February 11, 1910
DR. HYDE CHARGED
WITH MURDER IN
THE FIRST DEGREE.
Colonel Swope's Nephew by
Marriage Formally Accused
OUT UNDER $50,000 BOND.
Special Grand Jury Convenes
Saturday to Investigate
BIG LIBEL SUIT DROPPED.
By Dismissing Proceedings,
Dr. Hyde Avoids Giving
DR. B. CLARK HYDE.
Dr. B. Clark Hyde, whose wife is a niece of the late Colonel Thomas H. Swope, was formally charged in a warrant issued yesterday afternoon by Justice of the Peace Loar at Independence, with having caused the death of Colonel Swope by poison.
Dr. Hyde was arrested in the office of Marshal Joel Mayes at 4 o'clock and an hour later gave bond in the sum of $50,000 before Justice Loar. The hearing is set for February 17.
The surties on the bond are M. D. Scruggs, vice president of the Kansas City Live Stock Commission Company; Fernando P. Neal, president of the Southwest National bank, and Herbert F. Hall, presiden tof the Hall-Baker Grain Company. Frank P. Walsh, John M. Cleary, John H. Lucas, attorneys for Dr. Hyde, and William McLaughlin joined in signing the bond, which was twice as large as was suggested by Prosecutor Conkling.
SPECIAL GRAND JURY CALLED.
Two hours prior to the issuance of the warrant, Judge Ralph S. Latshaw of the riminal court ordered that a special grand jury be convened to examine into the deaths of Colonel Thomas H. Swope, Chrisman Swope and other members of the Swope family who died of typhoid fever, including Moss Hunton, who died suddenly in the Swope home.
Marshal Joel Mayes was busy yesterday selecting a list of names of men who will be asked to serve on this grand jury. The jury will be convened Saturday morning when Judge Latshaw will instruct them in their duties.
The refusal of Dr. Hyde to appear at the Reed offices yesterday morning so that his deposition could be taken in his libel suits for $600,000 against the Pulitzer Publishing Company and the dismissal by the attorneys of the suit when they learned that an attachment had been issued for Dr. Hyde, precipitated the criminal proceedings.
The information was sworn to by John G. Paxton of Independence, the executor of the Swope estate. On the reverse of the warrant was a request by Prosecutor Conkling for an immediate arrest.
BIG LIBEL SUIT DROPPED.
The scenes of activity in the Swope case yesterday were kaleidoscopic. The legal sparring began in the morning when attemts to take depositions in the offices of Atwood, Reed, Yates, Mastin & Harvey on one hand and Frank P. Walsh on the other failed because the witnesses subpoenaed were not present.
Following the issuance of an attachment by the Reed forces came the dismissal of his suit for $600,000 damages.
The dismissal of the libel suit in which the Reed forces had obtained a prior right to taking depositions was not wholly a surprise, but it roused the attorneys for the Swope estate to activity. It was shortly after 10 o'clock a. m. when the attorneys and the women witnesses in the case gathered in the Reed offices. George H. Roberts, the notary, had failed to arrive and he was found in the court house. He had not expected the case to be called. Dr. Hyde had not arrived and it was determined to ask for an attachment. This was issued and a deputy sheriff began a search for Dr. Hyde.
JUDGE LATSHAW ACTS.
It did not take long for this news to reach the Walsh offices and John M. Cleary was dispatched to Independence. There the suit alleging libel against the Pulitzer Publishing Company, John G. Paxton, Dr. E. L. Stewart and Frank G. Hall was dismissed. The sheriff was notified and recalled the deputy who had been unable to find Dr. Hyde. the latter was ensconced in a private apartment of Mr. Walsh's offices. The news of the dismissal of the suit did not sit well with the attorneys for the Swope estate. There was a conference between Reed, Atwood, Maston and Paxton. It terminated at the office of Prosecutor Conknling.
It was at this juncture that Judge Ralph S. Latshaw entered the case. He went into conference with the attorneys and a quarter of an hour later declared that he would convene a special grand jury on Saturday monrning.
In the meantime Mr. Paxton had gone to Mr. Walsh's office. He said that he was sorry that he had caused the attorneys any embarrassment, but that he had a great deal of private business to attend to. He would greatly appreciate the favor of being excused until 2:30 p. m. Mr. Walsh conferred with Judge Johnson, and returning to the room, told Mr. Paxton that they would excuse him until 2:30 p. m.
Then Mr. Paxton got busy. Mr. Reed arranged for an interview with County Prosecutor Virgil Conkling. It did not take the attorneys long to arrive at a decision. This was that Mr. Paxton should swear to the information and that Prosecuting Attorney Conkling would recommend an issuance of a warrant charging Dr. Hyde with murder.
Before Prosecuting Attorney Conkling departed for Independence he called up Mr. Walsh on the telephone and asked him to have Dr. Hyde in the office of County Marshal Joel Mayes at 4 p. m. as he desired to serve a warrant on him at that time. Mr. Walsh promised to have his client there at the appointed time.
Dr. Hyde was not at the Walsh offices when this message came and caught his attorneys somewhat by surprise. They were getting ready to take the deposition of Mr. Paxton. Dr. Hyde was notifed over the telephone to come to the Walsh offices and then Mr. Cleary was given the job of finding bondsmen for Mr. Hyde. He was only a few minutes later than 4 p. m. in getting the signatures of the three businessmen to the bond which was made out in blank.
The warrant was issued at 3:30 o'clock on the application of J. G. Paxton in the office of Justice of the Peace Loar of Independence. Mr. Paxton was accompanied to the office of Justice Loar in the Jackson County Bank building by T. J. Mastin. Virgil Conkling indorsed the information. "I hereby approve of complaint and request that a warrant be issued," affixing his signature to the back of the document.
"I suggest that the bond be fixed at $25,000," said the prosecutor. "I believe that is sufficient in this case as there are certain contingencies which lead me to believe that a greater bond is not necessary." Justice Loar also was informed by the prosecutor that he could do as he pleased as to the amount of the bond, but that the state would be satisfied with that amount.
LEAVES WITH WARRANT.
Justice Loar upon the receipt of complaint at once was given another paper by Virgil Conkling which proved to be a warrant for the arrest of Dr. Hyde. In the body of the warrant the wording was identical with that in the complaint, and after being signed by the justice of the peace, who ordered it delivered to the marshal of Jackson county, the prosecutor and Attorneys Mastin and Paxton left in an automobile for Kansas City with the warrant.
Prosecutor Conkling stated that he had placed in the warrant that the preliminary examination would be held February 17.
Justice Loar stated that if the defendant waived preliminary examination he would commit him to jail, but if not he would accept the bond which it was expected Dr. Hyde would give.
Shortly before 4 p. m. Mr. Walsh and Mr. Lucas took their client to the criminal court building. Dr. Hyde was smiling. They hastened to Mr. Conkling's office where they remained until they were told that Mr. Conkling and Mr. Paxton had returned from Independence and were in the marshal's office.
Prosecutor Conkling handed the warrant to Marshal Mayes and told him Dr. Hyde would be in the office in a few minutes.
"Is your name B. Clark Hyde?" inquired Marshal Mayes of Dr. Hyde a few monents later when he was brought into the office by Attorneys Walsh and Lucas.
Dr. Hyde nodded his head in reply.
WAIVES READING WARRANT.
"I have a warrant which I am directed to serve on you. Shall I read it?" Marshal Mayes inquired.
"We waive the reading of the warrant," spoke up Attorney Walsh and the party including Dr. Hyde smiled.
Dr. Hyde and Marshal Mayes entered into a conversation on temporal subjects. The afternoon was delightful, remarked the marshal.
Prosecuting Attorney Conkling and Attorneys Walsh and Lucas drew to one side of the room.
"I have recommended that Justice Loar take a bond of $25,000 for the appearance of Dr. Hyde at the preliminary hearing which has been set for a week from today," said Mr. Conkling.
COULD MAKE IT A MILLION.
"That is satisfactory to us," replied Mr. Walsh. "Mr. Cleary is out now and will be here very shortly with a bond that will be good for a million dollars if necessary.
"That is not necessary," replied Mr. Conkling. "I have suggested a bond which I deem sufficient."
Attorneys Conkling, Walsh and Lucas then withdrew to the outer office, leaving Dr. Hyde with Marshal Mayes.
"I am very much interested in knowing what they are going to do with me next," said Dr. Hyde to Marshal Mayes.
"Do we have to go to Independence, and will I have to stay there all night?" asked Dr. Hyde.
"If your attorneys are unable to get bond for you, you will remain with me tonight. If they do get bond, you will go to Independence with me and then go on home," said Marshal Mayes.
Dr. Hyde was inclined to be almost talkative while in the marshal's office. He talked on almost any subject not pertaining to the case, and his face, for the first time during the week, was wreathed in smiles.
About 4:30 p. m. Mr. Walsh suggested that the party depart for Independence, as he expected Mr. Cleary had already started there. Assistant Prosecutor Jost accompanied the party in the Walsh automobile, representing Mr. Conkling. A moment later they were on their way to Independence.
At 5:15 o'clock a large automobile glided up to the bank building at Independence. In it was the county marshal, having in custody Dr. Hyde. Accompanying the party were Frank P. Walsh, John Cleary and John H. Lucas. They immediately went to the office of Justice Loar.
Dr. Hyde followed his lawyers closely, and as soon as he entered stepped to one side, and motioning to a newsboy, bought an evening paper, scanning the headlines. Not once did he raise his eyes, but kept them riveted on the columns which contained the latest developments in his case. After reading the full account, he turned the paper over and reread it.
MAYES SIGNS RETURN.
County Marshal Joel Mayes drew up his chair to the desk and signed the return, turning it over to the justice.
Dr. Hyde, who was standing near, found room on a window sill where he kept reading his paper, only looking up sufficiently long to buy another, which he read with as much eagerness as the first.
Frank Walsh left the court room, stating that he would be back in a short time. Upon his return he placed the bond before the justice of the peace for $50,000 instead of the $25,000 expected.
"I expected bond for $25,0000, but this is better still," said Justice Loar.
Mr. Walsh signed the document, then handed a pen to Dr. Hyde. Dr. Hyde wrote in a plain, bold hand, without a tremor, and his signature was affixed with as much indifference as if writing a prescription for a patient. After Dr. Hyde, John M. Cleary and John H. Lucas signed the bond.
LAWYERS SIGN BOND.
After this preliminary Dr. Hyde, followed by his lawyers, went to their automobile and soon were out of sight.
"This is a good bond," said Justice Loar, after the crowd had left the office. "Mr. Neal is president of the Southwest National bank, and the others I am given to understand are stockyards men. I do not expet that there will be a preliminary examination here. I am confident that it will go to the criminal court at once.
Labels: attorney, automobiles, County Marshal Mayes, doctors, Frank Walsh, Independence, James A. Reed, Judge Latshaw, murder, Prosecutor Conkling, Swope Mystery, telephone
February 4, 1910
BABY'S CRY SAVED FATHER.
"Don't Send My Papa to Jail" Caused
Judge to Reverse Himself.
The kiss of his 4-year-old daughter, Ethel, yesterday saved Clarence Chronic from serving six months in the county jail for stealing chickens, a crime of which he had been found guilty in the criminal court. Judge Ralph S. Latshaw had passed sentence upon him and was putting on his coat and hat to leave the room. The little girl left her mother's side on her own impulse and threw both arms about her father's legs.
"Don't send him away," she pleaded, leveling a pair of innocent blue eyes at the judge. "Papa is my best friend."
The judge hesitated, scowled and was promptly won over. "A man who is loved by his family," he said after announcing his parole, "has his good traits."
Labels: children, crime, criminal court, Judge Latshaw
January 30, 1910
DEAD OR FUGITIVE.
LITTLE ITALY DIVIDED AS TO
THE FATE OF MISSING CONSUL.
Only Charge Which Might
Be Brought Against Him
Not Extraditable There.
As days pass and there is no sign of Peter Isnardi, the missing Italian consular agent, the theory gains force in "Little Italy" that he has either taken his own life or else gotten well out of the country. In line with the latter belief comes a statement from Judge Ralph S. Latshaw of the criminal court that in Mexico the crime of embezzlement is not extraditable. Embezzlement is the only charge Isnardi has to fear from his enraged fellow countrymen.
Since he took "French leave" two weeks ago yesterday, Signora Isnardi declares she has had no word from her husband. She was a little calmer yesterday than she has been at any time since the occurrence, but still refuses to discuss any of the affairs that might serve to incriminate the man to whom she had been a helpmate for twenty-five years.
It is rumored about the Italian quarter that the signora is one of those who believes that the delinquent consular agent has taken his life. This idea was first suggested by Father Charles Delbecchi of the Holy Rosary Catholic church, and it is now becoming general.
"I believe Isnardi went down to the Missouri River the night he left and threw himself in," said Antonio Sansone, who lent the agent $1,000 two weeks before he dropped out of sight. "Isnardi was what you Americans call a good fellow. He was rather extravagant and believed firmly in keeping his head up, whether or not he had the money to justify his pretensions. He was not dishonest at heart.
CONSUL APPEARED WORRIED.
"During the two weeks preceding his departure he acted queerly about his office, seeming at times to be almost beside himself with worry. There is no doubt in my mind that his delinquencies finally drove him to suicide."
Signora Isnardi yesterday gave Sansone a written order to take possession of the fixtures in the consulate. They are worth about $200.
Notwithstanding the pressure brought upon the prosecutor's office to issue a complaint against Isnardi, nothing of the kind has been done nor will be done, it was stated yesterday, until the charges assume a more concrete form.
Speaking of the case, Judge Latshaw said he incline to the belief that Isnardi has taken flight in Mexico or Canada.
"He has had plenty of time to reach other of these countries," the judge said, "and if he has, he is safe from extradition. I can quote many instances where men in danger of arrest on charges of embezzlement or obtaining money under false pretenses have gone to Mexico and openly gone into business there. If Isnardi feared that it would be construed that his business had not been altogether fair to his clients here, he may have taken the precaution to drop across the frontier until matters quiet down."
The consulate remained locked up yesterday, and the private papers of the consul were not examined.
Labels: embezzlement, immigrants, Judge Latshaw, ministers
January 13, 1910
FOR FAMILY'S SAKE.
Benjamin Franklin Hughes
Must Support Family and
Avoid Primrose Path.
Benjamin Franklin Hughes, 51 years old, formerly a real estate agent of this city, pleaded guilty yesterday afternoon in the criminal court to a charge of bigamy and was sentenced to six months in the county jail. Hughes was paroled on condition that he would support his wife and family and follow the straight and narrow path. He is to report April 4 to Judge Ralph S. Latshaw of the criminal court.
With bowed head and trembling voice, Hughes stood before the bar of justice and told of his mishaps. He admitted that he had acted a "silly, old fool," but promised, with tears in his eyes, to reform and devote his years to his wife and children. Mr. Hughes has secured a position as a real estate salesman in Illinois. He stood alone in court, deserted by his friends and disowned by his wife and family.
"It is not for your sake, because under ordinary circumstances I would have sent you to jail, but for the sake of your wife and family that I parole you," said Judge Latshaw. "They have suffered as much as you; they are disgraced because of your foolhardiness. It was not so much for the crime of bigamy that you deserve punishment, but a far worse crime -- infidelity to your wife, and family."
Hughes's defense was that he was forced into an unfortunate alliance with Miss Vairie Wilder, aged 17 years, who lived with her mother, Mrs. Cora Westover, 1622 Madison street. The real estate agent married the girl in Kansas City, Kas., early last month when he had a wife and family living in this city.
THOUGHT HIM WEALTHY.
Hughes charged that Mrs. Westover compelled him to marry her daughter. he said she thought he was a wealthy widower. Hughes and the girl met last April, and immediately Hughes became enamored of her. Then he furnished rooms in a flat on Troost avenue and lived with her there.
"I spent hundreds of dollars," he said, buying her clothes and presents. "I was forced to pay this girl's board at home, and all her expenses. Now I am broke and have exhausted my credit.
"When I asked to take the girl to Excelsior Springs for her health, Mrs. Westovermade me deposit $15 with her. Besides that I was forced to pay all the expenses while in Excelsior Springs. We stopped at a $4 a day hotel.
"After the girl got in trouble, Mrs. Westover demanded that I marry her, thinking all the time that I was a wealthy widower. I thought Miss Wilder an innocent young girl and that I alone was responsible. I wanted to do the right thing so I decided to marry her. I thought I would be able to keep it a secret from my family. But the farther I went the more trouble I found. Then the girl faced me and my wife with her charges. I was a fool. Who knows this better than I? A silly old fool."
"Yes, you were a silly old fool," interrupted Judge Latshaw. "Your conduct is inexplainable. How could you expect to gain the love of this young girl? You, with deadened passions, shoulders bending under the weight of years, and with deep-wrinkled brow. Every furrow in your brow was an unfathomable chasm, dividing you from her. The law of nature ordained ages ago that a man of your age could not win the love of a fresh young girl, as is Miss Wilder. It would have been like the union of January and May, as impossible as the laws of nature themselves to overcome. But the fool that you are, you followed your fancies.
" 'Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive,' said the poet.
"The farther you went the deeper your feet sank into the mire. Did you hope to win this girl's love? Do you think that she ever cared for you? It is natural for the young to love the young, and for both to despise the old -- the doting, old fool. With one hand she caressed you and with the other hand she was seeking to take the money from your pockets. It was not you but what your money could buy that she wanted.
"But the crime you committed against this girl and later your becoming a bigamist were the least of your offenses. You violated the trust of your wife. What could be more disgusting or inhuman than a man with a good, pure woman at home, totally forgetting his obligations and duties that marriage has brought upon him.
"When the exposure comes they must suffer the same as you. when the name of Hughes is held up for ridicule, made the subject of ribald just, not you alone suffer, but your wife and family also. No wonder the woman whom you swore to cherish and love, despises and hates you. No wonder you are a disgusting sight to her eyes.
"But I think this one experience has cured you. If you fall again you must end with a suicide's grave or the felon's cell. Go out into the world and start anew. you cannot forget the past, because with your sensitive nature and cultivated tastes, the consciousness of your wrong-doing must remain with you forever. You must retrieve your past black record. The rest of your days should be spent in working for your wife and family, the ones who have suffered so greatly because of your misdeeds. If when you come back here, I find you are not supporting your family, you will be sent to the county jail to serve the sentence just imposed on you. Go and make good."
Labels: bigamy, criminal court, Excelsior Springs, Judge Latshaw, Madison street, real estate, romance, Troost avenue
December 30, 1909
LOOKS CONVICTED PRISONER.
Fallon Is Refused New Trial, But
Gets Sentence Cut.
J. B. Fallon was convicted last week in the criminal court and sentenced to five years in the state penitentiary, on his looks. Several jurors admitted after the trial that it was the prisoner's face and manner that caused them to vote for a conviction. Otherwise he would have probably escaped punishment.
Fallon was in court again yesterday on a motion for a new trial. Judge Ralph S. Latshawd overruled the motion, but reduced the sentence to three years.
The prisoner's looks were decidedly against him. He had long hair, carefully brushed and parted in the middle. The hair was oily, indicating a possible slippery nature of the owner. He had a small face and sharply cut features. His voice was soft and musical and he talked after the manner of a person who had made his living all his life by the "gift of gab."
Judge Latshaw told the prisoner that he might appeal h is case to the supreme court.
Labels: criminal court, Judge Latshaw
Decmeber 14, 1909
FAKE MESSENGER ARRESTED.
Two Boys Get Year in Jail After
Delivering Bogus Telegram.
Early yesterday morning a traveling man at the Sexton hotel was awakened by a rap at the door. Answering the summons he opened the door to have a telegram thrust in his hand by a boy in the uniform of the Postal Telegraph Company.
"Prepare for the worst," it read, "an accident has happened to your two sons. Will wire particulars later. -- Dr. Brown."
The traveling man rushed into his clothes and raced in a cab to the Postal office. There he was told that no message had been received from "Dr. Brown."
Harry Norton, 18 years of age, a messenger boy, was arrested on the charge of embezzlement. Alvin Church, the boy who is said to have delivered the telegram, but who is not an employe of the telegraph company, was taken into custody later on the charge of petty larceny.
When arraigned in the criminal court they admitted their offense, and Judge Latshaw gave each one year in jail, the maximum sentence. The boys say they have worked the fake telegram graft in three cities. Norton obtained work at the Postal in order to get telegraph blanks.
Church, they said, would visit the different hotels and take names from the registers. Fake telegrams would be prepared, usually telling that the man's wife or child was seriously ill or dead. The telegrams would be marked "collect."
Labels: con artist, crime, criminal court, hotels, Judge Latshaw, telegram
December 1, 1909
DRANK HIS WAY TO JAIL.
Court Is Lenient With Mechanic
Who Pleaded Guilty.
A. R. Davis, a machinist, pleaded guilty yesterday in the criminal court to having broken into a machine shop at Sixth and Bank streets.
"I didn't break into that place to rob," said Davis. "I was merely looking for a place to sleep.
"I am a trained machinist. Ten years ago I was earning $2,000 a year, now I am broke, without a job and blacklisted by the railroads. I have been foreman of machine shops in this city and railroad shops in other places.
"Ten years ago I began drinking. This is my end."
Judge Latshaw did not sentence Davis. He said after the trial that he would keep the prisoner in jail for three or four months, until he got the whisky out of his blood, then parole him. Davis pleaded guilty to a penitentiary charge.
Labels: alcohol, Bank street, criminal court, Judge Latshaw, Sixth street
November 30, 1909
DEPUTY USES PISTOL
TO SUBPOENA DOCTOR.
DR. CARBAUGH FINALLY GOES
WITHOUT COAT OR HAT.
Door Slammed in Officer's Face on
First Visit, He Obtains Attach-
ment in the Annie Owen
Grand Jury Case.
DR. EUGENE CARBAUGH.
Coatless, hatless and short winded as a result of being pushed up two flights of stairs in the criminal court building, Dr. Eugene Carbaugh, 614 Rialto building, was escorted yesterday afternoon into the office of Judge Ralph S. Latshaw.
Dr. Carbaugh was accompanied by Thomas Malone, a deputy sheriff. Carbaugh had been subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury and had refused to come immediately. An attachment was issued by Judge Latshaw, and he was taken before the grand jury by force.
Dr. Carbaugh was subpoenaed to tell of the slugging of Annie Lee Owen, stenographer of the police board, during the special investigation last spring. Dr. Carbaugh treated the young woman at the time.
Deputy Sheriff Malone appeared in the office of Dr. Carbaugh at 10 o'clock yesterday morning.
AN ATTACHMENT ISSUED.
"I have a subpoena for you," he began.
The doctor was standing in the doorway to his inner office. He was dressing a patient's hand.
"You can't read anything to me now," said the doctor, slamming the door in the officer's face.
Malone returned to the criminal building. An attachment was immediately issued. Malone returned to the Rialto building.
Dr. Carbaugh was attending another patient, a man whose head had been cut by a falling window.
"I want to serve that subpoena," said the deputy sheriff.
"Didn't I tell you that I don't want that read to me now? Sit down and wait until I am through."
The doctor slammed the door; Malone stuck his foot in front of it, and with his shoulder pushed his way into the office. Malone pulled a gun from his pocket. Dr. Carbaugh dashed from his office, through the waiting room to the outer hallway. Malone pursued, waving his gun.
A young woman stenographer in an adjoining office, hearing the tumult, rushed to the hall to see what was the trouble.
"You haven't hidden behind skirts too often, you can't do it now," taunted the deputy sheriff, leveling his revolver at the doctor and badly frightened the stenographer. "Throw up your hands."
"Don't' shoot. I'll come," Carbaugh replied, advancing.
Dr. Carbaugh was in his shirtsleeves.
"Can't I get my coat and hat?"
"No, sir, you ran away from them once before, so I guess you don't care much about them," was the ultimatum of the deputy sheriff.
Dr. Carbaugh was marched from the building with neither coat nor hat and taken before the criminal judge.
"I think you have been humiliated enough," said Judge Latshaw. "If you care to, you may return to your office for your coat and hat before appearing in the grand jury room."
The doctor said he was ready to go into the jury room and did not care to return to his office. He was taken downstairs. Here it was found that the jury had summoned another witness and it would be some time before he could appear. The doctor returned for his hat and coat.
"I did not try to put off the deputy sheriff," said Dr. Carbaugh. "I assured him that I would testify once I had finished tending to my patients. The needs of my patients come before the needs of the grand jury."
Labels: criminal court, Dr Carbaugh, Judge Latshaw, Rialto building
November 14, 1909
CRUSADE ON POST CARDS NOW.
Those of the Suggestive Variety Are
Under the Ban.
A crusade against suggestive pictures displayed for sale in the windows and racks of postal card stores was begun yesterday by the prosecuting attorney.
Judge Ralph S. Latshaw of the criminal court agreed yesterday to issue orders to the county marshal for the seizure of these pictures, should the prosecutor request it.
The order was not issued, however, as the shop men agreed not to offer suggestive post cards and pictures for sale. Henry Jost, an assistant prosecuting attorney, visited six stores yesterday morning. The proprietors agreed to destroy all salacious pictures.
"Postal shops must keep their windows and racks clean," said Mr. Jost. "Unless the orders of this office are obeyed, the dealers will be arrested and their stock of suggestive post cards seized."
Labels: Judge Latshaw
November 12, 1909
SCHOOLMATE TO JAIL.
"I Remember You Well," Said Judge
Latshaw -- "You Were the Class-
mate Picked to Become President."
"Do you remember the first time we met?" Judge Ralph S. Latshaw asked John Conners, tried in the criminal court yesterday on the charge of petty larceny. Conners had stolen junk iron valued at $2.50.
"It was when we were both boys," the judge continued, "we were nearly the same age, and were in the same class in the old Lathrop school. It must have been over thirty years ago.
"I can remember you well. You were the one who his classmates had picked to become president. You were the best in spelling and arithmetic. The teacher considered you her model pupil. Your penmanship was the roundest and the letters the most perfect. Everything came easy to you, while the rest of us had to study hard to get our lessons. You never have found out what real work is.
"But Connors, do you remember the next time I saw you? It was ten years ago. You came to my office to have me write a letter to the governor to have your citizenship restored. You had served a term in the penitentiary for grand larceny.
"What was the cause of your downfall?"
Connors was sentenced to sixty days in jail, then paroled on condition he would leave whisky alone.
Labels: criminal court, Judge Latshaw, schools
November 5, 1909
LAST OF WALLACE CRUSADE.
Nearly 4,000 Indictments Dismissed
by Prosecutor Conkling.
Nearly 4,000 indictments, returned by the grand jury last year during the Sunday closing crusade of William H. Wallace, then judge of the criminal court, were dismissed yesterday by Prosecuting Attorney Virgil Conkling. These are the last of 7,000 indictments by the Wallace grand jury.
When Judge Ralph S. Latshaw succeeded Judge Wallace on the criminal bench he instructed the prosecuting attorney, I. B. Kimbrell, to examine all the indictments and to file complaints where he thought he could secure a conviction. One dozen cases were tried, but all were acquitted, and about 2,000 dismissed.
When Prosecuting Attorney Virgil Conkling went into office the first of the year 1,500 more cases were dismissed.
The 7,000 true bills returned were against about 1,000 persons. Against some, principally theater managers, there were from 200 to 300 in each instance.
The Blue Law crusade started by Judge Wallace was directed largely against Sunday shows. At odd times his deputies would arrest cigar dealers, druggists and others who kept open on Sunday.
Labels: cigars, criminal court, druggists, Judge Latshaw, Judge Wallace, Prosecutor Conkling, Prosecutor Kimbrell, theater
September 26, 1909
JOHNSON NOT GUILTY
VERDICT OF JURY.
REPORT AFTER NEARLY FIVE
Defendant in Buckner, Mo., Assault
Case Says He Was More Affec-
tionate Toward Wife Than
After being out from 7:35 until midnight a jury in the criminal court last night returned a verdict finding William A. Johnson, charged with an assault on his wife in Buckner, Mo., August 20 of last year not guilty.
In all likelihood the case would have gone over until Monday, had not the jury made a request of Judge Ralph S. Latshaw to allow them to finish last night. the jurors have been kept locked up the greater part of a week and they were anxious to be at their homes Sunday.
The testimony yesterday, as presented by the defense, was largely that of Johnson himself. Johnson was on the stand the greater part of the afternoon. He said he was 57 years of age, had been born in Ohio and come to the Buckner neighborhood about the time he reached manhood. He said he was married 31 years ago and that he was unable to read and write, except that he could sign his name. This lack of education he attributed to the fact that he had to shift for himself from the time he was 15 and also because school conditions were rather unsettled at the time he was a child, it having been the time of the civil war.
Johnson first rented the farm he later came to own. He built the house in which he and his wife lived 20 years. His farm comprised about 800 acres and was encumbered for about $47,000. He testified that he lost money in two ranch deals, in one of them, $10,000. He said that whenever he had money in the bank, he allowed his wife to draw checks herself.
AFFECTION FOR WIFE.
"What was your feeling toward your wife?" he was asked.
"It was good, as much as that of any man and better than that of any number of men I see around," replied the witness.
This was true both at the time Mrs. Johnson was hurt and now, said he. Recounting the events leading up to and immediately upon the injury of Mrs. Johnson, the witness said:
"When we came home from church that evening (about eight hours before the assault), my wife read the paper to me and then we went to bed. I went to bed first and fell asleep almost immediately after taking some medicine I need for asthma. My recollection is that the light was burning when I went to bed. The next thing I heard was my wife calling, 'O, Dode!' a nickname she used for me.
"I jumped up and saw her on the floor, sitting down. I asked her what she was doing there and at first she didn't answer. Then she said she was sick. I wanted her to get on the bed, but she said she was too sick and asked me to lay her down. I got some pillows from the bed and laid her head on them. I don't remember whether I lit the light or not. I asked her what hurt her and she did not answer. Then I ran downstairs to call the Hilts. When they came upstairs with me, we put my wife on the bed and I called a doctor. I saw no blood until I laid her back on the pillows.
"Did you, that night, get up and go downstairs and up again or anywhere else in the house until you called the Hilts?"
"I did not."
"Did you know until the doctors made an examination how badly your wife was hurt?"
"Have you knowledge of who hurt your wife?"
"I couldn't look it in the face if I killed an animal, much less my wife. I didn't do it and have no knowledge of who did."
Johnson's testimony was not materially changed by cross-examination.
Mrs. C. F. Harra, who lives near Buckner, testified that she had asked Johnson the day after the assault if he was going to make an investigation. The witness said he replied:
"There is no need to investigate. There are no clues."
Other witnesses put on by the defense were Whig Keshlear, a detective, and his assistant. Thomas F. Callahan, an attorney, who acknowledged a deed made by the Johnsons. Depositions were read from Catherine Elliott, a washwoman, and Martha Shipley, a nurse. Both said the Johnsons seemed fond of each other. Henry Johnson, a nephew, also was called. He slept in a room adjoining the Johnsons the night of the assault.
Late in the afternoon Mrs. Johnson was recalled to the stand by the state. She said that, while she was recovering, she often talked to Johnson, but never about the injury. There was long argument over whether this answer should be admitted, but it was finally allowed to go in.
"I called for Mr. Johnson frequently to talk to him to give him a chance to ask me how it all happened."
The jury was withdrawn for a time while this testimony was being debated by counsel. James A. Reed, for the fifth time during the trial, moved the discharge of the jury while Mrs. Johnson was on the stand, but Judge Latshaw overruled.
Labels: attorney, Buckner, courtroom, criminal court, domestic violence, James A. Reed, Johnson assault case, Judge Latshaw
September 25, 1909
BY SOME ONE IN THE
HOUSE, SAYS LATSHAW.
DECLARES MRS. JOHNSON WAS
NOT ATTACKED BY BURGLAR.
Court Overrules Demurrer to Evi-
dence Introduced by State -- Im-
portant Testimony Allowed in
Record -- Defense Begins Today.
"This crime was not committed by a burglar, but by a member of the household. The evidence here is that whoever came down stairs soon after the crime went up the stairs again. Burglars do not return to a place where they have committed a crime. They leave the vicinity.
"As to motive, there is an unexplained forgery of Mrs. Johnson's name to a deed. There are quarrels between the couple to help in establishing motive. For these reasons, the demurrer is overruled."
The ruling here quoted was made by Judge Ralph S. Latshaw of the criminal court yesterday after attorneys for William A. Johnson of Buckner had argued half an hour that the state had not presented sufficient evidence to allow the cause to go to the jury. The court held that there was evidence. The introduction of testimony for the defense will be begun this morning.
Mrs. Mina Johnson told her story on the witness stand yesterday. Tired to the point of exhaustion by the many questions put to her, she answered all of them quickly Facing her, at a distance of twenty feet, sat her former husband, charged with assaulting her. She looked in his direction as she testified, but he did not lift his eyes from the table at which he sat.
TESTIFIES TO ASSAULT.
After she had exhibited to the jury the place on her head where she was struck, Mrs. Johnson related the happenings on the night of the assault. She and Johnson had come home from church, and retired. He went to bed first and she blew out the lamp. In the course of the night she awoke. The light was burning and brown paper had been put about the glass. She fell asleep again, seeming to be helpless.
Her next recollection, she said, was after the blow had been struck. She remembered kneeling by the side of the bed, blood streaming over her clothing. She looked about the room for her husband, but not seeing him, called. Then, she said, he came up and took hold of her arm, asking what was the matter with her. She told him she did not know, and asked him to let her lie on the floor.
Then he took pillows from the bed and put her head on them. Mrs. Johnson said Johnson did not ask her how she was hurt, either then or at any time since, in fact, that he had never asked any questions about the affair.
While Mrs. Johnson did not call it a quarrel, she testified to an argument she had with Johnson a few days prior to the assault. He was then planning a trip to New Mexico, and she insisted that she was going with him.
"I told him only death would keep me from making the trip," said the witness.
WAS ABSENT THREE MONTHS.
Mrs. Johnson testified as to her marriage thirty-two years ago. She was Mina Alderman, a school teacher. She taught Johnson to read and write after they were married. They rented a farm near Buckner and prospered, so that they came to own the place in a few years. Everything seemed to go nicely until seven years ago.
About that time, she testified, he became less cordial. Three years ago Johnson intended to buy a ranch in New Mexico, and on this deal was absent form home for three months. He seemed even less cordial on his return from that trip, said the witness. In one of his pockets she found a receipted bill from the Savoy hotel, Denver. It was for $46.50 on account of "W. A. Johnson and Mrs. M. B. Howard."
"It's a mistake," the witness said Johnson remarked when she questioned him.
Not long afterwards Johnson told her, she said, of buying a house and lot in Kansas City. He did not explain the deal to her satisfactorily, the witness testified.
SAYS HE BOUGHT EXPENSIVE HATS.
After the finding of the hotel bill Mrs. Johnson made search and learned the address of Mrs. Howard. She wrote Mrs. Howard, requesting an interview, but was refused. Mrs. Howard said in the letter, according to the witness, that she had met Johnson in a business way. She accused Johnson of dictating the letter, said the witness. Mrs. Johnson also told of coming to Kansas City once with Johnson, who would not or did not ride on street cars, so that she was soon very tired and unwilling to make another trip.
Lillian Short, a milliner in the employ of B. Adler & Co., said that she had seen Johnson come to the store three times with a woman who on each occasion purchased a high-priced hat. The woman was not Mrs. Johnson, the witness said. Mr. Adler testified to the same effect.
IMPORTANT TESTIMONY IN.
John F. Cox, Prescott, Kas., testified that Johnson told him on one occasion that he was very well acquainted with two women in Kansas City.
Edward H. Hilt, who testified Thursday, was recalled by the defense and further questioned. He was asked whether Keshlear and another detective who investigated the alleged assault did not talk to him. The witness said he could not remember.
Hilt was allowed to testify only after the objection, raised Thursday as to part of his testimony and again yesterday morning, had been overruled by Judge Latshaw. Hilt had testified that he was awakened by a groan and that, soon afterwards, he heard the footsteps coming down the stairs and almost immediately retrace their course. Fifteen minutes later he again heard footsteps and this ti me Johnson came to his door. The defense objected to any statement of the witness that the sound of the footsteps was similar.
It was one of the most important points that could be raised in a case in which, as in the one on trial, the evidence is wholly circumstantial. The testimony of Hilt was allowed to remain in the record.
ESTATE WORTH $15,000.
This concluded the state's case.
The defence then submitted its demurrer, which was overruled.
The assault on Mrs. Johnson was committed in the morning of August 20 at Buckner. The Johnson were at one time wealthy, but in the settlement of their affairs which followed the divorce given Mrs. Johnson last spring, only about $15,000 could be saved from the wreckage. Mrs. Johnson was given half of this. There was property sufficient to carry mortgages aggregating about $50,000.
Labels: Buckner, courtroom, criminal court, domestic violence, farmers, Johnson assault case, Judge Latshaw
September 18, 1909
MRS. SHARP'S TRIAL IS SET.
Wife of "Adam God" Has No Means.
Counsel is Furnished.
In the criminal court yesterday the trial of Mrs. Melissa Sharp, wife of James Sharp, "Adam God," was set for October 18. As she had no counsel, Jesse James was assigned by the court.
Mrs. Sharp was in the riot at the city hall December 8, 1908, when two policemen were killed. Her husband, James Sharp, was convicted in the criminal court last spring and sentenced to the penitentiary for twenty-five years. He is now serving his sentence, pending the opinion of the supreme court on his appeal.
Mrs. Sharp's appearance before the court was in response to her own request. She had asked Judge Latshaw for an audience and when she came into the court room she asked for a hearing.
"I am ready for trial at any time," she told the court.
Labels: Adam God sect, city hall, criminal court, Jesse James Jr, Judge Latshaw
September 17, 1909
RILEY BOND FORFEITED.
Order Made by Judge Latshaw in
The bond of John Riley, "the Rat," has been forfeited in the criminal court, where he failed to appear for trial during the April term, which closed September 4. Judge Ralph S. Latshaw made the order yesterday.
The next step is to issue what is legally termed a "scire facias," citing the bondsman to appear during the January term of court and show why they have not produced the defendant and why execution should not issue to collect the amount of the bond. If the bondsmen make the showing that they are endeavoring to get the defendant to the city and have a fair chance of success, it has been the custom in the past to allow reasonable time even after their appearance in court in answer to the writ. In no event is it likely that the bond matter will be disposed of for more than three months.
Labels: criminal court, Judge Latshaw, Riley the Rat
September 2, 1909
BOLD, BAD MEN ARE
SMALL AND WEAKLY.
MODERN DEADWOOD DICKS ARE
DEFICIENT, SAYS LATSHAW.
Flattering Description of Despera-
does in Yellowbacks Belied by
Experience Here, Declares
Fade away, Deadwood Dick and all other bold highwaymen who look so strong and big in the yellowbacks. You're fiction. The real highwayman and criminal is between 18 and 22. he's a puny little fellow who has not much more strength of mind than he has of body.
After having carefully inspected Deadwood Dick and all his kind as they pass in and out of the criminal court of Jackson County, Judge Ralph S. Latshaw says:
"The real criminal is not the fierce-looking man, with long mustaches drooping in a manner to make his face look fiercer than it was made by nature. He is not tall and stately in appearance, nor does he stalk with his head up and the proud glitter of defiance in his eye.
"Criminal courts have the hardest time with the boy, just growing into his manhood. He is the fellow who fills the lists of those convicted of crime. From 17 or 18 to 20 or 22 years old is the worst stage.
"Look over the records of the highwaymen and burglars who have been sent to the penitentiary from this court, not only in recent months, but for years. All of them are young men, undersized and weakly. They put a revolver in their pocket and go out to commit crime. If it were not for the weapon concealed in their pockets they would not dare steal. It is the additional false courage the firearm gives them that is responsible for the crimes they commit.
"When you go walking in the evening and see, in the shadows, the tall form of someone slinking away into further darkness, don't feel for your pocketbook. It is safe. But steer around the two little fellows who never had enough hair on their face to grow one tenth of the mustache which Deadwood Dick and his fellows sport in the lithographs.
"Do you mean to say," the judge was asked, "that stature has a direct bearing on crime?"
"Only to this extent," said he, "that a child born of average sized parents, who is smaller than they, is commonly a weakling. And with this physical weakness comes mental deficiency, to a certain extent. The late Judge Wofford used to say: 'These boys give me more trouble than all the rest of the county.' He spoke from long experience, and from keen observation of conditions which obtain now as well as then."
"But many Kansas City lawyers say they read penny dreadfuls to relax their mind," was suggested. "Do you never read them?"
"No, thank you. I do not care for that kind of literature," said the judge.
Labels: books, crime, highway robbery, Judge Latshaw, Judge Wofford
August 14, 1909
IF NUDE IS ART, THEN
ART IS "ON THE BUM"
JUDGE LATSHAW STRICTLY TO
ENFORCE NEW LAW.
In Fining Photographer the $500
Limit, Court Calls Attention to
Most Drastic Enactment
If the nude is art, then, in the immortal words of Alderman Miles Bulger, art will be "on the bum" in Kansas City on and after Monday, August 16. Mark the date on the calendar.
Judge Ralph S. Latshaw administered this latest jolt to the "nude" in art yesterday afternoon in the criminal court. Incidentally, he said in no uncertain words that the nude is not art.
Photographers and art schools, who make a practice of reproducing likeness of the human form as it appears without the constraint of clothing will have to get out the fig leaves or something that will be even less translucent than the Adam ready to wear clothes.
The ruling on art in general and nude art in particular came in the case of Leon Vickers, a photographer who had a studio in the Sterling building. He advertised for girls to pose at 50 cents an hour. Then he informed some of the applicants that they would have to pose in the nude altogether and made advances toward two girls.
Vickers was tried in the municipal court, where a fine of $100 was imposed. He appealed to the criminal court, where the fine was raised to $500.
"Photographers all over the city make a practice of posing nude subjects," said the attorney for Vickers.
TO STOP "LIFE CLASSES."
"If they do," said Judge Latshaw, "they will soon be on the inside of the jail bars, looking out."
"But they pose nude subjects and make sketches from the nude at the Fine Arts institute," suggested Daniel Howell, assistant city attorney, who conducted the prosecution.
"They will not do so after Monday," remarked the court, decisively. "The legislature has enacted a law, effective Monday, which covers just such cases. I am sorry, Vickers, that I cannot send you to the penitentiary. There ought to be a law under which I could do so."
However, the fine of $500 imposed on Vickers is equivalent to the maximum imprisonment fixed in the new statute. The photographer will have to go to the workhouse for a year. The new law makes the maximum imprisonment one year and the maximum fine $1,000 and provides that both may be imposed.
A further section of the new law forbids the circulation of any obscene pictures or literature. If rigidly enforced, it will have a considerable bearing on the trade in suggestive postcards, which has grown to abnormal proportions in the past few years.
Labels: Alderman Bulgerr, arts, criminal court, Judge Latshaw, photographs, workhouse
August 3, 1909
BOY ON TRIAL WAS HIS SON.
That Was Why Prospective Juror
Wanted to Be Excused.
They were selecting a jury in the criminal court to try a young man who had appealed from the municipal court. One of the jurors, who had stood the questioning as long as he could, finally walked over to the court deputy marshal and to the clerk and asked to be excused.
"Why cannot you sist as a juror in this case?" asked Judge Ralph S. Latshaw, to whom the juror was referred.
"Why, judge, that boy on trial is my son and I didn't even know he had been arrested."
He was excused as a juror.
Labels: courtroom, criminal court, Judge Latshaw
June 25, 1909
ADAM GOD TAKES AN APPEAL.
On Plea as Poor Person, Judge
Orders Evidence Transcribed.
James Sharp, or "Adam God," convicted in the criminal court for the murder of Michael Mullane, a patrolman, in the city hall riot December 8, 1908, and sentenced to twenty-five years in the penitentiary, filed an appeal to the supreme court yesterday. On his affidavit as a poor person, Judge Ralph S. Latshaw made an order that a transcript of the evidence taken at the trial be made for Sharp at the expense of the state.
It will no doubt be a year or more before the higher court passes on the case. Meanwhile Sharp will remain in jail here.
Labels: Adam God sect, jail, Judge Latshaw
June 20, 1909
WHEN 'LUCKY NUMBER'
TOM DAVIS WAS BOSS.
WITH "ANDY" FOLEY WAS A
POWER IN POLITICS.
Old-Time Czar of Ninth Ward, Who
Helped Make Political His-
tory in Kansas City,
THE LATE "TOM" DAVIS.
"Big Tom" Davis, for more than twenty years proprietor of the "Lucky Number" saloon, 1711 Grand avenue, and Democratic boss of the Ninth ward, died of liver complaint at his home, 517 East Seventeenth street, at 4:30 o'clock yesterday afternoon.
With the passing of "Andy" Foley of the Second ward, twelve years ago, the number of Kansas City's old-time Democratic ward bosses was limited to two, and now there are none worthy of the name left in the city. Davis's sway in the territory immediately surrounding his place, near Seventeenth and Grand avenue, was, however, just as strong at the time of his death as at any previous time, according to his admirers. Should he have bolted his party at any time in his career, they say, the Ninth ward would have become staunchly Republican.
Thomas Jefferson Davis was born in Alliance, O., fifty-five years ago. At 18 years of age he became a fireman on a locomotive and later an engineer. With Andrew Foley, now dead, former councilman from the Second ward, and Charles A. Millman, former member of the state legislature, he came to Kansas City about May 1, 1883. Millman alone survives.
YELLED COWHERD INTO OFFICE.
"Davis made his debut in ward politics in 1892 in rather a unique manner," said Mr. Millman last night.
"It was the time Henry J. Latshaw was running for nomination against William Cowherd, Thomas Corrigan, now dead, backing the former and Bernard Corrigan, president of the Metropolitan Street Railway Company, pulling private wires for the latter.
"The Ninth ward was in the hands of William Abel, a druggist, one time alderman, and had been for years, and it was understood that Abel was going to throw all his influence to Latshaw. On the night before the primaries the Cowherd faction was desperate and a hurried consultation was called among the leaders.
"Finally a deputation, comprised of Frank Rozzelle, after city counselor under Cowherd, and George Hale, chief of the fire department, visited his saloon.
"You are the last hope we have," explained Rozzelle. 'We have come to ask you if you can't help us lick Latshaw in the Ninth.'
" 'I can carry the nomination either way,' replied Davis. 'Only give me a short talk with "Andy" Foley.'
"Nominations were made by 'mob primaries' then, and the crowd that could holler the loudest won viva voce, and there was no appeal provided by the rules after the decision was made.
"At the time for the primaries the next day, a dozen or more moving vans came to the convention loaded with Foley's followers in the North End and Davis's particular crowd from the Ninth ward. The instructions were 'Yell like the devil.' Cowherd owed his nomination as well as his subsequent election to Davis. Likewise the power of William Abel was permanently wrested from him, and Joe Shannon became the czar of the Democrats in the Ninth ward."
Stories of Davis's zeal in advertising his saloon display has character in a different light than those relating to his political moves. It is said that every farmer boy in Jackson county knew of the big saloonkeeper twenty years ago, even though they never tasted his wares.
GANZHORN LOST WHISKERS.
One of his favorite pastimes was to purchase live rabbits, ground hogs, badgers and foxes from the farmer youths, and either put them on exhibition at his place or advertise a hunt and turn them loose in front of a pack of hounds on Grand avenue. For the latter amusement he invariably was arrested, but always paid his fine cheerfully and then seemingly forgot the incident.
Years ago when a former justice, now dead, grew tired of the single life he took his troubles to Tom Davis and was advised by "Tom" to have the vows proclaimed while standing with his bride on a table in the rear of his saloon. His idea in giving the judge this advice is not known, but his best friends say it was another advertising scheme brought to a successful conclusion by the overwhelming eloquence with which the saloonkeeper always presented his ideas.
Later when Davis learned that the bride had taken an aversion to the judge's long beard and mustache he sent for his client and advised him to have them cut and sold at auction at his saloon. This, too, was done, and a vast crowd witnessed the sale and shearing while ten bartenders hired for one day tried to take care of the enlivened trade.
Mr. Davis died after an illness of three months at his residence. He is survived by his widow, Mrs. Emma Davis, four brothers and a sister, living in Ohio. He leaves an estate already converted for the most part into cash valued at about $30,000. No arrangements for the funeral have been made.
Labels: auction, Commissioner Rozzelle, death, druggists, Grand avenue, Judge Latshaw, North end, politics, Seventeenth street
June 15, 1909
NO RED BADGE OF VIRTUE.
Color of Hair "Cuts No Ice" in Crim-
inal Case, Says Latshaw.
Red hair is not necessarily a badge of virtue. It may be as the judge of the municipal court says, that he has tried only six red haired men in four years. The others might have escaped while the fight was going on.
Records at the county jail show an average of four to five red heads behind bars all the time. A few months ago there was even a red haired negro, but he has since been released. Marshal Joel Mayes says, however, that he has never heard of a red headed man being hanged in this county. He places no credence in the "red hair for the innocent" theory.
"This court pays more attention to the color of a man's nose than to the color of his hair," said Judge Ralph S. Latshaw, of the criminal court when asked about the connection of red hair and crime.
"The color of hair and the eyes cuts no figure, so far as criminals are concerned. Neither has appearance much to do with crime. We sentence some fine looking young men to jail occasionally, after they have been convicted by juries and had every chance to make good looks count in their favor."
Labels: crime, Judge Latshaw
June 10, 1909
BRADY FREED UNDER
THE UNWRITTEN LAW.
Jury After Seven Hours Finds
Him Not Guilty.
After having deliberated from 3 o'clock yesterday afternoon, the criminal court jury, in a verdict returned at 10 o'clock last night, acquitted Leon H. Brady, who was on trial for killing Joseph E. Flanagan.
But twenty or thirty persons were in the courtroom when the verdict was announced, including the defendant's wife. As it dawned upon her that her husband was a free man, she into his arms, and he caressed her tenderly.
Little "Billy" Brady, their 2-year-old child, was out at his Grandmother Brady's, 2115 Benton boulevard, but J. H. Brady, his grandfather, was there to hear the verdict, as were General Milton Moore and Horace Kimbrell, lawyers for the defense.
Brady's father expressed a wish to thank the jury, but Judge Ralph S. Latshaw forbade him. The freed man left the courthouse with his wife, going to the home of his father to get "Billy," then they returned to 2421 Prospect avenue, which has been their boarding place since the trouble at the Angelus.
The jury took about fifteen ballots before a verdict was reached. Some of the jurors held out for manslaughter in the fourth degree until far into the night.
Labels: attorney, Benton boulevard, courtroom, Judge Latshaw, murder, Prospect avenue
June 9, 1909
BRADY SAYS HE SHOT
IN DEFENSE OF HOME.
CLAIMS FLANAGAN TOOK AD-
VANTAGE OF WIFE.
Board of Education Draughtsman
Tells of Circumstances Which Led
to Killing -- Woman in the
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?"
WARNED BY TELEPHONE.
"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.
WENT WILD WITH RAGE.
"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.
TOLD OF BRADY INDIGNITIES.
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.
CALLED HER A "BLUFFER."
"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.
NOT A WOMAN IN COURT ROOM.
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.
SAYS HE WAS LURED INTO TRAP.
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."
SHOT IN DEFENSE OF HOME.
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.
Labels: courtroom, doctors, Fifteenth street, guns, Judge Latshaw, marriage, Mexico, murder, Superintendent Greenwood
May 28, 1909
JAMES SHARP TELLS
A RAMBLING STORY.
PREACHES ON WITNESS STAND
BUT PASSES UP KILLING.
Arguments in Riot Case With
Instructions to Jury Including
Manslaughter and Par-
Cost of the Sharp trial to Jackson county $1,500.
Duration of trial (if ended today) twelve days.
By noon today or shortly after 12 o'clock the fate of James Sharp will be in the hands of the jury. All the testimony was finished yesterday afternoon and the instructions were read to the jury.
If Sharp meant to convince the jury he is not in his right mind, his counsel let him do the best possible thing by allowing him to ramble on the witness stand as he did yesterday morning. One of his impromptu sermons lasted for nearly twenty minutes and might have been two hours had the court not stopped it. All through Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, the Northwest and Canada he rambled.
DEFENSE SCORES POINT.
But when, in the course of his ramblings, he got to Kansas City, his flow of language dried. He was not allowed by his counsel to tell even who fired the first shot in the riot, and, not having been examined as to the details by his own counsel, could not be cross-examined on such points.
In many words Adam God told of the revelations he had:
"It was revealed to me, after I had been preaching for two years, that I was a chosen vessel. I received it as the messenger of the fifth angel in the ninth chapter of Revelations -- the angel who opened the bottomless pi pt and out of the pit came locusts and they had tails.
"I am Jesus Christ. This knowledge that is in me is God. I claim to be the father of the Lord, yet he is my mother. I am the father of Jesus Christ raised up again out of David. This revelation came to me in Fort Smith, Ark. Since then I have found more proof in the Scripture all the time. Two years ago it was revealed to me that I was David."
"Will you ever die?"
"I preached that I would never die and that my body would never see corruption. Anyhow, I will be reincarnated."
JEALOUS OF ADKINS.
But in all of Sharp's statement, from the time the meteor fell on his farm in Oklahoma until the time of the riot, through the tears that masked but could not stop the flow of words, though whatever emotion he may have felt, there was in it all , t the culminating moment, the note of jealousy. For John Adkins, the Adkins who led the naked parade, was a greater preacher than Adam God.
"From the time Adkins joined us until we were arrested in Oklahoma City he was the leader," Sharp testified. "The time he was converted he preached as no man has ever preached before nor since. We stood dumbfounded. Tears streaming down his cheeks, Adkins told us of things we had never heard of; things that were not in the Bible. He made men weep and women cry. Often I myself have wept as I preached, but I couldn't make others cry. But Adkins could. He was a great preacher."
It was Adkins who told Sharp, according to the defendant's story, that he was Adam, Mrs. Sharp, Eve, and the boy, Cain or Abel. There is confusion in the testimony as to the child's name. It was Adkins, too, according to the defendant, who said three times to the police, when they started to interfere with the naked parade: "Get the behind me, Satan." And Sharp said the police got.
NO SENSE OF SHAME.
Of this orgy Sharp told with no sense of shame. He appeared amused when he related his wife's endeavor to shield herself from the public gaze after her arrest and omitted no detail. In marked contrast to this was his testimony about selling his home because he feared he would get attached to it instead of god.
"An evil spirit leapt out of Holt and on me," said Sharp, telling of the controversy at the mission in the North end. I became unbalanced and pushed him out. I called him a foul name, but did not swear. I struck Holt with a pistol against my will. From that time on I was like a blind man and all through the fight I can't remember. I never was in such a fix since I was born. I know I said: 'Come on, we'll hold a meeting if we don't get killed. This is a free country and we'll preach anyhow.'
"I meant to show my humility with guns and thought perhaps they'd let me alone. I was watching for the police. the first officer told me to go over to the station and I started to talk to him when a man in citizen's clothes came up beside the officer and put a pistol in my face and told me to drop my knife. Then I heard a shot fired.
"Did you fire that shot?"
At this point the direct examination stopped. Sharp's counsel would not let him tell who fired the first shot, but turned him over to the state for cross-examination. Then the religious ramblings ceased and Sharp was brought back to his earlier life with a jerk.
WAS SHORT-CARD GAMBLER.
""Yes," said he in answer to questions from Mr. Conkling. "I was a gambler from the age of 14 for almost thirty years. I played cards for money. I was a short card gambler and played poker, seven-up, casino and other games. About all I looked for was to swindle. I got so I could run up high hands, but played square when I had to."
Under a fire of questions Sharp admitted that he had no title to the farm on which he lived, as it was a claim and he had lived there only two and a half years. He said he sold his relinquishment for $250 and paid off debts of $22. He didn't give the poor over $125, he said.
But after he quit gambling, Sharp took moral bankruptcy. He never made restitution to the people whom he had swindled.
"Gambling was the devil working through me. The money I had swindled people out of I just charged up to the devil, and let it go at that."
"Did you preach the Ten Commandments?"
"The Commandments were law in their day, but Christ came along and changed the law."
Pursuing questions about the evil spirit he said Holt brought the defendant, Mr. Conkling asked:
"Did you get the evil spirit first, or the gun?"
WAITED FOR TROUBLE.
"I carried the gun all the time. I never was in such a fix. Just think of a man going out and doing what I did -- "
"Did you tell the others to bring their revolvers?"
"They had them with them all the time. I was not hunting trouble. I was waiting to see it come. I was expecting it after what had happened."
"When the officer said, 'Drop that knife,' where was the weapon?"
"In my hand, open. We were holding a meeting and I was watching to keep them off if they interfered. I was armed with faith. Besides that, I had a gun and a knife which the children not of God could understand. Of course they could not recognize the spirit."
The sharp fire of cross-examination, calling for quick thought and feats of memory by the defendant, did much to dispel any belief of insanity which he may have instilled on his direct examination.
MRS. SHARP HYSTERICAL.
There were certain inconsistencies which hardly could have been lost on the jury. For instance, Sharp testified that he learned to read largely through his perusal of the Bible. He gave the impression that this was about his only means of education. Yet Sharp, it was pointed out, writes a fair hand.
Mrs. Melissa Sharp, sobbing and talking in the voice of hysteria, preceded her husband on the stand. She seems devoted to her husband, aside from religion and told of the falling star and of her conversion in Oklahoma in a voice that expressed the profoundest conviction.
Her recital of how the Sharps wept and prayed for weeks after Adam saw the star was dramatic. When she had finished amid tears of her own and of Mr. Martin of her counsel, she was taken back to her cell without cross-examination.
ARGUMENTS ARE BEGUN.
The argument was begun at 7 o'clock in the evening by William S. Gabriel, assistant prosecuting attorney, who presented the case for the state. He was followed by A. A. Bailey of the defense and Harry Friedberg for the state. After these addresses court adjourned until 9 o'clock this morning. The morning A. E. Martin will argue for the defense and Virgil Conkling, prosecutor, will sum up for the state. How soon after that there will be a verdict is for the jury to say.
About twenty-five instructions offered by the state and defense were given to the jury by Judge Ralph S. Latshaw. Under them, Sharp may be convicted of murder in the first or second degree. The maximum penalty for the last mentioned offense is two years' imprisonment. The jury may acquit on the ground of self-defense or on the plea of insanity.
The instructions cover partial insanity, the presumption of guilt raised by flight after the crime. There is an instruction covering the supposition that Sharp was insane at the time of the crime and has since recovered, and another that supposes he was insane then and is so now. The court instructed the jury that it was not necessary that Sharp should have fired the shot that killed Michael P. Mullane in order to convict him, but that it was sufficient if proved anyone acting in concert with him did the deed.
For the first time during the trial of the case, A. A. Bailey of Sharp's counsel took the active part yesterday. His adroit questioning strengthened the defendant's case materially, so far as it was possible to do so in light of the damaging evidence Sharp gave against himself. A. E. Martin, the other attorney, was late at both morning and afternoon sessions, and was lectured each time by the court.
COVER PARTIAL INSANITY.
After the Sharps had told their story in the morning, or at least as much of it as Mr. Bailey shrewd questioning allowed to be revealed, the afternoon was devoted to expert insanity testimony and to rebuttal evidence by the state.
Dr. S. Grover Burnett heard a 4,000-word hypothetical question and was asked: "Assuming that all this is true, is it your belief that Sharp is insane?"
"It is indicative that he is insane. He is suffering form a form of mania of insanity classified as paranoia religiosa."
The hypothetical question, easy for Dr. Burnett, was too much for a spectator, who fainted and was carried from the room.
Dr. Burnett modestly admitted that he had pronounced 15,000 persons insane and had never, so far as he knew or was able to find out, made a mistake. He was the only expert put on by the defense.
In rebuttal, the state introduced Harry Hoffman, a deputy county marshal, who would not say whether he believed Sharp sane or insane. It also called to the witness stand Theodore Remley, justice of the peace, before whom Sharp had two preliminary hearings. Justice Remley testified that, at neither of these hearings did Sharp make any interruption, nor did he n or his wife carry a Bible. The same facts were testified to by Clarance Wofford, stenographer of the criminal court, who reported the preliminary hearings.
John S. Steed, sheriff of Johnson county, Kas.; Hugh I. Moore, a reporter for The Journal, who talked to Sharp soon after his arrest; John M. Leonard, editor of the Olathe Register; Edwin G. Pinkham, a reporter for the Star, all testified they believed Sharp sane.
The statement made by Sharp after he had been returned to Kansas City was read. In it the fanatic said it had been revealed to him that Kansas City was the town he was going to take. His band, he said, was singing "Babylon is Falling" just before the riot started. Also in his statement, Sharp said he fired the first shot.
Labels: Adam God sect, attorney, courtroom, Johnson county, Judge Latshaw, Judge Remley, mental health, ministers, newspapers, police, Prosecutor Conkling, The Journal
|Share on Facebook
|Get the Book|
Kansas City Stories