Ruling on Jesse James Death Upheld in Court
Sept. 30, 1971

    ST. LOUIS - A court ruling that the legendary Missouri badman, Jesse James, definitely was killed in 1882 was upheld Wednesday by the St. Louis Court of Appeals.

    A Franklin County Circuit Court jury in May of last year concluded that James was indeed shot in the back by Bob Ford on April 3, 1882.

    The suit was filed by the late Mrs. Stella James of Los Angeles, daughter-in-law of James, and her daughters.

    The defendent, manager Rudy Turilli of the Jesse James Museum near Stanton, Mo., claimed that James lived until 1961 under the name of J. Frank Dalton, who at one time lived in Lawton, Okla.

    Turilli made the claim on a national television show in February 1967 and offered $10,000 to anyone who could prove him wrong.

    Mrs. James laid claim to the money but Turilli rejected her evidence, so she sued.

    Turilli appealed the Franklin County court decision and now says he will appeal the ruling of the St. Louis court to the U. S. Supreme Court.

    "I've come up with even more evidence now to prove them wrong and me right," he said.

    Mrs. James family's attorney, Robert Cedarburg of St. Louis, said Wednesday: "I'm darned if I know how I'll go about collecting the money from Turilli.  I guess I'll have to find some land that he owns."

    The appeals court opinion said the man Turilli claimed was James emerged in Lawgon, Okla., contending he was Jesse James and tried at a court hearing in 1950 to have his name changed to Jesse James.

    The judge in that case, the late R. A. Brauer of Franklin County, was quoted by the appeals court opinion as saying in his decree:
    "In a decree that probably would have King Solomon's approval, Judge Breuer ruled from the bench:  "This court is called upon to change a man's name when there is nothing to change because he has never changed it, and by law it has never been changed from Jesse James to anything else.
    "If he isn't what he professes to be, then he is trying to perpetrate a fraud upon this court.  If he is Jesse James...then my suggestion would be that he retreat to his rendevous and ask the good God above to forgive him so he may pass away in peace when his time comes."