Kentucky author and News Journal columnist Gary P. West has a newly released book that details a 1975 murder-for-hire on the outskirts of Elizabethtown, Kentucky.
West spent two years researching the crime that ultimately killed the wife of the intended victim.
For more than a year, it was front page news on the cover of the Elizabethtown newspaper, and it was covered extensively by the Louisville Times and Courier-Journal, as well as newspapers throughout the state.
More that 125 people were interviewed for “Murder on Youngers Creek Road.” A prison interview with one of the bomb makers that mistakenly killed Peggy Rhodes, wife of Ford dealer Dusty Rhodes, trial transcripts and hundreds of newspaper accounts provided material for the book.
“It was one of the most notorious murders in the history of Hardin County,” says West. “And it brought to the forefront the subculture of the criminal elements in Bowling Green. It was there that killers were contracted to make a dynamite bomb to kill Dusty Rhodes, but instead killed his wife.”
For West, who has now authored 15 books, “Murder of Youngers Creek Road” has a personal touch.
“The mother of one of the book’s central characters was a very close friend of my family, particularly my mother and grandmother. It was her son, who lived in Bowling Green, who was the key to the contract killing that went terribly wrong,” West continued. “And on the other side, the daughter of Peggy Rhodes, the victim, turned out to become one of my best friends in E’town. But at the time of the murder, I did not know her.”
In other words, West had connections to both sides of this complicated crime.
“Bowling Green during the 50s, 60s, and into the 70s was a perpetual crime wave,” West said. “Bombings, bootlegging, car thieves and murder were the norm back then. Weighted bodies were routinely pulled from Barren River and surrounding streams.”
West admitted that not everyone was willing to talk to him about the 1975 murder.
“Many talked openly, some reluctantly, and some not at all,” he said. “I understand. Some of the families involved are really good people, and had no actual involvement. They did not want to bring up the past and I respect that. On the other hand this is an incredible story of two Kentucky towns connected by the horrible murder. The depth and how far reaching it was is a story for the ages.”
“Murder on Youngers Creek Road,” is published by Acclaim Press.
For more information or to purchase a copy of the book, e-mail West at firstname.lastname@example.org, or log onto Acclaim Press’s website at https://www.acclaimpress.com/books/murder-on-youngers-creek-road/.