September 12, 1908
Just four days previous to his preliminary hearing on a charge of assaulting his wife with intent to kill, William Johnson of Buckner, Mo., was served with a copy of his wife's petition for divorce which was filed in the circuit court yesterday.
While sleeping in the same room with her husband at their home near Buckner on the night of August 20, Mrs. Mina Johnson was dangerously injured by being struck on the head with a heavy bludgeon. For days it was feared that Mrs. Johnson would die from her injuries, but she is now recovering. Several days after the assault her husband, William Johnson, who had acted peculiarly since the attack, was arrested and brought to Kansas City. He was locked up in the county jail for only a short time, being allowed to go to the Baltimore hotel to sleep.
He was under close police surveillance all the time and was granted permission to visit his wife. He was never released on bond, as it would not then have been possible to keep detectives with him. His preliminary hearing will come up Tuesday morning in Buckner before Judge James Adams.
Mrs. Johnson, in her petition for a divorce, recites that she was married to William Johnson November 22, 1877, at Independence. She accuses him of traveling around the country in company of another woman, and states that he represented the woman to his niece. She also charges that he either struck her himself or that it was done with his knowledge and consent. She asks that he be restrained from going near her, as she fears he will attempt to do her an injury.
The petition sets forth the fact that Johnson is possessed of a large amount of land, and the court is prayed to restrain him from selling or otherwise disposing of his property. The wife asks for temporary alimony and, if granted a divorce, permanent alimony. She names a Miss M. B. Howard, 1603 East Eighth street, Kansas City, as the woman with whom her husband went to Denver, Col, and Roswell, N. M.
While Mrs. Johnson has intimated on previous occasions that she believed her husband had knowledge of the party who so brutally assaulted her, she never directly admitted it until she filed her petition for divorce.
Nearly six months ago Mrs. Johnson decided to sue for a divorce and came to Kansas City to consult a lawyer. Without knowing it she went to a lawyer who was acting as Johnson's attorney. The attorney finally prevailed upon Mrs. Johnson to return home and again try to live with her husband. This she did without bringing a suit. At that time she wanted to file a suit because of her husband's action regarding the Howard woman.
In company with the detective who has guarded him since his arrest, Johnson passed through Independence last night on his way to Kansas City. He was asked about the divorce proceedings brought against him by his wife. He said: "I did not expect divorce proceedings to be brought. It came as a surprise to me. Further than that I do not care to discuss the matter at the present time." Johnson has lost his air of confidence and determination usually apparent, and looks worn and haggard.
When Johnson's preliminary hearing comes off next Tuesday, the justice will hear the testimony of all the witnesses in his court room in Buckner. Then the judge and his clerk, accompanied by the attorneys, will travel by wagon to the home of Mrs. Johnson, where the court will be reconvened in her bedroom and her testimony taken. After that the justice court will then be transferred to Buckner.