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The murder of Katie DeWitt James


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#16    Kowalski

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 05:09 PM

View PostTaun, on 07 August 2013 - 04:58 PM, said:

Okay... Scenario time...

(and it turns out there was another train stop between the two towns - Arapahoe (the county seat)

Distance from Custer City to Clinton - 11.9 miles (as the crow flies)

Katie and the baby get on the train - total travel time to Clinton (figuring in a 15 minute stop in Arapahoe) perhaps 45 minutes...

Katie meets Fannie on the train and they strike up a "friendship"... Katie is talked into stopping off in Clinton to spend the night at Fannie's Brother in Laws house (no idea if the BIL was home or not) Perhaps it was late in the day
and Katie was planning on catching an early morning train for Weatherford-OKC-Ripley...

While this is transpiring, the husband Martin travelled to Clinton - perhaps on horse back - it would be faster than a train that makes stops for this short a distance... (could also explain why he was not at the station to see her off)
In the morning katie misses the train (probably with the conivance of Fannie) and Fannie offers to drive her and the baby to Weatherford to catch either the same train or another... (I have no idea if Deer Creek is between Clinton and Weatherford or not)
At the creek (probably at a ford point) they meet up with Martin who kills Katie (though I have no idea why he would need to cut her head off)... Fannie high tails it back home with the baby, Martin does the same without the baby as that would arouse suspicion
as to how he got the child, if he was still in Custer City...


What do you think? Plausable?

That's very likely, but Fannie left the baby with a German family that lived near Deer Creek, where the murder happened. The Deputy Bartell, is the one who found the baby there, and the family gave a description of Fannie, handing them the child, asking them to watch the baby while she went on a "short" trip but never came back for the baby, so I don't think she wanted the baby. Right after the murder, Fanny was able to put all four of her children in a private school, right before she was questioned, so I wonder where she got the money for that?? I think she knew, once she was questioned about the murder, and gave such conflicting accounts about what happened before she killed herself, se was afraid of someone.


#17    kannin

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 05:27 PM

View PostKowalski, on 07 August 2013 - 05:09 PM, said:

That's very likely, but Fannie left the baby with a German family that lived near Deer Creek, where the murder happened. The Deputy Bartell, is the one who found the baby there, and the family gave a description of Fannie, handing them the child, asking them to watch the baby while she went on a "short" trip but never came back for the baby, so I don't think she wanted the baby. Right after the murder, Fanny was able to put all four of her children in a private school, right before she was questioned, so I wonder where she got the money for that?? I think she knew, once she was questioned about the murder, and gave such conflicting accounts about what happened before she killed herself, se was afraid of someone.
she got paid to do it, and martin is suspect number 1, it was all for control of the baby case closed ! :P


#18    Dark_Grey

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 07:22 PM

View PostKowalski, on 07 August 2013 - 04:58 PM, said:

I found her grave on Findagrave.com and the inscription is interesting:

The inscription on her tombstone reads:
"How Many Hopes He Ended Here."  

Link: http://www.findagrav...n&GRid=10619462

I can't believe "findagrave.com" is a real site!

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#19    Taun

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 07:54 PM

View PostDark_Grey, on 07 August 2013 - 07:22 PM, said:

I can't believe "findagrave.com" is a real site!

A lot of people into geneaology use it to find birth and death dates...


#20    RockShaman

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 09:52 PM

Nice reasoning, all plausible :). That link I provided talks about the head and how it allegedly got severed. From what the writer said, I gather the family always did believe the husband was involved.

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#21    Taun

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 04:19 PM

View PostRockShaman, on 07 August 2013 - 09:52 PM, said:

Nice reasoning, all plausible :). That link I provided talks about the head and how it allegedly got severed. From what the writer said, I gather the family always did believe the husband was involved.

I just read your link (sometimes this crazy computer will let me and sometimes it won't...) Interesting story... My main problem with it is while two people can easily get together to plan something this hideous... Four is a bit more difficult...
Unless Katie's death was "accidental" during an assault by them to get the baby (if that is the reason it was done)...

The story also mentioned a woman named Alta Hood... Does anyone have any more info on her? A quick net search turned up the British Battleship Hood - and little else (an interesting subject in it's own right - but a bit off topic here)...


#22    Taun

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 04:49 PM

This google Earth screen cap shows the area... From Custer City to Arapahoe to Clinton and over to Weatherford...

Oddly, the spot marked with the "thumb tack" (Dead Woman Crossing) is, from what I can gather, the site where the body was found...
Seems like they took her body a long way out before dumping it... Even past Weatherford... Keep in mind this map shows the extents of the towns today... 108 years ago I'm sure they were much smaller...

Posted Image

Edited by Taun, 08 August 2013 - 04:49 PM.


#23    RockShaman

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Posted 10 August 2013 - 02:59 AM

Actually, Taun, when I read my link, it seemed plausible that her death may have resulted from a fall or blow, perhaps during an effort to persuade her to come back home and desist with the divorce idea. I mean, why else have the baby around, and why else would so many women of the day and a (assumed to be ok) cop be involved unless it went bad. THEN the major cover-up effort and apparently no prosecution afterwards despite all of this. Have to consider the times then as well, when divorce was rather extreme and scandalous. Her own family seems to have let it go, even if they did grieve. Per the census, the husband stayed in the area afterwards and remarried and kept his child. I think you are right.

Have not looked to find the Alta Hood person. I will poke around if I find a bit more time.


ok edit to add Alta is aka Altie Hood. One link found with a mention at http://boards.ancest...ax/1080/mb.ashx

same author as the previous link, so that may be how the family got the info. Dunno.

Edited by RockShaman, 10 August 2013 - 03:04 AM.

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#24    brlesq1

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 08:16 AM

Interesting. I'm not very good at this sort of thing, but it seems to me the husband at least had a hand in it, even if he didn't do the actual killing.

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#25    Taun

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 06:33 PM

Accidental death caused by a fall (from the cart ?) or a blow to the head in a struggle is a definite possibility... Though why they would feel the need to hide the body (not to mention beheading it) is puzzling..
Especially if they have a friendly law officer handy to testify that it was an accidental death... Forensics was pretty primitive back then compared to today...

edit: Just read the link to Altie Hood... She seems either a totally disreputable character or just one of those women who are drawn to bad guys... According to that article she admitted to the murder... Of course
that's not proof... but it is interesting...

Edited by Taun, 15 August 2013 - 06:35 PM.


#26    RockShaman

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 09:23 PM

Yeah, in the first link, it tells how she supposedly lost her head. I'm just thinking maybe they didn't realize how violent the husband could be (for her to be wanting the scandal of divorce) and thought they were helping him, then had him break bad on her at a confrontation they helped engineer. Or maybe it was for him to take his kid... whatever. Once she died, they worried about scandal, a trial... then an elaborate cover up? Too elaborate? - typical of amateur killers. We do have to remember this was then, and things were very different, very churchy especially in rural areas - sometimes dangerously so. As for the cop, even today some cops are bad or cannot bear closer scrutiny. Those 2 gals were "ladies of easy virtue"..... something smoky about the whole relationship tangle there.

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#27    Taun

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 07:05 PM

View PostRockShaman, on 15 August 2013 - 09:23 PM, said:

Yeah, in the first link, it tells how she supposedly lost her head. I'm just thinking maybe they didn't realize how violent the husband could be (for her to be wanting the scandal of divorce) and thought they were helping him, then had him break bad on her at a confrontation they helped engineer. Or maybe it was for him to take his kid... whatever. Once she died, they worried about scandal, a trial... then an elaborate cover up? Too elaborate? - typical of amateur killers. We do have to remember this was then, and things were very different, very churchy especially in rural areas - sometimes dangerously so. As for the cop, even today some cops are bad or cannot bear closer scrutiny. Those 2 gals were "ladies of easy virtue"..... something smoky about the whole relationship tangle there.

I thought of the first link when I posted... But then thought - how unnecessary to behead her (In the scenario we were discussing)... Taking her head off would have raised alarm bells even back then... Far safer (and easier to explain) leaving her 'intact'
and just claiming a tragic accident (which it could have been - at least by the standards of the day)...

But if Altie Hoods alleged confession (In later years - through hearsay) is accurate - then it was in no way an accident, but deliberate...


#28    RockShaman

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 10:03 PM

Hearsay? Katie's Dad ran Altie down to hear from her mouth what really happened out there, is how I understood it. What was written is what the family story of that conversation went like. The writer of both links is a descendant of Katie.

It was a different time, when divorce did not happen (unless, rarely, the man left). Women died in childbirth and their sister would be given to the widower. It was still a time when women lacked the vote, and were not hugely better off than the things we decry today for women in the Middle East or other places. We put a better spin on it because it is more familiar to us, being our own past. End up pregnant, or abandoned or divorced, you were a pariah and had no real options but to turn to whoring if you lacked a sympathetic rich relative who would let you retire in disgrace into servitude in their home.

He wanted the child, or her not to leave him, or was just a rear end jerk like we see causing deaths today over not getting his way, and something happened out there in a seeming confrontation which got covered over sloppily. Easy to forget the times, as the same cr*p happens daily today and for the same reasons :(.

A few miles from my old cabin here there is the site of a burned down rickety shack that stood there maybe 100 years ago...maybe a bit more, from when loggers came through here and worked the dense forests for a time and then moved on. Many of these miniscule hamlets in the wilds got started that way. My place was built then, and is at least 125 years old. The wood is so aged you cannot hammer a nail into it to hang a picture on the original walls. They are like solid rock.

Any way, the tale still gets told that a fellow lived out there with a wife and kid and he was an abusive b*****. Not much you could do then, they were married so he owned her, she couldn't leave. Fire one night, and when the locals got way back up in there to help, he was gone, and his chattel and baby dead in the fire. He went on, probably changed his name, if that much and just hitched onto another logging crew and never did pay for that. I mean, one room shack is not that hard to walk out of if you somehow caught it afire... if you were not dead already. Their names are lost to history now, and it was an old fellow who told me the tale when I moved here. Had he not, the tale would be untold. The old home site is impossible to find now, unless you had JR to poke about and come up with traces beneath the heavy growth to find it.

Nothing new about hate or jacked up people, sorry to say. Always seems like the users in life know the system best to get away with it if anyone can.

JMO.

Edited by RockShaman, 16 August 2013 - 10:07 PM.

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#29    RockShaman

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Posted 16 August 2013 - 10:07 PM

Edit to add: they supposedly had that witness to the body with them behead her as a compromise to having to kill him too. He'd be guilty too the way they saw it.  He did it, he claims, then ran to the sheriff and told his story. Obviously nothing was done.

Different times, sort of.

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#30    Taun

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 02:38 PM

RockShaman... By "hearsay" I meant that her confession while in jail in New Mexico for horse theft was presented as a family lore type thing, recounted decades later...
I wasn't aware that the confession was officially recorded...

I agree that from what we've been able to find about this case, it sure looks as though that the husband is involved up to his ears, as is Altie, and most likely the Deputy Sheriff as well... The
only question in my mind is degree of involvement by each...





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