March 9, 1929
The alleged murder of Connie Franklin was supposed to have occurred. According to later testimony during the murder trial, Tillar Ruminer and Franklin were going to Justice of the Peace Finis Ford’s office to obtain a marriage license when the two were attacked by a gang of men. Two of the men were alleged to have taken Ruminer into the woods and raped her, while Franklin was reportedly tortured, mutilated, and murdered. The alleged murder of Connie Franklin and the ensuing trial scandalized the state and served to reinforce negative stereotypes about Arkansas in the national mass media. The uproar surrounding the apparent murder only increased with the reappearance of the “victim,” alive and well, shortly before the trial of his alleged murderers. Ruminer and many others, however, did not believe the man at the trial was the same Connie Franklin who had lived in St. James until March 1929.