‘Howlin’ Ray, a defense attorney and court jester.  More than likely responsible for the Missouri prison building boom.

No wonder, I can’t recall him ever winning a case.  All the cops kept “Howlin’ Ray’s business cards at their disposal.  Upon arresting a suspect the cops always slid one of ‘Howlin’ Rays business cards in the bad guys pocket.  He did a brisk business defending a number of the area’s most notorious criminals.

He came by the moniker ‘Howlin’ Ray because he would howl at the cop on the stand…OOOHHHH, you went to my clients house,  OOOOHHHH, then you took my client into custody, OOOHHH what led you to come in contact with my client?

He’d howl like a banshee.  Many times I observed jury’s cringe at his high pitched antics.  Not a very good way to put the defendant in a good light.  But then he often didn’t have much to work with but persuaded his client to take the case to a jury.  “Don’t worry, I’ll get you out of this jam…no jury would believe you robbed that little old lady.  You were just trying to get money to feed your drug habit.  Everything will be fine…Bullshit!!

One fine day Murph and I developed information that a well known burglar/drug dealer would be in possession of about eight ounces of heroin.  The dope secreted in a brown paper bag containing, in addition to the dope, a bottle of Remy-Martin.

We conducted a surveillance of the area and, sure enough, be-boping down the street comes joey-bag-of doughnuts with a brown paper bag.

Based on the information from a reliable informant we, along with some TAC cops conducted a stop and discovered nine ounces of heroin.

The mope-ass protested that he didn’t know anything about the dope…but claimed ownership of the Remy-Martin.  What a goof.

Fast forward about four months.

In the courtroom of Judge Jack Wanglin, ‘Howlin Ray had the cops on the stand, howling, as usual, at the officer giving testimony.  He questioned me about the snitch and some other non-sensical bullshit, howling all the while.

Then came the lunch break.  We left the courthouse and headed for the eat-rite dinner.

After a tasty meal of meatloaf on melmac we all returned to the courtroom of Judge Wanglin.

Since I testified I had the opportunity to sit in the peanut gallery.

It was Murph’s turn to testify.

‘Howlin Ray, seated at the defense counsels table made a big deal about the cops going to lunch together.  Laughing and joking at his client’s expense.

He asked Murph,  OOOhhhh, so you all went to lunch together.

Yes sir.

OOOhhh, and you were all talking and laughing.

Yes sir.

OOOHHHH, and you were talking about this case.

Yes sir.

OOOhhhh, so you were all conspiring against my client.

No sir.

Murph, being no dummy could see what was coming.

OOOhhh, would you care to tell the court what you all were laughing about.

I’d rather not sir.  Setting the hook just a little bit further .

OOOhhhh, you must tell the court what was so funny, and what you were talking about.

I’d rather not sir.

Judge Wanglin, leaned toward the witness box and said “Answer the question detective.”

Yes Judge.

OOOHHHH, now answer the question detective.

“Well, okay…I asked Detective Dye if you asked any intelligent questions and he told me no.

That’s all folks


To read about Ken’s latest novel, go to his website.

About Ken Dye

Having grown up in Missouri, Ken Dye graduated from Northeastern Missouri State University (now Truman State University) and served his country. When he returned to St. Louis, he joined the St. Louis County Police Department and served in the tactical operations unit, as an undercover narcotics and homicide detective, and with the intelligence bureaus. After 13 years, he moved to Chicago to work with the Illinois Criminal Justice Authority. He is the author of three books: two crime novels, Shadow of the Arch and Beyond the Shadow of the Arch and his new release Michael Brown, Jr. didn’t have to die, a non-fiction narrative. For more information about the author, visit
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One Response to HOWLIN’ RAY

  1. Bill Leahy says:

    Funny stuff Ken. One had to find humor in the job otherwise there were parts of it that would be difficult…like being assigned the low end of a stretcher when hauling that dry floater down from the fifth floor.
    One cop that could think quickly was a gent named Kenny McBride who stood about 5’8″ and was about 160 soaking wet. Kenny had an arrest warrant on a non-support case and the dude answering the door filled the entire frame. Ken explained the arrest procedure only to be told that my cop buddy just might not be big enough to make the arrest. Ken smiled and explained that the big lop might whip the first eight or ten coppers, but he says, there’s 2,200 of us and sooner or later, your arms are gonna get tired…he went quietly.

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