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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : blogsold : verde heritage July 27, 2015

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.
Thursday, July 10, 2014

1929: JEROME; Alberto Padilla Shot on July 8.

Verde Heritage

"MEXICAN IS SHOT DEAD WHEN STOREKEEPER TIRES OF BEING BOTHERED BY TIPSY REVELERS. Alberto Padilla Stops a 30-30 Bullet From Rifle Held by Irate Merchant Early Monday Morning."

"Alberto Padilla, 30, local Mexican, yesterday lay stiff and stark on the cold slab of the undertaker's morgue, while a coroner's jury investigated the circumstances leading up to his violent death Monday morning shortly before 2 o'clock. A steel-jacketed bullet from a 30-30 'savage' hunting rifle had transfixed Padilla's throat, severing the jugular vein and killing him instantly."

"Called to the scene of the tragedy immediately following the shooting, police arrested Margarito Olvera, bespectacled old Mexican, father of married children, and owner of a small 'tendajon' on Beale Avenue, in Mexican Town. Olvera admitted the killing, but claimed that he had fired the rifle to scare off a bunch of drunks who were creating a scandal around his house. He had, he said, the bad luck to hit a bull's eye, when none was intended."

"Shortly after 8 o'clock Monday morning Justice of the Peace Gordon Clark, of Prescott, called in the absence of Justice Clyde B. Jones, who only returned from an extended trip to Kansas late Sunday night, enpanelled a coroner's jury consisting of Foreman H. E. Dicus, John Connoly, C. L. Duvall, J. L. Barnes, J. C. Alvares and Dan Gonzales, who viewed the body at Scott and McMillan's morgue. They afterwards returned a verdict to the effect that decedent came to his death by gun-shot wounds caused by a rifle held in the hands of Margarito Olvera."

"From the testimony of witnesses, it seems that Juan Magallanes, brother-in-law of Olvera, had been drinking steadily throughout Sunday, accompanied most of the day by Florencio Gutierrez. At about 8 o'clock that night, they went to Olvera's store and called for beer and sardines. While consuming the beer, Magallanes reproved his sister, Mrs. Olvera for having sent in bills for merchandise, protesting that such a course was not necessary as he always paid his bills when due, he claimed. Then, according to testimony, Magallanes in his drunken rage, fired the beer bottle at his sister's head, missing by a fraction of an inch. For this, he was thrown bodily out of the store."

"Returning about 1:45 this morning, and this time accompanied by Florencio Gutierrez and Alberto Padilla, who were also more or less in an intoxicated condition, according to witnesses, Magallanes attempted to procure more drink, and, being refused, cursed and abused his brother-in-law and dared anyone in the house to come out and be killed."

"Alarmed for the safety of his family and property, for, he said, he had two or three hundred dollars in cash in the house, Margarito Olvera accepted the challenge, rifle in hand. The trio broke and ran; Margarito says he fired in the air to scare away the challengers, but a steel-jacketed bullet found its mark between the shoulder blades of Alberto Padilla, transfixing his throat and killing him instantly. In his headlong flight down the alley at the side of the house, he crashed, face downwards and arms almost akimbo."

"Florencio Gutierrez and Juan Magallanes were immediately arrested and held as material witnesses. Olvera will be given a preliminary hearing at Prescott, and charges of disturbing the peace have been filed against both Gutierrez and Magallanes. Perjury may also be charged against Gutierrez, it is stated."

(Verde Copper News; Jerome; Tuesday, July 9, 1929; page 1, columns 6-7.)

ROBERTO PADILLA, age 22, was born in Jalisco, Mexico. He is the son of Benjamin and Valentina (Gonzalez) Padilla. He was shot and died on July 8, 1929. He had been in the United States for 2 years and 1 month, and had lived in Jerome for 1 year and 2 months. He worked as a miner, and was not married. He was buried in the Jerome Valley Cemetery on July 9. The informant for the Certificate of Death was Juan N. Padilla of Walker, Arizona.

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