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MURDER OF MARSHAL JAMES H. FRISBEE OF LAMAR

Transcribed by Cindy Logan

 

 
Sunday May 5, 1907

MARSHAL FRISBEE

Andrew Johnson was convicted of first degree murder of Night Marshal Frisbee the night of December 26, 1906. He was shot while trying to arrest two suspicious characters one of whom was Johnson. The second man is still at large. Johnson, it is asserted by the authorities, killed Frisbee to escape being arrested for the mail robbery for which he had been convicted in Leadville. Johnson is also said to be the man who shot and robbed Denver & Rio Grande Ticket Agent Dale at Leadville.
 
 
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Denver, Tuesday, August 20, 1907
 
The last minutes of Andrew Johnson's life are slowly being picked off and on Saturday of this week he must hang for the murder of Marshal Frisbee of Lamar. Did Johnson fire the shot that killed the Marshal? This is the question that was not satisfactorily settled at the trial, it has not and although seems to be all against Johnson, the evidence convicting him was only circumstantial. Only one side of the case was heard. Trial Judge McHenry declare that direct testimony was given against Johnson and are against his reprieve. They have written to Acting Governor Harper asking for that reprieve to be refused. On the other hand no evidence has been shown either Governor Harper or Attorney General Dixon which proves that Johnson was guiltless beyond a doubt.

Prisoner Johnson has notified the acting governor that he can prove an alibi if given a hearing but from all appearances that last chance for life will not be given him. Johnson was to have been hanged today. He was sentenced to be hanged sometime this week but Warden Clegborn is putting off the end for Johnson until Saturday in hopes of a reprieve. There is a general feeling that Johnson has not been given a fair show and should be given a last chance for his life.

 
 
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Denver - Saturday, August 24, 1907

MAKES A NOISE LIKE A PIPE DREAM
ANONYMOUS LETTER RECEIVED BY ACTING GOVERNOR HARPER
REPORTING TO COME FROM THE MAN WHO SHOT MARSHAL FRISBEE OF LAMAR

That there is honor among criminals was demonstrated this morning in anonymous letter received by LT. Governor Harper purported to be from the man who fired the bullet that killed Marshal Frisbee of Lamar last winter and for which Andrew Johnson narrowly escaped the hangman's noose at Canon City.

While Johnson had persistently refused to divulge the name of his pal the one who is believed by the authorities to have been the real murderer of the Lamar officer, this same partner in crime is repaying Johnson's friendship by endeavoring to shift the blame from the latter's shoulders to himself.

Legibly written, having no address or signature, and with the postmark so blurred in the stamping that the name of the town is unrecognizable the letter is believed to come from the man who was with Johnson when the Marshal was shot and was able to evade capture. The letter was very brief. There was no attempt to excuse the crime. It simply said:

"Governor Harper, Andrew Johnson did not kill Marshal Frisbee. I was the one who killed him. This is the truth."

Governor Harper has received so many letters and messages in regard to the reprieving of Johnson that at first it was thought the letter was a hoax but the more the matter was thought about, especially when taken into consideration with the fact that Johnson is known to be concealing a great deal he knows about the murder, the more positive the Governor became that the letter came from the real slayer.

Johnson's reticence and the inability of the officers to locate his companion on the night that Frisbee was shot will probably result in the second man never being punished for his crime. Johnson apparently will never disclose his identity and the man himself unless he is constructed differently from most criminals, will never give himself up to save his pal. There's said to have been a movement started to have Johnson placed on parole later on. It is hardly likely that this will be done as long as the present administration remains in power.

 

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Denver, Saturday, August 23, 1907

ANDREW JOHNSON'S SENTENCE COMMUTED TO LIFE IMPRISONMENT
AT HARD LABOR IN THE STATE PENITENTIARY!
THE CONDEMNED MAN REFUSES TO REVEAL THE IDENTITY OF HIS ASSOCIATE

Andrew Johnson the convicted murderer of Marshal Frisbee, Lamar Colorado, December 26, 1906 will not be hanged. Acting Governor Harper at noon to day after exhaustive personal investigation that a doubt exists in the man's real guilt be reason for a Reprieve Order commuting Johnson sentence to life imprisonment at hard labor in the penitentiary. The order was sent by special delivery from Governor and Judge Clegmore sent a telegraph message to the penitentiary informing the decision that the executive action had been given.

Johnson told the acting governor last week that he was ready to die and he had lived a very satisfactory life and that he would rather be put away than to be tortured continually with request that he divulge the identity of the man who was with him at Lamar at the time of the shooting.

He seems to be under the impression that a suspect had been arrested and the governor and other officials were conspiring to get the testimony to use against his friend. Johnson scorned securing personal favors at the cost of jeopardizing his friend's chances.

In issuing his order Governor Harper asserts merely that sympathy has had no part in the consideration of Johnson's case. He said that he is convinced that Johnson is one of the two men who attacked the Marshal but the keynote of his decision comes in these words:

"But those upon whose testimony largely rested the direct evidence that went to prove Johnson fired the fatal shot are now most anxious as to that important fact. Put that and together with others since developing, caused sufficient grounds for a reasonable doubt as to the clear identity of the actual murderer."

 

 

 


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