Tales from the Morgue: The not-so-great, attempted train robbery, Part 8

2013-12-03T09:00:00Z 2014-04-24T16:30:05Z Tales from the Morgue: The not-so-great, attempted train robbery, Part 8Johanna Eubank Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
December 03, 2013 9:00 am  • 

The names of the others accused of involvement with the holdup of the Golden State limited were revealed at the preliminary examination of George Winkler Sr.

One of the new names was that of George Winkler's other son, Edward. His son George Jr. had already been named.

While much of the information in this article is a repeat of earlier articles, the entire story is given here.

From the Arizona Daily Star, June 3, 1922:

 

Jirou Implicates Others in Train Holdup Near Jaynes
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TELLS OF ROBBERY PLANS AT PRELIMINARY IF WINKLER, SR.
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Says Goat Herder Was in Party Night of Holdup
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A Mexican goat herder known as Santiago Valdez, who was formerly employed by T. O. Dugat, and Edward Winkler of Tucson, were implicated in the hold-up of the Golden State limited train near Jaynes on the morning of May 15, in the testimony of F. W. Jirou, who testified at the preliminary examination of George Winkler Sr. The latter is the father of Edward Winkler.

Both Santiago Valdez and Edward Winkler are at large. The former is believed to be in Mexico, while the other man is reported to have gone to the Pacific coast. Authorities in California have been notified to be on the lookout for Winkler. Efforts are also being made to have Mexican officials turn Valdez over to American authorities so that he may be brought to Tucson for trial.

Although authorities were appraised last Monday when Jirou confessed to participating in the holdup as to the identity of his five companions, it was not until today that Valdez and Edward Winkler were publicly named as having taken part in the hold-up. Jirou in his confession also named George Winkler, Sr., his son, Geroge Winkler, Jr., and T. O. Dugat, as having been members of the hold-up gang. Dugat was slain during the hold-up by Express Messenger Steward.

Jirou, who was the first man arrested in connection with the hold-up, turned state's evidence by confessing to his part in the crime and implicating his companions in the hold-up.

Jirou while on the stand told in detail the manner in which the hold-up was planned and staged. He testified that Dugat was the one that broached the subject to him. This conversation, he said, took place several months ago.

Jirou testified that he asked the elder Winkler if he would be willing to participate and that Winkler agreed to come in. The witness then told of the three meetings that were held at the Dugat goat ranch, which is located in a picturesque spot in the foothills of the mountains about 10 miles northwest of Tucson. Jirou said that drinks were passed freely at several of these meetings, and that complete plans were laid for the hold-up and robbery of the express car.

On the night of May 14, Jirou testified that he was picked up at his house by George Winkler and the latter's two sons, George Jr., and Edward, and that they rode to a point on the Dugat ranch road, just several hundred yards off the Silverbell road, where they met Dugat and the Mexican goat herder.

The witness testified that Dugat's truck was stationed near this point and that Dugat transferred a quantity of explosive from the truck to Winkler's car. Leaving George Winkler Jr., to guard the truck the witness said that the rest of the party drove on to the spot picked out for the hold-up.

Jirou then told in detail of the manner which the hold-up was carried out, the killing of Dugat, the flight of the remainder of the gang and their return to a spot where George Winkler Jr., was left. The witness said that the junior Winkler was picked up at this point, while the Mexican got out of the car, and that he and the three Winklers returned to Tucson.

Harry Martin, taxi driver, who was the first witness called to the stand, testified that he knew F. W. Jirou and George Winkler, Sr. He testified that on the afternoon of Sunday, May 14, he was called to the Winkler home, where he picked up Jirou and took him to a point on the Speedway. He declared that he had previously taken Jirou to the same place.

Jirou on taking the stand declared he resided on the Alexander place on the Speedway.

The witness testified that he first became acquainted with George Winkler, Sr., when he was employed by Mr. Reuger to sell suit contracts for the suit cleaning establishment operated by the elder Winkler.

Jirou declared that for a time he operated a barbeque on West Congress street. He testified that lately he had been engaged for the most part in nursing a sick daughter.

"Who participated in the hold-up?" was the question asked of Jirou by Prosecutor George R. Darnell.

"George Winkler, Sr., Edward Winkler, T. O. Dugat, Dugat's Mexican goat herder and myself," was Jirou's answer. When asked whether the Mexican goat herder's name was Santiago Valdez, the witness replied that he believed it was. The junior Winkler was left to guard the Dugat car, said the witness.

Jirou testified that he came to Tucson from Yokum, Texas, on [the month is missing from the text] 15, 1921. He declared that he had been in the cafe business in that town and that previously for about 12 years he had acted as steward, cook and in other capacities on board vessels. He said he met George Winkler, Sr., last October.

Jirou declared that he knew T. O. Dugat when the latter was a boy residing in Rufigio county, Texas; that from that time up to coming to Tucson, he had not seen Dugat. He said he met Dugat for the first time in Tucson on November 1, 1921. Jirou testified that this meeting took place at his house on West Second street.

The witness testified that he first was broached by Dugat regarding the hold-up about April 15. Jirou said that he agreed to the plan about three days later after carefully considering the matter. At this time Dugat said they would need another man, said the witness, and the latter suggested that it be put up to Winkler, Sr.

Jirou declared that some time later he talked with George Winkler, Sr., in the back room of the cleaning shop, and put up the hold-up proposition to the defendant.

The witness declared that he and the two elder Winklers went to the Dugat ranch on about April 23 for the purpose of laying plans for the hold-up and robbery. Matches were laid on the table, according to the witness, to show where the coaches would be halted. The witness declared that Dugat passed the bottle around pretty frequently and that all of them became intoxicated. Santiago Valdez was there at the time, said the witness.

Jirou testified that on May 13 another meeting was held at the Dugat ranch. The witness said that George Winkler, Sr., displayed a book of rules on railroading and declared that he would also have fusees to stop the train.

The witness said that he saw about 18 or 20 sticks of dynamite in a churn belonging to Dugat. He testified that that night about four or 5 of these were broken in two, the pieces placed in a kettle on the kitchen stove and the contents boiled. The liquid was then placed in the thermos bottle, said the witness.

At Dugat's suggestion it had been decided that the Golden State Limited train be held up on the morning of May 15.

On the afternoon of May 14 Jirou declared that he and his wife were visiting friends in Tucson, and that while he was sitting on the porch the elder Winkler came by the house. The witness said he walked down town with Winkler and that the latter confessed that he was "all shot to pieces."

Jirou testified that they went to the Winkler cleaning establishment and going to the rear of the shop had a couple of drinks. Then they started to make masks. The witness testified that he started to make a mask, but that he surrendered the material to Winkler when the latter declared that he would finish it. Jirou testified that two masks were made at the shop.

Jirou testified that both of the masks were made from the lining of old coats which Winkler picked up from under a table in the shop.

The witness declared that he and Winkler then went to the latter's home, but that he did not remain there long. Winkler called a Blue Bar taxi, in which Jirou was conveyed to his home on the Speedway.

Jirou at this point identified Harry Martin as the driver of the automobile in which he rode home on that date.

On the night of May 14 Jirou testified that the elder Winkler and the latter's two sons drove to his home about 9:30 p. m. They were driving Winkler's car, said the witness, and tooted the horn several times, at which signal Jirou declared he went out to the car and got in. The witness testified that he was fully dressed, lying on the bed with his wife, when the car arrived.

The witness testified that they traveled through the north and northwestern section of the city in reaching the Silverbell road, and from there made their way to a point about 200 yards off of the Silverbell road on the road branching off to the Dugat ranch.

At this point was found Dugat's truck, T. O. Dugat and the Mexican goat herder. The witness declared that Dugat went to his car and got some gunny sacks and dynamite and placed them in the Winkler car. The witness said that George Winkler, Jr., was left to guard the truck, and that he, Dugat, George, Sr., Edward Winkler, and the Mexican drove in Winkler's car to the spot picked out for the holdup.

The witness declared that in reaching this spot they traveled several miles westward on the Silverbell road, thence up a lane to the Casa Grande road, and parked their car under a mesquite tree beside the road.

Jirou testified that Dugat gave the elder Winkler an automatic and furnished the witness with a .44-caliber revolver. The witness testified that Edward Winkler had his own gun. Jirou said he believed that Dugat carried a .45-caliber gun.

The witness testified that the party arrived at the holdup point shortly after midnight, and that after parking their car the elder Winkler placed the fusee. Jirou testified that he was about 15 steps east of Winkler when the latter performed this operation, and that Dugat, who was in command, was a short distance east of the witness. Dugat and Edward Winkler had placed the torpedoes, said the witness.

Dugat was watching for the train and was to notify Jirou of its approach, so that the latter could in turn transmit the information to the elder Winkler. The latter was then to light the fusee.

The witness said that suddenly Dugat cried: "Here she comes." Jirou notified Winkler and the latter touched off the fusee.

When the train was brought to a halt the witness declared that he and the elder Winkler were on the right side and Dugat was on the left.

Jirou testified that Winkler and Dugat boarded the engine and ordered the fireman and engineer off. They were again placed on the engine and the engineer, after some difficulty, succeeded in moving the train. The delay occasioned by the engineer's difficulty caused Dugat to say: "I don't believe you're trying to cut engine," according to the testimony of Jirou.

Just before the mail car and combination baggage and express car had been cut away from the rest of the train, a hobo made his appearance and was brought up to the point where the engineer and fireman were standing. Jirou said the hobo was asked to cut the train and that he said he would try.

It was at this point that the hobo, in attempting to carry out this order of cutting the train, was fired on by Dugat. The hobo then ran down the track with his hands in the air and made his escape from the scene.

After pulling the two cars away from the rest of the train the engineer and fireman were again placed in the custody of Jirou and taken to a point opposite the engine, along the side of the right of way.

Dugat then went to the door of the express car and ordered the messenger to open up the door, but both of them declared that they did not know the messenger and that it would be useless to ask him.

At this point, the witness declared that Dugat started bringing up dynamite toward the express car door. Jirou said that when Dugat was within a dozen feet of the door two shots flashed from a point east of the express car door, and that Dugat pitched forward and fell to the ground.

The witness testified that he went to Dugat's body and picked it up, but dropped it again. He got blood on his hands in picking up the body, he said. At this point Jirou testified that Winkler came around the east end of the express car and approached the body, but that two more shots put Winkler to flight. The witness testified he was not sure where these shots came from, but believeds they came from either the express car or mail car.

Jirou declared that Winkler then called to his son and the Mexican and that the four of them got in the Winkler machine, with Edward at the wheel, and returned by the same route over which they had come. Jirou said he discarded his mask on the lane between the Casa Grande road and the Silverbell road.

The witness testified that on arriving at the point where the Dugat road branches off the Silverbell road the Mexican goat herder got out of the car and George Winkler, Sr., called to his son, George, Jr., who was guarding the Dugat truck at a point several hundred yards distant.

When the junior Winkler got in the car, the witness testified that Edward Winkler surrendered the wheel to his son with the statement that he was too nervous to drive.

The witness testified that after driving a short distance the automobile was stopped and that he, George Winkler, Sr., and Edward placed their guns in a bag. Jirou declared that Edward then took this bag, along with a jumper belonging to George Winkler, Sr., and a coat, and discarded them in a gully.

After again traveling a short distance on the Silverbell road toward Tucson, the witness declared that another stop was made for the purpose of allowing the elder Winkler and his son, Edward, to take the coverings off the license plates of the automobile.

Jirou declared that they went down West Second street to Stone avenue, thence to the Speedway, and that he arrived home about 2 a. m., May 15.

The witness testified that the first persons he informed of his participation in the holdup of the train was his attorney, K. Berry Peterson. Jirou also said that Sheriff Daniels was the first officer he had informed of his participation in the holdup.

The witness testified that early this week he, accompanied by the sheriff and railroad officials, went to the point where the discarded bag and discarded clothing was hidden on the night of the holdup by Edward Winkler. Jirou testified, however, that the guns supposed to have been contained in the bag were missing. The other articles were found, he said.

J. M. Force, an electrician, who was the next witness called to the stand, testified that he knew the Winklers, and that he did some wiring on the Winkler's Nash car on Sunday, May 14. He said that the Winklers said they wanted the work done Sunday so that they could use the car on Monday.

Mrs. Minnie Smith, who resided with the Jirous on the Alexander place at the time of the holdup, testified that she had seen Winkler at the Jirou home.

She testified that Jirou left home on the night of May 14 at about 9:30 o'clock and that he did not return until about an hour and a half before daylight. She identified the defendant as Winkler and said she saw Winkler several days after Jirou was arrested.

Mrs. E. R. Butler, the next witness called to the stand, testified that on the evening of Sunday, May 14, a telephone call came to the O'Keefe transfer stand. She declared she answered the telephone and the party at the other end of the line asked if George Winkler was there. She replied in the negative.

At 5 p. m. yesterday Justice of the Peace ordered the case continued until today, starting at 9 a. m.

Attorney John Van Buskirk, representing the defendant, George Winkler, Sr., while Prosecutor George R. Darnell and his assistant Ben B. Mathews, represented the state.

For all their planning, it sounds as if the hold-up gang never expected any resistance, which was poor planning. On the other hand, the express messenger was prepared.

The hearing was concluded the following day. From the Star, Sunday, June 4, 1922:

 

WINKLER HELD ON CHARGE OF TRAIN ROBBERY
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Detained to Superior Court on $5,000 Bond
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At the conclusion yesterday of the preliminary examination of George Winkler, Sr., who is charged with having participated in the hold-up of the Golden State Limited train west of Tucson on the morning of May 15, the defendant was bound over to the superior court under $5,000 bond. In default of bond the defendant is being held in the county jail.

James A. Ingram, foreman of the train which was held up, testified that Winkler's voice was similar to that of one of the bandits. However, he declared that he could not be positive that the voices were one and the same.

At the preliminary examination of F. W. Jirou, confessed member of the hold-up gang, Fireman Ingram testified that Jirou's voice was similar to that of one of the bandits. In this case also he said he could not be positive that they were one and the same.

Fireman Ingram also testified that during the war period George Winkler, Sr., fired for him on at least one trip. At that time Ingram was acting as an engineer.

Lillian Spaller and Jessie Spaller when called to the stand testified that on the night of May 14 they were at the home of George Winkler, Sr. They declared that although they stayed at the Winkler home until about 2 a. m. May 15 they did not see the Winkler boys or the latter's father.

John Van Buskirk, attorney for George Winkler, Sr., after all the evidence had been introduced, made a motion that the charge against the defendant be dismissed for lack of corroborative evidence. This motion was denied by Justice of the Peace O. L. Pease, and the defendant was bound over to the superior court.

On Friday afternoon F. W. Jirou occupied the stand for approximately two and one-half hours, during which time he related in detail the events leading up to the hold-up, the actual hold-up, the flight, and the discarding of effects of the members of the gang.

With Jirou's testimony, it is unlikely Winker or his sons had much of a chance for acquittal. Since Jirou also incriminated himself, it would appear he told the truth.

We have yet to discover the fate of those accused of the attempted robbery. One must assume the men were not convicted of murder since the felony-murder law did not yet exist, but there was likely time spent in prison.

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About this blog

"Tales from the Morgue" is a way for the Star to share stories from the treasure trove of information held in its old files.

Johanna Eubank, aka the Morgue Lady, was a research assistant in the Star Library — also known as News and Research Services — for 18 years before becoming an online content producer. She has had her share of sneezing fits after digging into dusty old files, so she's sure to find a few old stories to re-examine.

If you have suggestions, comments or questions about this blog, e-mail jeubank@tucson.com