Implicated in Murder

On March 15, 1881, an attempt to stop the Kinnear Stage was made by bandits. The driver Eli "Budd" Philpot and a passenger named Peter Roerig were killed. Bob Paul, who was appealing a recent loss to Charles Shibell for the position of Pima County Sheriff, was supposed to be riding as a shotgun messenger. However, for some reason he was actually driving the coach when the robbery attempt was made. Upon being told to Hold! Paul instead kept the horses running.

A large posse went out after the bandits when news reached Tombstone. Among the men who went with Sheriff John Behan were Virgil, Morgan and Wyatt Earp. Wyatt and Morgan captured a man named Luther King, and they claimed that he had implicated Jim Crane, Harry Head, Bill Leonard as his accomplices. King was taken to Tombstone but later escaped from the jail. He was never seen again.

Over the years claims have been made that Doc Holliday was involved in the Kinnear Stage hold-up attempt, and the murders that had taken place. Holliday was believed to have been a friend of Bill Leonard, having known the man from Las Vegas, New Mexico. Following the Gunfight at the OK Corral Ike Clanton claimed that he was told by Holliday that he had been involved in the hold-up attempt.

There has been a considerable amount of debate concerning whether Doc Holliday was or was not involved in the incident. One issue that has been discussed has been the accusation that was made by Kate Elder that Doc Holliday was involved in the murders. On July 5, 1881, based on Kate's sworn statement, an arrest warrant was issued by Justice Wells Spicer for Doc Holliday. Sheriff John Behan arrested Holliday and brought him before Spicer.

Holliday was released on a $5000 dollar bond that was granted by Spicer. His sureities were "Wyatt Earp, J. Meagher, and J. L. Melgren." An examination was scheduled for the following morning at nine o'clock. On July 6, 1881, Holliday was charged with a crime in two separate courts. The first was in the U.S. Commisioner's court and he was charged with "attempt to rob U. S. Mail at the time of Killing of Budd Philpot." An examination into this charge was scheduled to be set. The second case was set in the Justice Court and he was being held on "the charge of murder of Budd Philpot." The case was continued until nine o'clock July 9. Holliday remained out on bail.

Later in the night, after she had made out her statement, Kate Elder was arrested by Virgil Earp for being drunk and disorderly. The next day she was released after paying a fine of $12.50. She was later arrested for a second time for "making threats against life." Some have claimed that she may have threatened Holliday. She was brought before Judge Felter and confined in jail. Col. A. P. George, her attorney filed a writ of Habeas Corpus in the U.S. Commisioner's court, presided by T. J. Drum. After considering all the evidence Drum Kate Elder discharged and the writ dismissed.

After having been arrested twice in as many days, Kate Elder left Tombstone. The popular story often tells that she had recanted her story before leaving Tombstone. However, there is no eveidence of this. On July 8, Holliday was released and the charges later dismissed as the prosecution had no evidence against Holliday because Kate had left town.

The Milt Joyce Incident

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