The Norman Transcript
August 18, 1899
Name of Mrdered Man is A. J. Eick-
Discovered on a Piece of Card
MAN NAMED HOPPER UNDER ARREST
Another Suspect is Being Hunted-
Hopper is Identified as One of the Two Men Who
Was with the Murdered Man at the Wagon Yard
The Times Journal of Saturday says: The identity of the murdered and decapitated man found in the river has at last been established without a doubt. His name is A. J. Eick, which proves that the initials on the man’s shirt are genuine. A man by the name of J. T. Hopper was arrested yesterday near Lexington, O. T. and brought her this morning ad is now in the county jail.
Another man, supposed to be connected with the crime, is being hunter. There is but small chance, however, of his being captured.
The clue upon which Hopper was arrested is that he was one of the three men who put up at Morrow’s wagon yard two days before the body was found in the river. This fact Hopper does not deny. He was also identified this morning by S. I. R. McCuan, who manages the morrow wagon yard. Mr. McCuan visited the jail this morning, and as soon as Hopper saw McCuan he (Hopper) cried out, “Hello there,” and reached his hand through the bars of the cage to shake hands with McCuan. McCuan came out of the jail and said, “That’s one of them; he knew me and I knew him.” Mr. McCuan was asked if he could identify the body of the dead man as one of the men who was with Hopper at the wagon yard. He said, “The dead man’s face was so puffed and swollen that I cannot say that I positively identify him as being one of the men with Hopper, but he bore every description to the man. The dead man’s nose is flatter than was the nose of the man I saw with Hopper, but he has the same kind of a mustache, the short growth of beard and is the same size. Hopper and two other men, one of whom I think was the murdered man, drove out of the wagon yard about an hour or an hour and a half before sundown the evening before the body of the murdered man was found floating in the river.” Mr. McCuan was positive that the three men left the wagon yard at the time stated above. He further stated that Hopper told him that the three were gamblers and that they were gambling here in the city.
The Camp Discovered
The clue which led to Hopper’s arrest was the finding of the camp where three men stopped that night and also the finding of the burnt papers and the bold where the man had been killed. It was found where the body had been carried down the side of the road from the camp to the river and thrown in. The camp was situated about 200 yards from the river. The blood was soaked into the ground but was dug up by Officer Sam Bartell, one of the men who discovered the clue, and put in a sack and brought to the city. In hunting through the ashes where the papers had been burned the murdered man’s card was found with the name of A. J. Eick on it. This cared was all burned except the man’s name and it seems almost providential that I was not consumed with the other paper. The authorities further claim that they have the names of people who saw the three men go into camp that night and also the names of other people who saw only two men break camp in the morning.
A representative of this paper had an interview with Hopper this morning at the jail. Hopper is not a pleasant looking man, but he looks intelligent. He is of medium height and of very dark complexion. Hopper was asked, “Were you in Oklahoma City a couple of days before the murdered man’s body was found in the river?” He answered, “Yes, I was stopping at Morrow’s wagon yard.” “When did you leave Oklahoma City?” “I left Oklahoma City Thursday afternoon at 2 o’clock. There were four of us. Myself, W. J. King, Wilkes Williams, and a man named Frutell left in his own wagon. We all drove to within five miles of Norman where we camped that night. The wagon we had belonged to King, whose wife was at my house while we were up here. We drove to my house where I stopped and King and his wife went on. Williams is a deputy sheriff of Lexington. Frutell owns a cotton gin at Buckhead, eleven miles southeast of Lexington.”
This story of Hopper’s does not correspond with the story other people tell. Mr. McCuan is positive that the three men did not leave until 6 o’clock. Hopper says it was 2 o’clock. An old man and his son, who were in the yard at the time these men were, says that the men did not have time to drive farther than the river and go into camp before sundown. This same old man and his son positively identify the carpet found on the dead man as the one the three men had. The old man and his son were not positive in identifying the man though they said he bore a very close resemblance to one of three men who had the carpet. The old man and his son also say that the men had pillows with cases on them. A pillow case believed to be one f these cases was found with the murdered man’s head in it.
Hopper pretended all morning up to the time he was interviewed that he did not know why he was arrested. He was asked if he had heard of the murdered man being found in the river. He said he had. He was asked when told and he answered that he had been told while in jail at Lexington, after his arrest and that an old man had told him.
A Strong Case
The case against Hopper is a very strong one. He was with the three men at the wagon yard. The men were seen in camp by the river. There were three at night and only two in the morning. Strips of carpet were found there they camped that night that match the carpet found on the murdered man. Under this very heavy burden of convincing evidence Hopper will rest until the men can be found who were with him in the wagon yard and camped with him that fatal night.
One of these men the police are looking for, whom they believe is Hopper’s partner in the crime; the other man, it is believed is the murdered man whose body is buried but whose head is still in the morgue.
Motive for the Crime
Although the murdered man’s identify is established beyond a doubt, yet who Eick was and where he came from to this place is still a mystery. He was known to have money, possibly $200. He won $50 at one gambling house in the city a while before the man left town. He was an expert at throwing dice and won plenty of money.
The other two men met Eick here and induced him to join them. All of the men had been drinking. Hopper and the other man were not as successful in winning as Eick was. It is believed that Eick was murdered for his money. The general opinion is that they went into camp and Eick was shot while he was asleep and his head cut off.
Sam Bartell arrested Wood King near Emmet on Sunday and now has him in the Oklahoma City jail. Wood was traveling overland with his wife, and when Bartell rode up to the wagon and placed him under arrest Mrs. King exclaimed, “I knew it; I knew something was going to happen, for I have dreamed o black horses the last two nights.” Kind told her to shut up. He was taken to Oklahoma City by train, and his wife drove the team overland. Some evidence is claimed to have been secured from the wagon that is very damaging to King.
Frank P. Case has been engaged as counsel for Hopper and King, and claims to have testimony that will clear them. Hopper’ sister lives in Lexington and a number of citizens of that town are interesting themselves in his defense, believing he is not guilty.
The rest of the story is in the page on the left.