October 30, 1909
James McMahon, the confessed murderer of Alonzo Van Royen, his brother-in-law, and Mrs. Margaret Van Royen and Miss Rosa McMahon, his sisters, yesterday afternoon pleaded guilty to the triple murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment in the state penitentiary at Lansing, Kas., by Judge Hugh J. Smith of Wyandotte county court of common pleas.
Immediately following the impressive scene in the court room McMahon was hurried to a Kansas City Western electric car and taken to the state prison by Sheriff Al Becker and Under Sheriff J. H. Brady. The usual prison routine of "dressing in," which includes clipping the head, shaving, a bath, and the application of the Bertillon system of measurements, was gone through with, and at 8:15 o'clock last night t he identity of James McMahon was merged into that of convict No. 2555.
The arrest of McMahon on Tuesday, his subsequent confession of guilt, his arraignment, his plea of guilty, the passing of sentence and his "dressing in" at the state prison on Friday night, for a record of swift retribution stands without a parallel in the history of criminal procedure in Kansas.
On the way from the jail to the courtroom McMahon maintained the same stolid indifference that has characterized his actions at all times since his arrest. Dressed in the same blue bib overalls, striped black and white shirt and black slouch hat which he wore on the day of his arrest, with handcuffs on his wrists, the stooping figure glanced neither to right nor left and answered in monosyllables the questions directed to him.
At the state penitentiary the party was received by Warden J. K. Codding; his secretary, Elmo D. Murphy, and Assistant Deputy Warden J. T. Crouch. The prisoner was at once given his supper, which he appeared to enjoy immensely. He even went so far as to smile at the warden and remark that the prison fare ought to agree with a man.
With none of the fear which marks the action of many men upon entering the walls of the prison with the knowledge that they are to be confined there for the remainder of their natural lives, James McMahon went through the ordeal of having his picture taking and the remainder of the routine in apparently a more cheerful frame of mind than he has shown during any time since the murders were committed.
Warden Codding announced last night that he would find suitable employment for McMahon and that his health would improve under prison discipline. "We will attempt to 'temper the wind to the shorn lamb,' " said the warden, as McMahon was led away.