February 7, 1910
A WALKING HABERDASHERY.
Overdressed Man Imagines He's
Robert C. Kainz, a young man who says he is an Englishman recently imported to this country, went to police headquarters about 3 o'clock Sunday morning and demanded to know why he had been locked out of jail. The desk sergeant apologized for the oversight and sent him to the holdover.
When searched Kainz was found to be a walking haberdashery, with everything from a clean collar to an extra suit of clothes on his person. Aside from the assortment of dry goods and men's furnishings were:
One ruby ring, three boxes of Egyptian cigarettes, several cigar lighters, a half dozen packages of chewing gum, two pairs of new horsehide gloves and several neckties.
Kainz wore two overcoats, two complete suits of clothes, a jersey sweater and two vests, besides two shirts and some under garments. His feet were protected by three pair of hose, each a different color, and two silk mufflers were wrapped around his neck.
Investigation revealed that he had been living at the Salvation Army hotel on Fifth street. For a time he is said to have imagined that he was the president of a great insurance company, who feared that the United States government might prosecute him for selling bad "policies." He had a quantity of sample insurance policies and a rate book in his pocket.
Kainz was turned over to Colonel J. C. Greenman yesterday and his mental condition will be looked into.
Labels: clothing, Col. J. C. Greenman, England, Fifth street, immigrants, mental health, police headquarters, Salvation Army
January 16, 1910
SWOPE'S SISTER IS FREED.
Mrs. Plunkett, Sent to Asylum by
Husband, Is Declared of Sound
Mind by Jury.
NASHVILLE, TENN., Jan. 15. -- The inquisition to establish the mental capacity of Mrs. Jane Plunkett, which has been going on in the chancery court for three weeks, came to an abrupt end today. The jury, after thirty-five minutes, decided her to be of sound mind, thus reversing the opinion of the Davidson county court, which about a year ago adjudged her insane and appointed her son-in-law, Percy Brown, her guardian.
Following addresses to the jury covering the last two sessions of court, made by the pick of the local legal talent, Mrs. Plunkett has been vindicated. She was sent to an asylum by her husband, Dr. J. D. Plunkett.
During the trial more than fifty witnesses were placed on the stand and charges of a sensational character were freely made by both sides. When court opened this morning a controversy between counsel for both sides took place over the instructions to the jury.
Those for Dr. Plunkett held that in addition to establishing her mental condition the value of her estate and the next of kin should be determined. The jury was finally charged to determine the state of her mind with reference to taking care of not only herself, but her own property, and upon this basis their verdict was rendered.
All of this was dependable upon a verdict of insanity and neither her estate nor her future can be further distributed. It is thought that her guardianship will be dissolved immediately.
The trial has caused an extreme bitterness to develop between former friends of the family who are now aligned on either side.
It is thought that a protracted trip with complete change of climate will be necessary, as the ordeal of the inquisition has tolled heavily upon her condition.
Labels: mental health, Swope Mystery
November 2, 1909
PAT M'MAHON TO SANITARIUM.
Tim, Another Brother, of Triple Mur-
derer, Dies at Hospital.
Another chapter to the tragic history of the McMahon family was added yesterday when Patrick McMahon was removed to the Grandview sanitarium in Kansas City, Kas. The strange actions of the younger brother since the confession by James McMahon to the murder of his two sisters and his brother-in-law have convinced the authorities as well as his relatives that Patrick needs rest and medical treatment. A few days ago Pat went to the penitentiary at Lansing and demanded the release of his brother, Jim. He was taken to Kansas City, Kas., by Sheriff Al Becker, where he was detained until it was thought safe to release him. After consultation with his relatives it was decided that he should be placed in the sanitarium, where he will have an opportunity to rest and recover. He will be detained in Kansas City, Kas., until developments show whether he should be removed to a state institution.
Timothy McMahon, the invalid brother, who was removed several days ago to St. Margaret's hospital in Kansas City, Kas., died there yesterday. The funeral services will be held today at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament in St. John's cemetery. The father of the McMahon boys died just thirteen years ago yesterday.
Labels: cemetery, churches, death, Kansas City Kas, mental health, Sheriff Becker, Van Royen Murders
November 1, 1909
PAT M'MAHON GOES
TO PRISON TO GET JIM.
TELLS WARDEN HE WANTS TO
FATTEN HIS BROTHER.
Sockless and Collarless, Makes His
Way to Lansing -- Sheriff Becker
of Wyandotte County Brings
LEAVENWORTH, KAS., Oct. 31. -- Patrick McMahon, accompanied by Dr. J. W. Palmer of Wolcott, Kas., walked into the state prison at Lansing today and astonished the warden by announcing that he had come to get his brother, James, for the purpose of taking him home to fatten him up.
The warden saw that the man was evidently crazy and treated him accordingly, humoring him as much as possible, yet firmly declining to let him see James.
He telephoned Sheriff Al Becker, of Wyandotte county, to come up for Patrick, and this afternoon Becker arrived and after some argument persuaded McMahon to accompany him to Kansas City.
McMahon had on no stockings and no collar when he came to the prison today. Dr. Palmer said that McMahon came to his house before noon and walking in demanded water. Dr. Palmer did not know him, and handed him a big dipper of water. McMahon in his eagerness spilled the water all over himself. He drank nearly a gallon as fast as it could be handed to him.
He insisted on having Dr. Palmer accompany him to Lansing, stating that he became uneasy about Jim and rode over to Brenner Heights this morning and took a car to Wolcott.
When Dr. Palmer found out who the man was he became interested, and asked him point blank if he wanted to see Jim, for the purpose of warning him against saying anything. McMahon confusedly denied this intention, saying he feared for his brother's health, and knew the warden would let him take Jim home.
McMahon ate a tremendous dinner at the prison. He has all the appearance of a man laboring under a terrible mental strain. Jim McMahon is quite settled, and talks to the warden every time the latter sees him. He doesn't like being put in an ordinary cell, and wants to be put back in the insane ward, where he was treated as a guest when first brought to the prison.
Sheriff Al Becker was first notified yesterday that McMahon was at Brenner Heights, west of Kansas City, Kas., and that he was alarming persons in that vicinity. A few minutes later a telephone call was received from Wolcott stating that the man was there and that a mob was forming. Before the sheriff could get men started after Pat another call was received to the effect that the Leavenworth county sheriff had taken charge of him, and that he was on his way to the state penitentiary at Lansing.
Sheriff Becker went to the penitentiary, where Pat was turned over to him. At the Wyandotte county jail upon his return to Kansas City, Kas., McMahon said that he had gotten a crazy idea into his head that he could go to the state prison and persuade the warden to release Jim.
He was detained until he had apparently recovered from the excitement under which he was laboring and was then permitted to go home.
Labels: Kansas City Kas, Leavenworth, mental health, penitentiary, Sheriff Becker, Van Royen Murders
October 31, 1909
"ADAM GOD'S" WIFE IS
GIVEN HER LIBERTY.
AFTER ELEVEN MONTHS MRS.
SHARP GOES FREE.
Doubt as to Her Sanity Leads
Prosecutor to Dismiss Indict-
ment for Riot of De-
cember 8, 1908.
After spending almost eleven months in the county jail, Mrs. Melissa Sharp, the wife of "Adam God," who was sentenced to twenty-five years in the penitentiary for the shooting of Patrolman A. O. Dalbow on December 8, 1908, will be given her liberty today on the recommendation of Virgil Conkling, county prosecutor.
"I won't prosecute any one when I have a reasonable doubt as to their sanity," he said. "I'm going to dismiss the case against her."
It lacked a few minutes of midnight last night that Mr. Conkling made known his decision. The case was promptly dismissed and Marshal Joel B. Mayes was notified to liberate Mrs. Sharp this morning.
For many weeks Mr. Conkling has had this step under advisement. Many persons expressed doubt as to the woman's sanity. She would have faced the jury on November 15. She will not even be taken before a lunacy commission.
"She will be absolutely free," Mr. Conkling said last night.
When it was hinted in her presence that she might be turned loose on the grounds of insanity, she resented the insinuation, but when she was told last night by Deputy Marshals Joe McGuire and E. S. Dudley that she was free, she began crying for joy.
"Free, did you say? I can't believe it, I'm so glad," she said.
She sat down on the edge of the bed and began to weep hysterically, while the deputies filed out quietly. The other women prisoners were awakened and before midnight it was generally known that Mrs. Sharp was free.
During her stay in the county jail Mrs. Sharp has made friends of everyone who made her acquaintance. Her patient demeanor and her solicitation for the women prisoners has made her universally liked. During the last few weeks she has admitted that her husband, whom she trusted so blindly, was wrong.
"It all seems like a dream," she has said many times. "I was following my husband on that day thinking that he could do no wrong. Now I know better."
Labels: Adam God sect, County Marshal Mayes, jail, mental health, Prosecutor Conkling, women
October 28, 1909
WOMAN OF SORROW.
Bowed 'Neath Weight of Tragedy.
Timothy McMahon, the invalid brother of James and Patrick McMahon
, was sent to St. Margaret's hospital in Kansas City, Kas., yesterday afternoon and Mrs. Ellen McMahon, woman of sorrow, a mother facing not one, but many tragedies, spent last night practically alone in the old McMahon homestead, five miles west of the Kansas City, Kas., limits, in one of the loneliest spots in Wyandotte county and within a rod of the Van Royen house, where her two daughters were murdered
ten days ago by one of her own sons.
This sorrowing mother spent yesterday on the verge of nervous prostration. Mrs. Kate Ellis, a half-sister, who lives at Seventh street and Oakland avenue, in Kansas City, Kas., called on her in the afternoon and lent what consolation she could. It was Mrs. Ellis who urged that Timothy, an invalid for two years and who can not live many weeks longer, be removed to the hospital as a means of relieving the mother from a great care. Late in the afternoon the hospital ambulance arrived and Timothy was taken into the city.
Soon Mrs. Ellis returned to her home, for she had her own children to look after, and the mother, 58 years old, and older than her years, was left alone. There were two hired hands on the premises, but they were men not known to Mrs. McMahon and they could give little solace. During the day Mrs. McMahon suffered severely from headaches and late in the day she decided to deny herself to all callers, save relatives of the family.
It is a fact generally known that Mrs. McMahon has twice been an inmate of an insane asylum and the fear of the family is that her recent troubles may cause a recurrence of her old ailment.
What Mrs. McMahon has undergone in recent weeks is hardly realized by most persons. Five weeks prior to the murder of her two daughters and her son in law, her sister, a Catholic nun, died unexpectedly. From the day that the murder of her daughters and son-in law was discovered, her two sons have been suspected
of the crime and the mother knew it. Tuesday both sons were arrested and following their arrest one of them, James, confessed to the killing of the Van Royens and his unmarried sister. During all this time the care of the invalid son, Timothy, has been upon Mrs. McMahon and she has been driven nearly frantic by the multiplicity of her misfortunes.
There was only one consoling event in the McMahon home yesterday afternoon. That was when Patrick, the youngest son, called up his mother over the telephone, told her that he was all right; that he would be home on the morrow and for her not to worry.
"One of them all right; one of them is coming home," sobbed the poor mother, as she knelt before a crucifix and in tones half audible recited the prayers on her rosary.
Labels: Kansas City Kas, mental health, Van Royen Murders
October 27, 1909
OF TRIPLE MURDER.
Declares that He Alone Killed His
Two Sisters and Brother-in-Law,
Alonzo Van Royen, at Their
Home on the Reidy Road.
MURDER OF RELATIVES
PLANNED FOR MONTHS.
Despite James's Exoneration of Pat-
rick McMahon, Both Brothers Are
Arrested and Hurried to Lansing
to Prevent Possible Lynching.
"CRAZY JIM" McMAHON, WHO
CLEARS TRIPLE MURDER MYSTERY.
James McMahon, 35 years old, commonly known to his associates as "Crazy Jim," admitted to County Attorney Joseph Taggart yesterday that on Tuesday, October 19, at the Van Royen farm, five miles west of the Kansas City, Kas., limits in Wyandotte county, he slew his brother-in-law, Alonzo R. Van Royen, and his sisters, Mrs. Margaret Van Royen and Miss Rose McMahon.
Expressing inability to give any reason for his act, McMahon calmly told in minute details the facts in regard to this triple tragedy.
Going to an isolated section of the farm, where Van Royen was chopping wood, McMahon said that he first gave Van Royen a drink of whisky out of a bottle, then, when the latter's back was turned, shot him four times. Assured that the man was dead, he picked up his body, carried it across a small stream and deposited it in a narrow, lonely ravine, which was shadowed by a great oak tree.
Half a mile away was the home of Van Royen, and there, as McMahon knew, were the two women. The murderer proceeded immediately to the Van Royen home, opened the door without knocking and confronted Margaret and Rosie. A quarrel ensued, the nature of which he says he cannot remember.
Within a few minutes he drew the revolver from his pocket, and standing within two feet of Margaret, shot her dead. Turning the weapon on the terror-stricken Rosie, who was a few feet away, he shot her through the heart.
Without stopping, McMahon returned his attention to the prostrate form of Margaret and fired two more bullets into her body. Rosie lay motionless, but to make sure of his work the slayer directed the revolver at her again and shot until it was empty of shells.
Then he reloaded and fired three more bullets into the form of his unmarried sister.
After completing the triple butchery McMahon went to his own home, hitched his horse and drove to Kansas City, Kas. He visited the grocery store of Reitz & Reitz, 1005 Minnesota avenue, paid a bill and returned to the farm. The shooting of Van Royen occurred about 2 o'clock. The murder of the women was accomplished about three-quarters of an hour later.
TOOK RINGS FROM BODY.
Upon his return to the farm McMahon ate supper, and after it was dark he returned to the Van Royen house, carrying a lighted lantern, and by its dim rays inspected the house, taking such valuables as were in sight so as to give the impression that the motive of the murder was robbery.
From the fingers of Margaret McMahon he removed a diamond ring and a wedding ring. Around her neck was a little bag in which she had some little trinkets of value. He removed this, too, and taking his booty, carried it over to his own home and hid it along with the revolver and unused cartridges, in a corn shock about 100 feet from the McMahon house.
For seven days, while the authorities were bending every effort in an endeavor to establish the identity of the murderer, Jim McMahon kept his secret. For seven days he held his head up, talked frequently and freely to officials and reporters and offered no word that would tend to solve the mystery.
TRAPPED INTO CONFESSION.
The stolen property, hidden in the corn shock, was McMahon's undoing.
If McMahon committed the murder the jewelry is hidden about the farm, was the theory upon which Sheriff Becker and his deputies directed their work. That they must find the stolen property and work upon that to force a confession was the decision of the officers.
J. W. Elkins of Beloit, Kas., a friend of McMahon's who is also a friend of the sheriff's was invited into the game of unraveling a mystery. And the plan decided upon and which was successfully executed was for the friend to go to McMahon and inform him that the officers intended to search every part of the premises.
"If these things are hidden here give them to me; let me take them over to my house," was the suggestion offered and McMahon stepped into the trap.
He showed the man the hidden articles and gave them to him. This was a 7 o'clock yesterday forenoon.
Two hours later, after McMahon had ample time to reflect, he went to his man to beg for the return of the evidence, but Elkins was not at home.
After his unsuccessful mission, McMahon drove to the home of his aunt, Mrs. Ellis, and there nervously awaited the fate which he knew was bound to come.
NERVED TO THE CRIME BY WHISKY.
In his confession, James McMahon exonerates his brother, Patrick, who has been under surveillance ever since the tragedy.
"He didn't help me; he knew nothing about it," the murderer insisted, when questioned by the officers. "Nobody knew anything about it; I did it myself; no one advised me, and I don't know why I did it."
"Did you meditate on this crime?" he was asked.
"I've thought of doing it for the last three months. It was in me to do this thing. I knew I would do it."
"Did you ever start to do it before?"
"Yes, several times, but I lost my nerve."
"How did you get your nerve up, finally?"
"Whisky got my nerve up. I had a bottle the day I killed them. I took several drinks out of it. I gave a drink to Lon before I killed him. That nerved me up to it."
"Where did you get the revolver?"
"I bought it about a week before the killing. I told the folks I wanted to practice with it."
NO GRUDGE AGAINST VICTIMS.
"Had you ever quarreled with these people you killed?" McMahon was asked.
"Not to any extent."
"Have any grudge against Lon or your two sisters?"
"No, Lon and I always were friends."
"Can you advance any reason at all for this act?"
"I can not; I was out of my head, I guess."
In a little over an hour the McMahons and Patrick Lamb, an employe at the McMahon farm, were in the county jail, once the officers decided to make the arrest. The officers are confident that Lamb had no connection with the crime, and are holding him only as a witness.
As to Patrick McMahon's status in the case that is a matter that will have to be decided later. Patrick McMahon maintained yesterday that he had no part in the tragedy and knew nothing about it. At the jail James McMahon was the only prisoner subjected to a severe sweating, and the county accepts his statements as true.
AUNT SAYS, "TELL THE TRUTH."
While the inquiry was in progress the outer door of the jail was kept locked and hundreds of persons, apprised of the arrest, stood anxiously about the jail yard and wondered what the termination of the case would be.
During the inquiry Under Sheriff Joseph Brady and Henry T. Zimmer, a deputy sheriff, who had arrested James McMahon, emerged from the jail building and rode north of Seventh street in an automobile. Presently they returned in company with Mrs. Ellis and she was taken into the sheriff's home. The prisoner had asked for her repeatedly and said that his statement would depend upon what she said.
Mrs. Ellis, a nervous wreck as the result of the ordeal to which she had been subjected to for a week, asked McMahon what he wanted her to do. He said he wanted her advice as to what he should say.
"Tell the truth," said Mrs. Ellis.
It was after this that McMahon yielded to the entreaty of the county attorney, and told the story of his crime.
THEIR UNCLE ASTOUNDED.
James Downs, uncle of the McMahon boys, was astounded yesterday when he heard that James McMahon had confessed to the murder.
"I was absolutely confident of their innocence," said Mr. Downs, "and I can give no explanation of it. The boy must be insane."
In regard to a statement that had criticised Sheriff Becker and his deputies for the manner in conducting the inquiry, Mr. Downs said:
"I did not harshly criticise the sheriff and had no intention of doing so. I wanted the boys to talk to him at all times and urged them to tell him everything they knew, to tell the whole truth. I did object to the sheriff and his men harassing the mother, as she is in poor health, and I feared that the examinations, if made before her, might cause serious results."
Labels: alcohol, County Attorney Taggart, guns, jewelry, Kansas City Kas, mental health, murder, Reidy road, Sheriff Becker, Van Royen Murders
September 28, 1909
JOB FOR THE KAUTZ BOY.
Meanwhile Probation Officer In-
vestigates His Story.
Dr. E. L. Mathias, probation officer, has written to St. Louis, Mo., and Coffeyville, Kas., to investigate the tale related by Theodore Kautz, 14 years old, who fell into the hands of the police Sunday.
Kautz sticks to his story that he ran away from the Christian Orphan's home, 2949 Euclid avenue, St. Louis, and came here in search of his insane mother, who, he says, was left here six years ago when he and his brother, Arthur, two years older, were taken on to the orphanage. He also insists that his mother's insanity was caused by the fact that a nurse girl, left at home alone, placed his 3-months-old sister, Violet, in the stove oven.
Kautz is an unusually bright boy, and well behaved. Yesterday afternoon a call was received at the Detention home that a boy was wanted at the Frisco freight offices to act as office boy at $15 a month. George M. Holt, who looks after that end of the work, took young Kautz to the factory inspector, got him a permit, and escorted him to the freight office.
He will board at the Boys' hotel, 710 Woodland avenue.
Labels: boys hotel, children, Dr Mathias, mental health, orphans, St Louis, Woodland avenue
August 26, 1909
DIES IN STATE HOSPITAL.
For Years Harry B. Taylor Was a
Well Known Band Man.
Harry B. Taylor, 32 years old, who was for years a drummer in Coleman's Military band in Kansas City, Kas., died yesterday morning in the state hospital for the insane at Osawatomie, Kas. The body will be brought to Fairweather & Baker's undertaking rooms in Kansas City, Kas., this morning. Burial will be in Leavenworth, Kas. He is survived by a sister, Esther, 15 years old.
Labels: death, hospitals, Kansas City Kas, Leavenworth, mental health, music, undertakers
August 13, 1909
HE GREW RICH STAR GAZING.
Counted 17,000,000 Shooting Stars,
and 'Phoned John D.
At least one man saw shooting stars in the heavens last night. He had read a prophecy of the pyrotechnical display and early in the evening he started on his rounds star gazing. Occasional trips were made to the drinking emporiums and at the end of refreshments the man would dash madly out into the middle of the street and gaze longingly at the heavens. Passersby saw his lips move convulsively, and one who was possessed of more temerity and curiosity than his brothers approached near enough to hear him whisper:
"Money, Money, Money."
There was a pause until the deluded man saw another star flying from Venus to Jupiter or from Broadway to McGee streets and once more he would gasp convulsively:
"Money, Money, Money."
After some three hours of such behavior the saloons closed. Just before the doors of the saloon of his last choice were to close this strange man went to the telephone.
"Gi'me John D. Rock'feller," he demanded. The operator connected him with the emergency hospital.
"Hello," replied the surgeon in charge in answer to the telephone ring.
"Is that you J. D. R.? Well I just called you up to tell you that you are backed off the financial map. I saw 17,000,000 shooting starts tonight and said 'Money, Money, Money' after each one of them, three times apiece. Sure sign of money. What'll you sell out for?"
"Guess he really needed emergency treatment," said the amiable emergency surgeon. "Batty, clean batty."
Labels: alcohol, emergency hospital, mental health, saloon, telephone
July 14, 1909
WORKHOUSE NOT FIT
PLACE FOR INSANE.
PARDON AND PAROLE BOARD
Mrs. Kate Pierson, a Member, Se-
verely Criticises Humane Officer
Greenman -- One Pardoned and
Ten Paroled Yesterday.
Incarceration at the city workhouse of persons who are mentally deficient came in for severe censure before the pardon and parole board yesterday afternoon. Colonel J. C. Greenman, humane officer at the municipal court, was criticised by Mrs. Kate Pierson.
The matter was brought to the notice of the board by its secretary, L. A. Halbert, who made a report upon certain prisoners, among them three insane persons.
"Colonel Greenman thinks it is his duty to have those insane persons sent to the workhouse," said Mrs. Pierson. "As long as he can keep an insane person away from St. Joseph he is happy. He seems to take a certain pride in keeping down the county's expense."
Frank P. Walsh, another member of the board, said in that connection:
"Whatever may be the cause it is a regrettable situation, and one which needs our attention. We must find some place for those who are insane. The workhouse certainly is not the place for them."
BOARD TO INVESTIGATE.
The board decided to make prompt investigation of the reported insane cases and ordered the secretary to secure competent medical assistance to make the necessary examination. The board itself will see to the court order of commitment.
It was asserted that paroled prisoners were often rearrested within a few hours or days following parole. The secretary said in this connection that he had approached a prisoner and asked if he wished to be paroled.
"No, I don't," the prisoner is said to have answered. "I have only three months to serve, and then I am free. If I get paroled I get pinched again right away and have to serve out my parole as well as my new sentence. I'd rather serve it out."
It was decided by the board that the police commissioners be asked about this and also asked to detail a special officer to the board for use in rearresting those paroled prisoners who break faith with the pardon board.
Labels: Col. J. C. Greenman, mental health, St.Joseph, workhouse
July 3, 1909
HEAT CRAZED; RUNS AMUCK.
Right From Harvest Fields, Man
Causes Panic on City Street.
Affected by the sun of the Kansas harvest fields, Lewis Wright of Paris, Ill., ran amuck at Seventh street and Grand avenue at 8:30 yesterday morning with a pocketknife, and began slashing passersby.
Jennie Rolfe, 23 years old, a clerk, was stabbed in the left arm. She lives at 3010 Dunham avenue. Wright knocked another woman down with a brick, and ran several other persons away. Thomas Craig, an engineer, 2325 Chelsea avenue, Kansas City, Kas., was stabbed on the left hand and left shoulder. He retorted by knocking his assailant down and taking the knife away from him. A police ambulance took Wright to the emergency hospital.
When he was revived by Dr. W. L. Gist, Wright said that he could remember nothing of what had occurred, except that he thought someone had stabbed him in the leg. He said that he had been prostrated by the heat in the harvest fields. He thinks he is married.
Labels: Dr. Gist, emergency hospital, Grand avenue, Kansas City Kas, mental health, Seventh street, visitors
July 1, 1909
NEGRO MURDERER REPRIEVED.
Governor Hadley at Last Hour Sends
Thirty-Day Stay of Execution
for Claud Brooks.
Less than twenty-five minutes before the time set for the execution of Claude Brooks, the negro murderer, Marshal Joel Mayes received a telegram from Governor Hadley postponing the hanging until July 10. Mr. Mayes had a telephone conversation with the governor, but insisted on a telegram. The governor said the papers in the case would be sent to Kansas City at once.
Brooks, who was ready for his trip to the scaffold, showed no signs of emotion when told the news. He was taken from the death cell and placed in another part of the jail. The other prisoners, hearing the news, cheered.
The decision of the governor, it is said, was based upon the advice of a relative to whom the governor looks for recommendations in Kansas City criminal cases. This relative advised an inquiry into the sanity of Brooks. The governor sent the reprieve while this relative was at the county jail.
The time set for the hanging of Brooks was 9 o'clock yesterday morning. Brooks murdered Sidney Herndon, burned part of the evidence and made his escape. Now doctors say he is of a "low type of mentality."
Labels: death penalty, Herbert Hadley, jail, mental health, telegram
June 7, 1909
FEAR DARK DESIGNS
ON FATHER MICHAEL.
MYSTERIOUS WOMAN'S MUTTER-
INGS ALARM PARISHIONERS.
Remembrance of Denver Tragedy
Thrills Worshipers When She Dis-
turbs Service at St. Rose
of Lima Church.
Three hundred persons, attending the celebration of high mass in the St. Rose of Lima church, Seventh street and Quindaro boulevard, Kansas City, Kas., yesterday morning, were distracted in their prayers by the strange mutterings of a woman, who appeared to be demented and who, they fear, might have designs upon a Catholic priest.
A week ago Sunday, this same woman was among the worshipers in St. Mary's Catholic church, Fifth street and Ann avenue, Kansas City, Kas., and she acted in the same queer manner.
With the memory of the tragic assassination of Father Leo Heinrichsen, a Catholic priest in Denver, about a year ago still fresh in their minds, members of the St. Rose of Lima church showed the greatest anxiety.
CARRIES MYSTERIOUS PACKAGE.
The woman talked loudly as she entered the church, which is situated on the second floor of a two-story brick building, and she aroused curiosity by carrying in her hand a small oblong package covered with a newspaper. It was feared by those near her that the newspaper concealed a weapon.
As she walked up the aisle she scanned the pews closely, and finally wedged into the second pew from the alter.
Turning to a woman next to her, she said:
"What language do they speak in this church?"
"English," was the response.
When mass began the priest, according to the Roman Catholic rule, began the service in Latin.
"That is not English," said the woman; "that's a foreign language."
Her neighbor did not answer.
After mass had progressed for a few minutes the woman asked:
"What is the name of the priest?"
"Father William Michael," she was told.
"THAT'S THE PRIEST I WANT."
"That's the priest I want," said the woman.
She attracted attention when she blessed herself with her left hand, which is contrary to church rules. The genuflection, which is made by all Catholics when entering a pew, was also done awkwardly as to be noticeable.
Throughout the service the woman talked loudly and all the time the nervous auditors were watching the odd package she carried. More than once Father Michael appeared disturbed.
The solemn service prevented any conference on the part of the parishioners, but those about the woman concluded that she was a fanatic and were fearful of the result of her visit. That she was so near the altar and within a few steps of the priest lent to the uneasiness of church members.
STAYS AFTER MASS.
When mass was concluded the members fastened their gaze on the woman, who remained unmoved. the congregation, following the last prayers, began to file form the church while the priest and his servers left the altar. The woman, however, remained in her seat and followed Father Michael's every move.
A half dozen persons remained to watch the woman, each being of the same mind. Father Michael returned to the alter alone to repeat the prayers of thanksgiving, this being a part of the ceremony of the mass.
He saw the woman still watching him and finished his service with some difficulty. When he returned to the sacristy he watched until she had started from the building.
SEEN AT ANOTHER CHURCH.
The woman is not known to members of the congregation. She is about 50 years old and had sharp features. The trail of her skirt was wet and some wild flowers which she carried led some to think that she had been walking in the fields.
Leaving the church she departed rapidly west on Quindaro boulevard.
Many of the communicants waited outside to watch the strange woman's movements, and some of these identified her as the same person who had distracted the service at St. Mary's the week before. It is also said that she has been seen at several church picnics and indoor entertainments, always carrying the same mysterious package.
Father Michael was not at all disturbed by the incident, although the interruptions during the mass worried him.
Labels: churches, Kansas City Kas, mental health, ministers, women
May 28, 1909
JAMES SHARP TELLS
A RAMBLING STORY.
PREACHES ON WITNESS STAND
BUT PASSES UP KILLING.
Arguments in Riot Case With
Instructions to Jury Including
Manslaughter and Par-
Cost of the Sharp trial to Jackson county $1,500.
Duration of trial (if ended today) twelve days.
By noon today or shortly after 12 o'clock the fate of James Sharp will be in the hands of the jury. All the testimony was finished yesterday afternoon and the instructions were read to the jury.
If Sharp meant to convince the jury he is not in his right mind, his counsel let him do the best possible thing by allowing him to ramble on the witness stand as he did yesterday morning. One of his impromptu sermons lasted for nearly twenty minutes and might have been two hours had the court not stopped it. All through Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, the Northwest and Canada he rambled.
DEFENSE SCORES POINT.
But when, in the course of his ramblings, he got to Kansas City, his flow of language dried. He was not allowed by his counsel to tell even who fired the first shot in the riot, and, not having been examined as to the details by his own counsel, could not be cross-examined on such points.
In many words Adam God told of the revelations he had:
"It was revealed to me, after I had been preaching for two years, that I was a chosen vessel. I received it as the messenger of the fifth angel in the ninth chapter of Revelations -- the angel who opened the bottomless pi pt and out of the pit came locusts and they had tails.
"I am Jesus Christ. This knowledge that is in me is God. I claim to be the father of the Lord, yet he is my mother. I am the father of Jesus Christ raised up again out of David. This revelation came to me in Fort Smith, Ark. Since then I have found more proof in the Scripture all the time. Two years ago it was revealed to me that I was David."
"Will you ever die?"
"I preached that I would never die and that my body would never see corruption. Anyhow, I will be reincarnated."
JEALOUS OF ADKINS.
But in all of Sharp's statement, from the time the meteor fell on his farm in Oklahoma until the time of the riot, through the tears that masked but could not stop the flow of words, though whatever emotion he may have felt, there was in it all , t the culminating moment, the note of jealousy. For John Adkins, the Adkins who led the naked parade, was a greater preacher than Adam God.
"From the time Adkins joined us until we were arrested in Oklahoma City he was the leader," Sharp testified. "The time he was converted he preached as no man has ever preached before nor since. We stood dumbfounded. Tears streaming down his cheeks, Adkins told us of things we had never heard of; things that were not in the Bible. He made men weep and women cry. Often I myself have wept as I preached, but I couldn't make others cry. But Adkins could. He was a great preacher."
It was Adkins who told Sharp, according to the defendant's story, that he was Adam, Mrs. Sharp, Eve, and the boy, Cain or Abel. There is confusion in the testimony as to the child's name. It was Adkins, too, according to the defendant, who said three times to the police, when they started to interfere with the naked parade: "Get the behind me, Satan." And Sharp said the police got.
NO SENSE OF SHAME.
Of this orgy Sharp told with no sense of shame. He appeared amused when he related his wife's endeavor to shield herself from the public gaze after her arrest and omitted no detail. In marked contrast to this was his testimony about selling his home because he feared he would get attached to it instead of god.
"An evil spirit leapt out of Holt and on me," said Sharp, telling of the controversy at the mission in the North end. I became unbalanced and pushed him out. I called him a foul name, but did not swear. I struck Holt with a pistol against my will. From that time on I was like a blind man and all through the fight I can't remember. I never was in such a fix since I was born. I know I said: 'Come on, we'll hold a meeting if we don't get killed. This is a free country and we'll preach anyhow.'
"I meant to show my humility with guns and thought perhaps they'd let me alone. I was watching for the police. the first officer told me to go over to the station and I started to talk to him when a man in citizen's clothes came up beside the officer and put a pistol in my face and told me to drop my knife. Then I heard a shot fired.
"Did you fire that shot?"
At this point the direct examination stopped. Sharp's counsel would not let him tell who fired the first shot, but turned him over to the state for cross-examination. Then the religious ramblings ceased and Sharp was brought back to his earlier life with a jerk.
WAS SHORT-CARD GAMBLER.
""Yes," said he in answer to questions from Mr. Conkling. "I was a gambler from the age of 14 for almost thirty years. I played cards for money. I was a short card gambler and played poker, seven-up, casino and other games. About all I looked for was to swindle. I got so I could run up high hands, but played square when I had to."
Under a fire of questions Sharp admitted that he had no title to the farm on which he lived, as it was a claim and he had lived there only two and a half years. He said he sold his relinquishment for $250 and paid off debts of $22. He didn't give the poor over $125, he said.
But after he quit gambling, Sharp took moral bankruptcy. He never made restitution to the people whom he had swindled.
"Gambling was the devil working through me. The money I had swindled people out of I just charged up to the devil, and let it go at that."
"Did you preach the Ten Commandments?"
"The Commandments were law in their day, but Christ came along and changed the law."
Pursuing questions about the evil spirit he said Holt brought the defendant, Mr. Conkling asked:
"Did you get the evil spirit first, or the gun?"
WAITED FOR TROUBLE.
"I carried the gun all the time. I never was in such a fix. Just think of a man going out and doing what I did -- "
"Did you tell the others to bring their revolvers?"
"They had them with them all the time. I was not hunting trouble. I was waiting to see it come. I was expecting it after what had happened."
"When the officer said, 'Drop that knife,' where was the weapon?"
"In my hand, open. We were holding a meeting and I was watching to keep them off if they interfered. I was armed with faith. Besides that, I had a gun and a knife which the children not of God could understand. Of course they could not recognize the spirit."
The sharp fire of cross-examination, calling for quick thought and feats of memory by the defendant, did much to dispel any belief of insanity which he may have instilled on his direct examination.
MRS. SHARP HYSTERICAL.
There were certain inconsistencies which hardly could have been lost on the jury. For instance, Sharp testified that he learned to read largely through his perusal of the Bible. He gave the impression that this was about his only means of education. Yet Sharp, it was pointed out, writes a fair hand.
Mrs. Melissa Sharp, sobbing and talking in the voice of hysteria, preceded her husband on the stand. She seems devoted to her husband, aside from religion and told of the falling star and of her conversion in Oklahoma in a voice that expressed the profoundest conviction.
Her recital of how the Sharps wept and prayed for weeks after Adam saw the star was dramatic. When she had finished amid tears of her own and of Mr. Martin of her counsel, she was taken back to her cell without cross-examination.
ARGUMENTS ARE BEGUN.
The argument was begun at 7 o'clock in the evening by William S. Gabriel, assistant prosecuting attorney, who presented the case for the state. He was followed by A. A. Bailey of the defense and Harry Friedberg for the state. After these addresses court adjourned until 9 o'clock this morning. The morning A. E. Martin will argue for the defense and Virgil Conkling, prosecutor, will sum up for the state. How soon after that there will be a verdict is for the jury to say.
About twenty-five instructions offered by the state and defense were given to the jury by Judge Ralph S. Latshaw. Under them, Sharp may be convicted of murder in the first or second degree. The maximum penalty for the last mentioned offense is two years' imprisonment. The jury may acquit on the ground of self-defense or on the plea of insanity.
The instructions cover partial insanity, the presumption of guilt raised by flight after the crime. There is an instruction covering the supposition that Sharp was insane at the time of the crime and has since recovered, and another that supposes he was insane then and is so now. The court instructed the jury that it was not necessary that Sharp should have fired the shot that killed Michael P. Mullane in order to convict him, but that it was sufficient if proved anyone acting in concert with him did the deed.
For the first time during the trial of the case, A. A. Bailey of Sharp's counsel took the active part yesterday. His adroit questioning strengthened the defendant's case materially, so far as it was possible to do so in light of the damaging evidence Sharp gave against himself. A. E. Martin, the other attorney, was late at both morning and afternoon sessions, and was lectured each time by the court.
COVER PARTIAL INSANITY.
After the Sharps had told their story in the morning, or at least as much of it as Mr. Bailey shrewd questioning allowed to be revealed, the afternoon was devoted to expert insanity testimony and to rebuttal evidence by the state.
Dr. S. Grover Burnett heard a 4,000-word hypothetical question and was asked: "Assuming that all this is true, is it your belief that Sharp is insane?"
"It is indicative that he is insane. He is suffering form a form of mania of insanity classified as paranoia religiosa."
The hypothetical question, easy for Dr. Burnett, was too much for a spectator, who fainted and was carried from the room.
Dr. Burnett modestly admitted that he had pronounced 15,000 persons insane and had never, so far as he knew or was able to find out, made a mistake. He was the only expert put on by the defense.
In rebuttal, the state introduced Harry Hoffman, a deputy county marshal, who would not say whether he believed Sharp sane or insane. It also called to the witness stand Theodore Remley, justice of the peace, before whom Sharp had two preliminary hearings. Justice Remley testified that, at neither of these hearings did Sharp make any interruption, nor did he n or his wife carry a Bible. The same facts were testified to by Clarance Wofford, stenographer of the criminal court, who reported the preliminary hearings.
John S. Steed, sheriff of Johnson county, Kas.; Hugh I. Moore, a reporter for The Journal, who talked to Sharp soon after his arrest; John M. Leonard, editor of the Olathe Register; Edwin G. Pinkham, a reporter for the Star, all testified they believed Sharp sane.
The statement made by Sharp after he had been returned to Kansas City was read. In it the fanatic said it had been revealed to him that Kansas City was the town he was going to take. His band, he said, was singing "Babylon is Falling" just before the riot started. Also in his statement, Sharp said he fired the first shot.
Labels: Adam God sect, attorney, courtroom, Johnson county, Judge Latshaw, Judge Remley, mental health, ministers, newspapers, police, Prosecutor Conkling, The Journal
May 27, 1909
BOY DUPE OF SHARP
BAND IS RELEASED.
WILLIAM ENGHNELL TELLS OF
FAITH IN ADAM GOD.
While on Stand, Prosecutor Dis-
misses Information Against Him.
Fanatic Continues to Inter-
rupt Court Proceedings.
WILLIAM ENGHNELL,Following the City Hall Riot.
As He Appeared After His Arrest
Acrid exchanges of words between attorneys and the release of William Enghnell, a member of James Sharp's band, from the county jail, brought interest to the closing hour of the Adam God hearing for yesterday.
The day had been one of lagging testimony, largely by deposition, and court and spectators, as well as the jury, were weary when, at 4:30 o'clock, Enghnell, 20 years old, who does not appear bright, marched to the witness stand. He had been brought out of his cell on a former day of the trial, but taken back before he had a chance to testify.
On the stand Enghnell spoke with a pronounced Swedish dialect. He said he had lived in Kitchen county, Minn.
"Who is this?" asked A. E. Martin, counsel for the fanatic, Sharp, indicating the defendant.
"It's James Sharp."
"HE IS THE LORD," SAYS BOY.
"By what other name do you know him?"
"By what other name?"
"By what other name?"
"He is the Lord," said the boy, reverently.
"How long have you known Sharp?"
"I met him a year ago in Kitchen county, and hear him preach."
Judge Ralph S. Latshaw of the criminal court here turned to Enghnell and told him not to testify to anything that might tend to incriminate himself.
Immediately Virgil Conkling, prosecutor, was on his feet.
"If the court please," said he, "the state wishes to dismiss any information that may be pending against Enghnell. The state will not prosecute him for anything. He was not present at the shooting."
Mr. Martin resumed:
"Why are you in jail, Enghnell?"
"They had me arrested for believing the truth and Adam. I met him and God revealed to me that He was Adam, and I got the faith."
The witness started to tell what he saw of the shooting on the river, but was stopped by an objection by Mr. Conkling.
Sharp spoke up and said:
"I object. There you go stopping one of my best witnesses. Object, object," he continued, punching Martin in the back.
"Let him tell what he knows about that killing," shouted Sharp.
"That's the truth," called out the boy in the voice of a zealot.
On cross-examination Mr. Conkling asked:
GUNS TO KEEP OFF EVIL.
"Sharp believed in killing people, didn't he?"
"No," said the boy. "Letting all people alone was our doctrine."
"Why did you have guns?"
"I heard Adam say that all through the South, where he had been preaching, they had been putting him in jail, and he had the guns to keep the evil men off him."
"Now don't let him get more than twenty-five minutes from the shooting," called out Sharp. "They wouldn't let the others tell what happened twenty-five minutes afterward. Why should this boy tell what happened more than twenty-five minutes before the shooting?"
The interruption was too much for Martin, who jumped in and said, "For two or three days I've resisted putting this boy on the stand. I was forced to do so by the defendant."
"Mr. Martin is 21 years old, a member of the bar and ought to be able to conduct a criminal case or resign," said Mr. conkling frigidly. By this time the prosecutor was on his feet and continued: "I don't think you ought to take this position before the jury."
"Are there any other witnesses they are trying to force you to put on, Mr. Martin?" asked Judge Latshaw. "If there are, I will protect you."
"No," said Martin.
"If you object," said Mr. Conkling, "I shall not examine this witness further. I don't want to be unfair."
Martin had none, so the questioning about the guns was resumed by the prosecutor.
GAVE ADAM HIS MONEY.
"Sharp took the guns up town to protect him from the evil man," said the boy Enghnell.
"Did you give him some of the guns?"
"When I got into the faith I gave Adam my two pistols. I saw he was David, the father, and I gave everything I had to him."
"What else did you give him?"
"A $5 bill."
"Because he told you he was Adam?"
"No. God revealed it to me."
"Revealed it to Sharp, too, didn't he?"
"When you offered him the $5, you had a hard time to get him to take it, didn't you?"
"What did he say about you not having nerve to use pistols?"
"He said I didn't."
As soon as this answer had been given, Mr. Conkling accused Martin of shaking his head at the witness and objected to such alleged acts. martin denied them, but Conkling persisted.
"Did Sharp tell you that if anybody stopped him from preaching there would be war? the prosecutor asked the witness.
"Did he say if they didn't let him do what he wanted he would shoot?"
"Yes, he said that."
"Did Sharp tell you that perhaps this was the town God wanted him to take?"
"Did he say he had to fire the first shot and then they all could shoot?"
ALL GOT REVELATIONS.
"Did he say he proposed never to be put in jail again?"
"Did he tell you he bought the guns to keep the police from arresting him?"
"Were you with Sharp w hen he stood off the Canadian police?"
"Stood them off with a rifle, didn't he?"
"And the next day he stood off several?"
"Then they sent fifty Canadian police after him and he stood them off with a rifle?"
"All of you who joined the band got revelations to give Sharp your money, didn't you?"
"Yes, we got revelations. God showed us."
"Did Sharp say he would do like David did to the Philistine with his knife?"
This concluded the examination of Enghnell, who was set at liberty. He was taken in charge by Mrs. Alice Stultz, a mission worker at 1418 Oak street, who said she would care for him. Court then adjourned for the day.
The reference Enghnell made in his testimony to Sharp taking the city had to do with a claim he made to his followers in connection with Joshua and Jericho.
SHARP NOT ON STAND.
Sharp himself did not take the stand yesterday, and it is possible that neither he nor his wife will be used as witnesses. The case may be finished today, as there remains little evidence to be put before the jury unless the Sharps go on the stand. Mr. Martin was unwilling last night to allow Sharp or his wife to testify, but added that they might override his wishes.
During the afternoon there were read by A. A. Bailey of Sharp's counsel depositions taken early this month in Oklahoma City. L. A. Sheldon, a real estate dealer who was a jailer there in February, 1905, said that the Sharps were in his charge for about sixty days that year. This was just after the naked parade.
"Sharp told me," said Sheldon, "that he came naked into the world and would go out that way. He preached and sang in the jail day and night so that one couldn't sleep in the jail office. He said also he was God and was generally 'nutty' on religion. His mental condition was 'mighty weak'.
"This naked parade was on Broadway in the afternoon. There were four of them in it."
James Bruce of Oklahoma City, who had the contract for feeding prisoners at the jail when Sharp was confined there, said he seemed to be rational on all subjects except religion. Sharp, so said Bruce, had a "very elegant beard," which reached almost to his waist.
"I told him," said Bruce, "that I wanted his whiskers and when I got back there he had cut them off with a pocket knife and had them in an envelope. 'Keep these and they will make you religious,' he said to me. I learned from neighbors that Pratt gave Sharp over $3,000, realized from the sale of Pratt's farm."
ASKED TOO MUCH FOR FARM.
John Tobin, a retired farmer of Oklahoma City, saw Sharp's band in their camp near Oklahoma City in the spring of 1905. He said he wanted to buy the farm (Pratt's), but that Sharp asked $6,000, or $1,000 more than it was worth.
John Ballard, a deputy sheriff, saw the naked parade.
John W. Hanson, assistant county attorney, who was police judge of Oklahoma City in 1905, gave it as his opinion that Sharp was sane.
"He told me," the witness said, "that the constitution of the United States guaranteed him the right to preach on the streets. This was after he had been arrested for blockading the streets."
When Mr. Conkling read this question from the deposition: "It's very common for religious fanatics to claim divine origin, isn't it?" Sharp remarked, loud enough to be heard all over the courtroom:
"No, it is not."
Labels: Adam God sect, attorney, city hall, courtroom, jail, mental health, ministers, Oak street, oklahoma, Prosecutor Conkling
May 26, 1909
SHARP'S SANITY NOW
AN IMPORTANT FACTOR.
WITNESSES TELL OF INCONSIS-
TENT ACTS AND STATEMENTS.
Today the Fanatic Leader Will Take
the Witness Stand and Tell
the Story of His Life.
ORIGIN OF NAME "ADAM GOD"
"He told me that the Almighty created the first man and called him Adam and that, therefore, all men since the first are property named Adam and may call themselves so if they choose.
He said further, that the Almighty, having created Adam, had breathed into him the breath of life and, having made him in His image and endowed him with life, that each man was in a way a god and could properly call himself a god. Combining the two titles he said every man could term himself Adam God. But he said he was not Adam nor God." -- From I. B. Kimbrell's testimony yesterday relating to a talk he had with Sharp.
Adam God, or James Sharp himself, will go on the witness stand today to tell the story of his life and his version of the city hall riot. Also there will testify Mrs. Melissa Sharp, his wife, who frequently was called Eve.
The crowd in the criminal court expected to see Sharp on the stand yesterday, for the number of spectators was greater than it has been at any time since the trial began. Half the space inside the railing was filled by spectators and once Judge Ralph S. Latshaw threatened to clear the court room and lock the doors if better order was not observed.
There were not so many objections yesterday from Sharp as have been on previous days of the trial. It was said that Sharp had been advised to make less commotion and he heeded the admonitions except in three or four instances. Once was when Virgil Conkling, prosecuting attorney, asked a witness if Sharp was a publicity seeker. The defendant jumped up and said:
"I object, if my attorneys won't. I didn't advertise in no paper anywhere."
H. O. Lindsay, a merchant of Lebanon, Mo., however, said that Sharp had no hesitancy in announcing his sermons. On the witness stand Lindsay said that five years ago he heard Sharp preach in Conway, Mo.
"He had his wife and his little son along," said the witness, "and he said he was God himself and that it was the first time the people of that city had ever had a chance to hear God preach. He said also that he was David and Elijah and Adam."
THE FIFTH ANGEL.
Mr. Lindsay said he believed Sharp was unbalanced, in fact, insane.
Henry D. Hilton, a farmer of Morgan, Laclede county, saw Sharp five years ago and heard him preach twice that day. He testified:
"Sharp told us he was the fifth angel spoken of in Revelations as having the keys to the bottomless pit. He said, too, that it was God talking to us and that the people in that town had never heard God speak to them before. I formed the opinion that he had gone insane over religion."
When Sharp preached at Morgan at the time mentioned above, he stayed at the home of his sister, Mrs. Eliza Price. She testified yesterday that he preached at her house and spoke of being the fifth angel. He told her also, she said, that he was David and Elijah, and she made up her mind that he was insane.
"Did he preach against killing?" asked Mr. Conkling on cross-examination.
"I object to this," said Sharp. "You don't ask the woman if I said it was right to kill if they shot at me first. Ask her that and then let her tell."
"Very well," said the prosecutor. "Did he preach that it was right to kill if he was attacked?"
"No," said the witness.
Clara Price, a daughter of the previous witness, who also had not seen him for five years, said she had made up her mind that he was insane.
Andrew J. Price, an uncle of Clara, said that Sharp, when a boy, could bark like a dog and meouw like a cat more naturally than he had ever heard anyone else do. He was inclined to believe that this showed a rather unbalanced mind on the part of the defendant. Five years ago Price met Sharp in Stoutland, Mo., and asked him:
SWALLOWING FISH ALIVE.
"Are you still following your same old trade?" I meant," the witness explained, "the trade of gambling, as I had heard he was engaged in this and horse trading. He said:
" 'No, I am a different man now. I am preaching.'
The witness asked Sharp where he lived and says Adam told him:
"I've got no more home than a rabbit. Christ had no home, neither have I. I am the fifth angel."
The witness said he then wanted to "get shed of" Sharp and walked away. He did not attend any preaching that Sharp did.
Price said also that Sharp, when a boy, caught small fish and swallowed them alive.
This same fish story was told also by Eli A. Ellis, cashier of the People's bank of Stoutland, Mo. He and Sharp were boys together.
"I felt uneasy for Sharp and for the fish," said the witness. "When the lad would not stop I thrashed him, me being the larger."
The witness said that Sharp seemed to be a bad boy and didn't seem to care much for work. It was while Mr. Conkling asked this witness whether Sharp was not a publicity seeker that the fanatic shrouded himself with the banner of non-advertiser. Ellis said he thought the man insane. He had not seen Sharp for years.
Rudolph Indermuehle of Morgan had heard Sharp preach and tell people that he was the fifth angel and could not sin.
That was the end of the insanity testimony for the day. There was another witness, however, in the person of Joseph S. Waite, an itinerant furniture mender, who said he lived mostly at 553 Main street. After a grilling cross-examination by Mr. Conkling as to how he came to be a witness, Waite said:
VOLUNTEERED HIS SERVICES.
"Well, to tell the truth, I had some curiosity to be a witness here. I volunteered my services to Mr. Martin."
The witness said, on cross-examination, that he had heard Sharp attacking the public school system in a talk at the Workingmen's mission and that he had seen him put Probation Officer Holt out of the building. Further he heard the fanatic say that he would take the children on the street and defend himself and them. Sharp also talked of the authorities, said the witness, but in terms he could not remember.
"The last time I saw Sharp's gun it was by his side," said the witness and then immediately contradicted himself by adding: "I saw Sharp shoot at somebody after the first shots were fired. I couldn't tell who fired the first shot."
At the conclusion of this testimony, court adjourned for the day.
Labels: Adam God sect, courtroom, criminal court, Judge Latshaw, mental health, ministers, Prosecutor Conkling
May 25, 1909
"MY NECK, NOT YOURS
BEING TRIED" -- SHARP.
PROSECUTOR INTERRUPTED BE-
CAUSE HE OBJECTED.
Fanatic Causes Attorneys Trouble by
Persistent Outbreaks -- State
rests -- Defense's Plea In-
sanity and Self-Defense.
"Self-defense and insanity will be the defense," said A. E. Martin of Martin & Bailey, counsel for James Sharp or Adam God, when court adjourned yesterday. The state finished its case in the afternoon and this morning will be begun the taking of testimony on behalf of the defendant. It is likely that the case will be given to the jury by Wednesday night, if not earlier. Sharp is being tried before Judge Ralph S. Latshaw in the criminal court for the killing of Michael Mullane, a patrolman.
Sharp was much in evidence yesterday. There were times when he boldly took charge of his own case, ignoring his attorneys and accusing them of not following his instructions.
Once, during the afternoon session, when the court refused to admit evidence of the shooting at the river front, Sharp spoke quickly to Virgil Conkling, the prosecutor, who had made the objection:
"MY NECK BEING TRIED."
"This evidence has to do with the dirty work on the other side. They show up all the dirty work on me, and don't show up anything on the other side. Let's have a little justice in the house of God. This is my neck being tried, not yours, Mr. Conkling."
"In that case," said the prosecutor quietly, "I will withdraw my objection.
The answer of the witness, however, showed he did not have the information desired by the defense.
Earlier in the day Sharp had remarked that "things were not going as they should." In the morning he took his attorneys to task for objecting to the testimony of a witness. Sharp insisted that the man was telling the truth.
Throughout its presentation of the case the state has persistently combated the plea of insanity. It has attempted to show that Sharp at all times was possessed of a keen mind; that he dropped all claims of being God, or Adam, or David, or any other Biblical character, and that his mind was reflecting on the consequence of the riot in which five persons lost their lives.
The appearance of Sharp at this time and the acute manner in which he follows the words of every witness would seem to place him out of the insanity class, at least so far as the present is concerned. As to whether he knew right from wrong at the time of the shooting is another matter and one to be determined by the evidence of the defense.
Sharp himself expects to take the stand and when he does an exposition of his religious teachings may be expected. From remarks he has made in the courtroom and from the manner in which he has interrupted witnesses it may be surmised he intends to tell that the police provoked the riot and that he shot to protect himself. Sharp has longed for days to tell his side, in fact, from the first moment of the trial.
SHARP IS TO TESTIFY.
Today will open with the statement of A. E. Martin, his chief counsel. Then there will be witnesses and depositions from persons who knew Sharp and his band. Besides these will be Sharp himself. The state may submit some evidence in rebuttal before the case is argued and given to the jury.
It was while Goerge W. Robinson, owner of the barber shop at 952 Mullberry street, was on the stand that Sharp jumped up and said, addressing Judge Latshaw:
"Your honor, they are swearing my neck away. My lawyers let these witnesses say what they will. They don't object enough."
Then Sharp advanced to near the witness stand. A. E. Martin, one of his attorneys, objected to Sharp's interference, but the latter said sharply:
"Don't cross-examine him . He's telling the truth."
Eugene P. Barrett, a farmer near Olathe, who participated in the capture of sharp, was put on the stand after quiet had been restored. Barrett was watering his team by the roadside the morning Sharp came along. They exchanged greetings, said Barrett, and when there was noise of a horse coming down the road Sharp crawled through a fence.
"We object," said Mr. Martin. "There's no evidence here there was a horse."
"Yes, there was," said Sharp, getting up. "He's telling the truth. I heard a horse and went into a field until the horse was past."
Sharp was told to sit down and Barrett resumed his story. Said he:
"I next saw Sharp about 3:30 o'clock this afternoon, December 10. Mr. Bair and myself were in a searching party made up after word had been received from Kansas City about the riot. We made inquiry and found overshoe tracks leading to a straw stack about fifty yards from the road. This was about a mile from where I had seen Sharp go through the fence that morning. He was in a small stack of oat straw, in a hole the cattle had eaten, and there was straw in front of him. It was impossible for me to see him until I got within fifteen feet.
CLAIMED HE WAS PARALYZED.
"Sharp got up and said: 'I've been taking a snooze.' 'That's a good place to snooze," I answered.
" 'What are you doing? Hunting for rabbits?' he asked, and I said, "Yes, I thought I might kick out a few rabbits.'
"By that time Bair had come up on motion from me and Bair told Sharp to throw up his hands. He refused at first on the plea he was paralyzed, but finally put them up. Bair and myself searched him and found a bloody knife, $105 in bills, about$6 or $8 in silver and some small change tied up in a bloody sack in an overcoat pocket. We took him to the road and there turned him over to Sheriff Steed of Johnson county. Then we went home.
Sharp whispered to his attorneys and the witness was not cross-examined.
Joseph Beaver, a farmer who lives ten miles northwest of Olathe, told of giving Sharp a night's lodging at the request of William Thiry, his brother-in-law. He said Sharp told him and Mr. Beaver's mother he was a peddler, and that his partner had left him because he had become paralyzed. He added his wife had deserted him three years ago and taken the children with her. Sharp said he had been reared in Georgia.
"That night," said Beaver, "Adam slept on the lounge. The next morning I fed him, and told him it was time to move, and he went away. He told me his name was Thomas or Thompson."
Throughout his testimony, Mr. Beaver referred to Sharp as Adam. He was asked no questions in cross-examination.
When Sheriff John S. Steed of Johnson county, Kas., took the stand, Sharp nodded at him and smiled. The sheriff returned the salutation. It was to Sheriff Steed that Bair and Barrett turned over their prisoner as soon as they had reached the public road. Steed took Sharp into his buggy and drove with him to Olathe, where he was put in jail.
BLAMED SALVATION ARMY.
"From that time until the officers took him to Kansas City, Sharp talked almost all the time, and I can remember only part of what he said," related the sheriff. "When I saw the knife that had been taken from him, I remarked that the ferrule on one end was gone.
" 'They shot that off,' said Sharp. 'It looks like it had been through a battle. I cut a policeman in the face with that knife.'
"I asked him if he knew what he had done, and told him the result of the riot. He said:
" 'My God, brother, is that so? It wasn't me that was to blame' it was the Salvation Army. They have been nagging me everywhere I went because I had a different religion from theirs. An officer came out of the police station and shook hands with me. Then came a tall, long-faced fellow, who pulled a revolver and told me to drop my pistol. I commenced shooting then. I suppose I'll be hanged for this. But I want to make a statement first. I want to write a letter to my followers and tell them how I have been misleading them. Then I am ready to die.'
"Sharp told me he deserved hanging or being put to death."
Sharp broke in and asked:
"Told you I deserved hanging? No, no."
The sheriff resumed his story:
"Sharp told me he didn't know whether he hit anybody. He said he shot to hit and meant to fight to the death. He said he had his beard cut off so he could not be recognized. Mr. Leonard, an Olathe newspaper man, talked to Sharp and asked him:
DENIED HE WAS CRAZY.
" 'What defense will you make? Will you plead insanity?'
"Sharp said: 'No, I'm not crazy. I have no defense to make. I am guilty and ready to pay the penalty.' "
Further, Sheriff Steed related what Sharp told him about the meteor that started him to preaching.
"He said a meteor had fallen on his farm, a flaming star, and that he had given up his old life and had been preaching since.
"About the guns, he told me that he had bought them and told his followers to shoot anybody that interfered with his business."
Robert M. Bair, a farmer who lives near Holliday, Kas., corroborated the details of the capture, as previously told by Barrett. The latter was at that time employed by Bair.
" 'That's awful! What have I done? I don't care now for myself, but I am sorry for the women and children I got into this,' " the witness said Sharp told him.
"I asked if his religion taught him to murder, and he said: 'It teaches me to shoot anyone that interferes with my business of preaching.' Then he cried a little. He told me he was mistaken about his belief that bullets couldn't hit him."
James Martin, 10 Delaware street, negro watchman for a boat club on the Missouri river, talked to Sharp on the river front a few days before the shooting. The defendant, said Martin, told him he was Christ and loved everybody, and talked religion to him frequently. Sharp's boat was at anchor near the club house in question for a week prior to the shooting, and its occupants were well-behaved, said the witness.
"Did you see the shooting of the little girl on the river front?" asked Mr. Martin, on cross-examination
Judge Latsaw sustained Mr. Conkling's objection to this question, and it was then Sharp spoke up loudly, saying there had been dirty work on the other side, and that it was his neck being tried.
"No, I didn't see the little girl killed," proceeded the witness and he was excused.
WHEN FAITH LEFT HIM.
Soon after Sharp had been taken to Olathe by Sheriff Steed, John M. Leonard, editor of the Olathe Register, interviewed him. Leonard related verbatim the conversation he had with Sharp, at least that part of it he was able to remember.
"I asked him about his faith," said Leonard, "and he told me I could not understand it. Then I asked him why not.
" 'Ordinary people can't understand it,' said he. 'Only people of God.'
" 'How did the fight start?' "The police tried to drive me off the street.'
" 'Why?' 'The Salvation Army was jealous of my collections.'
" 'Did you see any of the Salvation Army around?' 'No, but they tried this plan on me elsewhere.'
" 'Where was your faith that enabled you to dodge the crowd and get away?' 'I think it was.'
" 'Why did you get your beard clipped?' 'I wanted to get away.'
" 'Where is your partner, Pratt? Didn't he get away?' 'No, he was lying on the walk the last I saw him. I suppose he was shot.'
SAID HE DESERVED HANGING.
"I then picked up his hat, and remarking on the bullet hole, said:
" 'They were getting close to your head.'
" 'Don't talk like that,' said he. 'If the bullet had gone through my head it would have ended a good deal of worry for me.'
" 'Do you know what they will do with you when you get back to Kansas City?'
" 'I suppose they will hang me or take my life. I deserve it.'
" 'Are you going to try the insanity dodge?'
" 'No.' "
The witness did not remember the answer given by Sharp when asked why he had given a wrong name to the farmer who had fed him, but he said he did not deny having done so.
It was at the close of Mr. Leonard's testimony that the state rested and court adjourned for the day.
Labels: Adam God sect, attorney, buggy, courtroom, criminal court, Johnson county, Judge Latshaw, mental health, ministers, Olathe, Prosecutor Conkling, Sheriff Steed
May 20, 1909
KNOCKS ACID FROM HAND.
Girl Thwarts Young Man's Appar-
ent Attempt at Self-Destruction.
C. S. Brown raised a bottle of carbolic acid to his lips in the Union depot yesterday afternoon, but before he could swallow any of the drug Miss Hilo Pickerell, of St. Joseph, knocked the bottle from his hand. A depot patrolman took Brown to No. 2 police station, but on the intervention of Thomas McLane, a St. Joseph shoe salesman, and George Pickerell, he was not locked up. Miss Pickerell told the police that twice before she had knocked carbolic acid bottles from Brown's hand. Brown in an engraver and until one month ago lived in St. Joseph. Recently he has been staying at the Monarch hotel, Ninth and Central streets. He had gone to the depot to see the Pickerells on a train for St. Joseph.
Labels: Central street, hotels, mental health, Ninth street, No 2 police station, poison, St.Joseph, Suicide, Union depot
May 16, 1909
SHARPS CANNOT GET
FAIR TRIAL HERE.
CLAIM THAT WILL BE MADE IN
COURT BY LAWYERS.
Religious Fanatics to Go on Trial
Tomorrow for Killing Police
Officers Mullane and
When the case against James Sharp, the self-styled "Adam God," and his wife, Melissa Sharp, charged with murder in connection with the religious fanatics' riot in front of the city hall December 8 last, is called in the criminal court tomorrow morning A. E. Martin, one of "Adam God's" attorneys, will attempt to secure a change of venue from Jackson county on the ground that the Sharps cannot obtain a fair trail in this city.
Both sides have announced they are ready for trial, and as it had been understood the defense will be insanity. Attorney Martin's actions will come as a surprise.
"I know from the sentiments expressed that my clients cannot get a fair t rial here," said Mr. Martin last night. "I shall make some charges in court Monday that may cause considerable surprise, but I expect to be able to prove what I say.
"My partner, Mr. Bailey, has been in Oklahoma securing depositions at our expense, as the Sharps are actually so poor we expect next to nothing in the way of a fee. It is because of my honest conviction that Sharp is insane and should not be railroaded into the penitentiary or to the scaffold through prejudice that I have taken up this case.
"I have summoned 200 witnesses to appear Monday in an endeavor to show 'Adam God,' as he is called, cannot get a fair trail here, and I hope to secure a change of venue.
"I shall make certain charges against jail officials concerning the manner win which juries are often prejudiced in criminal cases of this kind."
In the December riot five persons were killed. Among them were Michael Mullane and A. O. Dalbow, patrolmen on the North End beat where the shooting took place.
Mr. Martin is a member of the firm of Martin & Bailey, 439 Midland building.
Labels: Adam God sect, attorney, mental health, Midland, police
May 13, 1909
BABY ON HIS DOORSTEP.
Later Woman Is Found Near Home
of W. E. Griffith.
A baby 3 days old was found in a basket on the porch of his residence at 10 o'clock last night by W. E. Griffith, 537 Everett avenue, Kansas City, Kas. The police were immediately notified and the ambulance went with officers to take charge of the infant.
Before the ambulance drove away from the house, a woman was discovered wandering on the street about a block away, apparently in a dazed condition. When approached by a patrolman she became frantic, and fought the officer.
At the station she gave the name of Mrs. S. W. Underwood, 228 Hardesty, Kansas City, Mo. From her appearance and manner at the station the woman's mind is affected. Friends on the Missouri side were notified and given charge of her.
Labels: children, Hardesty avenue, Kansas City Kas, mental health, police
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Kansas City Stories
Early Kansas City, Missouri