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The Judge's Story

The Judge's Story image
Parent Issue
Day
27
Month
October
Year
1876
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

It was when I first began to practice conimenced the Judge, lighting a cigar i was adniitted and opened an office in thevillage- nowcity- of C-- ■ -, in the spring of 186-. I had had but little busmess, and tho case you have menboned proved the key to my future success. I was sitting ie my office, trying to keep comfortable, the clock already pomting to 10:30, when the door oneced and the keeper of the cottnty kil entered. "Wekawaguestat our house who is i quite anxious to see you, and requested me to bnng you up to him if you had not retired." I gladly put on my coat to accompany the jailer, for I needed every cent I could earn just then, and announced myself ready to start. It was not far to the jail, and we soon arrired there. Alter unlocking the uaual nümber of iron doors, the jaüer admitted me to the prisoner s cell, and remarked that when 1 was ready to go he would come tod let me out. The huge door closed with a clang, the bolt was sprong, and I was alone with my would-be cliënt. A3 I had supposed, as soon as the jaüer was out of hearing the prisoner carne forward. He was a young, gentlemanly-appearingíellow. anmrenti „1 - í tO ixie 11c BttOt . "lam glad to see you, Mr. , you are indeed kind to come to me at this untimely liour, but I wanted to talk to some one, and I feel that you mU e an interest ia iny case, I have been arrested for the murder of Mr. Richards, the President of the Farmers' Bank, of K ., and for the robbery of the bank. Will you not lend me your assistanoe ?" I assured him that I would do all in mypiwer for him if he desired to retain me. He suddenly interrupted me by aaying : , . "Begyour pardon, sir, I do wish to i retain you to defend me in my trial, and a trial must, of course, take place," ing which he handedmenvesoüd clou cíe "I have heard but few of the circumstances of the tragedy," h continued, " as it occurred this very evening, and I f ear that there are some things that will appear to be against me, but I trast that you will bring me out all right. Do all you can, sir ; employ more counsel, if nceessary, but clear me, for I am innocent." I assvired him that I had no doubt but we would clear him, and added : "Teil me what you know of the case, and the circumstances that you think appear against you.'' . "Well, I had. a quarrel with Mr. Richards last evening, but it did notlast iong. I will teil you the whok story, sir I am a clerk in the Farmers' Bank of 'k . of whioh Mr. Richards was President. I have been employed there nearly five years, and I think I have attended to my duties to the entire faction of all the omcers 01 me uaut, and have been liked very mucli by theni , all, particularly by the President, who has invited me to his house many times. Now, Mr. Bichards, you must understand, has a daughter, several years younger than I am, a lady -with whom I have not only become intimately acquainted, but for whom I have conceived a strong attachment. Her father discovered that I was deeply in love with i Clara Richards, and saw, I presume, that she was not wholly indifferent to me Last summer I dined at their house, by invitation of Mr. Richards, and during the evemng I told Clara the state of my feelings, and was overjoyed to learn that she reciprocated my love. We agreed that I should ask her father's consent to our marriage as soon as I should be able to support a wife. You o T nm tellinsr vou all," said the "That is right," Isaid; "in fact it is all-important that you should teil me all " '" Last evening I called on Mr. Eichards, and boldly asked him to consent to our engagement. He was very angry, said I was an impudent fellow, declarea I sliould never again speak to Clara, and in short he insulted me, accusing me of taking advantage of his kindness to ïngratiate myself into the heart of hisonly child. Finally, 1, tno, got angry, and can hardly remember now what 1 said- nly 1 rememoer x cuu uot uurenuui u. At the close of our couversation bo left he room, and I went directly to my room and to bed. This mornitig I went as usual to the bank, ana as soon as Mr. Bichards carne down he took me ïnto his private office and said to me that most men would discharge a clerk from their employ under similar circumstances, but as I was honest, capable, and f aithful he would keep me, on condition that I would forget my presumptuous f ancy. "'Why,' said he, ' Clara has more for pin-money than y our salary.' And then, after informing me that I would no longer be received at his house, he told me to return to my desk. Nothiug unusual occurred during the day until iust bef ore we closed, when we received an unusually large cash deposit. As 1 was on the point of leaving the bank ; Mr. Richards called me and said : 1 " ' Here is a package cmtaining 19 000 I wish you to take to Mr. Martin, ' casjiitr of the City Bank of C . Yon cali explaín about our vaults not being any too secure, and apologize for coming at sucli an unreasonable hour, and ask hitn as a personal favor to me to receive tlie íunds on deposit. Take a receipt and retnïn in the morning ; you can iaKe the 6 o'clock train thia evening.' "I hada little money on deposit at our bank, and, having a payment due on my Ufe insurance in C- , I d'ew $100 and thought Ï Cotila pay that before I i-bturned. I took the package oontaining the $9,000, and, after receivíng sonie money for my expenses, 1 started. I arrived at my destination about half -past 6 o'clock, and went reciiy to mr. Martm's house, but found that he had gone up town, and later was goiug to the theater. Whereupon I sought the principal hotel,, thinking Í miht ees hito tfiere, but was disappointed here and there. I walked arouhd where I thought I would be most likely to moet him, until about half-past 8, and then returned to the hotel, took supper, and engaged a room, to which I went. I sat down and üead the evening paper until half-past 10, when I started for Mr. Martin's house. As I came down stairs and opened the door, a burly fellow touehed me on the shoulder, and whispered : " 'I arreat ym the robbery öf the Bank of K , and the murder of Mr. Bicharás. ' "He then placed the handcuffs on me and escorted me here. And now I have told you all I know about my case, and so help me God it is the truth. My name is Howard Burton; I have no parenta," ! This is the substanoo of wUat Howard i I -Burton related to me, on that Christnias I eve, in his oell in the jail at C . I liad not interrripted hiro dnring his recital, but liad listehed attentively to every woru. I was much interested in the young man, who was about my own age, and who I feit was innocent of the horrible crime wit h which he was charged. I remained with him untü long pffef miduight, and them ehftrgiüg him to converse with tib bïïe on the subject of thömurder.I left him. I knew nothïng of the circumstances of the murder as yet, but the next day, being Christmas, I thought I would go to K and learn what I could, as I knew my cliënt would not be examined that day, but was sure he would next. Justice was then muoh swifter than now. Ön my arrival at K - - 1 went diiecily tó the bank, and found two or three detectives there, ahd some of the oificers of th'e bank. Nothing had been moved except the body of the murdered man. He wás ! found lying on the Óoor witíi his skull crushed and his throat ctit from ear to ear. Söme of the drawers had been rifled, but aside from this there was nothing to indícate robbery, There was missing from the safe nine thousand dollars, but the locks afforded no evidence of having been tampered with. I found that belief in Burton's guilt was quite general. perfect order. There was a rnn doW A the Presidenfs office that lookedottt uito a natrow passage that drvided the bank building from a lawyer s ornee, it was securely guardedby an iron grating, and I feit that the assassin entered the bank in the usual manner, namely, I through the door. There was notrace ] I of the assassin and robber, as I said, but I feit that the accused man, my cliënt, was innocent of the terrible crime oí which he was accused. The cashier had gone to O , and lodged a formal complaint against Howard Burton, and the examination would be held the ï stood at the window in the President's office, staring vacantly out, hard , Bt work thinking; when my eye noticed , on the sash of the window of the ver's office just acrosa the passage way , a little scrap of paper with the word , "Paint" written on it. A suggestive ; thousht flashed through my mimi as 1 : walked out of the bank and stepped into the law office next door. I was slightly Í acquainted with its occupant, -who welI comed me and invited me to a Beat. We talked of the frightful occnrrence of the pre-vious night for some time, and at length I said, rising to go : ' So you have been pamtmg a little, Mr. Harris?" "Yes sir; did yon observe my new sign? Keiley, the painter, has a young j Germán working for him who is really an artist. He did all the wprk here, and it is worth almost what he charges ! to have Fritz Yogel's presence in the I office. He is a witty, original DutchTtian.' ... -r "When was the painting done 1 1 "All done yesterday- be csreful of your coat." . ., I bade Mr. Harris good day and left 'jhad'learned who painted that window which was just what I mostwanted to le'arn, without asking a leading question, or letting Mr. Harris know I was interested in Mr. Eichards' murder any more than he. I made up my mind to see the Germán, Vogel, without loss of time, and flnd out if he saw Mr. Bichards after young Barton left the bank I went to the paint-shop, but tound no one at work, all hands keeping Christmas. I learned vhere Vogel hved, ana was soon in conversation with him. "You painted Mr. Harris' sign and office, did you not?" I asked. t Vaa air " "Weíl, what time did you flmsliup there last night i" "At6o'clock, sir. " Did you paint alter darKí "Yes, sir; af ter dark I pamted the outside oE the window, about half-past öThe man in the bank lighted the gas and it shone so brightly that I flmshed the window last evemng. " Did yon see this mam in tlie bank handle any money ? ' , ïne Germán looked quite puzzled at this question, but answered. "Yes, sir; I noticed hun countmg a largepile." _ . ,. "What kind ol a loomug man . he?" "Well, a good-looking man ; ít was Mr. Richards. If you don't know him I will describe him to you. 1 answered that I had secn him, and then inquired what he did mth the money. " He made a bundie of it and handed it to a young man, telling him to take it somewhere I could not hear aU he said In addition to the bundie, lie cave him what I judge to be a few dollars in change, and told him tocóme back in the morning. Then the young man went away. By and by Mr. Richards vut out the gas, andthenl suspended work and went home. . "Bidvousee Mr. Richards agamí " Yes.'l saw him in the cigar store as I passed." . . -.. - I concluded my exammation of Voge. l mPid yovTkno'w Mr. Richards wai murdered last night, and the money in the bank stolen f" The Germán tutned fíale; ánd exclaimsd with iuucli excitement. " Murdered ! no; is it so ? You don't thmk it was ine? My wife Kathrina knows I carae straight home." "Oh, no,"I said, "I don't think it was yon. You must not, ho wever, teiï anyo(ne you have telked tp me; or it may resnltm your being taken to court." He promised not to speak of it, and I left him. I was uow certain of my abilitv to olear my cliënt, as I oould prove he was sent on the miseion to C . I next wanted to find some one who had seen him on the train, but knew not where to ODtain tne Information. Every one was talking of this mnyder, and. public feelmg was indeed bitter agaiñst Howard Buiton. Stories of his quarrel vith Mr. Richards were circulated with the usual exaggerations, and it seemed to ba the unanimous opinión that he was the coldb'onded murdere. Sfciil I was hopend, and returned to C feeling confidont of my ultímate success. On my arrival I held an interview with youngBurton, and told him the result of my visit to "■ ' He was overjoyed, and expreased himself confldent of being acquitted, Ee.turnmg to my ofllce, I looited up all the reported cases that bore any resemblance to the one in hand. The examination of my cliënt was set down for the next mórning, at which time I went to che jail and accompanied him to the court-room, accompanied by an under-sheriff. We found quite a formidable array of lawyers of note representing the prosecution. In addition to j the leárnéd Distric Attorntsy; ihèrBwere two astute criminal iawyers who had been retained by the bank officers to asrist him. The examination was vèry I brief, and after calling Mr. Bichards' servant, and receiving the testimony of the hotel clerk, Howard Burton . was fully oommitted to answer the charges of murder and robbery at the January term of court. " Oan you not think of eome one you know who saw you on the train from K- r- to C on the nightof the murder ?" eaid I. " No, sir ; not one that I knew ; but perhaps the conductor will remember me. He had to ohange a $5 bilí for my faro, and grumbled a little íibout that." . " X "will öee Him at once," said I, starting to go. "Bo sö, do so," said my cliënt, excitetily. "Cali to hismind the yonng man who had a pén over his ear. I remember that on leaving the bank hurriedly I neglected to remove the pen which I frequently carry over my ear after the manner of clerks." I went diïectly to the depot, and learned that the conductor I was in search of would arrive in about an hour. I waited, all impatience, and upon his arrival asked him if he would do'me the kiudnesa to walt n t u -;l --- ? ,.,■ my cliënt. Tlie conductor gazed steadily at young Burton for about a momenr, and then said: "Mr. Burton, be kind enough to put on your hat." Burton did so, and again he looked at him very sharply without a change ot countenance. . "Now, sir, please put your hand in i your Tïaistcoat pocket." I was afraid the conductor was not go ing to identify him, bttt as young Burton put his hand in bis waistcöat pocket the lappel Of his doat wils drawn back, revealing upon his breast a Masóme pm, the badge of a Enight Templar. " I fuliy identify him as tho man ior whom I ehanged a flve-dollar bilí on my ;rain, which left. K at 6 o'olook on the evening of Dec. 24, and am ready to swear it in any oourt of justice. You see, sir," continued the conductor, " we learn in our business to remember, and noticing a pen over this young man s ear I laughingly advised bim to take ït down. But wliat called my attention principally to him -was the fact that he wore a Knight Templar's badge. I stooped to examine it. You see it is a very curiously made pin, and he remarked that he was not strictly entitled to wear it; it had formerly belonged to his father, who was dead. I shall be most happy to give my testimony in your behalf, Mr. Burton. And now, il I can get out, I will bid you good evening, gentlemen." So saying, the gentleman withdrew. I saw that I could prove an alibi, and thus undoubtedly clear my cliënt ; bul was amDitious 10 uu uiuic. - -- arrest and convict the guilty party. Ihe next thing f or me to do was to see the keeper of the cigár store, at wlnch my Dutch painter on his way home had seen Mr Richards af ter 6 p. m. on the mght of the murder. On the followmg morning I took the train for K , and on my arrival went dlreotly to the cigar store, and then spoke to the man behind the counter of the murder. "Oh!" said he, "poor man, poor man, he was in my store about an hour before they found him dead." "Indeed," said I, " did üe trade with yu-" . . " Oh, yes, sir ; why he carne in here, as I teil you, and bought some cigars that very night on which he was kilted, and stopped a moment to chat with me. Then he looked at his watch, and said : ' It i9 a ciuarter past 6. I must gom and lock up the bank and go üome. Just then his man servant carne in and gaid: '"Mr. Richards, I have a note trom Miss Clara for you, sir.' " 'Well, Thomas,' said he, 'siippose it is for money ; that usually is the subject of her perfumed notes to me ; come into the bank a moment.' "In a little while I saw the servant going in the direction of Mr. Eiohards house, and in about an hour afterward his master was discovered in the bank dead." This from the cigar-store keeper. I did nos iet min üujy a. wto nvw.j - the accused, and was soon turning my steps toward tlie late residenoe of the deceased. I was admitted by his late servant Thomas, and was soon conyersing with Mies Clara, to whoni I eonñdecl my relations with Burton. I asked her what time she sent Thomas to the bank the night her father was murdcred. "I did notsend him at all," she replied, evidently surprised at the question. " Well," said I, "we are going to acquit Howard Burton, and to take his place we want to flnd out who did commit the crime. Now, Miss Clara, aro ■ you sure you did not send Thomas to the bank the night of the murder ? ' ' I know very well I did not, " was her i anawer. " Then," I replied, eitlior the keeper 1 of the cigar store is mistaken, or jour servant TUomaB is the murderer of your b father," Slie did not look as much surprised as I expeoted at this assertion. "Mr. G-- -," said she, "the night poor papa was müruered, Tilomas carne through the hall and started to go up stairs. I wanted him to mend tüe fire and called him into the sitting-roora. As he entered I noticed a large dark spot on his cheek, and one on his collar. I half suseeted him v)en I heard how anxioua he was to teil the couri about that unfortunate little difflculty between papa and Howard Bm-ton, but I did not say anything about it to any one, they were ail so sure Howard was guilty." I told her to treat Thomas as usual, and not to speak of our conversation to any one. After receiving a letter she wished to send to Burton, I took my partare for ü--. , Immediately on my arrival thefe I tVeiit to my clicnt and comraunicated to liim all I had learned, and delivered the letter. The poor fellow was supremely happy, and invited me to tea with him in his cell. He ate heartily, and smoked a cigav with evidont enjoymejïi. I took tb.e fl.rst real niglit's rest that night I had since the death of Mr. Kicnards. I had previously sworn out a warrant for the arrest of Thomas, to be served as soon as the jury should pronounce my elient not guilty. The District Attorney opened for the peoplë in aü elabórate ?md very able speech, giving the details of the case, and íhen proceeded to examine the witnesses. Thomas, the seryant, was first called. He swore to the quarrel between Mr. Bichards and Burton, and that he heard Burton threaten Mr. Bichards' life. JNotwithstanding I olosely eross-examined Mm, I failed to maíe hito, eontradict hiruself; and when he retired riearly# every one inthe coiirt-room was doubtless certain that Howard Burton was guilty. The next witness was the hotel olerk, who testified that Burton carne into the hotel while he was attending the I gucsts from the train that arrived in O at half-past 6 o'clock. Then followed the examination of the bank cashier, who swore that the packaga of $9,000 found on Burton at the time of his arrest was deposited in his bank on the afternoon of the murder. Aftei calling several other witnesses, whose testimony was o minor import, the prosecutioh rested. I then follöwed, and, af ter a brief opening addros, called the Germán painter, who swore to seeing Mr. Eichards send Burton on the erran ?.; a!so to seeing Mr. Bichardá in the cigar store after 6 o'clock on the evening of the murder. When I had nnished with him he was submitted to a severe cross-examination, in which he acquittcd himself very creditably. Then I called the conductor, who swore to seeing Burton on the train oh the night of :he murder; he also swore that the train left on time - 6 o'clock. The cigar-store man was next examined, who swore to aJJciaajráthAImiíoJ.,s v p lar I then cloaed my case, and, after a few remarks from the prosecution, the Judge charged the jury, who retired, and in fifteen minutes returned with a verdict of not guilty. My chent and I were overpowered with congratulations, and never since in my professional Me have I feit as proud and triumphant as I didthen. , ,, As soon as quiet was restored, the Sheriff approached ThomaS) the servant, and said in a loud voice, "fhomas Healey, I arrest yoü for the murder of Mr. Bichai-ds." The excitement in the court caused by this unlooked-for and marlen m-oceedina was moat intense. The prisoner was immediately taken to iail, followed by a crowd that were loud in their expressions of denunciation- the same crowi that a httle before liad marked Burton as the mureWell, to finish the story, I have little to add. I was retained by the bank officers to prosecute Thomas_ Healey, and he was convieted of the crime. He protested his innooence almost to the last, but the night before he was executed he made a full confession, stating that he had determined to rob the bank some evening when Mr. Richards was there alone. It was Mr. Siohards custom, he explaiDed, to go to the bank in the evening, and when he and young Burton quarreled, he, Thomas, saw his opportunity. His determinaüon was strengthened by hearing Mr. Richards remark on the day of the murder, as he [ sat at dinner, that there was an unusualt lylarge arnount of cash on hand. llie note in the case was one that Miss Clara had given liim to tftKe w ur_ia some days before, but, Mr Richards coming home bef ore Taomas found bim, it bad not been delivered as intended. Bv the aid of this note he had got Mr. Richards in the bank, and wkile he was reading it he struck him with alarge poker, and then cut his throat. He got no money as the reward of his crima, as the vaults had been locked. The night Thomas made his contession he committed suicide, thus cheatins the gallows-tree of its ]ust due. Howard Burton was made cashier of the bank, and married Clara Richards vrithin a year, and they are both still living. ______-

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Subjects
Old News
Michigan Argus