Lee says that Erwin Hodges was killed to protect Brigham Young, with Young's approval.

John Doyle Lee

John D. Lee, Mormonism unveiled; or, The life and confessions of the late Mormon bishop, John D. Lee (St. Louis: Bryan, Brand & Co.), 157-158

Bryan, Brand & Company
John Doyle Lee
General Public

In 1845 I was present at a trial, when two young men named Hodges were indicted and tried for murdering an old man and his wife. The Hodges said that Brigham Young had sent them to rob the old people of their money, of which they were supposed to have a large amount.

When they went to rob the house they found the inmates ready for them, and one of them was wounded. Thinking then that they would be detected, they killed the old people, and robbed them of their money. One of the party became alarmed and reported on the two Hodges boys. Their older brother, Erwin Hodges, said that Brigham Young had gotten his brothers in this scrape, and that he could get them out of it, and that if he did not do so his (Brigham Young's) blood would atone for it. The same evening as Erwin was returning home, a little after dark, he was met by two men who had been waiting for him to come along. After some little conversation, as Erwin was turning, he was struck over the head with a police club, and then stabbed four times over the heart. The murderers then fled, supposing him to be dead. He was, however, only stunned, and the bleeding revived him. He ran about one hundred and fifty yards', and fell near Brigham Young's gate. He called for water, and also for Brigham to lay his hands upon him. Some person asked him who had done the deed. He replied he thought they were his friends, and expired without finishing the sentence, or lie was afraid to tell.

A neighbor came running to my house, knowing that Brigham was there, as he often came there to keep away from suspicious persons. I started home with Brigham, and while on the way, I remarked to him that it was a shocking affair. After a moment's hesitation, he replied that it was not any worse for Hodges to be killed than it would have been for him (Young) to have his blood shed. This answer recalled to my mind the threat that Erwin had made during the day, at the trial of his brothers, who were sentenced and hung at Burlington, Iowa. These men who turned away from the Church were the most bitter enemies to Brigham Young, and sought every opportunity to entrap him. They had a list of their most private friends to ensnare him, and find an occasion to arrest him with a warrant. This caused Brigham Young to keep hidden as much as possible. In the meantime, his "destroying angels" were dilligently on the watch, and every suspicious man was closely tracked up, and no strategy neglected to find out his business. If they were suspicious that any man wanted to serve a writ on his Honor, Brigham Young, they were careful never to let that man escape. Sometimes they would treat them with great kindness, and in -that way decoy them to some out-of-the-way place, and "save " them, as they called it.

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