POSSE PURSUES MURDERER
Idabel, Okla., Jan. 9 - Ainsworth Moore, a Choctaw Indian, is being pursued by a posse
in McCurtain County for the alleged killing of his step-mother at this place Monday. Moore was charged with killing
his father three years ago, and was free on bond.
is believed that the quarrel which resulted in Mrs. Moore's death arose
over the old case. Feeling is running high, and many fear for Moore's
life should he be caught. (The Daily Ardmoreite, (Ardmore, OK), January
Negro Lynches at Valliant
Attempted to Assault White Girl - Mob Does Quick Work
Idabel, Okla., Dec. 6 - An unknown negro who assaulted the
12 year old daughter of Lee Saunders, was hanged to a tree in the fair grounds
at Valliant, twenty miles west of Idabel, Monday night.
The little girl was walking along the railway track near her
home at about 4 o'clock in the evening, three miles west of Valliant, when she
met the negro, who seized her without a word of warning and carried her to a
secluded spot near by.
After being denuded the girl struggled with the black brute
and escaped, running to her home which was not far away.
Upon hearing the girl's story her mother seized a gun and
started in pursuit of the negro, who had followed his victim to a point near
the home. The negro ran. The woman fired at him several times, but her
excitement rendered her aim poor, and none of the shots took effect.
Three neighbors were attracted by the sound of the shots,
however, and they started in pursuit of the fleeing negro, soon overtaking him.
The negro was sullen and taciturn, refusing to give his name or say anything
about himself. He appeared to be about 17 years old.
The men took him to a railway water tank not far from the
Saunders home and boarded the first eastbound train that came along. The negro
was taken to Valliant and there placed in the town lock-up.
As soon as the news had spread about the town and
surrounding country a crowd began to gather and excitement ran high. Toward
midnight sentiment chrystalized, the mob formed and marched to the lace where
the negro was confined.
The town marshal made a show of resistance, but he was
quickly over powered. A rope was secured, placed around the black's neck and he
was taken to the fair ground. A suitable tree was found, the rope thrown over a
convenient limb and the negro was soon swinging in midair. The swaying body was
fairly riddled with bullets.
The work of the mob was done with quiet determination. Its
members were thoroughly armed and a company of militia could not have prevented
them from hanging the negro. (Ada
Evening News, December 6, 1911, front page)
Held Without Bail - Examining Trial in Strawn Murder Case
Conducted at Valliant
Paris, Texas, July 12 - The examining trial of three
defendants in connection with the killing of M. C. Strawn, which occurred a
week ago today, at Idabel, Okla., resulted in all of them being remanded
without bail. One of the defendants was held as principal and the other two as
On account of the Idabel justice of the peace having been an
eye witness to the tragedy, he was disqualified from conducting the preliminary
examination. It was held before the justice of the peace at Valliant and lasted
two days, concluding Thursday evening. The dead man had just moved to Idabel
from Dallas, where a sister Mrs. Emma Johnston, still resides. Another sister,
Mrs. R. M. Branch lives in Paris. (Ardmore Daily Ardmoreite, July 12, 1915)
Melton New was Killed by Dave Porten Tuesday
Near Pleasant Hill - Men were Neighbors and Fell Out over a
Ditch - McCurtain county has another notch for murder on her good name. This
time two neighbors, Melton New and Dave Porten, living near Pleasant Hill on
Red River, fell out over the cutting of a ditch last Tuesday morning and Porten
shot New from the effects of which he died several hours later.
The question has repeatedly been asked when will murder
cease in McCurtain county? McCurtain Gazette, Wednesday, November 5, 1919,
A. O. Whala Killed by Alvin Odum Saturday
At Bokhoma - The Examining Trial is in Progress at Bokhoma
A. O. Whala, a barber at Bokhoma, was shot last Saturday
afternoon by Alvin Odum, a 19 year old boy. Whala was started to Texarkana but
died at Hope before reaching Texarkan. The boy used a 30-30 Winchester and shot
Whala three times. The trouble is said to have come up over a pair of pants.
Whala conducted a barber shop and a tailor shop at Bokhoma and the boy owed
Whala for some work he had one the pants.
The Gazette regrets to mention the frequency of these
murders in our county. (McCurtain Gazette, Wednesday, November 26, 1919, front
M. Betterton Executed for Murder of Wife
At McAlester Penitentiary Last Friday Morning at 12:45 O’clock
McAlester, July 10, - At about a quarter to 1 o’clock Friday
morning, the death penalty was assessed against Monroe Betterton, for the
murder of his wife at Vinita on July 9, 1919. His electrocution took place in
the death chamber of the state prison here just a year from the date he killed
Betterton held up well throughout the ordeal until he was
being strapped in the electric chair, when he suddenly collapsed. The first
application of the 2300 volts of electric current from the prison dynamo
produced death, but a second and third application of the current with short
intervention of time was applied to make sure that life was extinct.
The execution took place in the presence of prison
officials, County Attorney Monk and others specified by law to witness such
execution, and also by number of outside
witnesses admitted by special request.
Betterton was attended by the prison chaplain who had been
with him during his last hours. He stoutly maintained his innocence to the end
declaring that he did not kill his wife, but that she was murdered by another
and he was charged with the crime because of his record in Missouri. He had
killed a woman in that state, and had served a portion of a life sentence for
the crime but had been paroled.
His case in this state had been given a careful review by the
courts. He admitted that he had had a fair trial before the district judge, and
the sentence had been affirmed by the highest state court. A commission of
expert physicians sent to the state prison by Governor Robertson to examine
into the sanity of Betterton and they reported him sane so that Governor
Robertson declined to interfere in any manner with the judgment of the court.
In his trial in the district court, Betterton’s own daughter
appeared as a witness against him, the evidence being that he killed his wife
while she was on her knees appealing to him for money.
Betterton is the second white man to be executed at the
prison. (McCurtain Gazette, Wednesday, July 14, 1920, front page)
Three are Tried for Lashing Man
Idabel, July 11 – E. E. McDonald, Marion Acton and J. C.
Thornton were placed on trial before Justice Williams of this city Monday,
charged with rioting.
The charge was dismissed as to Acton and continued as to the
other two for further evidence.
It seems that on or before June 5, James Acard, postmaster
at Ida, a town about forty miles north of Idabel, was charged with attacking a
woman and placed under bond.
He swore on the stand that the three men above named and six
others intercepted him at night on his way home, carried him to a secluded spot
in the woods, tied his feet and hands, struck him ten licks each with a whip,
and told him not to let the sun go down on him in McCurtain county the next
day. (Drumright Evening Derrick, Tuesday, July 11, 1922, page 3)
Pope and Harvey Pay Penalty
Slayers of Five Meet Doom with Bolt From Chair
Pope First to Pa Penalty for the Murder of His Family
Harvey Takes Bolt
Pope’s Execution Timed at 12:14; Harvey Meets Doom Few
McAlester, Jan. 12 – Jack Pope and Aaron Harvey, confessed
murderers of five persons, were electrocuted in the state penitentiary here
shortly after midnight this (Sunday) morning.
Pope went to the chair first and was pronounced dead at
12:14 a.m. Harvey the younger of the two, went to his doom at 12:25.
McAlester, Jan. 12 – Attired in the black prison suits which
adorn only the condemned, Jack Pope and Aaron Harvey at nine o’clock tonight
were ready to march to their doom at midnight for the murder of five persons
near Hayworth last April.
As the stroke of the clock announces the birth of another
Sabbath morning they will be led from their death cells in the state
penitentiary here to the electric chair only a few feet down the corridor. One
will be electrocuted at 12:05 a.m. and the other as soon as the first is
Harvey, they younger of the two probably will be the first
Both men shook hands again late tonight and forgave each
other for the influences that led to their conspiracy against Mrs. Pope and the
subsequent slaying of Mrs. Pope, her two children, and her mother and father,
in order that they collect her insurance.
Later in the evening Pope dictated his final confession,
reiterating almost word for word a verbal statement which he made two weeks ago
to Warden Townsend in which he declared that both he and Harvey did the
killing. Pope maintained that it was Harvey who entered the house and there
shot and killed Mrs. Pope and her suckling baby, declaring that he (Pope) stood
outside the house and shot his mother-in-law and possibly one or two others of
Fifty-two persons, including half a dozen physicians were
admitted to the death chamber as the hour for the execution drew near.
Harvey Near Collapse
Harvey was reported to be near a nervous collapse and fear
was expressed that this mind might give way under the strain. Several times
during the day he asked for quieting drugs but these were denied him.
Pope was calm and apparently in better spirits for the first
time since he was taken to the death cell. He said he was happy in the
knowledge that his son, serving a life sentence in another part of the penitentiary
for participation in the killings, has been converted.
He broke down and wept in bidding the seventeen year old lad
a last farewell. Gripping his hand, he sobbed:
Son forgive me for the great wrong I did you in getting you
into trouble. Take an example in the remembrance of what sin has done for your
father and live an upright life.
This afternoon just before prison barbers shaved their heads
both men posed for photographs and requested newspaper men to publish
illustrated stories of their execution as a moral lesson.
Harvey asked that he be allowed to go to his death wearing a
red necktie and black shirt instead of the usual white shirt and dark tie and
the change in his appearance was allowed.
Earlier in the day Harvey repudiated a previous confession
that he had agreed to kill Pope’s wife for $500, declaring in a signed
statement that he contracted to kill only a watchdog at the farmhouse where her
parents lived in order that Pope might carry out the murders himself.
Five persons – one of a boy of four years and one an infant
– were shot to death by Aaron (Red) Harvey, 21, and John Pope, 45, on the night
of April 26, 1923 in a small farm house near Haworth, McCurtain County. Pope
had promised to pay Harvey $700 of the $2,000 life insurance which he expected
to collect after his wife’s death. Harvey confessed during the trial of the two
Stays of execution by J. C. Walton, deposed governor, twice
saved the men from the electric chair. The original date of execution was July
John Pope, 19 year old son of the slayer admitted riding
with the men to the home where the crime was committed and holding the horses
while the shooting took place. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.
On the night of the killing Harvey and Pope stole up to the
home of Tom Hansell, Pope’s father-in-law, where his wife Mrs. Lydia B. Pope
and her infant son, Hubert were staying. Through a window and a barred door
Harvey and Pope fired into the room where five persons were sleeping, killing
Mrs. Pope, Tom Hansell, Mrs. Tom Hansell and Hubert Pope. Aubrey Hansell, 4,
was mortally wounded. Battering down the door the gunmen entered the room where
their victims lay dying and according to Harvey’s confession, deliberately
completed their mission by firing into the prostrate bodies. Mrs. Pope died
clutching her baby to her breast. Harvey testified they fired eleven shots from
an automatic pistol and shotgun.
The three were arrested several days later and after
confessing to the crime, on May 10 were sentenced by Judge George T. Arnutt in
district court. Harvey and Pope were condemned to expiate their crime in the
electric chair at the state penitentiary and the younger Pope was sentenced to
Governor Walton’s opposition to capital punishment twice
saved the men from execution. He first advanced the date to October 13, 1923,
and later to January 13, 1923 and later to January 13, 1924. Governor Trapp
refused to interfere with the sentence. Pope and Harvey are the first to die in
the chair since Sam Watkins was electrocuted May 5, 1922 for a murder he
committed in Atoka County.
Pope on December 27 in a confession to Harry Townsend,
warden of the penitentiary, and a representative of the Associated Press
reiterated that he had conspired with Harvey to “do away” with Mrs. Pope, and
declared it was Harvey who actually killed the woman and her infant son in her
arms. He said his first shot killed Hansell and that he did not know who was
struck by the second shot from his gun.
During the trial Harvey nonchalantly related how he
previously had approached the Hansell home with the intention of killing Mrs.
Pope but “lost his nerve.” When they started forth on the fateful night, Harvey
said they bolstered up their courage with liquor.
The elder Pope in confessing to the crime pleaded for mercy
for his son, who he said had no part in the murders and was forced to go with
the gunmen. (The Ada Evening News, Sunday, January 13, 1924, front page and
Posse is Hunting Negro as Slayer
Bloodhounds Used to Track Frank Clark in Texas
Texarkana, Texas, Feb. 13 (AP) – A posse of 300 men headed
by bloodhounds tonight was believed to be closing in on Frank Clark, Negro, in
Red river bottoms north of Clarksvile, Texas, where he fled following the
slaying early today of Mr. and Mrs. Dan Stiles near Idabel, Okla.
Bloodhounds were rushed to Red River County, Texas, from
here late today after word was received by the sheriff’s department that Clark
had obtained passage across Red River on a fisherman’s boat about noon.
Reports here from Idabel tonight were that practically every
man in Idabel had started for the scene of the manhunt. They were leaving
Idabel by carloads.
Mrs. Stiles who lived about two hours after being shot
through the chest, revealed that an argument over land had caused the shooting.
(Macon Telegraph (Macon, Georgia), Wednesday, February 14, 1934, page 10)
Negro Electrocuted at Oklahoma Prison
McAlester, Okla., Oct. 19 (AP) – Frank Clark, 55 year old
Negro was electrocuted in the state penitentiary here early today for the
murder of Mrs. Anna Stiles, who with her husband, Dan Stiles, was killed near
Idabel last February.
The Negro said he killed the farm couple because they rented
land to another tenant. (Aberdeen Daily News, Aberdeen, South Dakota, October
19, 1934, Friday, front page)