100 Years Ago Today: Farmer and Hired Man Killed by Farmer’s Son

Herald Democrat, September 12, 1919

Twenty-year-old Ole Oren “Curtis” Slinde III shot and killed his father, Ole Oren Slinde Jr., as retribution for the death of his dog at his father’s hands. The Slinde family lived in Longmont, Colorado, where the younger Slinde brought home a dog a few days before the murder. Before killing his father, Slinde III also shot and killed a hired hand, one William Fulmer.

Why did the son kill Fulmer before killing his father?

This double murder story (triple if you count the dog, which, yes) ran on the front page of the Herald Democrat, Leadville’s newspaper, so the editor must have thought that something about this story would capture readers’ interest since the murders took place all the way out in Longmont, CO, east of Boulder.

My guess is that the son’s mental state was the central point of interest in the story. Oren Slinde is called a “boy” in the article although he’s 20 years old. His quotes, “No one has a right to kill a dog” and “I like dogs, don’t you?” are loaded with both moral certainty and naivety. Is he like Lennie in Of Mice and Men and just inherently simple? The young man also confessed immediately to the police when they arrived, despite the fact that he was trying to bury the bodies and cover up the crime.

I can’t find any information about Oren Slinde’s murder trial, but according to the 1920 census he was imprisoned at the Canon City Penitentiary, so it must have been a fairly quick prosecution and sentencing.

And as quickly as he was imprisoned, he was almost immediately transferred out of the Federal Pen and into the asylum. On Feb 1, 1920, the Herald Democrat ran an article that said Governor Shoup’s Lunacy Commission found 26 Canon City inmates to be deemed insane, and among them was Oren Slinde.

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Herald Democrat February 1, 1920

According to the Herald article, “a competent medical determination of the mental condition of persons committed to the state prison whose sanity appeared doubtful was asked some weeks ago by Warden Thomas J. Tynan.” As a result of the Commission, “the persons adjudged insane will be at once removed to the state hospital for the insane,” which was in Pueblo, CO.

Pueblo Insane Asylum

Slinde’s life in the asylum is a mystery, but according to Find a Grave, Oren Slinde III died in 1935 in Pueblo, CO at the age of 36. I couldn’t find any more information about the cause of death nor whether he died in the asylum, but it seems that he did.

Note: there are quite a few spelling errors in the original article. The family central to this article is named Slinde, not Flinde, and records show that their name was originally spelled Slindee. They were Norwegian. The father’s name is Ole Oren Slinde Jr., and the son’s name is Ole Oren “Curtis” Slinde III according to his WWI Draft Card. Slinde the elder was born in Sogn, Jevnaker kommune, Oppland fylke, Norway.

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