James Lamb and Albert O’Dell

Edward Pollard and George Brassfield worked as tenant farmers growing cotton near Lebanon, Chickasaw Nation. James Lamb and Albert O’Dell worked for them. Over the course of their tenure, Lamb became involved with Pollard’s wife and O’Dell became involved with Brassfield’s wife.

As O’Dell and Lamb became more bold in pursuing these relationships, Brassfield reportedly felt threatened and left. That freed O’Dell to make plans to marry Mrs. Brassfield. Those plans were made for December 27, 1885.

On December 26, Mrs. Pollard induced her husband to go to town to shop. He never returned.

The next day, Brassfield and O’Dell were married. The minister refused Lamb’s request to marry him and Pollard. The two couples then left the area.

Two months later, Pollard’s body was found. O’Dell and Lamb were immediately suspected and soon arrested. O’Dell confessed.

At trial in the US District Court for the Western District of Arkansas, the men offered testimony implicating each other. They were convicted on September 18, 1886, and sentenced to death.

James Lamb and Albert O’Dell were hanged at Fort Smith, Arkansas, on January 14, 1887.

Author: Bill Lofquist

I am a sociologist and death penalty scholar at the State University of New York at Geneseo. I am also a Pittsburgh native. My present research focuses on the history of the death penalty in Allegheny County (Pittsburgh), Pa. This website is dedicated to collecting, analyzing, and sharing information about all Allegheny County cases in which a death sentence was imposed. Please share any questions or comments, errors or omissions, or other matters of interest related to these cases or to the broader history of the death penalty in Allegheny County.

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