James Pruitt Dukeminer
Articles Concerning his murder
Corsicana, Navarro Co., TX


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Body of Youth Found in Creek With 3 Wounds; Negro Jailed and Second Arrest Expected

Navarro County Grand Jury Returns [illegible word] Indictment

Brought to Dallas

Disguised as Woman, Accused Man Tries to Escape.

Special to The News.

CORSICANA, Texas, May 27.—Another arrest is expected by Navarro County officers in connection with the killing of Pruitt Dukeminier, whose body was found late Wednesday in the muddy waters of Richland creek. The body showed three bullet wounds.

Fred Tilford, a negro, is being held in the Dallas County jail in connection with Duekminier’s [sic] death, having been taken there on Wednesday night soon after his arrest and before the body of Dukeminier was found. A special session of the Navarro County grand jury was called by Judge Hawkins Scarborough and it returned an indictment charging murder.

The finding of the body ended a search that had continued since early Wednesday. The slain youth and the negro left the Dukeminier home at Rice Tuesday in a motor truck, young Dukeminier carrying money to pay a farmer near Richland to whom the negro was indebted. They were to return to Rice and the negro was to enter the employ of Dukeminier’s father, who has been overseer of the Fortson plantation at Rice for twenty-five years.

Dukeminier’s body was found by Oscar Farquhar, a member of one of the searching parties, when he dived into the water near the Corsicana-Richland highway crossing on Richland creek.

District Attorney Ballard W. George said the accused will be given an immediate trial.

Brief funeral services were held for the dead youth Thursday morning in Corsicana and the body was taken to his parents’ home in Rice, where services were continued at the Baptist church in Rice Thursday afternoon.

Dukeminier is survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Dukeminier; one brother, Randolph, and three aunts, all of Rice.

Tilford was arrested in Corsicana Wednesday evening after an extensive search, during which he had tried to elude the officers by disguising himself as a woman.

Fred Tilford, the negro held in connection with the killing of Pruitt Dukeminier, made a statement concerning the shooting in the Dallas County jail Thursday afternoon.

Deputy Sheriffs John Rowland and S. F. Pickens obtained the statement from Tilford after a short talk. After a later conference between Sheriff Stewart of Navarro County and Sheriff Schulyer Marshall Jr., Deputies Rowland and Pickens left for Corsicana.

[Dallas Morning News, Friday, May 28, 1926, part 1, p. 1]


Tilford Will Be Tried
Monday at Corsicana

Special to The News.

CORSICANA, Texas, June 5.—Texas Rangers will be present here Monday for the trial of Fred L. Tilford, negro, charged with murder in connection with the death of James Pruitt Dukeminier, 20 years old, of Rice, whose bullet-riddled body was dragged from the muddy waters of Richland Creek late Wednesday night, May 26, after a search by Rice, Richland and Corsicana citizens for many hours.

The regular petit jury of thirty-six citizens has been augmented with the summoning of seventy-five special veniremen for this case and it is thought in official circles that the attorneys in the case will be able to pick a jury of twelve men out of this number.

[Dallas Morning News, Sunday, June 6, 1926, part 1, p. 11]


Testimony Starts
in Tilford Case

Special to The News.

CORSICANA, Texas, June 7.—The jury in the case of Fred L. Tilford, negro, charged by indictment with the murder of Pruitt Dukenimier [sic], 20 years old, Rice youth, was completed at 3 o’clock Monday afternoon by the selection of A. C. Kent, Mildred; W. E. Boyett, Purdon; W. E. Coleman, Navarro; A. W. McClung, Kerens. The eight other jurors had been selected in the morning session of court. The eight selected up to the noon hour are G. O. O’Daniel, Roane; P. H. Loggins, Corsicana; Herbert Fitch, Winkler; C. R. Slater, Emmett; H. T. Collins, Emhouse; J. W. Howell, Oak Valley; E. B. Reed, Blooming Grove, and A. J. Beal, Corbet.

When court recessed at 6:15 p. m. sixteen State witnesses had been examined. The prisoner was returned to Dallas when court recessed, accompanied by Dallas County officers and State Rangers.

Court will convene at 9 o’clock Tuesday morning.

[Dallas Morning News, Tuesday, June 8, 1926, part 1, p. 4]


Tilford Gets Death
Penalty at Corsicana

Special to The News.

CORSICANA, Texas, June 8.—Verdict of guilty with death in the electric chair was the punishment assessed against Fred L. Tilford, negro, 24 years old, convicted of the murder of Pruitt Dukeminier, 20, Rice youth, in the District Court Tuesday.

The jury was out ten minutes. The jury was given the case at 5:30 p. m. and at 5:40 the verdict was handed to Judge Hawkins Scarborough by P. H. Loggins, foreman. The Judge polled the jury and the verdict was unanimous. Tilford was sentenced to die in the electric chair at Huntsville State penitentiary, July 9.

Officers hurried him from the courtroom the back way and escorted him under heavy guard to the interurban tracks and boarded the 5:50 northbound car for Dallas. The negro will be held in the Dallas County jail until he is committed to the penitentiary.

[Dallas Morning News, Wednesday, June 9, 1926, part 1, p. 1]


Negro Doomed to Die
Taken to Huntsville

Fred Tilford, negro, scheduled to due July 9 for the murder of James Pruitt Dukeminier near Corsicana May 25. was taken Wednesday from the Dallas County jail, where he had been held since his arrest, to Huntsville by Sheriff John W. Stewart and Deputy Rufus Pevehouse of Navarro County.

[Dallas Morning News, Thursday, June 17, 1926, part 2, p. 13]


Fred Tilford, age 24, was electrocuted on July 9, 1926.

[http://www.tdcj.state.tx.us/stat/prefurman/electrocutions.htm, viewed July 15, 2006]


Execute Negro for
Killing, Netting $55

By The Associated Press.

HOUSTON, Texas, July 9.—Fred Tillford [sic], negro of Rice, walked calmly to the electric chair in the State penitentiary at Huntsville at 12:10 a. m. Friday and paid with his life for the slaying on May 8 [sic] of Pruitt Dukemanier [sic], also of Rice. Thursday morning in the death cell Tillford talked with Dr. J. T. Carter, who has known the negro all his life, and signed a confession in which he unfolded the story of the murder, committed for $55.

The confession was repeated in the death chair and acknowledged by the doomed man.

[Dallas Morning News, Saturday, July 10, 1926, part 2, p. 16]




Funeral services for Pruitt Dukeminier, 20 years old, whose body was found in Richland Creek Wednesday nigh, where it had been thrown after being shot and thought murdered by the negro Fred Tilford the day before, were held at the Baptist church at Rice at 4 o’clock Thursday afternoon. Services were conducted by Rev. Day, Baptist minister, and Rev. A. E. Carraway, Methodist minister. Burial was in the Rice cemetery. Eight boy friends of the deceased were active pallbearers.

The Rice Municipal Band, of which the deceased was a member furnished special funeral music.

Deceased is survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Dukeminier; one brother, Randolph Dukeminier; his grandmother, Mrs. Dukeminier; and three aunts, Mrs. L. M. Barrington, Mrs. Will Patterson and Mrs. J. A. Gallimore, all of Rice.


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