Cop killer faces execution with a smile

By Bartee  Haile


A minute before midnight on Nov. 29, 1930, the condemned cop killer finished a letter to his widow-to-be, glanced at the nervous chaplain and asked with a wry smile, “What return address shall I put on this?” Jess J. Maple was not a career criminal. In fact, the 36 year old Indiana native had a clean record until the summer of 1930, when he suddenly went on a stick-up spree.


The World War I veteran and his sidekick entered a furniture store in downtown Houston at closing time on Saturday night, September 20. They cleaned out the cash register and two employees’ pockets of $300 and forced one of the victims to take a ride.


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