How did “Killer” Jim Miller escape justice for so long?

Duff Hale
Midlothian, Texas

Early on, “Killer” Jim Miller kept a public front as a solid citizen who attended church, never swore or used alcohol or tobacco, and was devoted to his family. People just couldn’t believe that such a man was a cold-blooded killer. But Miller also put a lot of planning into his “hits,” specifically looking at how he could avoid suspicion or beat the rap if he was arrested. He also hired some of the best attorneys around and wasn’t against bribing, threatening or eliminating witnesses. That’s how one of the West’s worst killers ran free for about 25 years before a lynch mob got him in 1909.

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and vice president of the Wild West History Association. . His latest book is Arizona’s Outlaws and Lawmen; History Press, 2015. If you have a question, write:  Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or e-mail him at

Jim Miller—dressed to kill. – Courtesy Robert G. McCubbin collection –
Jim Miller—dressed to kill.
– Courtesy Robert G. McCubbin collection –

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