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An Officer of the Law Foully Murdered while in Execution of his Duty 

            On Saturday last Deputy Sheriff Murphy went out to Walnut creek to arrest a man named Dilda charged with petit larceny. On the road he was cautioned that Dilda was a man who would not not submit quietly to arrest and that he carried a Remmington rifle which he would use against any one who attempted to arrest him.  It seems that on Saturday night Mr Murphy slept at the ranch of C Behan, which was not far from the house occupied by the man Dilda. In deference to the opinions of the residents of the ranch, Murphy kept quiet all day Sunday, but determined to arrest his man by night-fall. Leaving Mr Behan's house shortly after eight o'clock in the evening, he took a circuitous trail toward's Dilda's residence. It was a bright moonlight night and the distance to traverse was about one mile. About half an hour after Murphy had left Behan's house two shots were heard. Then a man named Williscraft, who had come out with Murphy, but had remained at Behan's house, says he went towards the place from whence the sounds of the firing had come, in the direction of Dilda's house. On approaching the house he gave a loud whistle which was answered, and Dilda was seen by him to come out of a clump of trees and go towards his house. The man Williscraft seems to have been badly scared and made track a for his house which was near by and went to bed. 

          Word was sent to Sheriff Mulvenon at Prescott and he immediately started for the scene of the supposed tragedy which is about 45 miles west of Prescott.  On arriving at the place Dilda's house was found deserted, and Murphy's dead body was found in the cellar packed in a sack.

            The theory of the murder is that Dilda expected Murphy to come around at night and that he lay in wait for him, as he came up to the picket fence in the garden, and shot him as he passed, the ball entering at the back with an upward tendency and coming out through the breast, showing that the assassin must have been crouching low on the ground.

            Mr Murphy was a native of Boston, Mass., where his father and stepmother are now living. He was brought up to the ship carpentering business which his father followed and became a proficient in all branches of the trade. Twelve years ago he left his home and went South where he spent several years traveling from one state to another but not making a permanent residence in any. Eventually he reached Prescott eight years ago and made it his home up to the time of his death. He has been connected with the sheriffs office for the past six years serving as deputy with occasional intervals under Sheriffs Walker Henkle and the present incumbent. His thorough trustworthiness fearlessness and temperate habits rendered him a most valuable deputy and one whom it will difficult to replace. Murphy was a man of good education and assisted in drawing up and amending several bills brought before the last legislature. Though firm his demeanour was very quiet and his disposition as gentle as a woman's. He was generous without beinig ostentatious and his many acts of kindness were known to his friends alone. 


            The murderer was arrested on Wednesday near Ash Fork and taken back to Prescott by Sheriff Mulvenon arriving there on Thursday morning. He stated that he was 37 years of age and that he came from Rome in Ga., where he was raised on a farm.  On the opening of the court on the day of the prisoners arrival, the district attorney requested a venire issued for a territorial grand jury to investigate the case which Judge Shields granted returnable Saturday morning, so the the accused can be tried at this term of court. In the present excited condition of feeling, this is wise, as threats are freely expressed about lynching 

            On Thursday evening a man arrived from Walnut Creek the scene of the murder stating that the body of the man Jenkins who has been missing for about two weeks had been found in a gulch behind Dilda's house This shows the brute to be a double murderer and excitement is so strong that it is feared a lynching cannot be prevented.

The Arizona champion. (Peach Springs, Mohave County, A.T. [Ariz.]) 1883-1891), December 26, 1885, p 3, col 2

An Officer of the Law Foully Murdered while in Execution of his Duty

Owner/SourceThe Arizona champion. (Peach Springs, Mohave County, A.T. [Ariz.]) 1883-1891)
Date26 Dec 1885
Linked toWilliam Hamilton Williscroft (2091231)

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