2320 Colfax Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55405
Midway Bar, 722 E 4th St, Reno, NV 89512
Graceland Cemetery Albert Lea, Freeborn County, Minnesota, USA
On November 26, 1944, twenty-four-year-old LaDell McKay robbed and murdered Robert Leslie Flindt (February 17, 1906 – November 26, 1944) on Reno’s East Fourth Street, was convicted of first-degree murder, and was sentenced to death. Claiming gay panic, McKay said Flindt made a pass at him and, blind with anger, he beat Flindt to death. Robbery was only an afterthought. Both the Nevada and US Supreme Courts turned down McKay’s appeals.
Robert Leslie Flindt was born in Manchester Township, Freeborn County, Minnesota, to Edward Henry Flindt (1873-1950) and Anna Teresa Hartwig (1880-1955). He lived in Freeborn, Minnesota, in 1906 and in a lodging house in Minneapolis, Hennepin, Minnesota, in 1940. He died in Reno, Washoe, Nevada, at the age of 38, and was buried at Graceland Cemetery, Freeborn, Minnesota.
Robert Leslie Flindt, Reno garage man, was dead from head injuries which police say were inflicted on him early on November 26, 1944, morning by Ladell Mackay, of Tooele, Utah. Mackay was being held by the police on suspicion of the killing and a murder complaint had been signed by Chief of Police Harry Fletcher.
According to police, Mackay, who was booked under the alias of Lloyd Patrick, admitted having beat up Flindt and robbing him of between S200 and $250 so he "could do a bit of gambling and eat." Mackay also admitted that he was AWOL from Lemoore army air field in California. The police also said that he had served a term in the Utah state prison on a second degree burglary charge prior to his entry into the army.
An autopsy, conducted at the direction of Coroner Harry Dunseath, found that Flindt's death was caused by a cerebral hemorrhage due to contusion of the brain.
Kenneth Petsch, companion of Mackay, was being held by the police as a material witness. The two were taken into custody a short time after the discovery of Flindt's body. After questioning, Petsch was allowed to go but was rearrested was held in the Washoe county jail.
According to Chief Fletcher, the death of Flindt occurred following a meeting at the Midway Bar at 722 East Fourth street.
Lee Mmoi, proprietor of the Midway, insisted that there had been no trouble in the bar. Instead, he stated that Flindt, Bart Kerr, a local butcher, and Kerr's brother in law and sister, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Rowe, were at the bar talking with him when Mackay and Petsch entered. Mackay appeared to be under the influence of liquor, according to Miner. When they asked for a drink he refused to serve them. Petsch then asked Kerr to help him get Mackay to his rooms in the Gallery, a rooming house half a block away. Kerr, not wanting to leave his party, refused, according to Miner. Then Petsch asked Flindt to assist him. The latter agreed and the three men walked out of the place.
According to Miner, Mackay and Petsch returned to the bar in about half an hour. When asked by Kerr where Flindt was, they gave an evasive answer. Mackay appeared so drunk that Miner poured a glass of cold water on him.
"The way he jumped up and yelled at me I knew he was not drunk." stated Miner. "Then I ordered them out of the place."
According to Kerr the absence of Flindt did not arouse any suspicion as he often left the Midway and returned to his garage to work and where he had a cot on which he often slept when on late jobs.
"What I want to emphasize," stated Miner, "is that Flindt was not drunk when he left the Midway, as he had only been there a short time and had only taken one glass of beer. Neither were the other two connected with Kerr and his party."
According to police investigation, when Mackay, Petsch and Flindt left the Midway, they walked down Fourth street about four blocks. Then Flindt was attacked and beaten over the head. After being robbed his body, they say, was dragged behind a fence.
Flindt, who was well thought of in Reno, was born February 17, 1906, in Albert Lea, Minnesota. He graduated from the high school there and attended college in Winabego, Minn. For a time he worked in the Freeborn county bank as a teller and was prominent in boy scout work. After working in several Minnesota banks he came to Reno in 1940 and worked for the Bureau of Mines at the University of Nevada. In 1942 he took over his brother's garage, filling station and trucking business. He was a member of the Elks.
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