Verde Heritage 1937: COTTONWOOD LUMBER COMPANY; Attempted Murder on Main Street, Part 1.

"Olin Langford, 38, of Smelter City in the Verde Valley was charged here this afternoon by John R. Franks, Deputy County Attorney, with assault with a deadly weapon, a pistol, with the intent to commit murder. The defendant is in the Cottonwood jail."

"In the Phelps Dodge hospital in Jerome, receiving treatment for a deep flesh wound in the upper part of his left leg, is Frank Edens, widely-known Verde Valley lumberman, who owns and operates the Cottonwood Lumber Company. Attending physicians and surgeons said that if the bullet's course had been an inch to the right or left the injury might have proved fatal because it could have severed an artery at a place most difficult to reach. Mrs. Edens also received a wound in her thigh, but it just grazed the skin. She was treated at her home in Cottonwood."

"Deputy Sheriff M. R. Sherman, of Cottonwood, who was in Prescott during the day to confer with Franks, said that Langford, who has been working as a carpenter at the CCC camp nearby and also was erecting a house, became incensed when Edens filed a material lien against the new house, proceeded to become pretty well intoxicated, then invaded the lumber office about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday."

"Armed with a .45 caliber pistol, said Deputy Sherman, Langford entered the office and fired 4 shots, 2 at Mr. Edens, the other 2 at Mrs. Edens."

"Sherman, who had just driven up to the curb in his car a door or two away from the lumber office, heard the shots and immediately investigated. He arrested Langford on the spot. The defendant, said the deputy, is married and the father of 7 children." ...

(Prescott Evening Courier; Thursday, November 18, 1937; page 2.)

"LANGFORD HELD IN COUNTY JAIL."

"Olin Langford, Smelter City carpenter, was in the Yavapai County Jail today awaiting arraignment in Superior Court before Judge Richard Lamson after waiving preliminary examination at 10 o'clock this morning in the Jerome court of Justice of the Peace Frank E. Smith. He is accused of assault with a deadly weapon (a .45 caliber pistol) with the intent to commit murder on the persons of Frank Edens, widely known Cottonwood lumberman, and Mrs. Edens, in the office of the Cottonwood Lumber Company. ... John R. Franks, Deputy County Attorney, is going to the Verde Valley Saturday to investigate the case further before Langford is arraigned."

(Prescott Evening Courier; Friday, November 19, 1937; page 2.)

LANGFORD TRIAL OPENS IN COURT on January 5, 1938.

"The trial in the Yavapai County Superior Court before Judge Richard Lamson and a jury, of Olin Langford, of Cottonwood, on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon with the intent to commit murder, got off to a slow start today, largely because it took so long to pick a jury."

"By 3 o'clock this afternoon the state had put on the stand, Mrs. Elta L. Edens whose testimony was to the effect that Langford, her cousin, entered the office of the Cottonwood Lumber Company, which her husband, Frank, owns and manages, exclaimed something to the effect that he was going 'to settle this matter right now,' then proceeded to fire at her with a .45 caliber revolver. The first shot missed but as she turned and fled to the security of a vault a second shot nipped her in the thigh."

"Meanwhile, she testified, her husband ducked beneath a table but he also was shot, more seriously, in the thigh."

"County Attorney Charles L. Ewing, who is assisted in the state's case by his deputy, John L. Franks, said he expected to put about half a dozen witnesses on the stand, among them the lumberman, who took the witness chair immediately after the afternoon recess."

"It was stated December 13, in a petition by defense counsel, Leo T. Stack, that Langford's defense will be temporary insanity, on the grounds that a lien the Edens had against the Langford house had driven him to 'desperation,' and that he was 'worried to such an extent that his mind went blank.'"

"In chambers, soon after the trial opened, Ewing secured a ruling over Stack's protest that an infant child carried into the courtroom in the arms of Mrs. Langford, and 2 small children be excluded from the courtroom on the grounds that they purposefully had been brought to the trial for the purpose of influencing the jury."

"Jurymen hearing the case are James T. Comer, Paul K. Pulsifer, Albert Hernandez, Henry Pehi, Clarence McQuiggian, Brent L. Shirley, Cleo L. Cummings, N. L. Bennett, I. E. Ballard, Raymond M. Cleveland, Anton B. Rich, and Alford Poland."

(Prescott Evening Courier; Wednesday, January 5, 1938; page 3.)

"LANGDON SAYS HIS MIND WAS BLANK."

"When court recessed this afternoon until Friday morning, all but the finishing touches in the trial of Olin Langford, of Cottonwood, on a charge of assaulting Mr. and Mrs. Frank Edens, of the same Verde Valley town, with a deadly weapon with the intent to commit murder, have been completed in the last 2 days."

"Besides the Edens, County Attorney Charles L. Ewing and his deputy, John R. Franks, put on the stand for the state, Bob Francis, Joe Stillwell, Mike Medigovich, Mrs. Mattie [Edens] Medigovich, Bayless Edens, and Deputies R. M. Sherman and Earl Stone; while Defense Attorney Leo T. Stack put on for the defendant Francis Lyons, Mrs. Mildred Langford (wife of the defendant), Sydney Butler, Ernest Langford (a brother), and Mrs. Beatrice Norton and Mrs. Annabel Norton (sisters). Afterwards the state put Dr. Harry Southworth and Dr. Stone on the stand for rebuttal."

"Langford's defense for shooting at and wounding first Mrs. Edens and then her husband, is temporary insanity."

"In support of this condition, the defense produced testimony to the effect that for 2 or 3 days after the lien was placed on Langford's 2 houses by Edens he refused to look at the papers, finally told his wife he was going to kill himself but first he would leave them insurance. He went to Lyons in Jerome for life insurance but since he does not sell that kind of insurance he put him in touch with a life insurance agent, who had given him a physical examination. The application did not go through, though, because Langford kept insisting that he wished 'direct' insurance, meaning the delivery of a policy at once."

"From that time on, he stated on the stand, his mind was blank until 2 or 3 days after the given affair."

"After he shot at Mrs. Edens, who fled to the protection of a vault in the Cottonwood Lumber Company office, and fired at Mr. Edens, who had sought protection under a table in the office, Langford fainted, at least he lay on the floor of the office."

"When Stone entered the office he went to the man, massaged his neck 2 or 3 times, he said. Langford asked for a gun to kill himself."

"His 2 sisters said that when they visited him in jail the next morning he told them their mother has been to see him and he asked them to send her back to comfort him. But, they told the jury, their mother has been dead for 9 years."

(Prescott Evening Courier; Thursday, January 6, 1938; page 2.)

The Cottonwood Lumber Company was located at what is now 1020 North Main Street in "Old Town" Cottonwood. It is now the location of Adventures Unlimited Books. The vault where Elta (Langford) Edens fled for protection is still there, with inner doors and a large outer door.

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