Sunday, March 13, 2011

Crime & Punishment, Cameron County, PA

Cameron County Hangings-Riley Murray as told to Frances Murray

The first man to be hung in Cameron County that I remember was Orie O’Dell for the shooting of his wife.  After his trial, Mr. O’Dell was kept under 24 hour guard.  My father, Albert Murray, was on duty as night guard.  His hours were from 6 p.m. until 6 a.m., seven days a week.  His pay was $60.00 a month.  I used to take my father’s evening meal to him and sometimes ran errands for Mr. O’Dell.  They hung him in 1907.  The platform from which O’Dell was hung was erected between the jail and courthouse.  Chet King from Port Allegany owned the patent on the hanging scaffold.  He always set it up and sometimes did the actual hangings instead of the sheriff.

The second Cameron County hanging was an Italian man whose name I have forgotten.  He shot Jim Kibe by mistake.  He laid in wait for Mr. Farley with whom he had had some sort of an argument at work.  Seeing Mr. Farley start toward the door on his way out, he fired at the first man to open the door.  Mr. Farley had turned back and Mr. Kibe was the one who was shot as he opened the door.  After his trial, this man, too, was under 24 hour guard.  My father was also night watchman on him. While on duty Father caught cold, got pneumonia, and died February 9, 1909. Shortly afterwards this man was hung on the same scaffold of Chet King and the same place as Mr. O’Dell.  I believe this was the last hanging in Cameron County, as the electric chair at Bellefonte was use from then on.

Some years after this man was hung, Chet King committed suicide.  Both the O’Dell and the Kibe murders were committed in the east end of town, on Allegany Avenue.  Kibe was killed at the door of the American Hotel.  Mrs. O’Dell was shot in their small store, which is now the house on the east side of what is now known as Steels Tavern.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, what a tale. Fascinating.
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)