Page images
[ocr errors]

Martin Quinlan: Lived on Mission street nearly back of the church, and knew Durrant by sight only, having seen him several times. On the above day he had an appointment with one David Clark at the saloon at the northeast corner of Mission and 22d streets; and at 3:53 or 3:55 (looking at the clock with reference to his appointment), boarded a Valencia street car on Market street near 9th; he got off at 22d street, and walked east on the right-hand (south) side; at the corner of Bartlett street he saw Durrant and a young lady crossing from the north to the south side of 22d street on the east side of Bartlett street, the witness being on the southwest corner approaching them at right angles as they reached the southeast corner going south, Durrant walking on the inside. The time must have been between 4:10 and 4:20. The appointment was kept, and the witness, in going about with Clark, took many drinks, which served as material for criticism on cross-examination.1

David Clark: Corroborated this witness as to the appointment, and fixed the times as the same, having looked at the clock in the saloon.2

Mrs. Leake: A member of the Emmanuel Church, an elderly person, lived at 124 Bartlett street, on the west side almost directly opposite the north alleygate. She had known Durrant for 2 years, having seen him nearly every Sunday, and on the above day she was looking out of her window, between 4 and 4:30 p. m., expecting and looking for her daughter, when she saw Durrant and a young lady, the former on the inside of the walk, approaching the church from 22d street on the east side of Bartlett street. They went on past the church and entered the south alley-gate, Durrant opening it. The witness identified him positively (though she could not remember his clothes); the young lady she thought at the time was either Miss Lamont or Miss Turner. The witness wore glasses for reading only, and did not have them on when she looked out.

George R. King: Organist of Emmanuel Church and assistant librarian of the Sunday-school, 19 years old, well acquainted with Durrant and the Lamont sisters, went to church on the above day “just about” 5 p. m. to practice a piece on the piano in the main school-room. He entered by the front door, went into the library for a few moments, then went to the piano, and had played 2 or 3 minutes when the defendant appeared at the folding-doors (between the main room and the infants' room), and came through them into the main room. He had neither coat nor hat on; but his vest and necktie were in order. The witness said: “Hello, you look pale! ” and Durrant : explained that he had been fixing the sun-burners over the auditorium, and had been overcome

as they were, could be to impeach the more than half an hour before that
trustworthiness of the identifying tes time was ample for the deed.
timony. They did not affect the feasi 1 This witness' character for integ-
bility by Durrant of the murder. rity was impeached by half a dozen
Whether the two reached the church by witnesses.
3:45 or by 4:15 was immaterial to the ? An attempt was made, but of
State in this aspect; because, though slight consequence only, to impeach
the killing (as will be seen) could not this witness' character.
have been done by him after 5:05, his 3 Durrant himself tells that he said:
presence at church for any period “You would be pale, too, if you had

been where I have."

[ocr errors]

by the gas; then gave him fifty cents and asked him to get some bromo-seltzer; the witness went to a drug store one and one-half blocks away, and brought back the bromo-seltzer; Durrant went with him to the kitchen and drank it. About this time Durrant mentioned that he had that morning ridden on the car with Blanche Lamont. He later went to a mirror to see how pale he was. After he had at King's request helped the latter to bring down a small cabinet organ from the choir-loft, they went to the library, where Durrant found and put on his hat and coat and they left the church by the front door, about 6 p. m.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Analyzing the story of the seven witnesses who bring him to the door of the church, we find that the first four did not know him before, but that three of these knew Blanche Lamont, while all four agreed upon the circumstances; and that the last three had known Durrant before, but did not know or could not positively identify Miss Lamont.

It will be now necessary to notice the remaining evidence of the State.

[ocr errors]

3. Subsequent Indications of Guilt. (1) On Wednesday, April 10, three rings worn by the deceased came by post, wrapped in a piece of the niner newspaper, to Mrs. Noble, the aunt. The paper bore in pencil the names " John T. King, Prof. Schernstein.” Both George King (there being no John T. King), and Mr. Schernstein, the deceased's music teacher (who should have given her a lesson on April 3, the day of disappearance, but waited in vain at the house), denied on the stand that they had written the names. But Durrant's connection with it could not be shown. (2) On Friday, April 12, the church-janitor, Sademan, saw Durrant about 4 p. m. waiting at the ferry at the foot of Market street; Durrant explained that there was a report that Blanche Lamont would come to the city that afternoon by the ferry and he wished to see if it would prove true. To two fellow-members of the Signal Corps who passed him there and asked if he had heard anything about her, he made answer that he had a clue, the terms of the answer being disputed. They also testified that he explained that he was waiting for another member of the corps.2 (3) On some day between April 4 and 10, about 11 a. m., Mr. Oppenheimer, a pawnbroker of 405 Dupont street, was visited by a young man, who submitted cut

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

1 He arrived home at 6:15, and was thereafter satisfactorily accounted for.

2 Other doings, not significant, were these. At the evening prayer-meeting of April 3, Durrant sat next to Mrs. Noble, said he had promised to bring Blanche “ The Newcomes" but had forgotten it; asked whether Blanche was coming that evening; said that he would bring the book on Thursday; and did bring it on Friday. About

April 10 he came to Mrs. Noble's house (as nearly every member of the church had done) and offered to search for her at places (meaning of ill-fame) which the police did not know of, but a friend would show him. This theory of her disappearance, he afterwards explained, had been suggested to him by a detective, an explanation not improbable in fact.



a bad

diamond ring for sale, the witness declining to buy. The witness identified Durrant positively as the man, and identified the ring as one of the three worn by the deceased and returned through the post on April 10. A Mr. Phillips, passing by the shop about the same period, identified Durrant as seen standing in front of the shop,

[ocr errors]

B. We may now turn to the defendant's evidence directed to the destruction of the fabric thus woven by the State. As the State's main reliance (apart from the admitted fact of his being in the church at 5 p. m.) was upon the testimony which sent Durrant in the company of the deceased to the door of the church by 4:15 on the day of her disappearance, and upon the story of his afterwards bringing her ring to sell, so the defense concentrated its attack mainly on those two supposed facts.

1. Motive.--As no indication of a sinister motive had been produced against the defendant, there was here nothing to be disputed by him. The usual good character testimony was offered.

2. Opportunity; Durrant at another place until too late to commit the murder.—The defense admitted without qualification that Durrant was at the church as testified by George King at 5:05 (approximately) on April 3; but proposed to show that he was at or near the Medical College until so late an hour that he could not have arrived at the church before 4:55; and in 10 minutes the deed, concededly, could not have been done.

In this view, then, the testimony of the seven eye-witnesses who believed that they saw Durrant with Miss Lamont (or another person) at successive stages of the route to the church was of course discredited. Against all of the seven (except Quinlan), the defense expressly disclaimed any imputation of dishonesty. It explained their identifying testimony as so many cases of mistake or illusion, and argued that the constant appearance of the accused's picture in the newspapers had tended to create the hallucination that he was the one whom they had seen. This they attempted to enforce, as to the last four, by pointing out that they had not appeared at the preliminary hearing, and had not notified the prosecution of their supposed knowledge until several weeks later. The discrepancies alleged between the statement of Mrs. Crossett and

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

the others as to the time of day when Durrant was seen have already been referred to.

As to the constructive portion of the story of the defense, it falls into two parts: (1) The fixing of Durrant's whereabouts till 4:55; (2) The explanation of his reason for going to the church at all and of his doings while there. The defense, it will be seen, had in the latter part (resting mainly on the defendant's own testimony) a double risk to encounter; for not only would the failure to prove the facts alleged leave the State's story unshaken, but any serious inconsistencies or palpable falsities would tend to discredit his entire story as a manufactured one.

(1) Durrant at the Medical College. The defendant himself with commendable courage (and yet his case inevitably involved it) took the stand to tell his own story, which was in brief as follows:

[merged small][ocr errors]

On April 3, the day of the disappearance, his last morning lecture closed at 12, a recess of one hour following. Not feeling well enough for a hearty lunch, he went north on Webster street for a walk, stopping at the corner of Clay street to buy some nuts which he eat as he walked. He returned by 1 p. m., and finding a notice that Dr. Stillman (the next lecturer) would not come that day, went with Student Ross for another walk north on Webster street, meeting on the way Student Carter, and returning in half or three-quarters of an hour; then went to the library for about the same time, speaking there with Student Diggins, then went down-stairs and talked with Student Glaser, omitting a lecture by Dr. Hansen; then attended Dr. Cheney's lecture from 3:30 to 4:15, taking 6 pages of notes; then took the cars from Sutter to Larkin, to Mission, to 22d street, getting off at Bartlett, and reaching the church library at 4:55 p. m. by the watch.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

As to this part of the story, the three students, Ross, Carter and Diggins, testified that they remembered the conversations and walks respectively; but they were unable to identify the date; the circumstances making April 3 of greater or less probability in different instances. Student Glaser was not

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

1 It may be pointed out that even if the walks had occurred on that day, the State's story was not thus disproved; for, taking the minimum estimate (half an hour) for the walk and the library visit, we reach only 2 p. m.; and the 15 blocks to Clay and Powell

streets could have been covered by car in 15 minutes, bringing us to 2:15, a time not materially different from that at which Mrs. Vogel first saw him waiting there near the school (2:07).

4 of

questioned on this point. Durrant's presence at the lecture, however (3:30–4:15) would have disposed conclusively of the State's story. As to this, first, neither the lecturer nor a single student of the 74 usually in the class could remember whether Durrant was or was not present at that lecture,- a not unnatural state of mind, since 12 or 13 days elapsed before his arrest would cause them to recall the occasion. Next, and of most consequence, the attendance-roll did show Durrant to be present,- the absent ones being marked by an “ A,” and Durrant's name having no such mark appended. But the accuracy of this roll was questioned by the State. The evidence pro and con as to the roll-call was as follows:

[ocr errors]

Dr. Cheney: At the close of the lecture the roll was called by Student Gray, standing beside him and marking it. Dr. Cheney, though having no personal knowledge, believed the roll to be correct, having subsequently questioned each student (apparently after the arrest) and found the record corroborated.

Student Gray, in marking the roll, depended entirely on the answers as heard, not on eye-sight. In March the roll had not been written up, and so the roll for April 3 was at first by error marked in the blank space of March 31, and afterwards was copied into the correct place, the original marks being erased. The roll-method was liable to error, he admitted, and in the succeeding June an improved system was adopted. He had no means of knowing whether one student was answering for another. Questions as to his experience on this point on past occasions were ruled out. On the defendant's cross-examination, however, it was brought out that on at least two occasions shortly afterwards (April 8 and 12) he had himself asked a fellow-student to answer for him, and on one of these it was only when the defendant was called upon to recite that his absence was detected. Out of the 74 usually in the class, apparently all (except one deceased) testified that they did not answer for Durrant on April 3; but one of them, who was marked absent, testified that he was in fact present.

But, besides the evidence (whatever it might amount to) of the roll-call record, the note-book of Durrant was of consequence. His 5 pages of notes fairly represented the lecture, and were as much like those of other students as they would naturally be. Two classes of evidence, however, were offered by the State to destroy the value of this circumstance. (a) It was claimed that there had been ample opportunity to copy


1 This evidence, in another form, fense declined to accept the opporwas objected to and excluded, but tunity. afterwards permitted, when the de

« PreviousContinue »