Harvey  County,  Kansas
 

MURDERS  &  MYSTERY  ITEMS
  

BRAKEMAN UPTON INSTANTLY KILLED BY BARBER SNODGRASS

Newton, Kan., Dec. 3---This afternoon shortly after 1:30 o'clock, George Snodgrass, a barber, shot and instantly killed Brakeman Charles Upton, in the former's rooms in the Swenson building. The murder is the outcome of a long standing trouble, Snodgrass having made repeated charged that Upton and Mrs. Snodgrass had criminal relations. He said some time ago that some of his friends had advised him to shoot Upton, but that he did not, as he did not want to further disgrace his family, especially his two young children.

A month ago Snodgrass came to the house intoxicated and abused his wife, and was severely pummelled by Upton who at that time was boarding with the Snodgrass family. It is said by some that at that time Snodgrass threatened to shoot Upton. He said that Upton loafed around the house too much.

It was about 1:30 when Upton, who had spent the morning in hunting, went up to Snodgrass' rooms. He seated himself at the dinner table. A bowl of soup was brought at him and he had taken only a mouthful when Snodgrass excitedly rushed into the room. Seeing Upton sitting at the table, he shouted, "You ----- ---- ---- ---- ---- ----, what are you doing?"

Whipping out a .38 calibre revolver, Snodgrass fired at Upton before the latter could say a word. The bullet struck Upton on the right side of the head, behind the ear, coming out of his forehead.

Upton staggered to his feet and tried to escape to the kitchen. As he did so, Snodgrass fired twice more without effect. Upton staggered about six feet and fell dead through the door of the kitchen.

Snodgrass rushed from the room after he fired the shots and ran down the street to his barber shop.

Mrs. Snodgrass was in the dining room talking to Upton when the murder occurred. As Snodgrass shot Upton, she cried: "Oh, George, what have you done?" A moment later she fainted and was carried out of the room.

Miss Dell Morgan, a sister of Mr. Snodgrass in relating her story to a correspondent of the Capital said:

"I was at work in the kitchen at the time it happened. I heard George (Snodgrass) come in and speak to Upton. Then in an instant came the shots. There were only two of them. I rushed to the entrance from the kitchen to the dining room and saw Upton fall. Then I opened the window and screamed. George immediately turned and rushed out.

Snodgrass went immediately to Ollinger's barber shop. He did not say a word to anyone, but walked the floor backward and forward as though he were in a dusturbed state of mind. One of the barbers in the shop asked him what was the matter.

"Nothing," said Snodgrass, and continued his ceaseless walk.

In a few minutes Under Sheriff Charles Judkins came hurrying into the shop and said:

"George, I want you."

Snodgrass said not a work but simply walked away with him. He was hurried to the jail and placed in a cell. Judkins locked himself in with him and no one was allowed to see him.

Upton was a man of about 35 years of age and was a brakeman employed on the Santa Fe. He had worked here about a year and all of that time had boarded with the Snodgrass family. It is said that he had a wife and family in Chicago, whence he came to this city. He had always borne a good reputation.

About two weeks ago, he was called before Superintendent Parker of the Santa Fe and informed that serious charges had been made against him by Snodgrass.

Snodgrass had written a letter to Superintendent Avery Turner alleging that Upton was intimate with his wife; that he (Snodgrass) was practically an outcase from his family and giving the names of witnesses who would bear him out in his statements.

The letter was forwarded here by Superintendent Turner and Upton and his attorney, County Attorney W. S. Allen, were called to this office of Superintendent Parker. Upton was told that he must leave Snodgrass' house, which he did and went to board at the Bon Ton restaurant.

This morning, he went out hunting and came home with some game and went to the home of Snodgrass. Mrs. Snodgrass prepared him a dinner, which he was eating when the tragedy occurred.

Snodgrass, though a drinking man, has always been kind to his family and has had a good reputation.

Great excitement previals in town and people are divided as to where the blame lies.
(Topeka Weekly Capital ~ December 7, 1897)


EXPRESS CAR ROBBED

Two Robbers Board Express Car at Newton, Kan., Murder the Messenger and Rob Car of $1,000 and Some Jewelry---Robbers Escape to the Woods

Newton, Kas., March 29---Two robbers early today murdered O. A. Bailey, of Kansas City, an express messenger of the Wells Fargo Express Company, in the car of a westbound Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe train between Florence and Newton, Kans., robbed both the local and through the safe, taking at least $1,000 and some jewelry and escaped.

The body of Messenger Bailey was found when the train reached Newton. It was stretched on the floor of the car, lying in a pool of blood. The back of the skull was crushed and the end of the car in which it was lying be spattered with blood. There was no evidence of any struggle. The indications are that the murder was committed while the messenger was asleep. Bailey was last seen alive at Strong City. At Peabody, someone opened the car door just enough to throw out a package of way bills and then closed it quickly.

The custom of the messenger has been to go to sleep soon after leaving Florence and it is probably he did this last night. After slaying the sleeping messenger, the robbers covered the dead man's head with his coat, took the safe keys from the dead man's pocket and ransacked the safe. Then the keys were put into Bailey's overcoat and the coat was folded and put in his grip, where it was found later.

When the train slowed down at the Missouri Pacific crossing east of Newton, two men were seen by the engineer to jump from the trai and run south. The south door of the express car was found open when the train reached Newton station.

Officers, soon after the murder and robbery, were scouring the country. A reward of $1,000 has been offered by the Wells Fargo Express Company for the apprehension of the robbers. Three men were arrested tonight at Wichita on suspicion. No other trace of the robbers has been found.

The murdered man was about 30 years old. He was only recently married.
(Charlotte Observer ~ March 30, 1908)

BLOODY  CLOTHES  LEAD  TO  ARREST

Did William T. Carr Murder Oscar A. Bailey?

Blood Bespattered Trousers Were Left at a Cleaners---Jewelry and $993 Recovered---Arrest Made Last Night

William T. Carr was arrested at Newton last night charged with the murder of Oscar A. Bailey, the express messenger who was killed in his car between Florence and Newton Sunday morning and the robbery of the express car.

Carr was taken to Marion and lodged in jail, it being thought unsafe to keep him in Newton on account of the feeling against him.

A pair of blood bespattered trousers which Carr left at a cleaner's shop, led to his arrest.  Following the arrest a search was made at the billiard hall in which Carr was employed.  An overcoat spattered with blood was found and in the pockets of this garment were many pieces of valuable jewelry.  Representatives of the express company have identified this jewelry as having been taken from the express car.

Car was employed by the express company for three years and was a fellow employe of Bailey, the murdered man.

A box containing $993 of the $1,000 stolen was later found under the floor of one of the front show windows of the billiard hall.

HE WAS IN KANSAS CITY

Carr is married.  His wife is the daughter of W. C. Simmons, in whose billiard hall he worked.  Detectives say Carr spent several days in Kansas City last week and that he made inquiry about the express messengers.  He wanted to know when certain messengers would go on.  His family says he was in Kansas City and that he returned home early Sunday morning.

While the Wichita police picked up a number of suspects it was their contention that Bailey was murdered by a man who knew him.  They were satisfied that Bailey took a man in the car to ride with him and that that man was his murderer.

The three suspects held here are now in the county jail.  They are charged with riding in the "blind" end of the car of which Bailey was killed.  Theft of a ride is the ground on which they are held. The police think it possible that they saw the murderer enter or leave the car.
(Wichita Beacon ~ Wednesday ~ April 1, 1908)


A KANSAS GIRL REJECTED HIM

The Murder of Miss Oma Beers at Newton and a Hired Man's Suicide

Newton, Kas., July 15---Miss Oma Beers, daughter of Frank Beers, a conductor on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railroad, running between Newton and Purcell, I. T., was murdered half a mile west of this city Saturday night by Herbert Shacklett, who afterwards shot and killed himself. Miss Beers, who was only 18 years old, lived in the extreme western part of the town and was driving home alone from an entertainment which she had attended. She was waylaid by Shacklett who was infatuated with her, and shot four times. The murderer then drove three miles west of town, laid the body of the murdered girl on the ground by the side of the road, turned the horses loose, lay down in the road and shot himself through the heart.

The dead though committed about 11 o'clock at night, was not dicovered until yesterday morning at 5 o'clock. The mother told the police the girl was missing at midnight. Assisted by citizens, they scoured the country, but body not being found until daylight.

Public feeling runs high. The girl was a favorite in social circles. Had the murderer not killed himself, he probably would have been lynched. Shacklett had been employed several weeks at the Beers home as a man of all work about the place. He formed an attachment for the young woman, who did not return it. He made threats against the girl's life to his companions, but no attention was paid to them.
(Kansas City Star ~ July 15, 1901)

SOCIETY  GIRL  SLAIN  BY  HER  REJECTED  LOVER

Miss Oma Beers, Well Known in Guthrie, Meets With a Horrible Fate---Her Slayer Then Kills Himself

A terrible tragedy occurred in Newton Saturday night.  Miss Oma, the beautiful 18-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Beers, was shot and killed by Herbert Shacklett, a stable boy formerly in the family's employ, who afterwards shot himself through the heart.

The dead young lady was well known in Guthrie, having visited Miss Ethel McNeal during the past winter.

The Beers live in a suburban home about a mile west of Newton.  The girl came to town Saturday night to attend a party and started to drive home alone at about 10 o'clock.  When she did not arrive her mother, who was alone, became alarmed and notified the police.  About midnight a searching party was organized and at 5 o'clock Sunday morning the dead bodies of the girl and her slayer were found about three miles west of this city.

Four bullets had been fired into the body of the girl, three of them in the head and one in the abdomen.  One shot sufficed to end the life of the murderer, as the bullet penetrated the heart.

Shacklett was at one time employed at the home of the Beers as a groom, and it is said became fascinated with the young lady, who did not in any way return his infatuation.

He resigned his position there some time ago, and has since worked at many places about the city.  Saturday he was employed in a livery stable here, and left the barn a little after 9 o'clock.

Before going he made a remark that perhaps it would be the last they would ever see of him.

From evidence introduced at the inquest this morning it would seem that a terrible struggle had taken place before the crime was committed.  Shacklett was about 18 years of age.

Frank Beers, father of the murdered girl, is the well known passenger conducted running between Newton and Purcell.
(Guthrie Daily Leader ~ July 15, 1901)
((NOTE: Oma is buried at Greenwood Cemetery in Newton. Herbert is also buried in that cemetery))


WHOLE FAMILY POISONED

Something in the Coffee Kills a Lot of Kansas People

NEWTON, KAS., March 3---The entire family of E. L. Snyder, a merchant of Sedgwick, near here, was accidentally poisoned by some unknown substance in the coffee yesterday noon. Mrs. Snyder died within a few hours in terribe agony and Snyder died last night. It is not expected the children will survive.
(Omaha World Herald ~ March 4, 1894)


KILLS HIS DAUGHTER

Kansas Farmer Then Turns Gun and Ends His Own Life---Unsettled Mind the Cause

Newton, Kas., Feb. 27---William H. Hart, a farmer living four miles north of Newton, shot and killed his 10-year-old daughter, Myrtle, as she was dressing this morning, and then killed himself. The death of his youngest child a year ago unsettled his mind.
(Kalamazoo Gazette ~ February 28, 1905)


AFFRAY AT NEWTON

From the Topeka papers we learn the particulars of a terrible shooting affray at Newton, the terminus of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Road, which took place on Saturday night last:

About a week ago it will be remembered that a railroad man named McClusten shot a Texan named Bailey at Newton. It was generally believed at least among the "short horns" of Newton, that McClusten killed Bailey in self defence and we understand taht after the shooting McClusten was put on the police force in the town. On Saturday night McClusten was attacked by a Texan named Martin, a friend of Bailey, deceased in the dance hosue in the suburb known as Hyde Park. McClusten was shot three times and killed either by Martin alone or aided by other Texans. McClusten's friends then shot and killed Martin and the fight between the "short horns" and the "long horns" became general. In the melee and promiscuous firing, two men were wounded, it is suppose mortally, and a number, varying according to different accounts from four to fifteen were dangerously hurt; probably the smallest number is nearest the truth. One of the Texans who had been badly hurt in the row, came up on the noon train from Newton today. Pat. Lee, one of the two reported mortally wounded was much better this morning.

Later - A note received from Newton informed us that seven were wounded. Our correspondent represents that Martin was endeavoring to quiet a distrubance, instead of creating it. The following is the list of wounded: Arthur Delaney, St. Louis, neck, back and leg, dead; Jim Martni, neck, dead; Hugh Anderson, high priest, thigh and leg, doring fairly; Patrick Lee, bowels, critical; Jim Wilkerson, nose, sight; ____ leg, slight; ____ Hickey, leg, slight; Henry Kearnes, right breast, fatal; William Garrett, shoulder and breast, fatal. (Walnut Valley Times, El Dorado, Kansas, August 25, 1871)


BROER,  GEORGE

A  SUSPECTED  MURDERER

Newton, Kan., July 5 --- Sheriff Pollard brought to Newton today Isaac Van Brunt, who is suspected of being the murderer of George Broer of Richland township, Harvey county.  George Broer was murdered early in May, and the officers have since been endeavoring faithfully to capture the murderer.  Van Brunt was captured at Peabody last night by Marshal Palmer.
(Topeka Weekly Capital ~ Thursday ~ July 10, 1890)

Isaac Van Brunt was recently convicted of the murder of George Broer, a farmer living south of Newton, and sentenced to be confined in the State penitentiary for one year, and then, when so ordered by the Governor, to be hanged.
(Belleville Republic County Freeman ~ January 8, 1891)


EASON,  GEORGE  JR.

NEWTON  RESIDENT  FOUND  SHOT  TO  DEATH

Newton --- A Newton man was shot and killed early Saturday, authorities said.

The victim was identified as George Eason, 19.

Eason was apparently shot in the chest with a handgun, police Lt. Ed Graves said.

Investigators were interviewing several people in the shooting, which happened about 3 a.m. in an apartment complex in southwest Newton.

It was the first homicide in Harvey County this year.
(Lawrence Journal World ~ March 3, 2002)

EASON,  GEORGE  K.,  JR.

Eason, George K., Jr., 18, died Saturday, March 2, 2002.  Rosary 7 p.m. Tuesday, Broadway Colonial Funeral Home; service 10 a.m. Wednesday, Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church.

Survivors: son, Alexander McKay of Newton, Emillio Eason of Wichita; daughter, Layla McKay of Newton; father and stepmother, George K., Sr., and Traci Eason of Newton; mother, Roasalie Eason of Eureka; grandparents, Don and Katherine Ornelas, Emilio and Kay Monarez, Homer and Mary Eason, Verene Eason all of Newton.  Memorial establihed with Arthritis Foundation, Kansas Chapter.
(Wichita Eagle ~ Monday ~ March 4, 2002)

CHARGES  PENDING  IN  FATAL  SHOOTING

Authorities are unsure whether charges will be filed in the fatal shooting of a Newton man.

Self-defense may have been the motive in the death early Saturday morning of George Eason, Jr., 18, said Newton police detective T. Walton.

"As of right now, the shooter has been identified and questioned, Walton said.  "Self-defense appears to be involved in this case, so it's unclear at this point whether any charges will be filed."

The name of the person who did the shooting has not been released pending any possible charges, Walton said.

Walton said he hopes to forward final reports this week to Harvey County Atty. Matt Treaster for a decision on charges.
(Lawrence Journal World ~ March 6, 2002)


GUIST,  CLEASON  B. 

FIND  SHOTGUN  SHELL

More Evidence Discovered in the Burrton Murder Case

Another link in the strong chain of circumstantial evidence against Cleason M. Guist of Burrton, charged with the murder of his uncle, C. B. Guist, was discovered last night.  The shotgun shell supposedly was used in shooting Guist was found in front of the house and near the place where it is supposed the nephew shot his uncle.  The shell fits the gun found at the house and supposedly used in the murder.

Dr. Soehorn of Burrton made an examination of the premises this morning and found grass, which, when placed under the microscope, showed human blood.  The grass was found near where other grass had been cut a short time before and where it is believed Guist fell when shot.

A party of searchers went to the farmhouse last night and made another search for evidence.  Although the ground in the vicinity of the house was gone over thoroughly, none of the supposedly bloody grass cut with a hoe has been found.  This only is needed, according to the officers, to make an unbreakable chain of evidence.
(Hutchinson News ~ July 2, 1909)

MYSTERY  CLEARED  UP

Newton, Kan., July 3 --- According to the local police, Cleason M. Guist today confessed that he killed his uncle, C. M. Guist, aged 75, a wealthy retired farmer, on the nephews farm, five miles southeast of Burrton, last Monday evening, by shooting him in the back of the head, following a dispute over crops.  The nephew then hauled the body in a wagon three-quarters of a mile and threw it under a culvert, where it was found Tuesday by the 19-year-old son of the alleged confessed slayer. The nephew was arrested and charged with the murder, immediately upon the termination of the coroner's inquest.
(Emporia Gazette ~ July 3, 1909)

GUIST  IS  SENTENCED

Fifteen Years for the Confessed Murderer of His Uncle

C. M. Guist, the Burrton murderer, was sentenced by Judge Branine in the district court at Newton last Saturday.  Following his confession Guist pleaded guilty, when his case was called.  This lightened his sentence, which doubtless would have been life-imprisonment if he had stood trial.

Guist killed his uncle, C. B. Guist, on the uncle's farm near Burrton on the night of June 28.  Following a violent quarrel, he shot the elder Guist, whose tenant he was, firing through a screen door with a shotgun.  A personal investigation by a reporter for The News, who visited the scene in an automobile, resulted in evidence that induced the murderer to confess.  It developed that the uncle had persecuted, abused and cursed his nephew, and this with the disposition of the slayer to make a clean breast of his crime, caused Judge Branine to accept a plea of guilty of murder in the second degree.

The man leaves a son, 10 years old, who was asleep in the house, where his father and he lived alone, at the time of the murder.  The boy was an important witness in the coroner's inquest.
(Hutchinson News ~ July 26, 1909)

C. M. Guist, who imprudently killed his uncle a month ago, and hid the body under a culvert, was sentenced to fifteen years in the penitentiary, on Saturday.  He has been in jail at Newton for several weeks, and there he confessed the crime.  The murder apparently was deliberate, but the old man had nagged and harassed the nephew until the latter couldn't stand it any longer.  This was taken into consideration by the court, and Guist received a light sentence.
(Emporia Gazette ~ July 26, 1909)

HARRIS,  SHARON  ANN

NEWTON -- Sharon Ann Harris, 34, was shot Sunday at her home.  Born Sept. 7, 1942 at Gate, Okla., she was married to Dale C. Harris July 19, 1959 at Newton.  She was office manager and purchasing agent at E and H Foam Co., Newton, and lived here since 1956.

She was a member of First Christian Church, Newton.

Survivors include daughters: Kristine, Karin, both of the home; parents: Mr. and Mrs. Alex W. Miller, Newton; brothers: James, Harrisville, Mo.; Vernon, St. James, Mo.

Funeral will be 2 p.m. Wednesday at First Christian Church, Newton; Rev. Gerald E. Housh.  Burial will be in Greenwood Cemetery, Newton.  Friends may call noon to 9 p.m. Tuesday and until 10 a.m. Wednesday at the funeral home.
(Hutchinson News ~ April 12, 1977)

NEWTON  WOMAN  SHOT  TO  DEATH

Newton, Kan. --- A Newton woman was shot and killed in her home Sunday night while her two daughters watched, and police said they were looking for a man in connection with the slaying.

Police Chief Paul Hastings said the shooting of Sharon Harris, 34, was apparently the result of a domestic argument.

Mrs. Harris was shot in the head and abdomen and pronounced dead at a Newton hospital.  Authorities said she apparently was shot with a .38 caliber revolver that was being sought.
(Iola Register ~ April 12, 1977)

MURDER  CHARGED

NEWTON -- The estranged husband of a Newton woman who was shot and killed late Sunday night turned himself over to authorities Monday morning.

Police Chief Paul Hastings said Dale Harris, 39, turned himself into Marion County Sheriff's officers about 10:30 a.m.  He was wanted as a suspect in the shooting death of his 34-year-old wife, Sharon.

Mrs. Harris was shot in her home about 11 p.m. Sunday.  She was shot two to three times in the head and abdomen with a .38-caliber revolver, Hastings said.

Harris was charged with first degree murder and was being held in the Harvey County Jail.  He was arraigned Monday afternoon and a hearing date of April 21 in District Court was scheduled.  Bond was set at $100,000.

The court appointed Bob Meyers, a Newton attorney, as his legal counsel.

Sheriff Galen Morford said the couple was in the midst of divorce proceedings, and papers had been served on Harris March 23.
(Hutchinson News ~ April 12, 1977)

GUN  FOUND

NEWTON -- Police here have recovered a .38 caliber revolver they believe was used in the slaying of Mrs. Sharon Harris last Sunday night.

Police, who would not reveal where the gun was found, also said they had recovered three spent bullets.  Mrs. Harris was shot three times, once in the abdomen and head and once in the side.

Dale C. Harris, her estranged husband, remains in the Harvey County Jail on $100,000 bond, charged with first degree murder.  He surrendered Monday morning at the Marion County sheriff's office.
(Hutchinson News ~ April 17, 1977)

NEWTON -- Dale Harris, Newton, has been freed on $100,000 property bond until his trial Aug. 1.  He faces a charge of first degree murder in connection with the killing of his wife, who died April 10.

The 39-year-old suspect was released on bond Monday following a hearing in Harvey County District Court.

While on bond, Harris is to live with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Kermit Harris, who used the family farm as security for his bond.

An attempt to reduce his bond to $60,000 was denied by the court.
(Hutchinson News ~ July 3, 1977)

BOND  REVOKED

NEWTON -- The $100,000 bond of a Peabody man awaiting trial for first-degree murder of his wife has been revoked after he left the state in violation of his bond agreement.

Dale C. Harris was returned to jail after he left his parents' farm near Peabody.  Earlier in the month he traveled to Oklahoma although his bond agreement restricted him to his parents' farm except in emergencies.
(Salina Journal ~ August 29, 1977)

DALE  C.  HARRIS

NEWTON -- Dale C. Harris, 39, died Wednesday at Axtell Christian Hospital, Newton.  Born March 29, 1938 at Newton he married Sharon Ann Miller July 19, 1959 at Newton.  She died April 10, 1977.  He was a truck driver and a lifetime area resident.

He was a member of the Walton United Methodist Church.

Survivors include dauhters: Kristine, Karen, both of Newton; parents: Mr. and Mrs. Kermit Harris, Peabody; brother: Myron P., Peabody; grandfather: James Mellott, Newton.

Funeral will be 2 p.m. Friday at Draper-Cannon Chapel, Newton; Rev. Everett Vaughan.  Burial will be in Prairie Lawn Cemetery, Peabody.  Friends may call until service time Friday at the funeral home.
(Hutchinson News ~ October 28, 1977)


HALSTEAD  TRAGEDY  ON  CHRISTMAS  EVE

James Beatty Shot in the Back and Killed by John Stickle

LIQUOR  THE  CAUSE

Murderer Is in Jail in Newton---The Victim Was Buried Today

A case of beer, a number of men drinking, a quarrel, one man dead and another wounded is, in short, the story of the tragic shooting at the usually peaceable and quiet little city of Halstead at about half past eight o'clock Saturday night.

The dead man is James Beatty, the step-son of John Bertche, of Halstead, and the man who shot and killed him is John Stickle, a bachelor, forty-one years of age, who lives alone in his little three-room cottage within the north corporation limits of Halstead.

"We were going to have a little Christmas Eve celebration and oyster supper here at my home" said John Stickle to a Kansan representative.  About the time preparations were going on for the supper, Beatty, it is said, told around town that he was going up to Stickler's place to clean 'em out.

Henry Waggoner, John Vogt and John Wiley whose blood is about half Indian, all of Halstead, were in the room with Stickle when Beatty arrived to get the Indian, against whom he had a grudge.  When Beatty, who was a powerful man, weighing over two hundred pounds, threw open the door and showed his teeth, Waggoner and Vogt got cold feet and retired from the celebration a little earlier than they had first planned and left the Indian and Stickle to take care of the intruder.  Beatty demanded of the Indian to come out.  He refused.  Beatty then entered the room and according to the statements of both Stickle and Wiley, the Indian, hit the latter on the side of the head, unmindful of the warning not to raise a disturbance which Stickle had given the big fellow.  Wiley fell with the blow, but got up and left the building.  Beatty then knocked Stickle down, who says he fell near the door leading to an adjoining room so that he could easily react, for his thirty-eight caliber revolver which was lying on a chair just inside the other room.  He grabbed for it and made the fatal shot that sent the giant sprawling on the floor and from which wound he died before the marshal and the undertaker arrived.  Stickle was not too drunk to realize what had happened and went himself to the telephone and called for Marshal R. C. Carter and undertaker M. E. Cheatum, saying that he had killed a man.

The origin of the trouble that led to the tragedy was some bread which Mrs. Bertche, mother of the deceased, baked for Wiley, the Indian.  Wiley stated to the reporter that he told Beatty a few weeks ago that he thought he was not getting all the bread that was coming to him from a twenty-four pound sack of flour.

Sheriff Ainsworth and Coroner Abbey arrived on the scene in about two hours and took charge of affairs, Stickle and the Indian.  A coroner's jury was impaneled before they left for Newton with their two prisoners.  The jury was in session the greater part of yesterday.

A post mortem examination by Drs. Wuttke and Sutton at the Cheatum undertaking establishment yesterday morning showed that the bullet entered about two inches to the right of the spine under the last rib and probably pierced the right lung.

The sheriff took charge of the case of beer that was found in Stickle's home.  The case was addressed to John Stickle, care of the Ward's barn, Wichita.  Stickle stated to the reporter that he drove to Wichita to get the case of beer and that he also had some whiskey and wine in the house.

In his drunken stupor in his room on the night of the tragedy Stickle frequently broke out in sobs and sighs and burying his face in his hands cried bitterly, realizing, it seemed, the enormity of his deed.  He was quite worked up and nervous about the affair that night, but yesterday, after being completely sobered up, he seemed less concerned.  In his sobs that night he said to the crowd of men around him, "I'm a 'goner boys; I murdered that man" and similar expressions, but yesterday he said it was a case of pure self-defense with him.

Stickle's wound is an ugly gash above the left eye.  It required a few stitches to close the wound.

Stickle is fairly well-to-do.  He owns some farms and some Halstead property.  He was born in Germany and has lived in Halstead nearly all his life.  When sober there is not a kinded hearted fellow in Halstead.

Beatty was born in Ohio.  When a boy he came to Halstead with his mother and step-father where he lived a few years.  Leaving home in early manhood he saw a good deal of the world.  He was in the military school at Fort Thomas for three years and served in the Spanish-American war being connected with the U.S. army for six years.  He was for somet ime ont he police force in Dayton, Ohio, from which place he came to Halstead but about two weeks ago to be with his mother whie her husband was in Kansas City undergoing an operation for cancer on his face.  He has been married and divorced and had no children.  His age at death was thirty-eight.  The funeral services took place at Halstead today.

THE  CORONER'S  VERDICT

Coroner Abbey's jury, comprising Messrs. Frank Bard, Roy Masters, D. R. Free, T. Ruick, C. J. Cram and J. Bard, after hearing testimony most of yesterday, last evening returned a verdict finding that Beatty came to his death as the result of a gunshot wound, inflicted by John Stickle, and that "there is probably grounds for believing that a felonious assault was committed by said Stickle."
(Newton Evening Kansan-Republican ~ Tuesday ~ December 27, 1910 ~ Page 1)
 

STICKLE  IS  PLACED  UNDER  $1,000  BOND

Wiley, the Indian, Gave $200 Bound With a Dozen Sureties

John Stickle, who shot and killed James Beatty at Halstead Saturday night, today gave a thousand dollars bond to appear in District Court in February.  His bondsmen are two Halstead men.  It is said he had no trouble whatever to secure the bondsmen.  John Wiley, the Indian, gave bond in the amount of $200, for appearance as a witness and has twelve Halstead men on his bond.
(Newton Evening Kansan-Republican ~ Thursday ~ December 20, 1910 ~ Page 1)


JOHN  STICKLE  OF  HALSTEAD

On Trial in District Court for Alleged Murder of James Beatty

CHRISTMAS  TRAGEDY

Many Witnesses Subpoenaed From the Little City on the West

Yesterday and today's sessions of the February term of court were given over to the drawing of a jury and the examination of witnesses in the case of the State vs. John Stickle.

The jurors who will sit on the case are:  Clark Lewis, Charles Kendal, Josiah Foltz, W. D. May, J. B. Nebegall, John Cadle, A. C. Coble, F. Sadowski, Bert Fritz, Frank Kaufman, Noah Barnes and F. B. Edgerton.

Six out of the more than forty witnesses had been heard at noon today.  John Vogt, Herman Schutz, Lew Bousser, Earnest Smith, Earl Aikens, and Ora Artz, telling what they knew of the case.

The evidence thus far goes to prove that John Stikle, the defendant, and some friends, (one of whom was John Wiley, a half breed Indian,) were preparing for an oyster supper, on Christmas even, when James Beatty, the murdered man, called at Stickle's home saying that he had been "looking for Wiley" and that he wanted to lick him.

Wiley refused to come out of the house, and Beatty went in after him.  After striking him on the head, he struck Stickle, knocking him to the floor, Wiley meantime left the house.

Branine and Hart are the attorneys for the defendant, while W. H. Vos Der Heiden has the case for the state.
(Newton Evening Kansan-Republican ~ Friday ~ February 17, 1911 ~ Page 1)


EVIDENCE  HEARD  IN  STICKLE  CASE

Attorneys for the State and Defense Presenting Arguments

All of yesterday afternoon and until ten o'clock this morning were devoted to hearing of testimony in the state vs. John Stickle, at the court house.

Yesterday afternoon John Wiley, the man whom it is alleged, the dead man struck, told the story of the evening doing and C. B. Meeders, Earl Akins, Fred Kritemeyer, Henry Holle, M. Cheatum, Ed House, Dan Free, R. R. Carter, Arthur Johnson and Ernest Smith narrated the scenes in and about the place as they approached it after the tragedy.

Dr. Abbey and Dr. Wuttike, described conditions as they found them in the examination which followed and Dr. Smith was asked to testify if such a blow as the one Stickle received might have killed him.

John Bertsche, the step-father of John Beatty, deceased, was the principle witness, this morning.  He testified that the stove hook with which Stickle was struck by Beatty, had belonged to him, Bertsche, and that Beatty made the attack upon Stickle, using this weapon.

The attorneys for the state and for the defense were given two hours each to argue the case and the arguments were being presented at the time of going to press.
(Newton Evening Kansan-Republican ~ Saturday ~ February 18, 1911 ~ Page 1)


JURY  DISMISSED  IN  STICKLE  CASE

The jury in the case of the State vs. John Stickle in the district court could not agree and was dismissed by Judge Branine this morning.
(Newton Evening Kansan-Republican ~ Wednesday ~ February 22, 1911 ~ Page 1)


John Stickle has retained the well known Wichita attorney, Mr. Amidon, to assist the local attorneys, Branine & Hart, in the defense at his trial for the killing of James Beatty which will be up for trial at the May term of the district court.
(Newton Evening Kansan-Republican ~ Wednesday ~ May 3, 1911 ~ Page 1)


HAVING  TROUBLE  TO  EMPANEL  JURY

In Stickle Case---Too Many Having Already Formed an Opinion

The jury venire was well night exhausted at noon today when court adjourned until the afternoon session, but eight of the required twelve jury men having been obtained.  All but four of the remaining available fourteen jurymen had been called and rejected.  Clerk of the Court Dunkelberger said it looks as though an extra venire will have to be called.

Four of the thirty venire men failed to appear.  Charles Kelley of Burrton, and Frank Dilts of Highland township have moved from the county, S. R. Armor of Sedgwick did not put in an appearance and Henry Rupp of Garden township is dead.  This left a total list of 26 to draw on.

Many of the jurymen had formed such definite opinions of whether or not Stickle should have killed James Beatty, that they were dismissed by the attorneys of one side or the other.  The attorneys had a set schedule of questions which they directed at each prospective jurymen.  County Attorney Von der Heiden condicted the examination for the prosecution, and Ezra Branine, was spokesman for the defendant, John Stickle, who sat near his attorneys and consulted them frequently.

Here are some of the questions asked by the state:

"Have you ever heard of this case before?"

"Have you formed any definite opinion as to the guilt or innocence of the defenandt?"

"If so, are you prejudiced in your opinion and think that it could not be subjected to the evidence as produced in the trial?"

"Were you acquainted with the defendant?  With James Beatty or his mother?"

"Could you sit as a juror in this case without bias or prejudice?"

The questions by the defense indicate that Stickle's defense will be that he shot Beatty in self defense.  The leading ones were:

Do you believe in the law of self defense?

Do you believe that a man should stand his ground and give blow for blow, even to the extent of killing his assailant?

Do you think you could lay aside any versions of the case you may have heard, and believe the defendant innocent until the state has proven him guilty beyond a reasonably doubt?

If, after you have heard the evidence, and the court has read its instructions, and you form your opinion as to the guilt or innocence of the defendant, would you maintain that opnion, even though the other eleven jurymen think otherwise?

Attorney S. B. Amidon is here to assist in the defense of Stickle, the witnesses began to testify this afternoon.
(Newton Evening Kansan-Republican ~ Wednesday ~ May 10, 1911  ~ Page 8)


HALSTEAD  MAN  PLACED  ON  TRIAL

John Stickle on Trial for the Murder of James Beatty

SECOND  JURY  TRIAL

Trouble in Empaneling Jury Closed and Witnesses On the Stand

The graphic description of eye witnesses of the agony of mind suffered by a man in the full consciousness of having taken the life of a fellow being was given by at least three of the state's "star witnesses" in the district court last evening during the trial of the murder charge against John Stickle.

"I am a murderer; I have killed Jim Beatty, but I couldn't help it; I was forced to do it.  He knocked me on the head."  Wringing his hands, weeping and moaning as the realization dawned upon him, it was with the foregoing words that John Stickle confessed to the deed, after he had telephoned for officers to come and get him.

Stickle sat at the further end of the long table about which his lawyers counseled.  With elbows out stretched on its polished surface, his head bent forward he eagerly drank in every word as the witnesses described the tragic events of that fatal Christmas even, and told of the mental anguish he seemed to suffer upon the first recall of the fact that he had committed murder.

The defense of Stickle is strictly "self defense" and he has a good case.  The one weak point in it is the explanation of how the body of his victim happened to be found behind the door in the bedroom adjoining the room in which he was shot.  No light was shed on this particular point by the state's best witnesses, further than this: Lew Bonsser testified that John Wiley, alias "Jumbo" who was gloriously drunk endeavored to explain when Lew asked, "How did Beatty get behind the door?"

"He staggered into the room like this" according to Bouser's story, replied Jumbo and he tried to illustrate the manner in which the dying man floundered across the floor and sunk behind the door.  But the strangeness of this evidence on part of the Indian according to his own story, is that he was not present in the house when the shooting occurred, and did not see Beatty fall.  According to the testimony thus far given, Stickle was silent on this point when asked by the men who gathered at the house following the shooting, and in fact never has explained it.

Owing to these circumstances there are many theories.  Did the Indian, upon reentering the house immediately following the fatal shot, seeing the predicament of this friend Stickle, sieze the body of the dead man, carry it from the front room into the secluded place in the bedroom, and frame up the story?  Did Stickle singly or with the Indian's help remove the evidence of the crime?  Or did the wounded man endeavor to follow up his attack on Stickle and with the mortal wound in his body, flounder into the bedroom and sink on his face, behind the door?  Unless John Stickle takes the witness stand and makes a clean breast of the whole tragedy, these crucial points in the case probably will remain a mystery.

A jury was obtained in the case last evening at 4 p.m. and since that time the hearing of the evidence of the twenty-six witnesses has been in rapid progress.

The twelve men whose mental attitude on the Halstead killing was satisfactory to both sides, were not obtained until an extra venire of twelve talisman were enlisted in the cause.  The extra number was brought into the procedure shortly following the convening of the afternoon session and all but two of this number were put through the mill of qualifying before the twelfth man was in the jury box.  The following men were empaneled to decide the fate of John Stickle:  G. W. Wilson, Burrton City; W. E. Kiser, Sedgwick township; George Fluke, Pleasant; W. J. Grattan, Sedgwick township; George White, Jr.; C. N. English, Pleasant; T. A. Greenfield, Burrton City; E. E. Cochran, Pleasant; John Reigs, Newton City; Henry Graham, Walton township; S. S. Hollister and F. A. McBurney.

The state has subpoened twenty witnesses, most of them fro mHalstead, and the defense will bank its case on the testimony of but six witnesses.  The State witnesses are:  C. J. Gram, Frank Baird, Dr. F. L. Abbey, Dr. John W. Sutton, D. E. E. Wuttke, John Vogt, Henry Schultz, Low Bousser, R. L. Carter, Art Johnson, Earl Aiken, Ora Artz, Ernest Smith, Ed Houser, Mrs. John Bertsche, J. W. Green, J. W. Coons, marshal; W. H. Lenz, A. J. Smith, justice; and Milt Cheatum.

Those for the defense are:  John Wiley, the Indian; C. B. Meeker, Dan Free, Fred Kreitmeyer, Wiley Sweepstone and Elmer Ropp.

The empaneling of the jury was followed with the opening statement of the case by the prosecution.  County Attorney Von der Heiden stated that he would produce testimony to show that the defendant was guilty of murder; that James Beatty was shot in the back by John Stickle on the evening of last December 24, in Stickle's house, while Stickle stood in the doorway, and Beatty stood inside in the act of quarreling with "Jumbo" the Indian, whose real name is John Wiley.  This is in direct contradiction to the evidence of the defense, particularly in regard to the relative positions of Stickle and Beatty at the time of the shooting.  The state will maintain that the body of Beatty afer the shooting was dragged into the bedroom and chucked behind the door by either Stickle or his friend the Indian, and that the story told by Stickle to the witnesses, was a "frame up."

After a ten minute recess, Ezra Branine representing the defense outlined the alleged murderer's side of the case.  He told the story throughout in a cear, matter-of-fact manner.  The attorney began with the meeting of the four men, Stickle, Wiley, Wagner and Vogt, down town; told of the plans they had laid to have a Christmas eve celebration at Stickle's home; that Stickle bought the oysters on the way home and in jubilant spiritis the party repaired across the Black Kettle bridge, to the humble home of Stickle, who is a bachelor and lives alone.

The men were in the act of preparing the oyster supper when James Beatty appeared as an uninvited guest.  The story tells of Beatty leaving his home across the bridge from Stickle's, after dark, carrying a lantern.  As he approached the bridge he accosted a number of boys and asked if they had seen the "Indian".  They replied that they had not but supposed he was over to Stickle's.  Continuing his way, Beatty is declared to have threateningly remarked:  "Well I'll get the ------ yet."  Such emphasis did he put into this statement that he aroused the curiosity of the boys who followed to see what he intended to do.  These boys saw the wrangle at the door following Beatty's demand for entrance, heard the quarreling within, and saw the flash of the fatal shot.

The defense's outline of evidence continued taking up each thread of the events following the shooting, how the guets fled, how Beatty who was a powerfu man struck Stickle over the head with a stove poker, inflicting a ragged gash, after he had slugged the Indian and chased him from the house.  At this juncture the Indian's leather cap was produced by Attorney Branine, showing a hole in it that resulted from Beatty's blow, also the broken fragment of the poker which Beatty had carried as a weapon.  The defense claims that Beatty broke the poker when he slugged Stickle.  Fearing that his life was endangered, Stickle is said to have crawled from the spot where he fell beneath Beatty's blow, to a chair in an adjoining bedroom where he always kept his revolver handy, and retaliated with the fatal bullet.

The balance of the story of the defense relates that Beatty staggered into the adjoining roo, that Stickle, spurning the idea of evading the process of the law, honed to Constable Carter to come and arrest him.

The first witness to take the stand was John Vogt, a tall gangling youth of twenty summers, who was one of the party that gathered at Stickle's home on that fatal evening.   Vogt's memory of the event that transpired seemed pretty hazy, aside from the certainty he expressed as to how thoroughly he was frightened by the appearance of Beatty and how fast he ran in avoiding any complicity in the wrangle that seemed imminent.  It is generally admitted that all members of the party were pretty drunk.  Vogt said he went home to get a quart of milk to be used for the oyster stew, and upon returning, spilled the contents of the pail over the kitchen floor.

"What did Beatty say when he came to the door," asked the prosecutor of Vogt.

"He rapped very loudly.  Stickle went to the door, and Beatty asked if the Indian was in."

"What did Stickle say?"

"He told him that he was, but Jumbo refused to go outside."

"What was said then?"

"Don't know exactly, but Beatty did a lot of swearin' and said something about flour and his mother's baking."

"What did Stickle say to this?"

"He tried to quiet Beatty, and said he didn't want any trouble there.  He told Beatty to get off the place."

At this juncture Vogt said he and Wagner decided to retire.  They tried one door and found it locked, and then escaped through the back door.

"Why did you leave?" was asked Vogt.

"Because I was scared."

"Where did you go?"

"I ran home as fast as I could."

Vogt lives about 200 yards from Stickles' house and declares that later he looked back and thought he saw Stickle standing in the doorway.  The defense tried to get Vogt to admit that he didn't know who he was in the door way, for this was a strong point in favor of the prosecution which claims that Stickle stood in the door way and shot Beatty in the back.  Vogt heard the shot.  He did not return to the Stickle house, but went up town.

Lou Brousser made a good witness.  He, with a man named Jones, Carter, Art Johnson and Henry Shultz were among the first to respond to Stickle's phone calls.  They found him seated near the kitchen table, with the phone transmitter to his ear.  The Indian was seated on a chair in the center of the room.  Stickle was continually brushing blood from the wound on his forehead, wringing his hands and weeping.

And these four witnesses testified that the Indian was drunk and Stickle "had had a few drinks."  They testified that the revolver lay on the table, and Shultz found a loaded barrel shot gun in the kitchen.  He removed the shells, Shultz and Johnson didn't remember about the Indian trying to illustrate how Beatty staggered and fell behind the door.

R. L. Carter testified that he has been constable at Halstead for four years.  He received a phone message from Stickle, to come and make the arrest.  He told of the arrival of the doctors, and that Beatty was picked up and placed on the bed.  He was found in a kneeling posture, his face lying against the floor.  Most of the witnesses saw the finger prints of blood on the porch posts, the door, the wall and floor.  The defense claims that this blood came from Stickle's wound.
(Newton Evening Kansan-Republican ~ Thursday ~ May 11, 1911 ~ Page 4)


JOHN  STICKLE  WAS  ACQUITTED

Of Murder of James Beatty---Verdict Rendered at 10:15 Last Night

PLEA  SELF  DEFENSE

John Stickle is acquitted of the charge of murder-in-the-second-degree of James Beatty.  A jury in the Harvey county district court returned the verdict last evening at 10:15 o'clock, following but a fifteen minute deliberation.  Stickles plea was "self defense."

The case closed under the fire of three pleas, as eloquent as ever were heard in the court room, one by County Attorney von der Heiden for the prosecution, and by Attorney Sam Amidon and Harry Hart for the defense.

The crucial points in the case in favor of Stickle were:

The preponderance of evidence to corroborate his version of the killing, viz:  That he was first struck down by Beatty and that he crawled into the bedroom and grasped his gun from off a chair.

That, seeing himself confronted with a revolver, Beatty turned just as the shot was fired, thus explaining the bullet wound in the back.

The general character of the two men---Stickle a bachelor-farmer of good standing in the community whose character was not assailed during the trial, Beatty, recognized as a quarrelsome man who had served in the regular army, on a police force and was six years "bouncer in a saloon."

The testimony of Eddie Hauser who declared he heard Beatty threaten to kill Stickle.

The agreement of Vogt, John Wiley, "the Indian," and Eddie Hauser that the Indian left the house before the shot was fired, thus contradicting the state's version that Beatty and the Indian were engaged in a quarrel within the house and that Stickle shot from behind.

The apparent remorse of John Stickle after the shooting and his emphatic declaration that "I had to do it."  Also his regusal of the opportunity to escape.

The failure of the State to satisfactorily explain the gash Stickle received on the forehead, which the defense claimed was from a blow by Beatty.

The superior physical strength of Beatty who was described by the doctors as a "powerful speciman of manhood."

And lastly and most important of all the fact that Beatty, armed with a stove-lid holder went to Stickle's home hunting trouble, that he spurned Stickle's orders not have trouble in his house, and that he broke up a hospitable gathering and drove Stickle's guests from the house.

John Stickle of Halstead was given a dual personality by the eloquent words of attorneys in their final pleas, and it remained with the twelve men of the jury to make the final decision as to which they would accept---the description of John Stickle, the murderer who in cold blood shot his neighbor and former friend in the back, or John Stickle, the home defender who witnessed his three guests driven from his house by a powerful "ex-saloon bouncer' and was himself felled by a blow on the head and finally compelled to grab his revolver and shoot in self defense.

These two pictures were presented to the jury in graphic words yesterday afternoon and last evening by Attorneys Morgan and von der Heiden in turn for the State, and by Attorneys Branine and Amidon for the defense.  The arguments were concluded at a session last evening and the case was turn over to the jury at 10 p.m.

At 4 p.m. Attorney Branine for the defense announced to the court, "The defense rests."  The State sitll had some witnesses who had not taken the stand.  They were some of the boys who followed James Beatty to the home of John Stickle on last Christmas eve and at a distance as best they could witnessed the scene of the tragedy.  But one of the four boys were put on the stand, and his version did not help the case of the State.  After a recess, at 4:10 p.m., County Attorney von der Heiden announced that "The State rests."  The testimony was thus concluded and the court dismissed all witnesses in the case, and proceeded to read his instructions to the jury, which were separate and distinct charges, and were quite lengthy.  The judge outlined the uncontested facts in the case, mentioning that John Stickle was charged with "murder in the second degree."  The court gave a full definition of each of the degrees of murder and man slaughter.  He stated to what extent a man shall defend his home against desecration.  First he shall endeavor to avoid any trouble by reprimand, next by ordering any trouble maker from his place, and if he refuses to leave, to "take such means as become necessary."  He also stated that in extreme cases in order to protecthis life, a man is excusable for taking the life of another.

Attorney Morgan opened for the State.  He talked for an hour, drawing the net work of circumstantial evidence, closer and closer about the defendant, John Stickle who sat unmoved in his chair only a few feet distant.  Finally with a voluminous voice, Attorney Morgan turned on the defendant with scatching words and shouted "That man shot down his neighbor and former friend in cold blood, shot him from behind while Beatty was engaging the Indian in a quarrel, shot him in the back in a murderous and cowardly manner."

The emphasis and bitter irony with which the attorney, sent the words home, shot a cold chil through the audience.  But if the attorney hoped to moved the stolid John Stickle, he failed.  Stickle's eyes remained riveted on those of his eloquent assailant.  With the characteristic stoicism of his Teutonic fore fathers, Stickle, with nerves of steel sat like a statue.

Attorney Morgan dwelt particularly upon the testimony of John Vogt, one of Stickle's guests on the evening of the shooting who declared that after he had fled from the house he looked back and saw John Stickle standing in the doorway.  He claimed that Stickle was distinguished by the fact that he was the only one of the party who had on an overcoat.  The argument proceeded that it was but a few seconds later when the shot was fired, even before Stickle had time to engage in a row with Beatty and crawl into the bedroom as he said he did, to get his gun, and while the Indian was still in the house.

It annoyed the attorney somewhat to explain just how Stickle received the wound on the forehead.  At any rate, he said it was not serious and probably was administered by Beatty after he had been shot.

The most probable way to account for the body of Beatty being behind the door in the bedroom, was that after seeing who his assailant was, Beatty, being unable to escape through the front door where Stickle stood with the revolver in his hand, fled through the bedroom door and attempted to close the door with the weight of his body.  It was in this position that he died almost immediately.

The fact that John Stickle told many of those who rushed to the scene of the tragedy, soon after the shooting, "I am a murderer," was used by the State for all it was worth, while the defense continually brought out the blance of his statement:  "I had to do it, he knocked me on the head."

A pathetic touch was brought into the case by the testimony of John Stickle's sister, Mrs. Henry Holly of Halstead and her husband who arrived at the Stickle home about 10 p.m., the evening of the shooting.  "Write my poor old father in Germany, that his boy is a murderer," Stickle is said to have told them.  Mrs. Holly was moved by this recollection and her voice choked up, her thoughts seemed far away from the scenes about her, and it was with some difficulty that she brought her mind to bear on the questions asked by the attorneys.

This fragment was used at length by the attorneys for both sides.  Attorney Morgan included another picture.  That of an aged woman in black wandering among the pathways of the Halstead cemetery to a little head stone bearing the name, "James Beatty."

"O yes" remarked the attorney, "that's Jim's mother; it was her big stalwart boy whose life was so unnecessarily sacrificed on last Christmas eve."

Attorney Branine for the defense occupied the attention of the jury for the next hour.  The climax of Attorney Branine's appeal for the acquittal of his client was especially strong, and tears welded into the jurymen's eyes as he elevated the humble cottage of John Stickle a bachelor who lives alone, to the sacred position of a home.

"There is not one man in a thousand who would have done otherwise than did John Stickle on that unfortunate evening," said Attorney Branine, his voice rising with emotion.  "He saw his guests driven from his home by this powerful man.  He saw one of them struck to the floor by a blow from the weapon Beatty carried, and then with the viciousness of a beast he turned to the owner of the home and struck him down with a wicked blow, and according to the testimony of one witness, declaring with terrible oaths:  "I'll you you, you ------- --------."

Attorney Branine characterized Attorney Morgan's description of the evidence as "a spider webb of imagination."  He brought out points in the evidence favorable to the defense, particularly that of Ed Hauser who had declared on the witness stand that as he stood in front of the house, he saw Beatty rush in and later amid the crashing of furniture and the scuffling of feet he heard Beatty declare he would kill John Stickle, who at that time was the only man in the house besides Beatty, the Indian having escaped.  This was most telling testimony.  But under the grilling on cross examination by Attorney Morgan, the boy became frightened, and admitted that previously he had admitted that he was not able to distinguish the words from within the house, aside from curses.  Finally the attorney asked:  "Eddie were you telling the truth then or are you telling it now?" and Eddie replied firmly, "I'm telling it now."

The evening session was taken up by the pleas of Attorney von der Heiden for the prosecution and Sam Amidon of Wichita for the defense.  It was a battle of eloquence with the odds considerably in favor of the defense because the preponderence of the testimony had tended to corroborate Stickle's version of the shooting.

The case wen to the jury at 10 o'clock and within fifteen minutes the verdict was reached.
(Newton Evening Kansan-Republican ~ Friday ~ May 12, 1911 ~ Page 8)


"THE  IRONY  OF  FATE"

The justice and injustice of the jury system is a problem that doesn't simplify the weight of discussion.  A most vivid illustration of the uncertainties of the jury-justice occurred in Harvey county.  John Stickle of Halstead was tried last February for the killing of James Beatty, his neighbor.  After the case had been laid before twelve men "tried and true," a final vote of 7 to 5 for acquittal was reached.  For three days the jury pondered and floundered and voted, but the 7 to 5 standing was final.  Three months have elapsed and the case again appears for trial.  Practically the same evidence is presented as at the previous trial.  The same old arguments are repeated, but this time to a new jury.  This jury upon the very first ballot voted 12 to 0 for acquittal.  Now where is the mental analyist who can explain this?  If the unanimous verdict of recent date is justice, what was the 7 to 5 vote?  Was it just plain "irony of fate," or stubbornness?  It is such wide varieties as these two juries represent that puts the jury system in a sort of lottery class, and it is a serious question whether or not this particular legal regulation should be changed to a majority vote, rather than a unanimous vote.
(Newton Evening Kansan-Republican ~ Monday ~ May 15, 1911 ~ Page 2)

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