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there are two openings (one like a doorway) in the wall-beams between the old one and the roof ; and thus access could be had to it at this end from the belfry landing; 1 while at the other or east end the attic over the stair leading up from the baptistery admitted to the lower chamber between the old and the new ceilings. Furthermore, access from the level of the old ceiling to the new one could be had at the front end by climbing down through a space between the rafters of the old ceiling. Finally, the regular way to get inside the new ceiling from the church proper was through an opening at the front end above the gallery, by means of a ladder kept in the gallery; this access being necessary in order to adjust the gas jets or “ sun-burners ” which hung down into the auditorium at the rear or east end through openings in the lower ceiling. Thus, the murderer, after the belfry-door handles were broken ofi on the inside, would have to leave by stepping from the belfry to the level of the old ceiling, and then through the beams to the lower ceiling, and either passing across it to the stair in the attic at the rear or climbing down by the ladder to the gallery; in either case he must be completely familiar with the church; while the former mode of exit would be the more natural, because he could not have placed the ladder beforehand while in the girl’s company, and without the ladder the drop from the ceiling to the gallery would be unpleasant, if not dangerous.
The surroundings furnished also these further indications. First, the death must have occurred before the afternoon of April 4, because on that day the plumbers were in the church and could not get into the belfry because the handles were broken off and the door locked. Next, the murderer must have been one who was furnished with keys to enter the church and who knew it would be deserted at the time. Finally, the entry must have been voluntary on the part of the deceased, and therefore the murderer must have been a person sufficiently familiar with the deceased and sufficiently entitled to have business at the church to be able to furnish plausible inducements to
1 It appeared that by a hole in but no question was raised as to its the plaster in the gallery wall there use. was another possible mode of access;
a girl of the character of Miss Lamont to enter the church with him for some special occasion on a week day.
How, then, was suspicion directed towards the accused, and on what evidence did the State charge him with the murder?
We may take up the evidential material in several groups. 'A. 1. Motive—Up to the last moment of time when either Durrant or the deceased girl was seen, there was absolutely no evidence of a motive for him to kill her. The accused met Miss Lamont in September, 1894, soon after her arrival. He was then librarian and assistant superintendent of the Sunday-school in Emmanuel Church, as well as usher at the church services. They were both members of the local Christian Endeavor Society; and he had frequently escorted the sisters home from church on Sunday and also from the week-day meetings of the society. He had called at the house not more than twice or thrice. Of her few friends he was perhaps her most frequent but not an exclusive nor an assiduous attendant. He was at the time 23 years of age, was born in Toronto, and had lived in San Francisco some 16 years. He had attended the Emmanuel Church some three or four years, lived five or six blocks distant from the church, and was in April, 1895, in his third or senior year as a student at the Cooper Medical College. Neither in his own life, then, nor in that of Miss Lamont, was there found any circumstance betraying a likely motive for killing her.1
2. Opportunity: Presence at the Time and Place of the Killing.-The main reliance of the State was upon a chain of testimony which, if true, would place the acc'hsed in the church with the deceased at the probable time of the murder. To begin with, the accused had met her (by accident, it seems; at any rate it was the first occasion of the sort) on the very morning 0f Wednesday, April 3, on her way to the High School; and hail ridden with her in the cars to the school,2 there leaving her and passing on to the Medical College.
1There were but three available hypotheses as to the motive of the murderer: (a) a pure glut for blood; (6) a sudden angry purpose arising from the girl‘s refusal to accede to an improper proposal and from her
threat, or the general probability, of speedy exposure of her would-be seducer’s conduct; (0) murder to destroy the victim of his rape.
9 This was proved by the conductor of the car, who knew Miss Lamont by sight as a frequent passenger; by a Noble, and to others; and it was afterclassmate of Durrant who was on the terwards admitted by his counsel. same car; and by the statements of 1 The seats of these cars run length' the accused to his classmate, to Mrs. wise.
But his presence at the church with Miss Lamont in the afternoon of that day was the main support of the State’s charge, and this they affirmed 0n the credit of the following series of witnesses, who traced him from point to point:—
Miea Edwards: Came out of the Normal School about 2 :55 p. m., and walked to the corner (Clay and Powell) with Blanche Lamont; here a young man met Miss Lamont and boarded the passing car with her, sitting on the east side (the school side) of the grip-car; the witness entered the closed car attached, and rode south with them; but she said at one time that she did not, at another that she did, notice them when the car reached Market street. The witness had never seen Durrant before, but identified him positively.
Miss Pleasant, now Mrs. Dorgan: Came out of the school at the same time and walked south on the east side, in company with Miss Lannigan; at the corner of California street (two blocks further) a. car overtook them, passing south, about 3:05 or 3:10, and on the east side of the grip-car, facing them,1 was Miss Lamont with a young man, the latter holding an open book and both looking at it. The witness had never seen Durrant before, but identified him positively; she called Miss Lannigan’s attention to the couple.
Miss Lannigan: Told exactly the same story; she had never seen Dnrrant before, but identified him positively.
Mrs. Vogel: Lived directly across the street (on the west side) from the Normal School. On the above day she was looking from her front window about 2:07, and saw a young man at the corner on the east side; he walked back and forth between there and the school till 3 o‘clock, standing at one point facing the witness for as much as 15 minutes at one time. The witness had $300 in the house, and, thinking his lingering suspicious, watched him carefully, even using an opera-glass for this purpose. About 3 o’clock, when the scholars came out, he met two of them, and got on the grip-car with one of these, while the other entered the closed car. The witness had never seen Durrant before, but identified him positively; the girls she had not noticed sufficiently to identify.
From this point there was no tracing until that stage of the journey was reached in which they would pass along Valencia street, beyond the junction of Market and Haight.
Mrs. Crossett: Was seventy-one years old, lived a few blocks south of. the church, and had known the defendant about four years, having seen him frequently in that time. On the afternoon of April 3, she was riding home in a Valencia street car, and saw the defendant sitting on the left side of the grip car with a young lady, the witness sitting on the right forward seat inside,
second from the end.1 She identified Durrant positively, but as to the young lady she could say only that her hat was like that shown as Miss Lamont's. The couple left the car at 21st or 22d street, and walked east toward Bartlett street. The time of seeing them at Valencia street near Market was fixed by thewitness at a little later than 3 :30, in the following way: She left her granddaughter’s house, on Washingtoh and Laurel streets, about 3 :20 p. m.,’ walked 2blocks south to Laurel and Sacramento streets, then 1 block east to Walnut and Sacramento streets; boarded a cable car and rode 5 blocks east on Sacramento to Devisadero; changed and rode 10 blocks south on a cable car on Devisadero to Turk; changed and rode in an electric car 8 blocks south on Devisadero to Page; walked 1 block south on Page to Haight; took a cable car Slllocks east on Haight street to the junction of Haight, Market and Valencia; crossed the square and boarded the car coming west on Market street and turning oi! south at this point on Valencia; and it was on this car that she saw the defendant and the young lady. She arrived at her own house, some 6 blocks beyond the point of their departure from the car, at 8:58 or 3:59 by the clock.
The defense argued that her testimony was valuelcss, since it was impossible to make the trip in that time. The defendant’s witnesses made the same trip (exclusive of the preliminary 3 blocks, walk) in 46 minutes. Allowing 5 minutes for the walk, this would make an error of 12 or 13 minutes in Mrs. Crossett’s reckoning (33 or 34 minutes). But this discrepancy was accounted for (l) by proving an excessive delay of 3 or 4 minutes at one point for thedeiendant’s witnesses; (2) by taking Mrs. Crossett's daughter’s time (3:15) ior her starting; (3) by supposing 3 minutes‘ difference between clocks; all of which would give 43 or 42 minutes for the defendant’s reckoning, and 42 or 41 minutes for Mrs. Crossett's,—-an error of no significance. The only serious criticism to be made upon her times was their inconsistency with those of the other witnesses.3
1 These cars are built in one piece, with glassed partitions between the
by her of their doings being the possible motive for her murder, as ex
open or grip section and the closed sec-
5 According to her daughter, 3 :15.
' Thus: By the Powell street wits ceases the couple should have reached fist or 22d street and Valencia by 3:40 at the latest; by Mrs. Crossett's time, by3:48 at the earliest, and 3:52 at the latest; while by the next witness, Quinlan’s, time, they were at Bartlett and 22d streets not before 4:10. These dinerences were hypothetically accounted for as follows: (1) A lounging or a treating at a. candy store in changing cars at Market and Powell streets; or a meeting and talking there with one Minnie Williams, aim-wards murdered, this knowledge
plained later; this delay would reconcile the stories of Mrs. Crossett and the Powell street witnesses. (2) A probable getting-oft the car at 2151: street, on which Miss Lamont’s home was, and the resumption and consummation of the defendant's solicitations to turn aside to the church down Bartlett street; a process which, together with a sauntering along the 2 blocks, would account naturally for difference between the time (3:48 or 3:50) when, by Mrs. Crossett’s story, they left the car, and the time (4:10) at which by Quinlan’s story they approached the church.
But it must be remembered that the sole eflect of these discrepancies, such