They Killed Poor Ann Jiminez Over a Pair of Boots

“It’s sick but it’s a sick group of people.”
–Jury foreman, Ann Jiminez murder trial
December 27, 1968.
1480 Waller Street, San Francisco, California.

Right there at the heart of the peace-and-love capital of the world, Holy Mecca of Hippiedom, native stomping ground of the Grateful Dead and birthing-hole of the psychedelic movement, they humiliated, raped, and beat Ann Jimenez to death over the course of three hours—all because she supposedly stole a pair of boots.

Not too groovy, baby. Not too groovy at all. 

Screenshot of January 7, 1969 edition of The San Francisco Examiner. Retried at Newspapers.com.
Screenshot of January 7, 1969 edition of The San Francisco Examiner. Retried at Newspapers.com.

You can’t find pictures of Jiminez today.

The poor kid was only nineteen when she died. Her murder and murder trial were sensationalized for a time but then poof, it was as if she’d never been at all. Just another young pilgrim lost on her way to enlightenment.

Around the time Jiminez’s murder trial was wrapping up, the Manson Family was out there cutting up movie star Sharon Tate and her friends. To this day those horrific events are covered continuously. Accounts perpetually start off with an obligatory, superfluous declaration that Tate “sure was beautiful.”

Tate was beautiful, obviously. More importantly, she was a good person with a generous heart. She didn’t deserve what happened to her. Those murders were terrible. I don’t mean to marginalize them at all.

Still, I can’t help but think of Jiminez and how small her life must have felt looking up at the big screen at all those celebrities selling the Hippie Myth of egalitarianism and love. I look at how small her terrible death seems today, swallowed up by tabloid shadows, and it bothers me.

She just wasn’t pretty enough to be mourned, I guess.

It’s not the saddest story in the world, but it’s still sad as hell. I think about the kid and wish I could reach back through time and help her.

Poor, dead Ann Jiminez who never fit in anywhere.

I imagine her huddled there in that San Francisco flophouse feeling desperate and lost, feeling like a failure as a human being. Looking for love and acceptance, finding only drugs and bullshit ideologues.

“The Haight has changed,” she wrote to her sister the day before she died.

She knew she was in a bad place. Maybe, if she had just a little bit longer, she would have escaped. Hell, maybe she stole the boots that got her killed so she’d have something to wear on her back home. Highly unlikely, of course, but doesn’t Jiminez deserve some poetic license, at the very least?

Doesn’t matter. The kid’s dead. They killed her.

Two days after Christmas, nonetheless.

Not even slightly groovy, baby.

THE VICTIM

“She grew up fast—and she didn’t really grow up at all…”
—Mother Beatrice Jiminez (January 19, 1969, The San Francisco Examiner).


Ann Jiminez was born to Antonio Maldonado and Beatrice Jiminez in Everett, Washington, 1949.

Antonio left Ann and her two little sisters when Ann was nine years. He was an alcoholic and a troubled man, which isn’t hard to imagine when you consider that he was a World War II veteran who’d been captured by the Japanese and put through the The Tragedy of Bataan, one of the most horrific events of an overall horrific era. He’d gone off to war a good, proud man, but had back with demons.

Ann’s mother stuck by her children after Antonio left. Somehow, even while raising three girls alone, she managed to earn a medical technologist certificate and to start a respectable career. Admirable. Tough lady.

Still, life was chaotic and fearful for Ann. She soon reached 280 pounds despite standing only 5’5″ tall. Some newspapers said she had a glandular problem. Whether or not that’s medically verified or just the assumption of her mother, we can’t be certain. All we do know is that whether triggered biologically or psychologically, she was conspicuously big at a time before being big was common in America.

“And yet, she seemed to want people to accept her, to like her. She tried so desperately to have people like her…”
—Mother Beatrice Jimenez, The San Francisco Examiner (January 19, 1969)

Eventually, Ann started running away from home, which got her committed to a psychiatric hospital. As it did for many people sent for “help” in that dark period of the mental health industry, the experience made things exponentially worse for Ann.

“She was more mixed up than ever when she came out,” her mother told The San Francisco Examiner. “They put her in in a barracks with girls who were sex perverts, everything…vicious people. She was terrified.”

When the newly mixed up Ann was seventeen, she ran to Los Angeles with a boy and married him. It didn’t last long before he got mixed up in hard drugs. They separated. Ann later miscarried his child.  

Eventually, the kid found her way down to San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury, most happening place in America at the time, where you’d better wear some flowers in your hair and all that crap. Dumb kids humping a tie-dyed marketing scheme and falling for a manufactured Utopia that was never anything like the Boomers still to this day pretend it was—at least not entirely.

“Rape is as common as bullshit on Haight Street.”
—Chester Anderson, April 27, 1967 edition of alternative press magazine Helix.

An unnamed source told the San Francisco Examiner, “She never really fit in here. She wanted to swing with the crowd, but she didn’t really know how.”

Well, looking back at “the crowd,” it probably indicated something good about Ann’s character that she didn’t fit in with them. It didn’t feel that way to Jiminez, of course.

Something she wrote to her sister bothers me more than anything else.

“I’m sorry I’m such a big disappointment to mom and you kids,” she’d written, “but I am what I am. I’m not taking any dope. Mom should be glad to hear that.”  

Nineteen goddamn years old. Too young to be declared a disappointment. She should have had years to rebound, find herself and her love. That’s what she went to the Haight to find. Someone should have warned her that the only love there was reserved for the beautiful people, rich kids rebelling against their own entitlement, taking a vacation from the pressures of affluence before eventually moving on from that whole “flower power” bag and taking that job in daddy’s company.

It was all bullshit, Ann. But, then again, you already know that better than I do, don’t you?

The Killing Grounds

Boomers still drool about it to this day—the vaunted Haight Ashbury of San Francisco, California, main locus from which the Hippie revolution/marketing-scheme was born. The Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, and Janis Joplin all launched their legends there. It was Home Base for the free love movement, free clinics, Diggers, freaks, and heads. It was the greatest party of your life combined with the most meaningful life pursuit possible and the most ecstatic spiritual experience you could have.

It was also almost entirely a bunch of hogwash. At least, it was almost entirely hogwash that way by the time Jiminez got there.

To be fair, at one time, all the idealistic political and spiritual notions were mostly authentic. The folks of the Haight were sincerely concerned with changing the injustices of their time and in repairing the psychic damage of a nation. They wanted civil rights for all. They wanted peace in Vietnam. They wanted a culture that was less authoritarian over their bodies and sexual expressions. 

The thing is, in the Haight, all that good stuff really culminated in 1967 with the Summer of Love, a gathering of counterculture icons, thought leaders, artists, and hangers-on the likes of which the world had never seen before and has never seen since. That event was so powerful that it tugged at the imaginations of every American and proved to be an irresistible lure to those souls who had become unmoored or unwanted by the traditional America of their homes.

This brought waves of Haight immigrants who were either ill-equipped emotionally and intellectually for the revolution or who didn’t even care about it to begin with. Crooks, pushers, wandering souls, and lots of burnt-out druggies overran the place

By the time Jiminez got to the Haight, most of those who’d created the Free Love environment had already bailed. The streets were overcrowded. Meth and heroin replaced weed and shrooms. Pushers preyed on the flower children, and dirtbags abused the spirit of “free love” to screw underage kids who didn’t know what the hell they were doing in life. The Kerouac-inspired backpackers found themselves as regular old street kids, dirty, hungry, and desperate.

Poor Ann Jiminez, young and looking for love and a place in the world, wandered into this blasted netherworld. She went expecting open arms and instead found dirty hands buried in trench coat pockets.

She was no naïf herself by that point, but her letters home indicate a sensitive girl who wanted to make right. She just couldn’t figure out what right was, and she just couldn’t get a hold of herself. Hell, though, she was only nineteen.

In 1968, feeling lost and confused at nineteen was a sign of moral degeneracy. In 2020 it’s just commonsense par for the course.

The Murder

The tortuous ordeal started because Jiminez supposedly stole a pair of boots.

We’ll never know if she actually did steal the footwear because she died a few hours after the accusation. At least one person claimed she was innocent of the theft, though. Liberty Thomas, Jiminez’s roommate, said that though Jiminez was an awkward outcast, she wasn’t a thief.  

“One thing, she was honest,” Thomas told the newspapers, “she never took those boots, I’ll tell you that.”

Whether guilty or innocent, Jiminez soon found herself subjected to “motor ethics,” as one of those involved would later describe it. We can’t know exactly what motor ethics meant to those people, but apparently it had something to do with murdering young women over the suspected robbery of boots.

Sounds legit.

Theresa “Sunny” Henderson, owner of the supposedly stolen boots, kicked off the festivities. She led Jiminez upstairs to a room frequently used for orgies and, once there, cut the girl’s bra strap with knife.

What ensued was later called a “turnout,” which seems to have resembled the kind of gang-initiation rites you hear of today. Except this one went terribly wrong.

At least, that’s the story the assaulters told authorities. The thing to remember, though, is that the whole “turnout” shtick was crucial to their defense. If true, it meant that they never went into the act with the intent to commit premeditated murder.

A lot about that claim doesn’t really add up to what transpired, but that was what they claimed, nonetheless.

Whatever you choose to call the ordeal, what followed was a group of as many as fifteen young people beating and raping young Ann Jiminez. With lipstick they scrawled vulgarities over her naked body.

They took turns on her for three hours while lookouts provided watch.

A classy fellow named Clyde Shafley shaved her pubic hair smooth with a straight razor.

A gentlemanly scholar named Joseph Henderson personally got the full-on rape party going.

Joseph Henderson, husband of the previously mentioned Sunny Henderson, put in an effort good enough to get himself on trial for murder.

Larry “Blackie” Garrett, Jiminez’s ex-boyfriend, got his licks in, too.

Thomas R. Longfellow made contributions significant enough to get himself a notable convicted for rape.

The losers and wastoids pummeled the poor goddamn kid for three hours. It was so chaotic and so brutal that when coroners determined it was a blow to the temple that killed Jiminez, there was no way to be sure who delivered that fatal blow. So many had kicked her in the head that it could have been anyone They’d also dragged her down a flight of steps and bounced her head off each one as they went.

The scene that was left behind was so bad that investigators didn’t even like fully describing it. These weren’t small town cops on their first murder cases. These were hardened homicide detectives (an interesting but inconsequential tidbit is that that the inspectors assigned to the case were Dave Toschi and Bill Armstrong, the same guys who investigated the Zodiac killings).

The Trial

No one was ever convicted of murdering Ann Jiminez.

As many as fifteen people participated in a three-hour-long assault on her. Many eyewitnesses attested to witnessing the event. All of those involved even outright admitted their own presence there. Still, no one was ever convicted.

The trial garnered national attention, mainly because, same as the Manson Family killings, it validated mainstream America’s suspicions that something was seriously wrong with that whole Hippie thing. Right there, in the heart of Hippiedom, they were given all the evidence they needed that sex, drugs, and rock and roll were the instruments of the Devil.

A multi-pronged defense was used to protect those who’d tortured Jiminez.

Inconsistencies in eyewitness accounts were exploited (nearly all of the witnesses were speed freaks or general drug heads). For instance, Liberty Thomas told police she’d seen a deported Canadian named Ron Pogue deliver some heavy kicks to Jiminez’s head, but Thomas then later said that she’d left the scene for a while and only heard about Pogue’s kicks second-hand.

Garrett’s 68 IQ was used to basically suggest that he was too stupid to plan anything at all, including murder. Dr. Martin Blinder, defense witness, floated this idea. Blinder also supported the claim Jiminez willingly went along with the “turnout” and that turnouts were a common thing in that crew. This was one turnout that simply got out of hand.

Now, I’m not doctor, but I’d suggest that even if Jiminez had initially consented, there comes a point when she should have been able to rescind that consent. Say, about the time she was getting booted in the mouth.

All the accused were either whacked out on drugs or else living a lifestyle so generally drenched in illicit chemicals that their minds were jelly.  

One fellow claimed to have been stone sober through the whole thing. He only watched. His name was Joel Radtke.

When asked why he didn’t help Jiminez, Radtke said, “There was one of me and fifteen or sixteen of them. What is one person supposed to do?”

The defense also sullied Jiminez’s character by saying she did drugs, had gonorrhea, tattoos, experience with group sex, and an illegitimate pregnancy. Ah, yes, the good old “she was asking for it” defense.

Not long after the August–September, 1969 trial, the Manson Family media train started up. Those killings involved an even more bizarre setup and a beautiful victim and quickly subsumed all over national news, including Jiminez’s murder.

The Aftermath

There’s not much of one, really.

Except for some San-Francisco-specific outlets, the story’s been mostly forgotten. Probably not too surprising considering it happened more than fifty years ago at this point.  

Still, it bothers me.

Jiminez was only nineteen when she died. She’d made some bad choices with her life, but she wasn’t a bad person. She’d felt unloved and unwanted for most of her life. She’d drifted down to the supposed nexus of “free love” to fill the hole in her heart.

It’s not the saddest story in the world. Still, it bothers me.

I think of that kid huddled up in a flophouse trying to find a way to escape herself. Trying to figure out a way to be all the things she dreamed about in her best dreams. Trying to be beautiful.

I think of her joining a crowd of young people who seemed to be just like her and then her heartbreak at finding out that not only were then not like her, they didn’t want her around, either. Just like everyone else.

It took guts for her to go there in the first place. Let’s not forget that. She could have stayed home and wallowed in her self-loathing. Instead, she sought adventure. She fought for freedom. She tried to be something more than they said she was.

I think of that night she wrote home to her sister, suspecting that something was seriously wrong with the city around her. I think of her feeling like a failure and a loser.

I think of the moment her “friend” cut her bra strap and the assault began. I think of the fear she must have felt as the turnout turned truly violent. As boots cracked down on her head and slimy dirtbag losers had their way with her body.

I think about all that stuff and it just bothers me, that’s all.

It just bothers me.


Where the Heck is Melmont Ghost Town, Anyway?

The Hike to Melmont is Great but May not Be What You’re Expecting

Where the heck is Melmont, anyway?

Every single group I came across on my hike asked me some variation of that question. I was never able to answer. I just asked the question in return.

Looking back after having returned and done some research, I realize that we were all in the midst of Melmont as we asked where it was. We just didn’t realize it.

I say none of this to deter anyone from going there. I plan on going back. It’s a great trail. Beautiful. Quiet. Humming with history and nature.

Just know this beforehand: there is no grand, dramatic destination. No distinct town waiting there in the woods to be discovered. You aren’t going to turn a corner and find yourself looking at the clearly defined perimeter of an old mining town busy with ghosts.

It’s still pretty cool, though.

The Foothills Trail to Melmont

This sign is at the trail head.

The trail to and through Melmont is named the Foothills Trail. It’s maintained by the Foothills Rails-to-Trails Coalition.

There are at least three entry points onto the Foothills Trail. All three are clustered fairly close together along the side of Washington State Route 165 south of the town of Carbonado, Washington.

The spot I used was exactly 1 mile south of Carbonado. From 165, you can clearly see the sign I have in a picture up above.

If you’re traveling south through Carbonado, the sign will be on your right. If you’re going north, it will be on your left.

Remnants of Melmont are Scattered Along the Trail

This is a retaining wall at Melmont.

The first clearly defined Melmont artifact I found was a retaining wall. The view I show up above is the view you get after you walk down the slope off the trail.

From the trail itself you’ll see some of the stonework wall, but if you want to get a really good look at it you have to walk down the hill. The slope is very steep, and the footing can be slick. This is especially true during rainy season.

Beyond the wall is another old building that you’ll see just off the trail. Another blog claims this was a dynamite storage shack. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but Visit Rainier is a good site so I assume it is.

Supposed dynamite storage shack.

There is also an old schoolhouse up the trail, but keep in mind that it looks basically like the dynamite shack above. It’s not so nicely maintained that it immediately resembles any kind of building in particular.

Great Trail, Know What You’re Getting Into Before Making the Drive to Melmont

I love this trail. I can’t wait to go back again. However, I do wish that the other blogs and sites were clearer about the fact that Melmont is not a big centralized ghost town. It’s a (very) few buildings nestled in the woods off the side of the Foothills Trail.

So, in my opinion, this is a great trail for hiking and a great trail for running. It my also be a great trail for camping (though I don’t know the legality of it). But, it’s not a great trail for seeing a ghost town or a mining town.

In terms of humanmade artifacts, I actually enjoyed the Fairfax Bridge most of all. It’s a historic site that looks really interesting from the trail trail that runs underneath it. I tried to capture the “really interestingness” in the photo below.

I’m a writer, not a photographer, so forgive the poor lighting. I’ll be adding this skill of photography to my repertoire soon.

The Fairfax Bridge as seen from the Foothills Trail.

By all Means, Go to Melmont

Hike the Foothills Trail. Enjoy the pieces of Melmont mining town. Absorb that beautiful walk and the countryside surrounding it.

Just know before you go that the town may not be what you’re envisioning or expecting when you hear “ghost town.” You may find yourself on the trail asking, “Where the heck is the town of Melmont?”

Chances are, when you ask that question, you’ll be standing right in the middle of it.

Happy Nomadding, friends!

Four Great Day Hikes around Lake Quinault, Washington

Quinault is a launch-point to adventure for people of all fitness levels.

You don’t need to be an athletic super-freak to experience the place’s magic. You also don’t need to have endless amounts of time. Just a pair of comfy shoes and a couple hours will do.

I’ve made no secret about the fact that the Quinault area is my favorite place in the Pacific Northwest. I can write a whole book about all that you can see there (and I intend to). But, in this piece, I keep things simple.

I list five of my favorite Lake Quinault day hikes below. Each entry notes the trail’s level of difficulty as determined by my completely unscientific classification system.

Try one. Try them all. Whatever works for you. Enjoy. Tell me about the experience (or not)!

Happy nomadding, friends.

Kestner Homestead and Maple Glade Nature Loop Trails (both easy)

I’ve listed these trails together they each start within feet of each other in the parking lot of the Quinault Rain Forest Station. You can hike one or the other or do both.

I’m going to cheat a little bit here because I’m lazy. At least, I’m feeling lazy at the moment. I’ve going to link to the pieces I’ve already written for these two locations.

I’ve written about the Kestner Homstead Trail here:

I’ve written about the Maple Glade Nature Loop here:

Irely Lake (easy once you get over the initial elevation gain)

Irely Lake is my favorite Quinault day hike. I don’t know why. I don’t try particularly hard to figure it out, either. Something about trail’s energy just speaks to me.

Getting to the trail can take a little while, but it’s a beautiful drive. You have to go all the way to where the South Shore Loop Road turns into the North Shore Loop Road (or vice versa).

Once you reach the trail-head, it’s 1.2 miles to the lake. Right off the road you’ll climb a little ways. It’s rather steep, but it doesn’t last long. Past that point, it’s mostly smooth, level sailing all the way to Irely.

Irely is a dark little lake tucked away in the center of gigantic fir, cedar, spruce, and hemlock trees. If you go down the short side trail to its shore, you can see all kinds of life out there.

I’ve seen elk hitting the lake for a drink. I’ve seen countless birds. I once saw a Biblical plague of baby frogs there. They were fascinating, adorable little guys that I wrote about here.

The trail gets sloppy in the winter. Oftentimes wind will blow branches or whole trees over the trail in the stormy season.

The mountain-lion warning signs there are no joke. I’ve had a couple encounters with the animals in the area around Irely Lake (one on Irely Lake Trail specifically). So, factor that into your preparations and estimations of risk tolerance.

I’ve pinned the location to a Google map you can see below.

Colonel Bob (hard)

Ah, Colonel Bob. My ancient nemesis.

I frequently see this trail rated as “medium” difficulty on other sites. Then again, I’ve also seen Mount Storm rated as “medium,” and that is just preposterous.

Bob isn’t as difficult as Storm King, but it’s given me a hard workout even when I was in peak fitness. Still, its 13.6 miles can be done in one day (which of course is why I included it here as a day hike). Unless you’re in very strong hiking shape, you will be tested to complete the Colonel Bob out-and-back without camping for a night, so be warned.

My misadventures with Bob have been the result of circumstances (snow and an injury) rather than the difficulty of the trail itself, but I’ve always thought of Colonel Bob as a person I held a friendly grudge against. I try to get up there once a year.

The view atop bob is one of the best but, I’m ashamed to say (considering i run a travel site), I don’t have a picture of it at the moment. I plan on remedying this soon. For now, I’ve pinned the location to a map.

You’ll just have to trust me: it’s a nice view. Or else just check out the folks at Outdoor Society for pictures.

A Trip to Ocean Shores during Phase Two of the COVID-19 Washington State Lockdown

Sun setting on the beach at Ocean Shores
Sun setting on Ocean Shores at the end of my first trip since COVID-19 broke.

On May 24th, Washington State Secretary of Health Jonn Wiesman placed Grays Harbor in Phase Two of the COVID-19 lockdown. That placement means that Ocean Shores’ hotels, restaurants, and even beaches were open (with stipulations).

Last Thursday, very first chance I got to go out that way, I made a murder-hornet-line (sort of like a beeline) for the coast.

Today, I’m grateful that I did.

Ocean Shores Beaches in the Midst of COVID-19

I’m actually not a big beach person. I greatly prefer the mountains and the forest. Still, Ocean Shores has always held a place in my heart. I’ve even written about it once before but, this time, my motivations were different than the usual.

I’ve been able (thank God) to get outdoors since the state parks opened back up a couple of weeks ago, so what I really wanted with my trip to the coast was to enjoy the simple fruits of civilization again. I wasn’t disappointed.

The beach didn’t have nearly as many people as usual for a day with beautiful weather. This was a positive for introvert me, but also good to see that people were being responsible in their enjoyment of the beach and not simply bucking all of the COVID-19 health guidelines out here.

It was very peaceful (though windy as all hell) out there in the sand and sun. After more than three months of the COVID-19 lockdown, that simple peace and open air felt downright profound.

Breaking my Fast at the Galway Bay Irish Pub

For the first time in four months I sat down in a restaurant and enjoyed a meal. This would have been thrilling enough on its own, but it also just happened to be at my favorite restaurant in Ocean Shores: Galway Bay Irish Pub.

To make it even better than THAT, I was at the tail end of a twenty-four fast, which means I was voraciously hungry. The sum of all these variables was one of the most unforgettable, delicious eating experiences of my life.

The Galway Bay menu calls what I ordered the Tipperary Steak, but I consider to be “colcannon with Tipperary steak on the side.” Then again, I consider ALL Galway entrees to revolve around the colcannon.

That stuff is just mindbogglingly delicious.

I thought it would feel strange to eat in a restaurant with people spaced several feet apart and servers wearing face masks and the shadow of COVID-19 looming over everything, but it ended up feeling nothing but “great.”

The food was delicious. It was a pleasure to crack jokes with strangers again and to chat with a server. Such simple little things seem so precious after being penned up with End-of-the-World fears for so long.

It’s funny, as I think about it. Before COVID-19, my idea of getting away was always getting to the most secluded natural areas I could find and finagling ways to avoid people.

Now, after months of COVID-19 lockdown, I appreciate most of all the simple pleasure of human contact, a seat in a good restaurant, and the sound of laughter.

And colcannon. Definitely colcannon.