Commodore Perry Owens—as sheriff of Apache County, Arizona Territory—had a
reputation as a deadly man. But he was also known as a bad boss.
Less than four months into his tenure, in late March 1887, Owens scapegoated his good
friend and deputy Joe McKinney in connection with a jail break. When Owens fired him,
McKinney’s reputation was forever tarnished—although the sheriff himself may have
been at fault in the escape.
Later, Owens hired famed lawman Jeff Milton (picture) as a deputy. Two days later,
Milton quit, saying he couldn’t get along with Owens.
Mark Boardman is the features editor at True West and editor of The Tombstone Epitaph.