Friday, October 9, 2009

Another axe murder in Colorado

On Friday December 4, 1908, Nicholas Fernandez returned a wagon to the home of Cosmo Garcia. Fernandez had borrowed the wagon earlier in the day. He had knocked on the door repeatedly receiving no answer and apparently there had been some arrangement made for the use of the wagon because Fernandez borrowed it anyway, assuming the family was still asleep. Upon returning the wagon, Fernandez noticed the cabin looked as quiet as it had in the morning so he broke into the house, assuming something was wrong; he was right.

Cosmo lived in a remote cabin with his wife, Viviana, and two daughters, Maggie and Toribia. Maggie was the younger of the two at fifteen. Her sister was twenty-five. A friend of the family, 60 year old Luz Garrule was also staying with the Garcias at the time. Two weeks prior Cosmo had hired a man named Francisco Martinez to help about the place and he lived with the family. Cosmo and Viviana were laying in the front room, both beaten to death with an axe that lay next to their bodies. In other rooms were found Toribia and Luz. It was apparent that the two women were killed in their sleep and the parents were killed when they came out of their room to investigate. Maggie was gone as was the hired man. The murders had been committed on Wednesday night, December 2nd.

Now this case was pretty cut and dry. A posse tracked Francisco Martinez to a canyon roughly thirty miles away from the Garcia cabin. Martinez shot at the posse and shielded himself with his hostage as he began to take her up a rocky trail too narrow for horses to follow. He was cornered in a remote canyon by the posse but before a move could be made on him he killed the girl then himself.  

I discovered this crime while systematically searching for crimes similar to Colorado Springs in the area. Now the Garcia cabin is near Colorado Springs the same way Tallahassee is near Miami; that is to say they’re in the same state. The area where the crime took place is so remote, the place names are known only to the locals and no pictures exist of the area, at least for public viewing. This was a pretty typical mass murder crime. The killer may have had some idea he could get away with the crime but he was fully prepared to end it all if he became cornered. It’s hard to say what the Midwest axe murderer would have done if he had been successfully tracked. The methodical nature of the crimes suggests he had no intention of being caught.  

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