred to Lecumberri for her trial. She was convicted on October 18 for Francisco’s murder, and sentenced to a 10 year prison sentence. Upon trying to appeal her sentence, she ended up lengthening it because when it was brought to the superior court, they said that her original sentence had actually been too lenient. So it went from 10-13 years. Take that you smug Sharon.
After that, she went back to the women’s prison at Ixtapalapan, where she was nicknamed “La Pistolera”, or the gunfighter.
On December 7 1969, Sharon didn’t show up for a 5 PM roll call at the prison. When she failed to show up for a second roll call that night, her absence was officially noted. However, the news of her possible escape wasn’t reported to Mexico City police until 2 AM. That’s when the manhunt was organized. The manhunt originally started in the northern Mexico states, as well as transport hubs. The FBI and other US officials were alerted that she may have been trying to get back into the US.
There were tons of theories as to how she could’ve escaped. The most prevalent being that she had bribed the guards into letting her do it, as there had been an unusual blackout at the time they estimated her escape as well as an unlocked door that was normally locked. And, it turns out that this prison in general was pretty lax and understaffed, which may have been why her escape went unnoticed for so long.
Despite assuring the public that they would not stop until Sharon was in custody, by the end of December 1969 authorities had run out of leads, and believed that she had already crossed the border from Mexico to Guatemala. They said that she was nearly fluent in Spanish, and could get along well in almost any Spanish-speaking area in the world.
More than 40 years after her escape, Sharon Kinne still remains at large. If she were to be found, she’d be 80 years old.
And that, is the story of La Pistolera, Sharon Kinne.