Skull finally finds a home, but where's the body?

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Gold miner James Roberts was pistol-whipped to death a century ago, but he can’t rest in peace.

He’s resting in pieces.

His body is buried in an unmarked grave, and his cranium is in a box formerly used to hold raffle tickets in a saloon. Such has been the long, crazy odyssey for the top of Mr. Roberts’ head. It started in 1901 when a coroner cut off the cranium for a slick lawyer to use in the alleged killer’s defense. In the decades since, the bone has gathered dust in a storeroom at Teller County Courthouse, dodged a judge who wanted it for an ashtray, escaped a pub that wanted it as a trophy and survived two years as a conversation piece in someone’s home.

Now, the cranium that once topped Mr. Roberts has come to rest at the Cripple Creek District Museum. You can look, but not touch. Not that you’d want to ...

The museum got the cranium last month. Director Jan Collins said plans are to house it there until it can be reunited with the dead man’s body, which, according to documents, is buried somewhere in the town’s Mount Pisgah Cemetery. Nobody knows exactly where.

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