12 April 1999 – Marion Albert Pruett

A $4,000 coke habit – that’s apparently what fuelled mass murderer Marion Albert Pruett’s lethal spree. He even went as far as to call himself a ‘mad-dog killer’ for his actions.

Pruett’s murderous activities took place in 1981 and his victims included his common-law wife Pamela Sue Barker in New Mexico, who he hammered to death, then set light to in a bid to burn the evidence. He then killed a loans employee, who worked in a Mississippi bank.

Crucially, he then targeted a shop assistant called Bobbie Jean Robertson in Arkansas. Then just four days later he killed two more shop assistants in Colorado. There may have been more victims, but these were the cases for which he was tried and found guilty in Arkansas.

He was to be put down by lethal injection, however on death row, it seems that there was no limit to his macabre fascination with money and infamy. While banged up, Pruett apparently propositioned a Mississippi newspaper – he’d divulge the whereabouts of his partner’s ring in return for $20,000. He then tried to bag an appearance on a chat show on US TV, ‘Geraldo’, in return for a fee and for revealing the location of one of his murder victims in Florida. Of course none of them would have a bar of it.

No tomorrow

But it was precisely this kind of publicity hounding than won Pruett a glimmer of hope. Just two years before his death, his sentence was suddenly overturned – the judge felt that publicity in the run-up to his trial had meant that Pruett could never have been tried fairly. But the US Court of Appeals pooh-poohed this idea a year later, saying that Pruett was largely answerable for the publicity, having generated most of it himself by coining media-friendly phrases like ‘mad-dog killer’. So the sentence was slapped back on Pruett and he died via a toxic injection, aged 49.

Also on this day

12 April 1967 – Aaron Mitchell
12 April 1928 – Frederick Lock

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11 Responses to “12 April 1999 – Marion Albert Pruett”

  1. Robbin Cantrell Says:


    My name is Robbin Cantrell madian name Robertson, Bobbie Jean was my mother. and I just want to wish you and yours many blessings. Thank you for taking the time to tell people.

    Jesus Saves!!!!!! Do you need more proof!!.

    God Bless


    • At this very moment, I am watching the BIO channel series: DEALING WITH THE DEVIL [2012] and am learning about the deeds of Marion Albert “Mad Dog” Pruett. God bless those whose paths crossed his and fatally so, especially your mother Ms. Bobbie Jean.

      Jesus DOES Save and your inner spirit reminds us all of that.

      God speed on your continued healing. You are a jewel Robbin.

  2. Catfish Says:

    In 1987, I was a jailer in Jackson, Mississippi at the facility where old “Mad Dog” was incarcerated. To sum it up, I had continuous contact with him at the minimum of 40 hours per week and this lasted for at least 6 months to a year. At the time I had just graduated from college with a degree in Criminal Justice and wanted contact with people like this. It interested me and his stories interested me. As part of my job, I had to be in his presence. After 24 years as a Law Enforcement Officer, I can’t say that I would be that interested now. At any rate, I usually don’t respond to sites such as this but I did see Robin’s entry and thought that you would like to hear one story of my contact with the “Mad Dog”

    Pruett was in our violent crime block which housed a max of 8 inmates. The block was right next to our control area and as it goes, he had a reputation to uphold. He was loud and obnoxious most of the time and seemed real full of himself. But at times, when made to think the he was being idolized he would calmly tell stories of his crime sprees and past.

    I occasionally was tasked with escorting him to meet a religious lady that was from a local church and had taken a legitimate interest in his soul. She was all legitimate and I know for a fact that she meant well. She would come to visit him at least once every couple of weeks. She would pray with him and counsel with him seriously trying to convince him to turn his heart. I saw him each time taking it all in. He would pray with her, hold her hand and act all serious and sorry for his past sins. The minute I got him on the elevator and it was just he and I, he would say, “I got that bitch fooled, don’t I?”. To say the least, I knew at 21 years old that I was in the presence of pure evil.

    Well after several months of being in his company and watching this man, who even most long time convicts feared for his self described past, I despised this guy. He was maybe 5′ 7″ inches tall, fat, chain smoked (they could smoke at the time in our jail), had one eye and couldn’t have been very tough in a heads up fight. But he was evil and every one, including bad convicts knew this. I think that’s why no one ever tried him. I never let him know how I felt about him truly I learned early that in the presence of such people, you never let them know what you are really feeling or thinking. You never let your guard down and you keep them wondering about you.

    One particular day, unknown to me at the time, Pruett and the other seven inmates in his block began a conversation about the Officers working in the jail. I have always been blessed with dealing with people of all walks of life, so I really never had much trouble working in this environment. With that said, the inmates started comparing which of the Officers were “weak” and which Officers would stand-up for themselves, win or loose. My name came up and the other seven inmates agreed that I was small and young but I would stand up fight the fight, pushed into the situation. Pruett was the dissenting vote. He literally bet the others their possessions, such as deodorant, money or anything that they had of value, that pushed the wrong way, I would back down and “punk out”.

    Sometime that day after the conversation and betting, I walked into their block and Pruett convinced me to walk into his separate cell by telling me that his cell window had an air leak. I wasn’t supposed to enter any of the cells in this block without back-up, but I figured it would only take a second and I’d be out of there. I walked into the cell with Pruett behind me to check out the air leak and Pruett manually pulled his cell door shut. Mind you, the cell doors on this floor were automatic locking and when manually pulled shut, they cannot be re-opened without another Officer outside of the block utilizing a key to open a box and turn a master switch to re-open the cell. In addition, I didn’t tell the control operator or any other Officer that I was even going into this cell. They only knew that I was in the block and usually at least 5 minutes could pass before I would be checked on. At any rate, Pruett was in the cell with me with the wild look that he had with one glass eye and said, “what you gonna do now?” He started laughing real loud for the other inmates to hear and see (they were all standing outside of the cell watching by now). He then started walking toward me in this cell approximately 6 feet long by maybe 3 feet wide. I was, to say the least, scared, but I kept my composure. I know that God was with me because I stood my ground for a moment and then with all my might, I charged him from maybe 3 feet away and rammed him backwards into the corner of that door. With one forearm at the base of his jaw and in the throat area, I grabbed him between his legs with my left hand and started pulling and twisting hard. I let up on with my forearm about a half an inch and then pushed hard ramming his head into the corner again. All the while, twisting and pulling on his privates. After maybe 15 seconds of trying to push me back, he gave it up. He then “punked out”. He started yelling for me to get off of him. He was hollaring, “get this crazy m…..f…..” off of me!!!” The other inmates were laughing and hollaring for the central control operator to send an Officer to the block. After maybe 45 seconds to a minute, another Officer came to the block, opened the cell door and I let up on old “Mad Dog”. He ran out of that cell.

    That ended my sit-down’s with Pruett. For the rest of his stay at our jail until he was transferred to Arkansas for his misdeeds, he wouldn’t have anything else to do with me.

    Robin, I am sorry for your loss, as I am sorry for the loss of his other victims, including the Lowe family in Mississippi. What he got from me was no where near what he had coming, but I can say that he did pay that day. Bragging rights were not his that day. He was embarrassed, to say the least, and to have something like that happen to someone like him in the presence of his peers was costly for him.

    I just thought that you might want to hear that at least one day of the many thousands that he spent in lock-up before he left this world, wasn’t spent in comfort and total self-control

  3. Skull Says:

    To Robbin; I am so sorry for your loss. To Catfish; I’m sorry you had to endure the likes of the monster that Marion became. As a small boy growing up, I spent many a time at Marion’s ( Mad Dogs ) home. You see, he was my 4th cousin. His mom and mine were like sisters and we all were very close. I will ‘ NEVER ‘ make excuses for nor condone what he did. As a family, we were shocked and devastated by what he became and what he subsequently did. When he was young and into his early teens, he was the kindest and most talented of just about anyone I knew. To keep this short as possible, I won’t go into the petty details of his demise. It would probably sound like an excuse anyway, of which I have promised not to even attempt as there is ‘ NONE ‘. My dad was very stern in my upbringing as was his. However, once Marion started running wild and getting into trouble, my dad began telling me that if I didn’t straighten up then I was going to end up just like Marion. I absolutely hated that comparison and it hurt.

  4. Skull Says:

    To Robbin, I am so sorry for your loss. To Catfish, I’m sorry you had to endure the likes of the monster that Marion had become. You see, Marion was my 3rd or 4th cousin, I’m not sure. However, when I was a little boy growing up, I used to spend alot of time at his house. At that time until he was around 19 or 20 years old, he was one of the kindest and most talented people I’d ever known. He was between 7-8 years older than me and was like the big brother that I never had as I was the oldest of 4. However, when he started running wild and doing stupid crap, my dad began telling me that I was going to end up just like Marion if I didn’t straighten up. That hurt to hear from my own dad but when Marion went over the edge and became the self proclaimed ‘ Mad Dog Killer ‘, my dad abruptly stopped that comparison. I am, in ‘NO’ way even attempting to make any form of excuse for him as there could not possibly be any. I am simply getting this off of my chest for my families behalf. His parents and siblings are and were wonderful people. My parents and siblings are and were the same. What ever happened to Marion, God only knows ! My dad did live long enough to appologize for ever comparing me with him and was there to see me get my gold badge when I got promoted to Captain on our city fire department. I furthermore retired from the U.S. Air Force and am preparing for the same from the city. I have basically dedicated my whole life to helping others in their worst times of need and continue to do so. My main and final point is that on behalf of my family, we want everyone effected by not just the Marion Albert Pruetts of the world, but all others that have chosen such a sick and abstract approach to life that we are on your side. I wanted to throw the switch on him myself for what he did. He killed a little of us with each person whos lives he took and for that, I’ll never forgive. May God Bless you and yours. I withhold my name for obvious reasons but not my heart.

  5. midknight Says:

    That just goes to show no matter how well you think you know a person it’s impossible to truly know what goes on inside their mind. It does seem rather unusual there were no warning signs early on he was capable of such violence. Even so, how he managed to slip through the cracks in the justice system and become a protected witness with early parole is beyond belief ! My heart goes out to all the people whose lives were destroyed by this animal. Also to the ones who had the misfortune of being related to him. He apparently had a loving and caring family who raised him. I would be devastated also if a close family member of mine commited these horrific crimes. No friend or relative should be blamed for his actions because they had no control whatsoever for what he did.

  6. Carl Coleman Says:

    Amen to what “midknight” says. “skull”, it may comfort you to know, and I’m sure you do anyway, that we’ve all got our blacksheeps. I know I have a few. I love ’em all, but some I’d never even allow in my home. You don’t own anyone anything in regards to old “maddog”. He was his own man and he’d tell you that. You may even proud to know that in conversation, I remember him talking about his family in a fond way. I specifically remember him talking about spending time with a Native American relative….I think maybe a Grandfather. He spoke very highly of that relative and had very normal boyhood memories and events to share. Not often, but these conversations did come up.

  7. I lived in Fort Collins Colo when this monster committed his two Colorado murders. I will never forget the night it happen. The two murders were less than a 1/2 hour apart and both victims were 7/11 clerks one working in Ft Collins and the other in Loveland about ten miles away. He just walked into these stores and murdered those poor people in cold blood. The reason this night stands out so vividly for me is that on that night I was working the all night shift at a Vickers gas station that was located on the road between Ft Collins and Loveland. When I woke up the following afternoon and found out about the murders I realized that he had driven right by the gas station I was working at and i had a pocket full of cash and was just as vulnerable as those 7/11 clerks…I am glad he didn’t need gas at the time….

  8. After watching this story unfold on t.v. I guess I just couldn’t believe
    the prison authorities bought his tale of how his cell mate was killed. Just hearing his cell mate was murdered my first instinct
    was the cell mate Pruitt did it. Shame on the warden he’s not the sharpest tool in the tool shed. This is an unbelievable story
    of how a con man conned his way into the witness protection
    program when in fact he most likely was the killer to begin with.
    The only good news is the changes in the witness protection
    program too late in this case.

  9. Robbin, I watched the case last night about that monster and remember it very well as I am from Mississipi. I can only hope you have some peace and know you will be with your Mother one day.

  10. Good discussion. I have occassionally found it difficult
    to find someone in state prison. This article: inmate search
    that sort of pointed me in the right direction for my search.

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