The D. C. Stephenson Trial: A Chronology

Imdiana Klan members in 1925.
August 21, 1891
D. C. Stephenson is born in Houston, Texas.
1915
The film Birth of a Nation, glamorizing the first KKK, opens. The second Ku Klux Klan is formed in Georgia.
1921 The Indiana KKK is chartered by the state.  D. C. Stephenson joins a Klan chapter in Evansville, Indiana.
July 4, 1923
D. C. Stephenson is inaugurated in Kokomo as Grand Dragon of the Invisible Empire for the Realm of Indiana.  The rally, the largest in the state's history, is attended by 10,000 to 30,000 klansmen.
September 1923
Conflict between Stephenson and Klan Imperial Wizard leads to Stephenson's resignation from state and national Klan offices.
December 1923
By the end of 1923, the Indiana KKK is the largest and strongest Klan organization in the country.
May 1924
D. C. Stephenson is reinstated as Grand Dragon.
November 1924
Support from Indiana KKK members sweeps Republicans into state offices.
January 12, 1925
D. C. Stephenson is introduced to Madge Oberholtzer at a banquet in Indianapolis.
March 15, 1925
Returning home in the late evening, Madge Oberholtzer is informed by her mother that she received a telephone call.  When Oberholtzer calls the number, Stephenson answers and tells her he needs to see her and will send someone for her.  She is then led  by Earl Gentry to Stephenson's home.  She is forced to drink liquor and forcibly loaded on a Chicago-bound train at the Indianapolis train station.  In the lower berth of a drawing room on the train, Stephenson rapes Oberholtzer, biting and chewing all over her body in the process.
March 16, 1925
Oberholtzer is wakened early in the morning when the train reaches Hammond, Indiana.  She is taken off the train by Stephenson and Gentry and led to a hotel.  Olberholtzer, traumatized, asks Stephenson to shoot her, but he refuses.  Later in the morning, Oberholtzer asks to be driven to a drug store so that she might purchase some rouge.  While in the store, she buys a box of bichloride of mercury, which is poisonous in quantity.  At about 10 am, she takes 6 mercury tablets and soon becomes very ill.  When Stephenson and his two accomplices find out what Oberholtzer has done, they load her in a car and drive her back to Stephenson's home in Indianapolis, where she spends the night in a loft above the garage.
March 17, 1925
Earl Klink carries Oberholtzer to her home about noon.  Klink says his name is "Johnson" and tells a roomer at the house that Madge was injured in a car accident.  Madge tells the roomer, Mrs. Shultz, that she is dying and that she should call a doctor.  When Dr. Kingsbury arrives, Madge tells her the story of her rape by Stephenson, being held captive, and injesting bichloride of mercury.  An examination reveals numerous bruises, lacerations, torn tissues, and acute kidney inflammation.
March 28, 1925
Dr. Kingsbury tells Olberholtzer she had no chance of recovery and Madge says she "is ready to die." 
April 2, 1925
Stephenson is arrested on assault and kidnapping charges.
April 14, 1925
Madge Oberholtzer dies, either from infections caused by the bites of D. C. Stephenson or from the effects of taking bichloride of mercury.
April 20, 1925
Stephenson is arrested a second time and charged with the murder of Madge Oberholtzer.
June 25, 1925
Stephenson is denied bail by Judge Fred Hines.
August 8, 1925
125,000 klansmen march in Washington, D.C.  It is the largest KKK rally ever held.
October 29, 1925
The trial of D.C. Stephenson for the murder of Madge Oberholtzer opens in Noblesville, Indiana before Judge Will Sparks.
October 30, 1925
Judge Sparks rules that Oberholtzer's dying declaration will be admitted into evidence.
November 5, 1925
The defense begins to present its case.
November 14, 1925
The jury convicts Stephenson of second-degree murder on its first ballot.  Defendants Gentry and Klink are acquitted.
November 16, 1925
Stephenson is sentenced to life in prison.
November 21, 1925
Stephenson is delivered to the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City, Indiana.
July 24, 1927
In revenge for not having been pardoned, Stephenson releases his "little black boxes" containing the names and incriminating records of public officials in Indiana who had been on the Klan payroll.  As a result of this information, Indiana Governor Ed Jackson and other officials are indicted.  The crackdown leads to a decline in Klan influence.
1928
The Indianapolis Times wins a Pulitizer Prize for its campaign against the KKK.
1932
The Indiana Supreme Court affirms Stephenson's conviction.
March 17, 1950
Governor Henry Schricker grants D. C. Stephenson parole and he is released from prison.
November 15, 1950
Stephenson, who had violated the terms of his parole, is arrested in Minneapolis.  He is sentenced to another 10-year prison term.
December 20, 1956
Stephenson is discharged from prison by Governor George Craig.
November 16, 1961
Stephenson is arrested in Independence, Missouri on a charge of attempting to molest a 16-year-old girl.
June 28, 1966
D. C. Stephenson dies in Jonesborough, Tennessee.

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