December 6, 1910
TO GET ADAM OUT
MRS. SHARP FAILS TO SEE GOV-
ERNOR, BUT IS ADVISED
WHAT TO DO.
Talks With Husband an Hour,
Then Takes Train Back
to Kansas City.
JEFFERSON CITY, Jan. 5. -- Mrs. Sharp, or "Eve," as she calls herself, came here from Kansas City today to see if she could accomplish anything toward getting her husband pardoned from the penitentiary. "Adam God," as her husband calls himself, is serving a twenty-five year sentence in the penitentiary, and has not served four months of it.
"Eve" did not have any recommendations whatever and was in ignorance as to how to proceed in the premises. She reached here thismorning and called at the governor's mansion to talk with Governor Hadley. There she was told that the governor would be found at his office, and thither she went.
While she did not get to see the governor, she saw Major Chambers, pardon attorney, who told her that she had best return to Kansas City, where her husband was convited, and see if she could get any recommendations favoring clemency for him.
GOES TO PENITENTIARY.
After leaving the state capitol, "Eve" proceeded to the penitentiary, where she talked with her husband for an hour and later in the day took a train to Kansas City.
About a year ago "Adam God" and "Eve" received a large share of attention at the hands of the newspapers. They appeared in Kansas City preaching on the streets some strange religion and caused such crowds to collect that the police sought to break up the outdoor meetings. "Adam God," "Eve" and their followers resisted with weapons. As a result two police officers, the male follower, a bystander and a child lost thier lives. "Adam God" and "Eve" were both indicted, but the prosecution against the latter was dropped.
"Adam God" is employed in one of the shoe shops and is known at the prison as an industrious and good convict.
Labels: Adam God sect, Jefferson City, penitentiary
November 1, 1909
NO PLAN BUT TO GET
SON, THEN JUST REST.
ADAM GOD'S WIFE RELEASED
At Home of Police Matron Re-
nounces Husband's Religious
creed, Declaring She Will
Live Only for Boy.
Melissa Sharp, the wife of "Adam God," who started the riot December 8, 1908, that resulted in the death of two officers, two members of the "Adam God" flock and a private citizen, as well as injury to others, slept in freedom last night.
For the first time in nearly eleven months this woman yesterday walked in the open and free air; enjoyed the liberty of persons not guilty of crime, and was entitled to do as she chose.
With this liberty, thrust upon her suddenly yesterday morning when the prosecutor's office decided that there was no charge upon which she could be held, Mrs. Sharp was almost as helpless as she had been when confined by prison walls, and when asked the simple question as to what she intended to do said she didn't know.
HAS NO PLAN.
She had no notion, no plan.
"All I want is rest," she said. "I want to be able to sit down or to lie down and solve this tremendous problem. I want my boy, my 16-year-old son, who is far away. Maybe when I get him I can think of something to do."
When Mrs. Sharp was released from the county jail yesterday morning she did not know which way to turn. She had relatives in Southern Missouri, but she cared not to ask them for aid. Then it was that Mrs. Margaret Simmons, matron of the jail, came to her rescue.
"You come home with me," said Mrs. Simmons. "Come home with me and stay there until you can decide what to do."
And Mrs. Sharp went home with her.
Immediately after the "Adam God" riot the woman was placed in jail. She was transferred from the city holdover to the county jail. Ever since she has remained in prison without trial. What her fate would be she never knew and as the months dragged along she didn't care.
WAS MODEL PRISONER.
"She was a model prisoner," said Mrs. Simmons. "I don't believe that her mind was unbalanced and regardless of what some people may think I decided to take her into my own home. It is an act of charity and I can conceive of no greater charity than the sheltering of this lonely, lonesome woman."
Mrs. Sharp is 38 years old and she appears to be younger. Her husband is 54 and he is now serving a sentence of twenty-five years in the Missouri penitentiary. While Mrs. Sharp wants to be faithful to him, she doesn't care to discuss the fate of her husband or her relations with him.
She has a son and her whole life now is centered in that boy, who, despite his years, is doing a man's work on a railroad in Montana in an effort to earn his own living.
James Sharp, who is the "Adam God," was not alone old, but he was ugly and repulsive. He was many years older than his wife and why she married him only she herself knows and she won't tell why.
MISSOURI FARMER'S DAUGHTER.
She was the pretty daughter of a farmer, living in Mountain Grove, Mo., and Sharp was working on a neighboring farm. It was after their marriage that the religious frenzy got possession of them. they were not converted by the words of a man. They got the idea of fanatical religion and they got it together.
"I can't explain how I began to believe in the strange creed," said Mrs. Sharp. "It just came on me, and it came on him. I am through with that creed now. I still have the faith. I believe in God' I believe in the Bible. What I want to do now is to go into some church; to hear the reading of the Bible; to listen to the instruction of some good minister. I am through with the other form."
When Mrs. Sharp left the jail she expressed no thought of her son. It was when she reached the home of Mrs. Simmons that the mother love pronounced itself. When the woman entered the matron's home on Troost avenue she little realized the character of the friend who had taken her to her own abode to afford her shelter. Mrs. Simmons's son was at home and when he started to leave it he put his arms affectionately around his mother and kissed her. Mrs. Sharp began to weep. The sign of affection between Mrs. Simmons and her son had awakened her to new ideas.
CRIED AT THOUGHT OF SON.
"O, if I only had my boy," she said. "That's what you want to do," said the matron. "Get your own boy. Let him be with you; let him solace you; let him live for you and you live for him."
This simple statement from a simple woman of culture, the widow of Major Simmons, a confederate officer, a former newspaper man of Kansas City and one of the most revered of the town's early-day inhabitants, afforded consolation to the distressed woman.
"I shall send for my boy," she said.
"He must come to me. I'll try to forget this terrible ordeal through which I've passed. I'll live for that boy."
The woman dried the tears in her eyes and seemed comforted.
In the afternoon she took a long walk along Troost avenue, the first walk in the outdoors in nearly a year. She looked at the people and studied them. She came back to Mrs. Simmons refreshed. She still seemed a bit worried, but she appeared as one who expected happiness. She retired about 9 o'clock after bidding Mrs. Simmons goodby for the night.
"I'm tired," she said, "but I feel so much better. I think I can sleep now."
Labels: Adam God sect, jail, police matron, Troost avenue
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
September 18, 1909
MRS. SHARP'S TRIAL IS SET.
Wife of "Adam God" Has No Means.
Counsel is Furnished.
In the criminal court yesterday the trial of Mrs. Melissa Sharp, wife of James Sharp, "Adam God," was set for October 18. As she had no counsel, Jesse James was assigned by the court.
Mrs. Sharp was in the riot at the city hall December 8, 1908, when two policemen were killed. Her husband, James Sharp, was convicted in the criminal court last spring and sentenced to the penitentiary for twenty-five years. He is now serving his sentence, pending the opinion of the supreme court on his appeal.
Mrs. Sharp's appearance before the court was in response to her own request. She had asked Judge Latshaw for an audience and when she came into the court room she asked for a hearing.
"I am ready for trial at any time," she told the court.
Labels: Adam God sect, city hall, criminal court, Jesse James Jr, Judge Latshaw
June 25, 1909
ADAM GOD TAKES AN APPEAL.
On Plea as Poor Person, Judge
Orders Evidence Transcribed.
James Sharp, or "Adam God," convicted in the criminal court for the murder of Michael Mullane, a patrolman, in the city hall riot December 8, 1908, and sentenced to twenty-five years in the penitentiary, filed an appeal to the supreme court yesterday. On his affidavit as a poor person, Judge Ralph S. Latshaw made an order that a transcript of the evidence taken at the trial be made for Sharp at the expense of the state.
It will no doubt be a year or more before the higher court passes on the case. Meanwhile Sharp will remain in jail here.
Labels: Adam God sect, jail, Judge Latshaw
June 4, 1909
ENGHNELL ASKS FOR GUNS.
Released Member of Adam God's
Band Says He Needs Money.
To get money to buy clothes and something to eat, Willialm Enghnell, one of the Adam God band of fanatics, applied at police headquarters yesterday for the weapons which were taken from him at the time of the riot last December. since he was released by the prosecuting attorney he has been told he ought to recover the guns.
Chief Frank F. Snow and Captain Walter Whitsett gave him no satisfaction. They stated that enough trouble had been caused by the revolvers.
Labels: Adam God sect, Captain Whitsett, guns, Police Chief Snow
May 30, 1909
ADAM GOD SAYS HE
IS NOT A LUNATIC.
APPARENTLY PLEASED WITH
Load Lifted From Riot Leader's
Mind and He Speaks of Kind-
ness of Police -- Verdict
Adam God is satisfied with the verdict of the jury which yesterday found him guilty of murder in the second degree, and fixed his punishment at twenty-five years in the penitentiary.
James Sharp, which is the fanatic's real name, was busy in the jail during the afternoon writing a miniature sermon about himself. He showed visitors one of the sheets which he had written and then remarked:
"That doesn't look like the writing of a crazy man, does it?" Then he laughed.
"In my blind walks," says Sharp in his statement, "I have been like a crazy man, but there is nothing crazy about m e. No crazy man could write with the understanding I have. I will always pray for my enemies, for they have been the making of me."
A great load seems to have been lifted off the prisoner's mind by the sentence. He speaks repeatedly and often of the kindness with which he has been treated.
"The police, bringing me back from Olathe, could have killed me," said he. "They did not even abuse me. I have had the best treatment all the time. Even the prosecuting attorney is my friend."
Twenty-five years is practically a life sentence for Sharp. It was testified during the trial that Sharp is 48 years old. From other sources is the information he is 52. With the one-fourth allowance for good behavior, the lapse of years yet seems to preclude the possibility of his ever leaving prison walls alive, unless pardoned by a governor. Since his confinement in the county jail Sharp has lost eighteen pounds. That has been in six months.
A second degree murder verdict on the part of the jury was unexpected. On the first ballot three of the jurors voted for capital punishment, three for acquittal on the grounds of insanity, one for manslaughter and the balance for second degree with varying terms of imprisonment. It took nearly nineteen hours to reach an agreement. Sharp had little comment to make when the jury reported at 10 o'clock.
It is not likely that the case of Mrs. Melissa Sharp, wife of the fanatic, will be called for trial until September.
Labels: Adam God sect, jail, ministers, murder, Olathe, penitentiary
May 29, 1909
SHARP'S FATE IN THE
HANDS OF JURY.
RELIGIOUS FANATIC WEEPS
DURING THE AURGMENTS.
Prosecutor Conkling Pleads Strongly
for the Death Penalty -- "Adam
God" Sat Unmoved
Through It All.
After deliberating from 2:50 o'clock yesterday afternoon until 10 o'clock last night, the jury in the James Sharp murder case declared its inability to reach a verdict, and was locked up for the night. It will be called into criminal court at 9 o'clock this morning.
Yesterday was taken up entirely by arguments in the Sharp case.
In the morning A. E. Martin concluded for the defense. He spoke until the noon recess. During his speech the widow of A. O. Dalbow, one of the policemen killed in the riot, fainted and had to be carried from the courtroom. She fainted also the first day of the trial.
After the noon recess, Virgil Conkling, prosecuting attorney, summed up for the state. Mr. Conkling pleaded strongly for the death penalty. He said the testimony given by Harry Hoffman, deputy marshal, about the dream Sharp had, in which penitentiary life appeared easy, should prove that imprisonment would be no punishment, but rather would be welcomed by the defendant.
In his argument, Mr. Conkling said:
ARRAIGNED AS A COWARD.
"I will not rely on the testimony of any witness other than the defendant himself. If his own words do not condemn him then you are at liberty to set him free. No verdict you can render will restore to life Michael Mullane, Albert O. Dalbow or Andrew J. Selsor, nor will it restore Patrick Clark, who grappled unarmed with this fanatic, the eye he lost on that day.
"Counsel for the defense try to inject into this case the claim that the man is being tried for his religion. It is unnecessary to state that this is not true. This is the Twentieth century and every man is accorded the liberty of his conscience. But that liberty does not arm the assassin, it does not give strength to the ruffian. It does not allow a man to break the laws of God and man."
Strongly Mr. Conkling arraigned Sharp as a coward, contrasting his flight with the fight to the death made by Pratt. He pictured Sharp's hasty departure from the scene of combat, leaving behind wife, followers, faith and playing the part of coward.
Mr. Conkling's whole line of reasoning was as to the amount of punishment t hat should be given him. The vital point of the whole case, said Mr. Conking, was whether Sharp knew it was wrong to kill a man. Nothing else, he said, was involved.
IN THE HANDS OF GOD.
During Mr. Conkling's speech Sharp sat without the shadow of an expression on his face. During Martin's address he had wept. After the jury went out the fanatic who called himself Adam God asserted that his fate was in the hands of God. He was taken into a witness room and there for an hour talked his strange preachings to a score of the curious. He did not seem worried over the outcome of the trial.
Sharp was a leader of the band of religious fanatics who participated in a riot at the city hall December 8 of last year. He was tried on the charge of killing Michael P. Mullane, a patrolman. Besides Mullane, there were killed Patrolman A. O. Dalbow, A. J. Selsor, a spectator, and Luis Pratt, member of the fanatic band. Captain Patrick Clark of the police was severely wounded by Sharp.
Labels: Adam God sect, criminal court, murder, police, Prosecutor Conkling
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
FROM ABRAHAM TO DAVID.
Sharp Hops Into Another Biblical
Role for a Change.
Monday it was Abraham, Tuesday it was David. What will it be on Wednesday? James Sharp, thoroughly in tune with his defense of insanity, and defending the clipping of his beard, said yesterday:
"What if I did act crazy? Didn't David play crazy, foam at the mouth and scratch on the wall with his finger nails when they said he was a soldier, and he didn't want to reveal himself? Am I better than David?"
Earlier in the day, noting the clouds without, Sharp wrote this note and passed it around:
"It is written the day of the Lord will be darkness and not lite, so if I am the Lord it is very dark."
Labels: Adam God sect
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 25, 1909
HE'S LIKE ABRAHAM NOW.
Sharp Delves Into Scripture to Find
During a recess in the morning session, James Sharp, talking to those near him, said:
"There's no use to bring testimony here about what I did after this killing. Of course, I had my beard cut off. It was to disguise myself. Didn't Abraham, the father of us all, tell a lie to avoid the wicked? Didn't he say to his wife, because she was fair, that she was his sister? Am I better than Abraham?
"I offered to surrender to anybody who would take me. I was not afraid of arrest, but of being killed. And then the papers said I deserted my family. I didn't -- they deserted me. They were gone from the scene of the shooting before I left."
Labels: Adam God sect
May 24, 1909
SHARP READS THE BIBLE.
Spends Most of the Day of Rest in
James Sharp, the religious fanatic on trial for murder, spent a quiet day yesterday in the county jail. Most of the day Sharp was in his cell reading the Bible and praying. As on previous Sundays, Sharp did not take part in the religious services held in the jail building.
He was not visited by anyone, and the jailers did not allow him to visit his wife.
Labels: Adam God sect, jail, ministers
May 23, 1909
THE WILL OF GOD IF
I AM HANGED: SHARP
LEADER OF RELIGIOUS FANATICS
Conflicting Testimony as to Who
Started the City Hall Riot
Brings Protest From
SHARP TRIAL'S SECOND DAY: Defense still fails to indicate any trace of an insanity plea and continues to question along self-defense lines.
Sharp interrupts and contradicts Captain Whitsett, while latter testifies.
Patrick Clark, captain of police, tells of his fight, barehanded, with Sharp, who had both revolver and knife.
Testimony as to fight on river admitted only sparingly by Judge Latshaw.
Sharp gives out statement to effect that evidence which gets at the cause of the riot is being excluded. Also ridicules introduction of his overcoat as evidence, as not proving anything.
"If they sentence me to hang it will be the will of God."
With these words James Sharp was led back to his cell in the county jail after the second day of his trial on the charge of killing Michael Mullane, a patrolman, in the city hall riot. It was the first time during yesterday that he had mentioned religious matters.
The day closed with the evidence of the state two-thirds finished and with no more traces of an insanity defense than were shown on Friday. A. E. Martin, of counsel for Sharp, stated that he had not announced any defense and that his purpose would be to break down the testimony of the state's witnesses. All of his cross-questioning, however, as told in The Journal yesterday, was directed towards showing that the band of fanatics under Sharp's leadership did not provoke the riot, but that it was started by officers. Self-defense is the logical name for such a theory of the case. The state is expected to finish its testimony by Monday evening.
Police officers gave the greater part of the testimony yesterday. Of them, Captian Walter Whitsett was on the stand the longest time. Whitsett gave his age as 41, his service in the police department as twenty years and his residence as 2631 Gillham road. On the afternoon of the riot he was at his desk in the city hall as captain commanding the headquarters precinct.
CHILDREN WERE SHOOTING.
"I heard the shooting," testified Whitsett, "took my revolver out of my desk and ran to the street. I met Captain Clark, who had been wounded, on the stairs. When I got to the middle of the street I saw Mullane standing with a club in one hand and a revolver in the other. There was a man in front of him with a revolver. The women of the band also were near at the time. There was a man with a long beard standing on the opposite corner firing in the direction of Mullane."
"Who was this man?" asked Prosecutor Conkling.
"That's him right there," said the witness, indicating Sharp.
"What happened then?"
"I fired three or four shots at him and his revolver fell out of his hand. Two or three children came up behind and began to shoot at me. When I got back on the street, after going into the station for another revolver, I saw Mullane staggering toward headquarters and helped him in. Later we searched for Sharp but could not find him. We immediately sent his description to every officer in the city and notified the surrounding towns.
"On the evening of December 10 we got word from Olathe that Sharp was under arrest there. I went there that evening with Inspector Charles Ryan."
Court adjourned at noon with Whitsett still on the stand. In the afternoon he resumed his story of the trip to Olathe. He found Sharp there in the office of Sheriff Steed. Sharp's beard and hair had been cut and he was wounded in both hands. There was a hole through his hat.
"I talked to Sharp in the presence of Mr. Steed, Inspector Ryan and Hugh Moore, a newspaper man Sharp told us--"
Mr. Martin for the defense here objected to Whitsett's telling of Sharp's statement.
"If a written statement was taken that is the best evidence," said Martin.
The statement was shown to Captain Whitsett and identified by him. Weapons used in the city hall riot then were introduced in evidence. First there was Sharp's .45 caliber Colt revolver, the handle scarred by a shot. Sharp told Whitsett the weapon was shot out of his hand. Then there was a .45 caliber colt which Louis Pratt had carried.
"I was told by Sharp that Pratt had bought his weapon in Kansas City," said Whitsett, but Sharp spoke out sharply in court to the witness:
"I didn't say that. Why do you want to tell such stuff as that?"
"I don't know. He might have bought it up the river," responded Whitsett.
EXHIBITED THE WEAPONS.
Then was shown the 38-caliber Colt, which Sharp said his wife brought in her bosom from the houseboat. Lena Pratt's 32-caliber pistol was then exhibited and identified, and the knife, with its four-inch blade.
"What was the purpose of all these weapons, as Sharp told it to you?" asked Mr. Conkling.
"He said it was to resist any officer who might interfere with his preaching. He said he also had two rifles and a shotgun and another revolver, the latter used by Lulu Pratt."
The overcoat worn by Sharp the day of the riot was then shown to the jury, as were the remnants of Sharp's beard.
"Don't see why they want to show the coat," said Sharp to W. S. Gabriel, assistant prosecutor. It doesn't prove anything."
On cross-examination, Captain Whitsett was asked about happenings at the river, following the street fight, but the state objected successfully to most of the questions. Just after an objection had been sustained, Sharp spoke up and said:
"Your honor, can I have a word? This man wants to tell what happened there, and he is cut off. Now ---"
"Make your objection through your attorneys, Mr. Sharp," answered Judge Latshaw.
Inspector Charles Ryan followed Captain Whitsett on the stand. He recounted substantially the same details of the shooting and the trip to Olathe.
George Robinson, 2905 Wyandotte street, a barber at 952 Mulberry street, was the next witness, and told how Sharp came into his shop sat in the chair of Chester Ramsey and had his hair and whiskers cut off.
"He didn't take his hands out of his pockets. He said: 'My hands were frosted up North, where I've been fishing. I want this job done in a hurry. I want to meet a friend and have to get on a train.'
"When the job was done, Ramsey took a purse out of Sharp's pocket and took 40 cents out of it. Then Sharp went away."
The defense objected to the testimony of Robinson on the plea that the state had given no notification that he would be called as a witness. The objection was overruled. Robinson was not cross-examined, but will be recalled by the defense to give further testimony.
Then came William Thiry, a farmer who lives near Monticello, Kas. "On the evening of December 9 Sharp came to my house," said Thiry. "My son opened the door and then I went out on the porch. Sharp was standing there. He said, 'Brother, I want to tell you my circumstances. Wait till I sit down,' and he sat down on the edge of the porch. 'I'm paralyzed, brother,' he resumed. 'I lay down over there on a strawstack and tried to die, but the laws of nature were against me.'
"He kept his hands in his overcoat pockets and asked for food and a night's lodging. 'I am no ordinary bum,' said he. 'I have money to pay for my keep over night.' I consulted with my wife and we decided we could not keep him, but we took him and fed him. I telephoned Mr. Beaver, my brother-in-law, who lives a quarter of a mile from me and Mr. Beaver said he could keep him. While I was telephoning, Sharp came into the ho use and listened to the conversation.
"At supper he spoke of being a peddler and that his partner had turned him down because he was paralyzed in his hands. He said he wanted to get back to town to a good hospital. It was 8 o'clock when he left my house. I fed him myself. He didn't take his hands from his pockets."
"I am willing to acknowledge anything this man says," remarked Sharp. "He treated me alright while I was there."
The defense fought the introduction of this testimony on the same theory it had advanced in the case of Robinson. It objected further to Thiry's relating some of the conversation. Mr. Conkling insisted it was relevant as combating a defense of insanity, if such was to be the defense.
"We have never announced what our defense would be," said Martin.
"You have done so repeatedly in open court while applying for continuances in this case," said Mr. Conkling.
Court was adjourned after the defense had secured permission to bring a number of witnesses from Lebanon, Mo.
In the course of the morning session Captain Clark, who lost an eye in the riot, gave his testimony. He lives at 538 Tracy avenue, and has been on the police force for twenty-one years. He was sergeant in immediate charge of headquarters station the afternoon of the riot. Testimony was also taken from Howard B. McAfee, business manager of Park college at Parkville, Mo., who was making a purchase on the Fourth street side of the city market when he heard children singing on Main street and went toward the gathering. He saw Dalbow come from the station and shake hands with Sharp. Then someone behind Sharp fired. He saw Mullane trying to get away from the women, who seemed to be pursuing him. then he saw Sharp and Clark in their encounter. He helped Clark into the station and when he looked again Sharp was gone.
Preceding Mr. McAfee, there testified Job H. Lyon, a traveling evangelist. Just before the riot he had a talk in the Workingman's Mission with Pratt. Sharp and Creighton, the last named in charge of the place. Being warned against antagonizing the police, Lyon said Sharp waved his hand and said: "I am God. If any policeman attempts to interfere with me, I'll kill him."
The witness said Sharp made similar statements while brandishing his revolver in the direction of the city hall. Pratt and Sharp, said Lyon, pointed revolvers at Dalbow when he approached. Sharp, said the witness, fired the first shot.
After Sharp had been brought to jail here, Lyon, who often holds Sunday meetings for the prisoners, accused the fanatic of falsehood in regard to the story he told the Mulberry street barber. He asked Sharp to attend the jail services and Sharp said he himself was god, and, of course, would not come. Then Lyon told him that God did not prevaricate and Sharp refused to have anything more to do with the evangelist.
Labels: Adam God sect, barbers, Captain Whitsett, children, Gillham road, guns, jail, Judge Latshaw, Main street, ministers, Mulberry street, Olathe, Parkville, police, police headquarters, Prosecutor Conkling, Sheriff Steed, Wyandotte street
May 23, 1909
FOR CUTTING OFF HIS BEARD.
Sharp Says He Has Found Out
What Trial Is About.
With a dozen of the curious about him, James Sharp, during the short afternoon recess, voiced his disapproval of some of the court's rulings. As usual he spoke in allegory, after this fashion:
"The serpent lies in the river. It's all right if you rub his scales the right way. Rub the other way and it's all wrong. The serpent in the river is the cause.
"Here they bring in witness after witness to tell of the street fight, and when they get to the river they are cut off. They are not allowed to tell how we were driven into this."
Sharp did not have his Bible with him and its absence was remarked upon.
"All business with me today," said Sharp. "I'm looking after the devil and that serpent in the river. I am too busy watching the devil and that snake."
Then Sharp laughed and explained again to those who had not comprehended his parable of the serpent.
Later, Sharp turned to his attorneys, laughed and said:
"I've just found out what they are trying me for. It isn't for killing a man, but for cutting off my beard and saying I was a peddler."
Labels: Adam God sect
May 23, 1909
"RES GESTAE" CONFUSES.
Frequent Mention in Sharp Trial
Causes Inquiry by Unlearned.
There's a name, the frequent mention of which in the Sharp trial is likely to confuse the lay mind. It came to court the first day and has been more or less in evidence since then.
"Who is this 'Res Gestae' I hear the lawyers talking about so much?" inquired a woman on the first day of the trial. And her question was a natural one, for our old friend Res Gestae has been on every legal tongue in the court room a dozen times an hour.
No, it isn't a man. It's a legal expression, crystallized into an idiom of all tongues as only Latin can. Literally translated into English, it means "things carried on." In slang it would be expressed as "the doin's."
Labels: Adam God sect, courtroom
May 22, 1909
ADAM GOD TO DROP
PLEA OF INSANITY?
EARLY TESTIMONY INDICATES
Sharp's Mental Condition Is Not
Seriously Considered -- Witnesses
Describe the City Hall
That the defense of James Sharp, the religious fanatic, charged with the killing of Patrolman Michael Mullane, is to be self-defense was made evident on the first day of the trial, which opened yesterday in the criminal court.
It had been announced and it was the theory of the state that insanity would be pleaded. but during all the evidence heard yesterday there was no mention of Sharp's mental condition save alone in the statement of Virgil Conkling, prosecuting attorney, in which he outlined what the state expects to prove.
Perhaps it was because through Mr. Conkling's statement, reciting incident after incident of Sharp's life, from his religious doings in Oklahoma and Canada, through the city hall riot here December 8 and the subsequent flight of Sharp, ran the suggestion that Sharp was not insane, but, on the contrary, sane and exceptionally acute of mind. Out of every action on the part of Sharp the prosecutor deduced a refutation of the insanity idea.
THE MAYOR A WITNESS.
At the rate of progress made yesterday, it is likely that the trial will consume a greater part of next week. It is the practice of Judge Ralph S. Latshaw to open court early, to take one hour at noon for recess and to adjourn at 5 o'clock. Much time was spent yesterday over each witness.
It was while Mayor Thomas T. Crittenden, Jr., was on the stand yesterday afternoon that the defense showed its change of front. In arguing for permission to ask the mayor certain questions, A. E. Martin of counsel for the defense said to the court:
"We propose to show that the police and the probation officer incited a riot at the city hall and followed the same persons who participated in the riot and killed one of them in a boat on the river."
The court refused to admit testimony as to what happened on the river front, as happening there were fifteen minutes later than the fight which resulted in the death of Mullane.
DEFENSE'S STATEMENT LAST.
Touching elbows with John P. Mullane, brother of the man with whose death he stands charged, Sharp heard George M. Holt, probation officer, give his testimony. The defense took advantage of its right to reserve its statement until the state shall have finished with its witnesses.
Holt gave his age as 46, his address as 3027 East Nineteenth street and his occupation as probation officer. At noon of the riot, he said, he saw Mrs. Sharp and the children of Louis Pratt singing on the street at that point. He watched them about five minutes, when they started north on Main. Mrs. Sharp, during the meeting, was inviting the public to a gathering at the Workingmen's mission that night. There was a hat on the sidewalk and coin in it. Mrs. Sharp took the hat.
"I followed the band and inquired about whose children they were," said Mr. Holt. "She went into the Workingmen's Mission and I followed about a minute later. Sharp was there talking to his wife when I came in.
"I asked him if this was his wife and children and he said yes. He told me he was Adam God, the father of Jesus Christ."
Hot told Sharp that he would have to keep the children off the streets if he meant to keep them in Kansas City.
THREATENED TO KILL.
" 'What authority have you?' Sharp asked me.
" 'I am an officer,' said I.
" 'Well, you blue coated -----,' said Sharp, 'I'll kill you or any other ----- blue coat that comes in here and interferes with my work in this city.'
"Immediately afterwards, Sharp pulled out a pistol from under his vest. Louis Pratt, who also was there, pulled out a revolver and so did Mrs. Sharp. Her husband put his pistol under my face and forced me out of the mission and as I went out hit me on the head. He called to someone to come out. Then I went to the police station to report. Before I had finished reporting, the shooting had begun."
"What part of the shooting did you see?" asked Mr. Conkling.
"All I saw was someone in the chief's office shooting at Louis Pratt, who was on his knees on the street. Pratt fell."
"How long did the shooting last?"
"Less than five minutes. About twenty-five or thirty shots were fired."
TO REVOLUTIONIZE THINGS.
The Rev. Sherman Short of Clarence, Mo., was at Fifth and Main streets when he heard the children sing and stepped up close enough to hear Mrs. Sharp say:
"The prophet will preach tonight at the Workingmen's mission."
Dr. Short testified yesterday that his curiosity was aroused.
"I went up to the mission and there was Sharp," said Dr. Short. "I asked him if he was the prophet and he said:
" 'My name is Sharp. I am supposed to be King David in the spirit. I am the Lord of the Vineyard myself and the people will soon find it out, for I expect to revolutionize things around here.' "
"Did he talk to you about force or violence?" asked Mr. Conkling.
"What happened then?"
"While we were talking the Pratt children and came in and said to Sharp: 'The humane officer is after us.' Then Holt came in and asked Sharp if these were his children. Sharp said yes and Holt told him they would have to be kept off the streets, if Sharp proposed to remain in Kansas City. I saw Sharp hit Holt and put him out of the mission. I saw him have a knife and a revolver.
"Sharp then waved his revolver and called out: 'Come on, children!' Mrs. Sharp and Louis Pratt and the two oldest Pratt girls all took out revolvers. They went on the street and formed a circle, facing the west sidewalk on Main."
"What did you do?"
"I went to the police station. I saw police coming out of headquarters. Patrolman Dalbow shook hands with Sharp and they stood there a minute. Then some other man came up. He was in citizen's clothes and he pulled out a revolver. Then there was shooting."
PRATT FIRED FIRST.
"Who fired the first shot?"
"And then what did you see?"
"I didn't stay long after that. I ran across the street. As I turned around I saw a man lying on the car track, shot. I learned afterwards that it was A. J. Selsor. Later I saw Mrs. Sharp and one of the Pratt girls brought into the station.
"When they formed their circle in the street Sharp, his wife, Pratt and the two oldest Pratt girls had revolvers in their hands. Sharp also had a knife."
Mayor Thomas T. Crittenden, Jr., said that he was in a council chamber on the fourth floor of the city hall when the riot began. He saw Louis Pratt kneeling, steadying his aim with both arms, shooting at Mullane. There was a little girl near Pratt, holding toward him a revolver, loaded with fresh cartridges. The mayor saw Pratt fall over, as if shot. Then the mayor went downstairs to police headquarters and out on the street.
"My purpose of going towards the river was that I had heard talk of lynching and wanted such an action to be avoided," said the mayor in explanation. He was not allowed to tell what happened at the river front.
MULLANE'S WIDOW ON STAND.
Mrs. Hannah Mullane, weeping quietly on the witness stand, told how her husband had left home on the morning of December 8, 1908, at 6 o'clock, in good health. Mullane died Decemberr 10, two days after the riot.
There was some delay when court opened in the afternoon, while attachments were served on physicians who were state's witnesses, but who failed to be on hand at the proper time.
Dr. William A. Shelton, 3305 Wabash avenue, was the second witness. He is a police surgeon. On the day of the riot he was called to treat Mullane at the city hall and later attended him at St. Joseph's hospital. Mullane, he said, had a bullet wound through his left hand and one through his chest just above the heart. The latter bullet struck Mullane in the back. Dr. Shelton probed for it, but could not locate it. He finally found the bullet on the operating table. The bullet was shown to the jury over objections of Sharp's attorneys.
Dr. Eugene King, surgeon at St. Joseph's hospital, examined Mullane at police headquarters and at the hospital. He testified as to the wounds and said he found the bullet in the patorlman's underclothing on the operating table. The course of the ball, he said, was from front to back. Dr. Shelton came from in a few minutes later, said Dr. King.
THE MORNING SESSION.
The dramatic incident of the morning session yesterday occurred while Mr. Conkling, in his opening statement, was arraigning Sharp as a religious grafter. While the prosecutor was in the middle of the sentence, Sharp jumped up and said:
"Your honor, these words this man speaks he will have to get witnesses to prove."
"Sit down, Mr. Sharp," said Judge Latshaw. "If you have any objections to make, do so through your counsel."
"I want this jury to hear the truth," persisted Sharp. "I didn't take up collections at my meetings."
Then sharp started to leave the court room but was brought back by a deputy marshal.
A short time afterwards, while Mr. Conkling was telling of the death of Patrolman Albert O. Dalbow, Mrs. Dalbow fainted and was carried from the courtroom. With her were a son, 8 years old, and a baby of fourteen months. She sat near the jury, close to a son and daughter of A. J. Selsor, who was killed in the riot.
Before Conkling began his address to the jury, there were brought into the courtroom gruesome reminders of the December tragedy. A rifle used by Mrs. Pratt in her fight on the river when she, with her daughters, Lena and Lulu, tried to escape. Lulu was killed by bullets fired from the bank. Then there were five revolvers, Sharp's large knife and ammunition. Also there was a shotgun and a rifle found in the houseboat of the band. the whiskers Sharp left in the Mulberry street barber shop, neatly garnered into an envelope, also were put on the table in plain view of the jury. In the afternoon the display of weapons was removed.
SHARP MAY TESTIFY.
With a changed plea, it is not so certain now that Adam God will be put on the witness stand. It was the first intention to make him back up the plea of insanity, but with a changed method of attack, this plan may be altered. Sharp is firm in declaring that he will be a witness, and as he seems at times to be not under the control of his counsel, he may make his statement before the evidence closes.
The riot of December 8, it will be remembered, occurred on the northwest corner of the city hall. There were wounded and subsequently died the following: Albert O. Dalbow and Michael Mullane, patrolmen; A. J. Selson, a spectator; Louis Pratt, a member of the religious band. Patrick Clark, a sergeant of police, was slashed on the face by Sharp and lost his right eye.
The trial will be resumed this morning.
At yesterday's trial the bible, which is his constant companion, lay on the table before Sharp, who sat facing the east windows, and therefore with his profile to the audience. From time to time he glanced curiously about him, but if it was with an y emotion, the feeling was not depicted by expression. Most of the time he sat with hands folded, elbows close to his side. Occasionally he stroked his beard or with his fingers combed tangles from his long moustache.
COURT ROOM WAS CROWDED.
Not an any trial since Judge Ralph S. Latshaw has taken his place has there been such a throng to see a trial. Not only all the chairs in the courtroom, but also the aisles, already narrowed by extra seats, held their capacity. Conspicuous among the number were a dozen or more well dressed women, who followed every step of the proceedings with interest. Among these was Miss Selsor, daughter of A. J. Selsor, killed in the riot. As the day wore on the crowd tended to increase rather than diminish.
The orderly quiet of it all was not lost on Adam God. Accustomed for years to rough treatment from crowds and officers of the peace, he seemed to feel the different attitude of the spectators in the court room where he is on trial for his life. Defiance of the law and its officers seemed to have passed from his mind, leaving him although perhaps not resigned to his fate, yet with the feeling that he was among those who meant to treat him fairly. At noon he told the deputy marshal who took him to his cell:
"That's a fine judge. He certainly will see that I get a fair trial."
Labels: Adam God sect, children, courtroom, criminal court, guns, hospitals, Humane Society, Judge Latshaw, Main street, Mayor Crittenden, ministers, murder, Nineteenth street, North end, physicians, police, Prosecutor Conkling
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Early Kansas City, Missouri