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September 2, 2015

1920 Warrensburg Judge Cockrell Presides Over Murder Trial with Automatic Pistol in his Pocket


Judge Ewing Cockrell, Warrensburg, MO

Warrensburg, Mo. With an automatic pistol in his hip pocket, Judge Ewing Cockrell presided at the trial of Tom Clark, also known as James Bradley, who is charged with murder in connection with the death of Sheriff Joseph Talbott of Lexington, Mo.,  and his two deputies. May 4, 1910. The minute the testimony closed deputy sheriff's placed Clark In a high powered automobile and started with him to Kansas City, where they will place him In the Jackson county Jail to await the verdict of the Jury. 

1910 Johnson County Missouri Courthouse

Although there has been no open demonstration there has been a feeling of uneasiness among the officers that Clark had better be safely away from Warrensburg when the verdict was rendered. The defense depended almost entirely on an alibi. Witnesses from Tulsa and Avant, Okla., swore that Clark was in those towns on May 11 to 6, 1919. Clark was placed on the witness stand and swore that he was in Oklahoma at the time the Lafayette county officers were murdered. He said the morning of May 3, 1919. he was In Avant, Okla., and called his wife at a hotel at Tulsa over the long distance at 11 a. m. He further stated that after talking to his wife over the telephone he went to Tulsa where he stayed for several days. The proprietor of the hotel, on being called to the witness stand, corroborated Clark's, testimony.

The Rock Island Argus and Daily Union., July 02, 1920

The Lexington intelligencer., May 09, 1919

Sunday May 4th 1919, Talbott was killed while transporting car thieves to jail. Also killed were Deputy Sheriff John McDonald and Deputy Constable James Stapleton.  Talbott’s wife completed his term as Sheriff. 

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