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.
Monday, April 29, 2013
1908: BLACK HILLS; F. J. CONREY & E. D. HURLEY FEUD; May 14, Part 4.
In direct "examination in the district court yesterday, E. D. Hurley, on trial for the murder of Frederick J. Conrey ... admitted shooting Conrey, his justification being self-defense."
"Testifying to the shooting from the witness stand, he said in part that he left his house at ten minutes past 7 o'clock the morning of the shooting in search of a horse. He found the horse and in returning to his place leading the animal, was surprised when the horse threw its head back. Looking ahead he saw Conrey twenty-eight feet distant in front in the act of shooting at him with what he thought was a rifle. The first shot struck him in the arm. A second shot was almost immediately fired, what he believed was the bullet passing through the fleshy part the near the left knee. He dropped the rope and ran as fast as he could in the direction of his house and corral. A third shot was fired by Conrey at a distance of 110 feet from him. Conrey continued to fire on him until he reached the corral, firing eight shots in all, five of which took effect."
"Arriving in the house witness stated that he immediately grabbed an automatic special rifle of .351 caliber, and finding his left arm paralyzed, leaned his left arm against the side of the door and fired the five shots at Conrey, the last taking effect as Conrey was reaching a clump of bushes. He saw Conrey fall."
"He then started to wash the wound in his left arm and was surprised a half hour later by hearing Mrs. Conrey call some one. Looking out he saw J. S. Sinclair, who testified for the prosecution Thursday, and asked him to send for Fred Hawkins of Jerome and a doctor."
(Weekly Jerome-Miner; Prescott; December 16, 1908; page 5, columns 1-4.)
"The evidence of May Conrey, the eight-year-old daughter of the murdered man, the only eye witness to the tragedy, supported by the testimony of her mother and Tilden Scott, and only contradicted by the defendant himself, appeared to convince everyone who had heard the evidence that Hurley was guilty of the crime with which he was charged."
"May Conrey told the same story of the shooting of her father at trial that she did to the coroner's jury a few hours after seeing her father shot to death on the side of Bull Hill. In her innocent and guileless way she repeated her statements on cross examination, looking straight into the eyes of Colonel Wilson, who was making the effort of his legal career to have the jury declare the slayer of her father blameless for his crime. She repeated how she was standing on the hillside overlooking Hurley's residence and of seeing him stand in the door and shoot at her father. She related how Hurley went to the corral near his house and fired two more shots at her father while the latter was coming down towards Hurley to return the fire with his shotgun."
"She admitted seeing her father fire two shots and of seeing him retreat up the hill when the third shell stuck in his old gun and of seeing Hurley shoot at him again twice, and of seeing her father fall after the fifth shot. She saw Hurley enter his house and returning, fire five shots at her father as he lay bleeding to death with a wound in his back, in a clump of bushes on the hillside."
"In addition to her mother's testimony, little May's evidence was corroborated accidentally by a question asked Til Scott by one of the jurymen during the trial. Witness Scott was asked if he had searched for empty shotgun cartridges at and around the scene of the shooting, and answered that he had found three empty shotgun cartridges, two of which were fresh and one which had evidently been used a long time before."
"This proved the testimony of little May as to the number of shots fired by her father. Its accidental discovery as well as the fact that her testimony was substantially the same at the trial as well as at the coroner's inquest, when the tragedy that left her sisters and brothers fatherless was still fresh in her memory, proved beyond reasonable doubt that she told the truth."
(Weekly Journal-Miner; Prescott; December 16, 1908; page 5.)
During "the examination of Mrs. Conrey, wife of the deceased ... she described how she heard the shots, one of which undoubtedly caused the death of her husband, and of going in the direction of the sound of the shots and finding him fatally wounded." ...
"She told of finding her husband mortally wounded after the shooting within 150 yards of Hurley's house from a bullet that entered his back almost underneath the right shoulder blade."
"Her testimony of hearing the shots and finding her husband mortally wounded was corroborated by J. S. Sinclair, general manager of the Jerome Verde Mining Company and Arthur Hendey, general manager of the Copper Chief Mining Company, who were the first to arrive at the scene of the shooting."
"Sinclair testified that on the morning of the shooting, a few minutes before 8 o'clock, while walking on the south side of his house, a half mile distant from Hurley's, hearing four or five shots. The sounds came from the direction of Hurley's place. He walked into his house and getting his field glasses went through the north door. While adjusting the field glasses five or six shots were fired apparently in the vicinity of the Hurley place."
"On looking in that direction he saw a horse galloping but did not see any person. He saddled his mule a short time afterwards and rode to the claim where Conrey and another man worked. Arriving there he learned from his other employee that Conrey had not arrived. He rode to the Hurley place and arriving near the house was called by Hurley and Mrs. Conrey."
"Hurley was near his house, apparently drying his hands with a towel. Mrs. Conrey was on the hillside about sixty yards distant from the Hurley place in the direction of where her dead husband lay. Mrs. Conrey asked the witness to ride to the Hendey place and telephone to Jerome that her husband had been killed."
"Hurley requested the witness to telephone to Fred Hawkins, marshal of Jerome, to come out and bring a doctor with him. Sinclair did as requested and on arriving on the saddle overlooking the Hendey place saw Arthur Hendey starting his automobile preparatory to leaving for Jerome. He shouted to Hendey to wait and on meeting Hendey informed him that Conrey was dead. He admittedd that he was not aware that Hurley was wounded at this time. Hendey immediately crossed the hill to the scene of the shooting by a trail and the witness rode back over the road, after getting a quilt to protect the dead body of Conrey from the sun until the arrival of the coroner's jury."
"He covered the body and at the request of Mrs. Conrey left to notify two of her children who were herding the goat flock on another hill."
"Witness Sinclair's statements were corroborated by Arthur Hendey, who testified to having assisted a Jerome physician dressing Hurley's wounds later in the day. Hurley was wounded apparently with No. 1 buckshot in the left arm, the left knee, and in two places on the fleshy part of the left thigh. He also corroborated the statement of Sinclair that Conrey had been shot in the back under the right shoulder blade and on seeing a bluish mark on Conrey's breast, slightly raised, apparently made by the bullet which did not pass through the body."
(Weekly Journal-Miner; Prescott; December 16, 1908; page 7.)