Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Eunice Murphy Arranged to Have Her Fiance Lynched – To Get His Money - 1911

FULL TEXT: Valentine, Neb., Sept. 26.— I have just come from the Rushville jail, where I “visited” Miss Eunice Murphy, a pretty frontier girl who is held without bail for inciting to murder. That, in Nebraska, is a capital offense, punishable by hanging.

Eunice doesn’t look the part of a murderess. Although she is 24, she has the face and form of a girl in her teens. I couldn’t detect a trace of coarseness, evil, or anything bad.

“Why, she’s as nice as she can be,” said one woman caller.
Yet this mere slip of a girl faces the very gallows, for, as charged, having urged a private lynching party, composed of three of her beaux and her 18-year-old brother, to hang another beau — Charles Sellers.

“Theew isn’t a doubt in my mind,” said Prosecutor Tucker, “but that Eunice persuaded these jealous suitors to hang Sellers.

Eunice’s brother, Kenneth Murphy, a clean looking lad of 18; George B. Weed and Alma Weed, big strapping “cow punchers,” and Harry Heath, expert “roper,” Eunice’s cousin, admit that they hanged Sellers.

“We did it because he threatened to kill Eunice and the rest of us,” they told Sheriff Rosseter.

Sellers had been courting Miss Murphy three years. She wore a ring he had given her. She accepted other presents from him. Undoubtedly the young ranchman was head over heels in love.

The plot was hatched, according to the prosecution, at a dance. Eunice, the Weed boys and Harry Heath held a number of conferences during intermissions and Sellers, who brought Eunice to the dance, noticed it, but was not suspicious.

On the evening of the lynching the men rode off to Sellers’ ranch. Sellers was asleep.

George Weed woke Sellers up with a gun at his temple and threw a rope over his head. Then the gang dragged him out, threw the rope over the arm of a telephone pole and left Sellers hanging. Then they went home. William McGee, who was staying at Mrs. Heath’s, says that while the boys were away Eunice told him that “the boys have gone over to string up Charley Sellers.”

“When Harry and Kenneth returned,” says McGee, “I heard Harry tell Eunice: ‘It’s done.’”

“’What’s done?’ asked Mrs. Heath.”

“ ‘Oh, we hung Charley Sellers to a telephone pole,’ coolly replied young Heath.”

“ ‘Something had to be done,’ Eunice added.”

At daybreak Miss Murphy, her brother and Heath went to the little cattle town, Cody, and to the home of William Dunbar. There they told of the hanging. Dunbar told the prosecutor that “Eunice said ‘she wanted to go along and help pull the rope, but the boys wouldn’t let her.’ Adding, ‘I was to blame for the hanging, any way.’”

At noon the next day the men were arrested and rushed to the jail at Rushville under double guard to avert another lynching. They are held for first degree murder. Eunice gave herself up.

[E. C. Rogers, “Say Girl Plotted Man’s Lynching,” Tacoma Times (Wa.), Sep. 26, 1911, p. 1]

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