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William Larkin Stiles

Deputy William "Billy" Larkin Stiles

THE HUMBOLDT STAR

December 7, 1908

DEPUTY SHERIFF LARKIN SHOT DOWN IN COLD BLOOD BY PARTNER OF JIM TAYLOR

Charley Barr, the murderer, Takes Cowardly Revenge and Escapes to Mountain Fastnesses Across Oregon Line.

A dastardly murder was committed last Saturday afternoon at the Riley ranch on Kings River, ninety miles northwest of Winnemucca. William Larkin, a deputy sheriff, being shot down in cold blood by Charley Barr, former partner of Jim Taylor, the desperado who was killed by Sheriff Lamb in the performance of his duty last summer.

The only known motive for the killing of Deputy Sheriff Larkin is revenge, Barr, according to the stories that are told, having sworn to kill those who were in any way connected with the killing of Jim Taylor. Larkin is the first victim, he having been the detective who worked up the case against Taylor last summer, to arrest him and the latter’s death.

News of the murder of Larkin by Barr, who has been employed as a vaquero on the ranch for several months, was telephoned in from Toll House yesterday morning by Floyd McReynolds, foreman of the Kings River ranch, who was an eye witness to the killing. The substance of McReynolds’ story is as follows:

The murder occurred about 3 o’clock Saturday afternoon. Deputy Sheriff Larkin and John Saval, one of the county’s prominent sheepmen, had arrived at the ranch about an hour before. Larkin being on official business connected with the service of papers in a suit brought by Saval against a sheepman living near the ranch. After having dinner, Larkin and McReynolds started from the house to go to the barn, Saval remaining behind to put on his overshoes. When they were about half way between the ranch house and the barn, Barr, who had evidently been concealed behind an outbuilding, stepped out and commenced shooting. He fired three shots and Larkin fell mortally wounded, but as he fell he drew his revolver and fired one shot at the assassin, but without effect. McReynolds, who was close to Larkin when he fell, started to run, but Barr commanded him to stop and threatened to kill him if he made an offensive move. Barr, gun in hand, then went into the ranch house and took possession of all the guns there. Then he went to the barn, selected the best saddle horse on the ranch, and turned all the other horses out. Mounting the animal, the desperado rode away in the direction of China Creek and the Oregon line, but before going he warned the men on the ranch that he would kill anyone who tried to follow him to leave for town to notify the officers.

…Larkin, up to the time Taylor was killed, was employed by stockmen as a detective and had been watching closely for months. After Taylor was killed Larkin left this part of the country and only returned about a week ago, his wife accompanying him.

Larkin was from Arizona, where he had been in the employ of Wells Fargo & Co. as detective, and bore an excellent reputation, as well as being known as a fearless and capable officer. He was not a regular deputy of Sheriff Lamb, but was deputized specially for the serving of papers in a civil suit, which mission he was on at the time he was murdered.

(William Larkin’s true name was William Larkin Stiles. He had been a lawman and an outlaw in Arizona before coming to Nevada.)