William Jackson Marion

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In May 1872, William Jackson Marion and John Cameron, two friends from Kansas, left Liberty, Nebraska, and headed to work on the railroad.[1] On May 5, 1872, Marion returned to his mother-in-law's home near Liberty with Cameron’s team of horses. Marion's mother-in-law suspected that Marion had killed Cameron, and eventually Marion left Nebraska. In March, 1873, a body/skeleton was found in a Gage County, Nebraska riverbed, wearing clothing that unidentified witnesses claimed to be John Cameron's. Marion was named a suspect, although he was unable to be located.[2]

Arrest and prosecution of William Jackson Marion[edit]

In December, 1882, Marion was located in the county jail at Sedan, Kansas, in Chautauqua County, awaiting trial on a charge of stealing. He was taken to Beatrice, Nebraska where he was indicted for the murder of John Cameron. A jury convicted him, and the judge sentenced him to death.[3][4] The trial took two months.[5] On appeal, the Nebraska Supreme Court vacated the conviction[6] and ordered a new trial, noting that under Nebraska law at the time of the murder, a death sentence had to be entered by a jury, not a judge. Upon his second conviction, Marion was again sentenced to death and, after losing a second appeal,[7] was hanged in Beatrice, Nebraska on March 25, 1887. An article in the Omaha Daily Bee on March 26, 1887 declared there to be “no doubt that he was guilty and also guilty of other murders in the Indian Territory.”[8]

Re-appearance of John Cameron[edit]

Four years after Marion was executed, in 1891, John Cameron turned up alive and explained that he had, in the nearly twenty years since his “murder” traveled to Mexico, Alaska, and Colorado.[9][10] In a written statement provided by Marion’s uncle William Wymore, Cameron explained that he had fled out of fear of a paternity allegation.[11] John Cameron said he had sold his team of horses to Marion and still had the note Marion had given him for payment of the remainder.[12]

Pardon of William Jackson Marion[edit]

On March 25, 1987, Marion was pardoned posthumously by the State of Nebraska on the 100th anniversary of his hanging.[13][14]

In the news[edit]

A February, 2013 documentary entitled "...until he is dead. A history of Nebraska's death penalty," discussed at length the hanging and later pardon of William Jackson Marion.[15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Paid the Penalty at Last – Jack Marion Hanged For a Murder Committed Long Ago" (PDF). The McCook Tribune. 1887-03-31. Retrieved 3/12/2012.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  2. ^ "Editorial Jottings" (PDF). Nebraska Advertiser. 4/3/1873. Retrieved 2012-03-17.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. ^ "Crime and Cussedness" (PDF). The Evening Critic. 5/4/1883. Retrieved 2012-03-17.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  4. ^ "For a Murder Committed Eleven Years Ago" (PDF). The Sun. 1883-05-05. Retrieved 2012-03-17. 
  5. ^ "Sudden Departures" (PDF). Daily Evening Bulletin. 1883-05-05. Retrieved 2012-03-17. 
  6. ^ "Marion v. State, 16 Neb. 349, 20 N.W. 289 (Neb. 1884).". 
  7. ^ "Marion v. State, 20 Neb. 233, 29 N.W. 911 (Neb. 1886)". 
  8. ^ "Death on the Scaffold – Jack Marion Hustled Hence With Hemp at Beatrice – Formalities on the Choke" (PDF). Omaha Daily Bee. March 26, 1887. Retrieved 3/12/2012.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  9. ^ "Hanged an Innocent Man – Sensational Developments in an Old Murder Case at Beatrice" (PDF). Omaha Daily Bee. 08/04/1891. Retrieved 3/12/2012.  Check date values in: |access-date=, |date= (help)
  10. ^ "Nebraska State News" (PDF). The Red Cloud Chief. 08/04/1891. Retrieved 3/12/2012.  Check date values in: |access-date=, |date= (help)
  11. ^ "Hanged an Innocent Man – Sensational Developments in an Old Murder Case at Beatrice" (PDF). Omaha Daily Bee. 08/04/1891. Retrieved 3/12/2012.  Check date values in: |access-date=, |date= (help)
  12. ^ Lee, Wayne C. (1993). Bad Men and Bad Towns. Caxton Press. p. 81. ISBN 978-0870043499. 
  13. ^ "Family gathers to clean grave of man hung in Gage County". Beatrice Daily Sun. 2008-09-22. Retrieved 3/12/2012.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  14. ^ http://www.executedtoday.com/images/William_Jackson_Marion_pardon.jpg
  15. ^ "1887 Hanging Remains Nebraska's Most Controversial Execution". 2/7/2013. Retrieved 2012-08-21.  Check date values in: |date= (help)