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11. Indictments

Corey Recko University of North Texas Press PDF



Garrett and Perry began the next month working on Luis Herrera

(a different Herrera than was with the search party) after they received information that he might know where the bodies were, but this led to nothing.1

Not much progress was made in the investigation or the search for the bodies over the next two years. Fall, meanwhile, was able to have the cattle rustling indictments Fountain had brought against

Lee and McNew dropped.2

Pat Garrett had to run in the fall elections of 1896 in order to keep the office of sheriff. Garrett was a loyal, lifelong Democrat, but owed his position to the Republicans. Torn, Garrett decided to run as an

Independent and then registered as a Republican after an easy win.3

In the meantime, life went on in New Mexico. William Llewellyn served as a delegate in the Territorial Republican Convention and was elected to the Territorial House of Representatives, of which he became speaker.4 James Gililland married.5 So did Thomas

Branigan.6 Oliver Lee was a delegate for the Territorial Democratic

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7. Decision in the Sheriff’s Contest

Corey Recko University of North Texas Press PDF


Decision in the Sheriff’s Contest

A decision in the sheriff’s contest came down on March 19. Judge

Bantz ruled in favor of Numa Reymond and instructed him to take office the next morning. Unfortunately, it did not appear to be a given that Garrett would be made chief deputy, and subsequently sheriff. Reymond told Garrett that he had made several promises to Oscar Lohman and others for positions on his staff and was not inclined to turn the office over to him. Reymond offered to make

Garrett a deputy sheriff and to assist him all he could in the Fountain case. Garrett did not want to listen to this and walked out.

This situation obviously frustrated Fraser as well, who was eager to see this settled so that Garrett could concentrate on the

Fountain case and accompany him on his trip of the sites. Fraser wrote, “I spent most of the day and evening trying to get this matter straightened out so that I would meet with no further delay, but when I discontinued matters were even worse than in the morning.” Llewellyn told Fraser that he and John Riley would go see

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12. Shootout at Wildy Well

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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

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1. Albert Jennings Fountain

Corey Recko University of North Texas Press PDF


Albert Jennings Fountain

Born Albert Jennings on Staten Island, New York, on October

23, 1838, Albert was the son of Solomon and Catherine Jennings.

The name Fountain came from his mother, who descended from a

French Huguenot family named de la Fontaine, which later turned into Fountain.1 Why Albert took the last name Fountain is unknown. One theory is that a mysterious murder in the Jennings family caused many members to take other names.2 Another suggests that Albert took the Fountain name so as not to give himself away as he searched in China for his then missing father.3

Fountain was educated in New York public schools and at Columbia College. It was said that during his Columbia days, at age

fifteen, he and five other students went on a tour of Europe and the

Far East. It was during this stage of Albert’s life that his father, a sea captain, was purportedly lost at sea. In Solomon Jennings’s last letter to his wife, written somewhere in the Orient, he wrote that food was running out and his crew was getting restless. He was never heard from again.

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18. Closing Arguments and the Verdict

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Closing Arguments and the Verdict

Before the closing arguments began, the attorneys argued as to whether the defendants could be found guilty of murder in the first, second, or third degree, or if it was to be first degree or nothing at all. The defense wanted only the latter option available to the jury.

Judge Parker ruled, “The court will submit the three degrees of murder to the jury.”1

The jury was brought in. Richmond Barnes opened the closing arguments for the prosecution. Barnes went through the chain of circumstantial evidence very thoroughly. He said that while one or a few coincidences might be explained, the whole chain could only be explained on the one hypothesis, that the defendants had murdered the Fountain child. His speech was described as “rather

flowery, and the figures of speech and quotations from The Pickwick

Papers probably went over the heads of the jury.” The interpreter had a difficult time translating some of this, and Barnes had to repeat his expressions. When speaking of Oliver Lee’s mother, who had testified as to Lee’s alibi, Barnes remarked that she had laid “a wreath of maternal duty on the altar of maternal love.” This was too much for the interpreter, and the prosecutor had to explain. Barnes spoke until the noon recess.2

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