May 27, 1909
As He Appeared After His Arrest
Acrid exchanges of words between attorneys and the release of William Enghnell, a member of James Sharp's band, from the county jail, brought interest to the closing hour of the Adam God hearing for yesterday.
The day had been one of lagging testimony, largely by deposition, and court and spectators, as well as the jury, were weary when, at 4:30 o'clock, Enghnell, 20 years old, who does not appear bright, marched to the witness stand. He had been brought out of his cell on a former day of the trial, but taken back before he had a chance to testify.
On the stand Enghnell spoke with a pronounced Swedish dialect. He said he had lived in Kitchen county, Minn.
"Who is this?" asked A. E. Martin, counsel for the fanatic, Sharp, indicating the defendant.
"It's James Sharp."
"By what other name do you know him?"
"By what other name?"
"By what other name?"
"He is the Lord," said the boy, reverently.
"How long have you known Sharp?"
"I met him a year ago in Kitchen county, and hear him preach."
Judge Ralph S. Latshaw of the criminal court here turned to Enghnell and told him not to testify to anything that might tend to incriminate himself.
Immediately Virgil Conkling, prosecutor, was on his feet.
"If the court please," said he, "the state wishes to dismiss any information that may be pending against Enghnell. The state will not prosecute him for anything. He was not present at the shooting."
Mr. Martin resumed:
"Why are you in jail, Enghnell?"
"They had me arrested for believing the truth and Adam. I met him and God revealed to me that He was Adam, and I got the faith."
The witness started to tell what he saw of the shooting on the river, but was stopped by an objection by Mr. Conkling.
Sharp spoke up and said:
"I object. There you go stopping one of my best witnesses. Object, object," he continued, punching Martin in the back.
"Let him tell what he knows about that killing," shouted Sharp.
"That's the truth," called out the boy in the voice of a zealot.
On cross-examination Mr. Conkling asked:
"Sharp believed in killing people, didn't he?"
"No," said the boy. "Letting all people alone was our doctrine."
"Why did you have guns?"
"I heard Adam say that all through the South, where he had been preaching, they had been putting him in jail, and he had the guns to keep the evil men off him."
"Now don't let him get more than twenty-five minutes from the shooting," called out Sharp. "They wouldn't let the others tell what happened twenty-five minutes afterward. Why should this boy tell what happened more than twenty-five minutes before the shooting?"
The interruption was too much for Martin, who jumped in and said, "For two or three days I've resisted putting this boy on the stand. I was forced to do so by the defendant."
"Mr. Martin is 21 years old, a member of the bar and ought to be able to conduct a criminal case or resign," said Mr. conkling frigidly. By this time the prosecutor was on his feet and continued: "I don't think you ought to take this position before the jury."
"Are there any other witnesses they are trying to force you to put on, Mr. Martin?" asked Judge Latshaw. "If there are, I will protect you."
"No," said Martin.
"If you object," said Mr. Conkling, "I shall not examine this witness further. I don't want to be unfair."
Martin had none, so the questioning about the guns was resumed by the prosecutor.
"Sharp took the guns up town to protect him from the evil man," said the boy Enghnell.
"Did you give him some of the guns?"
"When I got into the faith I gave Adam my two pistols. I saw he was David, the father, and I gave everything I had to him."
"What else did you give him?"
"A $5 bill."
"Because he told you he was Adam?"
"No. God revealed it to me."
"Revealed it to Sharp, too, didn't he?"
"When you offered him the $5, you had a hard time to get him to take it, didn't you?"
"What did he say about you not having nerve to use pistols?"
"He said I didn't."
As soon as this answer had been given, Mr. Conkling accused Martin of shaking his head at the witness and objected to such alleged acts. martin denied them, but Conkling persisted.
"Did Sharp tell you that if anybody stopped him from preaching there would be war? the prosecutor asked the witness.
"Did he say if they didn't let him do what he wanted he would shoot?"
"Yes, he said that."
"Did Sharp tell you that perhaps this was the town God wanted him to take?"
"Did he say he had to fire the first shot and then they all could shoot?"
"Did he say he proposed never to be put in jail again?"
"Did he tell you he bought the guns to keep the police from arresting him?"
"Were you with Sharp w hen he stood off the Canadian police?"
"Stood them off with a rifle, didn't he?"
"And the next day he stood off several?"
"Then they sent fifty Canadian police after him and he stood them off with a rifle?"
"All of you who joined the band got revelations to give Sharp your money, didn't you?"
"Yes, we got revelations. God showed us."
"Did Sharp say he would do like David did to the Philistine with his knife?"
This concluded the examination of Enghnell, who was set at liberty. He was taken in charge by Mrs. Alice Stultz, a mission worker at 1418 Oak street, who said she would care for him. Court then adjourned for the day.
The reference Enghnell made in his testimony to Sharp taking the city had to do with a claim he made to his followers in connection with Joshua and Jericho.
Sharp himself did not take the stand yesterday, and it is possible that neither he nor his wife will be used as witnesses. The case may be finished today, as there remains little evidence to be put before the jury unless the Sharps go on the stand. Mr. Martin was unwilling last night to allow Sharp or his wife to testify, but added that they might override his wishes.
During the afternoon there were read by A. A. Bailey of Sharp's counsel depositions taken early this month in Oklahoma City. L. A. Sheldon, a real estate dealer who was a jailer there in February, 1905, said that the Sharps were in his charge for about sixty days that year. This was just after the naked parade.
"Sharp told me," said Sheldon, "that he came naked into the world and would go out that way. He preached and sang in the jail day and night so that one couldn't sleep in the jail office. He said also he was God and was generally 'nutty' on religion. His mental condition was 'mighty weak'.
"This naked parade was on Broadway in the afternoon. There were four of them in it."
James Bruce of Oklahoma City, who had the contract for feeding prisoners at the jail when Sharp was confined there, said he seemed to be rational on all subjects except religion. Sharp, so said Bruce, had a "very elegant beard," which reached almost to his waist.
"I told him," said Bruce, "that I wanted his whiskers and when I got back there he had cut them off with a pocket knife and had them in an envelope. 'Keep these and they will make you religious,' he said to me. I learned from neighbors that Pratt gave Sharp over $3,000, realized from the sale of Pratt's farm."
John Tobin, a retired farmer of Oklahoma City, saw Sharp's band in their camp near Oklahoma City in the spring of 1905. He said he wanted to buy the farm (Pratt's), but that Sharp asked $6,000, or $1,000 more than it was worth.
John Ballard, a deputy sheriff, saw the naked parade.
John W. Hanson, assistant county attorney, who was police judge of Oklahoma City in 1905, gave it as his opinion that Sharp was sane.
"He told me," the witness said, "that the constitution of the United States guaranteed him the right to preach on the streets. This was after he had been arrested for blockading the streets."
When Mr. Conkling read this question from the deposition: "It's very common for religious fanatics to claim divine origin, isn't it?" Sharp remarked, loud enough to be heard all over the courtroom:
"No, it is not."
Labels: Adam God sect, attorney, city hall, courtroom, jail, mental health, ministers, Oak street, oklahoma, Prosecutor Conkling