Cowser/GREEN FIELDS Vickie Box’s husband Donald Box was at his brother’s house tinkering with a truck just before 5 that evening when he got a call that his wife and sister-in-law and their children had been involved in a minor two-car accident between Greenfield and McKenzie-- a man in a pick-up had smashed the fender and bumper of young Mrs. Box’s car though no one was hurt. Donald Box had spent the afternoon at his brother’s with the idea that the two would go dove hunting, something of a Labor Day weekend tradition (“We supposed to went dove hunting, but it rained,” he would later testify). The brothers had decided to fix the truck’s flat tire instead and then got to tinkering under the hood. Donald arrived at the accident scene shortly after getting the call, to assess damage and pick up his wife and sister-in-law and the babies. Donald waited there thirty minutes or so before the five all rode in his car to his father’s house and then to Box’s own home in Dresden, where they arrived shortly before 8 in the evening. Robert Glen Coe joined the others at the Box home in Dresden a little later, explaining that a bridge was out on his usual route between Jack Lynch’s home and Dresden and that his alternate route had taken him through the little town of Greenfield. Coe seemed nervous, a little depressed, staring at the floor while the others watched television. Usually he was a cutup, a jokester, calling Kings cowboys when they played cards and such, but Donald Box thought Robert seemed to him to be in a hurry, like he was running from something. Coe asked Vickie for a muscle relaxer to ease his stomach pain, then he and Donald decided to drive to a Dresden pizza joint called Ben’s to pick up dinner. Robert suggested the two men take his car, a gray ’72 Ford Gran Torino, two-tone with a brown canvas top, since it was parked behind Donald’s. At first the engine wouldn’t crank. “I’d be better off dead,” Coe told Donnie there in the car.
Crime, punishment, and a boyhood between.