Murder, Mayhem and Tragedy in Teton County
Teton County Montana


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Murder, Mayhem and Tragedy in Teton County
District Court.
--State of Montana vs. D.P. Smith, charge murder, second degree; owing to the disqualification of James Sulgrove, county attorney, the court appointed J.E. Erickson to prosecute this action. W.J. Brennen and M.M. Lyter were appointed as counsel for defendant. Plea of not guilty entered. Case set for March 18, [1901] at 10 a.m.
--The above case was taken up the first thing Monday morning, and a jury consisting of J.V. Davies, John A. Gist, B.B. Rogers, John R. Gleason, Robt. Fairburn, J.R. Young, J.S. Lane, James Miller, Otto Miller, H.F. Guth, Jere McCarthy and Lawrence Davis was secured with but little difficulty. The evidence in the case showed that the defendant, David P. Smith, shot and almost instantly killed Philip Lucero at Dupuyer on Sept. 26, 1900. Lucero had been drinking quite heavily, and when in an intoxicated condition was a quarrelsome and dangerous man. That morning he seemed to have a special spite or grievance against Mr. Smith, and had threatened to cut out the defendants heart, etc. He continued to abuse Smith and call him vile names, when Smith left the saloon, hoping that Lucero would quiet down during his absence and trouble would be avoided. Going to J.W. McKnight's office he inquired for a justice of the peace or a deputy sheriff that Lucero might be placed under restraint. On being informed that there was no justice nor deputy in town at that time, the defendant went to his room and put a 38-caliber six shooter in his pocket to protect himself with. On returning and attempting to re-enter the saloon, the defendant discovered Lucero advancing toward him, knife in hand, in a threatening manner. Hastily drawing his six-shooter, he fire two shots at Lucero, both striking him in the breast, resulting in death almost instantly. The case was given to the jury Monday evening about six o'clock and between nine and ten o'clock they returned a verdict of acquittal. [Teton Chronicle March 22, 1901]

V. M. Pyatt of Bole was acquitted by the jury in the district court last Monday, of the murder of D.W. Bunday at Bole in March of this year. The case went to the jury about 11 o'clock Monday morning and they did not agree on their verdict until in the afternoon about four o'clock. It is said that on their first ballot the jury stood 10 for acquittal and two for a verdict of manslaughter with imprisonment of one year in the penitentiary as a penalty. This standing was maintained until on the last ballot in the afternoon when all voted for acquittal.
Mr. Bunday, who was one of the trustees of the school at Bole, got into a quarrel with Pyatt, who had the contract for building a new school house for the district, which led to blows. The evidence shows that Pyatt was knocked down by Bunday, who then jumped on Pyatt and began to beat him up. Pyatt drew out his revolver and in an attempt to take it away from him by Bunday, the gun discharged. Pyatt claimed that he did not pull the trigger, but that in the attempt to wrest it from his grasp, the gun was accidentally discharged.
The case was vigorously prosecuted by County Attorney John J. Greene, assisted by Attorney James W. Freeman, of Great Falls, while the defense was able conducted by Attorney Thos. H. Pridham, of this city, assisted by Attorney James W. Speer, of Great Falls.[Ch
oteau Montanan Nov. 24, 1916.]


E.W. Marlow Killed By Accidental Discharge of Rifle.
E.W. Marlow, trapper, 41 years old, died at a local hotel yesterday evening about 6:15, two hours after a bullet from a .22 automatic rifle had entered his forehead a little above the left eye, penetrating the brain. He was unconscious from the moment the bullet struck him and lived only a few minutes after being taken into the hotel.
According to Chick Grimsley, who, with Lew Walley was with Marlow when the accident happened, the three men had floated a motor-equipped boat, recently built by Marlow, on the Teton near Choteau, and had proceeded down the river to a point near the Dutton bridge, east of Choteau about four miles. Marlow, Mr. Grimsley said, was in the stern of the boat, watching the motor, while young Walley was seated in the bow where the rifle had been placed. Mr. Grimsley sat in the middle of the boat, facing Marlow. In some manner the rifle was discharged, Grimsley thought probably as Walley was attempting to shove the boat across a sandbar. Grimsley saw Marlow keel over where he sat while blood began to ooze from a wound in his head.
Young Walley remained with the injured man while Grimsley hurried to Choteau, returning to the scene of the accident with Dr. H.J. McGregor and Sheriff Collins, who brought Marlow to town in their car.
An inquest will probably be held in order to establish for record the circumstances surrounding the accident, though Coroner Charles H. Connor said last night that the proceeding is a formality only, since no doubt exists in the minds of county officials as to the manner in which Marlow met his death. [Transcribed with the express permission of the Choteau Acantha April 2, 1925.]

Coroner's Inquest Finds Marlow's Death Result of Accident.
Funeral Awaits Word from Nebraska Relatives.
A coroner's jury after hearing the evidence last Friday of “Chick” Grimsley and Lew Walley, companions of the victim at the time of the accident, and of Dr. H.J. McGregor, physician summoned to attend Marlow, gave it as their verdict that E.W. Marlow, trapper and world war veteran who died a week ago Wednesday evening two hours after a .22 rifle bullet had penetrated his brain, came to his death by accidental discharge of the firearm.
Marlow and his companions were traveling on the Teton river about four miles east of Choteau when the rifle placed in the bottom of the boat, was accidentally discharged as the boat was being shoved across a gravel bar.
Final arrangements for disposal of Marlow's remains had not been made late yesterday pending receipt of final instructions from relatives of Marlow who live in Nebraska. A sister had telegraphed Coroner Charles H. Connor to hold the body for further instructions.
[Transcribed with the express permission of the Choteau Acantha April 9, 1925.]


Warren H. Daley to be Honored With Special Services Saturday
Special last services, with military burial rites by the American Legion and VFW posts, will be conducted at Choteau this Saturday for AMM 3C Warren H. Daley, 23, whose remains will arrive today from overseas under the repatriation of World War II dead program. The body will be accompanied by CMM Bernard F. Dunn of the sixth army escort detachment at Ogden.
Services will be held at the Choteau Methodist church at 2 p.m., followed by graveside rites at the cemetery. The service will be the first conducted at Choteau for a repatriated deceased veteran.
Pallbearers will be comprised of a VFW and Legion squad of former navy men, Bill Sabo, Bob Dellwo, Louis Clough, Morris Tetrud, Bob Arensmeyer and Clarence Stenson.
Captured by Japs
The son of Halvor Daley of Fairfield, young Warren was an aviation machinest's mate in the navy who was captured by the Japanese in the spring of 1945. He was cruelly killed on April 27, 1945, by his captors, who were tried at Yokohama for the war crime.
Death by hanging was meted out for the atrocity to six Japanese war criminals on Feb. 9, of this year. Each of the accused was found guilty of the unlawful killing of one American prisoner of war. In addition, Hideo Ishinaki, former first lieutenant in command of the Japanese detachment which committed the atrocity and Masao Kataoko, former sergeant major and platoon leader, were convicted of command responsibility for the executions. Ishizaki killed a prisoner by striking him with a sword, while Kataoka shot a prisoner.
Each Found Guilty
Kikup Tomoka, former Japanese army corporal, and Takeji Fugino, former superior privates, were each found guilty of unlawfully killing an American prisoner by shooting while Zentaro Watanabe and Shoji Ito, both former superior privates, were each convicted of bayoneting an American prisoner to death.
The executioins of Daley and the others took place following the capture of the Americans at Ple Tonan, an outpost in the Indo-China hills. Surviving the crash of their Catalina flying boat on Jan. 26, 1945, off the Indo-China coast, the Americans wandered for weeks in the hills, successfully eluding the Japanese.
Rumors of their presence reached the Japanese, however, and a part of the 189th Infantry battalion was dispatched to capture the Americans. On April 27, 1945, the Japanese reached the outpost and the fliers surrendered after a brief skirmish. Six of the eight survivors who had been at the outpost were executed.
Describe Scene
Eyewitnesses testifying at the trial described the scene in which the grim tragedy of the execution occurred in the house before daylight directly after the capture of the Americans. A large bonfire was built in the middle of the courtyard at the outpost and the eight Americans were seated around it with their hands tied behind their backs.
The spirit of revenge was running high among the Japanese soldiers and cries of “Kill them” filled the air. Finally Ishizaki issued the order for the execution and one by one the fliers were taken behind a nearby building and killed. Two of the Americans were left unharmed, since the Japanese felt they might be able to obtain information from them.
Prosecuting the case against the six Japanese for the legal section were Leonard M. Rand of 537 Summer Avenue, Newark, N.J., and Angus Munro of Dallas, Tex. [Transcribed by Nancy Thornton with express permission of the Choteau Acantha May 27, 1948.]


Sheriff Peterson Shoots Dogs Killing Cattle.
Sheriff Al Peterson last week shot and killed two dogs which have ravaged cattle worth an estimated $2,000 at ranches between Choteau and Lowry. The dogs were a police dog and a collie-shepherd, which have killed cattle at various ranches near Simms for the past month.
With Sheriff Peterson on the predatory dog investigation were Deputy Sheriff Jack Egger of Fairfield and Deputy Sheriff John Earl of Great Falls.
According to the Great Falls Tribune, the Mangas Cattle Co. and other ranches in the area searched the ranges for cattle the dogs may have killed or gnawed beside their own. Several days before the two dogs were seen running a yearling. The animal later was discovered killed and the investigation started.
The dogs ranged far from their own ranches, joined forces and ran a yearling, perhaps as far as six miles, when they would grab its nose or protruding tongue and wrestle it down and kill it. The two dogs had reverted to the wild state. They killed and maimed the yearlings, valued at from $150 up for the joy of killing.
Ranchers in the area fear still more cattle killed by the wild dogs will be found. [Transcribed by Nancy Thornton with the express permission of the Choteau Acantha May 27, 1948]

Last Updated   6/27/18

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