MURDER OF MARSHAL JAMES H. FRISBEE OF LAMAR
Transcribed by Cindy Logan
Sunday May 5, 1907
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.
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.
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
"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.
Denver, Saturday, August 23,
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
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
"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."