John Surratt was one of the co-conspirators during the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Although not the shooter, he was later charged as a co-conspirator.
He was the son of Mary Surratt one of the conspirators and the first women found guilty and executed by the United States government for the assassination of President Lincoln.
Surratt was wanted regarding the conspiracy to assassinate the president; he however escaped to Canada before he could be apprehended.
A fugitive of justice and an international at that, he was able to elude the long arm of the law while in Canada.
He then traveled farther away from the scene of the crime and wound up in Europe. There he was able to once again stay out of the cuffs of the law, eventually he was captured while working in Egypt. Extradited back to the United States, Surratt was set for the trial that was long overdue.
John Surratt in Zouave uniform during his time at the Vatican after the assassination
The trial started off with various witnesses for the prosecution and the defense having their respective turns at Surratt. After the court proceedings were over the jury retired to make their decision. The result was a mistrial, 8 of the jurors voted innocent while 4 voted guilty. John Surratt was a free man.
After his release from the hung jury and the fact that other than murder, the charges against him had met their statue of limitations, he became a model citizen. Surratt married the second-cousin of Frances Scott key in 1872, and settled down in Rockville, Maryland.
Fathering seven children, the Surratt’s would go on to live a rather domestic, peaceful life. Was this the reward for a man who was charged and then fled from prosecution, in the death of one of the most beloved President of the United States? Maybe not yet it happened that way.
Sick and death-bed ridden in the fall of 1916 from complications from pneumonia. He was 72 years of age and had lived a few decades more than the president was allowed to. Justice indeed or lack of it, he was the only one to dodge the gallows for the assassination of President Lincoln.