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The Richards' Case

The Richards' Case image The Richards' Case image
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The all-absorbing center of interest for people who have bad any spare time on their hands this week has been the circuit court room where the three suspects, William Larkins, Edward Lyons and Rupert Jones are on trial charged with the murder of James Richards, in the town of Superior, on the night of Saturday, Jan. 30, 1897. As has already been published in the Argus, all three are young men and their close confinement in jail since Feb 13 has bleached their complexion considerably. Prosecuting Attorney Kirk and A. J. Sawyer are conducting the prosecution of the prisoners and Randall & Jones, of Ann Arbor, Col. John Atkinson and W. B. Cady, of Detroit, are defending thein. The whole of Monday was employed by the counsel in trying to get a jury, the regular paDel was soon exhausted ! and the special panel drawn last week j was objected to by Attorney Jones on I tbe ground of informality in the drawing. The objection being sustained by the court a new panel was ordered drawn forthwith. Tnesday morninS was occupied in the same way first one side and then the other objecting to this or that man on what in same instances looked to tbe casual observer to be very trivial grounds. One after another was excused, but finally at 1 p. m. a jary satisfactory to both sides was chosen and the jurymen were swfcrn as follows: Ambrose V. Robison, Robert Campbell, Frank Vandawarker, of Ann Arbor; Fred S. Chapin, of Northfield; Ed. E. Baker, of Sharon; Wm. Henzie, George Ingraham, of Manchester : Charles Ellis, Henry Brooks, of j lanticity; Matthew Hankard, of Lyndon ; James Ivory, of Dexter; Charles Haran, of Northfield. The jurors were placed in charge of Deputy Sheriffs Win. Dans'ngburg and Cash Warner and the court then adjourned till 2:30. At tbat houi a surprise was ruug iu by the defeuse in the person of Col. John Atkinson, of Detroit, who put iu an appuaranoe to assist Randall & Jones in the defeuse of the aocused. At 3 p. m. A. J. Sawyer, at the request of Prosecuting Attorney Kirk, addressed the jury and outlined what the prosecution expected to prove. He described the murdered man, James Richards, his condition and habits, the situation of his home in which the foul murder was committed and its surroundings, all of which has already been published in these columns on Feb. 5. He told of how the old man went about his usual work that evening and after it was completed how he had laid down on his bed without removing his clothes, He told of the murderers' approach to the house, of tbeir efforts to secure admission aud then of their prowling arouud the housa flashing the light of their lantern in at the windows to fiud their victim. After telling of their search for the log wbioh was afterwards used to break down the door, and which was seen by Richards, he described the final strnggle which ended in the shooting of the old man and the taking of his money which he. had so bravely but iuefïectually defended, following it np with the flight of the ïuurderers, the events of the day following, and the clues which led up to the arrest of the prisoners. He then attacked the alibi of tbe prisoners aud cirticised it severely and stated tbat the prosecution would introduce evideuce to contradict it. Frank E. Jones, for the defeuse asked thac all the witnesses for the prosecntiou be excluded from the court room during the takiug of testimony particularly M. C. Peterson. The prosecutiou theu demanded that Sheriff Judsou be also exclnded, but as his preseuce was needed the judge finally snid"Well, we will let them all remain." Henry Tolbert, colored, way the first wituess, and he was followed by Dr. Jaue Walker, of Salein. Both gave abont the same testimony as they did at the examiuatiou iu the justice court in February. Photographs taken of the house and surrouudings ou Sept. 23, by Fred Reutschler, were not admitted as evidence, the objeotion of the defense being sustaiued by Judge Kiune, wba subsequeutly iutimated wheu Mr. Rentsohler was again put ou the staud and allowed to identfy the photographs, that he rnight issue au order to have the jury go out to the place aud look at it for themselves. At ï) o'clook Wednesday moiuing the weary grind was again resumed. Frank rConlinued ou Fourfch Page.) THE RICHARDS' CASE (Contiuued from First Page.) Duress, of Superior, who lives next to the Richards' farm was examined. He testiüed to the patü whicli leii up to the Richards' house froni the road and to the presence of footprints around the Richards house on the rcorniug after the murder and gave a description of them- tliat one set was made by pointed shoes with rubbers on them and the other by feit rubber boots. Observed cutter tracks in the snow cotüiug from and returned along the road to the east. Andrew Shankland was next called to the stand. lie verified most of the statements made by the preceding witness, adding the desciiption of a third footprint near the fence where the cutter had stopped. This track was made by a pointed shoe without rubbers. Witness had fitted his own feit rubber boot into one of the footprints. the size and shape being exactly the same. The next witness was John B. Shankland, another neighbor of Richards and at present administrator of the oíd m'an's estáte. His examination and crossexamiuation occupied the greater part of the day. He was quite a friend of the murdered man and repeated very minutely all the incidents connected with the murder. He had taken entire charge of Richards after he had been shot and to him the oíd man, witbin a couple of hours of his death, had related all that he could remember of the struggle with the two murderers. The most of this is already public property. Attempting to describe his assailants, he had said both were youngish, both wore big overcoats with the collars turned up, one was smooth faced, the other had a light mustache. Witness had paid especial attention to the footprints and verified the several statements already made about them. The cross-examination lasted until the court adjourned for the day. Duriug the cross-examination Mr. Shankland said that he knew who robbed Richards20 years ago, and that they live in Ann Arbor township. Col. Atkinson for the defense asked: "Are any of the robbers still aliveV" "I object," said Mr. Sawyer. '"I eaution the colonel that if this question is opened up we shall prove that the mother of one of these defendants is said to have assisted in the .crime." Judge Kinne admohished Mr. Sawyer that he should not have made such a remark as that, and on the request of that gentleman he addressed the jury and told them that Mr. Sawyer had made that statement in a moment of excitement, that he did wrong, and they must not corsider it as evidence. In the wrangie which followed Mr. Sawyer's statement Col. Atkinson said, 'I understand that some of these robbers -are alive and that a rig was driven furiously from their neighborhood to the Richards place on the night of the murder. If we cm prove this, it will establish the innocence of these defendants, for only one sleigh entered the gate tliat night' Yesterday morning the üist witness called was Daniel Marr. lie saw Richards' wound and identiñed the bullet which had passed through Richards' body. He stayed with the old man at Duress' house until he died. He had lieard Richards ante-mortem statement to John Shankland. He also testified to the tracks around the house. A copy of a previous statement made by Mar to the prosecution was shown and he was allowed to refresh his meaiory trom it. Cul. Atkinson wanted to see the paper but Mr. Sawyer would no let him, and the court refused to orde him to do so. Edward Bawdgn was the next wil ness. The important part of his testi rnony was as to tLe cutter tracks which came f rom the .flyniouth road ant turned into liichards place. Turnee back saine way. Xo other track unti his owu cutter passed. Saw poiutet shoe tracks where the horse stood a seeondgate. Saw where tvvo persous go out of cutter and jumped over l'ence Uu left side of the cutter was what seemed to be a shoe track with rubbei over it, ou the right side the traefts v.ere those of a feit boot. The testi mony of this witness corroborated tes tiniony of other wituesses as to trackb about the house. At this point the prosecution brought in two boxes filled with sand in which impressions had been made hy the rubbers which are alieged to bfcóngto one ol the defendants and the witness was asked to state if the impression was similar to those he saw in the snow. übjection was made to this questiou, but the witness was allowec to Htiswer. The tracks were similar. Cross examiuation did not shake the witnesi' testimony. He had been the joots and rubbers' for the lirst time that morning. When David Mair was recalled Col. Atkinson was allowed to have the statement that he had wanted in the morning. He was excused until later. George Bunn was put on the stand and his testimony was along the same ine as the others as to the tracks, etc. He did not see any pointed shoe tracks near the f eiree where the cutter stood. Had never heard of Johu Briston. John Shankland was recalled and ,he defense tried to show that he had beneflted by Ricnard'a death and that as special administrator of Richards' leath and that as special administrator of liichards' estáte he bad left out of the inventory a portion of the property. It was a mean attack on a man's honor aud veracity and the falsity of the charges was estabiished by the prosecution immediately. It is veil known to all who are conversant with the facts of the probating of the liichards' estáte that it was not Mr. Shankland's wish to be appomted as administrator and that had he not been the honest man he is he would not have been appointed. A letter was uiscovered in the files of the probate court yesterday trom W. Froward, register of Axminster county ourt, Axminster, Eng., to Judge Newdrk in the interest of Mrs. Pearce, Richards' illegitimate daughter. It ead: "Mrs. Pearce yesterday received a etter trom John Briston of Brighton, ng. He says he left Dixboro, Mich., ibout Christmas; that he worked for Lichaids and knew about the murder. she one of the murderers?" John Briston was known by several vitnesses, and had said he was going j to England. He disappeared, but 110 one thougbt of hitn in connection with the case until Col. Átkinson found the letter. Owing to the manner in which the case is spinning out and the large amount of time consumed bjT the lawyers in objections and arguments the court has decided to hold evening sessions commencing with tonight.