March Madness

In March 1882, the situation in Tombstone became worse. Morgan Earp was shot and killed. Some have speculated that ringo had been involved. However, the contemporary records did not implicate him. Moreover, there was tetimony from Briggs Goodrich, Ringo's attorney, that Ringo want no more part in the fued. The Tombstone Epitaph published Goodrich's testimony at the coroner's hearing:

". . . By the way, [speaking to Earp] John Ringo wanted me to say to you, that if any fighting came up between you all, he wanted you to understand that he would have nothing to do with it; that he was going to look after himself, and anybody else could do the same. . . ."

Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and other escorted Virgil Earp to Tucson. At the train station they apparently ran into Frank Stilwell, who was found dead the next day. he had been shot several times. The Earp party returned to Tombstone, and refused to submit to arrest by Sheriff John Behan, who had been telegraphed by Pima County Sheriff Bob Paul and asked to hold the Earp party for the killing of Stilwell. The Earp party rode out of town.

The next morning Sheriff John Behan had assembled a posse to go after the Earp party. Ringo was one of the men in this posse, having been given Breakenridge's horse and rifle to use. George Parsons recorded the excitement in his journal:

"Excitement again this morning-Sheriff went out with a posse supposedly to arrest the Earp party, but they will never do it. The cow-boy element is backing him strongly-John Ringo being one of the party-there is a prospect of bad times."

Wyatt Earp and his party rode over to Pete Spence's wood camp. There they killed a mexican named Florentino Cruz. Some have speculated the Cruz was Indian Charlie. While others have insisted that they were different men. Following the killing of Cruz, reports reached Tombstone that Wyatt Earp had killed Curly Bill Brocius. This claim distracted the publics attention for the Earp party's killing of Stilwell and Cruz. Now the public was simply interested in whether Wyatt Earp had really killed Curly Bill. Brocius was considered the most famous outlaw in the area at the time. Wyatt's claim to have killed Curly Bill was controversial at the time, and still creates great debate.

The Eapr party fled Arizona by April 1882. John Ringo probably returned to Tombstone with Behan's posse and then left the town. It is possible that he left the Territory for a short time. A letter for John Ringo was listed by the Epitaph to be at the post office on March 31, 1882. It was also listed on April 15, April 30, and May 6, 1882. John Ringo resurfaced in Tombstone on May 7, 1882. The Epitaph noted: "Jack Ringold is in town." John Ringo's robbery hearing was scheduled to begin on May 12th. The trial was continued on the 12th and rescheduled to May 18th. Apparently, no witnesses were available to testify against Ringo and the court dismissed the cause against him. His $3000 bond was given back to him.

Around this time Doc Holliday, who was in Colorado, told a newspaper reporter that Ringo was one of John Behan's five deputies. The paper commented: "One of these men is John Ringo, who jumped on the stage of a variety theater in tombstone one night about three weeks ago, and took all the jewels from the proprietor's wife in full view of the audience." No evidence of this event has been found to support Holliday's accusation.

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