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Against A Law Student

Against A Law Student image
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Howell Woman Makes Some Sensational Charges.


About Getting a Land Contract From Her With Intimidations.

Mrs. Mary Arm Fields, of Howell, has filed a bill of complaint in the Washtenaw Circuit court against Alonzo H. Ranes, a law student from Taylorville, Ill., and Henry A. Weaver another student, who is a brother-in-law of Ranes, and Henry E. Burgess, who is also a law student.

Waever and Burgess seem to be brought into the case merely as a matter of form, but the most sensational charges are made against Ranes. In fact, it is so very sensational, the charges are of such a serious character, that the public is advised to withhold any opinion until the answer is filed and the trial of the cause is made.

In the bill of complaint, Mrs. Fields sets forth that she is the sister of Sarah Prescott, deceased, of the city of Ann Arbor, and by the latter's death she was entitled to property on State st valued at between $6,000 and $10,000. After paying all debts and for a $500 family monument, the rest was to go to Mrs. Fields. She says that Ranes and Burgess were appointed appraisers with a purpose to defraud, and that they set the value of the estate at $3,500 subject to a $1,200 mortgage.

She then alleges that Ranes, who was rooming in the house, fraudulently pretended that the decedent had made another will leaving all her property to the church and cutting her off, and that he read her a paper which he claimed constituted the will and informed her that she was in his power and unless she made a conveyance, he would hand over the will to the church. That her last will would be set aside, as the deceased was incompetent and all depended on his testimony. She says she consented, and he asked her to burn the will. She complied.

As a further intimidation, Ranes represented to her, she says, that the people of Ann Arbor believed that she had occasioned the death of her sister by administering too much medicine and if he should add his testimony to this, the public would have her arrested for murder.

Next she alleges that he wrote to her that a Chicago man had presented two $500 notes for collection which Miss Prescott had given for the woman's building at the world's fair. She says that she came here and Ranes told her that he would get himself appointed agent, and if she would sell him the real estate for $3,260 he "would burn up the notes and the smoke would tell no tales."

On July 15 she signed the land contract, the amount to be paid on March 1, 1901.

There is also a charge in the bill that Ranes tried to beat her on the lease of the property and for the cost of the monument.

She asks that all the papers be set aside.