FORT MADISON, IOWA – An elderly man serving a life sentence for a Polk county murder died this week at the Iowa State Penitentiary.
Elbert James Hinkle, an inmate assigned to the Iowa State Penitentiary died Monday, October 17, 2016. Hinkle was found unresponsive on the bathroom floor in the assigned living unit. Medical and Security personnel immediately responded and implemented emergency medical protocols including CPR. Emergency Response Ambulance was immediately requested. CPR continued as Hinkle was transported to Fort Madison Community Hospital where Hinkle was pronounced deceased.
It is believed that Hinkle died of unknown natural causes, however an autopsy has been ordered to determine the cause of death. In review of the incident by security personnel there was no trauma, injury or foul play discovered.
Hinkle was 74 years old and serving a Life sentence from Polk County for Murder 1st Degree. This sentence began on February 14th 1973.
According to allcourtdata.com, the circumstances of the murder are:
The homicide victim, Patty Bradley, and her husband, Abraham, lived at 1358 Idaho Street, Des Moines, Iowa. Patty and Abraham were separated for two or three months, during which time defendant Hinkle was staying at the Idaho street home. Apparently there was a reconciliation. Abraham went to the house when he left his work shortly before midnight on October 5, 1972. He attempted to persuade Hinkle to return the keys to the house and to Patty’s car.
When Hinkle left to get the keys Abraham, frightened, armed himself with a short-barrelled, eight-shot .22 caliber revolver *746 kept under a mattress in the house. He loaded it with the only shells he had, three .22 caliber “long” cartridges. After Hinkle returned with the keys Abraham transported him and his “luggage” to a Hutton street address. When Abraham returned to 1358 Idaho he placed the gun back under the mattress.
The next morning, October 6, Abraham drove Patty to her employment, delivered their two children to a day-care center, then transacted business downtown. When he returned home he discovered someone had broken a window latch, entered the home and had taken groceries and some of Patty’s clothing. He did not then determine the gun was missing. A window in Patty’s auto was broken, some gas had been removed, and motor wiring pulled loose.
Until Abraham left home at 3:15 P.M. to go to his employment he was busy installing new window and door locks.
At about 4:15 P.M. Abraham received a call from Patty. He was permitted to testify, over objections to be later discussed, that he told her he did not think Hinkle would kill her and to take a cab home from work instead of the bus. When Abraham went home for supper he finished installing the window locks and returned to work.
At about 8:10 P.M. a neighbor lady, Patricia Cason, started toward the Bradley home for a visit, then recognized defendant’s voice coming from the porch. She retreated to an adjoining house occupied by Judy Parrish. Patricia Cason and Judy heard glass breaking and Patty Bradley screaming. Patricia ran to her own home to call the police. Judy saw a person breaking out the front door glass with a chair, then standing inside the home with his arm raised. She heard shots while she was engaged in protective measures for her own children.
The police responded within minutes. Patty Bradley was found dead on the front room floor, lying on her back in a pool of blood. She had been shot seven times. One bullet had pierced the top of her pantsuit before it entered her abdomen, but subsequently this top had been pulled up to chest level. Her legs and thighs were spread and her slacks and panties were pulled down around her right ankle.
Defendant Hinkle was found crouching in a small room in the basement. Responding to an inquiry from the officer who found him, he said “This is where I keep my stash.” Only items ordinarily found in a basement were in this room. Defendant had on his person the same eight-shot .22 caliber revolver left under the mattress by Abraham early that morning. It contained seven spent cartridges. Defendant also carried a new, partially-filled box of .22 caliber “short” cartridges and a butcher knife. His clothing and shoes were blood stained. Human blood samples taken from his trousers and the fly area of his undershorts were the same type blood as that of the victim.
At a later police-station interrogation defendant admitted he had obtained the gun earlier in the day. That evening, according to defendant, he had been drinking and went to return dresses to Patty Bradley. She told him, through the door, to leave them on the porch. He then took a porch chair and broke the glass out of the door and went in. Patty was sitting on the couch and he went to the basement for a drink. He denied killing her. The dresses referred to by defendant were never found.
Tests of defendant’s right hand revealed minute traces of lead which may result from firing a gun. A witness from the Bureau of Criminal Investigation laboratory testified that in his opinion, based on certain tests and microscopic inspections, one of the less damaged bullets removed from the victim’s body had been fired from the revolver taken from defendant.
The only evidence offered by defendant was testimony from two witnesses relating to his claimed intoxication on the evening of October 6, a condition controverted by law officers who arrested him.