Sheriff Tom Cody was no relation to Buffalo Bill of the same ilk, but the rough law of the Wild West was still highly regarded on his home patch of Russell Gulch, Colorado, at the turn of the 20th century. And now, looking down at the murdered bodies of Jennie Galbraith and her nine-year-old son Donald, Sheriff Cody felt his trigger finger itch.
Someone had walked into the Galbraith shack and mercilessly put a bullet into the head of each victim. Where, the sheriff wondered, was the husband and father, Azel Galbraith?
A bystander said, Azels been gone to Denver three or four weeks, sheriff. Sheriff Cody nodded. Russell Gulch was gold mining country, but the miners there were dirt poor, always off in search of a better job.
But why, he wondered, should Azel be looking for a job? He already had the best job in the region he was the mine bosss confidential clerk and bookkeeper. That made him a big cut above all the rest.
Then two miners volunteered more information. We saw two men taking furniture out of the Galbraith shack not more than a week ago, they said. And one of the men doing the removing was Azel himself. The other was a total stranger.
Painstakingly, Sheriff Cody began turning over stones, interviewing, probing, searching. At last he was able to reveal a completely different Azel from the one they knew at Russell Gulch. In his double life, Azel had a stunning blonde girl friend named Lottie Lindsey, he was a big-shot gambler, champagne guzzler, and all this was funded by forging cheques drawn on the mine bosss bank accounts.
It seemed that as the going got tougher he borrowed heavily, using his household furniture as security on his latest loan.
Galbraith wasnt trying to hide from anyone. He had moved into Lotties place. When Cody went there to talk to him the sheriff had already made up his mind who must have killed Mrs. Galbraith and her son. Galbraith burst into tears as the sheriff snapped handcuffs on him.
I killed them because Id been brooding over money for weeks and I thought theyd be better off dead, he sobbed. No one helped me out and no one knew anything about it.
The sheriff had to pull his gun to hold back a lynch party as Galbraith was taken off to jail. Cody was determined his prisoner would stand trial, and he did. On Monday, March 6th, 1905, Azel Galbraith was hanged at the state prison in Canon City.