Tales from the Morgue: The not-so-great, attempted train robbery, Part 7

2013-12-02T09:00:00Z 2014-04-24T16:30:05Z Tales from the Morgue: The not-so-great, attempted train robbery, Part 7Johanna Eubank Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
December 02, 2013 9:00 am  • 

Alleged train robber F.W. Jirou apparently saw that things weren't going his way. So he confessed, turned state's evidence and named his fellow bandits. One can only assume he would not be eligible for any reward.

From the Arizona Daily Star, Tuesday, May 30, 1922:

 

Jirou Confesses Jaynes Train Holdup
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4 TUCSON MEN IMPLICATED BY PRISONER; TWO UNDER ARREST
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Well Known Business Man and His Son Taken Into Custody Monday
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By making a confession of his part in the holdup of the Golden State limited on May 15, F. W. Jirou of Tucson yesterday turned state's evidence and implicated four other men. George Winkler, Sr., and his son, George Winkler, Jr., who were named by Jirou as participants in the holdup, were arrested shortly after noon yesterday. Although the other two men are at large, their whereabouts are know, and it is expected they will be arrested soon.

T. O. Dugat, the sixth member of the bandit gang, was shot and killed by Express Messenger Stewart.

Following Jirou's confession, which was made before Sheriff Ben. F. Daniels, Prosecutor George R. Darnell and Assistant Prosecutor Ben B. Mathews, Jirou was taken by the authorities in an automobile to a point about two and a half miles west of Tucson on the Silverbell road, where he led the officials to a mesquite bush along the side of the road behind which had been hidden a bag containing a few rounds of cartridges and clothing discarded by the bandits following the holdup.

At another point near Cortaro, Jirou led the officers to a point by the roadside where the bandits had discarded one of the masks worn during the holdup.

That T. O. Dugat, owner of a goat ranch about seven miles southwest of Tucson, and who was killed on the night of the holdup, really engineered the attempted robbery was the statement contained in the confession given to authorities.

Members of the party of officials who accompanied Jirou on the trip to points where the effects of the bandits were cached follow: D. O'Connell, chief special agent of the Southern Pacific; Sheriff B. F. Daniels; D. B. Riggs, special agent of the Southern Pacific; Deputy J. L. Tremaine and Joe Ryan, secretary to Mr. O'Connell.

Jirou declared that three meetings were held prior to the holdup for the purpose of perfecting their plans in every detail. These sessions were held at the Dugat ranch during the month of April.

"Dugat," said Jirou, "had also timed the speed of the train by getting the time that it left the Tucson Southern Pacific station and checking the time of its arrival at Jaynes station.

"The Friday before the holdup, Jirou and his companions met on the Silverbell road at a point where the road leading to the Dugat ranch branches off. From here they went by automobile and made a survey of the ground where it was planned to hold up the train."

Jirou declared that the torpedoes and fusees used in stopping the limited train were placed by a member of the gang who was an ex-fireman. This resulted in the halting of the train almost at the very spot where the bandits had parked their car and were laying in wait to do the holdup job.

Dugat immediately took charge of directing the operations of members of the band when the train had stopped, according to Jirou. The goat rancher boarded the engine and ordered the fireman and engineer off. Dugat then turned the two men over to the custody of Jirou.

Jirou Bosses Job

The former fireman was then instructed to make the cut of the train. It was planned to cut the mail car and combination baggage and express car away from the rest of the train equipment, according to Jirou.

However, the ex-fireman failed in the attempt because of his lack of knowledge of the new appliances that have been added to engines since he was identified in railroading.

At this point members of the band grew impatient with the delay, according to Jirou, and the fireman and engineer were called back to the engine and instructed to perform the task of making the cut. The engine and two cars were moved about five or six car lengths from the rest of the train.

The engineer and fireman were then instructed to order Express Messenger Stewart out of his car. When the express employe refused to obey the command, the bandits ordered Stewart to open the door and come out. Again the employe of the express company refused to obey, according to Jirou.

Dugat then began carrying dynamite to the door of the express car for the purpose of blowing it in. While he was engaged in this work, Express Messenger Stewart shot and killed him. A second shot fired by Stewart came very close to the head of another member of the gang, according to Jirou.

Gang Withdraws

At this point an order was given by one of the leaders for withdrawal from the scene of the holdup.

Sheriff Daniels and operatives of the Southern Pacific and the American Express company declared that since investigation of the holdup started more than 75 clues had been run down.

The arrest of the two Winklers was made yesterday by Sheriff Daniels, Deputy Sheriff Tremaine, Deputy Sheriff Pat Sheehy and Special Agent Hughes. The latter is special agent for the Southern Pacific.

The officers are aware of the whereabouts of the two remaining men implicated in the holdup, according to information given out last night by officials working on the case. Chief O'Conell of the Southern Pacific is checking up one one of the men wanhted in connection with the holdup. This man left a few days ago for California. When apprehended he will be brought to Tucson and turned over to Sheriff Faniels.

The Southern Pacific company and the American Express company have had 15 men co-operating with Sheriff Daniels in the apprehension of the bandits.

Each of these companies has offered a reward of $300 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of each bandit. This makes a total reward of $600 in the case of each bandit.

Jirou declared that the nitro glycerine which was found in a thermos bottle at the scene of the holdup after the flight of the bandits was compounded by Dugat at his ranch. It was made from dynamite, a big stock of which the goat rancher had on his premises.

Meanwhile, the man who had been charged with harboring the bandits had his preliminary hearing and his case was dismissed. It turned out to be a case of mistaken identity.

Also from the Star, Tuesday, May 30, 1922:

 

Starr Freed of Charge of Harboring Jaynes Train Bandits
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STATE WITNESS ADMITS HE HAD BEEN MISTAKEN
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Dismissal of Case Follows Preliminary Examination
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The charges against Richard R. Starr, who was arrested a week ago on a charge of being an accessory after the fact in that he had harbored bandits who held up the Golden State Limited on the morning of May 15, was dismissed for lack of evidence following a hearing yesterday afternoon in the court of Justice of the Peace Pease.

Cecil Drown, who was the first witness called to the stand, testified that he was mistaken as to the identity of the defendant. He declared that he had heard Seely Starr make a few statements regarding the holdup, but that he did not know the defendant. Seely is a brother of the defendant.

The witness declared that he heard Seely tell someone that the goat man's car had been fixed in the Starr garage on the afternoon before the hold-up. The conversation took place two or three days after the hold-up, said the witness.

K. W. Goff, vulcanizer employed at one of the local garages, declared that he did not know the defendant, but that he knew the brother, Seely. Goff testified that Seely during the course of a conversation said that he had worked on the goat man's car on the afternoon preceding the hold-up.

The witness said that he asked Seely if the goat man was short, to which the other replied in the affirmative. Goff said that the reason he asked was because a short man with a growth of beard came into the garage a few days before the robbery and he was wondering whether this was the goat man.

Sheriff Ben F. Daniels, who was the last witness called to the staned, testified that he had a conversation with Seely Starr on May 17. The official declared that he went to Starr after he had heard that the goat man's car had been worked on at the Starr garage before the hold-up.

At the conclusion of the preliminary examination, Attorney Tom K. Richie, who acted as counsel for Richard R. Starr, made a motion that the charge against the defendant be dismissed. Judge Pease order the charge dismissed.

Prosecutor George R. Darnell acted as counsel for the state at the hearing.

If the reader thinks this was the end of Richard R. Starr's involvement, the reader is mistaken. Mr. Starr was unhappy that he had been accused.

From the Arizona Daily Star, Friday, June 2, 1922:

 

Richard Starr Sues Sheriff Daniels for $10,250 on Libel
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SAYS HE WAS PUT UNDER ARREST FOR GIVING REFUGE TO ROBBERS
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Says His Good Name Was Hurt by Accusation
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Charging that his good name and reputation were subjected to humiliation by reason of his arrest and imprisonment, Richard Starrm through his attorney, James D. Harry, yesterday filed suit in the superior court asking jusgment against Sheriff Benjamin F. Daniels for $10,250, and also against the Maryland Casualty company for $10,000 and for cost of suit, and for such other and further relief as may seem just to the court.

The petition recites that the defendant, Maryland Casualty company, is a corporation doing buisness in teh state of Arizona, and is the surety on the official bond of Sheriff Daniels.

The suit grows out of the arrest of Richard Starr on May 18, 1922. A criminal complaint charging Richard Starr with being an accessory after the fact to the crime of boarding a railroad train with the intentiohn of robbing the express car was sworn to by Sheriff Ben F. Daniels before Justive of the Peace Pease on that day.

The charge against Richard Starr of having harbored the train bandits whom on the mnoring of May 15, held up the Golden State limited near Jaynes station, was dismissed following a preliminary examination held last Monday before Justice of the Peace O. L. Pease.

The petition of the plaintiff alleges that the sheriff of Pima county "did, at the city of Tucson, in said Pima county, maliciously and with force, and without an order, warrant or process of any court authorizing him so to do, arrest and imprison the plaintiff, Richard Starr, and did then and there restrain and deprive said plaintiff of his liberty ohn a pretended charge of felony."

The plaintiff's petition further alleges that the defendant, Sheriff Daniels, "immediately upon said arrest, took the plaintiff by force to the county jail of said Pima county and there imprisoned said plaintiff and refused to permit plaintiff's relatives or friends to see or communicate with the plaintiff for a period of several hours and until an attorney at law, employed by a relative of the plaintiff to procure plaintiff's release, called upon plaintiff in the county jail aforesaid and procured plaintiff's release from custody upon his giving bail in the sum of $1,000."

It is further charged in the plaintiff's petition that Sheriff Daniels subscribed and swore to a criminal complaint against Richard Starr and caused Justice of the Peace Pease to issue a warrant for the arrest of the plaintiff. The sheriff served the warrant and arrested the plaintiff, recites the petition.

The plaintiff furthers avers that at the time of the plaintiff's arrest and imprisonment the plaintiff's mother, who is a widow, was in ill health and required almost constant personal attention, causing the plaintiff great mental anguish.

In addition, the plaintiff alleges that he was unable to attend to his business for several days.

The Morgue Lady is confused. One part of the petition says that the sheriff arrested Star without a warrant and another part says the sheriff got a warrant from Justice Pease.

Everything else in the petition matches earlier stories of what happened. When one is arrested, he is taken by force to the jail. When possible, a relative hires a lawyer who procures his release on bond. That's the way it's done.

The only real complaint here seems to be that Starr believes the sheriff was malicious about it. The Morgue Lady thinks perhaps Richard Starr was just mad. Anyone would be, but does that mean he should sue the sheriff?

The Morgue Lady also thinks the reporter was having fun with the name of the Justice of the Peace. How many times lately have we seen "Justice of the Peace Pease"?

Next: Evidence against George Winkler Sr. and others.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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

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