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November 28, 1909


Defense Planned for Mrs. Sadie
Geers, Charged With Murder.

Mrs. Sadie Geers, facing a charge of murder in the second degree, was bound over to the criminal court yesterday by Justice James B. Shoemaker. She was unable to furnish $5,000 bond and was returned to the county jail to remain until her case comes up for trial.

Mrs. Geers is held for the shooting which resulted in the death of Harry Bonnell, one of her roomers in a house at 509 East Sixth street, last Sunday afternoon. The defense will use the plea that the woman was subject to epileptic fits and that she shot Bonnell during one of them. The court appointed Jesse James to defend Mrs. Greer.

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July 27, 1909


Mary O'Neill Pleads Not Guilty to
Charge of Husband.

Mary O'Neill, who took a shot at her husband, Frank P. O'Neill, in the general office of the Muehleback Brewing Company at Eighteenth and Main streets Monday evening, was arraigned in the justice court of James B. Shoemaker yesterday afternoon.

She pleaded "not guilty" to the charge of assault with intent to kill preferred against her by her husband. Hearing was set for 2 o'clock in the afternoon of August 5.

The defendant was released on $700 bond.

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February 24, 1909


Wanted More "Dope," His Defense
for Stealing.

After a cocaine debauch which he said cost nearly $400, Richard L. Hayes, a carpenter, who broke into the harness shop of Pearl Martin, 1720 Troost avenue, last Saturday night and stole a blanket, a shovel and a halter, confessed his guilt before Justice Shoemaker yesterday and was sentenced to serve twenty days in the workhouse.

"It was not I that stole the stuff, judge," said Hayes, "it was the 'coke.' I had spent all my money and wanted more of the drug. I am a carpenter and until last week was employed at the county farm. I had not touched a drop of liquor nor used cocaine for more than three months until I came to town last week.

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January 29, 1909


Man Who Tried It On Held to the
Criminal Court.

"I am not inclined to regard very highly any young girl or young woman who, after an acquaintance of a single week, would allow a man to wear or even take her diamond ring," said Justice Shoemaker to Ethel Donohue, 1112 Tracy avenue, yesterday. Ethel was in court as prosecuting witness against Thomas C. Tracy, whom she charged with stealing her diamond ring and afterwards pawning it.

It developed that Tracy had tried on the ring and was unable to remove it from his finger. He promised to have it cut off, which he did. Then he would have it repaired and return it, which he did not. Instead, he took the ring to a pawn broker and got $15 for it. Then he departed for Chicago. Detective James Orford went to Chicago and brought him back. Tracy's father sent the money to Detective Orford to redeem the ring. Ethel was given h er ring in court yesterday.

"I would like," concluded the justice, "to free this young man on these charges, and I am inclined to think that you," said he to the girl, "are as much to blame as he." Tracy was held for the criminal court on $500 bond.

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December 24, 1908


Mrs. Rose Peterson, Who Killed Her
Husband, Expresses No Re-
gret for the Deed.

Instead of enjoying Christmas day as she expected, Mrs. Rose Peterson, who shot and killed her husband, Frederick L. Peterson, early Wednesday morning, will occupy a cell in the county jail. Her husband accused her of going to a theater with a young man Saturday evening, but the 19-year-old widow says she was arranging Christmas presents at her home.

Mrs. Peterson told Captain Walter Whitsett yesterday that she shot her husband because he slapped her. Two weeks ago she said she threatened to shoot her husband when he slapped her at Eighteenth and Cherry streets. Peterson at that time ran.

She said they were married in St. Joseph, March 31, 1907, and that her husband deserted her in November, 1907. After they were married, Mrs. Peterson told Captain Whitsett, her husband compelled her to work, although she wanted to keep house on what he was earning. His income was $13 a week and she earned $7 and paid all of the living expenses out of it. He often slapped and mistreated her and she decided not to ever stand for it again.

Her husband had taken her to a dance at the Eagles ball room Tuesday night, and the two spent a pleasant evening. Going home on the car about midnight, she said her husband quarreled with her and accused her of seeing other men too often. After leaving the car at Eighteenth street and Askew avenue, he slapped her, and Mrs. Peterson said she then drew her revolver and fired five times.

Mrs. Peterson had sued her husband for divorce, and yesterday she told the police that she had paid her attorney $18 toward his fee.

She sat in the matron's room yesterday and refused to talk about her act, except to Captain Whitsett. With him she was defiant in her answers and declared that she would again shoot any man that slapped her.

She was taken to Justice James. B. Shoemaker's court at 5 o'clock yesterday afternoon for arraignment, but the justice had gone. She will be arraigned this morning.

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July 8, 1908


Dr. Robinson Says John Kollenborn
Shot at Him in Street.

A warrant charging assault with intent to kill was issued yesterday by Justice J. B. Shoemaker for John Kollenborn, 1614 Lister street, who is charged by Dr. J. H. Robinson, 4816 East Fifteenth street, with firing three shots at him from a pistol Monday night about 10 o'clock near the corner of Sixteenth and Lister streets. Kollenborn was not arrested. An attorney said he will be produced when needed. His preliminary hearing will probably be called before Justice Shoemaker this week.

According to the physician, he received a call about 10 o'clock Monday night to go to 1608 Lister and see a family named Simpson, but on arrival at the number found the house vacant. He was told that a family named Simpson lived several doors below and went there, but found he had not been summoned. He states that he was returning to his drug store when he passed Kollenborn on the street and after the man had gone about four feet beyond him, he turned and fired. The physician ran after the first shot and was not harmed.

Before Assistant Prosecuting Attorney William Buchholtz yesterday, Dr. Robinson stated that he knew of no reason why the alleged assault should have been made other than that several months ago he had been informed that Kollenborn accused him of being too friendly with Mrs. Kollenborn. This charge, he states, is groundless.

Kollenborn works as a switchman in the Rock Island yards at Armourdale, is 32 years old and has a wife and four children. Dr. Robinson is also married and has one child. Kollenborn did not return to his home Monday night after the shooting. He employed an attorney yesterday.

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January 31, 1908


Harry Hopkins Makes Out a Poor
Case Against His Comrades.

The negroes charged with throwing Harry Hopkins, 18 years old, over a twenty-foot embankment after assaulting and cutting him, at 919 Oak street, Nov. 16, were discharged yesterday by Justice Shoemaker. They were Dave Foster and Cleve Penn.

Hopkins worked under his father at the postoffice in the special delivery department. Foster, the negro, had also been employed at that work, and there was evidence that they had been very intimate, even spending nights together in the basement of the Keith and Perry Building, where special delivery boys gathered to gamble and drink.

The two boys, the afternoon of Nov 16, were locked in a room at 919 Oak street with two negro women where there was drinking and card playing. The evidence upon which the judge ordered a discharge was coroborated by five witnesses. It was that Cleve Penn, regular attendant of one of the girls, came from work in the barber shop in the Long Building, rapped, told who he was and Hopkins, evidently under the influence of liquor and fright, jumped through a window, ran around two houses and at full sped plunged into Oak street, twenty feet below. Here he was found by strangers, both wrists cut, his left ankle, right leg and right arm broken. He was treated at the Emergency hospital and taken to the German Hospital, where his life was several times despaired of.

Hopkin's testimony was that he had gone to the place to collect $2 from "Cyclone Dave" Foster, who, he asserted, ruled over a number of the special delivery boys, caling himself the "Invincible King." "Bull of the Mill," a professional pugilist, making them at times pay him money. "Cyclone Dave," however, had a witness to prove that Hopkins that morning got $2 of his money on a note sent to a tailor on Twelfth street. This, he said, was spent for candy and liquor for the girls.

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October 30, 1907


So the Groom Kept Hotel Guest's
Watch and Tried to Sell It.

He had been married just five weeks and needed more money to support his wife, his honeymoon funds having been exhausted. This was the excuse given by Richard Beasely, and employe at the Sexton hotel, yesterday, when he was arraigned before Justice Shoemaker on a charge of stealing a watch from A. H. White, a guest at the hotel.

White had dropped his watch in his bed, and when Beasely went to clean the room he found it. Hoping that White would give a generous reward for its recovery, he turned it over to a friend and they decided to advertise it under the name of a third person and divide the proceeds.

But the third person became dubious and, at the last moment, decided that he would have nothing to do with the matter. Consequently the owner got the watch and Beasely got into trouble. He pleaded guilty and was fined $5 and costs, which he paid.

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August 16, 1907



Son of Noted Highwayman, but
Now a Lawyer, Appeared in
Court in Defense of
Former Slave.

Charles Finley, a negro, of 523 Bluff street, who was tried before Justice J. B. Shoemaker yesterday afternoon and bound over to the criminal court on the charge of stabbing Edward Dyer, a member of the fire department at the Fifth and Bluff street station, was reared by Zerelda James-Samuels, was a hostler for Jesse and Frank James, the bandits, in their palmy days, and nursed young Jesse James, the Kansas City lawyer. Young Jesse defended him in the justice court yesterday and would take no fee.

"It's the first time I have been in trouble, since Master Jesse was killed twenty-five years ago in St. Joseph," said Finley last evening. "When I was arrested, I telephoned for Young Jesse, for I done raised that boy from a baby, just as his grandmother had raised me, and he came double quick and took my case. I knew he would not forget me when I got in trouble.

My father and mother were 'Reldie James' slaves long before the war. They lived on a farm near Kearney, Clay county, where I was born during the war. I never was a slave, but Old Misses 'Reldie raised me and my mother gave me to Susan James until I was 21 years of age. When Susan married Mr. Palmer and went to Texas, I went along and worked for them.

"I was back in Kearney pretty soon, though, and lived with 'Reldie. I never could forget that she had treated me like one of her own when I was a baby and that she always put me back of her on the horse when she rode to Liberty or about the farm.

"When Jesse and Frank got to be bad men, they needed someone with them so they took me to care for their horses and run errands. I ran with them most all the time, until Jesse was killed. I was not in St. Joseph that day, but heard all about it pretty soon. I was at home with 'Reldie.

"Old Miss 'Reldie thinks a whole lot of me yet -- she is Mrs. Samuels now, you know -- but she wouldn't do any more for me than would young Jesse or his sister.

"How did I come to leave her? Why, I came down here after Jesse was killed. I have worked for young Jesse a good deal. Then I got married and have a family of my own, so I have to stay here and work."

Charlie is a concreter. He says he makes $2 a day at it, but he doesn't enjoy the work nearly so well as he used to enjoy living on the farm near Kearney and helping " 'Reldie" take care of young Jesse.

"That boy sure was a smart little fellow," Finley says, "but he was powerful mischievous."

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July 12, 1907


Harris Again Helf for Trial on
Father-in-Law's Complaint.

Nealy Harris, a young farmer from near Independence, was bound over to the criminal court by Justice Shoemaker yesterday on a charge of forgery. One week ago Justice Shoemaker held him to the criminal court on the same charge. The sum of the first note alleged to have been forged was $500 and the second $450. In each note Harris' name was first signed, then the names of R. A. Harris, his father, M. E. Harris, his mother, and of W. S. Adams, his father-in-law. Adamis is the prosecuting witness. Harris' wife, who is his daughter, has been staying at Adams' house during the year that Harris has been in jail. It was on Harris' protest that he wanted trial without delay that the case was taken into the justice court. Adams, the father-in-law, says he did go on two notes for Harris, but both were for smaller sums, and to pay rental for the farm Harris lived on. The two notes for $500 and $450 he says were forged. The last one bears the date of April 17, 1906, and was for six months. It was long past due when Adams first heard of it, he says, through the banker who had cashed the note when made.

At the trial on the first charge a week ago, Harris attacked his father-in-law, striking him with his fists as soon as he was outside the court room and away from the watchful eye of Justice Shoemaker.

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April 14, 1907


Alleges Conspiracy Prompted His
Prosecution and Asks $20,000.

After a three days' trial before Justice Shoemaker on a charge of stealing $30 worth of lumber, W. L. Dannahower, a real estate man, was acquitted yesterday. W. C. Carson, a contractor, was the complainant.

As a result of the action in Judge Shoemaker's court, a suit was filed in the circuit court by Dannahower yesterday afternoon against Homer B. Mann, Clyde Taylor, James H. Richardson, L. Rosenfield, W. C. Carson, C. A. Shawver, I. N. Wagner, Al Heslip and N. B. Olson. Dannahower asks for $20,000 damages and alleges that a conspiracy was entered into by the defendants in causing his arrest and in causing Anna Trestrail, the principal witness against Dannahower, to swear to an affidavit charging him with stealing a quantity of shingles.

County Marshal Heslip and Deputies Olson, Shawver and Wagner are made defendants as arresting officers, it being alleged that the complaint was not properly drawn.

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April 7, 1907




Posing as William McCloud Raney,
Roberts Obtained Position With
Keaton-Williams Gold Com-
pany -- Roberts Says He
Refunded Part.
Alexis S. Roberts, AKA William McCloud Raney
Who Pretended to Be William McCloud
Raney, the Short Story Writer.

To pose for a year as William McCloud Raney, the author, his employers congratulated themselves upon securing the services of such an able writer and competent employe, who under the cognomen succeeded in defrauding the firm of the Keaton-Williams Gold Company out of $1500 worth of pure dental gold; finally to draw salary secretly for two weeks after his identity became known to the company, is said to be the record of Alexis S. Roberts, the young man who is now in a cell in the county jail awaiting trial on the charge of embezzlement. He was arrested at St. Louis a few days ago on a description set out by the Pinkerton detective agency and brought back to this city for trial.

In his cell yesterday young Roberts, who is only 23 years old, admitted he had deceived his employers by posing as Raney, the author, but says that his real name became known to the company before he left its employ. He admitted that he appropriated a large amount of gold and sold it to local dentists, but says that he had a final settlement with his employers before he left the city. His father, David Roberts, was secretary of the company, and according to his statement, his father assigned his years' salary to the company as partial payment of his shortage, and that he gave the company $500 in cash and signed a promissory note in the sum of $500, payable in one year, bearing interest at 8 per cent. He says that he thought that his troubles were all settled.

Roberts was brought back from St. Louis Friday by detectives and arraigned before Justice Shoemaker. His preliminary hearing was set for next Thursday at 2 o'clock and he was committed to jail in default of $1000 bond.

He began to pose as Raney, the author, two weeks after going to work for the dental gold manufacturers. At that time he showed his employers a forged letter from a publishers' syndicate, addressing him as William McCloud Raney, complimenting his last story and mentioning an enclosure of $150. The letter stated that a story of similar value could be used each week.

Then Roberts began to spend money -- and the money end of the then-new firm began to ask the partner who conducted the laboratory, where the promised profits were to commence showing up. The laboratory man declared his process should be paying, but he could not explain where the gold was going. There was trouble in the firm, and Keaton, who owned the process, several times in despair, deserted his partner, Williams; then he would come back to try to demonstrate that the process paid. Now they both remember that three days after Roberts went to work, a lump of gold weighing about 2 1/2 ounces disappeared and the new employe, convinced both that there had been only four lumps where there were five.

Roberts' father, David Roberts, a Canadian like Mr. Roberts, who financed the firm, had been made secretary of the company. Anytime one of the Raney stories came out in one of the well-known magazines or in the syndicated papers, there was rejoicing among all who were acquainted with the young wizard, who assisted in the laboratory. Two of his sisters arrived from Grand Junction, Col., and smothered him with congratulations on his latest success, "The Robbers' Roost." Out on Troost avenue, where the Williamses lived, there was some discussion as to whether Raney's "Girl from Salt Lake," published in the Red Book, was or was not better than "The Automobile Holdup," with 101 Ranch for its scene.

Meanwhile, Mr. Williams' 999.9 pure gold, costing $21 an ounce at the Philadelphia mint, was being peddled around Kansas City at $19 per ounce, when dentists and jewelers ordinarily used gold only about half as fine. Every month for more than a year Roberts, it is alleged, personally supplied certain customers, and representing himself to be a member of the firm, did his own collecting.

One day the pseudo-author, in the presence of the firm, nonchalantly offered to write his father a check for $1000 to pay off some indebtedness. This was not thought unreasonable, as the Raney stories, coming out regularly, were supposed to be netting him $750 a month.

Finally Mr. Williams, attempting to collect a book account of several months' standing, says he found that Roberts had receipted the customers' bills monthly. Then, for the first time, Williams realized that his partner was not to blame for wasting gold. The Pinkertons were put on Roberts' track. They found at once where about $1000 worth of gold had been sold. Roberts was confronted and it is claimed confessed to each separate transaction he was charged with, but would volunteer no additional confessions, thought it is said now that about $3,200 worth of gold has disappeared.

Williams, whose pocketbook had suffered, caused the young man to report to the Pinkertons each day at 11 o'clock, and in the office and laboratory his absence was supposed to be due to sickness. Twice on payday, however, he is said to have entered the office in Williams' absence and drew his weekly pay.

"Those two weeks pay," said Williams yesterday, "made about the bitterest part of the dose I swallowed, for I was being generous and lenient with him at the time and thought the boy was frightened."

Working hard to see if he could recover any part of his loss, Williams was one day surprised by a payment of $500 from Roberts. This, it was learned later, he had borrowed from his brother-in-law, a merchant in Austin, Mo.

Under the surveillance of the Pinkertons, Roberts works a week at a time in several places, at last coming to Williams with the complaint that his record being known here made it hard to keep employment in Kansas City. He wanted to go to St. Louis, his home. This he was allowed to do, reporting regularly to the Pinkerton agency in St. Louis.

Mr. Williams says that Roberts failed to keep his promises and the authorities of St. Louis were asked to arrest him. His wife is in St. Louis.

Roberts had been graduated from the Christian Brothers college in St. Louis only shortly before coming to Kansas City. His father resigned his position with the Keaton-Williams' company, when the trouble came out last November. He has since gone to Ogden, Utah.

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