True Crime On This Day May 27th


Last Updated on January 23, 2023 by Ben Oakley

True Crime On This Day May 27th

May 27th

On May 27th in true crime, uprising in South Korea, Greek mob murders, Charles Ray Hatcher, murder in Texas, deadly fireworks explosion.


In St. Joseph, four-year-old Eric Christgen was raped and killed by one of the worst killers to ever live in the United States, Charles Ray Hatcher.

Hatcher was a one-man crime wave who was born in 1929, he started killing when he was 40-years-old. Over a 13-year period, he would go on to kill 16 people.


In Harris County, Texas, Danny Paul Bible raped and then murdered Inez Denton by stabbing her multiple times in the back and chest with an ice pick.

The murder initially went unsolved until Bible was arrested in 1984 for three more murders he committed in 1983.

He had killed his sister-in-law, Tracy Powers, her four-month-old son, Justin, and her roommate, Pamela Hudgins. When questioned, he admitted the Denton murder along with others.

His confirmed number of victims was four, but investigators have long suspected he may have killed many more due to moving around through twenty different States for four years.

He was convicted of the Hudgins murder and unrelated crimes in 1984 and sentenced to 25 years and 20 years in prison. Remarkably, he was released after just nine years and went on to rape more women.

He was arrested again in 1999 and convicted of further rapes and the murder of Inez Denton. In 2003, he was sentenced to death. On June 26th 2018, Bible was executed by lethal injection in Texas.


In Gwangjiu, South Korea, The Gwangju Uprising came to a violent end. It had started on May 18th when citizens of Gwangjiu robbed local armouries and police stations to arm themselves with weapons.

The uprising was sparked by the rapes and deaths of local university students who had been demonstrating against the martial law government.

It started with approximately 200 students who gathered at the entrance of the University. They were met with approximately 30 paratroopers who fought with them.

As news of the clash went around the city, the numbers increased. By May 20th, 10,000 protestors were on the scene and the military began opening fire on citizens.

Within hours, the city was burning and overrun with violent mobs and angered military.

By May 27th, when the military finally quashed the uprising, an estimated 2,000 people had been killed.

In May 2020, the ‘Truth Commission’ was launched to investigate the crackdown and use of military force. It is due for completion in 2023.


In Philadelphia, Greek Mob boss Chelsais ‘Steve’ Bouras was shot dead along with his girlfriend, Janette Curro. Two others, Ray Martorano and radio personality Jerry Blavat were injured in the shooting.

It was suggested that new Philadelphia crime family boss Nicodemo Scarfo ordered the hit because Bouras had refused to pay Scarfo’s street taxes.

After the assassination, the Greek Mob became involved in the Philadelphia mob war of the 1980s. After the first mob war ended in 1984, the Greek Mob’s activities declined.


In Arizona, Joe Leonard Lambright and Robert Douglas Smith were sentenced to death for the 1980 murder of Sandra Owen in Pima County. Owen, who was suffering from mental problems, was hitchhiking when she was picked up by Lambright, Smith and Kathy Foreman.

The trio took Owen to a remote area where Smith raped her repeatedly. Smith and Lambright then killed Owen by choking her, stabbing her, and hitting her on the head with a large rock.

They concealed her body by covering it with rocks. The partial skeletal remains were discovered one year later and all three were arrested.

Foreman was granted immunity for testifying against Lambright and Smith, who were given the death sentence on the same day.


In Benton, Tennessee, a powerful explosion at an unlicensed fireworks factory killed 11 people and injured at least one more.

The explosion happened when cache of explosives, flash powder, and other chemicals in the barn detonated. The resulting explosion was so powerful that it created a mushroom cloud, was heard and felt over 20 miles away in Cleveland and produced a shockwave that destroyed trees over 100 feet away.

Body parts of the victims were deposited onto the rooftops of nearby houses as far away as 500 feet from the epicentre of the explosion.

Despite never confirming exactly what caused the explosion, investigators believed it occurred as a result of explosives being mixed.

ATF agents believed an estimated 140kg of explosive material detonated. The explosion was the first time authorities were alerted to the illegal fireworks operation.

Shortly after, barn operator, Dan Lee Webb, was arrested and charged with 11 counts of manslaughter. He was subsequently sentenced to ten years in prison for manslaughter and an additional ten years for manufacturing explosives without a licence.

Up until 1985, an additional 20 men were convicted on federal charges for conspiring to manufacture, sell, and distribute the illegal fireworks made at the farm to as many as twelve states including Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York.

The disaster remains the deadliest event in American history involving illegal fireworks.


22-year-old Shannon McCormack was killed during a fight outside the Queens Bridge Hotel in Melbourne on 27th May 2007.

He had stepped in to split up a fight when he was punched by an unidentified male and fell to the ground, hitting his head in the process. He died in hospital on 3rd June. Despite CCTV footage, the killer remains at large.

The cold case currently carries a reward of $1million (AUD).

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