The Gallup 14
A TRUE CRIME NOVEL
GARY L. STUART
The Gallup 14 is the true crime novel about a riot and a murder trial that took place on April 4, 1935 in Gallup New Mexico. A prisoner, Esiquel Navarro, had been shackled and was being led down a narrow alley by McKinley County Sherriff Mack Carmichael and two of his deputies. They had attended a bail hearing for Navarro and were pushing their way back to the jail through a hostile crowd of out-of-work coal miners. One of the deputies, Hoy Boggess, panicked and started a riot. He lost his gun in the crowd as they rushed to release Navarro. Hoy’s famous 1917 Smith & Wesson long-barreled revolver was never “officially” recovered. But a bullet from that gun killed Sheriff Carmichael and wounded his deputy, Bobcat Wilson. Other guns were used to kill two Mexican coal miners. Bobcat was rushed by car to the Rehoboth Mission Hospital east of Gallup. A dozen coal miners were also wounded in the shoot-out. Navarro escaped and hasn’t been seen since. In today’s vernacular, he probably self-deported.
Governor Tingley declared martial law. By noon the next day, the roundup was on. One hundred and eighty men, women, and children were rousted from their homes in Chihuahuaita, and shipped by cattle car to the state penitentiary in Santa Fe. Most of them did not speak English. Almost all were Communists. Very few had any connection to the riot in the alley.
Fourteen men were charged with capital murder, based entirely on the fact that someone thought they were probably present in that alley that morning. While most the other Gallup suspects eventually released back to their homes, scores were deported back to Mexico. The case became a cause célèbre in the national press. Political rallies were held all over the country, Wall Street lawyers were recruited to lead the defense, and tens of thousands of post cards were sent to the Governor demanding release of the “political” prisoners, dubbed by the national press as “The Gallup 14.”
This true crime novel relies on the actual trial testimony, first-hand accounts, and a comprehensive file maintained at the Octavia Fellin Public Library in Gallup New Mexico. The published reports accurately portray the verdict, the appeals to the New Mexico Supreme Court, and the ultimate political resolution in the Governor’s office. Mary Ann Shaughnessy and Billy Wade, two fictional characters, tell the story in the actual context of 1930s depression era New Mexico. The University of New Mexico’s Zimmerman Library collected the complete record, which documents what happened, but not how, or why. This story is rife with the tension and hysteria of the so-called “red menace” (communism) and the racial overtones of a respected white sheriff killed by “Mexicans” in a narrow alley behind the Stuart house in Gallup New Mexico.