Murder - Arizona Capitol 1912

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Article taken from "Arizona Highways" magazine, September 2002 issue.

Murder In The Capitol  

"Upstairs in the Arizona Capitol's legislative chambers, political battles raged, but clerks in the Surveyor General's office, next to the ground-floor entrance, worked in the calm outside the fray.  However, just before noon on Tuesday, May 7, 1912, violence suddenly erupted in their quiet world of maps and land records.  Frank Coffman barged in and, without saying a word, fired four fatal shots at the chief clerk, Granville Malcolm Gillett.  Then Coffman turned the gun on himself, fired one deadly shot and fell in the doorway to the rotunda.

A coroner's jury determined that Coffman was motivated by an insane fixation on a land deal.  Convinced that Gillett had cheated him, he'd left a note in his pocket that said, "I have been swindled out of my money in a land deal, and now I am going to carry things to a limit.  I was doped and drugged and my mind was so unbalanced I didn't know what I was doing when I closed the deal."

That was 90 years ago, and times have changed, but how much they've stayed the same."



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