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Neil Brown
Mon Sep 11, 2017 05:08


Agreed. The marker should have pointed out that Frank Stillwell was a prime suspect in the killing of Morgan Earp and was listed as one of the murderers in the Coroner's Hearing. For historical accuracy, the first lines of the marker should be corrected to read "Wyatt, along with his brothers Virgil and James, arrived in Tombstone on or about December 1st, 1879. They were joined there the following year by their brothers Morgan and Warren." I know this isn't really relevant to the Stillwell killing, but it bothers me when the basic facts are incorrect. Likewise, the last line should be corrected to "about three or four other suspects in the death of Morgan" , not "about a dozen of their enemies".

I would prefer that a bronze statue of Warren (as a brother seeking revenge, like Wyatt) be added to the other two, with the three of them standing over the body of a bronze Stillwell statue. I am less concerned about McMasters and Johnson.

I agree with you regarding the Earp party most likely being acquitted of murder in a jury trial. Their defense would include the facts that they were acting as Federal officers of the law, and that they believed Stillwell was lying in wait to murder Virgil and not just in Tuscon for his court appearance. They would assert they were acting in self defense and that the killing was "justifiable homicide" not "murder". I am not familiar with the statutes there at the time, but perhaps, alternatively, at worst, they could assert the partial defense that they were "provoked" into the killing and it was "voluntary manslaughter" not "murder".

In any case, the fact that only Johnny Behan, Ike and Phin Clanton, and their associates (in other words, those with a personal animosity towards Earp) pursued them supports your view that they would have been acquitted. Certainly, the Earps were not exactly hiding and did not care that there was a warrant out for their arrest. The Governor of Colorado was not inclined to turn them in. Warren, of course, even returned to Wilcox later on, without fear of arrest on the outstanding warrant. It is obvious that they were comfortable in the knowledge that their revenge killings were "acceptable" to at least some of the citizens in those days. While many Earp supporters didn't condone the killings, they seemed willing to look the other way. As George Parsons stated "More killings by the Earp party. Hope they'll keep it up".


  • Thanks for saving me the trip:-)Tom Gaumer, Sun Sep 10 23:23
    Neil Brown If they had included the fact Stilwell was listed as one of the murderers of Morgan Earp by the Coroner's Hearing in Tombstone, that might have made the revenge slaying more clear. I think ... more
    • Agreed — Neil Brown, Mon Sep 11 05:08
      • Well saidTom Gaumer, Mon Sep 11 09:36
        Neil How do we get Warren and Stilwell added and some words changed. It might not be cheap and the city is probably not going to pay. I will start us out with a pledge of $25. Keep Laughing Tom
      • Nice summaryBob Paul, Mon Sep 11 07:43
        This is a nice summary of events which appear to me to be a mix of "historical accuracy" and "personal view". I've spent a little time looking into the "inclinations of the Governor of Colorado" and... more
        • Re: Nice SummaryNeil Brown, Mon Sep 11 09:05
          You're right, I am sure my view re: the Governor is incomplete, but it is more my poor memory than personal view. I haven't read my books lately. Looking at Lubet's Murder in Tombstone at the moment, ... more
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