The Leon Reporter
Leon, Decatur County, Iowa
Thursday, June 29, 1911, Page 1



Burleigh Binning, a Former Grand River Citizen,
Acquitted of Murder by a Wyoming Jury.


Burleigh Binning, the youngest son of H. Binning and wife [Henry & Hannah (Betts) Binning] of this place [Grand River] a graduate of the class of '98 of the Grand River High School, and well and favorably known in this vicinity, was acquitted of the murder of Joe Wilson at his (Binning's) home near Cora, Wyoming, on the night of April 29th, says the Grand River Local. The trial was held at Lander last week and the verdict of "not guilty" brings great joy to his host of friends here. The following article appeared in the Lander Journal last week:

The arguments of the attorneys in the case of State vs. Binning were completed at 12 o'clock Saturday night and seven minutes later the jury brought in a verdict of "not guilty." Binning who is an emotional nature, was almost overcome with joy over the verdict that restored his good name and gave him his liberty. While the verdict was not unexpected, his many friends who were here to attend the trial, were also well pleased with the quick and decisive action of the jury, which was one of the most representative that could be secured in the community and one that would have surely convicted had the evidence justified such a verdict.

While it is impossible to print all of the testimony on account of its extreme length, a brief resume will be of interest to many.

Burleigh Binning testified that he returned home rather unexpectedly on the night of April 29th, having ridden by auto from Rock Springs and secured a horse at Pinedale to complete the journey of about ten miles to his home. As he put up his horse in his own stable he noticed a strange horse tied there, and as he passed the kitchen window on the way to the door of his home, he heard a man's voice say, "I'd hate to have Burl catch me now." He went on around to the north window where he could get a better view and saw Joe Wilson lying on the lounge, while his wife and Mrs. Towner who had been ironing were preparing to retire. He heard Mrs. Binning say, "Joe Wilson, you go home. I have had a headache for two days and am tired and want to go to bed." She started to pass Wilson on her way to the bedroom and he struck out his feet and attempted to stop her, but she continued on her way to the bedroom and in a few minutes called to Mrs. Towner to bring her a hot flat iron. When Mrs. Towner did this, Wilson followed her but was ordered out of the room. He returned to the kitchen, turned down the bracket lamp and locked the door. When Mrs. Towner returned to the room he grabbed and threw her on the lounge. Binning saw them through the window and testified that he thought it was his wife struggling with Wilson. He ran to the door, fired a shot through the glass and then forced the door open. A struggle ensued, he fired the remaining six shots and then reloaded his weapon. Wilson had retreated to another room but found the door locked and came back. He seized a stick of wood and Binning ordered him to sit down on a chair, undecided what to do. Wilson begged for his life and offered to leave the country. Finally Binning told Mrs. Towner to get Wilson's horse and the latter mounted the animal and rode toward the Smith ranch where he was employed.

Mrs. Binning and Mrs. Towner corroborated Binning's story in all the essential details.

A number of witnesses testified to Wilson's character and to his habit of carrying a gun.

NOTE: Burleigh Binning was arrested for assault May 4, 1911. After Joe Wilson died within the following week, Burleigh was arrested for murder, his trial commencing May 18, 1911. ~ "The Pinedale Roundup"
Burleigh Walter Binning was born on July 7, 1878, and died August 1, 1947. Burleigh was married June 13, 1909, Davis City, Iowa, to Margaret Ellen Rodgers. Margaret was born March 17, 1879, and died January 13, 1964. They were interred at Pinedale, Wyoming.

Transcription and notes by Sharon R. Becker, March of 2015
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