On April 3, 1882 Officer
Jones had just gone off duty and was near his home when he stopped to speak to a neighbor. As he conversed with his neighbor, he noticed two men walking with what he believed to be stolen goods. As Officer Jones approached
the subjects they started running west
from St. Louis
and Hickory. Officer Jones gave chase
and was shot at St. Louis and Liberty by the larger of the two men. Officer Jones' wife was the first to arrive at the scene and found he was unable to speak, drew a breath or two and died. Newspaper accounts describe the city that day experiencing great excitement over the news of the killing of Jesse James by Robert Ford to the degree that court trials of unrelated cases were upended. That same evening a man named Levi Harrington, who was believed to be associated with Officer Jones' murder, was taken from officers who were escorting him to police headquarters by a mob of 70 men and lynched on the Bluff Street Bridge.
George Grant was arrested shortly after midnight of the day of the shooting and indicted for the murder of Officer Jones. In the newspaper account of the trial the prosecution produced witnesses that prior to the murder, Grant declared that he would kill the first 'blue coat' that tried to arrest him.
After the court heard the evidence Grant was sentenced to death for the first time on August 7, 1882. Retrials resulted in two convictions that were successfully appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court, both resulting in reversals and a third prosecution resulted in a hung jury. During the fourth murder trial he prosecutor encountered difficulty locating witnesses. Grant was subsequently offered a plea bargain in December 1884 that resulted in him serving only an additional two years in prison for manslaughter.
Interred at Mount St. Mary's Cemetery, Kansas City, Missouri.
Article by Brent Marchant