The prosecution claimed that Bill’s purchase and loading of the gun between the time he received confirmation of Chubbie and Haden’s relationship and his arrival in Miami was evidence of a premeditated intent to kill Haden Clarke.
1. Bill had been lent a Colt .38 by Attorney Huston before his Mexico trip. Huston said that it was precious to him and that he wanted it back after Bill’s trip.
2. Bill was forced to pawn the gun during the trip because he was broke.
3. Bill reached St Louis on 15 April on his return trip to Miami. He, Gentry Shelton and Shelton’s father agreed that he should return to Miami to find out for himself what was happening with Chubbie and Haden. Bill was still broke at that time having abandoned Latin American Airways because of his partners’ criminal intentions. Shelton Senior lent him $100 at some stage between 15 and 18 April to make the Miami trip.
4. Bill went out to purchase a gun on 18 April, before he returned to Miami. On 19 April he used some of Shelton’s money to purchase a Colt .38, an identical model to the gun Huston had lent him.
5. He told the St Louis sheriff that he wanted the gun for transcontinental flights. This wasn't completely true. However, if he had said that he planned to give it away, he might not have been granted a permit.
6. He left St Louis that same day, 19 April. He loaded the gun at his night stop-over in Nashville, Tennessee. When asked for his explanation for loading the gun at that time, he said that he had been given a loaded gun and planned to return it in the same condition. Unspoken was the fact that if he wanted to have a gun for transcontinental flights, an unloaded gun was of little use. He probably loaded it that night at Nashville because he had the time to do so, whereas he had been busy during the day flying.
7. The fact that Bill remembered to take the gun with him after he landed in Miami, but forgot his diary, was considered to be evidence of premeditation by the prosecution. In fact, it would have been extremely irresponsible of him to have left a loaded gun in his plane. His diary, however, was unimportant.
Bill’s explanation is completely plausible. In fact, his behaviour would have been more questionable if he had not met his ‘honour’ obligation by replacing the gun.