Hamilton disposed of their bodies in a river, but not before stealing their property.
(Warning: Graphic Photo of Deceased Family)
Only days before Mr Parsons had sold much of his corn crop to Hamilton, and had made $150 from the sale. Hamilton stole that money when he killed the family. He also stole Mr Parson’s ‘church’ suit and wedding ring.
The method of murder was horrendous. Hamilton shot Mr Parsons in the leg, and then beat him to death. He killed Mrs Parsons with a pole axe. The three small children were hit over the head with a gun barrel before having their throats cut with their fathers knife.
To dispose of the bodies, he threw them into the Piney River. A fisherman found them.
Hamilton then made a fatal error. He wore the suit he stole from Mr Parsons to church. While at church, an announcement was made of the discovery of their bodies. Hamilton quickly left the church, riding a mule he also stole from the Parsons family.
When they were gone, Hamilton started to stew over the whole situation. The more he thought about it, the angrier he got. Before long he decided to take off after the Parsons on foot. He went overland, choosing a short cut, and caught up with the family.
He later said about the confrontation “It seemed like I was all tore up in my mind.” He and Mr Parsons argued, and then choosing to ignore Hamilton, he told his horse to move along, riding past Hamilton. This was the final straw for the frenzy Hamilton had worked himself in to.
He raised his shotgun and fired at Mr Parsons, apparently not intending on actually killing him. He hit Mr Parson’s leg, and then his gun broke into three pieces. He ran up to him and struck him on the head with the gun barrel. When Mrs Parsons tried to wrest the barrel out of his hands, he struck her too. The children were crying – he wasn’t sure what to do, but he knew he had to silence them, so he struck each of them over the head with the gun barrel, and then slit their throats. He noticed then that Minnie was still alive, so he grabbed the pole axe from the back of the wagon and hit her with it until she stopped breathing.
He went through the pockets of Mr Parsons, stealing a razor, spectacles, $25 and a gold watch. He then made sure all bodies were in the wagon, unhitched one of the mules with a saddle to keep, then drove the wagon down to the river bank, throwing the bodies into the water.
Standing on the scaffold with a hangman’s noose around his neck, the trap was sprung at 11:02am, but when it was released, the knot at the end of the rope unravelled. The noose slipped from his neck, and he fell backwards, stunned. An old midwife standing nearby was said to yell out “That one’s for the baby!”
They tried again, at 11:04, the trap was sprung a second time. This time Jodie Hamilton was executed efficiently for the crime of 5 murders.