William Phillips

Willam Hill and William Phillips were neighbors in Franklin County, Arkansas, when Phillips persuaded Hill’s fourteen-year old daughter to marry him. The couple married in Fort Smith.

Though Hill did not like Phillips and was opposed to the marriage, he decided to stay near them when they moved into the Cherokee Nation, just outside Fort Smith. Tension between the men escalated until Phillips shot Hill. Hill survived and filed charges.

On September 8, 1884, tensions erupted again. That night, Phillips killed Hill while he slept. Phillips was quickly arrested.

With eyewitnesses and other testimony, the case against Phillips was strong. In his defense, Phillips argued that Hill’s, Robert, who had also argued with his father, was the killer.

William Phillips was convicted of murder on January 20, 1885, and sentenced to death on January 31. He was hanged at Fort Smith on April 17, 1885.

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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