Richard Smith

Thomas Pringle lived with Hattie Seals in the Choctaw Nation. The two were in the woods together on March 28, 1888, when Pringle was shot. Before he died, he told Seals that he suspected a man named Murphy had shot him.

Pringle’s brother, Charles, tracked the killer by his distinct bootprint, which led to the home of Richard Smith. Smith, who was Black, was arrested soon after. Many witnesses came forward in support of Smith’s arrest. Apparently Smith and Pringle had quarreled not long before the killing.

At trial in Fort Smith, Richard Smith was convicted of murder in August 1888 and sentenced to death on November 3. He was hanged on January 25, 1889.

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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