June 9, 1909
Leon H. Brady, charged in the criminal court with murder for the second degree killing of Joseph E. Flanagan, went on the stand yesterday as a witness in his own behalf. The case will go to the jury today. Brady testified that he was 31 years old, had come to Kansas City at the age of 5, graduated from the public schools here and had taken a mining course in Columbia university, New York city; that afterwards he had worked for a copper mining company in Butte, Mont., had been engaged as engineer in a geological survey of Northern Montana and later had gone to Mexico to work in the Guggenheim smelters at Acientos and other places. He returned to Kansas City in April of last year and has since been a draughtsman for the board of education.
"When was the first time you heard of Flanagan pressing his attentions upon your wife?" he was asked.
"It was a couple of weeks before Flanagan was shot. My wife told me she could not go out of her room but that Flanagan was dodging around. I said to her:
" 'He hasn't said anything out of the way, has he? If he has, let me know. I can't call him down for standing around in the halls. That's only bad manners.' "
"When was the next time your wife complained?"
"The Sunday preceding the shooting I was called from dinner to the telephone. A voice, which said it was Flanagan's, asked me if I wanted to take a walk that afternoon. I said I was going to my father's. After I had been at his home a time with my baby, a woman called me by telephone and said: 'You'd better come home and see what's doing.' "
Brady said that as soon as he returned to the Angelus boarding house at 1014 East Fifteenth street, where he lived at that time, he found Flanagan had appeared there almost as soon as he had departed. This was three days before the killing, which occurred Wednesday, March 24.
On Monday, said Brady, he asked his wife to explain a statement that Flanagan had threatened her on Sunday, and she began to cry.
"I've been in torments for two months," she told him.
She then told the husband, according to his story, that Flanagan had mistreated her twice, and had threatened her if she did not keep still. She said she had been afraid to tell before that time.
The next evening Brady met Flanagan at Twelfth street and Troost avenue. They walked down town and back to the Paseo before separating at Fifteenth street and Troost avenue. Brady was armed. Mrs. Brady was not mentioned.
"Why didn't you ask Flanagan to explain?" he was asked.
"I wanted to. My idea was to get at the thing somehow. I did not want to shoot him down in the street, but I did not know how to bring up the subject."
Tuesday evening the men went walking together again. They talked about revolvers, but not of Mrs. Brady.
"I thought I might see some way out of it all without a scandal or a tragedy," said the witness.
Telling of the events leading up to the shooting and of the happening itself, Brady said:
"When I came home Wednesday noon for lunch, Flanagan, who had moved away from the Angelus for a month, was back again. We talked. Mrs. Brady was ill and I took her lunch upstairs to her. I told my wife Flanagan was back. Then I went on to my work, two blocks away.
"But I could not work. As I had passed out of the house I had seen Flanagan sitting in the parlor, grinning at me sarcastically, as I believed. I went back to the house and up the rear stairs to our room. I asked Mrs. Brady whether she had been bothered, referring to Flanagan, and she said no. For fifteen minutes I remained, playing with the baby. I had put the revolver I carried on the dresser.
"Presently Mrs. Brady said she was going downstairs. Almost immediately after the door had closed behind her I heard her cough. The thought flashed through my mind that Flanagan must be there. I jumped up and grabbed the revolver as I heard my wife say, 'No! No! No!'
"When I jerked the door open I saw my wife with her back to the door. Flanagan had hold of her shoulders and she had her hands up as if to push him away. I went wild with rage and turned loose on him with the gun at once. I suppose before he could have let go of her.
"At the first shot Flanagan fell. He started to get up, and I fired three times more. Then he ran to his room. He was running, and I thought he might get a gun, so I reloaded the revolver.
"Did you say to Mrs. Brady, 'If I didn't kill him I'm going to?' "
"I don't remember saying that."
Mrs. Belle L. Bowman, owner of the boarding house, had previously testified that she heard Brady use such words.
On cross-examination Brady said his wife did not call for him, but only said, "No, no, no."
Mrs. Mary Rosanna Brady, whose story to her husband caused the killing, preceded her husband on the stand. During the morning session of court she had been excluded from the room on account of being a witness. As soon as she had testified, she went to the prosecutor's office and remained there until the evening adjourment was taken.
Only once while she was on the witness stand did Mrs. Brady cry. That was when she told of the killing.
"I was born in Fort Madison, Ia.," said Mrs. Brady, "and in 1903 went to Mexico with my parents. July 4, 1905, I met Mr. Brady, and September 29 of the next year we were married. We have a boy 22 months old.
"I first met Flanagan in October, 1908, when I came to Kansas City. We grew to have a speaking acquaintance in the latter part of December. It was not until the Monday before the tragedy that I told Mr. Brady of the indignities Flanagan had heaped upon me. I have suffered from asthma since I was 3 years old. If it an unusually severe attack, morphine has to be administered. This leaves me in a helpless condition.
"About two weeks before the shooting I told Mr. Brady that Flanagan was spying on me. On the Monday afternoon I mentioned I told him that, on January 11, Flanagan had come to my room and taken advantage of me while I was helpless from drugs. He came into the room and took the baby while the doctor was there. As soon as the doctor had gone he took me into his room. I resisted and he said I would be foolish to tell Mr. Brady, as it would only make trouble. On February 27, he did the same thing."
The witness said that on the Sunday preceding the killing, while Brady was visiting his father, Flanagan had come to her room and had asked if everybody was gone and if she was expecting anybody. She said she had closed the door in his face. He told her, she said, that he "would do her dirt" and that he put his hand to his pocket.
"On Tuesday he came to the room again and said, 'Did you tell Brady anything?'
"I said 'yes,' and he said: 'You are a great bluffer. I was out walking with Brady last night and your name was not mentioned.' "
Relating the details of the shooting, Mrs. Brady said:
"It happened in front of my door. About 1:20 o'clock that afternoon Mr. Brady returned home. I told him I was going to the bathroom, and went out. I still had hold of the doorknob when I met Flanagan. He bade me the time of day and said: 'Won't you invite me in?'
"I said: 'Of course not. We are no longer friends.'
"He said: 'I want your friendship even if you no longer want mine.'
"I asked him why, and he said, taking hold of me in spite of my efforts to tear away: 'Because I love you. I'm jealous of you. I want you all to myself.'
"Then," said the witness, "Mr. Brady opened the door." She wept violently for a moment.
"As the door was opened," resumed Mrs. Brady, "he let go and I fell back against a trunk that was standing in the hall. Mr. Brady shot as soon as the door was open. I think he shot four times. Then I went downstairs with him and the baby, and telephoned for his sister. Then they took him away."
On cross-examination the attention of Mrs. Brady was called to discrepancies between her testimony on the stand and the statements she made to the prosecuting attorney soon after the shooting. She said was excited when she made the statement. On the witness stand she said that her friendship for Flanagan ceased after he had mistreated her. In her statement she had said they continued on friendly terms. She said also that she was in possession of her faculties at the time of the attack January 11, and that she could scream. Flanagan did not carry her into his room, she said. She remembered being there fifteen minutes and that the door was locked.
Also, she said she and her husband had discussed Flanagan before the shooting on the same afternoon, but later modified her statement.
W. S. Gabriel, assistant prosecuting attorney, who with Ruby D. Garrett, is conducting the prosecution, produced a note signed "Mary," and asked the witness if she had written it to Flanagan. She said the note was not written by her.
Mrs. Brady told her story with her face to the jury. She seemed hardly conscious of the presence of her husband, for she glanced in his direction but seldom. There was not a woman in the courtroom to hear her story and and hardly two rows were filled by spectators. She told her story without emotion. Mrs. Brady wore a white waist, a gray walking skirt and a small black hat trimmed in red. Her heavy veil was lifted when she testified.
Among other witnesses for the defense called during the afternoon was Dr. William T. Singleton, who treated Mrs. Brady January 11 and February 27 for asthma by giving her a hypodermic injection of morphine and atrophine. He said the drugs were sedatives, but would not necessarily effect the use of the vocal organs.
Joseph L. Norman, secretary of the board of education, and J. M. Greenwood, superintendent of schools, both old friends of the Brady family testified to the defendant's good character.
The state rested its case at noon. According to the opening statement by Mr. Gabriel, it had proposed to show that Flanagan had been lured into a trap.
Among the state's witnesses were: Dr. Ralph E. Shiras, surgeon of the emergency hospital staff; Dr. James Moran and Dr. J. Park Neal of the general hospital, and G. E. Marsh and W. T. Latcham, patrolmen. Dr. Moran was present when Mr. Garret took Flanagan's dying statement, in which he declared himself innocent of wrongdoing. Only that part of the statement in which Flanagan said Brady shot him without saying a word was permitted to go to the jury. The wounded man died at the general hospital a few hours after the shooting. Every bullet took effect.
The state's chief witness was Mrs. Bowman, who conducts the boarding house. She said Flanagan and Mrs. Brady were frequently alone on the third floor of the house, where both had rooms, but that Flanagan did not seem to be there more when Brady was gone then at other times.
It was Mrs. Bowman who said that Flanagan tried to descend the stairs after he was shot. The witness said she heard Brady say: "Let him come. If I haven't killed him I will."
The witness said that Mrs. Brady, when under the influence of opiates, was at times almost unconscious.
Gen. Milton Moore opened the afternoon session by briefly outlining the defense. His main argument was that Brady shot in defense of his home.
Statements by both state and prosecution led to the belief that the arguments summing up the testimony will be brief and will consume less than two hours. This will not be because of limitation by the court, for Judge Ralph S. Latshaw, before whom the case is being tried, seldom limits murder trial arguments.
The jury with which Brady's fate will rest is made up of the following: James A. Wood, 4315 Main street; C. C. Wagoner, 3202 Gillham road; J. J. Ronham, 2852 East Seventh street; William H. Hand, 1229 Cherry street; Michael Bresnahan, 1831 Oak street; E. E. Esslinger, 3902 Belleview avenue; Charles J. Lewis, Mt. Washington; F. O. Hartung, 3006 Garfield avenue; J. B. Ralph, 3513 St. John avenue; Alfred Simpson, Independence avenue; Jesse Robertson, 6216 Peery avenue; D. J. Biser, 1933 Montgall avenue.