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Ma Barker is best known for supposedly leading the criminal behavior of her four sons.
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Ma Kate Barker was born October 8, 1873 in Ash Grove, Missouri. After marrying George Barker, she gave birth to four sons, but was abandoned by her husband. Her sons began a life of crime, which Barker condoned and many have argued she was in charge of their criminal behavior. She was eventually killed by police on January 16, 1935.
Alleged criminal. Born Arizona Clark in 1877 in Ash Grove, Missouri. After marrying George E. Barker in 1892, Kate gave birth to four sons, Herman, Lloyd, Arthur and Fred. George left the impoverished family around 1915, during which time the boys began their life in crime. Their mother condoned their crimes, and enjoyed the expensive furniture and clothing the robberies afforded her.
Ma Barker ruled her household with an iron will, forbidding her sons to have girlfriends and allegedly plotting their crimes and helping to form the Barker-Karpis gang. For more than twenty years, Ma Barker and the gang terrorized the Midwest, robbing banks and killing dozens of people. After the other members of the gang were either dead or arrested, Ma Barker and her son Fred were discovered hiding out Florida, where they were killed by police on January 16, 1935.
Though Ma Barker?s legend grew after her death, many argue that there was never any evidence that Ma committed any crimes herself, or even planned the crimes her sons went to prison for. Many historians believe it was J. Edgar Hoover who launched the legend of Ma Barker, after the elderly woman was mistakenly killed by FBI agents during the bloody gun battle.
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