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An indelible scoundrel of ill repute meets his fate.
Daily True American, Tuesday, June 27, 1882
Correspondent William C. Dinkins of Dakota Dispatch
The advent of a stranger to Dakota Territory, the summer nigh two years past, hath thrown Medora into disquiet and lamentation for the innocents fallen prey to his malevolent actions.
Phillip M. Hotez, a self-proclaimed savant of the medical arts, is destined for the hangman's noose for sinister transgressions.
Hotez, astride his steed, made a grand entrance into Medora, bristling with guarantees and elixirs, professed to possess healing properties for afflictions he foresaw in otherwise hale townfolk.
Families across the territory fell for the silver-tongued charlatan's medical jargon. Hotez held himself high, a seeming fount of wisdom, displaying his purported scholarly qualifications and testimonials from esteemed Eastern infirmaries, which upon scrutiny were discovered forgeries.
The Pearson family, newcomers to Medora, were among the initial victims of Hotez's deceit. Their daughter, young Bethany, was seized by fever, accompanied by nocturnal perspirations and sickness, which Mr. Hotez jubilantly declared were signs that his prophylactic treatments were working their magic. The tender child breathed her last the morn thereafter.
Despite protestations from the town Doctor, they turned to Hotez and his bottles of colored water. "He told us it would help our Bethany," the tearful mother, Mrs. Pearson, shared. "We trusted him, we thought he was a man of science. But it was all lies."
And so it was for other families too. The Mulligans placed their faith in Hotez when their robust son, Connor, who was not ill or presenting with symptoms of any kind was told by Mr. Hotez he would soon be unwell and that this future spell could only be deterred by his potions.
In a day the same symptoms that befell Bethany Pearson showed with the boy who was left scarcely able to lift his head from his pillow. The father, Mr. Mulligan, through gritted teeth, lamented, "That man has the Devil in him. He watched our boy waste away, and then gave more of that poison while promising us that the cure was just another bottle away."
Similar accounts resonated across Medora from families. O'Donnells, Swansons, and the Finches were all left bereaved and wronged by Hotez's sham treatments. Their voices united in a dirge of sorrow and treachery.
Medora's own, Dr. Abner Crowley, after several unsettling encounters with Hotez's previously hale and robust "patients," challenged the man in public discourse with the territory’s chief judicial appointment Josep R. Rogan offering a cash prize of $10 for the man who made his medical appeals most convincing before a gathering of public attendees.
Dr. Crowley demanded that Mr. Hotez reveal the contents of his potions and the scientific basis of his treatments. The rascally Hotez appealed to his credentials as an expert in medicinal cures and dodged the inquiries with grand words and elaborate explanations that satisfied none present during the confrontation.
By winter last, Sheriff Kennedy was apprised of Hotez's malefactions. He and Judge Rogan, well-respected figures of Medora's civic life, took up the case with fervor. "A man such as this," Judge Rogan proclaimed, "who gambles with the lives of innocents under the guise of medicine, will find no leniency in this courtroom."
When Hotez learned of the warrant for his arrest, he attempted to flee Dakota Territory at the fall of night and cross the border into Nebraska State. Sheriff Kennedy and his deputies pursued the stagecoach carrying the accused and apprehended the culprit at the hour of twilight two Sundays past.
The swindler’s trial became the talk of the territories, a convergence of aggrieved families and concerned citizens, all demanding justice. Visitors from Montana and Wyoming converged, alleging Hotez's past transgressions of similar nature in their territories. Their heartrending testimony in Judge Rogan's court solidified Hotez's grim fate.
Throughout the trial, Hotez maintained his air of arrogance. He repeatedly appealed to his faux expertise, making desperate pleas that he was a man of science, that he was innocent. His pleas fell on ears deafened by the cries of his victims. "I've not seen a man twist and turn so under scrutiny," remarked Sheriff Kennedy.
After weighing the testimonies and evidence, Judge Rogan delivered the verdict. Hotez was deemed culpable of callous deceit, his potions causing the untimely demise of countless innocents, many being helpless children. The room, heavy with anticipation and sorrow, erupted in hushed murmurs as Judge Rogan passed the death sentence by hanging.
His squirming defiance faded into ashen silence as the verdict fell, the reality of his imminent fate finally sinking in. His gallows were erected in the town square of Medora the following day.
"A noose is a fitting end for a man whose cruelty was concealed by false credentials," commented the stoic Judge Rogan, "Justice, though belated and unable to undo the suffering of the bereaved, will nonetheless be served."
Word of Hotez's forthcoming execution spread rapidly across the territories. In homesteads across Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana, the hearths buzzed with whispers of the cunning impostor who had brought sorrow and grief to their households. Yet, amid the sorrow, there was also talk of justice, closure, and healing.
The lessons borne from Hotez's sinister stint in Medora are indelible. The echo of his deeds will reverberate across the territories, a stark reminder of the steep price paid for medical deceit.
Talk of stringent standards for medical accreditation and the education of family physicians is widespread. The spirit of Medora, unbroken, churns forth solutions to prevent future fraud.
As the sun sets over the gallows, the town and its people look towards a future where deceit and charlatans have no place, where justice is not just a word, but swiftly meted out in claims of lethal malfeasance.
As for Mr. Hotez, the charlatan who slipped into the community like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, his hour is nigh. A noose, a stand, and a long drop.
At half past two today, the appointed hour of Judge Rogan’s verdict, his neck is snapped and his legs squirm for a few moments henceforth before hundreds gathered from near and far erupt in rapturous applause.
Generous souls are heartily encouraged to bestow their charitable offerings upon this worthy cause.
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