Killers of the Flower Moon
David Grann
Contributed by Shemika Thormahlen
Chapter 20
Summary

Issues of jury and witness tampering occur during Hale and Ramsey’s first trial. The people are not sure if the jury will punish a fellow white man for killing an American Indian. Ernest is brought on the stand, and he testifies on Hale’s plot to kill Henry Roan. stating how he wanted Ramsey to make the shooting look like a suicide so that it does not raise questions. Before settling on the method, Hale wanted to use poisoned Moonshine but decided against it. The defense attempts to implicate Ernest as the killer, making Mollie reveal the secret that she was once married to Roan. Later, the jury delivers their verdict finding Hale and Ramsey guilty of first-degree murder. They are sentenced to life in prison, and everything seems to shock them, especially Hale. Mollie chooses to divorce Earnest on learning that he knew about the plot to murder her family and fellow Osage tribespeople.

Hoover uses the case as a means to portray the efficiency of his bureau. He decides not to share the sour events that had occurred under the Bureau’s watch, including the escape of Blackie Thomson, and the murder he committed against an officer. The press also praises the Bureau for doing an excellent job in delivering justice to the Osage people.

White later leaves the Bureau and becomes the warden of Leavenworth prison, in Kansas, and on November 17th, 1926, two inmates, Hale and Ramsey are brought in — and White goes to greet them.

Analysis

Prejudice and white supremacy were essential concepts in the 1920s. Most whites saw American Indians as worthless as animals. Despite that, corruption was imminent — and Hale was a tremendously corrupt individual. With that said, the people are unsure of justice delivery since the odds seem to be against them despite the overwhelming evidence presented. The first cases of jury and witness bribing and tampering were expected due to Hale’s nature and way of living. Nonetheless, justice is delivered although the sentence given was life imprisonment, rather than the death penalty. If it were men from another race, death would seem appropriate — an indication that the jury was still biased.

The decision made by Mollie to divorce Ernest shows that she is deeply hurt by the things he did to her and the family. Furthermore, the decision by White to accept the warden job shows that he still desires to be like his dad, and that he considers his own family a great deal. Being a warden will ensure that his family will live in a specific place rather than having to move around as they did when he was an agent.

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