hanging of William and Thomas Halderman was famous for its time.
Twice their execution was stayed, once by President McKinley.
Accused of shooting Buck Smith's cattle and selling the meat, they were
to the southeast Arizona ranch of J. N. Wilson by Constable Chester Ainsworth,
assisted by a local 18-year-old, Teddy Moore. What began as a
peaceful arrest ended in gunfire, with Ainsworth dead and young Teddy
mortally wounded, dying at home about four hours later. The Haldermans
fled to New Mexico, where they were captured and extradited to stand trial
in Tombstone for murder. They were convicted, largely by the
newspapers, and sentenced to hang.
There was so much angst created against William and Thomas that important factors in the trial appear to have been ignored. Among the peculiarities, the prosecuting District Attorney was Ainsworth's brother. A witness had made an affidavit that Moore had threatened the Haldermans before joining the arrest. Wilson's daughters had sworn an affidavit that one of the arresting party had fired the first shot but their father had ordered the girls to testify to the contrary. Johnny Wilson, a son, witnessed the whole affair according to William but never appeared in court. There was no testimony heard to convict Thomas -- the jury simply included him in the verdict, even though one juror admitted the jury did not fully understand the court's instructions. Buck Smith later came into evidence that Teddy Moore was the one who had killed his cattle and that Moore wanted the brothers to take the blame. Still, there was no avoiding the hangman. As William and Thomas stood together on the Tombstone gallows at 12:40 PM November 16, 1900, they said "Good bye" to the gathered crowd, the crowd responded "Good bye," and Boothill said hello to its newest residents.