Reports from the Lincoln Republican,1888 and 1889:
Jan. 5, 1888
Tuesday noon, Pat Cleary came into town in company with a constable and reported to the deputy sheriff, saying he had shot and killed his neighbor "Dick" Turner. The coroner and county attorney were notified, and at 3 o'clock, they went to the scene of the killing to hold an inquest. The neighbors say that bad blood had existed for two or three years between Cleary and Turner. That Turner has always carried a revolver. That Cleary is not particularly a bad man, but rather quarrelsome. Cleary's story as given by him and his son-in-law, Mr. Beggs, is that tuesday morning, while Cleary was feeding his hogs at home, Turner came to the gate in front of the house and called him out. That some harsh words used by both parties and that Turner drew his revolver and snapped it twice; it failed to explode the cartridge. Cleary, thinking his life in danger, drew his revolver and fired, killing Turner instantly. Both men were over 45 years of age. Turner was a widower, and has two sons living. Cleary has a family. It is a very unfortunate affair taken in any light, as one man has lost a life, and another bears the brand of Cain. The habit of carrying a revolver in a civilized country, is a bad one for a man to acquire, and if it costs him his life, or a lot of trouble, he has no one to blame but himself. The coroner had the body brought to the city Tuesday evening and yesterday morning at 10 o'clock began the inquest. A bullet hole was found in Turner's head, in the left temple. He was a man of fifty-nine years of age, tall but spare build, and does not appear to be any where near Cleary's match physically, as Cleary is apparently a very strong man. At the inquest, fifteen or twenty witnesses were sworn for the defense.
It was eleven o'clock yesterday before any witnesses were sworn in the case, and as there proved to be such a vast amount of evidence, we could not hold the paper back to give it, but give a brief synopsis of George Beggs' testimony. Beggs' wife is a niece of Pat Cleary.
The coroner's jury is composed of R.S. Wilmarth, Frank Cogswell, C.E. Hutchins, Geo. Bertelson, S. Stover and M. Gragg. DeArmond, coroner.
George was sworn. He said he boarded with John Cleary, on Elkhorn. On Tuesday morning about 9 o'clock, he was in a shed at Mrs. Deats, oiling a buggy, heard a shot at Pat Cleary's, looked in that direction, saw two persons run from house to gate and back, thought they were shooting at a mark; heard no other shots, went into house, sat down, remained about three minutes. Was on the road to house when heard the shot. In about three minutes, Cleary's boy rode up to the door, called me, said "Pa has killed Turner and wants you to come down." Got on horse, rode down, passed Greenway in wagon on road going towards Cleary's. No one near body when I arrived at it, saw no one near it while I was going, could see it in road after I left Mrs. Deats' house 10 rods. Ball entered Turner's head in left temple. When I came up, John Cleary came out of house, said "old man is done up." Pat followed about 10 feet behind him. Greenway has Pat's revolver in his possession.
Beggs said he saw Pat Cleary hand that revolver to Greenway, and heard him say,"I am your prisoner and I give myself into your possession.
Pat said: Turner came along road while I was throwing corn out of a crib and after getting about 50 feet north of the gap, called to him and , said, "Well, Pat I am going to water those cattle down there again." Pat replied, "you are not, or I will take them up." Turner said, "By God you can't do it." Pat said, "I will try anyway," Turner said, "you come down here monkeying with me and I will shoot hell out of you; if you don't shut up I will club hell out of you now," and started towards Cleary. Turner was horse back. Pat said, "don't hit me with that club;" tried to get out of his way. Turner drew revolver, and began snapping at him, he started to run, though could not get out of his way on account of the hedge, and it would be best to stand his ground, as Turner could go faster than he could. He turned then drew his revolver and shot at Turner. Turner's horse jumped and threw him off. Body was lying on left side, head towards north, about 20 feet west of hedge and 50 north of gap in hedge; Cleary's house about 60 feet from gap on east side of road. Pool of blood under Turner's head, right mitten lying four feet east of body, revolver, Smith and Wesson, 10 feet east of body in wagon track. Club about 3 feet long, lying partly under body, and partly on left arm, mitten on left hand; did not appear to have been any struggle, few drops of blood two feet from head of body. Mr. Greenway picked the revolver up from where it lay.
The balance of the story is that for some time the two men have had trouble over watering cattle on a piece of speculator's land. Turner kept his cattle 2 1/2 miles north of Cleary's place and passed Cleary's on the way to them. Cleary had notified him not to water there, by a note the evening before, as well as by word through both of Turner's boys. The young man who carried the note to Turner's home, Monday night, saw a boy cleaning two revolvers. Turner nor his sons were not at home that evening. Turner was at Mr. Jacoxs. Bad blood has existed between the two men for the past six years.
Just what the result of the inquest will be cannot, at this writing, 1 P.M. Wednesday, be guessed at, as there is more than one side to the case by a large majority.
On Friday morning last, the case of the state of Kansas vs. Patrick Cleary, was called for trial upon the charge of feloniously killing Jesse Turner on January 3rd, 1888. A plea of not guilty as charged, was entered and the work of empaneling a jury was begun. Ed F. Coad, Mr. Garver, and Frank Downey, attorneys for the state, and Col. Mohler, Ira Buzick, and Dunham and Minx for the defense.
The regular and special jury list of 36 was exhausted and a special of 50 more was summoned. All day Saturday and up to noon Monday, was spent in selecting a jury, which was finally succeeded in, but not before the special list of fifty had about been exhausted, and the challenges of both sides, likewise, been gone through with.
The jury as sworn in and that is trying the case is made up as follows: W. M. Brownlee, C. C. Sperry, C. D. High, H. Johnson, Christ Cruse, George Toliver, Thomas Rutledge, Oscar Gorton, S. Garrison, P.E. Percival, J. K. Stevenson, and William Shroder. It is apparently an average jury, and one that will try its duty.
The rule of not letting any witnesses in the room until the case was given to the jury excepting the one giving his testimony, was applied.
The evidence brought out by the state is much like that secured at the coroner's inquest, and at the preliminary trial. We intended to have given a synopsis of evidence in this case, but finding that the evidence of the state could only be given this week, we abandoned it. Tuesday evening the state rested its case after introducing a large amount of evidence intended to convey the impression that it was a premeditated and cold blooded murder.
The defense opened up their side of the case yesterday morning, and if work is expedited, the case ought to go to the jury this week. The defense will try to show that the killing was in self defense and that Turner had threatened Cleary's life as often as Cleary had Turner's.
What ever the verdict is, we will try to give the evidence brought out in the trial in next week's paper. The states evidence so far as briefed to us by an expert, would make over two columns of very interesting reading.
......in the public highway in front of Patsy Cleary's house in Franklin township, this county. I think I got out there before two or three o'clock in the afternoon. The body lay on the left side of the road, the left arm doubled up. There was quite a number present at the time. Empaneled a jury there on the ground. There was a cap on the head of the body when I got there. I noticed a wound about the left temple, close to the eye brow; saw a bullet hole. When I first saw the body the wound was covered with his cap; the cap was down over the wound. There was a mitten on his left hand; I saw another mitten about there. I don't remember when I first saw it, before they picked it up or not. I received two revolvers from Mr. Greenway, I think, or the county attorney. I saw the ball taken out of the brain; saw the course of the ball. It was, as near as I can remember, a horizontal line. The body lay in public highway, a little northeast of defendant's house. The Saturday following shooting, measurements were taken from the different points, from the head of the body to the center of the road; from head to about where they said the pistol lay. I didn't know where it lay; Mr. Downey told me, I believe. The different points were measured. I noticed a stick about the body. The body was lying upon its side and the stick was lying upon his arm. I think that one end of the stick was lying on the arm. When I first noticed it I saw blood upon the stick; upon the top part; the top end. I did not examine it particularly. The blood looked like it had been smeared there. The blood did not look like it had run down on the stick. There was not very much blood upon the stick. I should say about eight or ten inches from the top. I noticed blood marks where the head was laying; I noticed no blood marks any other place. Noticed the horse there with a saddle and bridle upon it; the saddle was turned over upon the right side of the horse. I looked at the horse and saw blood marks upon it. They looked like there had been something swiped down upon the side of the horse. They were probably one or two inches wide and eight or ten inches long. This was upon the right shoulder, back of where the collar works. I don't remember of noticing any blood upon the neck of the horse. I heard him make a statement upon the coroner's inquest. It was voluntary. I don't remember whether he was subpoenaed to appear and testify or not; he was asked if he wanted to make a statement, and he said he did. He was brought down from the jail by the officer. He stated that the shooting of Mr. Turner was done with that revolver; that he did the shooting in self defense. I think the body was 150 or 160 feet from defendant's house there. There is a gate going into the house. I think the body was lying sixty or seventy feet directly north of that gap or gate. The head was lying north and probably a little east of north.
CROSS EXAMINATION.--I am not positive whether defendant had this pistol in his hands at the time he made his statement. He stated in the same statement that he had been out to his corn crib and had been throwing some nubbins to his stock; that Mr. Turner had rode by; that Mr. Turner had passed by the gap some distance when he called; ("Come over here Pat,") or something like that, and then Pat went out to the gap. When he came out to the gap, he saw Turner sitting on his horse, facing south, something like that, I presume that is it. He said something to the effect to Pat, "What are you going to do about that watering place?" Don't know whether Turner asked him, or he asked Turner. Pat said, "I don't propose to let you water there. I have bought the ground and the privilege of the watering place myself, and I need it," some words to that effect. Well, Pat said a good deal about his watering place. I don't know whether he said that the old man said he wouldn't let him water there or not, but there was something said about seeing about it. He testified that the old man said Pat couldn't keep him from watering there, and Pat said, "we will see about that" there was some to that effect. Pat said something about seeing about watering there, and the old man said if he came down there, he would kill him or something to that effect, and Pat said something to him. He said the old man went to pull his club and said, "God damn you I will kill you now," or something to that effect, pulled his club upon him and Pat jumped back; or turned to go toward the gate. He stated something like that, and then he thought have time to get to the gate before the old man would kill him. I think he said, as he turned to go to the hedge he thought the distance was too far, and he couldn't get through, or something like that and he turned to the old man and said, "God damn you don't you hit me with that club," and the old man lay down the club in front of him, on the pommel of the saddle, and as he laid it down, he pulled the mitten off his right hand. He thought he reached for his pistol, either in his belt or behind here; he got his pistol and drew upon him and Pat drew his about the same time, and as Turner drew down the second time, I think Pat fired. He said he thought the distance was too great; that he was afraid that Turner would shoot him before he could get through. He said he was afraid he would overtake him. I don't think now that he said he would shoot him before he could get to the gate, but he would overtake him, Turner being on horseback. I wouldn't swear positively that was all he said, but nearly that statement. As I understood and now remember it. The hedge was on an average of about twelve feet high along there. There were no leaves upon it unless dried ones. I wouldn't want to jump through the hedge any place. I don't think a man could get through. I think the only way as nearly as I could see for the defendant to get out of the way was to go to the gap at the time he said Turner was pulling down upon him. He was five or six paces from him; I believe he said, nineteen or twenty-one feet. I think he said that Turner snapped it twice at him. I think he said that he snapped it at him twice instead of him pulling it down twice upon him. I don't recollect that he snapped it as he drew it down. He said he snapped it twice. He fired at the time Turner drew it down the second time. He said it was too far, I think to the gap and he couldn't get through the hedge until Turner would overtake him. He didn't say he would overtake him with a pistol shot.
(The next witness examined, was George Greenway the constable, who brought defendant to Lincoln Center, and who was the first person to come along the road after the shooting.)
Saw the body of Jesse Turner in front of defendant's house, on the 3rd day of January last, I think about nine o'clock in the morning. Live northwest of defendant's house about 3 1/2 miles. was going for a load of wood up the creek. There is a store, 3 1/4 mile north of defendant's house. Defendant's house on east and store on west side of the road. Stopped at store probably ten or fifteen minutes. I saw Ira McReynolds there when I drove up to the store. After I started to drive south, I saw a person going south on foot, and saw a person ride north on horseback. The person riding went to Mrs. Deats. She is a sister to the defendant. I didn't notice what the person did there. There was a person rode away from Mrs. Deats'. I didn't know at the time who it was, but learned later it was George Beggs, who was married to the daughter of Mrs. Deats. Was probably ten or fifteen rods behind him when he came out from Mrs. Deats' and went in the main road south from there. I think about ten or fifteen rods north of the corner of Pat Cleary's hedge is where I noticed him; that he would be about a half mile from the store, lacking fifteen or twenty rods. I don't know how far I was from the store when I saw that person on foot. The person traveling at a good brisk walk. I suppose he was walking fast from the manner he was swinging his arms. I could not distinguish who that person was from where I was. I did notice enough to know whether a man or woman. that person was south of John Cleary's house, I judge about sixty rods. In looking down the road south you can see right along the road to the hedge, you can see a half a mile to where the road runs to the northwest corner of the hedge. The road makes a turn at that point. I don't remember seeing any other person on that road. Little John Cleary, son of defendant, got in the wagon with me a little south of the path that goes to Mrs. Deats' place. The person who rode on horseback, was right ahead of me. I think the person was this side of the bend in the hedge, when the boy got in the wagon. I drove on down the road to Pat Cleary's, and the first persons I saw were John Cleary and Pat, I think, they were coming through the gate. I think I was probably four rods north of the gate when I saw them. I saw the body of Turner lying on the road there before I got to it; I first saw the body at the corner of the hedge; I suppose about seventy rods before I got to it. I could not see the body from the time the boy jumped in the wagon and the time I reached the bend of that hedge. I could see the object there after I passed the end of the hedge. Of course, if I had not what it was probably I would not. My attention had been called to it before by the boy. When I drove up there I think Johnnie spoke first. I did not understand him. I was then, at the time he spoke, about four rods from the body; was driving right along the road. Pat spoke next and said, "Don't run over that pistol." He swore too. He said, "God damn it, don't run over that pistol," made a motion, threw his hand in that way then I stopped. I saw the pistol lying the road; it was what he called Mr. Turner's. This is the pistol he called Mr. Turner's. It was lying in the west wagon track of the road, northeast from the body. It was probably fourteen or fifteen feet from the body. I stooped to examine the body and discovered a pool of blood; I supposed that Turner was dead; went and touched him. I took him to be shot about the left eye at that time. I think Pat Cleary told me how it was done before I went to examine the body. He did not say at that time where he was shot. I pushed the cap back to see if there was any blood running, and just raised his head; no blood running. I pushed the cap back a little. I noticed the stick at the time. It was lying under him. Did not notice at that time whether there was any blood on it or not. Noticed one little spot of blood about three feet northeast of where head laid. I wouldn't have noticed it, but Mrs. Deats spoke of it; she said not to let the dog that was around there, lick the blood. Pat Cleary said Turner came along and hailed him, and said something about watering his stock. He said Turner said, "I am going to water them there today and if you come up around there you are going to get hurt." They had been talking about the watering place. Turner raised his club and said, "I will club hell right out of you right here." At that, Pat says He shoved his hand in his pocket to get his pistol; said it was under his handkerchief. It took him quite a little while to fumble it out. At that Turner took his mitten off and made these two motions and as he was making his last motion, he fired at him and dropped. He said nothing else as to Turner's efforts to shoot him, and as to what he thought when Turner made his last motion, at that time. I don't remember as he said anything as to what Turner did with the pistol, when he made these motions, at that time. He said at another time, on the road coming up to town, that same day, I think on section 17, that Turner snapped the pistol. When he made the motion he heard the pistol snap; he was sure he heard it distinctly. He said the second time he fired. George Beggs was in the wagon coming to town, and when he told about the snapping I looked at the cartridges. He surrendered himself to me that day.
Mr. Gragg was the next witness called and testified reference to the location of the body substantially as the witness heretofore testified. Testified with reference to the examination of the spot of blood on the grass, about four feet from where the head lay. Examined that carefully and found the ground was wet with blood. It had soaked in the ground and around the roots of the grass. We dug around it. I noticed the stick lying under the body; had blood upon it six or eight inches down along it. The blood on the stick looked as if it had been rubbed on; it didn't have the appearance of blood having poured over it. I did not notice any blood upon the clothing of the body only on the outside of the sleeve; there was no blood upon the clothing, nor the mitten, nor upon the hand. The right hand was bare. This mark upon the sleeve was where the blood had run from the head. I saw a mitten lying perhaps four feet from the head, a little to the northeast from the head of the body;I did not see any blood marks upon the stick where it was lying at that time nor in the vicinity of the stick.
Sam Brunt was next called as a witness to identify plat of the premises and distances of different locations surrounding the transaction as pointed out to him. R. S. Wilmarth called and testified in substance as the witness M. Gragg, being one of the coroner's jury. J.W. McReynolds called as the next witness in behalf of the state, testified to a threat made by defendant Pat Cleary about seven years ago, against some parties in the neighborhood of defendant, who were connected with a case in court about that time in which Pat Cleary was prosecuting witness, and had the costs of the case taxed against him; the parties he spoke of in the conversation with the witness were those who had costs in the case and were pushing for their costs. He said there were five or six men on the creek he would as like kill as not, that he could get out of here that he would kill them if they didn't leave him alone, there was nothing to keep him here, and that he could kill them and get out of here; he called Mr. Turner old blue jacket and generally called him that. He spoke more particularly of Mr. Turner. On the day of the killing of Mr. Turner, the witness drove to the house of Mrs. Deats, sister of defendant. I suppose I stopped there not over five minutes; and drove from there to the school house; stopped at the school house only a few minutes. Picked up my boy in the buggy, then drove south little over a half a mile; my boy got out there at the north end of the hedge to get a mule on the wheat. Then I drove on towards Ellsworth. Drove pretty fast gait. Had a good team and was in a buggy.
Mattie Moss, was called by state, testified to seeing someone on horseback, going north at an ordinary gait, after the horseman got perhaps a little past defendant's place, someone came out and motioned to him, don't know whether horseman was Mr. Turner or not, don't whether the person who hailed the horseman was defendant, could not distinguish. Witness stood at window of school room looking in direction of defendant's place, soon after seeing the man hail the man on horseback, saw a group of men out front of defendant's house; what made me notice the men particularly, was Grace Cleary, the daughter of defendant, looking in that direction. The man on horseback was riding a bay horse, I think, I did not notice closely the color of the horse he was riding.
The state introduced three or four other witnesses who testified to threats made by defendant against Jesse Turner and others in the neighborhood. Some of the witnesses who testified to threats made by defendant, on cross examination, admitted that they were not friendly terms with defendant at this time, nor had not been for some time. There upon the state rested at 4 o'clock. Tuesday P.M., after Mr. Buzick had made a statement for defendant, court adjourned until Wednesday morning.
Charles Turner, the son of the deceased, was the first witness called to testify in behalf of defendant; I saw Pat Cleary the day before my father was killed. He came down to where watering the cattle my father was keeping for Mr. Slavens of Kansas City. He came there to where we were on Monday. Witness was asked what defendant said, then, which evidence was objected to by council for state, as being incompetent to bring declarations accepted to the ruling of the court in excluding the conversation had at the watering place. Defendant sent message by the witness to his father, that he (def.) did not want him to water his cattle there, that he wanted the water for his own cattle. Defendant said we could water them there that day but he did not want us to water them there any more. I went with my father the evening before the day he was killed, to Mr. Jaycox' when my father borrowed a revolver. My father said he was going to water the cattle there next day and wanted something to defend himself with. He was going to buy a pistol from Mr. Jaycox. I don't remember of his saying anything more than that. There were two revolvers at my father's home, one small one, belonging to a boy working there and one navy revolver belonging to my brother. The little revolver, my father sold to Arthur White, the boy helping us herd cattle. We had our cattle on corn stalks at that time; this was the only watering place we had. Mr. Cleary had his cattle about three or four miles from the watering place. He had not had his cattle there. There was plenty of water there. My father had got the privilege of this water from Charley Jones before that; after receiving a note from defendant, deceased and saw Charley Jones again to see it was all right for deceased to water his cattle there. My father came to the herd that witness saw defendant at watering place and witness told his father; then deceased went and saw Charley Jones about the watering privilege, so deceased told witness when he came home that night.
N.B. Armond was called to identify a letter found upon the body of Jesse Turner, which was signed by defendant, notifying deceased pass upon the land upon which the watering place is situated.
Neal Smith called witness to testify as to a statement made by deceased about defendant, as to what "deceased would have done upon one occasion in the past if defendant had come close to deceased" This class of testimony was objected to by council for state as being no threat as to deceased's intentions in the future and being incompetent and inadmissible, which objections was by the court, sustained and evidence excluded.
Willis DeShazer was the next witness called in behalf of the defense: Heard Turner make a threat against Cleary six or seven years ago, while Cleary was in the mountains. Turner said there was an old son of a bitch, up in the hills, if he ever came back to this country, he would kill him. Witness asked Turner who it was and he said Cleary; Turner's general reputation in that neighborhood was that of being a quarrelsome man.
CROSS EXAMINATION.--Witness lives about 12 or 15 mlles from Turner, lived in Turner's neighborhood one winter; moved from Mulberry to Turner's neighborhood which is about 12 or 15 miles away.
Henry C. Prudent was next witness called. Testified to having heard Turner make a threat against Pat Cleary two times. The first was along about last spring. Mr. Turner came out to the road as I passed; saw a revolver in his pocket. Witness asked Turner what he carried a "pop" for. Turner pulled out the revolver and said, "I calculate Mr. Cleary with that if I can." He said the trouble between him and Pat Cleary was on account of old grudges. The second threat made by Turner was last fall at my house at a dance. Mr. Turner came with his boys. Turner went out doors, witness followed. In a conversation outside Turner said he came to kill Pat Cleary that night. Witness saw bulge in pocket having appearance of a revolver.
CROSS EXAMINATION.--Witness lives in Salina; lived at Lincoln a short time, did not leave that neighborhood because of stealing potatoes; they did not find them at my place. About the time I left this town, I took an overcoat belonging to Tom Bran and cut the tail off of it so it would not be recognized. I afterwards paid for it.
George Masterson was called and testified to a threat made by Turner at one time, that if Pat Cleary didn't leave him alone he would shoot him. I have heard Turner say at other times that he didn't like Pat Cleary and didn't want to have anything to do with him.
Rose DeShazer testified to having heard a threat made by Jesse Turner a year ago this winter, that if Mr. Cleary let his boys on his place he would blow him full of holes." At another time I heard him say "he would like to blow Mr. Cleary, for he was a son of a bitch." Turner had the reputation of being quarrelsome.
CROSS EXAMINATION.--Lived in Turner's neighborhood one winter. Witness was very hard of hearing.
Geo. W. Beggs testified as to Turner's reputation as being a very hotheaded, plucky old man.
CROSS EXAMINATION.--Am related to defendant; married his niece; have a good bit of interest in this case; I claim to have heard the pistol shot that killed Turner; witness boarded at John Cleary's place on 3rd day of Jan. and roomed at his mother-in-law's, Mrs. Deats. John Cleary lives about 100 rods from defendant's house. Witness was an enemy of Turner at the time of his death.
Wm, Jones testified to having heard Mr. Turner make a threat against Mr. Cleary shortly after the difficulty between Turner and Geo. Beggs. Turner said he would kill Pat Cleary. Turner never did me any harm, but most of them thought he was not so peaceable, a man.
CROSS EXAMINATION.--It will be three years in April since Turner made this threat against Cleary; I was 15 years old at that time; have heard three of DeShazer families, Cleary families, talk about Turner, and Mr. Dilly said he was not a very peaceable man.
L.E. Brown testified to a threat made by Turner about 18 months ago against defendant, that he would kill him and John Cleary, at Turner's place. Turner at another time said he was not afraid of the Cleary's; could whip them in any way but that he would not do it that way, but would shoot hell out of them.
CROSS EXAMINATION.--Live in Ellsworth County; this conversation was about a half a mile from Turner's place; never heard him say he was going to kill Pat Cleary but once; he said if they gave him the chance he would shoot them-both of them. I don't think he said he was afraid he would not have a chance for a fair fight with them.
A.J. Dilley to a threat by Turner against defendant, the deceased said he would use the revolver shown witness, on Geo. Beggs and Pat Cleary if they ever tackled him or crossed his path.
Fred Buckner testified that deceased had rather a quarrelsome disposition.
CROSS EXAMINATION.--Am brother-in-law to John Cleary.
John Demming testified to taking note from defendant to deceased about the watering place notifying deceased that defendant had that privilege for himself, and to seeing Arthur White at deceased' house, cleaning two revolvers the day before his death.
Jno. Donelly testified to conversation with deceased about his carrying a revolver in which deceased said he carried it to defend himself, between him and Geo. Beggs; conversation was a year ago last fall.
John W. Cleary was the next witness called; testified that he was at his father's house the day Mr. was killed; that he heard the pistol shot, saw Turner and his father, and saw the difficulty between them; witness heard Turner call to his father; did not see Turner at the time; the sound came from the road; recognized the voice as that of Turner, couldn't understand the exact words he said; was sitting with my back to the window when I heard the call, then got up and went out of the west door; was sitting in the south door when I heard the call. When witness stepped to the door he saw Turner on his horse, out in the road facing south, first saw my father going past the end of the house as I stepped outside, towards the gate; Turner was then facing south; father went up to Mr. Turner; then I heard Turner say "you son of a bitch" I will kill you" and raised the club up and started for my father; raised it up in his left hand and then I saw my father go backwards; I did not hear my father say any thing; then the next I saw was Mr. Turner pulling his revolver, he had laid his club down a little; then I saw Turner come this way (indicating two motions) pointing towards my father; I did not hear anything then. After Turner pulled the second time, or, as he was pulling it the second time, my father fired the shot; then Turner's horse jumped backwards; and the horse wheeled out to the right and went to the west; Turner fell off backwards; My father was standing in the road at the time Turner fell off the horse. After Turner fell off the horse father started to go back towards the house; I then ran out to the gate and met my father; then we all turned and went back to the body, or within eight or ten feet of it--my father, Uncle John, and myself. We did not touch the body; we then turned and went towards the house, and I went on a horse for George Beggs; he was down at Mrs. Deats'; he told me he would come up as quick as he could. I told George Beggs what had happened, and he got on my horse and went ahead of me; I afterwards met Mr. Greenway and rode with him. As Mr. Greenway and I came up, my father, George Beggs, and Uncle John Cleary came out of the gate; I should say I was gone from five or eight minutes; I saw the pistol that Turner had drawn lying in the road; when father shot, The pistol Turner had, fell out of his hand to the ground. It is about 3/4 of a mile from father's to Mrs. Deats' place. I was at school the Monday before Mr. Turner was killed, and also the week before; there was nobody at our house that morning before Turner came along except Uncle John, my mother and sister were there-my sister Sadie, who is about 14 years old. Turner came along a little before 9 o'clock, I think. My father told me that morning at breakfast to go and take care of Uncle John's cattle, and I went to where the cattle were, south. I saw Turner as I came back from there, on a horse; my uncle sent his boys down to take care of the cattle is the reason I did not take them; my Uncle John wanted to go down to the water my father had bought. It was down where Turner had his cattle. Father was in the house when I came back about half past eight o'clock; my brothers and sisters that go to school had gone then; my father, when I got back, was melting some shot on the stove to load up an old revolver, to make bullets from; he was making them to load an old navy revolver he had got at Mills' I don't know whether it was at home before I went to take care of Uncle John's cattle; it was on the table when I got back; I oiled it after I got back; my father was standing at the stove, mother was wiping dishes at the table; after I got back, I guess my Uncle John came in about ten or fifteen minutes; my mother went into the north room before Turner came along; My father went out the east door; picked up a revolver before he went. He took the revolver off the safe in the west corner of the of the northwest corner of the room; my mother went into the north room shortly after my father took the pistol and went into the north room; she didn't say any thing when she went in there; she didn't say she felt so badly; I think I said after it was over, that my father did not say where he was going to when out of the east door; I did not know Turner was coming when father went out the east door; I had not heard any one say he I didn't see this revolver that morning until father picked off the safe then my father had a revolver he generally carried it, and when he came in, would leave it different places; I don't know whether the revolver was load when he took it or not. I did not hear my father and Uncle John talk about Turner in the room before father went out. The first thing I knew someone hollooed, and then I got up and went to the door; looked out of the window first; saw Turner standing there; his horse then facing south; he was 25 or feet below the gap. When I out of the west door, Uncle John followed me. Neither Turner or father said anything from the time I opened the door until father got to the gap; no one answered Turner and asked him what he wanted; no others were there when Turner was killed. Father went out within six or eight feet of Turner, after they had been talking a little while, Turner raised his stick; he took the stick near the middle; he said, "you son of a bitch, I will kill you." When he said this his horse went forward three, four, six, or eight feet; he dropped the stick down a little; the stick was in his left hand; did not see Turner put his hand in his pocket for his pistol; I just saw him draw it; didn't see my father's pistol until he fired My father pulled his pistol out and held it there a little; he put his down when Turner raised his stick.
Mary E. Cleary, the wife of the defendant, testified to going into the no north room shortly after defendant; went out of south room and sitting in a chair; after a shirt time heard a call which she recognized as no being the voice of her husband. Afterwards, in a short hears a pistol shot. Witness didn't go out of the house.
CROSS EXAMINATION.--Don't know the number of words in the call; there was a window in the north room; I did not look out of it; not with my back to it. The sound came from the direction of the road.
W.J. Mills called; testified to a threat made by the deceased last April when the deceased showed witness his revolver, and said he got it for George Beggs and the damned Cleary outfit.
Bruce Gentry was the next witness sworn for defendant, who testified to letting cattle for Slavens of K.C. to both defendant and deceased in a conversation with deceased, witness told deceased he ought to be careful and not have the cattle mixed whereupon the deceased told him he could hold his own.
E.S. Bower called: Testified to leasing defendant the water privileges heretofore testified about, at which Turner watered his cattle, some time last fall. When defendant leased it he said Charlie Jones had leased to one of his neighbors, or his neighbor claimed it. In a few days he paid me two dollars upon the lease.
Sarah DeShazer testified to a threat made by deceased to her in March, 1887, in which if defendant ever moved on the place which he now lives on he would kill him.
The state then called six witnesses who testified to general reputation of deceased as being a peaceable and a quiet citizen in the neighborhood.
Florence Mills called; Testified to a conversation with Mrs. Cleary the day of the killing when witness went there shortly after the killing, in which Mrs. Cleary said that Mr. started to go out of the west door and halted and turned around, and went out at the east door, and hesitated a few minutes at the southeast corner of the house and then went out and called to Mr. Turner. She said she would never forget the look he had on his face. The next day, witness saw Mrs. Cleary and Mrs. Cleary said Mr. Turner called to Mr. Cleary. Witness said what a pity he had not stayed at their house a little longer. Mrs. Cleary said likely, had they met at the watering place, it might have been worse.
J. A. Farqyson testified to being on the corner at Green and Hammer's store talking with defendant when Mr. Bower came along and defendant paid him some money on a lease of some land and a watering place. Defendant said he now had the watering place cornered; said he had it cornered.
John Cleary called to identify the revolver with which defendant did the shooting; testified that George Beggs had a revolver like it. Whether that is the pistol or not, witness could not say. Arthur White recalled: testified to being left alone at Mr. Turner's house the night before the killing, and of putting blinds to the windows and locking the doors on account of being afraid. Was cleaning an old revolver that would not shoot bullets, but was loading it with shot for amusement, having nothing else to do. This was the evening that the note from Cleary was brought to deceased's house by John Demming. Witness unlocked the door and let John Demming in.
Miss Ellis Dugan, who took the preliminary examination in short hand was called to testify as to certain statements made by the different witnesses contradictory of the statements made on this trial.
Other witnesses were called whose evidence is not of interest to persons who did not hear the trial, being rebuttal of some portions of the evidence of the defendant.
Defense called Mrs. Cleary who testified, denying having made a statement to Mrs. Mills as stated by Mrs. Mills, but said she would never forget the look upon her husband's face, after the trouble, when he came into the house.
Maris Deats, sister of the defendant, testified to being present when Mrs, Mills was there, and that she did not hear Mrs. Cleary make the statement testified by Mrs. Mills.
Jerry Murphy testified to leasing his right to the grazing land on section nine, the land on which the water privilege is situated, to Charley Jones.
Evidence closed at 3:30, Thursday afternoon. Court adjourned to Fri. morning, when the court instructed the jury in a charge which occupied about 4 minutes. Counsel followed with their arguments. Saturday evening the arguments were concluded, and the jury retired to deliberate upon their verdict.
Tuesday morning, the body of Pat Cleary, the murderer of Jesse Turner, was found hanging by the neck to the west side of the bridge over the railroad on south 4th street. His hands were tied behind him, and a bullet hole in the abdomen also, showed he had not committed suicide.
A party of men variously estimated at from two to four hundred citizens of this and Ellsworth county is said to have taken the execution of the law out of the hands of the officers and assumed the responsibility of seeing that the ends of justice were reached, and as a result, Pat Cleary paid the penalty of his crime with his life.
THE STORY of Pat's crime and his taking off, in brief, is as follows, so far as we have been able to learn it:
On January 3rd, 1888, Jesse Turner rode by Cleary's house, was hailed by Cleary and shot through the head. The cause of the trouble between the men was a hole of water on land owned by neither man.
Cleary came into town, gave himself up, set up a plea of self defense, was tried by a jury, convicted of murder in the second degree, sentenced to the pen for 20 years, sent to the pen and served some months. A new trial was granted by the supreme court, Cleary was brought back to Saline county, lodged in jail, remained there some months, and about the first of the year, was brought to this city and lodged in jail. May 16th his second trial was begun, and on Wednesday of last week, given to the jury. The jury retired and began balloting for a verdict. Thursday morning, the jury stood eleven for murder in the first degree, and one for acquittal. No change was effected and Monday, at 6 A.M., the jury was discharged as being unable to agree. Cleary immediately plead guilty to manslaughter in the 3rd degree and was sentenced to three years in the pen.
The jury came onto the street and told of their trouble in the jury room. J.P. Harman refused to agree to anything but absolute acquittal. Expressions were had from him in the jury room, and from friends of Cleary tending to show that Harman had been fixed, and that he had perjured himself to get on the jury so he might clear Pat.
The officers saw by the temper of the crowd that was in town all day and by the strange faces that were on the streets in the evening that something serious would be done. At 9 o'clock or perhaps a little later, Sheriff Boyle locked the prisoner in the court room and with the guards, quitted the place. Before this, the county officers had secured the records of the county and carried them away, as the court house would have gone up in smoke before any great chances would have been taken in dislodging the prisoner by other methods. Immediately after Boyle left the court room, Cleary made a break for liberty armed with a hatchet. He ran immediately west through the park and fell at the wire fence on the west side of the park with a bullet in his abdomen. Instantly, upon the report of pistols, dozens of men showed themselves from all directions. A new rope was brought by someone and the crowd then took Cleary south on Third street, one block thence west to Fourth street, and south on it to the bridge over the railroad, made the rope fast and tumbled him off. He was given ample time to make peace with his God--far more than he had given any of his victims when at his mercy. During his talk he said he had killed three men, and tried to kill two others, but it was done in self defense, His body was cut down at 7:30, Tuesday morning, and taken to Gragg & Vanfleet's undertaking rooms, where it was left and turned over to his friends.
The citizens had simply taken the execution of a law made by themselves out of the hands of those to whom the power had been delegated and proceeded to execute it in a manner satisfactory to their conscience and honest convictions.
Had J.P. Harman and those back of him dealt fairly with this community-not perjured themselves and set at naught the laws of the land and simple justices Pat Cleary would not have been hanged.
There is a sense of security resting with a large community in this county to-day that was a stranger to them Monday. They, well knowing the vindictive character of Pat Cleary, and also that if he lived out his time in the pen, of two years and eight months, that their lives would be in jeopardy the moment he returned a free man, their minds are at rest, and the fear that haunted them then is past. The threats he made of riding the Elkhorn Valley some day and clearing it of his enemies, has no more terrors for them, and they feel that terror has been removed; by unlawful and wrong means, no one denies, but that was justifiable under all the circumstances, even the most conservative admit. This action on the part of the people, will be a warning to that element in Lincoln county, who for years have set naught, the laws of the land. Shielded murderers, thieves and cutthroats from their deserts and teach that the time has passed when bribery, coercion, the assassins pistol and debauching of courts and jurors can go unpunished. It is a horrible method, but the case required harsh treatment and the dose was administered.
Pat Cleary's relatives declined to bury the body. Elkhorn township buried him yesterday morning. Cleary's friends said the people had taken the trouble to kill Pat and they might bury the body.
The jury in the Pat Cleary murder case, could not agree and were discharged, Monday morning; Cleary, upon an agreement with the county attorney, plead guilty to manslaughter in the third degree and was immediately sentenced to three years in the penitentiary. Upon the announcement of this, the citizens became greatly excited and much talk was indulged in. The county attorney, prosecuting attorneys and jury all came in for a share of the condemnation.
By 8 o'clock, the feeling was so intense that the safety of several parties was in danger, but nothing very desperate was undertaken. A big crowd on Main Street saw J.P. Harmon coming up from the hotel and immediately started for him to learn from his own lips his reasons for hanging the jury and voting from first to last for the acquittal of the prisoner. He took refuge in Hardesty's Office. The crowd interviewed him there but before he came to the point as to what inducement was offered him for his action, the sheriff came to his rescue, and carried him off to the court house for protection. If given a few more minutes time, it is thought he would have implicated someone in a case of bribery. That was what the crowd wanted. That there was corruption in the securing of a hung jury, none have any doubts, and that the other eleven are innocent is clearly apparent by their votes in the jury room. Mr. Rogers, one of the eleven, was approached by his son-in-law, Horace Parsons, who told him there was thirty-five or forty dollars in a hung jury for him if he would hang the jury. Mr. Rogers told this in the jury room and also to the crowd on the streets, and then to the county attorney. Mr. Bacon told on the streets that J.P. Harmon told him there might be a sly letter containing a hundred dollar bill come to him if he would help hang the jury or acquit Cleary.
About four o'clock in the afternoon, three or four hundred men from all parts of the county went to the court house and called for J.P. Harmon to come to the window and explain his action in hanging the jury and to answer a few very leading questions. He answered all the questions put to him but not in a manner that convinced anyone he was speaking the truth, or even getting close to it. He asserted that no one had offered him money or anything to influence his vote in the jury room; that he did not perjure himself to get on the jury, nor did he think his opinion was influenced by anything but the evidence in the case. That there were three or four points against a verdict of guilty as charged; that one of these was that Mattie Moss' evidence was not true, or that she was not in the position at the window, she said she was. His talk failed to satisfy the crowd and it jeered him greatly. He was not permitted to leave the court house, or at least, he made no effort to go away while the crowd stayed, nor would he leave the protection given him by six deputy sheriffs and a solid stone wall. Harmon was safer than he would have been on the streets, yet the crowd did not want him very bad, but wanted him to tell the truth. It did not think he was telling the truth at the time nor does it think so yet.
County Attorney Ritchie called several other parties before him during the day to learn what they knew concerning the case, but nothing of special interest was learned except that some months ago several men had been approached and told that there would be two or three hundred dollars in it for the man who got on the jury when the case was tried, and prevented a verdict of "guilty" from being returned. It appears from this that the buying of the jury was the plan of the campaign from the time of the supreme court sending it back here until the case was finally settled. That which adds weight to this view of the case is the statement of Mrs. Cleary to persons at H.I. Williams house during the trial and before the final disposition of the case. She said "there was no danger of that jury sending Pat as one of the jurymen would rot before he would convict Pat." Mrs. Cleary's knowledge must have been perfect or else she was a prophet of no mean ability, as the jury was out from Wednesday at 2 P.M. until Monday morning at 6 o'clock. Every ballot showed that one person voted "not guilty." He was evidently her man.
Deputy County Attorney Downey, with Pete Moss, Notary Public, went to Cedron township about 10 o'clock a.m, to interview Horace Parsons upon his connection with the case of the attempt bribery of his father-in-law, Mr. Rogers. Parsons told the attorney he had nothing to say. If they wanted him as a witness against anyone he knew how to get him. If he wanted to prosecute him, he could do so, but what he knew, he would keep to himself; that Mr. Rogers could swear what he wanted to, and he would do the same. It was evident he knew several things but was cute enough not to tell them.
About 6 P.M., Harmon was permitted to make himself scarce in these parts. It is to be hoped Lincoln county has seen the last of bribe takers, or jury fixers, for Pat Cleary's death by the rope is directly chargeable to jury fixing, bribe taking and giving in Lincoln county. J.P. Harmon and the one who fixed him, are responsible for the death of Pat Cleary.
Outrages have been committed against the people of this state frequently, but no greater one was ever perpetrated than that which gave to the mob the right to protect the state against this travesty on justice.
Mr. Jerry Mohler has Mr. John Cleary say something in his behalf in the Salina Gazette on Sunday morning. Mr. Johnny Cleary found some free advertising for Mr. Mohler and carried it to him. John then starts out to explain it away in part, and deny the remainder in full. He says: "It is a most villainous attack on an attorney who has only done his duty to his client. Mr. Mohler was not exorbitant in his charges, and not one the relatives of my deceased brother feel that Mr. Mohler has robbed us, or taken one cent more than was right or just. In fact we feel like we owe him more than we can ever repay for that which he has done for Pat. It is true Mr. Mohler has a judgement against us for $342, but we will pay it and pay gladly for we feel we owe him much we can never repay."
The reports published in the Lincoln Beacon and Lincoln Republican as to Pat Cleary's past life are an issue of falsehoods published with the evident intent to offer some sort of an excuse for the murder of my brother.
Mr. John Cleary may be entirely satisfied with work of Mr. Mohler, but Mrs. Cleary, the widow of Patsey, thinks him a very heartless man. He took everything she had, even to the fourth mortgage on her team. She begged him to not force her to do that, but he almost swore at her and refused to do so. She is not of the opinion that Mr. Mohler did right. So far as the denial of the reports in the county papers are concerned there are hundreds of men in the county who will vouch for their truthfulness. George Beggs, a relative of Patsey, said in this office, Wednesday of last week, in the presence of half a dozen witnesses, that "Pat tried to lie him into killing Turner, and had an object in it." Pat Cleary's relatives have told enough to justify every story that has been told on him.
In the trial with his brother-in-law, mentioned last week, he was impeached, and there are a dozen men to-day who can verify this statement. George Green can show the spot where Pat's bullet hit him. Mike Stearns will swear to the story of Pat's Ft. Smith killing.
It is useless to strung out this matter as no one in these parts is very particular as to what opinion Mr. Mohler has of this community, as the older inhabitants are pretty well posted as to his past record here. Mr. Johnny Cleary and Mr. Jerry Mohler may spend all their time denying these things, but it won't change the facts a bit.