Last week we told the tale of the 1902 shooting of Raymond hotel owner, Ben Ducker, by an unidentified trooper from Company E of the 3rd U.S. Cavalry. The soldiers, led by Captain Tate and Major Hein, were on their way to the Presidio in San Francisco after several months of guard duty in Yosemite Park.
On the afternoon of October 16, the company reached Raymond and camped. A dozen troopers found their way to Ducker’s hotel saloon and began a drinking spree that lasted into the night. As darkness was setting in, the soldiers became rowdy, and a quarrel developed between the troopers and Ducker. In the disturbance that followed, Ducker was shot and killed.
Today the tale turns to the attempt to bring the killer to justice.
The day after Ben Ducker’s killing, the soldiers moved on to Madera where they camped just west of town. That evening Coroner Richard Curtis Jay took court reporter Joe Conley to Raymond to hold an inquest into the shooting. While the coroner’s jury was taking testimony, Raymond physician Dr. Topp performed an autopsy on Ducker. Inexplicably, when the death certificate was filed, the cause of death was listed in one single word — wound...