Sources suggest more to Buford Pusser death

Published: May. 20, 2006 at 1:43 AM CDT
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McNairy County Sheriff Buford Pusser is remembered as a hero who cleaned up corruption in the 1960s.

But a variety of sources, including FBI documents, suggest there may have been more to the story.

Publisher Barbara Bivins says, "I don't think Buford Pusser was part of the solution. I thought he was part of the problem."

Bivins published this book about the wild times along the state line back in the 60s.

Her husband Tommy was considered a "State-Liner" who'd hang out in establishments that Pusser's credited with shutting down.

"That's another misconception. Buford Pusser didn't shut down the state line," continues Bivins.

Bivins says FBI documents support her claims. Documents she provided to us show that a source told the FBI "White has a fix with the new sheriff at Selmer, Tennessee."

That new sheriff was Buford Pusser.

Bivins also claims Pusser murdered club owner Louise Hatchcock. She says this autopsy shows Hatchcock was shot by Pusser in the back.

"I think Louise Hatchcock was murdered. It's quite simple," continues Bivins.

The claims are a part of a growing research.

Some seem outlandish...

Bivins says, "Buford Pusser had actually murdered his wife and shot himself to cover the crime."

Bivins is referring to an ambush along New Hope Road...where even Pusser was critically wounded.

Pusser's daughter Dwana says the claim is ridiculous.

Dwana Pusser says, "And it's hard enough when you lose your mother at six years old, and you know she's been murdered... And you're thinking why would someone murder your momma. And blow your dad's jaw off... Half his face off. Why?"

Dwana Pusser now defends her father's legacy.

Pusser continues, "It's a story to them. But to me it's my family and it opens wounds like it is today."

Even Pusser's own death in 1974 is controversial. His death resulted from the crash of his Corvette on Highway 64 near Adamsville. Dwana Pusser -- 13 at the time -- arrived minutes later.

Pusser says, "I got to him and I was screaming daddy daddy daddy."

She turned him over only to hear his last words.

"And he said to me what I want to think is Dwana... Dwana... And then he was gone," continues Pusser.

Officially it was ruled a single car accident.

"I do believe he was murdered. I'll always believe he was murdered," continues Pusser.

Unanswered questions that linger more than 30 years after the death of the Mid-South's most legendary Sheriff.