Dixie Mafia, Part 2

10 11 2009

On June 18th, 1968, agents in Tennessee wrote to OSBI agent Jack Hill regarding the homicide of Pauline Pusser.

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Tennessee investigators had received information from an informant naming Oklahoma outlaw Albert McDonald as a suspect in the Pusser murder. McDonald was said to be the boyfriend of Cleo Epps.


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Sheriff Pusser had already travelled from Tennessee to Oklahoma in his investigation. Oklahoma and Arkansas lawmen identified Kirksey Nix Jr. as an associate of Albert McDonald. Sheriff Pusser told Oklahoma agents that it would be necessary for him to see Nix in person before he could make a positive identification on Nix as the trigger-man in the homicide.


Travelling criminals such as Albert McDonald and Kirksey Nix Jr. presented a unique challenge to law enforcement. The “Dixie Mafia” selected targets “located in towns too small to have significant, if any at all, police protection” when possible. Their robberies and burglaries involved careful planning and modern tools such as police band radios and walkie talkies. Traveling criminals were sometimes viewed as an interstate problem to be left to the FBI. But the Pauline Pusser homicide investigation brought together investigators from several southern states who began sharing information on a more formal basis. Homicide was not a federal crime and therefore not directly the jurisdiction of the FBI. 

On July 9th, 1968, TBI agent Warren Jones and Sheriff Buford Pusser traveled to Oklahoma City and met with OSBI chief agent Tom Puckett. Working together with OSBI agents Ross Wade and Tony Basolo, the Tennessee sheriff was able to see Kirksey Nix Jr. in person. After looking at Nix, the sheriff was unable to be one hundred percent certain that Nix was the shooter. 

In November 1968, investigators in Richardson, Texas, were tipped off to suspicious activity at an apartment occupied by a “Mike” Nix. Surveillance and investigation revealed the identity as that of Kirksey Nix Jr. The Richardson investigators learned that Nix was wanted as a fugitive by the FBI. Nix was arrested on November 18th, 1968. Found in the apartment were burglary tools and a police band radio. Apparently Nix did not stay in custody for long. 

The information sharing network continued to turn up the heat. Tennessee authorities contacted the Oklahoma City Police Department in January 1969 seeking intelligence information on Nix, Albert McDonald, and Carl Douglas “Towhead” White. In February 1969 Oklahoma City police and Tulsa police were notified that Nix and his associates may be in route to Oklahoma to commit a large residential robbery or burglary. Rex Armistead of the Mississippi State Police provided vehicle descriptions and tag numbers. At least one of the vehicles was reported to be equipped with a police band radio.

Nix1969x1Before the end of February 1969, Nix was wanted for murder and robbery in Louisiana. In order to avoid arrest for the Louisiana murder charge, Nix surrendered himself in Georgia on an old criminal complaint. He served one year in a Georgia prison. 

In April 1971 a home invasion robbery in Louisiana resulted in a murder. The murder victim shot the intruder, Kirksey Nix Jr. Nix fled to Dallas and was found in a hospital there by authorities. He was eventually sentenced to life in prison. But his criminal career wasn’t finished.