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,
Turilli made the claim on a national television show
in February 1967 and offered $10,000 to anyone who could prove him
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
The judge in that case, the late R. A. Brauer of
Franklin County, was quoted by the appeals court opinion as saying in
"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."