About 11 p.m., September 2, 1892, some person reported to Winfield City Marshall Fulton that George Killion was whipping his wife and disturbing the peace.Killion lived near the Winfield Foundry, at the crossing of Manning Street and the Missouri Pacific railroad.
Fulton went to Killions house, and entered inside.Killion jumped out of a window and ran north some distance and stopped. Fulton and Mrs. Killion came out the front door and caught up with him.Ponca McClain, who was standing on the railroad, as well as other neighbors, heard the men quarreling.
Fulton struck Killion with his cane during a scuffle which then took place.Fulton started away but came back to Killion and a shot rang out.Killion and his wife ran away. Fulton walked away several steps.Someone asked him if he was hurt? Yes, I believe Im hit bad. was the reply. He sank down and in a moment was dead. An examination showed that the assassins bullet had struck his neck and severed the jugular vein.An unsuccessful search was made for Fultons revolver.
Sheriff Nipp organized a posse and started in pursuit of Killion.Nearly 100 militia boys and citizens volunteered and the search continued the rest of the night in the timber and corn fields along the river.Men were stationed around the city to cut off any chance for escape.
The next morning Bert Dillon started to his fishing camp on the river.He was approaching the junction of the Santa Fe and El Dorado branch when the El Dorado train went north.Vince Dillon, armed with a Springfield rifle, was aboard and got off at the junction to hunt for Killion.
Bert saw Vince and called to him to come back as Killion was coming. Bert recognized Killion by a large scar on his neck, for he had changed clothes during the night.Vince came back and threw his gun on Killion and ordered him to Put your hands up! Killion did as requested, but protested that he had done nothing.He was searched but nothing was found except a pocket-knife and a plug of tobacco.
Under-sheriff Tom Harrod got onto the scene at the right moment. He had taken a measure of one of Killions shoes on the previous night and found tracks in a corn field and along the river to correspond. Sheriff Nipp had also been searching the same area and tracking the man.
Harrod was carefully following the fresh tracks along the river bank. As Harrod reached the Missouri Pa&c bridge he saw Vince Dillon point his gun.He jumped upon the bridge and ran across in time to help in the arrest.
They put Killion in Harrods horse-drawn buggy. Vince Dillon got in with them and they started to the city. On the way Killion asked if he had hurt Fulton. Youve killed him. replied Harrod.
Killion turned halfway around in the seat, raised as though to jump out and said: Take your d----d revolver and blow my G-d d---ed head off.
No, Im not in that business, replied Harrod.Im here to get you and Im going to hold you. He then had straps brought and tied Killions hands.
By the time the jail was reached a large crowd had assembled.The prisoner was quickly hustled into a steel cage.
He admitted to Sheriff Nipp that he shot Fulton with Fultons gun, which he had taken from him.He declared he did not know where the gun was.
Mrs. Killion soon arrived and said she would go and get the gun.The sheriff hailed a cab and made her get in with him.They drove into the west part of the city to the house of a family named Hardesty. Mrs. Killion said she would go in and get the gun.No, you dont play any game on me, said the sheriff I'll go with you. Mrs. Killion went to a barrel of flour and dug up Fultons revolver, with one chamber empty.
A Courier reporter was taken by the sheriff to Killions cell.The sheriff made Killion stand up and be looked at. The reporter said: He is probably about 28 years old, low, heavy set, with light complexion, gray eyes and hardened expression. The prisoner said: Oh, My God, I wish I was dead.Oh, I wish there had never been a drop of whisky made.
The Sheriff told him that such talk was nonsense; that he knew what whisky was and that every time he took a drink it made him bad and quarrelsome, and that whisky was not on trial now. But youll give me a show, wont you? asked the prisoner? Oh, yes, well give you a show. Youll have a trial, but by your own admission as well as the evidence of others you are guilty of killing an innocent old man and you may prepare to take your dose. Yes, youve got me now, and you can kill me. groaned the wretch.
Mrs. Killion had no better appearance, and it was said by witnesses that she took Fultons revolver from him during the scuffle. Her husband snatched it from her hands and fired the shot. The Courier reported that the murdered man was the kindest and most innocent old man in the city. He has long been a resident of the city and was appointed on the force last April by Mayor W. G. Graham. He was about sixty years old and, because of his age, many surmised that if he ever ran across a tough crowd that he would have trouble.He was as brave as a lion and never hesitated to go anywhere. He had more influence over the mischievous young fellows of the city than any man we have ever had on the force. He was so kind that all respected him.
The deceased left an aged wife and a daughter to mourn his loss. The daughter, Miss Emma, at the time of the murder, lived in Tacoma, Washington.
Phillip Killion was found guilty of murder and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. In 1902, Killion applied to Governor Bailey for a pardon.Governor Bailey did not grant the pardon but did commute the sentence to twenty years.
In 1906 Governor Leedy reopened the case to consider early parole of Phillip Killion on the recommendation of Warden Landis.The sentiment among the people of Cowley County was strong against executive clemency being shown to Killion. Governor Hoch decided not to issue him a parole because of his bad record before he was sent to prison.
With time off for good behavior, Killion was paroled in 1909 after serving seventeen years.