March 14, 1909
Confessed Camden Point Bank Robber.
William Turner, one of the four men who robbed the Bank of Camden Point on December 27, 1907, and who has been in several bank robberies all over the country, has made a complete confession. Turner was arrested yesterday afternoon at Union depot under orders from the sheriff of Sapulpa, Ok., who wanted him for petty larceny. He confessed to the Camden Point bank robbery of his own accord.
The prisoner had been taken to the holdover late yesterday afternoon and as he was led through the corridor at police headquarters, he recognized W. P. Martin, a patrolman whom he had met in several occasions.
"I guess they are going to take me to Oklahoma," he said to Martin, who accompanied him to the holdover. "They want me down there for petty larceny, but if they knew what I had done here in Missouri, they wouldn't think of taking me back. Just tell the captain that I've got something to tell him."
Turner, who limps slightly, was led up stairs to Captain Walter Whitsett's private office. H is face had a determined look and though he is 28 years old and has associated with criminals ever since he was 14 years old, he does not look like a crook. He greeted the captain and in a matter of fact way informed him that he was a bank robber.
"I'm tired of beating around the country with the officers always on my trail and I'm willing to come through with all," he said. "You remember the bank at Camden Point? Well, I'm one of the four men that cracked the bank there over a year ago."
The robbery of the bank at that time had been a source of vexation to the police and though two of the men were captured, it was thought that the other members of the party came to Kansas City.
"Yes, Seranton Billie and I planned the robbery over in Zack's saloon at 307 Main street," Turner continued. "We went up to Leavenworth and then took a train to Camden Point the night before the robbery. Early the next morning, we went into the bank building and flowed the safe, but not until we had used most of our nitro-glycerine. The people of the town were roused and began to fire into the bank before we could get all the loot. The two men were captured the next day in a cornfield, but Billie and I got away. We first went to St. Joseph and there we separated. I came to Kansas City because I knew it would be pretty safe here. I had about $600 in bills but the police didn't get on to me at all.
Turner's blue eyes grew reminiscent and he tilted back in his chair in a restful attitude. He told about his birth in Baltimore and said that he moved to Missouri with his parents in the latter part of the '80s,. At 15 he was stolen by tramps and learned the "yeg" business when in their company. They taught him to beg in small towns and on many occasions went around on crutches, pretending to be a cripple. He would carry the day's receipts to his pals late at night and they would then plan on some new disguise for the boy. He later became acquainted with the methods of manufacturing nitro-glycerin and the most approved method of cracking a safe. He has been all over the country, he says, and has known most of the "yegs" in the United States.
"But they all die in prison," he said, "and I've made up my mind to take my medicine. If there is any time left to me to be free I want to en joy it. I'm tired of this life. My shoulder hurts me where I was shot in one raid three years ago."
Turner put his confession in writing to W. S. Gabriel, an assistant prosecutor, and was taken to a cell in the matron's room. He asked permission of the captain to allow him a quantity of writing material.
"I want to write the story of my life," he said.