One of the things he was impeached for was trying to rein in violence by the
Sharp-eyed reader David Kinney, a student of history as well as editor in chief of Business North Carolina, sent a note point out that Stephens was assassinated by knife. "The ku-kluxers did lure John “Chicken” Stephens into the courthouse’s basement during the county Democratic convention, but they killed him by putting a noose around his neck and stabbing him with a pocket knife," Kinney wrote.
Online accounts support that version. Another interesting question: How did John "Chicken" Stephens get his nickname? Well, of course, accounts vary, but they usually have to do with an altercation after he shot a chicken on his own property.
Read Wikipedia's version abou it here.