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Cop killer barely escaped vigilante justice

For The Madera Tribune

Walter Yeager dodged two lynch posses but wound up dying at the end of a rope just the same. This photo was taken of him just before he was executed on San Quenten’s gallows.


The tragic assassinations recently of the police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge are causing every community in America to take stock, and Madera is no exception. On the streets, in the coffee shops, and in the churches, Maderans are sharing their shock and sorrow at these unspeakably horrific crimes.

In the midst of the empathy that local folks have for the grieving families of the victims, a wave of anger has emerged. Abundant expressions of outrage can be seen on social media outlets, and their passion has turned this writer to thoughts of another killing of a police officer — this time in Madera more than 100 years ago.

Although the circumstances between the modern atrocities and that killing a century ago differ a bit, the result was the same. A policeman was shot dead by a couple of drifters, and the public outcry was so great that after their capture, the murderers narrowly missed being taken out of jail twice by a lynch mob.



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