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Richard Lewis JORDAN





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Mutilation
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: May 24, 1954
Date of arrest: 2 days after
Date of birth: October 21, 1930
Victim profile: Phyllis Mae Thompson, 23
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife
Location: Pima County, Arizona, USA
Status: Executed by asphyxiation-gas in Arizona on November 22, 1958

Richard Lewis Jordan


On August 23 1954, trial was held in Superior Court, No. 1, and jury returned verdict of Guilty Nth penalty of death. Case was appealed to Arizona Supreme Court and reversed and new trial was ordered. On, and in compliance with Supreme Court decision Jordan was tried again and jury found him guilty of Murder, lst Degree, and assessed penalty at death.

Second trial held and on October 6. 1956, and jury found Jordan guilty of Murder, 0 lst degree and assessed penalty at Death.

Sentenced to die on December 18, 1956. Stay of execution due to appeal. Appeal has been made to Arizona Supreme Court.

Facts and circumstances surrounding the commission of the crime are as follows:

On May 24 1954, a 23 year old girl, Phyllis Mae Thompson came to Tucson, Arizona, from California for express purpose of visiting friend who operated the Esquire Bar on South 5th Avenue in Tucson. While talking to woman bartender (owner) the deceased was introduced to a Capt. Ross, Instructor at U. of A in Tucson, and also to defendant. Phyllis Thompson only drank "coke" and defendant drank beer. Jordan then took girl and returned about 9 P.M. to Esquire Club, Departed from Esquire Bar and went to Tropical Inn Bar on E. Speedway a Tucson and left said bar about midnight. Girl was never seen again. Following day at about 5 P.M. body of Phyllis Thompson was found on Indians Ruins Road, east of Tucson. Body had 16 stab wounds on chest and 12 on face.

On May 25, 1954 defendant continued drinking. He met a James Clark in one of the bars. Defendant and Clark ended up in Silverbell Road, west of Tucson. Defendant told Clark to look at tires of car. Suddenly defendant got out of car, pulled gun and proceeded to shoot at Clark. Struck Clark in eye and blinded him. Defendant left Clark wounded and left in car. Later defendant was arrested for shooting of Clark and it was then that it was determined that Jordan was person that had killed Phyllis Mae Thompson.

No prior felony convictions. Attempted murder charge in Mississippi dropped complaining witness. Jordan had worked in mental institutions and had also been inmate. Psychiatrists determined that Jordan was not a psychotic case and knew "right from wrong".

Dr.Wick of Arizona State Hospital has a complete record of Jordan's case history. Defendant is married and Us a daughter. Defendant served in the Armed Forces of the United States. He was a patient in several Veterans Hospitals throughout the United States.


LEE GARRETT, Judge of the Superior Court

3-6-58 Execution of sentence stayed by notice of Appeal filed with United States Supreme Court order # 1101 Dates 3-5-58



Defendant met girl (Phyllis Thompson) in bar. Later drove to desert and killed her by stabbing with knife. Also mutilated face.


Next night defendant shot and critically wounded acquaintance (James Clark). Reason for attack - unknown.


No prior convictions of felony. Attempted murder charge in Mississippi dropped by complaining witness.

F. B. 1. 627 273 B





Appellee is dissatisfied with the Statement of Facts set forth in Appellant's Brief and therefore, files its own Statement of Facts pursuant to Rule 5D, Rules of the Supreme Court of Arizona.

Phyllis Thompson, a twenty-three year old unmarried girl, whose home was in Lyons, Colorado, but who had worked elsewhere as a stenographer and secretary, was returning to her home from a vacation in California and arrived in Tucson, Arizona on the 24th day of May, 1954. She had in her possession a note to the manager of the Club Esquire from the manager’s brother, who lived in Denver, Colorado. She presented herself at the Club Esquire and gave the note to the manager's wife at approximately 8:00 P M on May 24, 1954 . The manager's wife was on duty at the time of her arrival. She was introduced to the defendant by Mrs. Couture, the wife of the manager of the Club Esquire. She remained there at the Club Esquire until approximately 9:00 or 9:30 PM. and while there drank one or more soft drinks, while the defendant was having beer. She and the defendant went to the Tropical Inn, another tavern in the east section of Tucson., Arizona, where they remained until approximately 11:00 P M. They then returned to the Club Esquire and remained there until approximately 11:45 P. M. when they left together. At approximately 4:30 PM on May 25, 1954, her lifeless body was found approximately six or seven miles north. east of Tucson.

Her body was approximately sixty feet in the desert from the Indian Ruins Road near Tucson. She was completely disrobed except for the right shoe. There were sixteen stab wounds in the chest area, four of which had penetrated the heart and had caused death. Her face was mutilated by twelve slashes, evidently made by a knife. Her clothing was found approximately eight hundred and sixty feet north and on the opposite side of the road from where she was found.

There was evidence to the effect that her brassiere strap had been cut It was discovered by the sheriff’s officers that there were tire tracks on and off the roadway opposite the point where her clothing was found and opposite the point where her body was found. Plaster casts were made of foot prints which lead from the car tracks to the place where her body was found and those footprints had the same measurements as the defendant's right shoe and the and the deceased's bare foot. There wan a hole in the sole of the defendant’s right shoe which also appeared in the plaster casts. The footprint which measured the same as the defendant's shoe was obtained fifteen feet from the location of the deceased's body. There was evidence of a struggle near the deceased's body in that the terrain was torn up.

The defendant was arrested early in the morning on May 26, 1954 and at the time of his arrests a knife was obtained from the glove compartment of his car. There was blood on his knife, which on examination proved to be of the same type and RH factor as the deceased's blood. There was blood on his clothing and gloves, which were found in his clothes hamper at this home. The blood on his clothing and gloves was of the same type and RH factor as the deceased's. There was also some blood on the right hand side of the front seat of the defendant's car that was the same type and RH factor as the deceased's blood.

The defendant orally admitted having killed the deceased, but refused to put his admission in writing, but did sign a written statement, which amongst other things, alleged that he might or might not have killed the deceased, that he had been on the Indian Ruins Road with the deceased and that he blacked out and did not remember what happened. The deceased's fountain pen was found in his car, her overnight bag and purse were found near the defendant's home where they had apparently been tossed from a car. The defendant admitted in the Written statement to having disposed of them on his way from the Indian Ruins Road.





The Defendant, Richard Lewis Jordan, on or about the 24th day of May, 1954, at approximately 8:00 o'clock PM. met the victim, one Phyllis Mae Thompson, at the Club Esquire, a tavern or night club located in downtown Tucson. Miss Thompson had been traveling from San Diego California, and was returning to her home in Lyons, Colorado. En route she stopped in Tucson to deliver a message of greeting to the manager of the Club Esquire and, after doing so, was sitting at the bar having a soft drink when she met the Appellant Jordan, no was also sitting at the bar drinking a glass of beer. They introduced themselves to each other and after about an hour left the Club in each other's company.

They went to a night spot located on East Speedway, known as the Tropical Inn. Where Miss Thompson had a soft drink or two and Jordan had one or two glasses of beer. The defendant and Miss Thompson left the Tropical Inn and returned to the Club Esquire around 11:00 o'clock P M. The defendant Richard Jordan, had been drinking all day, After a short time the Defendant and Miss Thompson again visited the Tropical Inn, which is the last place where the parties were seen in each other's company.

There is no evidence whatsoever that Miss Thompson and the Defendant had argued or fought. In addition, there was no medical evidence of recent sexual intercourse.

The following day, May 25, 1954, around 5:00 o'clock, in We afternoon, one Clifford L. Holland was driving with a Mrs. Leon A. Osman along Indian Ruins Road, which is located six or seven miles east and north of Tucson, It was at this time they discovered a nude body lying in the brush, which was subsequently identified as that of Phyllis Mae Thompson. The Sheriff's office was immediately notified, and the areas about the body and where the clothes were found were then marked off while the Sheriff’s office investigated the scene of the crime . Some fifteen or twenty people were moving about the area before the body was moved.

Plaster casts of footprints and tire tracks were found in and about the areas were taken.

An autopsy was performed by Dr. George Hartman upon the body of Miss Thompson, and, according to his report, which was admitted in evidence, death was due to four stab wounds that were in the upper half of the left breast of the victim, although there were multiple stab wounds elsewhere on the body. Dr. Hartman gave his opinion that the time of death was between 6:00 A. M. and 12:00 o'clock noon of the 24th day of May 1954. At the trial, on oral examination, the Doctor testified death could have taken place at a time considerably prior to that set forth in his report. This statement by the Doctor was made in order to refute the alibi of the Defendant, wherein witnesses testified that he was home at the time death took place, and that he had returned home at 3:00 o'clock in the morning.

Medical evidence stated that, as a result of the wounds in the breasts death was instantaneous.

Throughout the trial, the testimony of the investigating officers was varied, contradictory, and conflicting, concerning descriptions of the scene of the crime and the manner in which they investigated same.

The Defendant was arrested at his home at approximately 6:30 in the morning of Wednesday, the 26th day of May, 1954, and was not taken before the magistrate before the 27th of May, 1954, all in violation of Section 41-140 of Arizona Code Annotated, 1939. However, during the intervening time, while the Defendant was incarcerated and prior to his appearance before the magistrate, he had been thoroughly interrogated by the sheriff's office and requested to sign a statement, which he did, and which statement contained an admission by the Defendant that he might have killed Miss Thompson and he might not have done so. Counsel for the Defendant objected to the introduction of said statement made by the Defendant to the Sheriff, but was overruled by the trial court.

The Defendant took the stand in his own behalf and testified that he remembered being with a girl later identified as the Deceased until some time that night at the Tropical Inn but that he had no memory from that point on.

The Defendant filed a motion for a new trial, which was denied, and this appeal was taken.



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