Who Killed Betty Gail Brown?Murder, Mistrial, and Mystery

Who Killed Betty Gail Brown?Murder, Mistrial, and Mystery

Robert G. Lawson

Print publication date: 2018

ISBN: 9780813174624

Publisher: University Press of Kentucky


Betty Gail Brown was nineteen years old in 1961. A second-year student at Transylvania University. On the evening of October 26, 1961, she drove to campus to study with friends for an exam. Around midnight, she left the campus, but at some point she returned and parked her car in a driveway near the center of campus. By 3:00 a.m., she was the victim of one of the most sensational killings ever to occur in the Bluegrass. She was found dead in her car, strangled by her own brassiere. Kentuckians from across the state became engrossed in the proceedings, as lead after lead went nowhere. Four years later, the police investigation had stalled.In 1965, a drifter named Alex Arnold confessed to the killing while in jail on other charges in Oregon. Arnold was brought to Lexington and put on trial, where he entered a plea of not guilty. Robert Lawson was a young attorney at a local firm when a senior member asked him to help defend Arnold. In Who Killed Betty Gail Brown?, Lawson meticulously details the police search and Arnold’s trial. Since 1965, new leads have come and gone, and Betty Gail Brown’s murder remains unsolved. A written transcription of the court’s proceedings does not exist, and thus Lawson, drawing upon police and court records, newspaper articles, and his own notes, provides an invaluable record of an important piece of local history about one of Kentucky’s most famous cold cases.