~ July 17, 1895 • Queen City Mail ~
Gave The Jurors Whiskey
Some very unpleasant disclosures were made in the Giles murder trial at Belle Fourche last week, in which it was shown that the jury, which tried Davidson and secured a life sentence for him, were supplied with whiskey by the bailiff while deliberating on the evidence in the case. Whether or not the whiskey in any manner affected the verdict, the MAIL does not know; but the knowledge of the fact brought before Judge Plowman was sufficient to cause that honorable gentleman to administer a severe rebuke to the bailiff and give the saloonkeepers a broad-gauge hint that henceforth any such action on their part would result in the wholesale closing up of those places. The taking of a human life unlawfully should not be condoned or in any way compromised; but at the same time the accused person should not have his case prejudiced by any such act which suspiciously implicates the jury in whose hands his life is placed. If Davidson is guilty of the crime charged, he has escaped his just deserts; but if there was a reasonable doubt of his guilt he should be given every opportunity to establish his innocence. The saloonkeeper admitted selling the liquor to the bailiff, that officer admits placing it where the jurors could find it, and the jurors admit drinking it. All this, however, may have had nothing to do with the verdict; but it looks bad, especially where the freedom of a human being was at stake.
~ October 23, 1895 • Queen City Mail ~
No verdict in late years has created such profound surprise as that rendered last week in the Monahan case at Deadwood. That twelve intelligent men could arrive at such a verdict after listening to the evidence given in that trial is one of the things which no one had yet attempted to solve. That Monahan would be convicted and sentenced for at least ten or twelve years was the universal opinion among the best informed men in the country, but that he would go free was never for a moment considered probable. The facts in the case are yet fresh in the minds of our people, and it is not necessary to recapitulate them here. He has never denied the killing of Benson, but sought to establish an excuse for it on the grounds of self-defense. That this defense must have satisfied the jury is self-evident. The result of this trial is far from satisfactory to the people, and must necessarily encourage crime instead of discouraging it. Jay Hicks was hanged at Sturgis less than a year ago on the same charge, with less positive proof that he committed the crime. That he was guilty, every one believed, and that he got his just deserts no one denies. The MAIL does not criticize the jury in the Monahan case, because it is better to believe that they did what they considered to be right and justice; but it is extremely doubtful whether another body of twelve men could be found in Lawrence county who would have arrived at the same verdict. It is one of the evil results of our jury system; and until some change is brought about to remedy this evil, we must expect just such travesties on justice as has been witnessed in this trial.
~ October 23, 1895 • The Deadwood Daily Pioneer ~
A Ride For Life.
Jack McCall’s Ride For Life and the Queer Verdict of a Deadwood Jury.
Judge Shannon of Canton, before whom Jack McCall was tried for the murder of Wild Bill, has a story of the murder, some parts of which are new. The Judge says that all the incidents of the case was brought out at the trial before a Deadwood Jury. The Judge says the prosecution made out a strong case of cold-blooded, deliberate murder. When it came to the defense, McCall, who was a man of some education and ability, addressed the jury himself. He struck the only chord that was likely to vibrate in his interest when he said he had known Wild Bill down in Texas that they were friends and that he had introduced him into his family. Wild Bill, he stated, had abused his friendship and betrayed his sister. For that crime he had visited vengeance on him. That began to put a new phrase on matters. While they condemned him for shooting a man without giving him a chance for his life, they regarded the killing as justifiable. The jury took the case and deliberated on it for some time and finally returned with one of the queerest verdicts that has ever been heard of by anyone. “They were not sure of his guilt, so they had decided to give him a chance for his life. They put him on a fast horse, filled his pockets with bread and cheese and gave him one minute’s start after which they would kill him if they could. They were all around with Winchester rifles and revolvers and were excellent horseman and excellent shots. When the word was given McCall started for his life. Before the minute was up he began throwing himself rapidly from one side to the other to divert the aim of his pursuers. At the end of the fateful minute the word was given and the pursuit and fusillade began. It seems almost incredible, but he escaped without injury. He ran into Wyoming and after about three weeks turned up in Cheyenne where he was arrested by a United States Marshal and turned over to a marshal in Dakota. On trial it was shown that the story of the seduction of his sister was a falsehood cunningly devised to save his neck. He murdered Wild Bill for the notoriety of having killed the famous scout, and thoroughly deserved the execution that followed his conviction. But the verdict of the lynch jury was unique and original in the history of criminal trails.”
~ October 9, 1895 • Queen City Mail ~
Calamity Jane Returns
“Calamity Jane,” well known by all old-timers in the Hills, and a character of world-wide reputation all over the west, arrived in Deadwood last Friday with the intention of remaining indefinitely. She is now Mrs. M. Burke, has two bright little girls, and has lately been living on a ranch near Ekalaka, Mont. That sort of a life didn’t suit her, however, hence her return to civilization. She had not been in Deadwood since 1877, and failed to recognize the town.