When was the first killing in Southern Nevada?
I like this question because it reminds people that there was a time when Las Vegas was a Wild West city, before the first Target or Babies ‘R’ Us.
Arguably the first sensational murders in the region occurred outside of Pahrump in the summer of 1897. John Hancock, while traveling with a female companion, Winifred Myers, killed a veterinary surgeon, Dr. George Engelke, and his driver, Pete Edmiston, with an ax—and shot them each in the back of the skull for good measure. The bodies were buried in the desert and most likely would have remained undiscovered except that Hancock was busted for burglary the following year, and Myers confessed all. So gruesome was the nature of the killings (for the time) that even the New York Times wrote about them (seriously: December 1, 1898, Page 3).
After serving seven years in San Quentin, Hancock was turned over to the authorities in Lincoln County in August 1905. After a quick trial and with the jury out of the box for a mere 20 minutes, he was declared guilty of murder. He was hanged in Carson City on September 8, 1905 at the age of 37.
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