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Murder-Suicide Take Place At Red Wash Sheep Camp

The double shooting of a Vernal housewife and a sheepherder in a camp trailer at a sheep camp at the head of Deadman Bench five miles east of the town of Red Wash has been ruled a murder-suicide by Uintah County Sheriff Arden W. Stewart and County Attorney Whitney D. Hammond.

Found Dead in the camper-trailer at 8 a.m. Monday were Joe Martinez, 45. still holding a .22 caliber revolver, and Mrs. Wilbur (Alice Fisher) Bingham, 49.

Heith L. Squires, owner of the sheep company which employed Mr. Martinez broke into the camper, which had been locked from the inside, through a window and discovered the bodies when he arrived Monday morning at the campsite for a routine check.

Sheriff Stewart said that Mr. Martinez was found slumped over Mrs. Bingham. Mrs. Bingham had two bullet holes in her head and Mr. Martinez had one.

Time of the shootings was set at from 10 p.m. to 12 midnight Sunday, since Mrs. Bingham had been seen in Vernal at 7 p.m. Sunday. Mrs. Bingham's car was parked near the fatal camper site. Three empty cartridges were found in the pistol still clutched by Mr. Martinez.

After investigating the trajectory angle of the shot by sheriff Stewart it was declared that Mr. Martinez apparently shot Mrs. Bingham twice in the head and then put the pistol to his own head, firing a single shot, killing himself.

Mrs. Bingham, head cook at Vernal Junior High School, was the mother of five children.

Mr. Martinez also known as Juan Christmo Martinez, a Mexican, was accused of first degree murder in the shooting of Irvin K. Hadden May 7, 1969 five miles northeast of Vernal at a sheep counting corral. He was acquitted by a jury trial September 24, 1969.

Funeral services for Mrs. Bingham were held Wednesday at 11 a.m. in the Ashley Stake Center.

She was born November 26, 1921 in Vernal to James and Kuni Strecker Fisher. She married Wilbur Bingham February 14, 1938 in Roosevelt. The marriage was later solemnized in the Salt Lake LDS Temple.

Mrs. Bingham attended local schools and was in charge of the school lunch program at Vernal Jr. High School at the time of death.

Survivors include her husband, Vernal; sons and daughters, Marc, Price; Jack, Salt Lake City; Scott, Vernal Mrs. Terry (Susan) Boren and Mrs. Michael (Bonnie) Night, all of Vernal; eight grandchildren.

Also, mother, Los Angeles; brothers and sisters, James, Pauline Luck and Gladys Slaugh, Vernal; Wanda Sizemore, Confluence, Kentucky; Merle Palmer, Los Angeles; Pearl Wiley, Brigham City, Bettye Mae Sizemore, Dayton, Ohio and Dorthy Morris, Denver.


Source: Vernal Express Newspaper, March 25, 1971


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