Albert Lacin Murdered by Christian Reibling
At the meeting of the grand jury for the present term of court, Christian Reibling was indicted for murder, and his trial occupied the attention of the court Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. Early in the winter, in Lyndon, Reibling shot a young man named Albert Lacin, who died a few days afterward. The evidence showed no particular malice or previous premeditaion on the part of the prisoner though he followed his victim about from place to place, finally firing the fatal shot in Cady's livery stable. A number of witnesses testified to the shooting and evidence showed that death resulted therefrom. The defense introduced testimony tending to show that Reibling's mind was not right at times and that he was insane at the time of the shooting. After listening to the testimony and jury retired Wednesday evening at nine o'clock and after being out seven hours agreed upon a verdict which was presented in court yesterday morning as follows:
"We the jury find the defendant guilty in manner and form as charged in the second count of the indictment and fix the penalty of death. (Signed) John Haynes, William McCombs, Jesse W. Scott, William Aitken, David Barnum, John A. Stowell, Augustus Johnson, Warren Bond, Joseph Wright, Abel J. Munneke, Burritt M. DeGroff, James Beach."
The case was ably handled by State's Attorney Walter Singer for the prosecution and James D. Andrews, of this city, assisted by W.H. Allen of Erie for the defense. During the trial the court house was filled with spectators many of whom were somewhat surprised at the severity of the penalty; as it was not generally considered such an aggravated case of murder as to merit punishment so severe. The jury however, heard all the evidence and were the best judges of the fact, and their verdict should be entitled to due respect. The prisoner received the verdict without any apparent manifestation of feeling, though after he was taken from the courtroom to the jail he showed signs of uneasiness and paced his cell for some time. He has talked but little during his imprisonment and the verdict which condemns him to an ignominous death fails to bring any utterances from him as yet. [Sterling Standard, April 3, 1884; Contributed by Debbie Thormahlen]
Morrison, Ills,, May 17. - The first execution ever to occur in Whiteside county was the hanging of Christ Reibling for the murder of a young man named Lucia on Christmas day in a drunken quarrel There was no excitement or disorder, but the novelty of an execution aroused great curiosity and "large crowds were outside the jail. The scaffold stood within an inclosure about forty feet square adjoining the outer wall of the jail, and was protected by a plank wall thirty feet in height. Although it was the intention to issue only a limited number of tickets, the sheriff was induced to extend the list. At 2:05 Sheriff Beach entered the inclosure with the prisoner, who mounted the scaffold with a steady step, and smiled on those present as he passed them. Those present were the jury which convicted him, the board of supervisors, county officials, numberless reporters and a few citizens. |Reibling| bowed to all. The sheriff read the death warrant. After being pinioned, (Reibling) was asked if he had anything to say. He replied he was sorry, and would not have killed the boy for anything if he had known what he was doing. He thanked the sheriff and his family for the kind way they had treated him, and hoped his fate would be an example for others: The black cap was drawn over his face, and Rev. Thomas V. E. Sweet repeated the Lord's prayer. At 2:10 the drop was sprung, and fifteen, minutes later life was pronounced extinct. The neck was broken, and there were no signs of pain or emotion. The remains were taken to the county almshouse for interment, after being viewed by the crowd;
Reibling was visited in his cell just before the execution. He said he had made his peace with God, and that he was prepared to die. He was a short, stout, round-faced fellow, and had a very, clerical look. He laughed and talked in the most nonchalent manner and without any emotion. As to the shooting, the prisoner said that Christmas morning he and another man drank a bottle of gin. The day before they had been drinking alcohol, which they diluted with water. He says he can remember drinking the gin, and from that time till he found himself in prison, his memory is blank He had no reason to kill Lucia, he said, and no one regretted his death more than he did. "Do you attribute the murder to intoxication" he was asked.
"That helped," he replied, "but I think the real cause, was the sore in my head. That was my defense at the trial I had the smallpox, you know, when I was 21 years of age, in Milwaukee, or about eleven years ago, and since that time I have had a running sore inside my ears."
At 9 o'clock in the forenoon he was attended by his spiritual advisers, and at 11 partook of the rite of communion. These services were strictly private. [Saturday, May 17, 1884; Elkhart Daily Review (Elkhart, IN) Pg 4]
Christian Reibling was executed at Morrison, Ills., for the murder of Albert Lucia. He made a full confession. [The Times. (Owosso, Mich.), 23 May 1884]
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