Soldier of Fortune
The Story About How Doug Norwood Became the Victim of Several Failed Hit Attempts & Exposed a Chain of Murders
Many years ago, while Doug Norwood was a student in law school at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, his wife Cathy’s ex-husband hired five different groups of hit men to kill Doug, who advertised their “gun for hire” services in the classified ads of Soldier of Fortune magazine. This group made several attempts to murder Mr. Norwood, including breaking into his student apartment and shooting him once in the chest and once in the leg, rigging his car with a bomb, and several other failed attempts.
Fortunately, Doug survived and eventually the different hit teams and Cathy’s ex-husband who hired them, were identified, caught and put in prison. They turned out to be responsible for attacks on many people around the country, and soon the FBI was involved in the case. Doug sued Soldier of Fortune magazine for damages for allowing the hit men to run “gun for hire” ads in their classified ads. The story became national news, and Doug was asked to speak about his experience. He was interviewed by reporters from around the country, and appeared on several talk shows, including Oprah Winfrey, to discuss the incident and his harrowing experience.
Even to this day, many people are still fascinated by the story and when they meet Doug, they ask him questions about his experience. Given the public interest, Doug has compiled some of the information on this website about the “Soldier of Fortune Story,” which tells the story and what happened, how the hit teams were caught, and Doug’s role in breaking open the national case.
In the Press
Want Ads in Soldier of Fortune Magazine Led a Blundering Gang of Alleged Killers to Their Victims (People Magazine, 1986):
“Norman 'Doug' Norwood, 31, was not a man with a reputation for making enemies. An ex-prison guard turned law student at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, he was a friendly sort who divided his time between his law books, classroom lectures and the company of his 29-year-old fiancée, Cathy Smith Gray. His life in rural Arkansas was predictable—even soporific—until the morning last summer when two nattily attired men knocked on the door of his campus apartment, claiming to be private detectives looking for information on a fellow student.”
The Mail-Order Murders Gun For Hire: 37 Year Old Professional Mercenary Desires Jobs. Vietnam Veteran. Discrete And Very Private. Body Guard, Courier, And Other Special Skills. All Jobs Considered. (Sun Sentinel, 1987):
“For months they tried to kill Doug Norwood, but whether they came at him with machine guns or bombs or stun guns, they always managed to screw up. The same thing with Dana Free. Three times they tried to get him with grenades and three times they missed. And when it came time to kill Victoria Barshear, well, the gang just decided she was too pretty to die.”
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