On October 13, 1889, John Stansbury (or Stansberry) killed his wife, Mollie, with an axe. He then staged a robbery and told associates that he was out of town when the killing occurred. The couple lived in the Creek Nation.
When an investigation failed to find evidence to support Stansbury’s story, he was arrested. Further investigation suggested that Stansbury had previously killed the couple’s daughter.
Authorities determined that Stansbury had killed his wife so that he could marry a Creek woman and thereby gain rights in the Territory.
At trial in Fort Smith, Stansbury was found guilty on February 27, 1890, and sentenced to death.
John Stansbury, who professed his innocence until the end, was hanged on July 9, 1890.