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Prosecutor: [questioning Cogburn about the goings on with the Wharton family] What did you do then?
Rooster Cogburn: Well, I backed away from the axe and tried to talk some sense into him [Aaron Wharton]. While this is going on, C.C., he edges over to the wash pot there behind the steam and picks up the shotgun. Potter seen him, but it was too late. C.C. Wharton pulled out on Potter with one barrel and turned to do the same for me and I shot him - the old man raised the axe, and I shot him - Otis lit out and I shot him. [thoughtful pause] C.C. Wharton and Aaron Wharton were dead when they hit the ground, Otis was just winged.
[a few minutes later; Cogburn is being cross-examined]
Defense Lawyer: I believe you testified you backed away from Aaron Wharton.
Rooster Cogburn: That's right.
Defense Lawyer: Which direction were you going?
Rooster Cogburn: I always go backwards when I'm backing up.
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