The Murder of Junction City Town Marshall Dan Wiley

Written by Gene Barron

One of the most sensational criminal cases to come before court in Union Parish in several years was the case of Taylor Cullins being tried for the murder of Junction City Town Marshall, Dan Wiley, on February 2, 1929. Cullins, who had been drinking was causing a disturbance in front of his stable near Main Street late in the afternoon. He actually went into a drunken rage throwing a bottle at a passing car and exclaiming, “I’m going to clean up this town!” Constable Wiley went to arrest him. Cullins drew a pistol and shot at Wiley three time striking him twice in the head. Mrs. Cullins, who rushed up to try to get her husband to stop shooting, was hit in the hip.

Charlie E. Goss, Deputy Sheriff from Lillie who happened to be in town at the time, arrested Cullins and took him to Farmerville to jail. Sheriff Murphy and the Parish Coroner, Dr. George A. Ramsey, went to the scene and held an inquest shortly after the crime.

Cullins was indicted for murder by the March Grand Jury of Union Parish charged with killing and murdering Dan Wiley. On April 15, 1929, court convened and the case of the State of Louisiana against Taylor Cullins was began. In a short time the regular venire was exhausted and the judge ordered sixty s men drawn from the tales box sixty were summoned to appear in court next morning at nine o’clock.

Next morning the jury was selected from that group and the evidence for the state and defense was beard in presence of a crowd in the court room. It was one of the most hotly contested legal battles in the parish several years. The defense was ably represented by J. Walter Elder of Ruston while the State was assisted by H. G. Fields.

  1. O. Williams, one of the main witnesses for the state, testified that he was standing on Main Street at the time of the trouble and saw Cullins shoot officer Wiley in the back and strike him with something in his hand; that Cullins was in his place of business in an intoxicated condition just prior to the killing; that the defendant had tried to hit the end of an automobile with a bottle and had stated that he was “going to clean up the town.”

Dr. George. A. Ramsey, Parish Coroner, testified that there were four wounds in Wiley’s back and neck and that his skull bone over one of his eyes was badly crushed and his false teeth shattered. Another of the State’s witnesses said he saw Cullins hit the officer in the back of the head after he had fallen. The case went to the jury late that evening.

Early Wednesday morning the jury returned into court and asked for a further charge which was given and they again retired to deliberate further. Later they returned into the Court with a verdict of guilty of manslaughter. The defendant was charged in the indictment and sentenced to not less than 12 nor more than 20 years at hard labor in the State Penitentiary.

Collin’s counsel filed an application for appeal to the Supreme Court and the return day was fixed for May 20th. The appeal was denied. In January 1931 Cullins applied for a pardon. He died in 1938 at the age of 89 and was buried in the Caledonia Cemetery

 

 

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Gene BarronGene Barron is a native of Spearsville, Union Parish, Louisiana. He has a genealogy database of 182,000 names, who are all connected to his family.

Gene has also written two historical books on Union Parish. I highly recommend both.

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