On November 13, 1955, FBI agents search the home of John Graham, a chief suspect in the United Airlines plane explosion that killed 44 people on November 1, 1955. The jet, which exploded shortly after departing from Denver, contained a hole near the cargo hold and traces of dynamite residue were found that suggested that a bomb was responsible for the crash. Within a week, FBI agents began delving into the background of everyone connected to the flight.
One of the passengers on board the flight was Daisie King, a wealthy woman who was traveling to visit her daughter. Although the suitcase that she had checked-in had been obliterated by the explosion, her carry-on bag contained a newspaper clipping about her son, John Graham, who had been involved in forgery and theft. When FBI agents questioned Graham on November 10th, he told the detectives that his mother had packed shotgun ammunition in her suitcase. Graham's wife provided more intriguing information: just before Graham took his mother to the airport, he had placed a gift-wrapped package in her luggage. Graham denied any knowledge of this gift but the FBI obtained a search warrant to investigate further. A search of the Graham home turned up the ammunition that Mrs. King had allegedly packed, a small roll of copper wire, and a life insurance policy for Mrs. King, naming Graham as the beneficiary. Faced with mounting evidence against him, Graham suddenly confessed to planting a bomb in his mother's suitcase. He told the agents that he had taken a job in an electronics store to learn how to construct the bomb, which consisted of 25 sticks of dynamite, a battery, and a timer. At his televised trial, Graham retracted his confession but was found guilty. He was executed in the gas chamber in January 1957.
Michael Thomas Barry is the author of Murder & Mayhem 52 Crimes that Shocked Early California 1849-1949. The book can be purchased from Amazon through the following link: