20 Slices
Medium 9781574412246

17. The Defense and Rebuttal

Corey Recko University of North Texas Press PDF


The Defense and Rebuttal

It was now time for the defense to present their case. Their strategy was twofold: attack the credibility of prosecution witnesses and present an alibi for the accused. To open their case, the defense called Tom Tucker to the stand in their first attempt to prove an alibi for the defendants. His testimony was not reported.1

Pedro Gonzales, a member of the initial searching party, testified to trailing the buckboard. Gonzales said there were no tracks around the campfire when they arrived. He thought the tracks measured by Llewellyn were tracks of members of the search party. Jacovo Chavez, another search party member, repeated the testimony of Gonzales, also believing that Branigan and Llewellyn measured tracks of search party members.2

The next witness called was A. N. Bailey, an employee of Lee, who stated that he was at Lee’s Dog Canyon ranch on the day of the disappearance. The defendants were there also.3 Joe Fitchett testified that he had met Oliver Lee at his Dog Canyon ranch on the day of the disappearance.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781574412246

12. Shootout at Wildy Well

Corey Recko University of North Texas Press PDF


Shootout at Wildy Well

Shortly after the hearing, Fall temporarily left New Mexico. As a captain in Company D, New Mexico Volunteers, Fall joined the SpanishAmerican War. Although he did not go to Cuba and fight in the war, he stayed out of New Mexico for the time being.1 An interesting side note was the endorsements Fall received in his quest to be a captain in the war. One letter of endorsement that came to Governor

Otero was signed by Numa Reymond, Fred Bascom, John McFie,

John Riley, and Pat Garrett.2 Judging from all surviving documents, no one else received the number of endorsements that Fall did, and none of his were from expected Fall supporters. It was obvious that what they really wanted was to get Fall out of New Mexico.

Also leaving for the war was William Llewellyn, who was captain of Troop G in the regiment that would become known as

Roosevelt’s Rough Riders. Llewellyn became a lifelong friend of

Theodore Roosevelt. During the Rough Riders’ charge up San Juan

Hill, Llewellyn contracted yellow fever and was sent to a hospital in

See All Chapters
Medium 9781574412246

19. In Conclusion

Corey Recko University of North Texas Press PDF


In Conclusion

Who killed Colonel Albert Jennings Fountain and Henry Fountain?

In telling this story, I’ve attempted to lay out all of the surviving evidence.

Over the years, the more people spoke of this mystery, the more names have been added to the list of suspects. The following is a list of the men who have been mentioned as suspects or possible conspirators in this crime at one time or another: Oliver Lee,

James Gililland, William McNew, Ed Brown, Green Scott, Emerald

James, William Carr, Tom Tucker, Jack Tucker, Albert B. Fall,

Hiram Yost, John Yost, Frank Hill, Frank Chatfield, --- Thergood,

José Chavez y Chavez, Tom “Black Jack” Ketchum, Sam Ketchum,

Joe Morgan, William Gililland, Print Rhodes, Charles Jones, Jim

Miller, Randolph Reynolds, --- Brady, William Johnson, Fred

Pellman, --- Stiles, Bob Raley, Tom Priedemore, John Lynch, Jim

Lynch, --- Johnson (William?), --- Grady, Gene ---, Len Watts, Luis

Herrera, and --- Lillaret.1

Many of these men where not mentioned as suspects until years after the murders, because at the time no evidence was found linking them to the crime, and in some cases they even had an airtight alibi. Take José Chavez y Chavez, who has been cited by many over the years as one of the men believed to have killed the Fountains.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781574412246

9. William B. Sayers

Corey Recko University of North Texas Press PDF


William B. Sayers

Pinkerton operative William B. Sayers then took over the investigation, arriving in Santa Fe in the afternoon on Wednesday, April

15, 1896.1 When Sayers reached the governor’s office the next morning, he found the governor was out of town and he was asked to remain in town till his return. Miss Crane, the governor’s stenographer, informed Sayers that there was a letter missing from the governor’s table that had been written to him by Fraser. Sayers wrote to McParland asking that a copy of the letter be sent to

Thornton so he could see what if any information an outside party could gain from it.2

Crane also pointed out Tom Tucker, a Santa Fe deputy sheriff closely associated with Oliver Lee, to Sayers. Sayers watched him and hoped for a chance to speak with him, but it never came.3

Could Tucker have been responsible for the theft of the letter from the governor’s office?

While in Santa Fe, Sayers made plans to interview Ely “Slick”

Miller, the twenty-five-year-old who was serving his ten-year prison sentence courtesy of A. J. Fountain.4 The following morning, after getting a rig at the livery stable, Sayers drove out to the penitentiary and met Colonel Bergamer, who ran the prison, in his office. Upon learning that Sayers planned to be in town through the next day,

See All Chapters
Medium 9781574412246

4. Pat Garrett Summoned

Corey Recko University of North Texas Press PDF


Pat Garrett Summoned

As the search parties returned, the newspapers ran with the story. Under the headline “Were They Murdered?” the February 4 edition of the El

Paso Times reported, “Yesterday El Paso’s pleasant little neighbor, Las

Cruces, was in a tempest of excitement over a report to the effect that

Col. A. J. Fountain, of that town, and his little eight-year-old son had been murdered by unknown parties . . . .” The article went on to quote

Ben Williams, who told the paper, “That’s what a man gets for prosecuting cattle thieves in New Mexico.”1

The next day, the Santa Fe New Mexican ran the headline “No

Trace Of Col. Fountain,” and, under the heading “Parental Solicitude,” editorialized: no doubt is entertained that the lips of Col. Fountain and his son have since been stilled forever by their cruel and vengeful captors on the theory that “dead men tell no tales.” Of course there could be no motive for murdering the child except to put a dangerous witness out of the way . . . . God grant that the dark mystery that shrouds this awful, this hideous, this unspeakably cowardly crime may be lifted, and that at least the

See All Chapters

See All Slices