Jaybird Journal

The Case of the Smarty Pants Would-Be Governor

By: Jerry R. Barksdale It was the mid-1970s when an RV with Kentucky plates and escorted by two motorcycles headed south on I-65 and crossed into Alabama. Limestone County Deputy Hargis (not real name) sat in his patrol car watching for speeders when the RV caught his attention. Why was it being escorted by motorcycles? …

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A Lawyer Scarce As Chicken Teeth

By: Jerry R Barksdale It was nearing 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 1, 1959, in the tiny community of Gourdsville in northern Limestone County when evil struck. The Limestone Democrat proclaimed it “the county’s most brutal crime in history.” It guaranteed 17-year-old Joe Henry Johnson a seat in “Yellow Mama,” Alabama’s infamous electric chair. He …

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12 Lives of “Crash Baker” Part II – Jerry’s Journal

By: Jerry Barksdale December 14, 1970, began like most days for chopper pilot, Warrant Officer Hal Baker stationed at Can Tho, South Vietnam. He would fly another dangerous mission, something he’d become accustomed to over the past ten months. Christmas was approaching and with a little luck he would spend the New Year holiday in …

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Twelve Lives of “Crash Baker” Part I – Jerry’s Journal

By: Jerry Barksdale If you met Hal Baker walking near his home on East Street in Athens, his unassuming appearance and quiet demeanor wouldn’t hint that he holds two Purple Hearts, a Silver Star and seven other medals for heroism in battle. To my knowledge he is the most decorated Vietnam veteran in Limestone County. …

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