By 1966, Hot Springs, Arkansas wasn’t your typical sleepy little Southern town. Once a favorite destination for mobsters like Al Capone and Lucky Luciano, illegal activities continued to lure out-of-state gamblers, flim-flam men, and high rollers to its racetracks, clubs, and bordellos. Still, the town was shaken to its core after a girl was found dead on a nearby ranch. The ranch owner claimed it was an accident. Then the rancher was found to be the killer of another woman – his fourth wife.
The story begins when 13-year-old Cathie Ward was found dead after horseback riding at Blacksnake Ranch on the outskirts of Hot Springs, Arkansas. Frank Davis, the owner of the ranch, tells authorities Cathie’s death is an accident. He claims her foot caught in a stirrup and she was dragged to her death despite his pursuit of the runaway horse. People who know the 42-year-old skilled horseman don’t believe his story, and soon rumors of her rape and murder begin swirling around town.
The rumors reach a crescendo after Davis viciously guns down his fourth wife and mother-in-law in broad daylight outside of a laundromat. Davis is arrested and charged with first-degree murder. Soon after, Hot Springs authorities re-open the investigation into Cathie Ward’s death.
Snake Eyes is the first book to examine this decades-old murder and cover-up, and the only in-depth account of the man who would become the town’s most notorious villain. Featuring personal interviews, crime scene records, court documents, and Davis’ own prison files, author and lifelong Hot Springs resident Bitty Martin reveals the true story for the first time.