on the run after the shooting but returned to Belton
a couple of months later in the company of Texas Ranger Frank Hamer,
best known as the man who tracked down Bonnie
and Clyde and led the ambush that killed them. Bonds posted
bond but didn't act like a man who had just surrendered. He strapped
on a pair of Colt .45s and started haunting the courthouse square
in Belton, keeping
an especially close eye on the north door.
"From then on, six days a week, Bonds was downtown, mostly in the
200 block of East Central, the scene of the killing," witness John
Surghnor recalled to Dallas Morning News columnist Ken Biffle
in 1986. "He always stood so that he could see the north side of
the courthouse. He sat in his car or stood with his back to the
One day Bonds found Sheriff Bigham and his chief deputy sitting
on the north steps of the courthouse
and called out to them from his Model T. Bonds then dog-cussed Bigham
and the deputy up one side and down the other, daring them to go
for a gun.
"Before this is over, it looks like I'll have to kill the sheriff
and his deputies," Bonds snorted, and drove away.
A nervous citizenry waited to see what would happen next and soon
observed county law enforcement officers mostly avoiding the north
door of the courthouse
Bonds, who was awaiting his own trial, was usually off the streets
by dark, but on Dec. 2, 1926 he stuck around to serve as a possible
witness in an evening court session. He parked his car in front
of the courthouse
just as another car passed. The driver of the car seemed to recognize
Bond and swerved across the street to get closer, tires squealing.
Bonds looked behind him just as somebody poked a shotgun through
a back window and pulled the trigger. He ducked.
"When the shotgun went off, instead of taking the top of his head
off, it shot the right eyeball out of its socket," Surghnor recalled.
A bystander drove Bonds to the hospital, where he was treated, bandaged
and released. He was back on the street the next day "studying the
courthouse with his remaining eye."
Monroe Fisher, Wiley Fisher's oldest son, was charged with the shooting
but not indicted. He faced a new murder charge in May of 1927, a
month before Bonds' scheduled trial date, when somebody shot Bonds
to death in downtown Belton,
just a few yards from where Wiley Fisher had died. Monroe and his
19-year old brother Johnnie were charged with the murder. Only Monroe
stood trial, and a jury of his peers quickly turned him loose. Several
newspapers reported that the jury reached their decision after just
Surghnor told Biffle that he believed Bell
County's elected officials were afraid to prosecute Bonds. "I
believe those elected officials helped plan Albert Bonds' death,"
Legal scholars today see the Monroe Fisher verdict as an obvious
case of "jury nullification," where a jury might suspect or even
know a defendant is guilty but returns a not guilty verdict because
the jurors don't like the law or they believe the victim needed
killing. Defense attorneys, especially in the early days, often
invoked a "higher calling of family honor" when defending an obviously
guilty client. That seems to be the case here.
Monroe Fisher went on to serve a stint as a Bell
County constable in spite of the fact that he might have killed
a former sheriff-or maybe because of it.