Press enter after choosing selection

He Escaped The Gallows

He Escaped The Gallows image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

New Year's eve, 1885, T. J. Walker, alias Jones, who was ander the inHuence of liquor at the time, became involved in a quarrel with Albert Kelstrohm in a saloon in Socorro, and ended the same by shootmg his viotim dead. Walker alleged, however, that he believed the young Swede was about to shoot him (Walker) when he fired the fatal shot. Walker eluded the officers and es caped into Old Mexico, and finally brought up in this city last Ootober, where, as we titated last week, he remuiued for a short time and then went into the country to work. He retumed to this city during the winter and remained until about two months ago, when he went to Ypsilanti to work in a livery barn. Goming here to the celebration July 3d, he was arrested for murder, and incarcerated in the county jail. To those in this city who had been aoquainted with him he denied having committed the crime, and maintained a stolid indifference to the whole proceedings. But, however, on Thursday night of last week, on being told that the offlcers, from New Mexico would probably be here to identify him on Saturday night, he made a confidant of Frank Clark, one of his fellow-prisoners, and told him, in substance, what appeurs in the statements above ; and also that the officers would never take him back to Socorro, and which he fully proved, when, at an early hour Sunday morning turnkey Schott found him suspended by the neck with a rope fastened at the top of his cell, dead. His hands and feet were oonroly bonnd and everything indicated that he had planed the taking of his own life with the utmost skill and care. None of the prisoners in the ad joining cells had been disturbed, and thus in the solemn hours of the night, he again escaped the meshes of human law and placed himself in the awful presence of Him whose judgment is impartial, and who meets out justice to all. With the ending of his erthly oareer the mantle of charity should fall upon his pall, and let none but those who are without sin raise a dissenting voice. The coroners jury which was immediately empaneled, adjourned to meet in the court house basement at 2 o'clock p. m., Tuesday. on which date they reassembled, when several witnesses were sworn to corrobórate the fact that Walker had killed himself, and the jury rendered a verdict in accordance therewith. Monday 8t 11 o'clock a. m., deputy sheriff J. F. Cook, of Socorro, N. M.. arrived and immediately went to undertaker Martin's establishment, where the body of Walker had been takon to be prepared for burial, and readily pro nounoed it the remains of T. J. Walker. At the same time saymg he was not surpriscd at the suicide. Tuesday, for our own satisfactioD - there having been so man y stories circulated in regard to the oharacter of Walker - we had a conversation with deputy sheriff Cook as to what sort of a man Torn had been down in that country, N. M., and he informed us that he was respected and well hked, but that, when under the influence of liquor, he was considered so me what dangerous; that this was his lirst crime, and that liquor was at the bottom of it ; that he had been the proprietor of a livery stable there, and was respectably connected, having a mother, wife, brother, sister, brother-in-law and two uieces, and all in aflluent circumstances. He also stated that Walker was reliable and trustworthy in all his business dealings, and au a friend was true in every sense. And what more could he say. Is not this enough? Will it not canse many to silently blush to think that they had been so ready to brand him as a desperado and a villian of the deepest dye. John McDonald, who carne to this city with Walker, and who bas known him for a number of years, says Torn was every inch a man and a trusty friend . He also says that the com mil ting of this crime had worn upon Walker's conscienoe, causing him to turn prematurely gray, and making him feel tbat he had nothing to live for except to be hunted as a criminal. Sucb being the case, is it any wonder that he took his own life when confronted with the proba bility that he would be hanged if taken back to New Mexioo? After the verdict by the ooroner's jury the body of Walker was turned over to Mr. McDonald, his old chum, who, with the assistance of others, was instrumental in having it decently buried Tuesday afternoon, thus drawing the curtain over the final act in the tragedv, and leaving deputy sheriff Cook to pursue his journey back to New Mexico as he nad come - alone. Thomas J. Walker was born in the state of Kentuoky, and at the time of his death was 37 years of age. During his short stay here and at Ypsilanti, he had made a number of warm personal f ríen ds.


Old News
Ann Arbor Democrat