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 24, 1909
OF WIFE, WOMAN SAYS.
MRS. HILT TESTIFIES IN BUCK-
NER ASSAULT CASE.
Three Times Court Denies Motion of
Defense to Dismiss Jury -- Wit-
nesses Tell Events Night
of the Attack.
While Mrs. Mina Johnson did not go on the witness stand yesterday to testify against her husband, William A. Johnson of Buckner, Mo., now on trial in the criminal court on the charge of having assaulted her the day was replete with incidents even without the wife's story.
Three times counsel for Johnson moved that the jury be discharged, stating that matters prejudicial to a fair trail had occurred, and s harp exchanges between attorneys on both sides were not infrequent.
Mrs. Johnson will testify today. Virgil Conkling, prosecuting attorney, informed the court during the afternoon session that he would not call Mrs. Johnson to the stand until today, as he had excused her because she complained of feeling sick.
Of the witnesses examined yesterday, only Mrs. Cornelia Hilt and Edward H. Hilt, her husband, were at the Johnson home in Buckner the morning of August 20, 1908, when Mrs. Johnson was hurt. For six years prior to her marriage Mrs. Hilt lived at the Johnson home. Mrs. Hilt was married ten years ago. At the time of the assault she and her husband had been two weeks at the Johnson home, Mrs. Hilt working about the house and Hilt doing farm work. They live in Buckner.
HUSBAND GAVE ALARM.
"The night Mrs. Johnson was hurt we had been at a Baptist meeting," she testified. "Early in the morning Mr. Johnson came to the room where my husband and I sleep and roused us. He said: "Jump up, quick, Nella, quick.' He said it several times. I got up and followed him up the stairs part of the way. As we were going upstairs he said: 'Mina's hurt.' Then I passed him on the stairs because I began to run. He said: 'Mina's hurt. I'm afraid she's hurt bad.'
"I found Mrs. Johnson on her back on the floor. I can't describe how bloody she was, for there was blood all over her. I could not see the wound, she was so bloody My thought was that her throat had been cut, there was so much blood."
"Did you notice the bed?"
"Yes, I noticed there was blood on it when we lifted Mrs. Johnson from the floor. The blood looked dry compared to that on Mrs. Johnson's clothes and on a corset cover that was lying on a chair by the bed. Mr. Johnson said his wife had wiped blood from her face with the corset cover.
"There was a light in the room. I stepped over and turned it up, although Mr. Johnson told me not to do so. Mr. Hilt said we must have a doctor and I offered to call one, but Mr. Johnson said he would. Mr. Johnson asked no questions nor did he tell me where the wound was. I stayed in the room only a few minutes, then my husband and I went downstairs to heat some water to wash Mrs. Johnson. When we returned, the doctor was there."
Mrs. Hilt said she had heard no unkind words between the Johnsons during her residence at the house. She said that two days before the assault she had driven to Buckner to meet Mr. Johnson and bring him home from the train. On that occasion, said the witness, Johnson had said to her:
" 'Nella, what am I going to do with Mina?' I said: 'I would not do anything to hurt her feelings, Mr. Johnson.' He said" 'She quarrels with me all the time and I don't say anything back.' "
Edward H. Hilt, husband of the previous witness, was then called to the stand. He said:
"While I was at the Johnson home I was in the habit of getting up at 4 o'clock in the morning and going home to do the chores there, then returning to the Johnsons. The morning of the assault I was awakened at about 3:30 o'clock. I was sleeping in the east room downstairs.
"The first thing I heard was a groan from above and southwest from where I lay. Then I heard footsteps or 'footpads' coming down the stairs toward the north. Then I heard a doorknob turn. I cannot say which knob it was, except that it was not the knob to my door. Almost immediately the footsteps returned the same way.
SAID WIFE HAD FALLEN.
"Fifteen minutes later those footsteps came again, just as the first time. My door opened and Mr. Johnson came by and said: 'Jump up.' My wife went out at once, but I waited to dress. I found Mrs. Johnson on the floor, with pillows under her head. Johnson meet me at the foot of the stairs as I started up and said: 'Mina has fallen and hurt herself.'
"We picked Mrs. Johnson up and laid her on the bed and then my wife and I went downstairs to heat some water. There was a dim light in the room when I came in."
PHYSICIAN ON STAND.
Dr. M. G. Ravencroft of Buckner, who was called to attend Mrs. Johnson after the assault, was the first witness. He identified six pieces of bone taken from Mrs. Johnson's skull in the course of an operation . He was asked whether the wound on Mrs. Johnson's head did not look as if the blow which caused it had been struck from the rear and forwards, but the court would not allow him to answer.
The physician said he asked Johnson how Mrs. Johnson was hurt. The latter replied, "I don't know." Mrs. Johnson also was unable to give an account of the happening, said he.
Dr. J. W. Robertson of Buckner testified that it would take a heavy blow to cause the injury received by Mrs. Johnson.
There was a craning of necks when Samuel H. Chiles, four years a marshal of Jackson county and the most renowned fox hunter in the county, took the witness chair. Mr. Chiles has lived forty years in Buckner and has known the Johnsons for a quarter of a century. Mrs. Johnson lived with his family when she was a little girl.
Two days after the assault Mr. Chiles went to the Johnson home. Johnson met him at the gate and said he wanted to talk to him.
" 'I want you to help me out in this trouble and help me ferret out who did this.' I said I would help all I could and asked him to tell me who was at the house at the time so that I would have something to work on. He told me who was there and I suggested that perhaps these people could tell, but Johnson said:
" 'No, they can't tell anything. I heard my wife say, 'Oh, don't,' and saw her on the floor and saw a light. I know I blew out the light when we went to bed. I saw my wife on the floor groaning and wanted to put her on the bed, but she said no.'
"The Johnson took me into the yard and said: 'Have you heard anybody talk about this?' I said: 'Yes, everybody is talking about it.' 'What is the impression of the people to whom you have talked,' he asked and I said: 'The impression is that you did it.' "
About four days later, said the witness, Johnson came to his house, with Clint A. Winfrey, a banker at Buckner. Johnson took him aside and out of Winfrey's hearing, said the witness, and spoke about getting a lawyer and employing a private detective. Whig Keshlear, a relative of Chiles, was mentioned, and Chiles said Keshlear would do as well as anybody.
In his opening statement for the state I. B. Kimbrell said that quarrels with is wife over a period of years were the cause of the assault and that Johnson struck his wife. The defense said that the blow was struck either by an intruder or that Mrs. Johnson fell and hurt herself.
Labels: Buckner, courtroom, criminal court, doctors, farmers, Johnson assault case, Prosecutor Conkling, Prosecutor Kimbrell
April 14, 1909
THREATENED WITH A
KNIFE, WIFE'S PLEA.
CLAIMED ILL TREATMENT LED
TO KILLING OF PETERSON.
"I Shot Him Because He Slapped
Me," One Witness Testified Ac-
cused Woman Said -- Mother
Overcome in Court.
MRS. ROSE PETERSON.
Facing a charge of murder in the second degree, Rose Peterson, 19 years old, was on trial before Judge Ralph Latshaw in the criminal court yesterday afternoon. Throughout the proceedings she did not once look at the twelve men who are to decide her fate. She is accused of killing her husband
, Fred Peterson, on the night of December 22, by shooting him three times while the two were returning home from a dance.
The defendant was neatly gowned in a plain dress of black and wore a turban hat trimmed with black lace. A gold bracelet and two small rings were the only display of jewelry. With her left arm thrown over the back of a chair, Mrs. Peterson buried her face on her arm and sat in that position all afternoon. She constantly trembled and every now and then sobbed aloud when Frank M. Lowe, her attorney, mentioned the name of her husband.
CLAIMS LIFE WAS THREATENED.
Following I. B. Kimbrell
, who in assisting the state in the prosecution, outlined what the state would attempt to prove. Mr. Lowe made a brief resume of what the defense would how in justification of the shooting. He said the defendant practically would be the only witness and would testify that she was induced to go to St. Joseph with Fred Peterson, who promised to marry her there, but that the ceremony was delayed for two months. The defense will endeavor to show that Rose Peterson, after her marriage, earned a living not only for herself, but supported her husband, and that he mistreated her; that he drew a knife and threatened to cut her on one occasion and continually threatened to inform her mother how they had lived in St. Joseph.
"If you do tell, you will never tell anything else," Attorney Lowe said the defendant would testify she replied.
Mrs. Sophia Peterson, mother of Fred Peterson, was the first witness for the state. Grief overcame her at the beginning of her examination.
GRIEF OVERCOMES MOTHER.
"I can't stay here," she sobbed, attempting to leave the witness stand.
Judge Latshaw allowed her to retire until she could control her feelings. When she again took the stand she testified that Fred was 20 years old when he was killed, and 18 when he was married. She said she followed the couple to St. Joseph and that Rose, her daughter-in-law, begged her to assist them in being married and that she did so. Mrs. Peterson also told the jury of the young wife coming to her home the night she shot her husband.
"I've shot Fred and if you want to see him alive you will have to hurry," Mrs. Peterson said Rose told her.
The state introduced a letter written by Rose Peterson to her husband about a month before the shooting occurred. It read, in part:
"It is a good thing you ran today. I would have got you, anyhow, if so many people had not been standing around. You stay away from me. Don't you go any place I am. I won't call for you or go to your home or shop anymore. If you want me to go on in that case I will. Fred, go away from Kansas City and don't you come back. I am not afraid of you any more. I will get you if it is ten years. I am willing for my freedom as you are."
SAID HE SLAPPED HER.
Frank Page, a motorman on a Jackson avenue car, testified that as his car passed the scene of the shooting he saw the body of Peterson. He stopped his car and with the conductor, R. E. Moore, went back. At first he testified he saw no one near, but later noticed the defendant climbing up to the sidewalk from the ditch at the side. She was not excited or crying, according to the witness. Asked what she said, he answered:
"She said, 'I shot him because he slapped me. There is the pistol.' She said his folks should be notified and told us where they lived."
"Oh Fred, don't die," the witness said Rose Peterson begged.
On cross-examination the witness admitted that in the preliminary hearing he testified that he had not heard her say her husband had slapped her. Other witnesses were Arthur Detalent, a tailor, who identified the clothes worn by Fred Peterson; Patrolman Patrick Coon, who arrested the defendant, and F. Frick, who was assistant prosecuting attorney at the time, and took the defendant's statement.
A witness for the state who failed to appear was Hal Jensen, a baker. He sent word that he had a batch of dough in process and could not leave it. Judge Latshaw refused to issue for him because he said he used that bread himself and did not want it ruined. The trial will be continued at 9 o'clock this morning.
Labels: bakers, courtroom, criminal court, domestic violence, Judge Latshaw, Prosecutor Kimbrell, St.Joseph, streetcar, women
December 16, 1908
MRS. PRATT TO BE TRIED
ON A CHARGE OF MURDER.
After Being Discharged by a Justice,
Information Was Filed by
Informations charging murder in the first degree were filed yesterday by I. B. Kimbrell, prosecuting attorney, against Mrs. Della Pratt and William Enghnell, members of the band of fanatics headed by James Sharp. Mrs. Pratt and Enghnell had a preliminary hearing Saturday before Justice Theodore Remley and yesterday the justice ordered their release. However, both are in the county jail awaiting trial upon the informations filed by the prosecutor.
Sharp, his wife and the two others accused of first degree murder, will not be tried before January. It would be almost impossible to have the cases ready for trial before that time, so attorneys and prosecutors agree.
While the adult members of the band are in jail, the four Pratt children are having the time of their lives at the Detention home. Under the guidance of J. K. Ellwood, superintendent, they are imbibing knowledge at a rapid rate. In eight days the larger ones have learned to read and write.
Requests from person who wish to adopt the children continue to come to the probation officers. George M. Holt received a letter yesterday from G. H. Walser of Liberal, Mo., asking for all the children. He promises that they shall not be separated and offers to provide the best of care. This application is only one of twenty.
Dr. B. H. Zwart, coroner, said last night that the inquest of all five victims of the riot would be held tomorrow morning at 9 o'clock. The inquest will include an inquiry into the death of Lulu Pratt, who was killed while attempting to escape in a boat in company of her mother.
Labels: Adam God sect, children, Coroner Zwart, custody, detention home, doctors, Judge Remley, murder, Prosecutor Kimbrell, women
December 15, 1908
MRS. PRATT MAY NOT BE
TRIED ON MURDER CHARGE.
Probation Officer Believes She Should
Not Be Parted From Her
Toys in profusion are being sent to the Detention home for the four children of Mrs. Della Pratt, members of the band of fanatics who caused a street riot last Tuesday. In many cases no names are attached to the presents. The list of Christmas things includes xylophones, dolls and other creations of the toy maker which children in houseboats are not commonly supposed to have enjoyed.
The Pratts are getting along famously. The larger children are devouring their primers with lightning speed and it will not be long, at their present rate of progress, before they will be as far advanced with their studies as other children of their age. They seem quiet and well behaved and give the probation officers no trouble.
"We will have to enlarge the building if the contribution of toys keep coming in," said Dr. E. L. Mathias, probation officer, yesterday. Just then Mrs. J. K. Ellwood, the matron, came into the doctor's office and seized the city directory. "Need it for a high chair," she said. It was for one of the Pratt babies.
It is the opinion of Dr. Mathias that the Pratt family should be reunited. "Of course the children will be in the juvenile court on Friday and the mother is in jail. But if she is not prosecuted I would favor making the little ones wards of the court and aiding the mother to provide a home for them. Given the chance these children would behave like normal human beings of their age. They could go to school and their mother, no doubt, would be glad of a chance to be with them again."
I. B. Kimbrell, prosecuting attorney, said yesterday that he would try to have the trial of James Sharp, leader of the band of fanatics, set for next week. Sharp and Mrs. Sharp are to be prosecuted, but it is doubtful whether Mrs. Pratt and the other members of the band will have to go on trial. Christmas juries are usually more lenient towards prisoners, and Sharp may have this idea in mind.
Labels: Adam God sect, children, detention home, doctors, Dr Mathias, juvenile court, Prosecutor Kimbrell, toys
December 13, 1908
JUDGE WALLACE LEAVES
CRIMINAL COURT BENCH.
PRIDES HIMSELF THAT HE HAS
Some Likelihood That Indictments
Returned by the Grand Jury
Will Be Dismissed by
Leaving the bench before Governor Joseph W. Folk had accepted his resignation, Judge William H. Wallace yesterday morning declared that his official connection with the criminal court was severed. Before adjourning court at noon Judge Wallace reviewed his work as criminal judge since his appointment to the bench.
"My resignation is in the hands of Governor Folk and I believe he will accept it in due time," Judge Wallace said. "I informed him that I would vacate at this time and I feel I should keep my promise."
In reviewing his work Judge Wallace recalled that he had kept up with docket and tried all cases promptly. He said that he had brought the parole system into its highest degree of efficiency. Besides his Sunday crusade, which he averred had been a success, Judge Wallace claimed that he had practically put a stop to the practice of carrying concealed weapons.
As soon as Judge Wallace left the bench, after telling the officers of the court goodby, he left the room, and a few minutes later Ralph S. Latshaw, the criminal judge-elect, entered. He at once opened court and informed the clerk and prosecuting attorney, I. B. Kimbrell, to set a number of cases for trial next week.
The arraignment of indicted persons was then begun and Judge Latshaw spent the afternoon hearing them.
Special Prosecutor A. O. Harrison, who had resigned before Judge Wallace vacated the bench, was summoned by Judge Latshaw, who told him that he understood that the indictments signed by the special prosecutor would be attacked. While the judge intimated that he would throw them out, he said he wanted to give Mr. Harrison an opportunity to present any argument why they should not be dismissed. Saturday was the time set for hearing the arguments of Mr. Harrison and Mr. Kimbrell.
A bill for $1,122.50 for services as special prosecutor was presented to Judge Wallace by Harrison and was O. K'd. The county court has signified its intentions not to pay the bill and Mr. Harrison will probably mandamus it.
Labels: criminal court, Governor Folk, Judge Latshaw, Judge Wallace, Prosecutor Kimbrell
November 3, 1908
TION GREETS CANDIDATE.
KERENS AND WARNER SPEAK.
ROWDIES ATTEMPT TO MAR EN-
Mr. Hadley Asks Jackson County and
Kansas City to Give Him
the Majority They Did
Four Years Ago.
The most enthusiastic audience Convention hall has housed this year, with estimates varying from 14,000 to 18,000, welcomed Colonel R. C. Kerens, Republican candidate for the United States senatorial nomination; Congressman E. C. Ellis, candidate for re-election; Selden P. Spencer of St. Louis; United States Senator William Warner of Missouri and Herbert S. Hadley, and helped the latter close his campaign for governor of the state.
Despite an apparently organized attempt to break up the meeting, which broke out three times wile the gubernatorial nominee was speaking, the hall was crowded before the first speaker was introduced.
Near-hysteria had the followers of Hadley, Kerens, Ellis and the balance of the Republican ticket, and the applause which greeted Mr. Hadley was deafening for twenty minutes after he was introduced. It was entirely genuine, and it was not possible for the chairman of the meeting to control the house.
MADE A JOYFUL NOISE.
The scene which followed the introduction of Mr. Hadley was wild in the extreme, and for several minutes the speakers' stand in the center of the arena floor by the lowering of the big curtain, was in danger from the crowds pushing toward it from all sides. On the stage, stretching clear across the hall, the vice chairmen of the meeting joined in the demonstration. Beside the immense crowd the audiences of other rallies during the campaign appeared as mere reception committees of the real members of the party in Kansas City.
Disorder which the chairman could not abate took possession of the great crowd when United States Senator William Warner named the nominee for governor. Time after time Mr. Hadley advanced to the edge of the platform in an attempt to be heard, but his voice was drowned by the cheers of his admirers. The newspaper men were routed from their tables and an improvised platform of but a few square feet was arranged in the center of the stage. When Mr. Hadley mounted this stand it was but a signal for further demonstration.
ROUGHNECKS IN EVIDENCE.
It was not until Mr. Hadley had delivered several hundred words of his address that the first attempt to disturb the meeting broke out in the crowded west balcony. There was a second attempt and then a third; and the disturbers were hissed from every corner of the hall. Women in the section where the disturbance occurred were forced to leave their seats and places were provided for them in the boxes below. There was a general shout for the police, but the hissing of Mr. Hadley's admirers served to drive out the disturbers.
Mr. Hadley talked as a Kansas Cityan to his home folks. He made a plea for the entire state ticket and then asked his friends to support Fred Dickey and William Buchholz for the senate, and the nominees for representative in the interest of the candidacy of Colonel Kerens for the United States senate. Senator Warner had previously made a plea for support of Colonel Kerens and the candidate had had a chance to speak in his own behalf, but had modestly confined his remarks to other party issues and his confidence in the success of the ticket in Missouri.
A WORD FOR KIMBRELL.
Mr. Hadley also asked support for I. B. Kimbrell for county prosecutor and called attention to the four candidates for the circuit bench. He mentioned the Democratic attempts to discredit the party with circulars intended to create race prejudice. He read a letter from a Kansas City Democrat who is going to support him because members of his own party had made the mistake of showing him what he considered dirty plans to defeat a clean candidate.
After Mr. Hadley reached the hall several questions were asked him and these he answered from the platform. One request was for a statement if he would enforce the Sunday saloon closing law. It was signed by "several Democrats who wished to know before voting." Mr. Hadley answered that he intended, if elected, to make the Sunday saloon closing laws affecting Kansas City and St. Louis mean just exactly what they state upon the books. He said he did not desire the support of any special interest, nor did he want any special interest to make an unfair fight against him. He offered a square deal to the saloonist who obeys the law and respects the qualifications of his license.
As a closing word of his campaign, Mr. Hadley stated that he would decline to qualify in office if elected, should any taint be charged against his nomination. He said he was nominated by honest votes and wanted no tainted election. He asked that Jackson county and Kansas City give him the 4,000 majority he received four years ago when a candidate for attorney general.
Labels: Congressman Ellis, Convention Hall, Herbert Hadley, politics, Prosecutor Kimbrell, Senator Warner
October 27, 1908
CONFESS MURDER OF
EDWARD CASSIDY AND THAD
DYER CAUGHT BY POLICE.
Went to Bassin's Shop to Rob Him
and Killed the Young Man When
He Interfered With
When Edward Cassidy and Thad Dyer entered the little shoe shop of Elle Bassin and his son, Nathan, 1221 West Twenty-fourth street, at 10 o'clock Saturday night, they were bent on robbery. The confession of Cassidy to Captain Walter Whitsett late yesterday afternoon settled that question. They figured no interference, but when Nathan Bassin objected and grappled with Cassidy, the latter said he drew a revolver and shot him dead.
The murder took place in the shoe shop at 10 o'clock Saturday night, and when it was discovered it was a mystery. It remained so until Sunday morning, when Patrolmen Fred Nissen and W. J. Graham got a clue which led to the arrest of Dyer and Cassidy. A grocer, William Doarn, at the southwest corner of Twenty-fourth and Mercier streets, remembered that the two men had been in his place just before the killing and had said, "If you see anything happen around here tonight you haven't seen us."
Dyer was the first to confess yesterday morning after being questioned a long while. Then he laid the crime on Cassidy and said: "We went into the the shop with the intention of trying on a pair of shoes and wearing them out without paying for them . When we started out the young man grabbed Casssidy and he shot him . Then we both ran."
PURPOSE WAS ROBBERY.
This story didn't sound, as there were no shoes for sale in the shop. Dyer stuck to his story until Cassidy confessed; then he said the latter's version was correct. Casssidy told the following story to Captain Whitsett and afterwards made a statement to I. B. Kimbrell, county prosecutor.
"We were broke and wanted some money. We met in Water's saloon on Southwest boulevard about 8:30 p. m. Then we visited different places until about 9:45 o'clock, when we decided to hold up the old shoemaker. We went to Doarn's grocery store, across from the shoeshop, and saw Will Doarn in the door. We asked him not to say anything about seeing us in the neighborhood if anything happened.
"I'M AWFULLY SORRY."
"Then we went across the street," continued Cassidy. "Dyer stood in the door of the shop as I entered and ordered 'Hands up." The young man grabbed me, and I shot him. I wanted to get away. That's all. I'm sorry, awful sorry. I never went into the thing with the intention of killing anybody."
Cassidy and Dyer both ran from the place immediately after the shooting and separated. Cassidy remained about the Southwest boulevard until late and then went home with a friend. He lives at 908 West Thirty-first street, and Dyer at 703 Southwest boulevard. Dyer said he went home.
Dyer is the son of Edward Dyer, a member of the Kansas City fire department. The father was at police headquarters insisting upon his son's innocence yesterday just after he had confessed his part in the murder.
Both men are well known to the police. Cassidy was recently arraigned in the municipal court by Sergeant Thomas O'Donnell on a charge of vagrancy. They were taken before Justice Festus O. Miller late yesterday afternoon and arraigned on a charge of murder in the first degree. They waived preliminary examination and were committed to the county jail without bond to await trial in the criminal court.
Labels: Captain Whitsett, grocers, Jews, Judges, Mercier street, murder, police, police headquarters, Prosecutor Kimbrell, saloon, Southwest boulevard, Thirty-first street, Twenty-fourth street
September 24, 1908
GOOD NAME GONE;
NEIGHBORS SHUN HIM.
NONE OF THEM WOULD GO ON
Finally Lawyers Came to Rescue of
Man Who Is Accused of Forgery
and Attempted Wife
After much delay and no little impatience on the part of the many curious spectators who crowded the court room at Buckner, Mo., yesterday morning, W. A. Johnson, on trial on a charge of attempted wife murder, waived his preliminary hearing. He was bound over to the criminal court in $4,000 bond. Justice James Adams, before whom the case was called, at first placed the bond at $5,000.
"Your honor, don't you think that is a little stiff," asked T. A. J. Mastin, who represented the defendant. Our client can hardly raise $1,000."
After some argument, the matter being satisfactory to the state, the bond was lowered to $4,000. Then time was asked that the defendant might secure bondsmen. The judge granted one hour.
FRIENDS GONE -- ATTORNEYS HELP.
For several days previous to the trial Johnson had circulated among those who had been his friends in Buckner and Independence, trying to secure someone who would sign his bond. But when Tuesday came and he had no success he went among those in Buckner with whom he had never had business transactions, but to no avail. Sentiment in his home town is strongly against the man, and no one would give him help.
It was soon decided that no bondsmen could be secured and his attorneys, Mr. Masten and W. S. Fournoy, expressed their willingness to sign the bond. Immediately Johnson was released on bond he was rearrested on the charge of forgery, his wife declaring that he forged her name on a deed in January, 1908. As the warrant for his arrest on that charge had been sworn out in Independence, he was taken there by the marshal and the justice of the peace sought.
ARRESTED ON FORGERY CHARGES.
The party arrived at the court room late in the afternoon and the judge was not present; consequently the state expressed its willingness to let Johnson have his freedom under guard until the bond could be fixed this morning. Johnson's attorneys have signified their intention of signing the bond.
Johnson has aged remarkably within the past month. His extreme nervous manner has increased, and while the complaint which charged him with having struck his sleeping wife with the desire to kill her was being read by the judge, the defendant nervously fingered his hat and his hands trembled violently.
Mrs. Johnson, the victim of the assault, has been improving rapidly and is no longer confined to her bed. Yesterday afternoon in the presence of Prosecuting Attorney I. B. Kimbrell; his assistant Will Carmody, and her attorney, J. G. Paxton, she reviewed the whole case. Once, in telling of her endeavors to win Johnson from the kind of life which he had been leading, the woman, now wrinkled and still suffering from her severe wound, broke down and sobbed.
MRS. JOHNSON IN TEARS.
"Oh, why did he do it? He knew that he was breaking my heart." It was some minutes before she regained control of herself. The story of the life which she had been forced to endure within the past two years moved her vastly, and she could scarcely talk at times.
"When I first learned that he was associating with a Mrs. Howard of Kansas City, I went to him and begged him to leave her and come back to me," she said. "But he would not do it, and he tried to deceive me. It was always business that called him to the city every morning, and it was business that kept him there almost all of every week.
"In February of last year he insisted that I go to our ranch in Mexico. I did not want to go, but he was so urgent that I finally gave in to him, as I always did. He gave me $8 to spend on that month's trip, and I did not hear from him but once. I did not know then that he had been in Colorado with this other woman, but the night that I got home I heard that he had returned the day before.
SEARCHED HIS POCKETS.
"Something made me go through his pockets that night, and I found a receipted bill from the Savoy hotel in Denver made out to W. A. Johnson and Mrs. Howard of Kansas City. The bill was a very large one. I have it now.
"The next day I asked him how long he had been in Denver and hinted that I knew all about it. He did not say anything at all. But from time to time he would go away on long business trips and take this woman with him. In Mexico, where he usually went, I had friends, and they recognized him and Mrs. Howard. They told me about it, but I could not say anything to Dode (her husband's nickname) about it. Finally things got so bad that I told him I was going to leave him after threshing this fall and that we would divide up the property equally and he would go his way and I would go mine. Nothing was said by him to that proposition.
"When the wheat crop was in he got about $1,800 for it. I asked him for $25 to buy a new dress, and though he always promised it, he gave me less than half of the $25. Most of that I spent for things for him.
"But before then he had signed my name to a deed which transferred $1,000 worth of property. I never saw one cent of that money. He promised that he would make it all right, but he never did. I never threatened him with exposure, but he knew that I knew of the forgery. It made him afraid.
"Less that a month before that night (she referred so to the night of the assault) Dode came to me and told me he was going back to Mexico to settle up the ranch business. I told him that he would have to take me. He did not want to do so, but I said that I would follow him on the next train if he went without me. He wouldn't be able to lose me like he did his little niece whom I sent to Mexico to take care of him last fall. But he did not go and nothing more was said about the trip up to that night."
BOUGHT HOUSE FOR WOMAN.
Such, in part, is the story which Mrs. Johnson told her attorneys. She told about other women in Kansas City with whom Johnson had lived, one in particular. She said thatJohnson bought an expensive house for this woman on Bales avenue and furnished it luxuriously, with chairs which cost $150 apiece. But Johnson did not pay the bills he contracted in Buckner, she said. She always opened his mail and knew, for he could not read.
The prosecutor and those associated with him have no doubt that they can convict Johnson on both charges. They say that the forgery is a clear cut case and there is no way out of that. Though the assault case is purely circumstantial, Mr. Kimbrell believes that Johnson's own statement will convict him.
The state is very anxious to get the assault case to trial within the next two weeks and will make every effort to do so. Meanwhile, in Buckner, W. A. Johnson, once the most respected man in the community, walks the streets and is shunned by those who once called him their friend. He said yesterday that he intended spending the greater part of his time on his farm near the town.
Labels: Buckner, courtroom, Denver, domestic violence, forgery, Johnson assault case, Judges, lawyer, marriage, Mexico, Prosecutor Kimbrell
August 29, 1908
MRS. W. A. JOHNSON TELLS OF
ATTEMPT ON HER LIFE.
WOKE WITH PAPER OVER FACE.
THEN SHE WAS STRUCK AND
KNEW NO MORE.
Weapon Used by Her Assailant Is
Found -- The Woman Is Dying,
but May Make Fur-
Mrs. William A. Johnson, Buckner, Mo., who was struck in her bedchamber on the night of August 20 by an unknown person, became conscious yesterday morning. In the afternoon she made a statement which throws much light upon the attempted assasination. Several discoveries were also made during the day which will aid the authorities in their search.
"When I awoke," said Mrs. Johnson, "I had a drowsy sensation. At the same time I was conscious of a newspaper over my face. A strange smell was in the room. I tried to get up, and succeeded far enough to see that t here was a light in the room. Then all became blank.
"I do not know who struck me, but I have my suspicions."
The attending physician said last night that Mrs. Johnson's rally was only a temporary one and that she might die at any moment.
The weapon with which Mrs. Johnson is supposed to have been struck has been found. It is a piece of lead weighing about three and a half pounds, shaped like a cartridge, three and a half inches long and one and a half inches wide. Its size corresponds with the shape of the wound on Mrs. Johnson's head.
A bottle of chloroform, two-thirds empty, was found in the drawer of a dresser which those familiar with the house say was used only by Johnson himself.
"I did not know that there was a bottle of chloroform in the house," said Mrs. Johnson.
Additional proof that the married life of Mr. and Mrs. Johnson was unhappy was furnished yesterday when it was discovered that about six months ago Mrs. Johnson consulted an attorney in this city with a view of getting a divorce from her husband. After talking to the lawyer she decided not do to so.
Johnson spent most of the day in Kansas City yesterday, accompanied by Whig Keshlear, a speciall officer, who had been detailed to guard him. In case Mrs. Johnson should die papers charging Johnson with murder in the first degree have been prepared and will be served at once. In that case the preliminary hearing will be held the day fter the funeral before Justice James Adams in Buckner.
County Prosecutor I. B. Kimbrell is holding himself in readiness to go to Buckner and take the dying statement of Mrs. Johnson.
Labels: Buckner, Johnson assault case, Prosecutor Kimbrell, violence, women
August 29, 1908
STATE OFFERS REWARD FOR
Deserter Is Believed to Have Mur-
dered George Pickle, Whose Body
Was Found in River.
Governor Joseph W. Folk yesterday offered a reward of $200 for the arrest and conviction of Ira Earl Hamilton, the deserter from the United States army, who is believed to have killed George W. Pickle in a swampy place near the mouth of the Blue river on June 20. The reward stands good for one year from the date.
On June 20, Pickle, who was only 17 years old, left his home at 1429 Summit street with Hamilton, 28 years old, ostensibly in a search of work. Five days later a body was found in the underbrush near the mouth of the Blue. Hamilton, who at that time was not suspected, was sent a few days later to see if he could identify the body. He reported that it was the body of a negro, 35 years old.
At the point where the body lay had been several feet of backwater during the flood. Trees and brush grew thick and neither the body nor the clothing could have floated away. Near there detectives found a piece of gas pipe about one foot long. It had been cut with a machine which crushed the ends together. The pipe was yesterday identified by a woman who lives at the home of Hamilton's aunt. She said she had often seen it among his tools. He is a constructural iron worker.
Hamilton was arrested shortly after the boy disappeared, but at that time Pickle's body had not been found. Hamilton was turned over to the military prison at Fort Leavenworth to serve time as a deserter. He succeeded in making his escape from there in less than a month. Prosecutor I. B. Kimbrell says he has a strong case against Hamilton.
Labels: Blue river, flood, Governor Folk, Leavenworth, military, murder, Prosecutor Kimbrell, Summit street
August 27, 1908
ON GRAVE CHARGE.
BUCKNER MAN ACCUSED OF AS-
SAULT ON WIFE.
WOMAN IS EXPECTED
SHE FEARS HER HUSBAND, AND
ASKED FOR PROTECTION.
Prisoner Did Not Expect Arrest -- He
Says He Can Prove His Inno-
cence Easily, but Will
Not Talk of Case.
Charged with having assaulted his wife with intent to kill her last Thursday morning, W. A. Johnson, who lives near Buckner, Mo., was arrested yesterday afternoon and brought to Kansas City, where he was placed in the county jail. The arrest was the outcome of much investigation of the circumstances which surrounded the mysterious assault made upon Mrs. Johnson Thursday morning, and the result of Johnson's strange actions in his home since the morning of the assault.
From the beginning there have been few persons in Buckner who have not believed that Johnson knows more of the attempt to murder his wife than he gave out, and there has been much talk in Buckner of using mob violence.
When Johnson was arrested yesterday afternoon he was at the home of Clint Winfrey, two miles north of Buckner. He was taken there late Tuesday night at his wife's request, she saying she could not rest easily as long as her husband was in the house.
T. E. Beckum of Buckner was the arresting officer. When told that he was under arrest, according to witnesses, Johnson's face lost its expression. His hands and feet worked nervously and without evident purpose.
"You know your duty, Tom," he said slowly, without looking at the constable; "and you must do it. I am ready to go."
"Do you want to read the warrant?" asked Mr. Beckum, producing the paper.
HE DREADED JAIL.
"No, it is not necessary," answered the arrested man.
As the party, which consisted of Johnson, Beckum, Whig Keshlear and J. W. Hostetter, turned to go to the surrey, which was standing by the gate, Johnson hesitated and asked falteringly:
"Will I have to go to jail and spend the night there?"
Upon being told that such would be the case the suspected man almost broke down. He insisted that some arrangement be made whereby he need not be put behind the bars just yet. At Johnson's request Clint Winfrey and T. E. Beckum called up Prosecuting Attorney I. B. Kimbrell and asked him if it was necessary for Johnson to go to jail. Mr. Kimbrell promised that he would look into the matter after the prisoner had been brought to Kansas City.
On the way to Kansas City, Johnson spoke of his arrest but few times. On one occasion he requested that the warrant be read to him. After Mr. Beckum had complied Johnson muttered, "All right, all right."
Upon the second occasion, Mr. Hostetter had spoken of a neuralgia pain in his jaw and Johnson lifted his head from his hands and said:
"My heart aches far worse than your jaw, Hostetter, and it can't be cured."
The party drove into Independence from the Winfrey farm, passing wide of Buckner, since there had been much talk of mob violence. At Independence they stopped at a hotel for a short while and there Johnson was asked if his arrest was unexpected by him.
SAYS IT'S A SURPRISE.
"It was a great surprise, and wholly unexpected," he said. "But I think I had better not talk just yet. If I was at home on the farm I would be glad to answer any question that you want to ask, but until I have talked with my lawyers I had better be quiet. I am not running on my ignorance, nor do I boast of my wisdom, but I think that I will be able to clear up a few things soon.
"Right now I can scarcely collect my thoughts, my brain is in a whirl and I have been under a great nervous strain for the last four or five days. "
Beyond these few remarks Johnson would say nothing. During the half hour that they were in Independence, Johnson remained standing, always shifting about in an extremely nervous manner.
From Independence to Kansas City the party rode on the electric car and all of the prisoner's conversation was in regard to the scenery through which he was passing. Not once did he refer to his arrest.
On East Eighth street between Highland avenue and Vine street is where the woman in the case lives. As the car reached Woodland avenue Johnson, who had been sitting on the north side of the car, crossed to a seat by the window where he could see the house as he passed. As the car reached the place Johnson looked up into the windows of the house until it had passed out of sight. He said not a word.
MRS. JOHNSON IS DYING.
Mrs. Johnson is reported as failing rapidly. The physicians late last night stated that there was small chance for her to live through the night. Symptoms of meningitis have appeared and Mrs. Johnson has become delirious. The nurse and the women of the Johnson household are in constant attention. If she should die, the charge against her husband would be changed to first degree murder, and he would be held in the jail without bond. As it is, he hopes to furnish satisfactory bail this morning.
The arraignment and preliminary hearing will probably be this morning.
The people of Buckner soon learned of Johnson's arrest and most of them seemed to be greatly relieved, while a few thought that the action was a bit hasty on the part of the state. It was taken, however, at the indirect request of Mrs. Johnson, who, it is stated by a relative, greatly feared her husband.
It was given out yesterday for the first time officially that there had been much discord in the Johnson family for the past four or five years, but that none outside of the immediate family knew of the domestic troubles.
Johnson's endeavors to be released from the jail last night were without avail. As he walked into the jail he looked straight ahead of him and spoke to no one. After the cell door was locked he stood silently an gazed at the floor. Mr. Kimbrell stated last night that he could do nothing definite in the case until he learns of the condition of the man's wife. Johnson may be held without arraignment until tonight.
No visitors whatever are allowed in the Johnson house and every effort is being made by physicians to save the woman's life. Dr. N. D. Ravenscraft, who has been attending Mrs. Johnson since the night of the assault, said last night that Mrs. Johnson is worse than she has ever been since the attack. He expresses no hope for her recovery.
Labels: Buckner, doctors, Eighth street, Highland avenue, Independence, jail, Johnson assault case, nurses, Prosecutor Kimbrell, streetcar, Vine street, women
August 25, 1908
DOMESTIC LIFE MADE
AN UNHAPPY WOMAN.
MRS. JOHNSON TOLD NEIGHBORS
OF HER FEARS.
Physician to Operate Today, Fears
Slugger's Victim Will Die.
No Clew to Identity
The attending physician reported in Buckner, Mo., last night that Mrs. W. A. Johnson, who was slugged in her bed Thursday morning by an unknown hand, was brighter than she had been since she received the wound which may cause her death. The physician held out no intimation that Mrs. Johnson would recover -- simply saying she appeared to be better.
Detectives employed by a public subscription committee at Buckner did not report any findings of importance yesterday, and relatives and friends of the injured woman had no information to make public regarding the investigation which is being prosecuted to discover her assailant. The county prosecutor did not visit the farm house yesterday, and stated last night that he would not return until called.
Many additional stories of unhappy domestic relations were in circulation in Buckner yesterday. One story, which caused comment, was of an illness some years ago when Mrs. Johnson believed an attempt had been made to put her out of the way. A physician prescribed a remedy when Mrs. Johnson decided she needed a tonic. One morning after her regular dose of the tonic she became seriously ill. She took no more of the medicine. She feared, so she told a neighbor, that somebody had tampered with the bottle.
Then there was another story going yesterday about a pistol duel some years ago in the streets of Buckner between men employed as laborers on the Johnson farm, and many persons tried to connect this shooting affair with the supposed unhappy life of Mrs. Johnson. One of the men who participated in the shooting in the streets of Buckner is said to have left the county and the other is reported living here now.
The county prosecutor, I. B. Kimbrell, expects to find the weapon with which Mrs. Johnson was injured as she lay in bed beside her husband in the early morning. If a man was employed to murder Mrs. Johnson he surely did not carry away his weapon, the prosecutor thinks. The well on the Johnson farm is to be searched.
Today the physicians will remove the packing from Mrs. Johnson's skull and fear she will not survive the operation.
Labels: Buckner, crime, detectives, doctors, Johnson assault case, marriage, Prosecutor Kimbrell, violence, women
August 23, 1908
MYSTERIOUS WOMAN IN
SOME BELIEVE SHE HIRED MAN
TO COMMIT MURDER.
Was the Farmer's Wife in Her Way?
That Is the Solution Some Buck-
ner People Have -- Strange
No nearer solution than it has ever been is the mystery which surrounds the attempt which was made to murder Mrs. W. A. Johnson at her home near Buckner, Mo., Thursday morning. Many clue have been suggested and all of them have been followed closely by a private detective who has been put upon the case, but those clues have resulted in almost nothing. Mrs. Johnson stoutly maintains that she knows absolutely nothing of the assault which was made upon her, and if she suspects anyone of the crime she will not make her suspicions known. Her physician stated yesterday that she is growing rapidly worse and probably would not live through today.
The latest theory as to the circumstances which surround the crime is that a certain person who was seen loitering around Lake City, a small village seven miles west of the Johnson farm, Wednesday, was hired by a woman to kill Mrs. Johnson.
It is said that though this woman did not know Mrs. Johnson, she was well acquainted with the husband, who visited her when he was in Kansas City. The idea is that this Kansas City woman found Mrs. Johnson to be a stumbling block and contrived to put her out of the way. To accomplish her purpose it is thought that she hired this man who was seen in Lake City to do the deed.
What strengthens the suspicion is the fact that a Kansas City woman, with whom Mr. Johnson is said to be well acquainted, telephoned to Buckner on Thursday morning and asked concerning Mrs. Johnson. This was before the assault had become generally known in Kansas City.
The man upon whom the suspicion of some rests was seen in Lake City about noon on Wednesday. Two hours later he stopped at a farm house belonging to B. Neal, two miles east of Lake City. There he asked for work, and none being give him, he walked one mile further east to a farm owned by a Mr. Sloan. There he asked for work and was kept until nightfall. From there he followed the railroad track east. The tracks run within 150 yards of the Johnson home, and it is thought by a few that this man was the one who attempted to murder Mrs. Johnson.
THEY HAVE ANOTHER THEORY.
The majority of persons in and about Buckner, however, think that they know who the assailant is and give circumstantial evidence to back their judgment. Prosecuting Attorney I. B. Kimbrell, who has spent two days investigating the case, also holds that the blow was not struck by one who was unacquainted with the Johnson family. Mr. Kimbrell believes that money was the motive of the crime.
Though two days have been spent in investigation by the prosecutor and other county officials, there is no likelihood of arrest just yet. Mr. Kimbrell said last night that all the evidence which his office had against the person who he believes committed the crime was purely circumstantial.
Among the many questions which the prosecutor has asked persons who are connected with the Johnson family, those regarding the domestic relations of the Johnson family, remained unanswered. When Mrs. Edgar Hilt, who was reared in the Johnson home, was asked concerning domestic relations of the family, she answered: "I would rather not say anything about that. It can do no good" Many others advance the same reasons for their silence.
Labels: Buckner, farmers, Johnson assault case, marriage, Prosecutor Kimbrell, railroad, violence, women
August 22, 1908
SHE DOESN'T KNOW
WHO SLUGGED HER
MRS. W. A. JOHNSON, BUCKNER,
TALKS OF HER CASE.
She Is Conscious, but Doctors Have
No Hope for Her Recovery -- Vil-
lage People Suspect
Mystery has been added to mystery in the circumstances which surround the attack made upon Mrs. W. A. Johnson at her home near Buckner, Mo., Thursday morning. Mrs. Johnson is conscious at intervals, and during these lucid spells she talks rationally of her injuries, but is unable to throw any light upon the mystery. It had been thought that Mrs. Johnson could explain it all and the name of her assailant as soon as she was able to talk.
"I do not know who struck me," said she yesterday afternoon. "I do not know that I was slugged. If it were not for the pain in my head and the fact that everyone tells me that such is the case, I would not believe it. I did not get out of bed Thursday morning, to my knowledge, and can not understand how it happened that I was found lying on the floor. I saw no one Thursday morning, nor did I hear any noise which awakened me."
Beyond that Mrs. Johnson can say nothing of the affair. It is her belief that she has been drugged, but how or why she cannot explain. Though Mrs. Johnson's condition seemed to be improving yesterday, the physician in charge said that there was very little hope of her recovery, and Mrs. Johnson herself realizes that she may never get well.
The assault was committed on the night when Sam Eliot and his wife, who usually sleep in a house located about twenty-five feet from the room in which Mrs. Johnson slept, were away from home. It was the first time that they had been away from the Johnson farm for at least three months. This fact has led many persons in Buckner to believe that the assault was perpetrated by some one who had knowledge of the household, and knew that the Eliots were away. Absolutely no trace of the intruder or assailant has been found.
When Mr. Johnson was asked if he intended to investigate the circumstances which led to his wife's assault, he replied: "I think that there is nothing to investigate; besides, nothing has been missed from the house. If a detective were employed to look into the affair it would mean that he must talk with my wife, and that would not be tolerated right now."
It was said in Buckner yesterday that a subscription of $1,000 was being raised by the citizens in order to push investigation on their own accord. Mr. Johnson sticks steadfastly to the theory of robbery as an explanation of the slugging.
The people of Buckner, with a few exceptions, are firm in their belief that the assault upon Mrs. Johnson was an attempt to murder and that no robbery was contemplated. Most of them think that they know the person who committed the crime, but are reluctant to give names. The whole town is greatly excited. Mrs. Johnson is a woman of the highest standing, and if she ever had an enemy no one knew it.
Prosecutor I. B. Kimbrell and representatives of the county marshal's office visited the Johnson farm yesterday to investigate the assault. They learned no more than the reporter from The Journal who preceded them.
Labels: Buckner, crime, farmers, Johnson assault case, Prosecutor Kimbrell, The Journal, violence, women
June 7, 1908
POLICE REFUSE TO
"NOT TRYING WIX IN THE NEWSPA-
PERS," THEY SAY.
As in All Cases, They Are Seeking
Evidence Against the Accused,
Only, and Not That Which
Would Free Him.
"The police will give no more information concerning the Wix case. I think we have given out too much of our side already. We do not intend to try the case in the newspapers."
So said Captain Walter Whitsett at police headquarters last night when asked if there was anything new in the case. By "Our side" he meant the prosecution. He said further that the publication of too much of "our information gives the other fellows a chance to get busy." In other words the police department, a public institution, is run solely to prosecute men. When a man is arrested, charged with a crime, it is a well known fact that the police set to work to get all they can against the man and seldom take notice of anything in the prisoner's favor.
If Clark Wix is convicted for the murder of John Mason as he now stands charged, it appears that it will have to be solely upon circumstantial evidence as, so far, the police have no positive evidence.
The man's watch found in pawn in Wix's name at Silverman's pawnshop, 1215 Grand avenue, and later identified by Mrs. Lizzie Mason, widow of the murdered man and Maude Wilson, was yesterday proved beyond a doubt to be the property of Wix. In his statement Wix said that the watch was his and the woman's watch was his wife's.
When J. B. Schmeltz, 1231 Grand avenue, was seen he said that Detective Fred Bailey called him up about the watch. His mark in the watch was 10232107. The 102 Schmeltz places in all his watches and the 32107 when separated means 3, 21, 07, or March 21, 1907, when the watch sold. The works number is 14160503 and the case 6219763. It is a Waltham, size 16.
WIX BOUGHT A DIAMOND.
When Silverman's pawnshop was visited it was learned that the watch pawned by Wix February 10 last bears exactly the same numbers. Schmeltz also said that he recalled Wix bringing a diamond stick pin to him to be set in a ring and said that he believed he sold him a small diamond ring within the last year, possibly the one Wix gave to Maud Wilson.
The numbers on the works of the woman's watch in pawn are 10437364 and the case 67074. That watch is claimed by Mrs. Mason, who said that her husband was carrying it when he disappeared. She said that the watch was brought second hand, so it would be hard to trace the numbers in that case. Wix says the watch is his wife's and she confirms him. Her description of the watch is identical with the one in pawn. Her nurse friends used to use it when she was a nurse at the general hospital, and they all describe it as a large-sized woman's wath, engraved case, with a diamond in the back. Captain Whitsett says that the watch is being held as evidence and no one not connected with the police or the prosecution shall be allowed to see it. Harry Way, Mrs. Wix's father, said yesterday:
"That watch was given to Harriet by her uncle, Cyrus Way, fifteen years ago. It was brought from Roscoe Smulk, a jeweler at Shelbina, Mo, who is now dead. An effort will be made to get the numbers there, but I don't think they keep them."
If the watch was ever cleaned or repaired by a jeweler here, the numbers will be found here, and the defense is working along those lines now.
WHEN HE WAS ELEVEN YEARS OLD.
Some of the new information received by the police yesterday that, twelve years ago, while hunting near Ottawa, Kas., with a man named Alvin Keller, the latter was supposed to have been accidentally shot by Wix, and that the belief was that it was not accidental. Wix is now 23 years old, so, if that is true, he was only 1 years old when the informant seems to cast suspicion upon him.
It was learned yesterday that on Sunday, January 26, when Mason disappeared, he was about the barn of W. A. Marshall, 1417 Walnut, during the morning. He took John Nevins out and drove him through Penn Valley park in an effort to sell him a horse. Nevins, who is a horseshoer, did not take the horse. Then Mason called up George Coleman, a liveryman, and tried to sell him the buggy and harness. He was turning all his property into cash, as his wife had sued him for divorce.
While Coleman was looking at the buggy Mason left the barn. That was about noon. About 2 p. m. he called Marshall and said:
"I will be over pretty soon with Clark Wix, and I want you to knock that trade with me."
"I asked him what he meant," said Marshall, yesterday, "In his broken German he had used knock for boost. I don't see how he could have been talking in the presence of Wix, to whom he wanted to sell a team."
DISPLAYED HIS MONEY.
Detectives "Lum" Wilson and J. L. Ghent were assigned on the Mason case yesterday, and they took a new tack. They found out where Mason had often showed his money, that he did not choose his company well, and was often known to have shot craps with negroes. Any of that class may have known that Mason carried a large sum of money, and he might have been killed by them.
The police had several men in the office of Captain Whitsett last night, sweating them and taking their statements. Some of them are believed to have been men who worked for Wix at the time of Mason's disappearance. It is known that an old man named Barslow, a barn foreman, was told to be there at 8 p.m. One of the men who worked about there at the time and who knew Mason and his habits well is now being looked for by police with two different warrants for swindling transfer men and others for whom he worked. That is he collected C. O. D. money and decamped. That man's name is Gale Chaney, and his brother Tom also worked there. Another man now driving a newspaper wagon may be questioned by police.
Every person who ever knew Wix is now rallying to hi support in his hour of trouble. The verdict of many seen yesterday was, "He was the hardest worker I ever saw, and at the same time a man of jolly disposition. I can't conceive his committing such a crime and feel that he will come out all right."
Funeral services of John Mason, the murdered man, will be held at 2 o'clock this afternoon at Freeman & Marshall's undertaking rooms, 3015 Main street.
Burial will be in Mount Washington cemetery.
Prosecutor I. B. Kimbrell and the grand jury were ready at 10:30 yesterday morning to examine Clark Wix and the evidence in the case against him, on which he is held in the county jail for the murder of John Mason, but Inspector M. E. Ryan telephoned that he did not have his evidence in shape to present. The grand jury then adjourned until Monday.
Labels: buggy, Captain Whitsett, detectives, Grand avenue, Main street, newspapers, nurses, pawn brokers, Penn Valley park, police headquarters, Prosecutor Kimbrell, undertakers, Walnut Street
June 5, 1908
CHARGED TO WIX.
PAWNED DEAD MAN'S WATCHES
MASON WAS IN WIX'S BARN.
ACCUSED MAN ALSO SUSPECTED
OF FANNING MURDER.
Was Once Before the Prosecutor to
Explain His Sudden Wealth
Shortly After Fanning
At 11 o'clock last night Clark Wix was formally charged with the murder of John ("Dutch") Mason, the horse trader who disappeared from here January 26 last. Mrs. Lizzie Mason, the murdered man's widow, and Maud Wilson, with whom he had lived, both went to Camden, Mo., yesterday and identified the body.
It was after hearing statements made by the women, after they had identified property pawned by Wix, that John W. Hogan, assistant prosecutor, concluded to charge Wix with murder in the first degree. The information was drawn and sworn to by Mrs. Lizzie Mason. Then it was filed with Justice Michael Ross and a warrant issued on which Wix will be arrested this morning. His statement is to be taken at police headquarters this morning. His arraignment will be later.
The body of Mason arrived in the city yesterday afternoon and was sent to the morgue of Freeman and Marshall, 3015 Main street. There is a large hole in Mason's skull on the right side at the base, and another behind the left ear. A deep fracture connects both holes. It is the opinion of Detectives Charles Halderman and James Fox, who have developed he case, that the murder was committed with a hammer. A search will be made for the weapon.
In looking over his pawn slips Fred Bailey, secretary to the inspector, found where Clark Wix had pawned two watches and, as Mason had a watch when he disappeared, Detective Ralph Trueman was sent to Silverman's pawn shop, 1215 Grand avenue, after the property. He came back with a man's hunting case watch and a woman's watch with a diamond in the back. He also got a diamond ring and an Elk ring from the same shop.
IT WAS HER WATCH.
Both Mrs. Mason and Maud Wilson quickly identified the man's watch as having been Mason's. They were not told of the other watch, and Mrs. Mason was asked if she ever possessed a watch.
"Yes," she said, "a small watch with a diamond in the back of the case." When shown the other watch which had been in pawn in Wix's name both women identified it immediately as Mrs. Mason's, and the Wilson woman said that Mason had the watch with him when he left that fatal Sunday, January 26.
According to the pawn sheets Wix pawned Mason's watch on February 10 and not until May 6 was Mrs. Mason's watch pledged. The police think that the diamonds in the Elk ring and other ring originally were part of Mason's horseshoe pin in which were fifteen stones, three large ones at the top and six smaller ones on each side.
John Hogan spent most of the night taking statements in the Wix case. Miss Wilson in her statement said that on April 26 last, her birthday, Clark Wix made her a present of a diamond ring. At the same time he had a stone set into a stud for himself. L. L. Goldman of 1307 Grand avenue, who set the two stones for Wix, also made a statement. Both persons said that the jewels were of almost the exact size of the three large stones in Mason's horseshoe pin. Miss Wilson said that when Wix gave h er the ring he said: "Now, if my wife ever finds out that I gave you this ring you must tell her that you bought it from me."
The third stone thought to have come from Mason's pin is believed now to be in an Elk charm worn my Wix when he was arrested.
CALLED FROM WIX'S BARN.
W. A. Marshall, a liveryman, said in his statement that on the Sunday Mason disappeared he called up from Wix's transfer barn, 1406 Walnut street, and said: "I'll be over with Wix to see you in a little while about buying that horse." But, though that was about 1 p. m., Mason never came.
James Conely and John Lewis, horseshoers at Fourteenth and Walnut streets, stated that they often saw John Mason about Wix's barn, which was directly across the street from them.
It was the intention to question Wix last night, but that had to be abandoned until today. Wix has not yet been informed that he is charged with murder. When arrested he asked no explanation, though it was 1 o'clock Wednesday morning, and since he has been held in the matron's room at headquarters he has taken no apparent interest in why he was locked up and no one allowed to see him.
QUESTIONED IN FANNING MURDER.
It developed yesterday that two months ago, on information furnished Detectives "Lum" Wilson and J. L. Ghent, Wix was taken before Prosecutor Kimbrell to be questioned in regard to the murder of Thomas W. Fanning, the aged recluse who was brutally killed with a hammer in his home, 1818 Olive street, December 31, 1906.
He was known to have hauled Mrs. Fanning to the general hospital, and it was reported that he said later: "Somebody is going to have to kill that old guy, Fanning, living all alone out there with all that coin." It was shortly after the Fanning murder that Wix went into business for himself, but in his statement at that time he said that his uncle, Clark Wix, postmaster of Butler, Mo., had furnished him the money. That matter will be reopened now.
Police Judge Harry G Kyle was yesterday retained by relatives to defend Clark Wix. Kyle comes from the same county, Bates, in which the Wix family live. All sorts of influence was brought to bear yesterday to get to see and talk to the prisoner, but Captain Walter Whitsett would not permit it.
THREATENED HABEAS CORPUS.
Thomas W. Wix, a farmer from near Yates Center, Kas., arrived yesterday and it was he and Clark Wix, the uncle from Butler, who retained Judge Kyle. Rush C. Lake, assistant attorney general, went to the station and, according to Captain Whitsett, threatened to sue out a writ of habeas corpus if not allowed to see Wix. He was told that such action would mean in immediate charge of murder and there it ceased. Then other lawyers tried the same tactics and failed.
In June, 1906, Clark Wix was married to Miss Harriet Way, a nurse at the general hospital, who had served barely one of her two years.. At that time Wix was driving an ambulance for the Carroll-Davidson Undertaking Company, which handled all the city dead from the hospital, and it was his frequent trips there that brought him in contact with his wife.
Miss Way lived near Shelbina, Mo., and it was reported soon after her marriage that her family came near ostracising her for what she had done. In about a year, however, Wix had diamonds of all kinds and frequently gave his wife gems until she was the envy of her nurse friends at the hospital. Mrs. Wix was not informed last night that her husband had been charged with murder.
When Clark Wix was examined by County Prosecutor I. B. Kimrell and City Detectives Lum Wilson and J. L. Ghent, shortly after the murder of Thomas Fanning in his home at 1818 Olive street, on New Year's eve, 1906, Wix was not plainly told what charge might be placed against him. No person, outside of Chief of Police John Hayes, Wix's wife, the detectives and the prosecutor knew that Wix was under arrest. None of Wix's political friends knew of it or made any effort to secure his release. In recalling the questioning of Wix at that time Mr. Kimbrell said last evening:
"We asked Wix how he came by diamonds he was wearing and how he found the wherewithal to purchase his teams and wagons. He showed us that the original story about his owning many large diamonds was an exaggeration and that he possessed only two small ones, and he proved that he held title to only three teams and a wagon or two. He told us the size of his salary and how much he had been saving out of it each week. We corroborated his explanation by his wife and the neighbors. We never told him he was held for the Fanning murder. We discovered that we had no case against him and dropped the matter without letting his name be connected with the murder."
Labels: Captain Whitsett, detectives, Fourteenth street, Grand avenue, jewelry, Judge Kyle, Justice Ross, murder, nurses, Olive street, Prosecutor Kimbrell, Walnut Street
April 29, 1908
THOU SHALT NOT
SKATE ON SUNDAY.
JUDGE WALLACE HANDS DOWN
He Wants the Rinks Closed -- Sends
Deputies Out to Get Names of
Offenders -- The Philoso-
phy of Kimbrell.
"Thou shalt not upon a Sunday move thy feet with a gliding motion when thou hast roller skates attached to thy shoes!"
This commandment has been handed down by Judge W. H. Wallace to his twelve tried and true grand jurors, passed on to the deputy marshals and was read with a thud yesterday afternoon by County Prosecutor I. B. Kimbrell, who was signing indictments against theater folk, in the form of an indictment against S. Waterman, charged with managing "a place of amusement for pay, otherwise known as the Coliseum roller skating rink at Thirty-ninth and Main streets, Kansas City, Mo."
After reading the missive three times, the prosecutor, who some weeks ago swore off smoking, was so excited that he absent-mindedly lighted a cigar presented to him a week or two since by a voter who had called for free legal advice. When Mr. Kimbrell had coughed the rancid smoke out of his lungs he recovered composure, threw the cigar away and remarked:
"Well, it's not a matter of great importance at this time of year, anyhow, as very soon the boys will be going barefoot and can't wear roller skates. Besides, next Sunday they can go to the baseball game."
The prosecutor picked up his pen and started to sign his name to the indictment. He hesitated. He said:
"I believe I'll talk this over with the grand jury first."
"I wouldn't write anything about it," suggested Charles Riehl, deputy prosecutor, to reporters. "We don't know for sure yet whether the jury will return the indictment against the rink."
Joseph Stewart, veteran bailiff of the criminal court, and Henry Miller, custodian of the criminal court building, were the trusted men, who Sunday went forth and searched the city for roller skating rinks. They were told to report to the prosecutor's office the keepers, ticket sellers and employes of all rinks found. After tramping all day they could locate only one rink, the one at Thirty-ninth and Main streets.
"Waterman was exceedingly kind to us," Miller says. "He offered to have a boy strap skates on our feet and let us use the skates all afternoon free. I was tempted. There were about 200 people in the rink, boys and girls, young men and women and all were laughing and happy. I wanted to jump in and skate, but Joe advised me not to and I didn't.
"We saw many kids skating on the sidewalks and streets over town Sunday, but we hadn't any orders to take their names. They weren't indoors and, so far as we knew, didn't buy or rent their skates on Sunday."
The Sunday skating question will come before the grand jury this afternoon. The usual 140 theater indictments will also be returned by the jury today.
Labels: amusement, cigars, Judge Wallace, Main street, Prosecutor Kimbrell, skating, Thirty-ninth street
April 21, 1908
PROSECUTOR KIMBRELL CLEARS
DOCKET UP TO APRIL 3.
WAS NO EVIDENCE TO CONVICT.
300 CASES, ALL RECENT, REMAIN
TO BE TRIED.
Kimbrell Acts on His Own Initiative
as Soon as the Cases Are All
Transferred to Porter-
Over 3,000 theater cases were dismissed by County Prosecutor I. B. Kimbrell yesterday shortly after Judge W. H. Wallace had transferred all of the Sunday closing cases of all kinds to Judge E. E. Porterfield's division of the criminal court. Every Sunday labor case against theater managers, house employes and actors, filed after grand jury indictments, from the beginning of the crusade last September until the indictments returned April 3, was dismissed.
Mr. Kimbrell stepped to Judge Porterfield's bench during a five-minute recess in the trial of a shooting case and said quietly to the judge:
"I want to make a world record at clearing a docket. The state asks that all theater cases numbered 5,337 to 8,849 be dismissed."
"Certainly," replied Judge Porterfield. He then directed James Gilday, the clerk, to make the order on the record. None of the theater attorneys nor Attorney R. R. Field was present. Kimbrell's action came as a surprise. When Judge Wallace was asked about it in the afternoon he said:
"That's news to me, but I knew that Mr Kimbrell intended to dismiss all of the old cases sometime. He talked with me about the matter some days ago and I told him that I was in favor of dismissing the older cases, if Judge Porterfield insisted upon trying them in the order of filing."
These are the cases in which Judge Wallace recently said he had no evidence. They would have been dismissed in his own court eventually. His talk with Kimbrell shows that he was aware of this.
"There is no possibility of all the theater cases being tried," Mr. Kimbrell said. "If the state secures convictions in cases of this nature it will be only in those recently filed and while deputy marshals still remember what they saw in each theater on certain Sundays, Judge Wallace himself has said, that the state has no evidence in the old cases.
The dismissal of the old cases is a help both to Judge Wallace and to the theater managers. The state is now in a position to secure convictions and the managers are freed from their burden of bonds. Enough cases remain to use as a test of every phase of the Sunday labor statute, which Judge Wallace is attempting to enforce. There are about 300 cases left, a hundred or so each week since the return of indictments on April 3. It will take us all summer to try that many."
Labels: criminal court, Judge Wallace, Prosecutor Kimbrell, theater
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