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Mastermind Behind Bars: Clarence Ray Allen

You’ve heard of the mafia hitman in movies, but Clarence Allen is a true hitman in real life. Here’s how he landed on California’s death row. Clarence Ray Allen was born on January 16, 1930. In Clarence’s adult life, he would go on to be known as an American Criminal, who was executed in the San Quentin State Prison by lethal injection due to his role in killing three people. 

Clarence Ray Allen was 76 years of age, when he was executed in California. Allen would be the second to oldest inmate during that time to have been executed since 1976. John B. Nixon was the oldest inmate to be executed at the age of 77 in December of 2005. However, this United States record has currently been succeeded by Walter Moody. 

Throughout the United States, pro-death penalty activities would cite many of Allen’s actions as their reason behind supporting the capital punishment within the states. Allen had already been punished with a life sentence for murdering one person when he was convicted of plotting the murders of three more individuals. 

While Allen was in prison, he would start to acknowledge his Native American Choctaw heritage. Allen also started to claim he was severely disabled and would require a prison-issued wheelchair to move around the facility. Allen would also claim he was blind and deaf as well. 

However, Allen did not learn any sign language to help him communicate with other hearing people. 

However, during Allen’s execution event, Allen was able to walk to the death podium from his wheelchair all by himself. 

When the prison officials started administering the first dose of drugs during his execution, it appeared that Clarence Allen was looking directly at his family. 

It was confirmed by the prison medical staff team that Allen had a pretty advanced case of type 2 diabetes and may or may not have suffered from a related heart attack back in September of 2005. 

Allen’s lawyers would state with the current state of Allen, and he does not show any harm to the community as incapacitated as he is. There would be no purpose for the state of California to execute this man as it is a cruel and unusual punishment. Allen’s lawyers would try and appeal for clemency, but Arnold Schwarzenegger, California Governor denied this appeal. 

Murder of Mary Sue Kitts

It all started in 1974, Clarence Allen was plotting to rob the Fran’s Market, which was a popular supermarket in Fresno. The Fran’s Market was owned and operated by Fran and Ray Schletewitz, who Clarence Allen had known for many years. 

However, this plan would involve Allen’s own son, Roger Allen, as well as Charles Johns, Carl Mayfield, and Ed Savala. 

Jones and Mayfield both worked for Allen in Allen’s security guard business also they worked for him in his burglary enterprise, which also was operated by Allen as well. 

As a part of this plan, against the Fran’s Market, Allen would arrange for one of them to steal the alarm and door keys from Bryon Schletewitz, the owner’s son. All while the son was in Allen’s pool going for a swim. 

Then Allen would secure a date between Mary Sue Kitts (who was Allen’s son, Rogers then girlfriend) and the Schletewitz for when the crime will happen. 

When the trio robbed the Fran’s Market, they came out with $10,000 in money orders and $500 in cash. 

After the burglary happened Mary Sue Kitts then told the owners son, Bryon that it was Allen who robbed the store. She stated that she knew because she was helping him cash in the money order that were stolen from the supermarket. 

Schletewitz would later confront Roger Allen stating that he was informed by his girlfriend Mary Sue Kits that they were the ones who robbed his parent’s supermarket store in Fresno. 

Roger Allen would admit to the crime. Roger Allen would later go home to his father and tell his father Clarence Allen of how Bryon accused him of the robbery. Clarence Allen told Roger Allen how Mary Sue Kitts and Bryon Schletewitz would have to be dealt with. 

This is when he would enlist the help of three of his employees at the security guard business, Lee Furrow, Carl Mayfield, and Charles Jones. 

Allen held a meeting at his home. This is the meeting where Allen would tell Furrow, Jones, and Mayfield that Mary Sue Kitts was running her ragged mouth and should be murdered. 

Allen then called for a vote on executing Mary Sue Kitts. The vote was pretty much unanimous between the meeting because they all feared if they did not go with what the plan was, they would be killed as well. 

Allen once told his group that he knows how to kill snitches and that he had connections and friends to do the job for him, even if he were to be sent away to prison as well. Allen always referred to himself as a Mafia hitman and said that being a part of the secret witness program was a joke because anyone could still get the person’s name and address. 

Allen always kept close a newspaper article that had to do with a Nevada man and woman being killed. Allen would always state that he blew the pair in half with his shotgun. 

Allen then assigned the murderous task of killing Mary Sue Kitts to be carried out by Lee Furrow.

Furrow would try to poison her using cyanide capsules, but that was highly unsuccessful. Allen would then call Furrow to see if he completed the job. But as Allen was calling Furrow, Furrow was in the middle of strangling Mary Sue Kitts. After successfully finishing the job, Furrow would then throw Kitts into the Friant-Kern Canal. To this day, Mary Sue Kitts body has never been discovered. 

Murder Within the Fran’s Market

While Clarence Allen was serving out time in Folsom Prison, he was not just sitting there thinking about what he had done. Allen was plotting yet more heinous crimes with Billy Ray Hamilton a fellow inmate. The pair were plotting out a few murders to the many witnesses who testified against Allen in court. This also included the Fran’s Market son, Bryon Schletewitz. 

It was in Allen’s intention to get a new trial, where there would not be any living witnesses to testify on the state’s behalf. 

After, Billy Ray Hamilton was paroled out of Folsom Prison, he followed Allen’s orders.  It was not until September 5, 1980 that Hamilton and his then-girlfriend, Connie Barbo, would head on over to Fran’s Market, which is in the east side of Fresno. 

The son of the market’s owners, Bryon Schletewitz worked at the market as well. This is where Hamilton would carry out and murder of Bryon Schletewitz along with Douglas White, 18 and Josephine Rocha, 17. Hamilton used a sawed-off shotgun to carry out these murders. While murdering these three Hamilton also injured two other people, Jack Abbott and Joe Rios. 

When Hamilton shot at Schletewitz, he was in close range of his forehead. Hamilton would then murder both White and Rocha after he forced them to lie on the store floor. 

Rios was also an employee of the Fran’s Market as well. He was shot but raised his arm as Hamilton fired off a bullet, which this action would save his life. 

Abbott, the other wounded survivor from this incident was just a neighbor of the supermarket that run into the store when he heard shotgun blasts, but then was ultimately shot by Hamilton. However, Abbott did return fire and ended up wounding Hamilton, who was able to flee from the scene of the crime. 

Just five after the bloodbath at the Fran’s Market, Hamilton was arrested when he was trying to rob a liquor store. On his body, the police found a hit list, not only of names of people, but the addresses of the witnesses who testified against Allen when he was on trial for murdering Mary Sue Kitts. This list would include Bryon Schletewitz who Hamilton already killed a few days prior. 

1983 Chino Hills Murders

In 1983, Kevin Cooper was convicted of murdering a family in the Chino Hills area. Clarence Allen had a disagreement with the family over the horse he purchased from them prior to their murders. 

One of Allen’s employee’s girlfriend, Lee Furrow stated that Lee had to change out of what appeared to be bloody overalls the morning after the killings happened. Lee was not new to the killing scene as he was already convicted of murdering Mary Sue Kitts, Allen’s son’s girlfriend at the time. 

However, there is great speculation that Kevin Cooper was framed for these killings, but it was Furrow who did the killings under Allen’s strict orders. 

As of 2018, then California Governor Brown had ordered more DNA testing in the Kevin Cooper case. 

Execution

Allen was finally executed on January 17, 2006 it came just a day after Allen turned 76 years old. Allen was executed by lethal injection in the San Quentin State Prison death chamber. 

Allen at the time was the second-oldest person to be executed within the United States since they reallowed the capital punishment in 1976. 

John B. Nixon who was executed in the state of Mississippi was the oldest person to be executed at the age of 77 in December of 2005. 

As of 2018, Clarence Allen was the last person that was executed in the state of California as well. 

Allen had to be assisted down to the death chamber in the San Quentin State Prison by four prison guards. However, a media observer would state that Allen was moving under his own power. 

To the witness’s surprise at the execution chamber, the warden demanded another injection of potassium to stop his healthy heart. 

However, Allen wrote down his last words. His last words were read right after he was pronounced dead. Allen’s last words were, and I quote: “My last words will be ‘Hoka Hey, it’s a good day to die. Thank you very much. I love you all. Goodbye.'”

Throughout the execution procedure, Allen would pass away with an eagle feather laying on his chest. Allen was also wearing a medicine bag that was around his neck and his beaded headband. Just before he was sent down to the execution chamber, Allen received a visit by two Native American spiritual advisers. 

Allen was officially pronounced dead at 12:38 am. Nearly 250 who opposed the death penalty would be gathered on the outskirts of San Quentin State Prison for a candlelight vigil. 

Allen’s last meal consisted of frybread, buffalo steak, a white meat only bucket of KFC, sugar-free walnut ice cream, sugar-free pecan pie, and a glass of whole milk. 

Correctional officers at the San Quentin State Prison would also like to note that Clarence Allen walked to the death podium without any assistance from them. 

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