After his arrest, Dick Rowland was taken to the city jail, a decrepit, bug-infested lockup at 15 W. Second St. that was notoriously inadequate, even by the meager standards of the day.
At about 4 p.m., Police Commissioner J.M. Adkison said later, he received an anonymous telephone call threatening Rowland’s life. After discussing the matter with Police Chief John Gustafson, it was decided to move Rowland to the county jail four blocks away.
The county jail occupied the top floor of the new county courthouse. It could be reached only by a single elevator and four flights of stairs locked off from the jail. Gustafson and Adkison later said they urged McCullough to take Rowland out of town but the sheriff refused, reasoning his prisoner was safer in a secured cell than on the open road.
Gustafson ordered his deputies to run the lone elevator to the top floor and disable it, and to barricade themselves in the jail with Rowland.
— Stories by Randy Krehbiel