Richard McFadin–Ken McElroy’s Lawyer–Died in May

I just learned that Richard or “Gene” McFadin died last May. Here is a link to his obituary. McFadin was Ken McElroy’s lawyer, and used to claim that he had gotten his client off more than twenty times. McFadin was reputed to be a “mob lawyer” in Kansas City. He never denied the connection to me. McFadin used every trick in the book to get McElroy acquitted on the many charges against him, and he took great satisfaction in his successes. McFadin claimed that McElroy was the perfect client because he always paid in cash and did exactly what his lawyer told him to do. McFadin was unable to get his favorite client off for the shooting off the Skidmore grocer Ernest Bowenkamp, but it was his success in keeping McElroy out on bond after his conviction that eventually led to McElroy’s killing on the main street of Skidmore  in July 1981.

The people of Skidmore and McElroy’s other victims used to curse McFadin for getting McElroy out from under the law time and again to continue his crime spree, but McFadin took great delight in his reputation as a cunning/crafty lawyer who walked the line in representing his client. He so liked the way I wrote about him in “In Broad Daylight” that he bought copies for every member of the Missouri State Senate, where he worked as a lobbyist. He had me autograph the books before he hand delivered them.

I write about McFadin and my relationship with him in my upcoming Kindle Short “About In Broad Daylight, the Story Behind the Book.” Personally, I liked McFadin because he was without pretense–he made no bones about who he was and what he did. He was also extremely helpful to me in researching the book, arranging, for example, my interview with Trena.

I met with Gene again in 2007, not long before the rerelease of “In Broad Daylight.” He was not doing well then, but he was his usual self. He felt not the slightest regret in getting McElroy off for his crimes; he was, as he used to like to say, just doing his job.

52 thoughts on “Richard McFadin–Ken McElroy’s Lawyer–Died in May

  1. After reading about the crimes that he helped perpetuate, good riddance to bad rubbish. Because of him, children were molested, witnesses intimidated, cattle stolen, private property destroyed and a town held hostage by the actions of his client. Whereas everyone deserves good counsel, abiding by a client who willfully intimidated witnesses crosses the line.

    Burn in hell.

    • I have never seen such bunch of cowards and especially people in the legal system that were cowards and would not do their jobs..Even the threatened cops who had guns put in their face were too scared to act and did not hold up to their oath..They desecrated the badge..Even the stae pole capt was calling the AG to help..There are so many instances of hideous crimes by the McEelroy outlaw, that it is inconceivable that no one took action..Threatened cops, threatened witnesses, intimidated victims, rape of children, burglary, theft, armed assault on victims, and I could go on and on and no one did nothing until the citizens had enough and had to get rid of the plague.SAD!!!
      I remember in 1979 a young man was elected sheriff in a rural southerner county and he was faced with a previous do nothing law enforcement community and about 10 characters like McElroys. The young sheriff took them head on and put them down and out of business, sometimes the entire family and associates. He was fearless and these outlaws are now all dead and gone..They tried to intimidate and even kill the young sheriff but he prevailed without falter and went on to become a legend and and sought after by higher offices, that he also ran without fear or fail..The Skidmore story should be a lesson to every officer, court official and citizen..

    • Then everyone on this planet who does there job well should burn in hell. Ignorance is the only world wide disease that should destroyed. Everyone praised oj Simpsons lawyer. If you were not so ignorant you would understand that when u do something against the law you want a good lawyer or your fucked. So it seems to me Roy was pretty smart and my grandpa was pretty much a bad ass. But u just go back to whatever life u have and be the best order taker at McDonald’s and may the Lord save your soul for wishing a man would burn for being the BEST AT WHAT HE CHOSE TO DO IN LIFE.

  2. Agreed, Kurt. He was the worst stereotype of an amoral lawyer. While a decent, if maybe not heroic lawyer might have represented McElroy once, only an irredeemable scumbag would keep taking his infinite felony cases again and again.

    His daughter is evidently a lawyer now. I sure hope she takes after her mother.

      • Gene Mcfadin was my father and was an excellent attorney ! You can’t blame the attorney for doing his job! He was a criminal defense attorney…if he picked and choosed based on moral ground he wouldn’t have defended anyone!!! Ridiculous !!

        • Cynthia McFadin You are a horrible person. There is a right to defense for everyone in the U.S. but McFadin knew what McElroy was. He didn’t have to portray him as innocent. Maybe if McElroy sat in prison on and off, he might have gotten the message and cleaned up his act. Your father probably is still explaining his part in the rape of women and terrorizing of innocent people. Hope it’s nice and toasty where he is…right next to McElroy. Souls that end up in hell are there because they want to be and they earned it. Your father lived and worshiped the almighty dollar. Too bad. No sympathy from me. You should hand your head in shame.

          • Everybody in this country is entitled to a proper defense, no matter how horrible they might be. This is how Mr. Mcfadin fed his family, it was his job, and it sounds like he was good at it.

            If a man is willing to pay you cash for your services, while following your instructions to the letter, I certainly can’t blame him for doing so. If anybody is to blame it’s local law enforcement and the courts for not being able to put together the pieces to convict this man!

        • There is no excuse for complicitness regarding child abuse/sexual abuse. NONE. you can try to justify it all you want but you’re the only one buying that load of narcissistic gaslighting bullshit. You’re as bad as he is!


        • Gene Mcfadin?,..whats ridiculous?,…Harry was not condeming the man,.just saying he died and what he ment to the case.

  3. I’m reading In Broad Daylight now, but have read about McElroy previously. McFadin was a lowlife, and the world is better off without him. I drive through Skidmore several times a week, and I’m always struck by how quiet the community is. It must have been terrifying to live there, being held hostage by a violent bully with no morals and no remorse. I’m not a fan of vigilantism, but the town did the right thing by doing “nothing.”

    • My grandfather was not a lowlife!!! He was a lawyer who took his job and clients seriously !! U didn’t know him and for you to say it’s better he is dead shame on you!!! My grandfather was an amazing man who did more in his life to help people then u will ever know do u even know he was a war medic who saved a lot of lives he can’t help who his clients were!!! You have no right to put his name in you mouth!!

      • He who doth protest to much.

        Lawyers actually CAN help who their clients are. They can turn down a case. Unless your client’s as crooked ad you are and to help with right and wrong. He was a disgrace to the interest of justice, where he obviously had no problem with. Like knows llike – do you really think he got nothing from McElroy? They were both criminals.

          • I actually really liked McFadin in the book. He exposed the problem within the criminal system in the area, and he’s right, he did his job! I love a person who wins. I love a person more who wins when it’s unlikely.

            I am glad the town took care of McElroy, he was the worst man I could read about..but I can’t blame his crafty lawyer for that.

            McElroy should have been taken care of long before he was. Even here in quieter and lawful 2017, you fire shotguns near my suburban house and lurk about, you got your last thing coming, I don’t care how thick your forearms are!

          • I came to like McFadin myself. He pretended to be nothing other than what he was. And he was comfortable with who he was. He loved the way he was portrayed in the book. He bought 30 copies, had me sign them, then sent them to every member of the state senate, where he lobbied.

      • Fine. Do not tell us that. But rather try to explain that to all the victims. Particularly the children the chomo molested

        • I know that the ‘80s were a different time but why was McElroy’s cash always accepted as legal tender w/ no supporting evidence. His was money was “made” illegally yet McFadin, nor any authority, questioned its use.

          At what point was McFadin at least enabling, if not actually aiding and abetting, a known thief? Just doing his job? That was one filthy dirty job.

          I read this book years ago and was recently again appalled and disgusted by McFadin’s actions and misplaced pride. He had to know this criminal’s history yet lined his pockets with what I consider to be blood money.

          Thank you, Mr. MacLean for a fascinating and in-depth look at this case. You dissected and exposed a bully, and his accomplices, for what they were, criminals. A well written page-turner that is timeless.

  4. Personally I don’t feel the same about McFadin as most of the posters seem to. I think he was skilled at and took pride in his work, just like an accomplished artist or craftsman might brag about their work or tell others of examples of their skill. After reading “In Broad Daylight” I have a new perspective on the law. I don’t blame McFadin for doing his job well however, Ken McElroy is the bad guy here. It is the job of a jury to judge guilt or innocence, not the lawyer. Just as McFadin was able to manipulate the law to his clients benefit the laws are just as often manipulated by prosecutors. Let’s not forget either that McElroy paid McFadin well and was often in need of his services so it was in McFadin’s best interest to keep McElroy free to get in trouble, it’s just job security. I think the problem in this story is a serious failure to act by law enforcement, to think that the peaceful people in Skidmore had to commit murder to solve their problems bc the law refused to act. Even if McElroy had gone to jail he would’ve been back out and causing problems in 2 years or less. If anyone had tried to force his family away while he was locked up I think that would have spurred more violence and I think the people of Skidmore knew they’d never be safe from Ken unless he was dead. Just my thoughts though. I loved the book, the podcast interview Mr. Maclean did on “Generation Why” was excellent as well.

    • Interesting thoughts on what would have happened when McElroy came back from jail.He didn’t think he could survive it, but I think he would have found a way, and that there would have been hell to pay when he came. I appreciate the original thinking on your part. As for McFadin, what I always liked about him was that he made no bones about who he was or what he was doing. In fact, he delighted in being the legal scoundrel who operated just within the bounds of the law to serve his client’s interest.

      • I actually new Gene McFadden, and his daughter, Tracy. Gene was an amazingly cunning attorney, and though he would ride the line in order to defend his clients, I don’t believe he would’ve outright broken the law, ever. He was a very friendly guy, who made absolutely no apologies. He also knew exactly what the laws were and how to use them to his advantage. While I wouldn’t have represented the people he did, this is America, and every defendant is entitled to a decent defense under the law. Mcelroy would’ve found someone else to represent him. Had Gene not done it. And the end result would’ve been the same. Besides that, it is up to a judge and/o jury to convict or acquit, so wouldn’t they be the ones to blame for Rex being acquitted of all of the crimes he escaped punishment for? It is absolutely not the attorney who is at fault here. No children were molested, people robbed or beaten up, etc., because of a criminal’s attorney. Those things happened because the criminal in a case like this is an animal, and his/her subsequent crimes only took place because of the evil inside of that person. Attorneys so their job ans defend their clients. What the client does after that is on them and not their legal counsel. Put the blame where it belongs and read the US Constitution.

        • I knew Gean too. I am related to him and can say that he was a good person who knew the law and when payed would get his clients out of jail. He is a good man, and even if he was not have some respect and don’t make fun of a dead man,

          • How do u know my grandfather??? It’s gene not gean!! I’m his granddaughter and have no clue who u are yes he was an amazing man..thank u for taking up for him people are so rude and quick to judge a man for his job and not for the man he was.. my mom is his daughter so not sure what family ur from???

  5. My grandfather was an amazing man and grandpa miss him everyday!! So anyone who would say he was a lowlife doesn’t know him cause he did more things in his life then this client he was a great grandfather who loved his family and served in the war to help others his death waa too soon!! He still practiced law up until he couldn’t… so anyone who wants to say horrible things about a man who is gone from his family and the people he loved this was one bad client and wasn’t that his job??

    • You know Bobbi Griffin my grandfather was also an amazing man, and I too miss him everyday. But you grandfather was a scumbag lawyer who helped perpetuate crimes against people again and again. If you look at his client McElroy, the man was a career criminal. How many people did he victimize? Terrorize? All with the aid of a lawyer. Maybe you should look into his clients and judge your grandfather in a different light. I hope he spent the time from 1982 until his death in 2007 repenting what he did for McElroy. Probalby not. He probably toasted his memory… fucking scumbag lawyer.

      • A defence Attorney defends those accused of crimes..thats what they do!!!! Just because he was good at it doesn’t make him a scumbag. If a criminal Attorney picked their clients based on whether they thought they were good or bad , there’d be zero clients. My father didn’t have say on what the juror and judge decided..he presented a case..ultimately the decision was in others hands….do you believe that every juror..every judge are also scumbag? They are the ones that decided he was innocent each and every time..your ignorance in thinking it’s the Attorney that let him go free really shows your IQ. . My father was the best at what he did…maybe your own shortcomings are why you decide to call others names? Regardless…learn the system..learn who really let him go..i will always be proud of my father and who he was. . one helluva a good man.

  6. So delighted to read of this lawyer’s demise after he said “Ken Rex McElroy was the best client I ever had.” McFadin was an enabler who smugly used the legal system to keep a sociopath on the loose. He smelled the cash and kept McElroy as client.

  7. What bothers me about McFadin is that he complained about Ken’s rights being violated when he was shot but had ZERO concern for ALL THE TIMES that the citizens had their rights violated. Elderly people cancelled their monthly dinners, the Bowencamps lost customers, one man closed his store, he gloated when Trena married Ken and acted obnoxious. He didn’t even seem to care that Trena had been sexually Ken. And after he was killed, he manipulated Trena. He could have declined to represent Ken after a while but he liked the money, I guess. He sold his integrity to represent a sociopath. I side with Skidmore. If McFadin had let Ken go to jail, Ken might not have been shot but I guess he loved money more than people’s lives. Ken reaped what he sowed.

  8. For McFadin, it was no doubt about money and attention. Yes, the criminal had a right to representation, but many human beings would have had a hard time sleeping at night serving as this criminal’s attorney over and over and over again. He had no qualms. He relished it. When the legal profession just becomes a monopoly game (as it has all too often) and it’s just my attorney is craftier so I’ll get off and harm more people, then the system and the attorney are indeed complicit in the harm caused. Think Nazi Germany when soldiers were just doing their jobs.

  9. I noticed some other McFadin’s here. Since it is rare I see someone with the same spelling as my last name, I wonder if we may be related? I’m slightly inclined to beleive we are related since my middle name is Jean and had a great uncle with the middle name Gene and beleive it to be a family name. If any of you read this, please email [email protected]

  10. Last comment… My father was a great attorney that did his job at his best capabilities… It was not up to him to pronounce McElroy innocent .. there was a judge and jury. To blame the attorney is ridiculous… my father was an excellent attorney and every one of you wouldn’t be complaining if it were you being defended by him! I sleep just fine at night and will always be proud of my father.. he worked from the age of 13 and fought hard to be the success he was … He taught me strength and is the reason I have always been able to persevere through some of my hardest times.. To complain that an attorney did his job too well just shows the ignorance of you people. Blame the jury if you need people to blame! He was the strongest person I ever knew .. he will forever be missed by those that truly knew him… And to you haters .. he lived a long wonderful life…

  11. LiLu
    on October 3, 2019 at 7:58 am said:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    I know that the ‘80s were a different time but why was McElroy’s cash always accepted as legal tender w/ no supporting evidence. His was money was “made” illegally yet McFadin, nor any authority, questioned its use.

    At what point was McFadin at least enabling, if not actually aiding and abetting, a known thief? Just doing his job? That was one filthy dirty job.

    (Moved post, accidentally posted as a reply, not individual post. Sorry)

    I read this book years ago and was recently again appalled and disgusted by McFadin’s actions and misplaced pride. He had to know this criminal’s history yet lined his pockets with what I consider to be blood money.

    Thank you, Mr. MacLean for a fascinating and in-depth look at this case. You dissected and exposed a bully, and his accomplices, for what they were, criminals. A well written page-turner that is timeless.

  12. Although I feel Rex didn’t get everything he deserved, i.e beaten, sodomized, tortured, drug down Main Street, shot and then hung on the outskirts of town, that area has terrible law enforcement.
    Mr. McFadden represented me for an illegal police stop and did an excellent job. I could tell by the way the Judge acted and the amount of people in court for the same reason that it was a county “cash grab” to fill their coffers.
    Mr, McFadden was always very friendly and professional. I didn’t know at the time that he was Rex’s lawyer and I was quite surprised when I found out later.

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