Upon arrival at the Jennings’ House, where Dukes was staying, Captain Nutt and his nephew, Clark Breckenridge, were escorted to Dukes’ room on the second floor. They entered, only for Breckenridge to be swiftly pushed out into the hallway as the door fell shut. A struggle commenced and loud noises echoed throughout the house. A yell of “Murder!” escaped from Dukes’ room, followed by the cries of Captain Nutt for his nephew.
Breckenridge opened the door to find his uncle lying on the floor with a bullet wound in his head and Dukes standing over top of his body.
What exactly happened in that room would never be determined. The three witnesses—Breckenridge, the porter, and the owner of the Jennings’ house—claimed that when they burst through the door, Nutt was lying on the floor without a weapon in hand.
Dukes maintained that he had warned Captain Nutt he would shoot if he persisted and declared he fired out of self-defense. In his version of the truth, Nutt was waiving a cane around and threatening Dukes. Younger and stronger, Dukes wrestled with Nutt to gain control of the cane. Dukes then cried “Murder!” to get someone’s attention to end the tussle, only for Nutt to call for his nephew Clark. Dukes felt able to handle Nutt, but if the Captain was truly there to kill him and had the help of his nephew, Dukes would surely die. That is when he decided to take action and defend himself from Nutt.
Once the scene was exposed, a doctor quickly came to attend to Captain Nutt, but after 20 minutes he fell into unconsciousness and died. After an investigation by the coroner, Nicholas Dukes was charged with murder.