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OUTLAW APPEAL : CLYDE BARROW'S SISTER TO AUCTION OFF HIS BELONGINGS.

Byline: Ron Harris Associated Press

A bullet-riddled ``death shirt'' belonging to notorious outlaw Clyde Barrow is expected to bring in as much as $35,000 from avid bidders when it goes up for auction Monday.

The light-blue, western-style shirt was the one Barrow was wearing when he and Bonnie Parker were shot to death by law enforcement authorities in Gibsland, La., in 1934.

A pocket watch, firearms and family photos were also among Barrow's belongings previewed Thursday by Butterfield & Butterfield auctioneers.

For more than 60 years, the items remained tucked away in a cedar chest by Marie Barrow, Clyde's younger sister and only surviving sibling. Now she feels it is time to let go.

In the early 1930s, Bonnie and Clyde captured the attention of the nation as they robbed and murdered their way across the West for two years. The flamboyant duo robbed more than a dozen banks in eight states and killed 15 people - including two patrolmen on Easter Sunday.

But a hail of bullets fired by Texas Rangers finally stopped Bonnie and Clyde, and Marie Barrow lost her big brother.

``He was just a sweet brother as far as I'm concerned,'' she said. But a few wrong turns early in life led Clyde down the road to crime and killing, a past his sister, 78, remembers well.

``He got started out with little old petty stuff, because we was real poor, and to help my mother because he didn't want her to starve to death,'' she said. ``And then it just got worse.''

Bonnie and Clyde fell in love at first sight, but portrayals of Parker as a rifle-wielding gun moll are exaggerated, Barrow said.

``All that stuff about her carrying guns and shooting guns was not so. I don't think Bonnie Parker ever shot a gun in her life. In fact, she was really a little bit scared of guns, because she shot herself in the foot one time just picking one up.''

At the auction house, Barrow held up the Winchester 1892 saddle-ring rifle in her frail hands, but she was skittish about handling the ``death shirt.''

``It's gory,'' she said.

Greg Martin, a firearms specialist for the auction house, said of Clyde's arsenal, ``He was well-equipped.'' He was especially intrigued by the Colt .45 handgun found by authorities in the car Bonnie and Clyde were killed in.

``As a gun it's worth about $500, but because it's Clyde's, perhaps several thousand,'' Martin said.

Other items for sale include the outlaw's 10-karat, gold-filled Elgin pocket watch - which still works - as well as a leather belt that Clyde made for his younger sister while in prison and aging family photos of Clyde, taken during his days on the run from the law.

During their crime sprees, Bonnie and Clyde would sometimes come by the Barrow family gas station and carefully signal them, his sister recalled.

``Then we would go down the road a few miles and meet up with him,'' she said. ``My mother would fix him lunch. He liked chicken, red beans and cornbread.

``He was my brother, and I loved him.''

CAPTION(S):

2 Photos

Photo: (1) Marie Barrow, sister of 1930s outlaw Clyde Barrow, holds his Winchester at an auction preview in San Francisco.

(2) An autographed photo of Clyde Barrow posing with his car and guns is one of the items set for the auction block.

Associated Press
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 13, 1997
Words:566
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