Love Crazy

The nurse, the cop, the yegg: Fate brought them together and claimed four lives. Then the newspapers stepped in, and things really got insane.

Evans hadn't seen the shooter. But shortly before she died of her wounds, Louvenia Reese identified a mug shot of Ives as that of the white man Hill had brought to her house.

The police busted down the door of Ives's place. They found him in his bed, not under it. His aged mother said her boy had been there since seven that evening. But there was an automatic under his pillow and burglary tools in his room, as well as a list of promising holdup targets: "Piggly Wiggly collector living at 5050 Meade Street; Edgewater post office...Fountain railroad station."

Ives denied knowing Hill. Then he said the gun belonged to Hill. When witnesses from the party house were brought down to headquarters to ID him, he seemed amused. "I never saw so many crows in my life," he said.

The final word: Farice King wrote this note before she 
shot Robert Evans.
The final word: Farice King wrote this note before she shot Robert Evans.
Swing time: It took three attempts to hang Eddie Ives 
for the murder of Harry Ohle.
Swing time: It took three attempts to hang Eddie Ives for the murder of Harry Ohle.

It didn't look good for Ives. Nineteen Denver police officers had been slain in the line of duty since 1889, but only one cop killer had ever hanged for the crime; most of the cases were unsolved. The police brass wanted to see Eddie swing -- provided, of course, they could keep Ohle's brother and father-in-law, both on the force, from choking the little bastard before the state could.

Evans's prospects were much better. The wound wasn't that serious; he was expected to be back on the job in a few days. He'd been a patrolman for almost three years, and now he was a sure bet to make detective when his four-year stint was up. The next day's papers would hail him as a hero.

He was taken to Denver General Hospital, where he was delivered into the loving care of a special night nurse. She was a woman he knew well but hadn't seen for more than a year.

Her name was Farice King, and she was a much better shot than Eddie Ives.

Louis Smith was recovering from a hernia operation when Evans was brought to his ward. Smith noticed that his nurse seemed to recognize the big cop.

The next night she leaned confidentially over Smith's bed. "I know Bob Evans, the policeman over there," she said. "Would you mind if I talked to him a moment?"

Smith didn't mind. He was a fireman himself. He watched as Farice King, a 38-year-old doe-eyed brunette, went over to Evans's bed. The two talked in low tones. Then she was back at Smith's side, seeing that he had everything he needed. Smith dozed off.

For the next four nights, it was the same. King checked on Smith frequently but always circled back toward Evans -- pacing, someone would later say, like a caged lion. The pair talked quietly, seemed quite friendly. Smith couldn't hear the conversations and slept through most of them.

On Tuesday, November 29, a doe-eyed brunette walked into a pawnshop on Larimer Street and asked to see some firearms. She settled on the cheapest pistol in the place, a six-dollar, nickel-plated revolver. Pawnbroker Isadore Berger offered to sell her a box of bullets. She said one round of shells was all she needed.

Berger asked her what she wanted the gun for. "A woman living alone needs protection," she replied.

She gave her name as May Wilson, paid for her purchase and left.

That night, King and Evans talked well into the evening. Evans was going to be released from the hospital the next day. Fireman Smith heard King crying. He saw her sit down at a table and begin to write. She was still writing when he drifted off.

He awoke at dawn to an explosion of gunfire. King had shot Evans twice at close range while he slept. One in the head, one in the heart. Then she shot herself in the breast and collapsed on the bed next to his.

Evans died instantly. Although badly wounded, King was still alive. The bullet glanced off a rib and missed her heart. DG staffers rushed her into surgery.

The police were mortified. Two officers gunned down within a week -- first by this Ives character, and now a deranged nurse. It didn't help that the crazy frail had left behind a note that seemed to promise further scandal to come.

"Dearest Bob," it read, "you belong to me and I cannot go on any longer -- living without you. And you shall not go on.

"I have waited over 5 years for this chance, and it came. I hope no one else will ever know the real cause for this. Only you and I. Farice."

A second note was addressed to King's brother Floy, a mortician. In it, she asked to be buried near Evans and apologized "for the grief and sorrow this brings to all of you."

The notes were only the beginning. At the house on Garfield Street that King shared with her twin sister's family, detectives found a tidy collection of newspaper clippings, mementos of every arrest by Patrolman Evans that had ever made the papers. They also found more than 200 letters from Evans to King, many of them dating back to the Great War, as well as King's diary -- the inside dope on the whole affair, a record of betrayal and obsession played out over more than a decade.

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