August 17, 1899
Oklahoma City Officials Believe He is the Murderer of A. J. Eick
Okla. City, August 14- Special- There seems to be not much doubt but that the mystery surrounding the horrible murder and the headless corpse is about to be solved.
The Oklahoman of this city says: “A telegram was received yesterday evening from Sam Bartell which states that he has picked up the trail of Wood King, the man who was with Frank Hopper in Oklahoma City and who is charged with complicity in the murder of A. J. Eick. Bartell is in pursuit of Kind and will in all probability overtake him in a day or two.
But little new evidence against Frank Hopper has been made public, but the officers are confident that he is one of the men wanted.
Yesterday morning S. I. R. McCuan, foreman at Morrow’s Wagon Yard, went to the jail to see Hopper. The prisoner recognized him at once and the recognition was mutual. McCuan
States that Hopper is one of the three men who left the yard together on Thursday afternoon about one hour by sun. Eick, the blonde man, was drinking heavily at that time.
Mr. Morrow says that Eick was a neatly dressed man, and did not look like a farmer, that Eick was in the store several times to buy tobacco and cigars. He had very little to say; in fact Hopper did the talking for the entire party. Hopper said that he and King had come to Oklahoma City on a gambling expedition and that King was a crap shooter.
The tree men were seen at a gambling house in the city. Hopper was gambling and Eick was furnishing the money. The men took their meals at the Broadway restaurant and the proprietor recognized Hopper readily. Other people identified him yesterday and many saw him with the party who is supposed to have seen A. J. Eick. Other evidence is in possession of the officers but they declined to divulge it.
Hopper is talking things easy in jail and is apparently in good spirits.
The Caddo Herald
Aug. 18, 1899
About two weeks ago a man’s headless body was found in the Canadian River, later the head was found. The officers of Oklahoma City have since been searching for a clue to the murderers. Last Sunday out on 12-mile prairie, Sam Bartell, Sheriff of Oklahoma City, arrested Wood King, well known to Caddo people, for the murder. Bartell said he followed King from Oklahoma City to the place where he was arrested. He found him and his wife camped on the edge of the prairie about ½ mile from Emet. He took the prisoner to Oklahoma City and the wife drove on. She passed through Caddo Sunday.
The Semi-Weekly courier
August 18, 1899
Frank Hopper is in jail at Oklahoma City, O. T. charged with the murder of A. J. Eick, whose headless body was found floating down the river on August 4.
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 Oklahoma Leader, Guthrie, Oklahoma
Thursday, August 24, 1899
The Eick Mruder Case
Oklahoma City- August 18- The Times Journal says: Judge Frank P. Case of Lexington, and Keaton & Kearful of this city, have been retained to defend King and Hopper. Judge Case feels confident that his clients will come clear. He feels confident that they had nothing to do with the murder of A. J. Eick. They admit being here on the evening before the murder and also admit they did some gambling and that they, with another man, left here late in the afternoon. But they claim they will produce the third man, and that they will have plenty of evidence to prove that the man they will produce was one of the party that had been connected by the officers with the murder. The preliminary hearing will take place Tuesday at 10 o’clock.
August 25, 1899
Wood King and Frank Hopper, under arrest in Oklahoma City accused of the murder of A. J. Eick, whose decapitated body was found in the river several days ago, were released from custody Tuesday. There was no preliminary hearing because the county attorney did not consider the evidence strong enough to warrant one. It will be remembered that King, who was one time a resident of Caddo, was arrested near here a week or two ago.
Cleveland County Leader
Lexington, O. T.
Saturday, August 26, 1899
They Are Not Guilty
Hopper and King Dismissed Without Trial
The atrocious murder of A. J. Eick at Oklahoma City three weeks ago remains as great if not greater mystery than ever. After a most careful search for evidence, Hopper and King were dismissed from custody by county attorney Taylor last Tuesday without preliminary trial. The evidence which at first was thought to be so strong glimmered out when called to appear in reality. The wagon yard man who would swear to the carpet which was wrapped around the dead man as being the same Hopper and King had in the yard, could not do so when the time for trial came. They and the woman who were to swear that the murdered man was the same who was with them at the wagon yard failed to come up to the affidavits also, when Wilkes Williams was produced. They wagon yard man said they believed that Wilkes Williams was the third man and the woman (a prostitute) said Wilkes was the man who called on her and the one she saw with Hopper and King, so Rose informs us.
Thus it appeared that Wilkes Williams was the third party and this killed all the evidence against Hopper and King. County attorney Taylor then ordered them dismissed without trial.
Judge Case informs us that the officers have a clue to other parties. A Pinkerton detective is working up the case and ere long we may hear of more arrests.
Wichita Daily Eagle
June 17, 1900
Wm. Yoder Arrested
Note: this is a rather lengthy article that contains only a few new facts: William Yoder had been in jail for months on other indictments including selling mortgaged property. He was released and was on his way to the home of his brother-in-law Mr. Gray, when he was arrested for the murder on a warrant issued by Justice Maidt. The article states that the body was found near the Colcord Bridge and that it was identified because the name of A. J. Eick was on a card found by Bartell at the campsite near the river. Evidence against Yoder was not disclosed.
“As a result of the trial before chief Justice Burford yesterday Yoder was released from jail on bail in the amount of $300 which was furnished by his brother William (error) Yoder and his brother-in-law Mr. Gray.
St. Louis Republic
April 12, 1901
Found Guilty of Murder
William Yoder Convicted of Having Killed A. J. Eick
Oklahoma City, April 11- William Yoder, accused of the murder of A. J. Eick, whose decapitated body was found in the river the morning after he was murdered two years ago, was found guilty here Thursday and his punishment fixed for life imprisonment.
Eick was murdered for his money while asleep in camp near the river. Tom Curtis, accused of being an accomplice in murder, will have his trial next.
The El Reno Democrat
April 18, 1901
Murder Will Out
About a year ago A. J. Eick was murdered near Oklahoma City and his hed severd form his body and thrown into the river. No clue was found to the murder for several months. Finally a man name of Wm. Yoder and Tom Curtis were arrested and charged with the crime. Yoder confessed and this week he was tried and convicted, upon his confession, of murder in the first degree and the penalty fixed at a life sentence in the penitentiary.
Wichita Daily Eagle
October 29, 1901
Jury Returns Verdict in Murder Case After Being Out Nine Hours-
Imprisonment for Life
Yoder Wants a New Trial and Motion is Argued—Slayer was Sentenced Yesterday.
The jury in the Curtis murder case reached an agreement last night at 7:15 and came into court to give their verdict. They found the defendant Curtis guilty of murder and fixed his punishment at life imprisonment at hard labor in the territorial prison.
After the reading of the verdict by the court, the jury was asked by the judge if this was their verdict and they answered that it was. The court then excused them from further duty.
It is certain that the attorneys for the defense will ask for a new trial. The evidence in the case has not been altogether circumstantial and it is probably that for this reason the jury refrained from giving the death penalty. The verdict is the same that was given in the Yoder case. Yoder was convicted at the spring term of the court of being connected with the same murder for which Curtis was convicted yesterday. The crime for which Thomas Curtis now stands convicted was the murder of A. J. Eick on August 4, 1899. His dead body was found floating in the river one morning by the Filson boys who were at the river fishing. The head was not found at the same time the body was found it being severed from the body. It was later found in a pillow slip at the bottom of the river. There was some difficulty in identifying the body, but the discovery of the place where the clothing of the murdered man was burned led to the discovery of his picture and of one of his cards which bore the name that corresponded with the initials found on the man's underwear.
The evidence in the case disclosed the fact that Curtis and Yoder had been the last persons seen in the company of Eick just prior to his death. It showed that Eick, who was a sort of a wandering shoemaker, had been camped with Curtis, Yoder and others at the river near where the murder took place. Curtis had been seen at an evil resort in company with Eick, who was intoxicated and who had a considerable sum of money. It was for his money that the murder was committed.
Dallas Morning news
April 22, 1910
Six Months’ Parole
Special to the News: Guthrie, Oklahoma- April 21- A six months’ sick parole has been granted to William Yoder, serving a life term at McAlester for complicity in the murder of A. J. Eick near Oklahoma City in 1900. The prisoner is in bad health and the terms of his release require him to again deliver himself for confinement next fall. Several attempts have been made to secure an unconditional parole of Yoder and Tom Curtis who was convicted jointly with him and is also serving a life sentence. Evidence against Yoder and Curtis was circumstantial.
Des Moines Daily News
November 5, 1911
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma- Eleven years ago William Yoder and Thomas Curtis were convicted of the supposed murder of A. J. Eick. They were sentenced to life and served eight years, being pardoned by former Governor Haskell. Yoder swore that he would prove his innocence by finding Eick. He returned tonight with a photograph of Eick whom he says lives in Paris (TX). Eick is coming here for identification. The trial was sensational. The body of a man found in the river was identified as Eick. Evidence was circumstantial. Alleged motive was robbery.
November 6, 1911
“Lifer” Finds Man Jury Called Slain
One of Two Convicts Recently Pardoned Traces Their Supposed Victim to Texas
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma- November 5- After two men have served more than eight years of life sentences as slayers and more than eleven years after the supposed violent death at the hands of William M. Yoder and Thomas Curtis. A. J. Eick has sent his photograph here from Paris, Texas and is on his way here to be identified.
Yoder, who was convicted with Curtis of the murder, and who with Curtis was pardoned eighteen months ago by Governor Haskell, located the man. He says he never believed that Eick was dead and ever since the pardon has been searching of the man whose supposed body was exhibited at the trail. By chance Yoder heard of Eick from a woman who came here from Texas.
The Eick murder trial stands out in Oklahoma court annals as revealing one of the most atrocious murders ever committed. According to the evidence, Eick was killed for a small sum of money. A headless body sewn up in a carpet riddled by bullets and stabbed in many places, was found in the Canadian River, was exhibited at the trial as evidence. The head, much disfigured, and sewn up in a pillowcase, was also shown in court.
The death penalty might have been the result of the trial had the evidence been more complete. It is said that Eick has not been hiding, but merely had not known of the conviction of the two men for his murder.
November 5, 1911
No A. J. Eick in Paris, Declared
Advices received by the Oklahoma Saturday night from Paris, Texas, state that there is no such man as A. J. Eick there. A story was published Saturday afternoon that Eick had been found there after two men had served eight years of a life sentence for his murder in Oklahoma City in 1899.
The report published in an afternoon paper Saturday stated that Eick had been discovered in Paris by a woman, and had sent his photograph to Oklahoma City for identification and is now on his way here.
William M. Yoder and Thomas Curtis were convicted of the murder of Eick over eighty years ago and were sentenced to life in the penitentiary. Both were pardoned eighteen months ago. It was claimed that Yoder, one of the convicted men, located Eick in the Texas city; also that Yoder heard of Eick through a woman who had lived in Texas. A photograph of the man in Paris is said to have been obtained by Yoder which he exhibited to friends here. It was claimed that Eick was not in hiding and that he did not know he was supposed to have been murdered, and two men convicted for the supposed crime.
November 6, 1911
Mrs. Wm. Yoder, Oklahoma City found A. J. Eick for whose “slaying” her husband was sentenced to life imprisonment eleven years ago, living in Texas.
The Shawnee News
November 6, 1911
Oklahoma City- November 6- A. J. Eick, more than eleven years after he had been “murdered” and after two men, Wm. M. Yoder and Thos. Curtis had served eight years of a life sentence in a penitentiary, having been convicted of his “murder” is reported alive and at Paris, Texas.
Yoder, who with Curtis had been pardoned eighteen years ago by Governor Haskell, has returned here and is showing a photograph of the man who he says is Eick and whom he made it his business to find after having been unjustly accused and convicted of murdering him, he says.
The Eick murder was one of the most sensational ever tried in Oklahoma, a head and body of a man found in the Canadian River being introduced as evidence at the trial as the remains of Eick who it is said will come to Oklahoma City to be identified.
The Daily Oklahoman
January 26, 1912
Parole Recalls Early Day Crime
Effort Made to Have William Yoder of Tuttle Returned to Prison
A crime of the early days of Oklahoma City of which William Yoder, now in Tuttle, was convicted on purely circumstantial evidence and sentenced to serve a life sentence in the penitentiary, later to be paroled by Governor Haskell, is recalled in a recommendation to Governor Cruce that Yoder’s parole be revoked. Action probably will be taken on the recommendation today.
In the early ‘90s the headless body of a man was found in the Canadian River. Later and at another place the head was found. Both head and body were wrapped in quilts. The head and body lay in a morgue for some time and were identified as an early character who went by the name of “Old Man Eick”, although the identification never was satisfactory.
Through a chain of circumstances Yoder was connected with the crime, was tried and convicted. He served his term in the penitentiary until April 21, 1910 when a six months’ parole was granted by Governor Haskell. October 13, 1910 the parole was extended indefinitely.
Recently Yoder, now 60 years old, has had trouble with relatives at Tuttle, Grady County, and they recommended that the parole be revoked. In recommending that the parole be granted the pardon board expressed the belief that Yoder is not guilty of the crime for which he was imprisoned for life, and Governor Cruce wrote to John H. Venable county attorney of Grady count asking him to investigate Yoder’s conduct.
Thursday a report was received form County Attorney Venable to the effect that Yoder has made threats against certain person and says “No doubt it would be the wise thing to have Yoder taken in custody and removed to the penitentiary. The people of Tuttle are in great fear that some tragedy will take place on his account.”