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William Mansfield, of Blue Island, Illinois, was identified as a suspect in the 1912 Villisca axe murders by Burns Detective Agency operative James Newton Wilkerson. A Kansas City Post newspaperman named Jack Boyle broke the story in June of 1916 and dubbed the blonde-haired, blue-eyed Army deserter: "Blackie".  Detective Wilkerson claimed "Blackie"--a man whose wife, daughter, and in-laws had been murdered with an axe in Blue Island, Illinois on July 5, 1914--had been hired by State Senator Frank Jones to murder a former Jones Store employee and then-business-competitor, Joe Moore. Wilkerson said Mansfield "went crazy" and killed the rest of the Moore family, too. Mansfield was arrested while working in a Kansas City slaughter house in 1916, brought to Montgomery County, and investigated by a Grand Jury. Mansfield's attorney produced payroll records and sworn testimony from payroll clerks to show that Mansfield was working in Illinois when the Villisca axe murders occurred.  Grand Jurors returned a "no true bill" verdict and released him for lack of evidence. Mansfield later sued the Burns Detective Agency and detective Wilkerson and won a financial award of $2250.00 for battery.  He was a labor union organizer most of his life.

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