Reason First: Serial Killer Joe Ball the ‘Gator King’
The inn keeper didn’t take life seriously.
When a Texas Ranger named Lee Miller investigated the disappearance of Hazel “Schatzie” Brown, the downfall of serial killer Joe Ball became set into motion. Ball had run a bar after being a bootlegger during Prohibition. He gained fame for his penchant to hold alligators in a tank and to throw live cats and dogs into the pool for the thrills of the patrons in the late 1930’s Texas.
Ball married three times and his third wife vanished. No one seemed to mind this except for Miller. With the aid of a neighbor who sensed a horrible smell coming from a rain barrel adjacent to the Sociable Inn, the investigation intensified.
Police arrived at the bar and Ball attested that the stench came from the smell of animal flesh for his gators. Upon their return, John Gray and John Klevenhagen addressed Ball that he needed to come in for questioning. Ball evaded the officers, withdrew a revolver and blew out his mind.
In all, law enforcement discovered the third wife in good health. She reported that she knew about the slayings and that she didn’t want to be next. A handyman named Clifford Wheeler came up in conversations between the third wife and police. He pointed out the bodies of Hazel Brown and bar attendant and romantic interest Minnie Gotthard. Wheeler received a two-year prison sentence in 1939.
A romantic partner once described Ball in glowing terms. How could she do this? Ball was a vicious brute and knew it. That’s why he committed suicide. He could no longer face facts and reality and had to engage in the ultimate do-it-yourself project.
By being an eccentric with a proclivity for having multiple mates, entertaining with his alligators, and having indiscriminate sex with barmaids, Ball led one hell of a vicious life when he started killing women.
It has been reported that Ball murdered up to twenty different female waitresses, customers, and passersby. The irrationalism inherent in this man showed with his impotence to deal with the truth. Because it would be a life or death sentence in his name, he took his own life to escape the punishment that he had earned.
Justice didn’t have a chance to mete out its power when he put the gun to his head. Ball was a monster who kept searching for the next opportunity to inflict harm against the fairer sex. He wasn’t just some womanizer who bedded any lady who crossed his path. He was a serial killer who couldn't understand the rights that the women possessed. Or he understood them and completely disregarded them.
What made the case all the more ghastly was the suspicion that he fed these women to his alligators. In fact, no human remains had been found in any of the animals and the rotting flesh near the gator tank had been human.
But this doesn’t take away from the fact that Ball was a homicidal maniac. He had betrayed the trust of at least twenty women and slayed them without remorse. Ball was the beast in the street that was no different than an alligator in terms of viciousness. The only difference was that Ball could express his consciousness. How he treated his victims tells a great deal about the male he was. He had to have been insecure and had tried to stifle his drive for more blood.
Ball could’ve been a successful businessman in his own right. Had he not been a serial killer, he could very well have been one of the best innkeepers in the state of Texas, maybe even the country. Rather, he chose to be a disgusting excuse for a human being. He cared not for anyone else because he was unselfish. This is to mean that he didn’t possess worth within and did not express it without himself.