Retired agent Jim Huggins served in the FBI for 28 years. During his Bureau career, Huggins was assigned to the Minneapolis, Denver and Louisville Divisions, in addition to special assignments on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation during the Wounded Knee takeovers in 1973 and again in 1975 and during the RESMURS investigation of the murder of two FBI agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams.
In this episode, Jim Huggins is interviewed about his investigation of FBI agent Mark Putnam, a new agent assigned to a two-man resident agency in Pikeville, Kentucky, high in Appalachian coal country.
Based primarily on Huggins’ ability to elicit a confession, Putnam pled guilty and was convicted of strangling is his pregnant informant, Susan Daniels Smith, in a fit of rage.
This case was probably Huggins most infamous. However, while assigned to the Louisville Division, he also conducted or supervised many of Kentucky’s biggest corruption investigations.
He served as the supervisor of the Lexington Resident Agency from 1986 until his retirement. After retiring from the FBI, Jim Huggins was appointed by the Kentucky Attorney General as Director of Investigations for the Public Corruption Unit, where he worked for seven years. Recently, Huggins was hired as a technical consultant for Above Suspicion, the feature film based on the non-fiction book of the same name that depicts the tragic saga of Mark Putnam and Susan Smith.
Supervisory Special Agent (Retired)
2/13/1967 – 11/5/1995
The following are links to newspaper articles and blog post about the Mark Putnam murder investigation, book and feature film:
The Girl From Lonesome Holler Commentary on the Putnam case by Joe Sharkey author of Above Suspicion
Update: The movie about the case was released in 2020 and is available on demand. Watch the trailer here. Read my movie review here.