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The Killing of Bink West

By Raymond V Carter Research Historian ©2017

Bink West was killed on Aug. 12, 1948, by his former business partner, Vance West. Vance had registered the name of the Silver Dollar, a saloon and cafe, on May 13, 1948, for a three-way equal partnership of Vance West, Bink West and Bill Morris. Vance and Bink, by the way, were not related. Bill Morris was the owner of the Mayan Ranch.
Bink and Vance had met in Houston and were friends for several years. Bink, a former Houston traffic officer, had been the operator of the Silver Dollar until he sold his interest to Vance.
Trouble began when Bink sold his interest to Vance. On the evening of the shooting, one of the Silver Dollar employees got into an argument with Vance over who was going to be the new boss of the business. Vance decided to go call the sheriff to prevent any more trouble. When Vance and Sheriff Billy Burns came into the saloon, the disgruntled employee restarted the argument, which turned quickly to fisticuffs. Bink and the sheriff then got into the fight, trying to break it up. During the four-man scuffle, Vance West pulled the pistol from the sheriff’s holster. The gun fired while the others tried to take it away from Vance. The bullet went through Bink’s body. Bink was taken to the hospital in Kerrville where he died several hours later.
Vance West was immediately arrested and placed under a $10,000 bond, but after Bink died he was rearrested and placed under a $12,000 bond. After indictment for murder with malice and forethought by the grand jury here in Bandera, the trial was set for Oct. 11. It was later decided to moved the trial to Jourdanton in Atascosa County and then it was decided to move the trial to Victoria County.
The trial was set for March 5, 1951, but a continuance was granted and was reset for June l8. The trial was reset again for Aug. 20. Selection of the jury began on the 21st and the trial began on the 23rd. The State rested its case on the 25th and the defense allowed the defendant to testify. On the Aug. 29, both sides rested and the case was submitted to the jury at 8:30 pm. The foreman of the jury, Carl D. Huntington, returned the verdict to open court saying, “We, the jury find the defendant, Vance West, not guilty.”