John W Dickson
He was a moonshiner, car thief, working two states of Oklahoma and Arkansas. He was in McAlester Prison in August, 1936, and his son was born in Haworth, Oklahoma in 1928. His home was Hollis, Arkansas. He was killed in Hot Springs, AR, December, 1936. Can anybody offer anything else. He was not related to Bennie or Stella Dickson of South Dakota.
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Not much before his death, but here is a copy of a couple articles concerning his death. Hope this helps some.


Fayetteville Daily Democrat May 10, 1937


Seven Former Policemen On Trial Today for Murder


Brother of Circuit Judge Witt, Who Disqualified Himself, is Prosecuting Attorney

Hot Springs, May 10

Jurors were seated at noon today to hear the trial of seven former Hot Springs policemen on second degree murder charges in the Christmas Eve death of John Dickson, 32 year old city Jail prisoner.

Presiding Judge Dexter Bush of Texarkana recessed court for lunch at 11:15 a.m., after 43 talesmen(?) had been examined. Thirty five, including 12 women, were excused for fixed opinions on .the case. The prosecution exercised two challenges.

The regular panel of 28 venue men(?) was exhausted an hour after court opened with five jurors being selected. Another 75 from a special panel were summoned. Fifteen were examined before the noon recess.

Jurors selected were Melvin Petty, broom maker; Earl Lee, farmer; Pitser Cain, farmer; J. D. Reynolds, farmer; Stanley Stephens, clothing store operator, and Nick Land, official of the Hot
Springs Utilities company.

Interest of the trial attracted some 400 persons into the small courtroom in the downtown section of this internationally famous resort city. The seven former members of the police department were seated among their four counselors, chief of whom is state Representative James R. Campbell, of Garland county.

They have contended that Dickson died of pneumonia.

Maximum Penalty 21 Years

Maximum penalty for conviction of second degree murder is 21 years and minimum five years. Judge Bush said He would not order the jury locked up overnight "because It is not a capital case. He excused the six Jurors and ordered them to report back for duty at 1:30 pm.

Circuit Judge Earl Witt, who disqualified himself for the trial, was an interested spectator. John Dickson's father, Jim, of Perry county, also was among the spectators.

The seven were indicted Jan. 6. Dickson, a resident of adjoining Perry county was arrested December 14, 1936 on a charge of attempted burglary and for questioning in connection with an assault on Joe Wakelin, Hot Springs Chief of Police at that time.

The grand jury charged the seven with "willfully and with malice aforethought assaulting and murdering Dickson by "striking, kicking and beating him on the back and other parts of the body with a blunt instrument."

Seven Defendants Discharged By Mayor

Mayor Leo P. McLaughlin discharged the seven from the police force immediately after their indictment. They are former Day Captain Arch Cooper, former Night Captain Robert Moore, former Lieut. Cecil Brock, former detective Glenn Buchanan and former Patrolmen Andy Irwin, Press Griffin and Joe Scott.

Dickson was removed from the city jail to a hospital Dec. 20, and died four days later. His death certificate said he was a victim of pneumonia. His father, Jim Dickson, demanded an official investigation on Christmas Day and the grand jury action followed. After the indictments were returned. Judge Witt asked Judge Bush to preside over the trials. Judge Witt was the target for impeachment charges lodged with the 1937 legislature by a special House of Representatives committee that investigated law enforcement in Hot Springs. The legislature absolved the jurist of
charges nf misconduct. Judge Witt's brother, Gibson Jr., is prosecuting attorney here
and will handle the State's case

He will be assisted by John R. Thompson, Little Rock lawyer who served as special attorney for the legislative investigating committee. Thompson's services were solicited by relatives of Dickson.

The assault on former Chief Wakelin which started the Dickson case occurred last Sept. 29, near Onyx, Ark. The chief, along with several other officers, had gone into adjoining Perry county in pursuit of auto thieves. Late at night, near a farm house, Wakelin was attacked by an unseen assailant who felled him with a blow on the head. Brock and Buchanan were with Wakelin on the raid.

John Dickson and two other men were arrested in a raid near Prescott Dec. 14. Chief of Detectives Herbert Akers said at that time Dickson "admitted slugging Wakelin."

Wakelin was suspended from office Jan. 2 and later relieved of his connection with the department. The grand jury which indicted the seven men scheduled to face trial today reported it "found no evidence to connect him with the actual mistreatment of any prisoner."

Fayetteville Daily Democrat, May 14, 1937

Hot Springs Jury Requires Only Two Hours To Make Decision
Hot Springs, May 14 (AP)

Mayor Leo P. McLaughlin said today that seven former policemen acquitted yesterday in the death of John Dickson, 32 year old city jail prisoner, would not be reinstated. The seven were removed from the force after their indictment on second degree murder charges last January.

A circuit court jury deliberated two hours and five minutes late yesterday before returning an acquittal. Some 500 packed the little courtroom to hear conclusion of the four day trial.

The state charged that the seven officers administered a beating to Dickson while trying to force him lo divulge the whereabouts of a companion and that he died from the effects of' "third degree" methods. He was arrested December 14 on a charge of truck theft.

The former officers, Robert Moore, Arch Cooper, Cecil Brock, Glen Buchanan, Andy Irwin, Pres Griffin and Joe Scott, did not testify. Their counsel contended that the prisoner died of pneumonia, as shown by his death certificate.

The defense introduced witnesses to show that four of the officers were not at the jail when the alleged beating occurred. Dickson's father, Jim Dickson, demanded an investigation after his son's death in a hospital here.

( formerly Cowboy Dan)

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