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The Arnold-Simpson Affair

     The trial ended in favor of Knight and Simpson, due to lack of proper documentation on the part of Jack Byrne and Knight allegedly locating the mines contested after time specified for the agreed upon grubstake. But Byrne was a sore looser and appealed.

SUPERIOR COURT NEWS ... On Monday in the case of Jack Byrne, plaintiff vs. Joe Simpson and Tom Knight, defendants, motion for new trial by plaintiff was argued by P.W. Forbes, Esq., and Ben. H. Yandell and F.C. Sherrer, Esq's, for defendants. The motion was submitted and the Court overruled plaintiff's motion. This case is well known as the "Skidoo" Mining Suit and involves the title to very valuable mineral ground near the town of Skidoo. — April 17, 1908 Inyo Independent

     You would think that Joe Simpson would be jubilant over the outcome and end of the trial, but it was not to be. Two days after that newspaper hit the stands, Sunday, April 19, 1908, Joe Simpson committed the crime that he forever shall be known for.

MURDER AT SKIDOO. Word came Tuesday that a murder had been committed in Skidoo Sunday, the victim being J.C. Arnold and the slayer Joe Simpson. The particulars as reported to Under sheriff McDonald are that Simpson had been making a disturbance, and had been disarmed by Arnold. Later he walked up to Arnold and asked what he had against him. Arnold said that he had nothing against Simpson. The latter reiterated that he had, and drawing a revolver deliberately shot Arnold through the heart. Officer McDonald and District Attorney Dehy left yesterday for the scene.

A version of the affray reaching this office says that Simpson's nose and upper lip were shot away during a fight in Los Angeles some time ago; that Arnold is supposed to have been the shooter in that case; and that Simpson traveled across the desert to get even. Not verified. — April 23, 1908 Inyo Register [Bishop, CA]

 

 

MURDER AT SKIDOO — ONE OF ITS LEADING CITIZENS SHOT DOWN IN COLD BLOOD — MURDERER IN CHARGE OF DEPUTY SHERIFF. From what we can learn from a party who was present in Skidoo at the time of the killing an unprovoked and uncalled for murder was committed by Joe Simpson, a saloon-keeper of that place last Sunday. It seems that Simpson went to Mr. Dobbs, the banker of that place and requested that he be given twenty dollars. Mr. Todd said: "Joe you know your account stands." Simpson replied, "I don't care. I want it anyhow." The money not being handed out to him he became abusive, and Mr. James Arnold, proprietor of the building and store in which the bank is situated, hearing loud words approached Simpson and prevailed on him to leave the building. Simpson was in an ugly mood and went around town seeking trouble. Mr. Arnold seeing how matters stood, and thinking to preserve the peace and quiet of the town, started to find the Justice of the Peace and have Simpson arrested. Learning that that officer was out of town about fifteen miles, sent after him and had him brought back. Between 10:30 and 1:30, the time of the shooting, and before the arrival of the Justice, Simpson learning what he had done, approached Mr. Arnold and said, "Jim, what have you against me?" Arnold replied, "Joe, I have nothing against you, but when under the influence of liquor you are intensely ugly." On hearing Arnold's reply, Simpson pulled his gun and shot him, remarking "By God, your time has come." The bullet penetrated the body in the region of the heart and made its exit in the back just below the kidneys. The unfortunate man lived only a few hours after being shot.

Deceased was one of the prominent citizens of Skidoo and was identified with all its interests. He was highly respected, and in his death Skidoo loses a citizen who had the best interests of the entire community at heart.

Joe Simpson, who did the killing, is well known here as he was one of the interested parties in the Skidoo mining suit which occupied the attention of the Superior Court for several days last summer, and in all of Southern Inyo's mining camps. When drinking Simpson was regarded as anything but agreeable.

Simpson's preliminary examination will take place today, and he will undoubtedly be brought to Independence in a day or so to stand trial before the Superior Court on charge of murder. — April 24, 1908 Inyo Independent