Tales from the Morgue: The rest of the story

2013-08-06T09:45:00Z 2013-08-07T12:12:38Z Tales from the Morgue: The rest of the storyJohanna Eubank, Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
August 06, 2013 9:45 am  • 

Both William Stewart and John Goodwin were tried for the murder of Alfred Hilpot and were convicted.

By the time the legal wrangling was done, Arizona was a state. Goodwin became the first man to be executed in Arizona under federal authority.

The Morgue Lady notes that in the following articles, the spelling of Alfred Hilpot's name has changed to Hillpot. Other name changes occurred from time to time. One can only conclude that either the reporter or the reporter's source made mistakes and then the reporter corrected them in later stories without fanfare. Such corrections could not be easily made on deadline.

From the Arizona Daily Star, May 14, 1913:

 

JOHN GOODWIN IS HANGED AT GLOBE
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Was Executed for Murdering Kibbe and Hillpot on the Indian Reservation
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GLOBE, May 13.—John B. Goodwin, ex-soldier and the first man to be executed in Arizona under federal authority, was hanged here today by United States Marshal C. A. Overlock. Before the trap was sprung Goodwin made a statement that perjurors were responsible for his death.

He was executed for the murder of Fred Kibbe and Alfred Hillpot, Globe merchants, who were on a hunting expedition on the San Carlos Indian reservation in September, 1910.

Until yesterday Goodwin hoped for further clemency at the hands of President Wilson, who a week after his inauguration, granted Goodwin a reprieve of 60 days for an investigation.

William Stewart, convicted in the federal court at Phoenix a week ago of complicity in the murders of Hillpot and Kibbe, is sentenced to be executed in August.

Some other sources have indicated that the two men were retried on the charges of murdering Fred Kibbe, which would explain the timing of the trials mentioned in the previous article.

Stewart didn't escape his fate either, though he did manage to live another year after Goodwin's execution. From the Star, May 30, 1914:

 

STEWART PAYS FULL PENALTY FOR HIS CRIME
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Dies on Gallows at Globe for Murder of Hillpot and Kibbe; Lost Nerve Before Trigger Was Sprung and Confesses
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GLOBE, May 29.—William Stewart, murderer of Fred Kibbe and Frank Hillpot, paid the penalty of his crime this morning here, when he dropped through space to the end of the rope.

He walked to the gallows with United States Marshal Dillon and Don Willits holding his arms at 11 a.m. The drop was sprung at 11:04 and Dr. J. S. Perkins announced that the pulse was extinct at 11:15:45, eleven minutes and 45 seconds after the fall.

Death was instantaneous, the neck being broken by the fall.

Stewart held his nerve until it was time to spring the drop. He wilted at the last moment, and, after the black cap was placed over his head, was held upright by United States Marshal Dillon and Deputy Cline while Deputy Don Willits cut the release strong which dropped the man to the end of the hemp.

There were no convulsions, the body relaxing easily as the pulse deadened. Stewart made no public statement prior to his death as was expected. Instead, he called Father Barrett, a priest of Globe, to whom he told the story of the killing and made his final preparation for the death an hour before the hanging. "He is all right," said Father Barrett, after hearing the confession. He added: "He has told me all and is safe."

Marshal Dillon and Sheriff Hayes called at the death cell for the man. Stewart shook hands and, smiling at Hayes, said "Good-bye, Frank."

He walked from the cell to the scaffold steadily, but the sweat stood out on his brow and he trembled.

On the gallows Marshal Dillon and Deputy Willits adjusted the straps. The prisoner smiled during the operation, but paled in his smile as Dillon placed the black cap on his head.

Dillon was placing the rope when Stewart's nerve broke and he dropped to his knees, and almost fell.

He was caught by Dillon and Cline, who held him upright while Willits dropped the trap. Dillon asked him on the gallows just before the death cap was donned, "Have you anything to say, Bill?" He answered: "Nothing; no, Joe," and the cap was placed. "Good-bye, Joe," were his last words, and he fell in a faint as he was saying them.

Prior to his death he was visited in his cell by Thomas Flanning, his attorney, and made a complete statement of the life and death theories he held at the time. "I would rather hang than spend my life in Atlanta," was his statement. He continued: "There is no punishment but the anticipation in this, but a man's soul goes through hell in the tortures of prison. This is easy and will soon be over."

Thousands of eager and morbid spectators swarmed on the roots of the buildings in the neighborhood and filled the court about the scaffold, straining to see the man and the execution.

They were held in check by the city police and members of the sheriff's force. There was no disorder, but several called "bravo" when Stewart walked to the scaffold and stepped on the trap.

So ends the tragic tale of two innocent men who were killed while doing nothing wrong and two men who thought they could get away with the killing. Did anyone win?

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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