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Item # 558374

March 20, 1875

THE NEW-YORK TIMES, March 20, 1875

* Tiburcio Vasquez outlaw execution death
* Los Angeles California outlaw bandit

On the front page under "Execution Of The Bandit Vasquez" is a report: "Hanged At San Jose, Cal., Yesterday--No Attempt At Rescue--He Is Cool To The Last." The report about the execution of this colorful outlaw who claimed he never killed a man reads, in full:

* The bandit Vasquez was executed today at San Jose. No attempt was made at a rescue, though one was feared a day or two ago. Everything passed off quietly Vasquez asserted to the last his innocence of the crime of murder at any time during his career, but acknowledged the justice of his fate, having been the leader of a murderous band. The coolness he displayed throughout his imprisonment did not desert him, but he maintained his fortitude to the last. The execution took place at 1:35 P.M.. He died without a struggle. The body was given to his friends for interment

Great to have this report on the front page, especially since reports about Vasquez are rather uncommon. Browned and slightly pulpish at edges, otherwise in good condition.

wikipedia notes: Vásquez took up residence in the Hollywood Hills at "Greek George's" ranch, located on the San Fernando Valley side of the Cahuengas Mountains. Greek George was a former camel driver for General Beale in the Army Camel Corps. Allegedly, Vásquez seduced and impregnated his own niece. Either the girl's family or Greek George's wife's family betrayed Vásquez to Los Angeles Sheriff William Roland. Roland led a posse to the ranch and captured Vásquez on May 13, 1874.

Vásquez remained in the Los Angeles County jail for nine days. He had numerous requests for interviews by many newspaper reporters, but agreed to see only three: two from the San Francisco Chronicle and one from the Los Angeles Star. He told them his aim was to return California to Mexican rule. He insisted he was an honorable man and said he had never killed anyone.

In late May, Vásquez was moved by steamship to San Francisco, California. He would eventually stand trial in San Jose. Vásquez quickly became a celebrity among many of his fellow Hispanic Californians. He admitted he was an outlaw, but again denied he had ever killed anyone. A note written by Clovidio Chavez, one of his gang members, was dropped into a Wells Fargo box. Chavez wrote that he, not Vásquez, had shot the men at Tres Pinos. Nevertheless, in January 1875 Vásquez was sentenced to hang for murder. His trial had taken four days and the jury deliberated for two hours before finally finding him guilty of two counts of murder in the Tres Pinos robbery.

Visitors still flocked to Vásquez's jail cell, many of them women. He signed autographs and posed for photographs. Vásquez sold the photos from the window of his cell and used the money to pay for his legal defense. After his conviction, he appealed for clemency. It was denied by Governor Romualdo Pacheco. Vásquez calmly met his fate in San Jose on March 17, 1875. He was 39 years old.

Category: Post-Civil War

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