November 10, 1927
Kim’s post a few days ago about the ineffectual hammer attack led me to this tale, which ends in what those of the gaming community refer to as a “finishing move.”
Ralph J. Zazala, 37, was sweet on Grace Hardesty, 35. He’d been seeing her for a spell. They took a little ride three miles north of Berdoo. Perhaps he hummed a little tune. He parked. Maybe he’d sneak a little smooch! Oh, and he brought along some things.
The blood-and-gore stained hammer disclosed that Grace had fought, in the car, long and hard for her life, and eventually escaped. She was on her knees at the roadside, apparently pleading for mercy, when he put his other tool, the shotgun, in her mouth and pulled the trigger. He then turned the weapon on himself.
Sheriff Shay found letters in Grace’s pocket indicating that while she and Ralph had been acquainted for some time, she was in fact a Mrs. Grace Hardesty, a fact to which Ralph evidently objected.
And so ended more love-stained, blood-stained Southern California romantic bliss.