The Plot To Steal Lincoln’s Body


Hughes and Mullen were sentenced to Illinois State Penitentiary for “one year each, one day of which is to be in solitary confinement, and the balance at hard labor.” Prison records show that each served his full sentence, after which Hughes disappeared without a trace.

Mullen, however, surfaced again. On April 21, 1888, he was found guilty in Dona Ana County, New Mexico, of conspiracy in a land fraud case and given three years in the New Mexico State Penitentiary and a fine of one thousand dollars. He served that sentence, too, in full.

The mastermind behind the plot, Big Jim Kinelly, fell on hard times and in 1880 he evidently broke his own rule against getting within touching distance of counterfeit money; he was arrested in St. Louis for dealing in and being in possession of bogus ten-dollar U.S. Treasury notes. After much legal delay, he was sentenced to serve one year in the Illinois State Penitentiary—still the home of his old friend Ben Boyd.