Lovi S. Udall, judge
Earl Platt, County Atty.
The defendant, Earnest Patton, pleaded guilty to
the crime of first degree murder, resulting in the killing of one
Creacy Mae Millard at McNary, Arizona, on or about the 25th day of
The defendant, Ernest Patton, a burly, illiterate
negro, age 36 years, no says he has no previous criminal record,
came to McNary some four years ago to work for the Lumber Company.
He was born in Alabama, later drifting to
Mississippi, where in 1929 he became acquainted with Creacy Mae
Millard, a colored girl of 22 years, to whose murder on Christmas
Day he has entered a plea of guilty. They "kept company" until 1932,
when the defendant came to McNary,
It appears he was thereafter married to another
woman; not being able to agree their property was divided by the
Deputy Sheriff at McNary, and defendant says she later divorced him
Three and a half months ago the deceased came to
McNary where the defendant immediately renewed their acquaintance.
Shortly thereafter she began living in un-lawful cohabitation with
the defendant, who lavished his meager earnings upon, her, and of
whom he was extremely jealous; according to the defendant he and the
deceased planned to be married at Holbrook on the "next pay day", he
was saving his money for that purpose.
In the afternoon on Christmas Day the defendant
left deceased at his house getting dressed, he went first to her
brother Frank's place and later to Mack's Cafe, (Colored) and then
down to Pinetop for a bottle of ginger ale, for Frank who was ill,
and possibly the pint of liquor found on his person with the seal
unbroken when he was arrested for the killing.
He returned to her brother's place in time to
meet the deceased just as she and Curtis McLemore, a young colored
boy were leaving for Pinetop.
She told defendant they were going to get some
beef tallow to rub Frank with. Defendant did not forbid her to go
with McLemore, but he did say "Just a minute" and then walked in the
house to ask Frank if he sent his sister after tallow, when he got
back to the door of the house she was gone.
It appears from defendant's statements, though
denied by McLemore, that the latter had been paying some attention
to the deceased, leaving fruit, whiskey and other presents for
Defendant strenuously objected to these attentions and
warned her to quit fooling around with Curtis or anyone else as long
as they stayed together. He admits that he never personally spoke to
McLemore about the matter, and that there had never been any
previous trouble between them,
During the time deceased and McLemore were making
the trip to Pine top and back, which occupied some 45 minutes, the
defendant went back to his house, did his chores, and secured his
loaded pistol and returned to the Mack café.
The deceased and McLemore, accompanied by the
witness Portis, after delivering the beef tallow to her brother
returned to the Cafe, at deceased's request, looking for the
It would appear from deceased's action that she
was apprehensive that defendant might be angry with her and she was
endeavoring to rejoin him at the earliest moment possible. It was
now after dark about six P.M., though the area in front of Mack's
cafe, where the McLemore car was parked, was well lighted from the
porch lights. The deceased sent the witness Portis into the Cafe for
some gum, and she began making inquiry of bystanders for "Ernest".
At this moment the defendant came onto the porch
from the cafe and spied the McLemore car with the latter and
deceased sitting therein.
The defendant walked toward the car and motioned
with his finger for deceased to follow him, she got out of the car
and cam to the porch, saying to him she had sent after some gum.
He said "Come on let's go" and walked some 40
feet down the board walk toward his house, evidently expecting her
to follow him afoot; as he started off she said "Come on Ernest,
let's get in the car, there is so much snow, I don't like to get in
the snow". McLemore spoke up and offered to take both of them home
in his car.
The defendant then returned to the car and said
to the deceased, "Get out of that God Damned car and come here"
When he said that she made an effort to get out,
opening the door and getting her right foot onto the running board,
he then pushed her back in with his left hand, saying "you’re too
late". and began shooting at a distance of two feet with the pistol
which he held in his right hand.
Three of the shots penetrated the woman’s right
side killing her almost instantly. One bullet inflicted a minor
flesh wound upon McLemore, which the defendant stated was
accidental, as he was not trying to shoot him.
The defendant then ejected the five shells from
his pistol which fell upon the running board of the car, and
reloaded the pistol saying to the bystanders that "I ought to kill
every son of a bitch big enough to die".
A few moments later he surrendered to Deputy
Sheriff Mineer without resistance, and to whom he freely admitted
The only excuse offered by the defendant was "That
I was so mad, I did not know what I was doing", However, then
proceeds to negative this statement by reciting in detail just what
he did and said both before and at the time of the shooting.
The defendant was not drunk according to his own
admission. It is further established that the deceased was unarmed,
as was also McLemore. It is clearly established that the defendant
was very jealous of the deceased and did not want her in the
presence of McLemore or possibly any of the male species.
There was no provocation or justification for the
atrocious, brutal slaying of this defenseless woman, on whom the
defendant certainly held no legal claim. The defendant professed to
love the deceased and stated he intended to marry her.
The legal question presented is whether jealousy
and anger constitutes circumstances of mitigation or extenuation. In
the mind of the Court, this must be answered in the negative.
The Court having carefully examined the whole
record in favor of life, but finding there are no circumstances of
mitigation or extenuation, the defendant's plea for a sentence of
life imprisonment is denied.
The law regards human life as the most sacred of
all interests committed to its protection, and no more solemn duty
can be imposed upon the courts than the duty of protecting, and the
duty of taking a human life. To take the life of a human being is an
awful thing even when it is taken by the law in the due
administration of justice.
The Court being of the opinion that the facts
here shows a cold blooded murder with no extenuating circumstances,
the death penalty was then imposed the execution being set for March
24, 1937, with the walls of the state prison at Florence, Arizona,
by the administration of lethal gas.