Barbara Elaine “Bonnie” <I>Wood</I> Graham

Barbara Elaine “Bonnie” Wood Graham

Oakland, Alameda County, California, USA
Death 3 Jun 1955 (aged 31)
San Quentin, Marin County, California, USA
Burial San Rafael, Marin County, California, USA
Plot Sec D 551
Memorial ID 9051 · View Source
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Murderess. Born Barbara Elaine Wood, in Oakland, California, the eldest of three children of Hortense Wood. Her father, Joseph "Joe" Wood, was absent from her life. Her mother was a teenager at the time of Barbara's birth in 1923. A troubled childhood would be an understatement for a child born in this era, where unwed mothers would be sent to female reformatories and mental asylums for "questionable" behavior. Barbara would have it no better, running away from home in 1936, she was placed in a convent and again ran away, by July of 1937, she was sent to Ventura School for Girls, the exact place where her mother had been sent to years earlier. In April of 1939, she was released from the Girls School. In 1940 her first marriage would take place with Harry Kielhammer. By 1942 she was traveling up and down the state, working as a waitress, hotel clerk, and a manager of a brothel. Barbara was known as a "sea gull" a term used in the era for a woman who hung around the navy yards of Oakland, Long Beach, and San Diego to meet sailors on shore leave, On some occasions, Barbara admitted to working as a prostitute. Her second marriage to Aloyse Puechel in 1944, her third husband was Charles Newman, she married him in 1947. Her final marriage would be to Harry Graham in 1950. She would have a total of three children from these four marriage and would have custody of none of her children. Barbara was no stranger to jail, being incarcerated for a year at San Francisco County jail for perjury. In 1951 she was arrested on suspicion of narcotics, but was released the next day for lack of evidence, she had no record of violent offense though, she would often associate herself with men who did. Her final husband was a criminal and drug addict. This would be how Barbara would meet Jack Santo and Emmett Perkins. The trio would commit murder in 1953 when they beat to death a 64 year old woman named Mabel Monohan. The robbery attempt on Mabel was a futile effort, finding none of the money that was rumored to be hidden in Mabel's home. Eventually when some of the gang was arrested they would turn state evidence against Barbara, Santo and Perkins, Barbara would claim her innocence throughout the trial. Her trial would end with a guilty verdict for all three and after all of her appeals were exhausted, she was transferred to San Quentin State Prison to await her execution in the gas chamber. Her execution was completed on June 3, 1955. There is still speculation as to her guilt or innocence. Barbara's story was told in the movie "I want to Live" , in 1958, starring Susan Hayward, a remake of the movie starring Lindsey Wagner was made in the 1983.

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 5 Apr 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 9051
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Barbara Elaine “Bonnie” Wood Graham (26 Jun 1923–3 Jun 1955), Find A Grave Memorial no. 9051, citing Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery, San Rafael, Marin County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .