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2017-10-12

Shooting at the Joleta Lounge

By Raymond V Carter Research Historian ©2017

Earl Wright Redman, aka Bud Konitzer, shot and killed Melvin Edward Alexander in the Joleta Lounge on April 19,1967.



This story is about the real hard criminal type and cold-blooded murder. Earl Wright Redman, aka Bud Konitzer, shot and killed Melvin Edward Alexander, with the help of Jerry Johnson, in the Joleta Lounge on April 19, 1967, apparently just for the hell of it.
The Joleta Lounge opened in March of 1967, and was operated by Inez Konitzer, who also opened the Joleta Guest Ranch in March of 1966. Redman operated the Joleta Guest Ranch.
Redman shot and killed Alexander, a Lost Valley Downs horse trainer, after a pool game and ensuing argument. Jerry Johnson handed Redman the .38 automatic pistol used in the killing. After the shooting, Redman ran from the lounge and hid out. Johnson was not allowed to leave by the crowd of witnesses. Some of the witnesses tried to beat and mob Johnson.
On Wednesday night, April 19, 1967, at approximately 7:20 p.m., Sheriff Robert B. Miller received a radio call from Plummer Ambulance Driver, Billy White, notifying him that there had been a shooting at the Jotela Lounge on Main Street. The sheriff went into the Lounge and saw Dr. George Meadow bending over Melvin Alexander. Dr. Meadow pronounced Alexander dead.
Also standing by the body were Glenn Evans and Ortez Bolles. The sheriff asked who did the shooting and they both told him that the shooter was E.W. Redman, aka Bud Konitzer, adding, “without any reason at all.”
Those present in the lounge when the sheriff arrived were: Patricia Forham, who was standing behind the bar, Ray Wharton, Charles “Bud” Merka, Jerry Johnson, Boyd Naxey, Glenn Evans, Bill Daugherty, Ortez Bolles, and a jockey, Elbert Mencke. Ray Wharton also told the sheriff that Redman shot Alexander, apparently for no reason at all.
While the sheriff was trying to write the names down of all the witnesses, Elbert Mencke and Bill Daugherty kept trying to fight Jerry Johnson, and told the sheriff that Johnson gave Redman the gun that killed Alexander.
The sheriff took Johnson into protective custody and instructed Charles Merka to stand at the door of the lounge and not let anyone in or out. As the sheriff led Johnson out, Elbert Mencke followed and before the sheriff got Johnson in his car, Mencke jumped on Johnson.
At this time State Game Warden Carlton Becker arrived to help, and stayed at the door of the lounge to make sure nobody left the bar. The sheriff took Johnson to the Bandera County jail and then drove out to the Joleta Guest Ranch. Not finding Redman’s car, he returned to the scene of the crime to continue his investigation. Deputy Sheriff Walter Welch was on the scene when the sheriff returned, so the sheriff instructed all the witnesses to go to his office to make statements, which they did.
Bill White called G.W. Ender, J.P. of Precinct One, and informed him of the shooting and murder. When the J.P. arrived, he found those named above along with a David Gafford. Ray Wharton told Justice of the Peace Ender that Melvin Alexander had been sitting at the head of a table and to the left of where Wharton himself was sitting.
While Alexander and Earl Redman were exchanging words concerning the pool game between Ortez Bolles and Redman, Jerry Johnson handed Redman a gun. Redman fired a shot across the table, hitting Alexander in the center of his chest. The sheriff collected an empty .38 automatic shell next to the right side of Alexander’s body. Justice of the Peace Ender ordered an autopsy.
The next day, Redman, with his hands held high, surrendered to Sheriff Miller at the Joleta Guest Ranch to face charges of murder with malice aforethought. Justice of the Peace Ender ordered that Redman be held without bond.
The sheriff’s office transferred Redman to the Hondo Jail in Medina County and the Bandera Grand Jury indicted him in May. Inez Konitzer and Nina Jones put up a bail bond of $18,000. Redman was released on this bond.
On June 2, 1969, while Redman was out on bond for the Bandera County murder charges, a court in Cameron County convicted him of armed robbery, or robbery by assault, and sentenced him to seven years in the Texas Department of Corrections. Nineteen days later, Redman escaped from the Cameron County Jail and was now at-large and a fugitive from justice.
The Bandera District Court, in July, found the $18,000 bond insufficient and issued an order to re-arrest Redman. The court had learned that Inez Konitzer had divested herself of some properties she had used to secure the bail bond, and assessed Nina Jones to be “not an acceptable surety.”
When Redman failed to appear for trial at the 1969 September Term of District Court, the court declared his bail forfeit. Redman remained a wanted fugitive.
Bandera County authorities learned in 1981 that Earl Redman was being held in the Cook County Jail in Chicago, Illinois, where he had surrendered on the Bandera County murder warrant. In August, Bandera County started extradition proceedings that led to his transfer to the Bandera County jail on Nov. 1, 1986.
Redman pleaded nolo contendere and was judged guilty in March of 1988. The court sentenced him to 15 years in the Texas Department of Corrections.
On May 3, 1967, the Bandera Court had indicted Jerry Johnson, Redman’s accomplice in the Alexander case for murder with malice aforethought. Inez Konitzer had put up the $3,500 bond for release. The court granted a continuance for trial because of the death of Johnson's grandfather. Johnson’s counsel requested a change of venue in February of 1968.
In May of 1975, the court dismissed the case against Johnson because “The defendant [was] serving a protracted sentence in the Texas Department of Corrections.”