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Cop killer barely escaped vigilante justice

For The Madera Tribune

Walter Yeager, shown here, was hanged in San Quentin for the murder of Madera traffic cop, Clarence Picket.


The tragic assassinations of police officers cause every community in America to take stock, and Madera is no exception. On the streets, in the coffee shops, and in the churches, Maderans share 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, 100 years ago.

Although the circumstances between the modern atrocities and that killing almost 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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