June 5, 1908
MASON WAS IN WIX'S BARN.
At 11 o'clock last night Clark Wix was formally charged with the murder of John ("Dutch") Mason, the horse trader who disappeared from here January 26 last. Mrs. Lizzie Mason, the murdered man's widow, and Maud Wilson, with whom he had lived, both went to Camden, Mo., yesterday and identified the body.
It was after hearing statements made by the women, after they had identified property pawned by Wix, that John W. Hogan, assistant prosecutor, concluded to charge Wix with murder in the first degree. The information was drawn and sworn to by Mrs. Lizzie Mason. Then it was filed with Justice Michael Ross and a warrant issued on which Wix will be arrested this morning. His statement is to be taken at police headquarters this morning. His arraignment will be later.
The body of Mason arrived in the city yesterday afternoon and was sent to the morgue of Freeman and Marshall, 3015 Main street. There is a large hole in Mason's skull on the right side at the base, and another behind the left ear. A deep fracture connects both holes. It is the opinion of Detectives Charles Halderman and James Fox, who have developed he case, that the murder was committed with a hammer. A search will be made for the weapon.
In looking over his pawn slips Fred Bailey, secretary to the inspector, found where Clark Wix had pawned two watches and, as Mason had a watch when he disappeared, Detective Ralph Trueman was sent to Silverman's pawn shop, 1215 Grand avenue, after the property. He came back with a man's hunting case watch and a woman's watch with a diamond in the back. He also got a diamond ring and an Elk ring from the same shop.
Both Mrs. Mason and Maud Wilson quickly identified the man's watch as having been Mason's. They were not told of the other watch, and Mrs. Mason was asked if she ever possessed a watch.
"Yes," she said, "a small watch with a diamond in the back of the case." When shown the other watch which had been in pawn in Wix's name both women identified it immediately as Mrs. Mason's, and the Wilson woman said that Mason had the watch with him when he left that fatal Sunday, January 26.
According to the pawn sheets Wix pawned Mason's watch on February 10 and not until May 6 was Mrs. Mason's watch pledged. The police think that the diamonds in the Elk ring and other ring originally were part of Mason's horseshoe pin in which were fifteen stones, three large ones at the top and six smaller ones on each side.
John Hogan spent most of the night taking statements in the Wix case. Miss Wilson in her statement said that on April 26 last, her birthday, Clark Wix made her a present of a diamond ring. At the same time he had a stone set into a stud for himself. L. L. Goldman of 1307 Grand avenue, who set the two stones for Wix, also made a statement. Both persons said that the jewels were of almost the exact size of the three large stones in Mason's horseshoe pin. Miss Wilson said that when Wix gave h er the ring he said: "Now, if my wife ever finds out that I gave you this ring you must tell her that you bought it from me."
The third stone thought to have come from Mason's pin is believed now to be in an Elk charm worn my Wix when he was arrested.
W. A. Marshall, a liveryman, said in his statement that on the Sunday Mason disappeared he called up from Wix's transfer barn, 1406 Walnut street, and said: "I'll be over with Wix to see you in a little while about buying that horse." But, though that was about 1 p. m., Mason never came.
James Conely and John Lewis, horseshoers at Fourteenth and Walnut streets, stated that they often saw John Mason about Wix's barn, which was directly across the street from them.
It was the intention to question Wix last night, but that had to be abandoned until today. Wix has not yet been informed that he is charged with murder. When arrested he asked no explanation, though it was 1 o'clock Wednesday morning, and since he has been held in the matron's room at headquarters he has taken no apparent interest in why he was locked up and no one allowed to see him.
It developed yesterday that two months ago, on information furnished Detectives "Lum" Wilson and J. L. Ghent, Wix was taken before Prosecutor Kimbrell to be questioned in regard to the murder of Thomas W. Fanning, the aged recluse who was brutally killed with a hammer in his home, 1818 Olive street, December 31, 1906.
He was known to have hauled Mrs. Fanning to the general hospital, and it was reported that he said later: "Somebody is going to have to kill that old guy, Fanning, living all alone out there with all that coin." It was shortly after the Fanning murder that Wix went into business for himself, but in his statement at that time he said that his uncle, Clark Wix, postmaster of Butler, Mo., had furnished him the money. That matter will be reopened now.
Police Judge Harry G Kyle was yesterday retained by relatives to defend Clark Wix. Kyle comes from the same county, Bates, in which the Wix family live. All sorts of influence was brought to bear yesterday to get to see and talk to the prisoner, but Captain Walter Whitsett would not permit it.
Thomas W. Wix, a farmer from near Yates Center, Kas., arrived yesterday and it was he and Clark Wix, the uncle from Butler, who retained Judge Kyle. Rush C. Lake, assistant attorney general, went to the station and, according to Captain Whitsett, threatened to sue out a writ of habeas corpus if not allowed to see Wix. He was told that such action would mean in immediate charge of murder and there it ceased. Then other lawyers tried the same tactics and failed.
In June, 1906, Clark Wix was married to Miss Harriet Way, a nurse at the general hospital, who had served barely one of her two years.. At that time Wix was driving an ambulance for the Carroll-Davidson Undertaking Company, which handled all the city dead from the hospital, and it was his frequent trips there that brought him in contact with his wife.
Miss Way lived near Shelbina, Mo., and it was reported soon after her marriage that her family came near ostracising her for what she had done. In about a year, however, Wix had diamonds of all kinds and frequently gave his wife gems until she was the envy of her nurse friends at the hospital. Mrs. Wix was not informed last night that her husband had been charged with murder.
When Clark Wix was examined by County Prosecutor I. B. Kimrell and City Detectives Lum Wilson and J. L. Ghent, shortly after the murder of Thomas Fanning in his home at 1818 Olive street, on New Year's eve, 1906, Wix was not plainly told what charge might be placed against him. No person, outside of Chief of Police John Hayes, Wix's wife, the detectives and the prosecutor knew that Wix was under arrest. None of Wix's political friends knew of it or made any effort to secure his release. In recalling the questioning of Wix at that time Mr. Kimbrell said last evening:
"We asked Wix how he came by diamonds he was wearing and how he found the wherewithal to purchase his teams and wagons. He showed us that the original story about his owning many large diamonds was an exaggeration and that he possessed only two small ones, and he proved that he held title to only three teams and a wagon or two. He told us the size of his salary and how much he had been saving out of it each week. We corroborated his explanation by his wife and the neighbors. We never told him he was held for the Fanning murder. We discovered that we had no case against him and dropped the matter without letting his name be connected with the murder."