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Dominic Daley and James Halligan Trial: 1806

The Crime

It was on November 10, 1805, that the body of a young man—his head bludgeoned and with a bullet hole in his chest—was discovered in a stream near Springfield, Massachusetts, after his horse had been found wandering in a nearby field on the afternoon of November 9. Two pistols were found near the scene of the murder. Letters in the horse's saddlebags identified the victim as Marcus Lyon, who turned out to be a young farmer from Connecticut making his way home from upstate New York.

Several local men and a young boy quickly came forward with reports of two strangers seen walking along the turnpike in that vicinity on November 9. On Monday, November 11, a sheriff's posse set out and, by asking everywhere along the road, were able to catch up on Tuesday with two such men in Cobscrossing, Connecticut (near Rye, New York). They were Dominic Daley and James Halligan, two fairly recent Irish immigrants, and they admitted that they had come along that turnpike while walking from Boston en route to New York City. Although both men denied having any knowledge of the murder, they were arrested and brought back to Massachusetts to await trial. For some reason, Daley was singled out as having performed the actual act of murder while Halligan was accused of "aiding and abetting."

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1637 to 1832Dominic Daley and James Halligan Trial: 1806 - The Crime, The Trial, An Execution And An Exoneration, The Issue Of Bias, Suggestions For Further Reading