Ransom Murder Trial - Closing Argument

The Journal, Saturday, February 4, 1882


The Argument

In this issue we give the argument of the attorneys as fully as possible. We shall make it a special work to give the argument of the other attorneys. We are publishing the proceedings as near in full as possible. While we believe that Ransom is guilty of murder in the first degree, and think he should be punished accordingly, we have no malice toward him. We have our feelings, our lot has been east with the prosecution, because we knew Bullock to be a man. "His life was gentle; and the elements so mixed in him that nature might stand up and say to all the world, "This is a man." We knew Ransom. We knew his strong passions; his cruelty to man and the lower-animals. We heard him commit perjury. We know his sham generosity. We know his shoddy gentleman??. We know his unbounded contempt for a poor man. We know that he took the life of one of our dearest friends. Then can any one say that we are wrong, and to be condemned for calling things their right names?

We feel that our course is fully justified, under the circumstances.

The case will be argued as follows: Each side will be entitled to four speeches with time unlimited. The speeches will be made as follows, as near as we can learn, The opening will be made by Hon. Martin L. Newell; followed by David Muir, next Hon. A. M. Cavan, next S. S. Page and Hon. T. M. Shaw, next George Bane, next Hon, Emory A. Storrs. The closing speech will be made by Hon. W. W. O'Brien

Argument of M. I. Newell. The opening argument for the prosecution was made by M. L. Newell, State's Attorney for Woodford county, who said: Gentlemen of the Jury: I feel like congratulating you, gentlemen of the jury, that we are near the end of this long and tedious trial, during which you have so patiently listened. I have never attended a longer case or a more important one. I am deeply interested, and you have shown by your close, attention that you are interested. It is for you to say whether this man shall be punished for this rime of murder, as set forth by the evidence, or that he be again allowed to mingle in society. The case has not been conducted with solemnity and dignity that I think it should have been. It seems to have been the main effort by the defense to reduce this case to a farce. It is your duty to shut out all that has been frivolous. It is you duty to punish crime as it is, shutting out all that is ridiculous. It has been stated that in regard to our opening statements that were have not proved all therein set forth. We make the same statement concerning the defense - they have failed to make good the many statements that they agreed to while our evidence clearly shows that we have proven all. They have had saloon keepers as witnesses on their side as well as on ours, though I will not weary you with anything more on this point as the charges have been run on this again and again from time to time. It so happened that this crime took place in front of a saloon. The fact of a man's being a saloon-keeper need not necessarily effect his veracity as a witness. John Geiger saw the whole as he was the nearest to the scene and could see and did see the shooting, and the defense insinuates that because he had during that day drank five or six glasses of beer his word was not to be taken. This is nonsense.

Mr. Holcomb saw the transaction; he was an old man entirely inexperienced in the ways of courts and he was so keenly cross examined by the shrewdest of experts that he became confused, and I ask you, gentleman of the jury, if his evidence - the evidence of an honest a man as ever was on a witness stand is to be overthrown or disbelieved simply because he was an old and feeble man. No such occurrence as this shooting affray could have taken place in ten seconds nor the shots be fired as rapidly as the witnesses of the defense have indicated. because a man is poor and in humbled circumstances it is no reason that his word is good for nothing, hence the witness Gardener, his testimony not being impeached, is a good as that of any on the defense. Dalton, the boy, was called a street Arab; this was only done by the eminent counsel to bring him into disrepute with the jury; Gentlemen, ?? to what this boy saw it all and gave a clear and convincing version of the affair. another thing I wish to call your attention to is the whole-sale abuse of the citizens of El Paso. I will say for the inhabitants of that place that they are just as respectable and just as ? as nay town in the State and will compare favorably with any of our cities anywhere and they should not be abused for wishing to punish a desperate crime as they have witnessed it in this case. (Here Mr. Newell read from the criminal law of the State and cited numerous authorities as to the correct definition of murder.)

The people in their prosecution of this case show this state of facts in accordance with the law I have just read. In the afternoon as the defendant was returning from his supper he looked across the street and saw Bullock. Now he did not avoid this man as he had done before and go down another street, or the railroad track. As he passed, Mr. Bullock was saying to Geiger, "There goes the man who says I sold out the election." etc. Ransom (who had always avoided Bullock,) as he passerby heard what was said. Holcomb was only six feet away and did not distinctly hear, so that Bullock and Geiger could not have been talking very loud. Ransom had gone past and turned back and said, "Take that back," Geiger said it was "Take that back," Holcomb, "You have got to take that back." This was requested and Ransom drew his revolver, a self-cocker, and pointed it at him. What did Bullock do? He did what he had a right to, he started to disarm him, as soon as he had gone towards him he immediately fired. It is for you to determine whether the man was shot as he came towards Ransom or not. Bullock had a right to be upon the sidewalk; I will not say that Bullock did not use the words, "d-d thief," as Holcomb says he didn't hear and Geiger does not remember. He may have said it and he may not in literal language. There are other witnesses who came in and corroborated both Geiger and Holcomb. Dalton saw the first shot, he says that Bullock was 7 or 8 feet away; Holcomb saw the first shot; he says that Bullock fell against Ransom and put his hands on Ransom's shoulders. All say that Bullock was an athlete. Now this strong man must have been killed at the first shot, or he could have disarmed this man Ransom. If his hands were clinched, it must have been that his hands were clinched in a death struggle. Ransom admitted to W. A. Johnston, that the first shot was fatal. Gardner corroborated this evidence.

Do you recollect, gentlemen, what was said about Bullocks hands being on Ransom's shoulders, and Ransom having his arm around Bullock's neck? Either one of those shots would be fatal - the one through the brain the more certain. It has been shown that the witnesses were excited. Would not you - any of you- and all, gentlemen of the jury, be excited at seeing one man coldly and deliberately shoot another? What did Ransom do? Was he flurried and excited. We leave it for you to judge. At all events, he picked up his hat from where it had fallen, and with his revolver still smoking took one look at his victim, and walked away. From the evidence we and you gentlemen of the jury, must inevitable come to the conclusion that the third shot merely placed the clothing. Inflections will be given that malice must be shown in order to prove murder. We have proved that Ransom was in the habit of making threats. (Newell was very hoarse, and it was with difficulty that he could talk at all). There is no evidence that Bullock offered himself in that case of divorce, or that he did it through malice; but he did make it exceedingly hot for the defendant in the case. Johnston swears that they did have the conversation referred to. Ransom comes on the stand, and swears that they did not have the conversation, but the Johnston wanted to borrow money of him. Johnston again comes upon the stand, and swears that he did not want to borrow money. Mr. Johnston's character has not been called into question. He had no reason for swearing as he did. Mr. Ransom did for denying it.: (Adjourned till 1:30 p.m.)



Mr. Newell resumed his speech. He proceeded to read the law in regard to self defense.
There is not a bit of evidence to show that he denied any of the charges, and but once did he try to get Bullock to quit his abuse of him, You can't find a single instance after Ransom was defeated for mayor that he avoided Bullock. It was before this he avoided him; after that he did not. He made up his mind he would make Bullock let him alone and take back what he had said. I do not justify Bullock's abuse of Ransom, but words are no excuse for shooting a man, I have heard that is said if a man wants to know now mean he is, let him run for office. There is no evidence that he had any malice against Ransom until the divorce case, and the abuse was caused by what he knew of the man in regard to this and hence, in the election he worked against him, thinking him not a man fit for the office. (Here he read more law on the subject of man slaughter, or of reducing murder to man slaughter.) Now, in all the abuse of Bullock against Ransom, I fell to see any thread to follow them up and carry them into effect. An attempt has been made to prejudice your minds because private counsel has been retained on the prosecution. I have had charge of this case, but since I came here, I am thankful to the friends of Mr. Bullock for having private counsel to aid me in doing my duty. It is natural, it is humanity for them to desire that the slayer of their brother and friend should not go unpunished. How many lawyers there may be on either side makes no difference. If you conclude that this man is not guilty of murder, it is your duty to see whether he may not be guilty of man-slaughter. The penalty for man-slaughter is not less than 14 years in the penitentiary - (more law read. Law read on justifiable homicide.)

Mr. Newell closed at 2:45 p.m. At 2:50 p.m.


David Muir commenced his argument

Gentleman of the Jury - You would rather we would shorten these arguments, as it consumes so much time, but you will no doubt be patient and hear what we have to say. Not one of you ever heard a word on behalf of the defendant till the counsel for his defense came to ?. You have heard the attorneys plead with you, if you fail to find this man a murderer you will make it that of man slaughter with a penalty of 1 year or more. We say that this old man ought to either walk the scaffold or go free. We appear before you asking for no mercy, but asking for a clear and earnest understanding of the whole matter. Prosecutions are not instituted for private revenge but for prosecuting those who commit crime against the people as a whole. Mr. Newell says he has never been ? out of this ? I appeal to you ? all the witnesses and not been through other hands, and how few have said anything to him whatever and this is why he, in his opening, apologized to the jury for the character of the witnesses they were obliged to bring before you on behalf of the prosecution. Doesn't it look like it was a whiskey case that they were trying. This was a case that took place on the public street where respectable people could and did see it, and why did they take the class of witnesses they did? But where you see nay side trying to lug in a witness whose word cannot be taken you may have grave doubts as to what their right intentions my be. The law does not allow private parties to appeal to the passions to punish the criminal but takes hold of it through the law. Those who know the candor of Mr. Newell, know that when he came before the jury he had no heart in the matter, but read the law claiming its iron rule must take its way. He knew that this OLD MAN had already borne more than HE HIMSELF could bear, and a man feeling that murder had been committed could not have spoken as calmly as he did and be the earnest man that he is.

I will not read a long list of law to you, I will not weary you, but the court has the instructions and they will be given you according to the law. It is his duty to give them and I hope you will be guided by his judgment as to what is the law in the matter. Words are no excuse for doing injury to a person, yet they are powerful means to show the jury what was the feelings of the man whether his intentions were expressed or not. It is an admitted fact that the men were not on friendly terms. Which was the pursuer or the pursued is hard to tell from the facts brought out, but it is evident that the deceased was the enemy of the man now before you. If you met a stranger and he abused you, you would not know what his intentions were, but if a man whom you knew was your enemy, who abused you on every opportunity, you might be sure what the intentions of such a man were. It is stated that the divorce case and a political matter was the cause of the ill will, but Gibson, an honest candid man, says that it grew out of political matters before suit was instituted. This shows the state of ill-feeling and how Bullock felt in regard to the man Ransom, and how Bullock used the divorce case as a cloak to hide him in hunting down this old man. a man may do all he can in curt, but he has not a right to take it to, the street corners and abuse the man. When he does he gets down into the dirt and ? of her personal malice and is unfit for a lawyer trying cases in the courts. (Here he took the testimony of Shur, under the head of language heard, and in the different way in which different people heard the same thing.) We were astonished to learn that he was a stock-dealer, when we had known him as a man dealing in liquors, which he positively denied and which was proved by Kessler, Dorsey also started a saloon, in Secor and for him. We need to consider this. Why was Ransom avoiding Bullock? Why was he wading in the mud to do so if he was anxious to bring abut a quarrel? While Bullock was abusing Ransom on every corner and where ever he went, Ransom kept his mouth shut and said nothing when all he had to do was to go into the presence of Bullock to have an altercation at any time. (Referred to the time ? Bullock spoke to Ransom, and Ransom would not notice him on account of Walter Bullock.)

He had been cautioned against talking to everyone in regard to the shooting and you ought not to believe the testimony of such a man as Shur, as what he stated was not even an answer to the question Shaw put to him. (He referred to the testimony of Hitch as ? of an honest man and if he would not confide in him, a friend, neighbor would he to such a man as Shur, who went there for the purpose of pumping him. This next man is Johnston. I regard him as a dangerous witness, but his ? of friendship was a cloak; he pretending to have the testimony drawn out of him unwillingly. (Muir gave the jury the idea that Johnston had learned his place and been drilled in it so that when he had to repeat his testimony he gave it no tow times alike.) He was seen to carry notes back and forth, but said he had not said anything to the counsel for the prosecution except Mr. Cavan. Do you believe that such a man as Johnston did not know that such conversation as he testified to would not be taken as hear say evidence. He was not a friend of Ransom. (Here he read the testimony of Johnston with comments). We say the admissions were not made to Johnston. Ransom would not so give himself away to such a man. Johnston is the attorney of such men as Lucas, Young, etc., carrying notes for them. Such men, hungry for blood, assume a calm demeanor when on the witness stand, need to be ? with suspicion. He appears to be a business man, he got through with his testimony the middle of last week, and why is he kept here over Sunday just to testily to a matter that he might have told last week.

Demary had to be sobered up one day before he could be brought as a witness. That is the kind of witnesses the prosecution were obliged to call in their interest. What a way for a lawyer to prosecute a case, to abuse a man through the newspapers, on the street corners and everywhere till even the men of the place, the best men, could stand it no longer, and begged him to let up on him or he would bring issues to pass that would fall on his own head. Human nature cannot bear forever, it must turn at last. Nothing will ruin a man so quickly as a ? cowardly taking of injury and abuse. ? would take it ? I would not? Who would; Not even a minister of the gospel could hold his position and tamely submit ? abuse. Mr. Ransom undoubtedly had an appointment made in the afternoon. As he went he passed the men; he does not notice them. But just before this Bullock was denouncing him in language foul, and this only a quarter of an hour before the shooting. The one on peaceable errand, the other denouncing Mr. Ransom. And is he going to act calmly when he meets the object of his hatred and anger? Holcomb could not hear what was said until Ransom came along. Was this then not said louder than which had gone before: Why was this, but to attract Ransom's attention? He was trying to provoke a quarrel and he refuses to take them back when asked. The first shot was that through the ?, grasping the shoulders, the second was in the body, and the third in the head.

Two ? of witnesses examined, those who were present and those who were attracted by the first shot. Mrs. Lasswell saw nothing till the first shot had been fired. She says they were together from the first, that she saw them until all the shooting was over. Mrs. Lasswell testimony is true. Mr. Hogbin testifies that they were swinging around and he could not tell who they were at first. He says it was Ransom off the sidewalk, but he undoubtedly was mistaken. He says that the shooting was done after they had got back ?? thing and ? to another, and ? they had an opportunity dodged the questions upon which they could have no doubt. Mr. Potter was the most candid of all, his testimony is important in that he gives the position of the men from time the first shot was fired. When he first saw them they were struggling, and they were clinched and not separated when last shot was fired. Take say number of witnesses for the prosecution and they all tell you that the shot was fired after the clinching took place. Mr. Mohr had his attention attracted by first shot; he supposed it was a fight at first; did not see say one off the sidewalk. He saw all after the first shot was fired. These all corroborate the fact that the shooting was done after they got on the sidewalk. Mr. Calkins saw the affair before the shooting. He establishes the fact,with these four witnesses for the prosecution, that the shooting was done after getting on the sidewalk. R. T. Cassell was called by the prosecution, but they, after saying that they would call all who saw the shooting, whether friend or foe, when they found he knew nothing of benefit to the, did not take him; so we took him. Ransom's hat must have fallen off when his head struck the building, as he was being pushed against the building by Bullock. Mr. Bullock was the aggressor. He was seeking the quarrel. It seems improbable that he on this evening should only seek to protect himself, and this man, who had avoided him for year, should be the aggressor on this evening. That most cruel charge, repeated from the months of gossips, that his wife died suddenly from poison, we say is utterly false. We not get to see them, as Bullock got to talking and forgot to show them. The facts are he had no documents. I do not believe the jury would bring fresh sorrow to this gray-headed man, who had had abuse heaped upon him so long. Shames on a prosecution who will use the reputation of a man in their case, when they had made this reputation themselves.

After thanking the jury Mr. Muir sat down. At 9:35 a.m. Hon. A. M. Cavan, on the part of the prosecution, spoke as follows:

Please the court - Gentlemen of the Jury - I am surprised at the speech of Mr. Muir. He pretends to be a good lawyer and an honest man. Let us see if he is. I assert that he did not discuss all the evidence, as he pretended. He did not forget it. I say that the evidence on their side was manufactured on the witness stand by these men. Mr. Muir takes advantage of the fact that the states attorney was in such health that he could not make a loud and strong speech. He says he had no heat in it. The life blood of Henry W. Bullocks was spilled by Porter C. Ransom. We charge it was murder, and if they cannot prove it otherwise it is murder. Holcomb was within six or seven feet of the shooting. We say he was an old man and not capable of telling his story because he was nervous and turning gray. What excuse could this old man have for getting up a story? It would be murder. Now what has been said of the little boy, Dalton. They have called him a ?, but was not his evidence clear. It corroborated that of Holcomb. Take up that of Geiger. ? was a saloon keeper - he had taken 12 glasses of beer, he said six, hence we cannot accept his testimony. Take the testimony of Mrs. Lasswell. They did not say a word about her direct examination, but only the cross examination when they had done their best to break down her testimony by a rigid cross examination. Bullock's head was on the bosom of this man whom they have proven as bas a a murder - if not a murderer a coward. This coward was standing with the head of this ? man on his breast. They would have you leave out a very important witness in the case. What about Lacey Carnahan? Did they intend that you should forget what was said by her in her testimony? For she was directly in front of where the affair took place. She saw this man standing with that deadly weapon in his hand and shooting his victim after he was down. That man was dead and then he put a bullet through his brain. They have told you nothing about Wetly. He proves that the first shot was a fatal shot. Would that strong man, as they say he was, lay his head upon the breast of that man, with a deadly weapon in his hand, would he unless there was something the matter? (Referred to those who had sworn they would not take his word on oath.)

When a man is in private life you do not inquire abut his life; but when a man puts himself up and asks to be a servant of the people, we have a right to know his character. One man from Secor had known him 16 years and his character was bad. Bullock had said on the street that Ransom was a wife murderer, a wife beater, etc. that he had the papers to prove it. Now what does Ransom do but send Gibson to ask Bullock to stop exposing him and be his friend - he would forgive him and be his friend. He knew that Bullock was too much of a man to stoop so low as to associate with such a man. He was laying a deep plot and this was a part of it. His going out the the saloon when Bullock came in and taking Cassell and showing him Bullock in the saloon was another part of the plot. (Here he scored Johnson for doing business for him, and for going to the Peoria jail). Is separating from Johnson and then meeting him further on was another part of the plot. He was a coward, for it is only the cowards that murder and rob, they do not come out and abuse not denounce you. He might have gone and told him that he would not submit to any further toleration of this abuse. Then if Bullock had refused, he then could have warned him before witnesses that he would kill him. But no, this coward saw his victim long before he came up to him; here he thought is my opportunity; he went out of the way to get to him; he had an engagement with Mr. Shaw; what was it: he must see him; did he not think that Mr. Shaw would help him out of it and three fourths of the people would uphold him; he said "I will be safe" he had passed Bullock and could have gone on to the Campbell House; but he turns and tells Bullock to take it back and in taking it back you will take back all you have said about me; this was his thought; but no, Bullock will not; he says you d-d thief, and then he knew he could not scare him into it; he says he only put his hand in his pocket; the fact is he took his revolver out of his pocket; Shur, they say, was a saloon-keeper and tried to hide it, is it possible that people who will license a saloon will not take the word of the man whom they license.

They will hold out to you that senator Shaw was aiding him and told him to keep his mouth shut and not tell what he had done; he did tell his friend Shur that he shot him before he got to him; he told him voluntarily and freely; gave himself away as every criminal does eventually. What does Hitch say? Ransom said, "I am sorry I did it," etc., and this man Hitch was acknowledged to be an honorable man and a friend of the defendant. I say that part of this defense was made up in the Peoria jail, part of it in the Lacon jail, and the rest by his leeches, who had borrowed money of him time and aging. Somewhere ???? this thing was hooked up. (Here Mr. Cavan took off his coat by permission of the Court and the ladies and proceeded, becoming heated) I acknowledged that no one should be convicted on the testimony of such men as Clark Young, but he had not been impeached in a court of justice, he was not a murderer.

Do you remember Billinger, a farmer, than whom there is no better man. He happened to be there. This is another instance that murder will out in talking business with Mr. Cassell why should he talk about Mr. Bullock. He had taught himself that he was the only man there; that three-fourths of the people, perhaps more, were not the friends of Mr. Bullock. We want you to convict this man from what you believe to be the evidence, and nothing else. In no case has a trial taken place in which so much abuse has been heaped upon the audience, or a lobby from El Paso, callers, etc., as they call them. I could locate the Chicago gentleman who did it, but it is not in evidence and I will not. Johnston's evidence was dangerous, hence it was necessary to break down the man (Here he stated what Johnston said about being called by Ransom). Why did he call him? There was a motive in it. He had something on his mind. It was weighing him down and he began to unburden himself to a friend. This weight was malice. In this heart that was once innocent but only in his mother's arms; the heart that had grown black and blacker by time, Ransom said, "This man is at the bottom of all my trouble; he defeated me at the election,: etc. "If I put him out of the way," etc. Oh, what a weight was lifted from his heart by this declaration. But this returned when Johnston did not approve of what was said, but advised him to take the law. He had talked again and again to Johnston, supposing him to be his friend, and it must be met; so they say he went there on Sunday to borrow money, to borrow of a man who had never leaned him a dollar in the world. They say "they talked nearly an hour, but he only took three minutes to tell it in the court room - where was the other 57 minutes?" Could I or you remember all of conversation that took place nine months ago? Would we not remember that which impressed us most, whether it be much or little? I am sorry to say I do know that Johnston had told his story only because he was force to and unwillingly. I don't blame him for saying "I am sorry that I ever heard it". And Johnston is alike sorry that he is placed in a position where the truth would be used to wipe out of existence the slayer of Bullock. What does Heye Johnson say of him in Secor? Ransom could not bring a man to say a good word for his reputation, or he would have don so. Court -adjourned for dinner.


Afternoon - Mr. Cavan proceeded with his argument:

When court adjourned I was addressing you in regard to the testimony of Mr. Johnston. Now as to swift witnesses. When a man was willing to tell what he knew he was charged as being a swift wittiness; but when a man is unwilling to tell what he knew, as Mr. Johnston was, he cannot be charged with being a swift witness. I did not see Demary attempt to take the Judge's chair. They said he was drunk. Which did they mean, Demary or Muir? I say Kessler is a swift witness, and he lied on the stand as I will prove. In Kessler's saloon this man Ransom turns as Bullock goes out, makes a step after him, drawing his revolver partly out of his pocket, but he was to late for a tragedy; so he returned and aquatinted down in his chair, then jumped up excited and proposed to treat the boys. (He again referred to him, taking the cross-examination instead of the direct). They say Demary lies because those other men didn't see it.

It reminds me of a story. One fellow was brought up for stealing horses. Three men swore they saw them steal the horses, one of them the owner: and the fellow brought up twelve men who did not see him, and they let him go. This is about the way Muir handles the case. Now as to Calkins testimony. He was too far away to see anything if he could not see who the men were. In the face of men who were within a few feet of the shooting and could see what he could not, he tells a different story. He testified that he said his own way, then confessed he was paid $5 and had part of it yet; Kessler, what is his business? Nobody knows. A street walker, a friend of Bullock? Let us see. He was invited into Bullock's office against his own protest. There they talked the matter over till he said he wanted no more evidence. He swore that he was the friend of the defendant and was the friend of every man that is down , or criminals he means. No man needs to be down unless he wished to, and then does not deserve friends. Men of this kind want to be put where they belong, put him beside Ransom and all like; then he had borrowed money of Ransom. Here is Mr. Dorsey; but I do not put him with the others, though he has borrowed money and he is like every man who may be under obligations; but he is susceptible of influence and is prejudiced.

This man had his 20 pieces of silver with which he plays his part and he played it well. Richards, I know him well. We will ? whether he told the truth. Take his testimony without the cross examination and it will look so; he says, "I saw Ransom standing on the corner, his looks attracted my attention and I followed him, saw him look in at the windows and then wait at the stairway." What would you think if I were to lurk around your house, looking in at the windows, etc: knowing that I had an ill-feeling toward you? Would you think I meant you some harm or would shoot you? He was a man very easily confused; he could sit down and tell you a straight story, but could be set upon and easily confused. Storrs has studied to confuse honest men and free criminals. A slander on the memory of the deceased - that half an hour before the shooting he was being ? by Ransom. Muir pretended that Bullock had come from a saloon and was intoxicated. It was a dirty, mean insinuation. Another assertion; It is not denied that they clinched after they got off the sidewalk. We deny that the hands of the dying man were on the shoulders of Mr. Ransom before the first shot was fired. But the first shot was fatal as Ransom told Johnston it must have been or the strong man could have disarmed him easily.

Sam Kessler is a friend of Ransom. You can tell it by his talk, by his looks, by his borrowing money. How could they all tell the same story and just alike if it had not been a hitched up tale. It is not human nature for two men to see or tell things exactly alike. There have been too many meetings. This man Strother was full, running over for his friend who had given him money, ?. He had been in the company of Shaw, Muir and Storrs, and it must have been a very pleasant association. To their shame, be it known. Such associations! It was not for association it was for something else. There is a rottenness hell that should not be countenanced in a community. I am sorry these men have done so. Will these men set this man free just for his money. The object of a lawyer is to see that nothing is done against the defendant, but not to screen him form just punishment. Dr. Cole came on the stand and testified as to the probable result of the wound. A man can walk when shot through the heart till the last drop of blood is gone, but in the brain it is different. If Cole's testimony is wrong, why did they not bring Dr. Reeder and prove that he was not an expert. They did not dare. Mr. Cassell, the old gentleman, was a good ways off. He must have heard what the other witnesses evidence was till he had committed it to memory, but what he did testify to he broke it all down by stating he was old and could not see. Was there a single witness for the prosecution who did not tell the truth on their direct examination, no matter what ever they may have been confused into saying on the cross examination.

There was a coroner's inquest shortly after the shooting, and the evidence of the witness must be written down and sworn to so there may be a record kept that it was an accident or murder. (Criticized the manner of Storr's cross examination of Mr. Holcomb). Hebden was confronted the same way. "They did not put down what I told them to, I want it corrected," said Hebden. Don;t forget that it was not a private matter with Bullock. It was a public duty. He had in his possession facts which he could prove and Ransom knew it. This was why he wanted to make up. Ransom said he would again be mayor. Bullock said with such a character he should never be. It would be a God send to society to help dig a grave for Ransom and put him by the side of Bullock. Now is not the time for tears, they should have been shed before the shooting. I have no malice in my heart towards Ransom, but great God, I have a great horror for his conduct. In conclusion, I believe that you will agree that it has been the most systematic strife to make a bad case of the prosecution, even calling the witnesses from El Paso claques and the El Paso mob. We got along nicely till that Little Big man came, then he tried to turn the trial into a ?. Do not weep for the life of Ransom when you remember the life that is gone. I thank you for the patient attention.


Pages Address

S. S. Page commenced his argument Tuesday afternoon and spoke till adjourment. He resumed his argument yesterday morning. His speech was in substance as follows:

I have no words for the speech just closed. I was astonished at the manner in which the case was opened. When I come before a jury pleading for the life of a man I wish I had the tongue of a Demosthenes. You hold in the palms of your hands the life of Porter C. Ransom, and you alone are to tell whether your are to put a strangling rope around his neck or not. I want to stand here for that m an who cannot speak, and I think if you do your duty, as I thing you will, he shall step forth from the dungeon, where he has been so long, a free man. It is the law now, that the man charged, is presumed to be innocent till he is proven guilty beyond all reasonable doubt. You are to presume that all these charges of Bullock's made against Ransom are false. There are no proofs that they were true. They were false and malicious.

It is not for Ransom to prove that he had no malice, but for the people to prove that he had. He went up the street that night on an errand of peace, on his own business. I say to you in the name of law and justice, that it is your duty to give him the benefit of these presumptions. Who provoke the quarrel? Who made the first assault? Which shot took effect? Was it not in self-defense? Mr. Newell is an excellent lawyer and a man capable of conducting this trial without the help of all these attorneys, and all these men have come to the front and the rightful man, Newell, is laid back. It is not the people of the state who are paying O'Brien for following up this man, but the people of El Paso. The spirit of the departed seems to have come to follow him. Cavan, a carpenter of the prosecution, told the jury that Bullock had heaped abuse on Ransom, and a man who wouldn't resent it is worse than a murderer.

Mrs. Lasswell was the most respectable witness they had. Cavan sets store by Shur, also Bowman, who was sure he was not; he might have been drunk. He wished he had not told anything. Johnston, the El Paso Judas, who so loved Ransom, came on the stand and swore he was friendly, is an assassin, a kissing Judas, a hypocrite. I wish you could know that man as he is. He loves me just as he loves Ransom. (Read his testimony.) Why is Mr. Johnston here today? Why is he staying? To pound me, or to see whether the testimony against his dear friend Ransom will work as he desires. Six of their witnesses say the shooting was done after they had gone on to the sidewalk again, against three who say it was before this that the first shot was fired. Lucas, the MULE HOOKER, and Young, for whom I can find no name. Billinger swears that Ransom did not mention the name of the man he was talking abut. Look at the characters. Mr. Bullock was a man of strongest convictions; would stand by a friend till his fingers dropped off, but a bitter enemy. His anger was unappeasable, a relentless and untiring enemy. Mr. Ransom, as a farmer and justice of the peace of Greene township, as mayor of El Paso. Time and time again, he was sought as an officer wherever he went and not one world against him, till Bullock started it. He was an intimate friend of old man Adams, the worst thing I know against him. He took part in all the social meetings, a contributor to all the churches, a helper to the poor and suffering. Never has a witness made a charge against Mr. Ransom but what Bullock had said. Never charged that he was a drunkard. He was a model man as a citizen in private and public and as a farmer he was without reproach. Who provoked this quarrel? It was Bullock? It began in 1877 because of his not working for the man in the election as he wished. Not the old marriage they speak of; not the divorce case. Bullock kept it up from that on and on till his death.

Duff was called out of bed to hear it. Hendron says Ransom heard Bullock say what was said in his presence as well as himself. Wheeler, J. P. Ferrell and B. F. Ferrell heard him at 6:30 the night of May 2d. Hazelett heard him abuse him at the public table at the Campbell House. Albert Dorsey heard like abuse. Curtiss heard it at the time of the election. Brenn says it was Bullock's common talk. Swallow, on the day of the election, heard the abuse. Strother heard it. Bullock would even attack Ransom's wife in her grave, saying Ransom had poisoned her. He told Dr. Adams he would send Ransom to the penitentiary and he would run it to the bitter end. "I am a Kentuckian." Mrs. Bush - I will never let up till I put him in the dust. Hazelett - I will put him where you an never vote for him. Dorsey - I never will let up. Brenn - I will see him in h-l before you see him mayor. Swallow - Penitentiary or h-l before a year. B. F. Ferrell, on election day - Penitentiary or hell. Kessler - We have beat him and I will have him in penitentiary or h-l in less than a year. Gibson, who begged for peace - I will put him out of the state, or send him to the penitentiary or hell. Listen, for the man's life hangs in the scale. Bullock was requested again and again to stop his street abuse of Ransom. The people were getting sick and tired of it. He kept right on with his abuse. Put to yourselves the question: Could you or would you stand such abuse, will you put the halter around the neck of a man who has been so abused and hunted even unto the grave of his wife? Is there a word in the testimony to show that Ransom was either wealthy or was an aristocrat? Though a man may be poor, and may suffer for want of the luxuries of life, he "is a man for a that;" but because a man may be wealthy does not make him "a man for a that." Against Ransom, as a man, nothing has been said except what was said by Bullock.

Up to 1878 his reputation as an honest man, his integrity, his word, was good, and only Bullock's abuse and slander had then been heard. Shur is a retail saloon keeper, a hen man, a butter and egg shipper, a stock dealer, and a wholesale beer dealer. If it was no disgrace why did he wish to deny it? Demary, the missing link, the "what is it" of El Paso, the friend and companion of Cavan, he was the revolver when he was square in front of Ransom, and could have seen nothing if there had been anything to see. I will stand up and defend this man, so help me God, and no threats can stop me! Gardner, if he was where he said he was, would have been back of the foundry, and it would have been between him and the scene of the shooting. Gardner said he worked on the c. B. & Q. railroad. Why, it comes no nearer to El Paso then Peoria. Rich was contradicted. Lucas and Young, a nice pair of twins, alike desire to see this man harmed. Mr. Richards, the stationary engineer, is the most stationary man I ever saw. No cure and no pay Kerr, and the other little cures who swore to what they neither knew of or saw. Every man on the defense who had ever been in the liquor business had quit long ago. Square men, true men, their testimony was clear and honest. they were farmers, merchants, tailors, doctors, lawyers, blacksmiths, all workingmen, no loungers.

Cavan, the carpenter, tried to make you believe that Ransom took pains to show that he was avoiding Bullock, when he never said anything about it till asked why he did it. Hendron says he avoided him in a cowardly, shrinking manner. Dorsey and Brenn had seen it often. W. G. Johnson and Kessler often saw it. Gibson saw him, and he was sent by him to make peace with Bullock. Who made the first assault? You can go back as far as 1877. Bullock was a powerful man. His equal has not been found in El Paso. Ransom was an old and crippled man. He tells you he was a little better on May 2d. If he intended to lie in the case he would not have owned this. He did not intend or expect to meet Bullock on going to meet Shaw, and he never noticed either of the men, although he always spoke to Geiger. He had no idea of any trouble and kept near the edge of the sidewalk. He was surprised into stopping by the language he heard. He turned round and said, "Walter, I want you to take that back." Holcomb says, "I take nothing back, you d-d old thief!" was the answer. He repeated his request and got a refusal. With that, says Rich, Geiger and others, he went for him. Ransom says the same. Geiger says Bullock rushed toward Ransom. Holcomb said he had started for Ransom; then Ransom pointed a pistol toward his head; the first shot was not fired till Bullock started for Ransom. rich says Bullock didn't stagger at the first shot. Why? Because the first shot did not touch.

All the evidence in the case shows that all that struggling and swinging took place after the first shot was fired. Further evidence shows that when the second and third shots were fired the two men were clinched. The bullet went through the right shoulder. Ransom had his revolver in his right hand, and they say reached his arm round and fired. That would make it go through the left shoulder. This must have been the first shot, fired when Bullock was after him, rushing upon him, and fired in haste and at a venture. Hebden swore that Bullock was right after Ransom when Ransom fired the first shot, and he is their witness and they dare not contradict him. Cavan, the carpenter of the kit, said that Potter heard the shot and went in and hung up his beef, when the truth is he had hung it and was just coming out, and that they were just coming on to the sidewalk.

Gingerich says they were on the walk when he heard the shots and did not go off again. These are all their witnesses. Mr. Cassell they did not put on the stand, because he could say something for this poor man. They suppressed him, and had we not called him you never would have heard from him. Holcomb swore to God to tell the truth, the whole truth, and then deliberately suppressed a part of what he knew. They say Mr. Cassell could not see. He did not say so. He says he cannot see as well as he once could, but he saw what others could. Calkins says it was after they were on the walk, and he was facing the whole thing. He swears that he saw the first shot plainly. Ransom says, "In my frantic fear I fired the first shot after we got on the sidewalk and he was rushing at me again" Did the first shot kill him, or was he helpless?

Geiger says they scuffled. You know what scuffed means. Mohr thought it was a fight. Cassell says Bullock backed him against the building. All say they were both struggling. At time of second and third shots, Ransom struggled to get away, Bullock struggled to keep him and he had him against the building. Geiger says they were within one foot of each other when the second shot was fired and the third shot was right after and they were in each other's arms. There is a broken window light there showing they did come against the building. Where that old man got upon the stand and told his story, didn't it agree with what had been told before. Wasn't what he said the truth? Didn't he know better than anyone how it was? He is the best corroborated witness that has come on the stand. From his lips has come the story as it was and if you can believe it he is safe. Here is what was said: Six or eight corroborate his avoiding Bullock and asking for peace. Gibson corroborated him on the peace question. He says we took the outside of the walk, and did not speak as he passed and this is corroborated. He says he politely asked Bullock to retract what was said, and is corroborated. He says Bullock started for him before the first shot was fired, six corroborated him. He says the first shot was fired after getting on the sidewalk, eight corroborated him. When you consider how he is corroborated, it simply established the truth of the case.

He says the second and third shots were right together, he is corroborated. That they were still clinched is corroborated by 4 or 5 witnesses. He says he was jammed and backed against the building before the second and third shots were fired and is corroborated by seven witnesses. He says he picked up his hat and went down the street and voluntarily gave himself up expressing his sorrow that he had to do the deed and he is corroborated by a number even the marshal himself corroborated him. He is corroborated by from 1 to 7 witnesses in his whole testimony and we have a right to believe the old man in what he says. (Here read Ransom's whole testimony.)

Now comes the all important question, the question that you will have to answer for the court, the people, to your conscience and to your God; Did this man act in self-defense? Did he go prepared for an assault, or was he compelled to the encounter by the hands of the man at this throat? Was he driven to the shooting? If you decide that this man is guilty, he must be a murderer - or that he did it in self-defense. All must say he acted only when he was pressed to the wall and the man searching for the dirk he knew he carried. ? yourselves coming in with a verdict. Go home to your wives and tell them that you sent a poor, old crippled ? man to his grave when he was crushed and jammed against the building, when he was seeking only his own life. I wish to say nothing against Mr. Bullock, but went to his death, as Strother and other told him he would, by bringing it upon himself. When Ransom came upon the stand even O'Brien stopped calling him names and said he would treat him right and called him a gentleman, and treated him as such. Whatever may be said of O'Brien he has a kindly hart. It was only after he had been abused and taunted everywhere and was cursed when he asked for peace, and in frantic fear of death does he fire these shots, then goes and delivers himself to the officer and goes to prison, where he has been ever since and who now comes before you to wait your decision, whether he shall again be a free man or shall go to the gallows, sent there by you. These persecutions of Ransom helped to cause his wife's death. He did not revile back or strike again; he was no coward, though. Do you believe this old man to be a murderer? I now commit the destiny of P. C. Ransom to your hands. We should not come to it in levity but solemnly, and remember we are in the presence of the Almighty. Come in with a verdict that will be in justice with the evidence. The law is as much vindicated in freeing the innocent as convicting the guilty. When you come in with a verdict of "not guilty," as I believe you will, will it not be in accordance with the evidence and facts. Has he not suffered in a cold, dark cell enough and can he not be allowed to breathe the free air once more a free man?

Mr. Page concluded at 11:10 a.m.


George Bane

After 5 minutes intervention Mr. Bane commenced as follows:

"It is not my purpose to weary you or to occupy much time and I will devote my time to the evidence bearing on the guilt or the innocence of the defendant. I have never been engaged in the prosecution of a criminal case; I had not expected to make a speech in this case until an arrangement was made for four speeches. The people of El Paso have been abused because they wished to bring to justice this man. My interest in this case commenced when yours did; law must be executed, justice established. The brothers and friends are denounce for desiring to bring to justice the murderer of their brother. Is it strange that they should have some interest and have moved every energy they possessed to bring to justice the criminal who perpetrated the crime. The citizens of El Paso, realizing the enormity of the crime, have a right to assist in ringing to justice, this man.

Our nation is growing to the evil of leaving the execution of the law to public officers, is not executed by them; officers alone are not to be entrusted with the execution of the law; we the people and all the people have a duty. I have been led to doubt whether the defendant was on trial or those engaged in the prosecution. "We have heard abuse of a carpenter, etc. What shall the people do? Has it come to this, if a crime is perpetrated that a hand shall not be raised to bring the criminal to justice must be blind to what they cannot help but see, deaf to what they hear, dumb to what they can say in regard to the matter. (Related the relations between Bullock and Ransom before and after 1877 and 1878)

The ill feeling arose from a breach of promise in political matters in 1877; then came the divorce suit and Bullock became bitterly opposed towards Ransom. Bullock was a strong spoken man and he felt personally what he said abut him; he did not believe Ransom was a fit man for the position in 1878; I need not repeat his words, Mr. Page has repeated them over and over again man by man of the witnesses. Those who warned Bullock were Ransom's friend's and evidently knew his intentions and character in this case and what he succeeded in accomplishing. What he meant by "sending to hell" nobody can tell, that is for you to decide. He never did attack Ransom and he never intended to, he never suppressed his opinion of him however. It is evident that Ransom never denied that Bullock had these documents against him and that what he said was true. No language of any kind or character will justify a man in even slapping another in the face. He can give him a chance under the law to prove what he asserted was true. (Adjourned for dinner).

Afternoon - Bane resumed his argument at 1:30 p.m. as follows:

Lucas, Young and Billinger heard Ransom abusing Bullock and warning his friends to take him out of town. (Exonerated Lucas as to mule stealing. Said he could not compliment Young's character as a repeater). Billinger may not have heard Bullock's name mentioned but he heard the remarks made; Gingerich heard threats; Al Demary was one of the men whom Ransom conversed with, and it is his fault if we have to call him as a witness. They cannot say anything against Mr. Johnston; he is a hardware merchant in El Paso and has been this for years; he came upon the stand not as a willing witness, he had not told Cavan any of the story and he does not know today how the counsel found out what he knew; his narration of his testimony was clear and lucid, a man who comes on the stand with a story he has committed to memory will tell it just the same each time, but when Mr. Johnston was asked again and again to detail the conversation he did it, but of course he failed to give it word for word each time.

They can't ? his character, they may denounce him (Giving the words used by Page. Here Bane related Johnston's story and the evidence relating to the meeting). On the evening of May 2d Ransom was to meet Shaw at the Campbell House and he stated he was two-thirds of the way from the blacksmith shop when he saw Bullock, but this time he did not do what he had usually done, but went on and met him with the result as you see it. Why should he not have avoided him this time; he had no errand that way; he went out of his usual way after he had seen Bullock. It was unfortunate to both that he did so.

To explain his conduct I will speak of his conversation with Mr. Johnston. (Repeated Johnston's testimony). Now we come to the evidence as to who made the attack (HE discussed Geiger's and others testimony in regard to meeting). Now Geiger and Holcomb were the nearest witnesses to the shooting known of, and they have no personal reason for wishing this man sent to the penitentiary or the gallows. Bullock seeing the revolver drawn, threw up his hands to save himself or to disarm him and when shot he fell forward against Ransom. He was shot before he reached Ransom, and this first shot was the fatal one (Went into detail as to three shots and read testimony of some of the witnesses. Commented on the bright boy, Dalton).

The worst thing that can be said of Gardner is that he is poor and cannot give a very good account of himself last year to Storrs. There is one circumstance that confirm in my mind that the first shot was fatal; that is that in all this scuffle Ransom did not receive from this strong, athletic man a single scratch. You, gentlemen, cannot help concluding that the first shot was fired before Bullock reached Ransom, and that this first shot was fatal. I think from this evidence it is inevitable that you cannot but believe that the revolver was drawn and the shot fired was fired before Bullock came near Ransom. Do your DUTY under the LAW and let the consequences take care of themselves. If your verdict cosigns him to death or the penitentiary you will save others from following in his path. I leave this with you, asking that between the people and the defendant you do your duty according to the law.

Mr. Bane closed at a few minutes past three o'clock. After a few moments, Mr. Shaw arose and commenced his argument, a synopsis of which will appear tomorrow, our reporter getting very little of the speech before train time.

3:30 p.m. Wednesday - After Mr. Bane has conclude his remarks, Mr. Shaw commenced as follows:

While my voice is fresh, (as I have had some trouble with it), I will give you without any preliminaries the evidence in the case, that you may review and compare it and render a verdict upon it. I am here before you as the advocate of this man. I know that you believe in the law, but I know that you will not consider a man guilty who has not been proven so by sufficient evidence. It is fortunate for this old man here that a coroner's inquest was held, for we have their evidence as they saw it, fresh from the scene. Now, these same men come before you and change the chief part of their evidence to suit the new foundation laid by the prosecution. We say, and have a right to say, that the testimony was changed from the written testimony. What does it mean? Does it not put the defense on the defense with a suspicion that all was not fair? It is a small thing, but when a man's life hangs upon it, small things amount to a great deal. I asked Geiger his condition. He had taken six beers that afternoon and six in the morning. He said at first there were four shots, but he did not know where the fourth was. We do no propose to be tried or hung on the evidence of a man who changed his evidence when he found out that only three chambers ere empty in the revolver. According to his own story he must have walked right in front of the pointed pistol in order to lean up against his own saloon and watch the affair, without offering to prevent it. If he was sober, would he have done so? And if he was not sober, can he be believed?

I use the cross- examination because the way we get at the truth is by cross-examination. It is necessary, it is indispensable.(He read Geiger's testimony as to the number of shots, and argued at length to prove that Geiger was incompetent. He compared it with that of other witnesses for the prosecution, and showed that it was too "long at the bottom and too short at the top," and would not fit in with the other testimony at all).

Then as to Ransom pulling Bullock back on the sidewalk backwards, across that gutter and up on the walk, which from the road - it is too inconsistent; it does not need a denial. Holcomb's testimony was not the same as that given before the coroner (Read the testimony as given here). Mr. Bullock had been seeking for years to bring abut this quarrel. He had shed and quivered in every bone of his body for an encounter, feeling his own great strength. As the constant dripping of water on a stone, etc. so on this unfortunate night Ransom was tempted to turn and ask a retraction of what had just been said. This was just what Bullock wanted, and whereto he would draw his knife on him when he got him of the walk, or crush him against the building with his giant strength, ? be told (Took up Rich's testimony and read it).

We know we are wearying the jury, but his life of a man hangs upon your decisions, and we ask your patient attention while we state things as they are (Hebden was taken to pieces next as to his testimony). His testimony is contradicted by Miss Carnahan. This is the consistency with which their witnesses swear (He brought up the testimony of Mohr to prove that no one went off the walk after the shooting, and no shooting was done till they got on the walk again. Mrs. Lasswell testimony was read with comments. He exploded the theory of Dr. Cole, that the shot was fired as Bullock was falling. Went on to prove it by the testimony of several witnesses).

Sebastian Welte did not see them off the sidewalk. He looked up at the first shot. (Read his testimony. Ended with telling the jury about the charge in regard to his wife). Would you not be justified in stopping such abuse? This is the most complete case of self-defense that I ever heard of. Way back years before the divorce case or the election he had abused and vilified and threatened him. Ransom had begged for peace, but no, he was to be driven out from his home and the grave of his wife.


Thursday Morning (February 2)

Court opened and Mr. Shaw resumed his argument as follows:

Last evening we went over in detail the testimony of numerous witnesses, and showed wherein they contradicted, corroborated, or differed in regard to a number of points. There is some testimony bearing on facts, or what they claim to be admissions by Ransom while in the jail, which tend to incriminate the prisoner. It is the duty of the jury to weight testimony of this character, but to do so in the light of the law (Analyzed the subject and cited Greenleaf as an authority). Would a man who would be tried for his life for what he had done go to work and make the case stronger against himself by foolishly telling to some one, or anyone, anything in regard to the matter? There is a mistake somewhere, whether intentional or not (Again cited Greenleaf). They never allowed Mr. Cassell to utter word in regard to the conversation, but brought that little man, Bowman, who sneaked up just in time to hear so much and no more; nothing before, nothing after; just what they wanted and not a word more. He said Johnston pretended and swore on the stand that he had such friend ship for Ransom that he would have kept back the knowledge he had of one of the greatest crimes known to the law, rather than expose him.

Let us see what kind of a friend he was. Did he sympathize with him in his sorrows? NO. The more I see of the conduct of such men the better I like dogs. He is trying to wear away his life. He can not palm himself off on the jury, myself or anybody. Threats and abuse this man was compelled to received from Bullock, and how did he receive them? It was such a stream of abuse that the people of El Paso grew sick and tired of it. Gibson and Mrs. Busch, Hazelett, Duff, and others heard the abuse against Ransom (He laughed at Cavan's idea that Ransom was laying a foundation for killing Bullock by means of all these things). Cavan says that Ransom was merely attempting to manufacture testimony when he sent word to Bullock by Gibson. I pity a man with such a heart. I pity Cavan and shall pity him as long as I live (Cited Curtiss testimony about Ransom leaving El Paso, and what Bullock said abut chasing him to the ends of the earth, etc. with remarks. Read what was said by B. F. Ferrell in regard to Thomas Bullock calling to Ransom; also Walter Bullock's language).

Bullock hated the very ground Ransom walked upon. After all this the lion suddenly "changes his skin and the leopard or leper changes his spots." (He got a little mixed her). Cavan said "Curtiss sympathized with criminals." Curtiss said no such thing. He sympathized with a man that was down that was a good man (He criticized Cavan for saying Ransom should have gone to Bullock and told him to stop, and if he refused, to tell him to arm himself, etc. This, Mr. Shaw said, might be the way in Kentucky, but never in Illinois. It was just what caused assaults and murders).

Why should Ransom have gone another way that evening? Has it come to this, that one man has the right of way to the streets of El Paso, or any other place? Had Bullock such a right? Cavan, moreover, said it was the character of Bullock never to take back anything he had said. They are welcome to that assertion, for it only corroborates what Gibson and others said of him. He was utterly relentless. His heart was adamant, was vindictive, following even to the uttermost parts of the earth. Have you ever before in all your lives seen portrayed such a relentless, unforgiving character? If I knew I had such an enemy, although I never in my life of 45 years, carried a revolver, I should consider it my duty to my family, to myself, and my God to arm myself against such a man. Mr. Newell said that he cordially admits that the abuse was unfair and not justifiable. This was wrong from him by the testimony. It is said by Mr. Bane that Bullock's friends warned him he would come to harm, but no witness testified to this. This abuse brought it on inevitably. A man cannot go on forever and not bring on a collision. A man is not indictable for street slander in this state. It ought to be the law but it is not, unfortunately. I have spoken long, but it is our duty to bring all the facts before you in behalf of our client, that you may pass upon them. We ask your sympathy so far that you may sift the evidence to the bottom before you decide and then cease to have hearts and find a verdict in consistency with the evidence.


The Journal - Saturday February 11, 1882

The Proceeding of The Trial of Porter C. Ransom for the Murder of H. W. Bullock - Editorial Comments

Friday, Feb. 3

At 10:05 a.m. Hon. Emory A. Storrs commenced speaking.

If ever there was an occasion when I felt it necessary to call on the jury for their patient attention, is in now. The length of this case has left me nearly prostrated, coupled with my sympathy and anxiety and I ask your attention and your sympathy. But emotional ? will not have to do with this case. We are confined to the law and the evidence (??). All the counsel except Mr. Newell and Jones are here as the friends and counsel of H. W. Bullock. As for O'Brien, it was good for him to be here. Bane was here and we are glad of it and Cavan seemed to be necessary to the case, in some things (I believe there is no kinder, hearted man than O'Brien," and more taffy of the same sort that caused a smile from the audience). O'Brien is none the more dangerous an adversary because he is entirely in the wrong, for his great heart will so overflew as he goes back to the old scenes, he will tell them so as to make your blood tingle in your veins. But the time has come when poisonous slander, when bullying, braggart threat, etc,. must cease; when, if this stricken old man is to be strangled to death, it will be at the requirement of law and not at the requirement of a heard of wolves who will lap the blood from the very scaffold.

There has been witnesses in this court room that will shock any man, and can be seen no where else in this country, not even among savages. When mobs break into courts, when patrons band together to demand what the course of the jury shall be, there is nothing we hold dear that is safe. You are to settle these issues first, of life or death, then of the integrity of courts and judicial suceedings. See that you do. I will not insult old Marshall county by saying that the public opinion hatched up and made in this court is the honest opinion of the law abiding citizens of this county. Now, in a plain way, let us take up the case without any attempt at eloquence. In the shooting of H. W. Bullock was this defendant inspired by malice? Did he mean by a spirit of malice to kill him? Did he seek him for that purpose? About the question of malice hangs all the evidence of the case. No proof in the testimony of the case shows malice. The threats were uttered in moments of great exasperation, and under years of abuse; they are denied by Ransom and cannot be proved. I will start with Demary (Criticized him sharply and called attention to his testimony).

There wasn't a word of truth in it. (Read Rich's testimony to contradict Demary). One of the witnesses of the prosecution contradicted the other; Young and Lucas are contradicted by Billinger and contradict each other; Bowman amounted to nothing as he was driven on the stand, and was unable to state whether what he had stated took place or not, and which, when sober, he denied. Johnston - I will read his testimony; I have no epithets, no names to apply to him; there is no name I could apply to him that would have the effect that just the reading of his testimony will have (Read it in a sneering manner). The amount of the whole thing is that Johnston's testimony is the most dangerous and it must be destroyed at any cost or abuse. (He abused Johnston most unmercifully and we do not care to publish it. The testimony of witnesses in regard to positions at the time of shooting was read. Compared the testimony of the different witnesses). Having disposed of the original evidence of malice we will proceed with the facts. 1) When Ransom left home that evening he had no idea or thought of a meeting, 2) When he left home it was for a legitimate meeting, one he had arranged for, an engagement with Mr. Shaw; there was no malice there; the testimony shows that he went to meet this engagement; it was the usual route to the place he was going to; Geiger, Holcomb and others state that he was on the very edge of the walk, going the usual route and with no intention or thought of malice. What next did he do but to seek to avoid? Geiger says "He neither spoke or looked at us," and thus you see this man did what no other man would have done. In the name of the oath you have taken, I beg you to pause in the face of this testimony and say if there is any malice. This crippled old man on the western side of life, nearer the sunset, than the sunrise of life, was seeking to ??.

While he was seeking thus to avoid a conflict, that turbulent man nudged Geiger on the arm and remarked "There goes the d-d thief, etc." All the highways were to be closed to this old man and open to the other. Ransom turns around; had he not a right to turn around? and says; "Walter, I want you to take that back," still trembling within himself. Ransom had the clear, legal right to turn upon his heel, confront his insulator and demand that he "Take that back" with emphasis. The law gives it to every outraged citizen; the law has not taken the manhood from us yet, nor made us cringing sneaks, cowering at every cowardly bully.

Further, immediately after the request came the answer. Then my Bro. O'Brien asks him why he didn't leave? What could he do? Run then? What kind of a race would it have been? This strong man filled with rage and this old man - what would have been the end? Coarse and vulgar came the answer. How manly, how God=like would have been the answer; "You old and crippled man, I take it back."

Court adjourned for dinner


Afternoon - Storrs resumed his remarks. He referred to the weariness of all concerned, but the responsibility was none the less greater on account of that.

I had got down nearly to the point of the actual conflict. Now we come to what was done upon the refusal of Bullock to take back what he had said. Geiger says that after Bullock had said that, Ransom put his hand in his pocket and pointed a revolver at Bullock (Holcomb's and Rich's testimonies were read to show how they contradicted each other). It is immaterial whether the shot was fired before or after they got on the sidewalk, but it is material whether Bullock made any hostile movement towards Ransom (Read testimony upon that point). There is no doubt but that he did. Next. was the shot fired before or after getting on the sidewalk? There are more of the witnesses for the prosecution that swear that the shooing was not done till after they had got on the sidewalk again than any other way, and their case is wrecked and nothing can undo it (Read the testimonies of Geiger, Ransom, Rich, Gardner, Mohr, Hebden).

All these saw the first shot. Here is the testimony, and something more than El Paso enthusiasm will have to overcome it. ?, Lasswell and Cassell did not see the first shot. (Read their testimonies) Ask yourselves, in the face of this evidence, is it possible that there is not a reasonable doubt that there was any shooting done before they got off and on the walk again, and only when they clinched. In the name of justice and mercy your oath tells me how you are prepared to answer it. This man begs no acquittal; he demands it in the name of justice. Did the first shot take effect: If it was fired after they got on the sidewalk it is immaterial whether it was or not, if he thought his life was in danger, and they were clinched. He had a right to blow him into eternity, and he had a right to intend to? but it did not take effect. (Read testimony to prove it). Geiger said Bullock followed 50 or 60 feet. What do you think of that? A man shot through the heart and could not stand alone, yet followed so far as that. God Almighty never made a lie tin the universe that would fit. Truth is round and true and perfect.

Rich contradicted himself in his testimony before the coroner. Holcomb and Rich both contradicted themselves. Gardner swears to the staggering also (Read this testimony). This is the story that the El Paso tramp tells? Does anybody believe him? Boy Dalton says" (read testimony). Every witness says that the parties were apart, and all but one say Bullock was moving towards Ransom. When the first shot was fired they were apart. Bullock was rushing towards him and the shot fired hurriedly. When the second shot was fired they were clinched and it could not but be fatal and go through the heart. Do what they will, they cannot change this. The third shot was almost immediately after and he reached his arm around his neck and fired through his brain. All the commentary I make is upon the testimony in the case. 1) Ransom sought to avoid all quarrel, 2) Bullock commenced the conflict by refusing to take back and adding insult, 3) Bullock rushed towards Ransom and clinched.

Innocent men have been punished, hundreds of the, but the days of making such men as Ransom victims under such circumstances have passed, and are gone in the light of the civilization of the 19th century, and if such men are here their spirits are of the 14th century, when they brought to the block the babes that were not baptized. The most piteous and tearful part of this history, (read testimony of evidence, Adams, Curtiss, Stahl, Brown, Tegard, Wm. Tegart, W. G. Johnson). say he left public places to avoid him. The highways were closed to him. Cassell saw him, Dorsey, Brenn, Kessler, the very day of the tragedy, saw it.

Put yourselves in his place. Have you ever heard a sadder story told? Was there ever such pursuit or crawling away? Does this show a desire for anything but peace. Ransom sends this word by Gibson, "I will forget and forgive it all if you will stop it and renew the old friendship," I never had an enemy who I would not forgive. If asked this way I could not help it. But what does he do. He says "I will never let up, etc." What a brave man? "I reasoned with him" said Gibson, "but failed entirely and told Ransom so." Ransom never sought a meeting or a quarrel. He prayed for peace. War came, war to the knife and clinched by this man, he became for the moment justice itself, and he protected the temple in which God placed his spirit. Would you hang him for it? Would the Sleuth Hounds from El Paso like to hang him for it?


Friday Morning - Court opened at the usual hour. Mr. Storrs resumed his argument as follows:

There was never ?? and self control were tested as was Ransom's by the volume of Bullock's abuse for a period to two years. It started at a little local democrat convention in 1877, and all that Ransom said was four years afterward, that Bullock had sold out the election for $15, not withstanding that Bullock had followed Ransom pitilessly all the time. All these years, Ransom was not a stranger to these assaults, the air was full of them. There were those who were not reluctant to tell him that Bullock was his deadliest and most bitterest enemy. He knew that on general principles a deadlier enemy never lived, that on one occasion he had shot his man, that he had pursued an affrighted German with a pistol and driven him from the country, and that he was in the habit of carrying deadly weapons. Before the shot was fired, and the instant Bullock rushed upon him, did he not have reasonable grounds to believe that he was in danger of receiving great bodily harm? Did that crippled and rheumatic old man apprehend that he was in danger? If not, what did he apprehend when he saw his deadly enemy rush upon ;him? What would any of the jurymen have apprehended under the circumstances? Would he not have feared that his life was not worth a second's purchase?

It makes no difference whether Bullock was armed or not. The only question is whether the defendant had reason for app? knew that there was no possibility ? appeasing that man. He knew? of peace had been spurned with fresh insults. He had answered that he would drive him to the penitentiary or hell; he would never let up. In all this case not a single word of evidence has been adduced to show that Bullock was a quit or a peaceable man. Ransom could not retreat, the deadly rush came; his enemy had him by the throat, his eyes glared at him, the fatal moment had come, and the old man, with his revolver in his hand, fired the revolver, saved his own life, took that of his adversary, and every law, human and divine, justifies the act. It was justifiable homicide.

The speaker then spoke of the defendant's grief, of his enemies still pursuing him, and his appearance on on the stand. Does he look like a murderer or liar? Mr. Storrs then considered the impeachment of Ransom. He argued that his reputation for truth and veracity was good until Bullock begun his persecution, and it was Bullock who created the bad reputation. It is a part of the outrage committed by Bullock. Nothing could be more cruel. He then referred to the public positions Ransom had held, and claimed that his testimony was fully corroborated.

Mr. Storrs then put "this old man" in the hands of the jury, asked that they give him the benefit of the doubt and treat him with every consideration of mercy, and referred to his sad loneliness in the world. Pressed by an awful necessity, he did what the law justified. Mr. Storrs concluded with a flowery and pretty peroration. He finished at half past nine, having spoken less than four hours altogether.


Hon. W. W. O'Brien - Commenced his argument at 9:30, and spoke in substance as follows:

May it please Your Honor and Gentlemen of the Jury: I congratulate you that this long case is drawing to a close, that you may return to your families to enjoy the privileges denied you since you have been here. I am sorry to be compelled to keep you here longer. I have almost forgotten what the testimony has been. It has been so argued and distorted that I scarcely remember it. It has taken 21 hours to get you to see that which "he who runs might read." Is it P. C. Ransom who is on trial or the attorneys for the prosecution and the people of Woodford county. You have been told that State's Attorney has been pushed out of this case and the people are not represented. This is given the lie by Mr. Newell himself. He has held the case till sickness prevented him from doing more. Mr. Storrs has appeared for the prosecution in the trial of the commissioner's and noted murder trials when I was for the defense, and Mr. Storrs was not state's attorney either. He has prosecuted more then I ever have in my life. Was he prostituting justice?

Suppose that he had been called upon to prosecute this "poor old man?" He said there was not a word said for the character of Bullock. Were there not some of the best men in Woodford county here to protect his character? You dare not ? the character of bullock. Whoever assailed it? Ransom. Who said he carried arms? Ransom - aye, that bloody, killer Ransom. They did not bring a single man to say that he did carry arms but that man Ransom. I have known Ransom for a quarter of a century. I never saw him carry arms, or abuse, or threaten my man. I have shown you that no witness has proven anything against bullock, except about Ransom and told by Ransom. Mr. Storrs has come all the way from Chicago to swear on h is word that Ransom will not swear to a lie to save him. All that a man hath will he give for his life". Thirty-nine of the best men in Woodford county swear that they will not believe him on oath. Another charge against the prosecution is that my charge in opening the case was the commencement of a bloody programmed. I challenge them to bring his character into issue and we would bring Bullock's.

Why did they not give us a chance to take up the gantlet? They have seen the best people of Woodford county crowding here, and we have been met with calamity; every insult has been poured upon the citizens of El Paso. Day after day have seen the Lacon ladies sitting here and because they would not applaud Mr. Ransom, they are designated as a mob of claques, O'Brien claques" - ladies that I never saw. The people from Woodford county have been called hounds, sleuth-hounds, liars, villains, etc. They are paid by this defendant for getting up opinions and for prejudicing the jury if they can.

When I see this man charged with murder surrounded by all the lawyers at this bar but one, one of the most brilliant men from Peoria, and Emery Storrs, a household word in the land. I don't wonder that murder is monarch ? kind. All this week you have ??fact. One witness is this case, who happened to testify here, has been abused, vilified and insulted until he was unable to keep still and retorted. It is a terrible thing he is a liar on account of it. What was that man Page doing at that time? He was saying Bullock ought to have been shot and justifying Ransom in ding so. I may abuse, insult you in the presence of all these people, but you may not murmur. Page was paid for what he said about Johnston, not because he believed it. Bullock believed what he said. (Unable to read the next sentence). ?? has been said, it was not these men but money, the money of that murderer Ransom, said by the machines, the paid attorneys of Ransom. What object had Johnston in answering to what he did? He was a greater friend of Ransom than he was of bullock. He went to the jail on duty, to save him from the hands of the people of the outraged law.

Muir, in describing the "blood hound who wished to lap the blood from the scaffold", said the relatives had no right to sue for death of their brother. Have they not a right to seek to prosecute the death of their brother? These men (Bullocks) put the guard on duty to save the life of the murderer, and now they are outraged, denounced by the paid attorney of this man. Not one of them have appeared upon the stand. Look at the sneers put upon the one attorney from El Paso. Is this the nineteenth century? You have heard the "carpenter" referred to against whose name they may not even hiss. My friend of 20 years. He, as a boy, was a carpenter before he took the more questionable work of law. When Christ was on earth did they not take up the cry "Is not this man a carpenter? Joseph his father is a carpenter." Muir said to the jury: "Would you believe old man Adams?" Why? Because he allowed Ransom to sit in his pew at church. They said of Christ "We will not have him; he is a friend of sinners." Adams is not to believed because he was a friend to such sinners as Ransom.

I have spent an hour trying to show you the unfairness of the defense and now I will come to the testimony. A tragedy occurred on the 2d day May which thrilled the hearts of the people of Woodford county. He was shot dead by the defendant. Why did these sleuth hounds, this mob, etc.," come here? Because the game is here; he came of his own accord; they came on a subpoena, called by the law. Fortunately eleven witnesses saw the shooting; five saw the 3 shots, 4 saw the 2 shots and 2 saw a part of the shooting. Storrs said their testimony was so unlike, so mixed, they should not be believed. Muir said the testimony was so much alike that they should not be believed. (Showed how no two men were alike or saw alike or talked alike). These witnesses are not in the employ of Mr. Ransom, but are here compelled to come by the law. He contradicted them. His life is at stake. These attorneys are his agents, paid by him, but they are not sworn witnesses, they are not on their oath. I am not here for the 30 pieces of silver, but because of the death of this man. He was my friend. He was in my office, and I have a duty and the right to be here. Geiger is not to be believed simply because he is a saloon keeper. He is allowed to do so by the State (Read Geiger's evidence). Quoted "Truth crushed by so many thousand dollars will rise again".

What would he do with a revolver pointed at him? hadn't he a right to try to disarm hi? but no; he - Ransom - steps back a little and shot him dead. The first shot did take effect. He was dead after the first shot (Proved it by example." Showed how a man in the water dead would drown any one near him with the death grip.) If the doctor's testimony was not correct, why did they not call Dr. Reeder to contradict it? He sat here in court right behind me," O'Brien asked. "No one has contradicted them but paid attorneys. I knew Bullock, and if he had got his hands on him before he was shot he would have taken that revolver and there would have been no danger, for he was a strong m an, as they say he was Why, this mouse, that my fat friend her (Shaw) told abut, shook the great big cat off just as he pleased, and did this several times. If the second shot was fired so close and was fatal, why did not the powder burn his clothes? Why was there no marks of powder burn on his flesh? I will grant you no excuse for turning this man loose and causing mob law to be the only safe way of getting justice in place of the law. (Read Holcomb's testimony, stated he was now at home sick in bed from the effects of the trial, commented upon the testimony; read Rich's testimony.)

These men proved that Bullock fell against Ransom's breast. They have been corroborated by others. The lady on whose testimony Mr. Ransom's fate hangs - Mrs. Lasswell - was read. She saw two shots; by her testimony murder - cold blooded murder will be proven. The next witness is the terrible man Gardner; (read what he said, Spoke abut Jimmie Dalton, and how he got ahead of the lawyer and had turned the laugh on him). Storrs asked him if he usually made the street his dining table. I suppose he would ask him who had his birth in a manger, and ate corn taken in the ear from the field, if the field was his dining table (Read Dalton's testimony.) Adjourment.


Afternoon - O'Brien resumed - Read the testimony of R. G. Hebden, the seventh witness.

They are willing to stake their case on this witness, very well. Sebastian Welte, the eight witness, saw two shots; Bullock was reaching toward Ransom - yet, a falling man, falling and grasping at anything. This man has told just what he saw. Storrs is astonished at the ?. he is paid for that. He read A. Potter's evidence: Miss Lucy Carnahan testified she did not see bullock, but saw Ransom with the revolver in his hand; read J. Mohr's evidence. Everyone of these eleven witnesses give the lie to Ransom's evidence. Forty men were summoned before the jury and out of the forty ?? take his word on oath, and they are not to be believed, but Ransom - the man whose life depends on this case, in its results, is to be believed. Calkins alone corroborated Ransom, and he visited Ransom in the Peoria jail, with Mr. Shaw and others, and told them what he knew, and was paid for it. (Read Ransom's testimony as to what he told Shur.) Is Shur to be branded as a liar because he told what was true abut Ransom?

Then there is the man who, they say, came there at 12 o'clock; they call him a Judas. You swore you would not free this man because he had money, but do your duty; read Calkins testimony; this man comes before us under a cloud of suspicion, this man, 600 feet away, could not see as well as those near by, he has perjured himself. Did the defendant kill Walter Bullock with malice aforethought? Lucas and Young have been abused, and a great deal of amusement has been caused on account of them; but their testimony has not been impeached; who impeaches Billinger? This is a court of law. You swore to try this case by the law and evidence. Who contradicts these men? Ransom, who is on trial for his life. Richard is a bad man, but nobody knew it till Richards came to Lacon; Shur says that Ransom told hi that Bullock stole $3,000, etc, and wanted him to tell him. He refused, and he had a right to. Ransom contradicts him, but Storrs says Ransom would swear to a lie to save his neck from the halter. Massey asked Ransom not to shoot into his yard, and he said that he would not shot more than two men in that town before he got through. Mr. Ransom did not contradict this; he was not cross examined on this. Bullock was a proud man, and he would never get down to confide in that colored barber, who chanced to black his boots or save him for ten cents. He is here now; his shop is closed, and he is advising and helping the defense, and I will say to him, wait and you will get something more - perhaps a pair of shoes, Ransom could have stopped Bullock's mouth very quick, but he did not dare to, for Bullock would have had a chance to prove what he, bullock, had said. They have an ordinance which I drew by my own hand, and it says "No person shall conduct himself in a disorderly manner; and it is in force this day, but Ransom did not dare do it.

Bullock said he would put him in the penitentiary, and he had the papers for it. Ransom knew it, and he did not dare to meet him in proof thereof. Suppose that all that they say about the abuse was true - did it justify him in pointing the revolver at him or using it? There is no law that allows a man to even slap another, let along, pointing a revolver at him and shooting him. Another point, Bowman says he told him that he took his revolver out of his pocket and put it into his overcoat pocket. Ransom denies it, but Bowman is corroborated by Demary, who says he saw the revolver in his back pocket, or hip pocket. He says all these witnesses have been contradicted by - whom? by no one but Ransom.

Because he was justice of the peace, in Greene county, he was an honest man, and his word must be taken in this case. because he was mayor of El Paso he is to be believed. Because we have proven all this, and the money in his pocket must influence you to let him go free, but it will not; you may hear the paid witnesses tell their story, but you are not hired; you are here to see justice done, and you will do it. The brothers of the dead man are here - his relatives of Woodford county, are here, but one is not her; the aged father is not here. The bullet that pierced his heart broke that of his old father; the bullet that went through his brain has overturned the brain of the father, and he is now on a bed of sickness and death.

If you fail to do your duty, the cry will again go out, that no man with money will be punished. The jury box is the only place where the law can be vindicated. I have tried to guard myself against any exhibition of feeling toward this man, because the dead man was my friend, and I need to guard against such feeling. I ask that the laws of the country be vindicated, and the safety of our homes assured by your verdict. I believe they will be, and ask for a verdict of guilty in this case."

This closed Mr. O'Brien's speech, the time being 3:50 p.m. The speech took well. The instructions of the court were read by Mr. Bane for the prosecution, and those for the defense were read by Mr. Storrs. (instructions were listed in this newspaper article but I chose not to include in this writing).


Ransom Acquitted

A the opening of the court in Lacon yesterday morning, the jury in the Ransom murder trial brought in a verdict of "not guilty." After the Court had read the verdict he discharged the prisoner.


The People's Position

When the news of Ransom's acquittal reached El Paso, there was a general cry of dissatisfaction and deep-seated indignation. The people gathered in the streets and talked over the evidence and at first were inclined to critics the jury severely, but after reading the judge's instructions they said the jury could have done nothing else and performed their sworn duty to regard and obey the instructions of the judge. Our people generally condemn and ? Judge Burns for the partiality he has shown in this case, and one and all pronounce him a man too much in sympathy with criminals and totally unfit to preside in a court of justice. They declare that there is no way of explaining his actions during this trial. He has been deeply interested in the case and his leanings have been towards the defense, and they are very indigent because he gave the substance of Storr's speech as the lawful instructions for the defense. They say if he wished to be an attorney for the defense he should have left the bench and taken his place with the other attorneys.

We look at this case in this way: We believe Ransom killed Bullock out of a malicious desire to get him out of his way. The intention to kill Bullock was not made up in a monument, nor in a few days, but time was spent in laying plans for murdering this man, who was showing to the world the corruption and immorality of his life. At one time they were friends. Political differences and broken pledges caused unpleasant feelings that were widened when Bullock became poor, through the depreciation in the value of real estate and the payment of security debts. Ransom had no use for him after he became poor. He denounced Bullock. He wrote him up in the newspapers and libeled him in every paper. He followed Bullock and denounced him on the streets, in the saloons, publicly, privately and every way possible. bullock quietly submitted to it all, patiently awaiting for the time to come when he could, in some way, retaliate. The time did come when the deed for divorce and alimony was instituted against Ransom. As attorney in that case, Bullock learned the corrupt and criminal life of Ransom.

With the written and the unwritten history of Ransom he went before the people and in a short time proved that Ransom was a wolf in sheep's clothing. Hunted down in his criminal career, caught in his crimes, like a stage a bay he turns upon bullock and kills ;him to wreak vengeance for being shown up to the people, and for that most malicious murder he has been tried and acquitted, not be means that are fair, for surely if there ever was a case where the evidence proved guilt, this is one that proves it beyond doubt. Eleven of the witnesses swear as to the manner of the killing, while Ransom's alone contradicts them. If the evidence had gone to the jury fairly and with proper instructions from the Court as to the law, conviction was sure; but through the imbecility, or if that is not the proper reason, through the slop-over sympathy of Judge Burns, the evidence was so badly mixed that unless the jury had been of more than ordinary intelligence, they would have great doubts as to whether Ransom killed Bullock or Bullock killed Ransom. It is generally charged that Judge Burns was the ablest attorney for the defense. Charges of that kind are not from El Paso people alone, but from parties who had no knowledge of the facts or any interest in this case. But the greatest farce of all was the defendant's instructions to the jury. They could have been made shorter and would have better conveyed their meaning had they been condensed and reads as follows: The jury is instructed to acquit the defendant under any and all circumstances, without regard to the law and evidence." In No. 6 the Court calls bullock "a lawless and vindictive enemy." What right had Judge Burns to draw conclusions from the evidence, and in fact is not his conclusion false? In No. 8, Judge Burns says Ransom had a right to carry weapons. Is not that contrary to the law against carrying concealed weapons? We also call special attention to No. 21, 31, and 36. In the latter the Court instructs the jury to disregard the oath of 38 of El Paso's foremost citizens and take Ransom's testimony in preference. Take the instructions as a whole, they are what Storrs called them, when, after reading them, he said, I knew I would have the last argument." Judge Burns is also to be condemned because there was an agreement between the attorneys, and the court ordered that no instructions would be allowed after the arguments were made, but in fact he permitted Storrs to write and he allowed five instructions read, after Mr. O'Briens' speech, all of which are in answer to O'Briens argument.

We feel that we have a right to criticize Judge Burn's; his record is bad. he has a well-earned reputation of being unfair and partial in a criminal case, and the record of the Forbes-Orr trial is the best proof of his unfairness. However, this trial is over and the people must submit. They have only one way of getting satisfaction and that is at the polls. They will be pleased to exercise the happy privilege of shelving Judge Burns should he ever again call upon the people for their votes. Our people feel outraged and have little faith in the law as present administered, and without doubt they will pattern after Bloomington should the crime of murder be committed in our midst again.



Our Thanks

We take this, our last opportunity, to thank our subscribers and patrons for their generous support during the existence of the El Paso Daily Journal. It was started for one special purpose, and that to give the evidence and the proceedings of the trial of Ransom. And now that the trial is over we look back over our pages and see what we have done and feel proud of our work.

We have published ALL the evidence both for the prosecution and defense. Nothing has been left out from either side. In giving the testimony we have been doing our duty as newspaper men. We have published the attorney's arguments, as near in full as possible, one side has been as full and complete as the other. In giving the news we have been free of partiality. We have made comments on the evidence, the actions of the attorneys and the judge - that was our privilege. We hate a man who has no opinion. We would rather have an erroneous opinion than no opinion at all. We have been called one-sided, we admit it, but claim that that side is the right side. Others differ from us - that is a difference of opinion.

Our duty was to give the evidence complete, that we have done. It has been intimated by newspapers of less enterprise, that we left out part of the evidence for the defense. The only reply we care to make to that is to say that envy, jealousy and a desire to injure us, has prompted all assertions and intimations of that kind. We employed a disinterested reporter, in Lacon, to write the evidence for us and we published it as it was furnished by our reporter. If there was little evidence for the defense it was not our fault, we didn't make the evidence.

Our comments have not been favorable to the defense, of course not. Our sympathies did not nor do they now go towards a man whose hands are stained with the blood of a fellow being. We had no malice towards Ransom, we looked upon him as a murderer and have no reason or grounds for changing that opinion now. We make no excuse for doing as we have done and the may letters of approval we have received show clearly to us that we have been speaking the sentiments of the people.


W. A. Johnston

Mr. W. A. Johnston, of El Paso, was perhaps, one of the most important witnesses in the late trial. He was subjected to a cruel cross examination, and civilly stood the ordeal, coming off the stand leaving an impression of truth on all who heard. It was absolutely necessary to break down the effect of his testimony, and it could be done in no other way but by ridiculing and holding him up to the jury as an utterly depraved wretch; hence, with a fiendish malice, never before witnessed in a court room, the attorneys, one after another, on the defense attached and assailed him, until chagrin and mortification nearly overcame him. This abuse was the more keenly felt by him, as he had no means of replying to the charges or denying them. He is almost regarded in the light of a martyr by his friends, who have tendered him a drop of consolation by saying that these attorneys were hired to abuse him.

Witnesses Testimony