Monument Erected to One of Victims of 1971 Mount Magazine Rampage

A monument has been erected by Lake Swim Beach at Blue Mountain Lake in honor of David Small, who was left for dead in the trunk of a car, following a murder rampage by two Oklahoma State Prison escapees around Mount Magazine. Small continued to be a ranger at the park and taught school before retiring in 2008. He died in 2009.

Earl Van Denton and Paul Ruiz were executed with another unrelated murderer January 9, 1997, in a rate triple execution for the murder.

Opal James, a 58-year-old park ranger, at Blue Lake and Mount Magazine Ranger Marvin Ritchie were killed on June 29, 1977 in the rampage. Ritchie was answering a call about two men rolling a tire down a road. He was overpowered and bound in the car and his patrol car was used to block a road. When two Blue Lake rangers approach (James and Small) they shot them both with James dying and Small surviving.

The killers were the first to be sentenced to die in Arkansas in modern times although the execution was delayed by appeals.

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2 Responses to Monument Erected to One of Victims of 1971 Mount Magazine Rampage

  1. Mittie Small (Mother of David Small says:

    The headline of this article shoudl be Blue Mountian Rampage–not Mount Magazine.

  2. David Cockrell says:

    I am also a victim of ruiz and denton. They took my fathers life when i was thirteen. I am planning a trip this summer and will make sure i see the monument for both men who served their comunities so well.