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Jim Kershner’s This day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

When dawn broke on Mica Peak, a 30-member sheriff’s posse thought they had triple murderer William Byrd surrounded in an overgrown thicket. But he had slipped away during the night.

Later that afternoon, Byrd showed up at the Bowers farm a few miles away, asking for dinner and a drink of water. He had his rifle with him and freely admitted that he was Byrd. Yet, once again, he did not threaten anyone.

He ate dinner, chatted with the family and told them that he could have picked off “four sheriff’s deputies with three shots” earlier that day.

He also expressed his regrets that he had killed the Dishman justice of the peace, shot in pursuit. As for the original two victims, “They needed it.”

One had accused Byrd of taking liberties with his wife, the other had fired him from a construction job.

After grabbing some dinner, Byrd disappeared back into the thick woods.

The posse raced to the Bowers farmhouse. The bloodhounds started following a fresh scent. The sheriff was convinced they had him trapped, and “a battle to the death seemed imminent.” Yet they had to halt the search at nightfall again.

Check Monday’s column to find out how it all ended.

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