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home : blogsold : verde heritage May 25, 2016

Verde Heritage
By Glenda Farley, Cottonwood, AZ
Local historian Glenda Farley guides us on a journey back in time to discover fascinating moments that make up our Verde heritage and history.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012

1899 ATROCIOUS MURDERS: Sheriff John Munds Returns to New Mexico November 10.

Verde Heritage

"United States Marshal C. M. Foraker received a telegram this morning from J. L. Munds, sheriff at Prescott, Arizona, in which he stated that he would pass through Albuquerque to-night on his way to Santa Fe to get Tom Ketchum, who is in the penitentiary at Santa Fe and is wanted for murder committed near Prescott last summer. Ketchum has been detained at Santa Fe since last August." (Albuquerque Daily Citizen; November 10, 1899; page 4.)

"WILL KEEP KETCHUM: Offenses Committed in New Mexico Too Grave to Let Arizona Have Him; REQUISITION NOT HONORED."

"Saturday Governor Otero considered the requisition of the governor of Arizona for the delivery to that territory of Tom Ketchum, the train robber, says the 'New Mexican.' Sheriff Munds, of Yavapai county, came to the capital as the agent of Arizona. Ketchum in cold blood killed two merchants in that county, and when captured in New Mexico was being sought by the Arizona sheriff. There were rewards offered in Arizona for the arrest and conviction of the assassin amounting to $2,300. A large part of this sum was to be given for the apprehension of the fugitive, dead or alive."

"Ketchhum was wounded in attempting to rob a train near Folsom, picked up by the wayside and identified by the trainmen. He was turned over to the United States marshal of New Mexico and held to answer for unlawfully interfering with the transmission of mails by stopping a train."

"Later on indictments were found against him by the territorial courts for trying to rob trains in more than one instance, and indictments will be found against him for the murder of a postmaster and several other men at Liberty, Union county, in company with his brother, who recently died in the penitentiary from a gunshot wound received in the act of robbing a train."

"The Arizona authorities secured the consent of the department of justice to waive its prior right to try Ketchum for interfering with the mails, in order that he might be taken first to Arizona and tried for murder, where execution would certainly result."

"In the meantime the charges against him in New Mexico had taken the form of indictments, and the consent of the territory had to be asked for his transfer to Arizona, as he is also a territorial prisoner. This matter was submitted to Governor Otero. District Attorney Leahy, of Raton, resisted the requisition, assisted by District Attorney Gortner on behalf of Solicitor General Bartlett."

"Section 115 of compiled laws of New Mexico provides that any person who makes an assault upon a train for the purpose of robbery, as did Ketchum when he wounded several of the trainmen, is guilty of a felony, the punishment of which is death. This law was passed for the purpose of putting a stop to crimes of this kind. The Ketchums chose to disregard it and endangered the lives of the people in this territory."

"After considering the matter fully, Governor Otero decided that it was against the public policy to turn over to another territory a prisoner so plainly guilty of a serious offense in New Mexico until every effort had been made to enforce the laws of the territory in which the crime was committed."

"This territory has reached the point where she desires the whole world to know that she will punish outlaws caught committing crime, and to deliver one to another territory, might under the circumstances, be to raise supposition that there is fear that a conviction could not be secured here. New Mexico cannot afford to have such an impression created."

"The governor has every confidence in the ability of the courts and jurors to enforce the law against such criminals, and, therefore, while regretting the necessity of not granting the request of Governor Murphy, felt it to be his duty to keep the outlaw in New Mexico. The governor realized that should by any possibility the evidence against the murderer and robber for crimes committed in this territory be lacking in any respect, there would still be plenty of time to permit justice to be enforced in Arizona. But as such a result in this territory is unlooked for, and as evidence seems to be abundant, Governor Otero declined to honor the requisition."

(Albuquerque Daily Citizen; November 13, 1899; page 3.)




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