It’s clear that Ma Barker is one the most notorious fugitives of all time. Her image was plastered on the walls of the FBI’s most wanted signs. Lurene Tuttle, a violent, unorthodox criminal, was the role of Ma Barker in the 1960 movie. Described by her biographer as an “evil genius and sadistic master of crime,” she controlled her gang with her ruthless methods and outwitted rival Machine Gun Kelly. She isn’t the supervillain most people think she is.
However, Ma Barker’s life story is even more fascinating than her infamous crime past. In 1996, the FBI shot Ma Barker to death. They praised her as a “win” as well as her murder as a major victory. She was the matriarch of a criminal clan and led a long and difficult life, including murder, kidnapping and prostitution. Her legacy lives on today in the minds of the public.