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10 – The Murder Trials at Montague and Gainesville

By November 20, 2020July 12th, 2021Texas Talk

Ben Krebs, James Preston, and Aaron Taylor were tried for the England murders during 1876 and 1877 at Montague and Gainesville. Krebs and Preston were found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. Because Aaron Taylor was a teen when the killings occurred, he was sentenced to life at hard labor at the state prison in Huntsville. All three appealed their sentences. Krebs and Preston were granted new trials, but the appeals court upheld Taylor’s conviction. Taylor was sent to Huntsville in June 1878. Krebs and Preston were found guilty a second time and sentenced to be hung in Gainesville in April 1880. The presiding judge for all five of the England murder trials was Sixteenth Judicial District Judge Joseph Alexander Carroll.


For an in-depth look at this compelling murder mystery, read Murder in Montague: Frontier Justice and Retribution in Texas, published by University of Oklahoma Press, and available on our secure online webstore. The book is also available at University of Oklahoma Press and Amazon.

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