Looking Back for Sept. 28

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50 years ago

From the Thursday, Sept. 25, 1958, edition of The Steamboat Pilot:

A fine cooperative effort over the weekend, using the skill and generosity of several individuals and private groups, has readied the ski jumping hill for construction work.

Three big cats, manned by careful operators on the dangerous 38-degree slant of the hill, moved some 500 tons of dirt and concrete. A huge 200-foot wooden platform will now be installed by George Fick before winter sets in. The takeoff will be moved back 20 feet and raised 10 feet. The jumper will be 18 feet off the ground when he leaves the takeoff to whiz down the landing platform.

It is estimated that $2,000 worth of work went into the rapid weekend progress which almost insures repair of the jumping hill before long. All the jumps were improved, the "B" jump and the two smaller jumps neatly graded and repaired. The beginners' hill was smoothed over and repaired where necessary.

Randall Throneberry seeks penitentiary term reduction

Randall Throneberry, elder of the brothers who brutally killed a sheepherder near Hayden in 1943 and then made a daring break from the Routt County Jail, is seeking to have his long penitentiary term reduced.

District Judge Clifford Darrow was here Tuesday to hear a motion by R.H. Harward of Canon City, attorney for Throneberry, that he be resentenced for manslaughter.

Throneberry's sentence, given by the late District Judge Charles E. Herrick, was 34 years to life after he pleaded guilty. It was the contention of the attorney that it is not possible under our statutes to plead guilty to second-degree murder, as the degree can only be fixed by a jury. It was asked he be resentenced on a manslaughter charge that would carry a maximum of eight years, but that starting would materially reduce the sentence.

The brother, O.B. Throneberry, was tried for murder in district court here and found guilty of second-degree murder and the 34 years to life sentence imposed.

Randall Throneberry then was at large but was captured after the trial of his brother. Still fearing a jury might find him guilty of first-degree murder, Randall Throneberry agreed to plead guilty on the same charge as which his brother was convicted. The Throneberrys entered the penitentiary in 1944.

It was in August 1943 that Ethelbert Purdy, 58-year-old sheepherder employed by Eber Howell, was found by his sheep wagon near Hayden, dead from exposure. He had been tied with a rope so that any struggle only tightened his bonds. He perished in that fashion.

Some guns and other small articles were taken from Purdy, and they were found on the Throneberry brothers when they were arrested at Rawlins a week after Purdy's body had been found. They were returned to the jail here to await trial.

On Oct. 8, 1943, they made their escape. They decoyed Sheriff Dude Todd to their cell, and one of them struck him a stunning blow with a homemade blackjack. They fled, and O.B. Throneberry was captured at Waco, Texas, several weeks later and stood trial. Randall was not captured for several months and then was brought back and pleaded guilty.

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