I am conducting research on one of my relatives, John Gordon Slayton, who was the City Marshal (Chief of Police) of Pocahontas in 1931. John was falsely implicated by Lige Dame in the November 8th, 1931 murder of Night Marshal Manley Jackson. Dame confessed to the crime and implicated both Earl Decker and John. Decker maintained that he was innocent of complicity as did John.
In February 1932, both Dame and Decker were found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. John and several others arrested and questioned in connection to the murder were exonerated. Many people believed that Dame was a sensationalist who wanted to seek revenge against both Decker and John Slayton for some secret wrong.
Forty years later, in 1971, a book was published entitled "The Alvin Karpis Story" written by the notorious Alvin "Creepy" Karpis, a member of the murderous Barker gang in the 1930s. In his book, Karpis describes the murder of a Night Marshal while he and Freddie Barker were driving through Pocahontas, Arkansas.
According to Karpis, Freddie Barker would casually kill any cop that "got in the way." That night, Karpis writes that they were stopped by the Night Marshal, who had taken their license number. Barker forced the officer into the car at gunpoint, afterwhich they drove him to a gravel pit. Once there, Barker ordered the officer to walk away. As he did, Barker shot the officer in the back four times with a .45 caliber pistol.
Jackson's body was discovered the next morning by Mrs. Charles Johnson, as she and her husband had stopped to fix a flat tire. Mrs. Johnson walked a few yards into the woods while her husband fixed the flat. She discovered the body beside a log. After she notified her husband, she remained with Jackson as her husband went to get help.
A couple of weeks into the investigation, Dame confessed and implicated Decker and John. According to Dame, Decker wanted to kill Jackson but did say why. He also said that John Slayton had offered him $500 to kill Jackson.
After reading the book, C.H. Brooks, the Sheriff who investigated the crime 40 years earlier, believed that Karpis in fact described the murder of Manley Jackson to which Lige Dame confessed and went to prison.
What little I know about the case, I read from an April 15, 1971 Pocahontas Star Herald newspaper article entitled "Does Alvin Karpis Describe Murder of Manley Jackson?" I'd like to learn as much as I can about the case so that I can include the information into John Slayton's notes.
If at all possible, I'd like to hear from other relatives of John Slayton, as well as those of Manley Jackson, Lige Dame, Earl Decker, and Sheriff C.H. Brooks. Anyone not related to any of these individuals but have information about this case are of course more than welcome to contribute. Any additional articles, photos, case information, investigation notes, etc., would be extremely helpful, greatfully appreciated and respectfully accepted.
I may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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