Legal strategies in the effort to convict Frank James included the dismissal of various crimes widely attributed to the James boys, including the murder of train conductor William Westfall killed during the 1881 robbery at Winston, MO. The following account was published in the Jamesport Gazette (Vol. 5, No. 44) of Jamesport, MO:
“On last Monday the state dismissed the case against Frank James for the murder of Conductor Westfall, and continued the case for the murder of Capt. Sheets to the February term, with the understanding that the state must either then try or dismiss.
“James was delivered to Marshal Con Murphy of Kansas City, who took him to that place to answer the indictment for the Blue Cut robbery. A special from Kansas City dated Nov. 5 says: Marshal Murphy and his prisoner, the redoubtable Frank James, arrived all right at 10 p.m. They will go to Independence in the morning.
“It is well understood here, by all who know anything about the case, that Frank James had nothing to do with the killing of Capt. Sheets, and that the case will never go to trial. If it ever does, it will be proved to the satisfaction of everybody that Jim Anderson, the brother of the notorious guerrilla and Arch Clements, were the two men who rode into Gallatin, and that one of these two men shot Capt. Sheets.
“As far as the Blue Cut robbery is concerned, the state cannot even make a case.”