Some believe John Miller was hired to assassinate Pat Garrett. How many men did John Miller kill during his career and how did he finally die?

Gerald Schaefer
Abeerdeen, Washington

You must mean the hired assassin, sometime lawman, Jim Miller, aka “Killing Jim Miller.”He was a bad one. It’s said his first victims were an old couple who he murdered in his home when he was only eight years old. After adding several more notches to his gun, he got religion and became a devout Methodist, earning the nickname “Deacon.” For a time he was a hired gun, getting $150 per victim at the same time he was preaching the gospel. It’s hard to say how many men he killed, but at least 16. “I have lost my notch stick on Mexicans that I killed out on the border,” he once bragged. His favorite weapon was a shotgun and he allegedly wore a steel plate inside his shirt that saved his hide more than once.

Miller was a cowardly, hired gun who nearly always killed without giving his victims a fair chance. He was 42 years old in 1909 when three Ada, Oklahoma cattlemen hired him to kill a rancher with whom they were feuding. Miller was extradited from Texas and hanged in an Ada livery stable with the three men who had hired him. He died game, coolly asking to be hanged with his hat on.

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