Dave Richardson’s research of news accounts of the circumstances and subsequent trail involved in the shooting death of Officer John Purcell

THE OCTOBER 15, 1923 SHOOTING DEATH OF OFFICER JOHN W. PURCELL, AND WOUNDING OF OFFICER HORACE R. CRAWFORD. ONE SUSPECT WAS LATER ARRESTED AT A FARM INSIDE THE CITY  AT THIRD AND VAN BUREN STREET NORTHWEST. A KLAN MEMBER IS ALLOWED TO SERVE ON THE FIRST JURY. THE POLICE DEPARTMENT INITIATES  FIREARMS TRAINING FOR ALL MEMBERS SHOOTING AT HAINS POINT.

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WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED OCTOBER 16, 1923, PAGE 1

TWO OFFICERS SHOT; THIRD MAN IS DYING

Three Are in Hospitals After Pistol Duel in Southwest Alley

Two policemen are at Emergency hospital seriously wounded and a third man is dying at Casualty hospital following a pistol battle last between the policemen and three men in a dark alley in the rear of the Bell school, First street and Virginia avenue southwest.

The policemen are John W. Purcell, of 742 Harvard street northwest, who was shot twice in the abdomen and once in the right arm, and H.R. Crawford, of 1602 D street southeast, shot in the abdomen.

Dr. Borden, police surgeon, operated on both in an attempt to save their lives.

George Ludley was arrested at 446 Six-and-a- Half street southwest by Detectives Mullen and Murphy when an ambulance was summoned for him. He is dying from the effects of a bullet wound in his right side. Told that he is dying, he denied that he was one of the three men who shot at the policemen.

Purcell and Crawford, in plain clothes, went into the alley to quell the disturbance. Purcell used a flashlight and the three men, without warning, began shooting. Purcell fired once, but before he could shoot again both he and Crawford had been wounded. Purcell fell in his tracks, but Crawford crawled out of the alley and around the corner to the patrol box where he collasped.

Purcell has been on the force about twenty years and Crawford four years. Crawford was a captain in the A.E.F. (American Expeditionary Force during World War I).

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WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED OCTOBER 18, 1923, PAGE 5

TRANSFUSION FAILS TO SAVE POLICEMAN

John W. Purcell Dies From Wound Received in Battle Monday.

Policeman Robert Carroll gave a pint of his blood in a vain effort to save the life of Policeman John W. Purcell, one of two policemen who were wounded in a pistol battle with their assailants Monday night. Purcell died yesterday following the transfusion operation.

Another policeman, Irving Rosenberg, submitted to a blood transfusion to help Policeman Horace R. Crawford, who still is in a critical condition at Emergency hospital. Both Carroll and Rosenberg were on duty yesterday.

George Ludley died at Casualty hospital denying that he was one of the gang that fired at the policemen. Despite his denial he, Lloyd Monroe, and Augustus Brown, were charged with the murder of Purcell. The murder charge was placed against Ludley after he had died.

A coroner’s jury will inquire today into the deaths of Purcell and Ludley.

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WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED OCTOBER 19, 1923, PAGE 2

THREE MEN ARE HELD FOR POLICE SHOOTING

Detained After Inquest Finds Them Responsible for Tragedy.

Three men were held for grand jury action yesterday after an inquest into the fatal shooting Monday night of Policeman John W. Purcell.

William Ludley, Ernest Brown and Lloyd Monroe, are said by police to have fired the shots which killed Purcell and wounded his partner, Policeman H.R. Crawford, whose condition at Emergency hospital is grave.

George Ludley, brother of William, died Tuesday night at Casualty hospital from shots which, a jury decided, were fired by Policeman Purcell.

Purcell and Crawford were fired on in an alley by a crowd of men.

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WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED OCTOBER 25, 1923, PAGE 9

SLAUGHTER ARRESTED IN POLICE DEATH CASE

Found Hiding on Farm Not Far From Maryland Line.

Joseph Slaughter, 35 years old, 1315 Ninth street northwest, wanted by police for the murder of Policeman John Purcell, was arrested early yesterday on a farm at Third and Van Buren streets northwest, close to the Maryland line. Headquarters Detectives Sweeney, Waldron, Scrivener, Springman and Jones made the arrest.

Slaughter admitted he was in the alley in rear of the Bell school, southwest, a little more than a week ago, when Policeman Purcell and his partner, Horace Crawford, were fired upon. Crawford is expected to recover.

Slaughter was taken to First precinct station house. He is the fifth suspect arrested in the case. George Ludley, said to have been one of the gang, died at Casualty hospital from bullet wounds inflicted by Purcell.

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WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED NOVEMBER 8, 1923, PAGE 3

SHOOTING OF POLICE BRINGS DEMAND FOR EFFICIENCY IN FIRING

Course of Pistol Instruction by Experts Will Start Today.

EACH MEMBER OF FORCE MUST BECOME SKILLED

New Arms for Department, Kew’s Condition Still Is Grave

Close upon the fatal shooting of one policeman by gunmen and the serious wounding of two others, the police department yesterday announced intensive instruction in the use of firearms will be given to members of the force.

The condition of Policeman V.P. Kew, Tenth precinct, who was shot in a duel early Monday, is still grave. His assailant escaped.

Policeman John Purcell, was fatally wounded in a battle with hijackers last month. His partner, Policeman Horace Crawford, was wounded. One of the hijackers was killed in the exchange of shots.

Plans for the intensive instruction of every member of the force have been prepared by Maj. Daniel Sullivan, superintendent of police.

First instruction will be given at 1:30 o’clock this afternoon, at Hains Point by two representatives of a firearms manufacturing company. Details of the mechanism of the new police pistol and the proper manner of drawing and “throwing” the gun on a moving target, will be outlined.

Full Program in Spring.

The full program of intensive instruction will be inaugurated as soon as the rearming has been completed. Inspector William S. Shelby yesterday estimated that this would be in the spring.

Arrangements have been made for expert instructors from the firearms company to take whatever time is needed to instruct the policemen adequately. Every member of the department will be required to study the use of his pistol, until he has reached a satisfactory state of efficiency.

Each bureau and precinct will be divided into squads, and selected men will be placed in charge of each to carry on the instruction.

Steady pistol practice was abandoned some time ago by the District police department. The requirement now is that each man shall, once a year, attain a score of 35 out of possible 50 at target practice. In the new course target practice will be made secondary, and stress will be laid on shooting at moving targets resembling men running, prone and under other circumstances with which the police are confronted when they actually need to use their arms.

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WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED JULY 17, 1924, PAGE 8?

FORMER KLANSMAN JUDGED ELIGIBLE FOR MURDER JUROR

District Court Rejects Challenge Made on Ground of Prejudice Against Colored Defendants–War Veteran Admits Connection.

The Invisible Empire of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan which for a time threatened to disrupt the recent Democratic national convention in Madison Square Garden New York bobbed up in criminal court No. 1 yesterday and refused to be downed.

The subject was brought up by T. Morris Wampler of counsel for four black men who are on trial on a charge of first degree murder in connection with the shooting and killing of John W. Purcell, a black policeman in the southwest section last October.

Edward Talbert of apartment 20 1918 Eighteenth street northwest, a prospective juror and ex-service man, was being examined by Wampler when the latter suddenly asked him if he was a member of the Klan. “Not now,” Talbert answered. “Were you ever a member of the Klan?,” Wampler asked. “I refuse to answer,” Talbert responded.

Wampler then appealed to the court to compel Talbert to answer and Chief Justice Walter I. McCoy ruled that the attorney was entitled to an answer no matter what it might be. Talbert explained that he dropped out of the Klan some months ago having joined it when he came out of the army.

He was challenged for cause on the ground that no member of the Klan can sit on a jury to try colored defendants without being prejudiced in advance against them because of their color.

Chief Justice McCoy refused to order Talbert to leave the box as no copy of the Klan oath was before the court to show that the prejudice existed. Talbert explained that he took no oath which would cause him to discriminate against Negroes, catholic’s or jews.

Wampler with other defense counsel, noted an exception to the ruling of the court. However, Talbert is still subject to challenge. While attorneys for the prosecution have had nothing to say about Talbert’s fitness to serve as juror, the defense attorneys may still issue a peremptory challenge and remove him.

This is the first time in the history of local courts that either a member or a former member of the Klan has been compelled to admit membership. The jury is not yet completed.

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WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED AUGUST 7, 1924,

PURCELL TRIAL ENDS IN DISAGREEMENT

Jury Discharged by Court After Sweltering for 24 Hours.

The jury in the Purcell murder case , which had been sweltering in the courthouse for 24 hours, failed to reach an agreement yesterday afternoon at 5 o’clock and was discharged by Chief Justice McCoy, in criminal court No.1.

The jury retired at 5 o’clock Tuesday afternoon to debate on the guilt or innocence of Ernest A. Brown, William Ludley, Joseph Slaughter and Lloyd Monroe, who are charged with the murder of Policeman John W. Purcell.

The case probably will be retried next fall. Defendants were remanded to jail. Efforts may be made to have them released on bond. Although it is not customary to release defendants charged with murder in the first degree on bond, exceptions are sometimes made.

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WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED JANUARY 20, 1925, PAGE 1

Monroe Found Guilty of Killing Policeman

The second trial of the Purcell murder case ended last night in criminal court No. 1 with a verdict of guilty of second degree murder as to Lloyd Monroe, the remaining defendant in an indictment charging first degree murder. The first trial ended in a disagreement by the jury. The other defendants, Ernest A. Brown, Joseph Slaughter and William Ludley, entered pleas to second degree murder and manslaughter and are now awaiting sentence.

The four defendants were alleged to have been responsible for the killing of Policeman John W. Purcell in an alley near the Bell school southwest. Purcell was shot on October 15, 1923, when he went into the alley to investigate an alleged attempt at housebreaking by the defendants. He died several days later.

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PARTIAL WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED NOVEMBER 4, 1925, PAGE 8

APPEALS IN COURT’S HANDS.

New Trials Asked by Alleged Slayer and ………………..

The Court of Appeals yesterday took under advisement the demand of Lloyd Monroe, for a new trial of the case wherein he was sentenced to serve 30 years in prison on a charge of second degree murder in connection with the shooting of Policeman John W. Purcell. Monroe was one of four defendants indicted, and he, alone appealed. Purcell was shot on October 15, 1923, and died a few days later.

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WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED DECEMBER 8, 1925, PAGE 22

Conviction for Murder Is Upheld by Court

The conviction of Lloyd Monroe, on a charge of second degree murder and the sentence of 30 years imposed thereunder were upheld yesterday by the Court of Appeals.

Monroe, together with Ernest A. Brown, William Ludley and Joseph P. Slaughter, were charged with the murder of Policeman John W. Purcell.

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