May 21, 1878
FARMERVILLE, La. — Jesse Walker, colored, who was indicted by the grand jury of Union parish and found guilty at the April term of the district court of the murder of Violet Simmons, on the nineteenth of February last, was executed here today. He was brought out of jail at fifteen minutes before one o’clock and ascended the platform. After prayer by Reverend Mr. Butt, the prisoner was notified that he would have five or ten minutes in which he could say what he wished to say. Walker then proceeded to state that he was innocent of the crime of which he was charged. While he did not know who killed Violet, his remarks went very strongly to implicate one John Simmons. After talking about fifteen minutes and giving some advice to the spectators, he said he was prepared and would be better off in the next world. About twenty minutes before two o’clock the rope was cut and Walker was launched into eternity. After hanging about twenty minutes and pronounced dead, the body was taken down, put in a coffin and given in charge of his father.
New Orleans Times
May 26, 1878
Mr. Jesse Walker the gentleman who had his neck broken at Farmerville on the 24th propounded a new and startling scaffold theory just before he fell. It has been customary as our readers know for condemned men to make little speeches with the rope around their necks in which they confess having murdered the other party and conclude by stating that they will be in heaven within 20 minutes. Thus it has come to be considered that the surest and most expeditious means of getting to heaven is to throttle a helpless old woman and get hung for it. Ministers of the gospel stand by while these philosophies are broached and never dream of offering a protest so that the world has been forced to take their sanction for granted and weigh is thus added to the theory intrinsically fascinating. But Mr. Jesse Walker who by the way was a colored citizen of Union Parish, signalized his last moment by formally contradicting this idea as will be seen by the following extracts from his remarks from the gallows . I expect to be in heaven in less than half hour. I want all my friends to pray for me, as I have prayed for myself I advise all young people to quit going to parties, and serve the lord. I have never killed anyone, but if I had had my pistol when Simmons accused me of killing Violet and arrested me I would have killed him, but I thank god I did not, for then I would have never entered into the kingdom of heaven. Mr. Walker here distinctly announces the conviction that if he had killed Simmons he would not at that moment be en route for heaven. As there is no special wickedness attached to Simmons, more than Brown and Jones or Thompson it is fair to assume that Mr. Walker meant to say he would not be going to heaven if he killed anybody. And thus the question is fairly launched as between Mr. Walker and the other gentlemen that have been hung of late. The latter acknowledge having committed murder but claimed they were sure of heaven. Mr. Walker expressed an equal certainty of the realms of bliss but intimated that this certainly only existed because he was innocent of blood. The question is to vast and comprehensive for a minion paragraph but we hope to see it handled by competent authority.