The Ransom Murder Trial of Woodford County, Illinois

Taken From the Henry Republican, Henry, IL


Thursday, January 19, 1882

This celebrated trial commenced at Lacon, in this county, on Monday.  It is a case of the people against Porter C. Ransom, indicted for the murder of Henry Walter Bullock at El Paso, Woodford county, on Monday, May 2, 1881, the case being taken from Woodford county on a change of venue.  The circumstances of the killing, and the dramatic chain of events that preceded it, are still fresh in the minds of the public.

Mr. Ransom had for years been one of the wealthiest residents of Woodford county, and had been mayor of El Paso.  The deceased, H. W. Bullock, was also a prominent man, a resident of El Paso, and a lawyer by profession. Both the assailant and the deceased were widely known, not only in Woodford county, but also in adjoining counties, which fact contributes to excite a good deal of interest in the trial.

It will be remembered by many that Mr. Ransom has been sued by a woman alleging herself to be his deserted wife.  She charged that he had left her in New York state some years ago, taking with him property belonging to her, and that the bonds of matrimony existing between them had never been dissolved.  Since the alleged desertion Mr. Ransom had married, and his wife died during the litigation, which is still pending. In the complainant's case Mr. Bullock was attorney, and vigorously prosecuted his client's cause.  In political matters personal differences had arisen between Mr. Ransom and himself. On account of the law suit and political differences they had long been on far from friendly terms, and the mutual ill will culminated in the tragedy of May 2d of last year.

The killing occurred about six o'clock in the evening on the sidewalk in front of a store in El Paso. Mr. Bullock was standing conversing with two friends, when Mr. Ransom came walking by. Words passed between them and Mr. Ransom fired.  Soon afterwards he fired again. Bullock died within half an hour. The conversation and acts of the two at the time of the fatal encounter will be developed on the trial.

The affair created immense excitement at El Paso. Mr. Ransom gave himself up immediately, and the next day was taken to Peoria, where he was confined until August in the Peoria county jail, when he was removed to Metamora for trial, and upon a change of venue being taken to Marshall county, he was brought to Lacon, where he has since been confined.

The counsel for the people, six in number is represented by Hon. M. L. Newell, state's attorney of Woodford county, C. C. Jones, state's attorney of Marshall county, Hon. W. W. O'Brien of Chicago, Hon. George M. Bane of Lacon, and A. M. Cavan of El Paso.  The defense has seven lawyers, consisting of Hon. T. M. Shaw, Robert Edwards, David Muir and J. E. Ong of Lacon, Hon. Emery A. Storrs of Chicago, Hon. S. S. Page of Peoria and F. S. Potter of Henry.

The demands of the court has drawn heavily on the "rank and file" of all the townships. Henry, Whitefield and Saratoga have been "mustered" liberally for jurymen, but as most of them have been rejected the boys breathe freer. The persons subpoenaed were as follows: Form Henry, J. H. Jones, C. Gold, E. W. Houghton, P. W. Wykoff, Chas. Reichardt, Alex. Brown, T. O'Harra, D. N. Blood, Jr., W. G. Snyder, Winslow Warren, Frank Troendley.  From Whitefield, Jas. Newman, J. T. Brasfield, B. Bodken, John Smith, C. C. Smith, H. L. Gregory, Thomas Clift, Jos. Lyon, James Harrington, Cyrus Brown. Saratoga, J. D. McVicker, Benj. Howes, Jos. Greenlea, Solomon Darby, Thomas Hatch, Festus Patsons, W. Divilbiss.

The case opened at 2:30 o'clock p.m., with Judge Burns on the bench. After some preliminaries concerning witnesses, the impaneling of a jury was the first business in order.  Frank Troendly and Edgar Motter of Henry, Cyrus Brown, William Grady and James Harrington of Whitefield, Thomas O'Brien of Saratoga, and Milton Holmes of La Prairie were examined. James Bell was also examined.  Then followed Jordon Sawyer of Hopewell, Henry Palmer of Bennington, Henry Wink, S. E. Asay, C. F. Anderson, Robert Hallcock, Thomas J. Brasfield, Robert Gregg, W. L. Fisher, B. F. Highway, Daniel Axline, A. G. Everly, Williard Odell, E. L. Gould, W. W. Isenberg, Frank Barr, Chas. Gapen, Robert Rickey, Jacob Rediger, Truman Sperry, J. R. Newman, L. D. Williams. Of these after examination by both sides, and close questioning, only 8 were accepted up to last night. These were J. R. Newman and T. J. Brasfield of Whitefield, Benj. Judd of Evans, Herman Guede of Lacon, Milton Holmes of La Prairie, Robert Gray and J. R. Imgram of Bennington and Ephraim Williamson of Lacon - all farmers except the latter, who is a brickmason.

The attendance upon the court has been very large, and on Monday some ladies were present. El Paso and Woodford county is represented by a large delegation, and their numbers are continually swelling by the arrival of each train from day to day.  The interest in the trial is great here as elsewhere. It is the main topic of conversation everywhere.  From what is understood of the case it is given as an opinion that Ransom will never be hung.

The examination of jurors has been thus far conducted by W. W. O'Brien for the prosecution and David Muir for the defence.  It is expected the panel will be made up today, when the case will be entered upon in good earnest.  This report is made up from the Peoria daily papers, which are giving full details of the case.

Thursday, January 26, 1882

The report in our last issue gave but eight of the jurors. On Thursday, Jan. 10, the panel was completed, though it took until 8 p.m. to obtain the other four.  The full panel is as follows:
Milan Holmes of La Prairie
Herman Guede of Lacon
Robert Gray of Bennington
T. J. Brasfield of Whitefield
James R. Brasfield of Whitefield
Benjamin Judd of Evans
J. R. Ingram of Bennington
Ephraim Williamson of Lacon
Edmund Evans of Hopewell
Benedict Wasmer of Hopewell
John A. Clemens of Roberts
David Wills of Lacon
Eight of these are farmers, one a general storekeeper, and the others a brick mason, a laborer and a tile manufacturer.  The witnesses, 60 for the people and 80 for the defense, were then sworn in in a body, or as many as were present, and were excluded from the court room.

THE PROSECUTION

W. W. O'Brien then addressed the jury as to what the prosecution expected to prove by their witnesses.  He gave a short biographical sketch of the deceased, a resident of Woodford County for 50 years, a lawyer by professions, and had studied law with the speaker.  He then detailed the circumstances of the encounter. According to his statement Ransom fired without provocation, or danger, or threat from the deceased, and again fired as the man was falling, the shot penetrating the brain. Ransom met a friend and said "I have killed a dog."

He then found his lawyer, Mr. Shaw, and told him and others he had shot in self defense.  The speaker then went on to explain why the deed was done, reciting Ransom's career, in Woodford county.  He spoke of the woman from New York who sued him for a divorce, also of his wife No. 2, who died while the divorce suit of No. 1 was pending.  He then referred to Mr. Bullock's connection with the divorce as solicitor for wife No. 1; he commenced proceedings against Ransom to make him pay certain sums of money for the support of his client during the suit.  The history of the case was given, the various orders of the court, etc. Ransom prayed appeals, refused to obey the orders of the court to pay his wife $500, and was attached and fined $100 for contempt.  Among other things he made an affidavit, although a rich man, that he was a poor man, and unable to pay the alimony awarded by the court.

Ransom became greatly incensed at Bullock for prosecuting the case, and the speaker referred to threats Ransom had made against Bullock in consequence. The city election, when Ransom wanted to be mayor again Bullock opposed him and Ransom was defeated, which enraged him still more against Bullock; that Ransom had spoken so rashly of Bullock, that the latter's friends advised him to be prepared.  

He charged Ransom with carrying concealed weapons, and intimated that he would prove the prisoner a hard character, and that the people would prove a cold blooded premeditated murder.

The first witness was Dr. Fred Cole of El Paso, who examined the murdered man in the vacant store where the body was carried.  The man was dead; one ball entered the left breast near where the 4th rib joins the breast bone, passing through the base of the heart, severing the main artery leading from the heart, and came out under the left shoulder, passing completely through the body; the other ball entered the right side of the head, in front of the ear, ranging upward and forward, emerging on the left side near the frontal bone, head bent as he was falling when struck; both wounds were mortal, but death enused from the body wound, which bled profusely and was the most serious of the two; no pistol found on his clothes, but a pocket knife; he saw two balls, one of which was found in Bullock's clothes.

Friday

John Geiger, saloonkeeper of El Paso, a resident 11 years, sworn:  Had known Ransom about three years, and Bullock about ten years. Between 6 and 7 o'clock on the evening of the 2d of May, 1881, witness was standing with Mr. Holcomb in front of the latter's grocery store in El Paso. Bullock came up from the east, from the direction of the Illinois Central railroad crossing, abut two blocks distant. Bullock said, "Good evening," and stood beside witness. About three minutes afterward Ransom came up.  He had passed by about ten feet, when Bullock knocked me on the arm, and said, "That's the fellow who said I sold out on election day, the darned thief."  Ransom stopped, turned around and said, "I want you to take that back." Bullock replied, "I will never take it back." Ransom again said, "Take that back," and Bullock answered, "I never take anything back."  

As Ransom said "Take that back" the second time he pulled out a revolver and pointed it at Bullock, who walked toward Ransom with his hands up and open. When he was was bout three or four feet from Ransom, the latter fired the pistol in his hand, and Bullock fell forward, his hands open and resting on Ransom's shoulders, and his head falling on his chest. Ransom took hold of him by the left hand on the back of the neck.  They had a slight scuffle, and got off the sidewalk near a hitching post about three feet from the walk, and then got back on the walk, when Ransom fired a second shot at Bullock.

Bullock then got away from Ransom, but witness did not know how.  When the two were about three feet apart and Bullock was falling sideways near the window, then Ransom fired a third shot and Bullock fell in front of the door.  Ransom picked up his hat, which had fallen off, and walked down the street, turning around once, and looking at Bullock as he lay flat on the walk, but said nothing.  He just looked at him and then walked down the street.  Cross examined by Mr. Shaw.

S. A. Holcomb of El Paso saw the shooting, and gave his evidence similar to that of the previous witness. Cross examined by Mr. Storrs.

Mrs. M. E. Laswell saw the shooting 70 feet distant: saw Ransom throw his left arm around Bullock's shoulders, and draw up the other arm and fire. This was the second shot she heard. At the time the last shot was fired, Bullock was in Ransom's arms and was holding a pistol over his head.

Joseph Gardner of El Paso saw and heard the shooting. They were about a foot apart when Bullock fell. Ransom picked up his hat and walked up the street. Cross examined by Mr. Storrs.

Jonas Dalton, a lad eight years old, and of a humorous disposition, said his business was "around." He corroborated Geiger's testimony.

Saturday

Sebastion Welty heard three shots fired; saw Bullock fall on Ransom; knew the location of the building, and from a plat pointed out different places thereon.

Abraham Potter, butcher of El Paso heard the shooting and saw Bullock fall; little time between the second and third shots.

S. S. Rodgers, a money loaner of El Paso, made the plat show the jury and explained it.

E. S. Paul; city marshall of El Paso, met Ransom after the shooting, who gave himself up and a revolver, three chambers empty and two loaded. Afterward said he was sorry he did it.

Columbus P. Sheer, stock dealer at El Paso, gave a conversation that passed between himself and prisoner, over which the lawyers had a tit as to its admission, pending which the court adjourned until Monday.

Monday

The testimony was to the effect, that Ransom had told him long before the shooting, to tell Bullock he had stolen $3000 from a man, and he could prove it; witness did not convey the message to B.

Mrs. Carnanan testified as to the shooting, similar to the other witnesses. Cross examined by Mr. Page.

Joseph Moore heard the shots and met Ransom on the way to the place of shooting.  Bullock had fallen; he was not dead, but did not speak.

William A. Johnston, a hardwareman of El Paso, was sworn: Saw Ransom shortly before the shooting, who said to him, "If I were to put Ransom (Bullock) out of the way three-fourths of the people would uphold me." Nothing said as to the means of putting him away. Ransom had said in the same conversation that Bullock was hunting him down in the divorce case; conversation on Sunday, eight days prior to the shooting at Ransom's residence; prior conversation was that if Bullock did not stop hunting him down and writing him up in the newspapers he would stop him; did not say how he would stop him; this conversation was about six weeks before the spring election.

A conversation in the calaboose on the night of the shooting, was, that Ransom while on the way down from supper saw Ransom (Bullock) standing talking with Geiger near Casletts, and had intended to go another way; but changing his revolver from his hip to his overcoat pocket, he walked past Bullock and when the latter called him a damned thief, and refused to take it back he shot him; he said he was sorry he did it; he changed his revolver from one pocket to another because he had determined to take nothing more from Bullock; he also said the first shot was fatal; he also said he shot Bullock to kill him. Cross examined by Mr. Muir.

Henry Gingerich was a saloon keeper at El Paso; heard the shooting and detailed what he knew of it; had conversed with Ransom, who stated that if Bullock did not quit talking about him he would hurt him; at another time he told him to come before the grand jury, of which he was a member, and present a certain case against Bullock concerning two notes, which he said Bullock had stolen; he also said Bullock would never get another chance to go on the grand jury to indict him.

Cross examined by Mr. Page. Did not see much of the shooting or remember much of the conversation with Ransom; nothing in the charge about the notes, and did not care to have an indictment; was positive that Ransom said Bullock would never get another chance to indict him; Bullock had never had Ransom indicted, but had talked a good deal about indicting him; was certain that Ransom did not say that he would never get another chance to indict him.  The witness was badly confused.

Miles Lucas, now a helper in the machine shops at Bloomington, was in El Paso one day in October 1880, and swore he heard Ransom say to Joseph Cassell, in the presence of two other, "If that d-d ragged H. W. Bullock has any friends in this town they had better be getting out; if they did not he would put a hole through him. Mr. Cassell said that he should not use such language, Ransom replied he did not car a d-n, it was true.

John Sweet searched the body for Dr. Dole, and took out a pair of gloves, handkerchief, newspaper and penknife.

Tuesday

 A. C. Young resided at Secor, and was a blacksmith; testified same as as Lucas, except that Ransom's reply to Cassell was - that he knew what he was about and would do it. Shaw cross examined the witness, who made himself out a repeater at elections for money; ran away to avoid a bastardy warrant, and that he would not deny anything that anybody swore about him.  He was known as "Jack of Clubs."

William Bellinger testified the same as Lucas.

Allison Dimmery of El Paso testified a scene at Kesler's saloon. Ransom sitting at the stove, and Bullock came in and got a drink; as latter went out Ransom displayed a pistol and walked toward Bullock, whose back was turned, and then sat down again.

Jacob S. Richards took minutes at the coroner's inquest, and was questioned thereon.

Louis Bauman, Jacob Massey, C. F. Hitch were also examined, which closed the case for the people.

THE DEFENSE

E. A. Storrs then addressed the jury, occupying Tuesday afternoon and a portion of yesterday, when the witnesses for the defense were examined in order.

Thursday, February 2, 1882

THE DEFENSE

Our last report was to the close of the case for the people.  Hon. E. A. Storrs opened the case for the defense Tuesday afternoon.  The court room was filled and crowded and his speech was characterized as one of unusual vigor and logic. The occasion was solemn and the issue one of life and death. He charged the prosecution with its horde of witnesses, large numbers of whom were not sworn, as an organized lobby, a gang of claques in the service of the prosecution and pay of the state, to influence public opinion.

He replied to W. W. O'Briens statements to the jury, that his remarkable speech had not been sustained by the evidence adduced. He deplored murder, dwelling particularly upon the elements of actual murder.  The question of malice must be established to a moral certainty.  He claimed that there was no doubt but that on the occasion of the shooting, when Ransom was passing by seeking no quarrel, the first offense came from Bullock.  That Bullock had been in the habit of denouncing Ransom as a "damned thief."  

The question of what Bullock was doing when the first shot was fired is important. The speaker claimed that when the first shot was fired Bullock was not standing still, but when a man of great physical strength, was rushing in rage with hostile demonstrations upon Ransom, a crippled, 60 year old, rheumatic man, who then fired, he wanted to know if a shot fired under such circumstances was fired in malice. He regarded the case as one of justifiable homicide.  

The defense would show threats for two years from Bullock, but the divorce case was not the origin of it - it was only a means taken by Bullock to persecute Ransom.  He was a volunteer in the case - did not get into it in the usual way.  It was a blackmailing scheme.  It was first taken up for the pretended wife on shares by an eastern shyster lawyer.  He was to get all of the money he could out of Ransom, and then divide.  If they could not agree another lawyer was to be called in to make a decision. The court decided that the contract was criminal. It was difficult to find a lawyer in Woodford county to go into the case, but finally Bullock, out of hatred for Ransom, volunteered his services. There was never a dollar of money allowed the woman.  It all went to the lawyers.  They got $50 apiece for themselves, and that was the order of the court.  There never was fine for contempt.  Ransom took an appeal on the order for lawyer's fees and was attached, on which he also appealed, and that is how the case now stands.

Ransom was hunted, dogged and pursued, and is it wonderful that he cried out against it? Bullock was continually slandering Ransom as a liar, perjurer, thief, wife-beater and wife murderer.  He also threatened to drive him from El Paso and the state, place him under the sode, etc.  To escape this abuse Ransom had made arrangements to move away.

Ransom knew that Bullock, in a lawsuit, had drawn a revolver on the lieutenant-governor of the state; had shot at a man on the streets of El Paso; that one of his bullets was now being carried by one of his own brothers, and that he had driven a witness against him away by drawing a knife and threatening to kill him.  He also said that he was in the habit of carrying a dirk knife. Under all these circumstances it was not serious bodily injury, but his life, that Ransom had reason to fear when Bullock sprang upon him in rage.  

Ransom was on his way to meet Mr. Shaw, his lawyer, about the divorce case, at the Campbell house, when the shooting occurred.  Speaking of his homicide, he claimed that Bullock sprang upon Ransom with such violence that he fell upon him and threw him off the sidewalk, and then recovering himself grasped Ransom by the throat, forced him backward until he backed him up against the side of the house, where he grasped him the tighter, and then the last two shots were fired.  Mr. Storrs claimed that the first short fired, when Bullock sprang upon Ransom, did not hit Bullock.

Wednesday

The first witness called was Dr. J. Q. Adams of El Paso; had chair in Ransom's office four years; relations of Ransom and Bullock unfriendly. Bullock on Saturday before the spring election said to witness he was going to have Ransom in the penitentiary before six months and called him a d--d wh--ring son of a b--h; also said Ransom had perjured himself.  Witness said they must make up or one of them would get hurt; he might exasperate Ransom to do something desperate. Bullock said he would pursue Ransom to the bitter end.  Other evidence went to show that Ransom avoided Bullock on the street from time to time, and that Bullock was a much more muscular man than Ransom.  Cross examined.

Frank Cassell of El Paso, in passing Gingerich's saloon, Ransom pointed out Bullock in there; did not know his object; Bullock was boisterous and R. said he wanted to avoid him.

Walter S. Gibson, a lawyer of El Paso, testified that on the afternoon of the day of the homicide, Ransom made in his office, an appointment to meet Mr. Shaw at the Campbell House.  Mrs. Allen Hart and Robert Patterson were present.

Wm. Tegard, a blacksmith, testified noticing Ransom's attempts at avoiding Bullock, and explained routes he took; it was often commented upon in the shop.

D. T. Tegard testified seeing Ransom down street and then met him at another place, who told witness he had gone that way to avoid Bullock; had some of Ransom's tickets on election day; Bullock said he would not vote for the perjured son of a b--; witness told him to look out, he might get hurt; B. said he could lead him about by the nose if he had a pistol in both hands.  Cross examined.

Adam Brown, a blacksmith of El Paso, corroborated W. Tegard's testimony, was part owner in the shop.

Bertram Strahl, partner with Adam Brown, testified that on day of election Bullock handed him a ticket, saying I hope you will vote that ticket; witness could not; Bullock then asked if he was going to vote for that son of a b--, thieving liar and wife beater; witness offered to show him the papers, but he didn't care to see them.

Mrs. Charles Bush repeated what Bullock had said to her husband and herself about Ransom, finally that he (Bullock) would never give up; that he was a Kentuckian and that he would see him in the dust.

R. C. Duff was called upon by Bullock; witness said he should vote for Ransom; Bullock asked if he did not know he was the danedest, biggest rascal in town; witness did not know about that, but had promised to vote for Ransom. Bullock said Ransom was the d--dest s--n of a b--h in El Paso, and he had a file of affidavits in his office that would send him to the penitentiary.

James Henderson in Gingerich's saloon two months before the election, heard Bullock say Ransom was a perjured villain, and was abusing him loudly.  Ransom was near the ice box and seemed to be cringing; appeared as if he would not resent what was going on; thought there would be no trouble as Ransom was quiet and his manner seemed to indicate fear.

Wm. Wheeler of El Paso testified to Bullock's denunciation of Ransom as above.

James Ferrell gave similar evidence, as also Stewart Haslett.

Albert Dorsey, bartender, had heard Bullock call Ransom an old greedy headed s--n of a b--h, thief, d--d old coward, perjured villain and wife beater. Witness once told Bullock that if he was him, he would let up on this, he had carried it far enough.  He said he allowed he would not let up, nor never would let up. Witness had seen Ransom leave the room when Bullock came in; probably a half a dozen times.  Had known Ransom to get up out of a game of cards and go out.

R. W. Patterson was present when Ransom made the engagement with Mr. Shaw May 2d to meet him at the Campbell House that evening.

Samuel T. Curtis had heard Bullock speak of Ransom as given above; had told B. that Ransom would shoot him; he called Ransom a cowardly dog, and said he would scare the breeches off of him. Whenever witness met B. he would talk about
Ransom that way, and was violent about it.  Bullock once said the cowardly dog was getting ready to leave town, but he would follow him to the ends of the earth; had told Bullock he would not stand much talk as he uttered about Ransom, and would have shot Ransom(Bullock?); Bullock replied the cowardly dog dare not shoot me.

Thos. H. Breen testified that when talking about election, Bullock said he would see Ransom in hell before he was made mayor; had heard him call R. thief and perjurer, and that he would drive him out of the country or to the penitentiary; had seen Ransom get up and leave a saloon several times when Bullock came in.

Peter Sparrows testified to the usual assortment of epithets, and heard Bullock say that he would send him to state's prison or hell.

W. G. Johnson also testified to the epithets, and that he heard them a dozen times on March 2d.

Friday

Hon. Jno. M. Hamilton, lieutenant-governor was there to testify that while trying a case with Bullock the latter drew a revolver on him, but the evidence was objected to.

Chas. H. Shather, R. T. Cassell, G. L. Gibson gave evidence as above. Gibson testified that the quarrel commenced in 1878 at a Democratic convention, over alleged bad faith. L. S. Caulkins formerly of Magnolia, was also on the stand but gave no new testimony.

THE DEFENDANT

Porter C. Ransom was then put on the stand.  Resided in El Paso up to the time of his arrest, over six years; had known Bullock 15 years.  Had an engagement to meet his lawyer, Thomas M. Shaw, at the Campbell house in the evening after supper, on May 2d, 1881.  Made the engagement at Gibson's office in the afternoon.

Started from his residence to keep the engagement a little after 6 o'clock, went nearly two blocks east, a short block north, and then across the railroad track. At the railroad crossing saw Bullock standing on Front street, near Geiger's. Passed Bullock and others, but did not recognize them. Heard Bullock say "There's the damned thief who said I sold out the election." Witness was then nearly abreast of them, and after taking two or three steps further he turned and said, "Mr. Bullock, I want you to retract that."  He replied, "I will not take it back." Witness again asked him to retract, and he replied that he would not take it back and made a rush towards witness, who put his hand in his overcoat pocket to get his revolver, but before he could get it out, Bullock came against him with such violence that he was nearly knocked off his feet.

In his effort to get away he backed 40 or 50 feet, closely pursued by Bullock, until he found himself going off the walk and caught himself on a post, after which witness, having regained the walk, was retreating backwards, when Bullock again rushed upon him, and he pulled his revolver and fired.  Before that, as he felt himself going off the walk he had lost hold of his revolver, and had not taken it out before the second rush when he fired.

Bullock then caught hold of him by the throat, and backed him violently against a building. "Don't hurt me and I won't shoot again."  Bullock made no reply, but gritted his teeth, tightened his hold on witness' throat with one hand and made a move as witness thought to draw a weapon with the other.  Witness then fired twice.  He did not think the first shot took effect.

When Bullock rushed upon him he thought he was going to kill him. He rushed rapidly with his hands up to grab him.  He seemed very angry. Witness had heard of his use of arms, of his shooting one person, of his cutting another, of his threatening other persons, and had seen him carrying a dirk at a time when their relations were friendly, and which Bullock said he would rather have in close quarters than a pistol.

He had often heard of his abuse of himself. He was not aware that Bullock was then unarmed.  He had always tried to avoid altercations with him; had heard Bullock denounce him, but had not resented it or replied to it; had taken every possible measure to avoid him; had gone into stores until he passed; had turned out of his way to avoid meeting him; had left saloons when he came in; had sent peace messages to him; had never stated that he had shifted his revolver from his hip to his overcoat pocket; never carried his revolver in his hip pocket; when he wore an overcoat he carried it in his overcoat pocket, and at other times in his pants pocket, but not in his hip pocket, in which he carried a pocketbook. He denied certain conversations testified to by Johnson, Shur, Dimmery and others.  The defendant spoke clearly, distinctly, without hesitation, and in a straightforward manner.  He was listened to with the closest attention.

Saturday

The murderer, Ransom, was cross examined.  He gave his age as 66, and had lived about El Paso since 1866.  He was closely questioned, over which the lawyers wrangled, but nothing specially important was elicited, except denials of testimony by the prosecution.  This closed the case for the defense.

All day Saturday rebuttal testimony was given by a large number of witnesses, from all the professions and walks of life, testifying that Ransom had a bad reputation, and that they would not believe him under oath.

The trial will close today or tomorrow, and the case given to the jury.  In the closing it was agreed that there should be four speeches on each side alternating lawyers Newell, Cavan, Bane and O'Brien speaking for the prosecution, and Muir, Page, Shaw and Storrs for the defense.  The case looks damaging for Ransom.

Thursday, February 9, 1882

The jury in the Ransom case received their instructions, and at 5 p.m. on Friday night, Feb. 3, retired for consultation.  At 8:30 a.m. Saturday they gave a verdict of acquittal.  What told with the jury was the ceaseless persecution of Bullock, the relentless, untiring hounding down of Ransom, until goaded to desperation, he turned on his enemy and slew him.  The verdict was somewhat anticipated, however, for it is generally known that a jury in murder trials in Marshall county never convict, hence the henceness of the expentancy.

However most of the impartial listeners and careful readers of the case, think that justice has been meted out.  Mr. Ransom on Saturday night left Lacon and the state, and probably has shaken the dust of El Paso from his feet forever.  Before he left he presented Mrs. Shaw, wife of Senator Shaw, and Mrs. Hancock, wife of the sheriff, with costly jewels as mementos of kindly attentions while incarcerated.