Cortland Evening Standard, Saturday, March 17, 1900.
GUILTY, FIRST DEGREE.
JURY UNANIMOUS IN VERDICT IN TRUCK TRIAL.
Out Only Five Hours - Reached Conclusion Long Before That-Prisoner Sentenced to Electrocution at Auburn Prison in Week Beginning April 29—Truck was Unmoved When He Heard Verdict and Sentence, but Made a Row In Jail Afterward—The Summing Up of the District Attorney.
For the third time in the history of Cortland county a jury has brought in a verdict of guilty of murder in the first degree. The first time was in the summer of 1853 when O'Donoghue was convicted of the murder of Mrs. Kinney of Truxton. He was hung in the grand jury room of the court house in Cortland by Sheriff Frederick Ives at 12:27 on Friday, Sept. 2, 1853.
The second conviction was on June 18, 1863, when Daniel Salisbury was convicted of the murder of his wife in 1862, after a four days' trial. He was sentenced on June 22 to be hung on Aug. 14 between the hours of 10 A. M. and 2 P. M. in the Cortland county court house. Hon. Charles Mason was the presiding Justice who pronounced the sentence. According to the law at that time the county Judge, Hon. Hiram Grandall, and the two Justices of sessions, Stephen Brewer of Cortland and Fredus Howard of Preble, sat with the supreme court Judge on the bench in a murder trial. Mr. Ives was again the sheriff at this time, and he felt as though he could not go through the nervous strain of a second execution in the courthouse, and he went to Albany and got Salisbury's sentence commuted by the governor to imprisonment for life. He died in Auburn prison.
The third conviction was on the night of March 6,1900, when after a trial covering eighteen days John Truck of Homer was said by the jury to be guilty of murder in the first degree in taking the life of Frank W. Miller of Virgil between the hours of 7 and 9 o'clock on the night of March 14,1899.
The jury went out at 5:45 o'clock yesterday afternoon. Judge Sewell decided to hold court open till 10 o'clock and if no verdict was reached at that time to adjoin court until 9:30 o’clock this morning. At 10 o'clock nothing had been reported. At 10:15 the judge directed that the cots of the jurors might be placed in the jury room with quilts upon them so that they could rest if they chose, but that no sheets were to be permitted and no arrangements for making up the beds in general.
At 10:29 the jury signified to Deputy Sheriff A. H. Metzgar who was on guard that they had agreed upon a verdict. Word was at once sent to Judge Sewell at the Cortland House, to Deputy Clerk Jones and to Attorneys Duffey and Miller. Shortly before 11 o'clock all gathered at the courtroom and the jury came in and the defendant who had gone to bed was brought up.
The Jury reported through its foreman, George S. Cady of Scott, that it found the defendant guilty of murder in the first degree as charged in the indictment.
The prisoner seemed absolutely unmoved when he listened to the verdict, but he made a row in the jail below after he was taken back. When aroused in the first place with the news that the jury had agreed upon a verdict he remarked that he supposed they were "now going to raise hell" with him. He was decidedly ugly after he went back below, and used very strong language for several hours.
The jury was very much moved in its feelings and was nervous as to whether or not a correct verdict had been reached. Judge Sewell before dismissing them formally thanked them for their pains-taking care and good attention and for discharging their duty so faithfully. After discharging them he talked with them for an hour or more and told them that he did not see how upon the evidence they could have rendered any other verdict.
Afterward the jury were given their beds with sheets and rested soundly during the night. This morning after breakfast the jury and court attendants presented to Mrs. Brainard, the wife of the sheriff, a nice sum of money to purchase for herself whatever she chose as a souvenir of this trial and token of regard of her large "family." Mrs. Brainard has done everything in her power during these three weeks for the comfort and convenience of the jury and court officers. Watts Freer, the spokesman, addressed her as "Mother" Brainard in making his presentation speech. Mrs. Brainard started to reply by saying “Gentlemen,” but Mr. Freer broke in with "Oh, don't call us gentlemen, call us boys. We are all your boys," and she did then talk to her "boys."
This morning Truck was in an ugly mood and when his breakfast was brought to him he declared he wouldn't eat the "—hog feed," he knew his rights under the law and he wanted such feed as he was entitled to. Eggs on toast were then served to him. A condemned criminal is usually privileged in some matters in respect to diet.
At a later period several of the jurymen visited him In his cell and he announced that he was about to begin his own defense; that there had been no defense so far at all in his case and that he was now about to make his own defense. One of his visitors inquired as to what that defense was to consist of and along what line it was to lie, and he replied that he had not yet decided what it would be. He acted decidedly ugly.
It may be stated right here that the prisoner, William Tompkins, who testified against Truck has not since being sworn been confined in the same cell, but has since occupied a cell on the floor above. From the look on Truck's face while the man was testifying it may be inferred that perhaps the change of location was wise for the safety of Tompkins.
A STANDARD man interviewed several members of the jury this morning and at first they were inclined to be very uncommunicative, saying they had decided not to say much about it. But at last it appeared that they had decided very quickly as to the verdict to be rendered, but were disinclined to bring it in too soon for the very looks of it. Besides they hoped that some of the crowd might get away from the court room before the jury reported. But when the cots were brought in and few conveniences for sleeping the verdict followed very quickly, though no one could probably acknowledge that it was on this account that the jury reported when it did.
It proves that the first proceeding was the election of George S. Cady of Scott as foreman. Three ballots were then taken as follows:
Did Truck kill Miller? Yes, 12 votes.
Was Truck guilty of the indictment of murder in the first degree, as charged? Yes 11, blank 1.
A second ballot was then taken on the same question and twelve affirmative votes were cast.
Long before 10 o'clock, the hour appointed last night, the court room was crowded to the doors. At 10:12 court was opened, the prisoner sitting in his seat in charge of Deputy Sheriff R. A. Ryan of Cuyler. All of the jurors were present except William Salisbury. There were a few minutes of consultation between the judge and counsel on both sides and then at 10:28 District Attorney Duffey arose and said:
“May it please the court, I would call up the case of The People vs. John Truck, who has been convicted of murder in the first degree, and inasmuch as counsel for the defense has waived the two days permitted to the defendant by statute for the imposition of sentence, I would move that he be now sentenced.
Mr. Miller of counsel for the defendant then formally waived the two days delay, and consented to immediate sentence. Deputy Clerk Jones directed the defendant to come forward and be sworn. In reply to the clerk's questions he testified:
“My name is John Truck. I shall be 41 years old on the ninth of next May. I was born in Fayetteville, N.Y. My present residence is Homer. I am a laborer. I am a married man. I have not had much of any education. I have had some religious instruction. I am a Catholic. I think my father is living. My mother is dead. My habits have been temperate. I have been convicted of another offense on a former occasion. I know of no legal reason or cause why sentence should not be immediately imposed upon me.”
Judge Sewell then imposed sentence upon the prisoner as follows:
“John Truck, you have had a fair and impartial trial. You have been defended with great ability. You have been given the full official power of this court to enable you to protect your rights, and yet a jury of twelve men of your own selection after a careful and conscientious consideration of the evidence have determined that you are guilty of the crime of murder in the first degree. I am compelled to say that from this evidence they could not have done otherwise. I have no discretion in the matter. The law fixes the penalty for your crime and requires me to pronounce the judgment of the law and that is: That during the week commencing the 29th day of April, 1900, at the State prison in the city of Auburn you shall suffer the death penalty according to law.”
The prisoner during this time appeared unmoved. His mouth had a hard set to it and his eyes sparkled. He took an occasional chew at a big quid of tobacco in his mouth. He stood erect with his hands behind his back during the time that he was answering to the questions and was receiving sentence. Immediately after sentence was pronounced the prisoner was taken back to the jail and the court room was quickly cleared. The prisoner will be taken to Auburn Monday morning by Sheriff Brainard.
Stenographer Rose says that of the fifty-three murder cases which he has reported there have been a large number of convictions of murder in the first degree, but only six have been executed. If Truck is executed he will be the seventh.
It is doubtful if there was ever such a scene in the Cortland county court house as was witnessed there yesterday during the noon recess. On the previous days of the trial it has been customary to permit those who desired to do so to remain in the court room during the noon hour, and many, especially ladies, have taken advantage of that privilege. They have brought their lunches and in not a few instances their work, and they have employed the time to advantage while listening to the evidence.
Yesterday after the forenoon session it was decided to clear the court room so as to give all an equal chance to get in to hear the prosecution's summing up in the Truck murder trial in the afternoon. This was far from agreeable to those who had good seats, but there was no appeal from the decision of this court, who in this instance was the sheriff, and out they went, and down the stairs. There they made a very sizeable company in the lower hall. They stood at the foot of the stairs waiting for a chance to dash back up stairs again.
But they were not alone for others kept coming and soon the hall was filled to suffocation. They were packed in like sardines in a box. The ones at the rear of the procession tried to press forward and get nearer, seemingly assured that if they were only ten feet nearer the foot of those stairs their chance for a seat would be better, even though the same number of people were still in front of them. The ones in front were almost lifted off their feet and the most of them were ladies too. It required all of the force of Under Sheriff Hazard and Deputy Sheriffs Smith and Ryan to keep them back.
At about 1:45 the officers began to let the people up the stairs, and then there was a mad rush. The officers tried valiantly to restrain the crowd but it was at first a sort of ship against a wave of the ocean. Ladies fell down over their own skirts in getting up the stairs. The officers kept shouting to the crowd to keep back, but it didn't. There was a call that they were killing a woman by pressing her against a railing, but it didn't matter. They were all bound to get into that courtroom. Then the officers planted themselves in the passage way and by sheer force of strength held back the multitude and regained control of the stream of humanity.
It didn't take long to fill every inch of space upstairs, and all those who didn't get in had to stay out. The prisoner himself had to be taken up the private stairway through the sheriff’s apartments to reach the courtroom as there was no getting through the aisles.
PEOPLE SUMMING UP.
District Attorney Duffey had a highly appreciative audience in his final address to the jury, as did also Attorney Miller in the morning for the defense. Both were the subject of congratulations on all sides. The case has been tried for all it was worth by the attorneys and their counsel on both sides. It is hard to see how either could have brought out more. And they have been very fortunate in their presiding justice. Judge Sewell has been absolutely fair and impartial in his decisions as regards both sides. What he permitted for one, he permitted for the other, and what he refused for one he refused for the other.
But the climax of the case came of course in the summing up, and here both attorneys distinguished themselves. It has all the time been felt as though the defense had an unusually hard task for the evidence pointed so strongly to the guilt of the defendant so far as committing the deed was concerned that it could hardly be denied, and insanity is not a popular form of defense in a case of this kind. But the defendant's counsel have made all they could out of the case, and the facts were most admirably put by Mr. Miller in his summing up. Perhaps the highest compliment that could be paid him is in saying that in his peroration his reference to the defendant was so touching as to bring tears to the eyes of the prisoner himself, and considering the fact that the prisoner was alleged to be insane that is saying a great deal.
The summing up of District Attorney Duffey was most masterly. Stenographer Rose is quoted as saying that in the fifty-three murder trials which he has reported he has never seen its equal in the way in which the speaker clung to his evidence and arranged it in the form of a continuous chain with every link present. His manner before a jury is confidence inspiring and convincing, and he assuredly acquitted himself on this occasion with the highest honor.
It was just 2:05 o'clock when Mr. Duffey arose and after the words “May it please the court" turned to the jury for the final address of counsel in the Truck murder trial. He began by referring to the care used in the selection of the jury; to their oath to render a verdict according to the evidence and to the responsibility that rested upon the shoulders of each of them. A dastardly, enormous crime, he said, was committed in Virgil on March 14 of last year, and it now remains for the jury to say who committed it, or at least to say whether or not this defendant did commit it. It is a matter of importance to our community to see that justice is done if it can be.
The district attorney first detailed the movements of Truck during the week prior to March 14. Reference, he said, has been made to a motive for this crime, it is not necessary to show motive in a criminal case, but when it is present and evident it makes with the facts a formidable array. The motive in this case was the desire for gain. The plan was deliberate and premeditated. He said in advance that he wanted to hire a farm and to stock it. On March 8 he went to Miller's home in Virgil to learn the circumstances, to look over the ground. So far as we know no violence of any kind was attempted at that time. On the Saturday before the crime was committed, March 11, he told his employer Blunden that he couldn't work for him on Monday because he had got to go to Virgil to re claim some stock that he had over there that had not been paid for. At the same time he made preliminary negotiations for renting a farm of Blunden north of Syracuse and said he expected to have some stock to put upon it.
On the next day, Sunday, he borrowed a gun for the avowed purpose of shooting foxes, but in fact as we believe, for the purpose of protecting himself if he got in a tight place or of actually committing the crime with it. On Monday he told the man who came to request him to move from his house that he was going to Virgil after a horse and after his return he would be ready to move at any time. That afternoon he showed himself at Darius Allen's inquiring for horses, and inquiring what horses Miller had. He spent that night with Miller. On Tuesday he was still in the vicinity looking for horses. After leaving Lowe and Homer in the woods at about 3 o'clock and saying that he was going to Blose's for a horse and after starting off in that direction he changed his course when out of sight for at 4 o'clock he was seen in the vicinity of Miller's house. What was he there for? It was not dark yet, too early for any violence and Miller was not at home. Then he went to Blose's. Reference has been made to the fact as an inconsistency in his action that he told Blose he had no money to buy horses. How could he have said otherwise, for had he not the next question might have been to produce his money to pay for a horse.
After he got back to Homer he told about the horse he had brought back with him. What was all this for? Just laying the foundation, or throwing off surprise and suspicion that he had the horse when he should be seen with it. It was cunning and foresight. And what was the motive? Desire for gain. He wanted to stock that farm. He got Miller's horse; he loaded himself down with the proceeds of his act. He did take from the Miller house all the valuable portable property of his victim. It is fair to suppose that Truck took the maul you have heard described, forced his way into the house and waited for a chance to make way with his victim. Just how he struck him or when it is unnecessary for the prosecution to show.
The district attorney then reviewed the proof of the identity of the remains; the clothing, the missing tooth, the maimed foot, the remains of the meal eaten found in the stomach. Then came a review of the evidence upon the question, did Frank W. Miller die before the fire occurred in his house and did he die by violence. In both cases the speaker deduced from the evidence an affirmative answer. The speaker characterized as purely speculative the statements of counsel for the defense that death came within an hour after supper and as not warranted by the evidence of the expert quoted, Prof. Orndorff.
The one question now remains, did this defendant commit the crime. The evidence shows a motive, shows the defendant present, shows the defendant next day with his victim's property in his possession.
The district attorney ridiculed the theory advanced by defense that Miller was kicked by his horse. "Kicked by his horse! Where? In his bedroom?" asked the speaker. You remember the testimony of the doctors that the blows which fractured the skull would produce instant insensibility. He was stricken in his own house. He was felled there in cold blood unable to take care of himself. Human agency committed that deed. What next? Ransacking the house, stepping over the dead body to search the trunk that stood by his side. Then another crime—a crime to conceal a crime. The house was set on fire. Three crimes: murder, robbery, arson. Then he waited till it was late enough to go undetected, as he thought. All that he did could have been done in an hour. He waited beside his victim till satisfied that everybody in the vicinity was in bed. Then he started his fire, hitched up his horse, locked the door of the house, and laden down with spoils started for home. He took chances [about four words missing, illegible print-ed.].
Had it not been for the meeting at East Virgil and that those men of the neighborhood were there; had Mr. Lowe not had company and been up later than usual that house would have burned to the ground and no one would have known it till the next day. Bear in mind the lonely neighborhood with only one house in sight from Miller’s.
The speaker traced the defendant from Virgil to his home in Homer. He called attention to the fact that Truck told the sheriff when arrested that he had left Miller's house at 3 o'clock in the afternoon and that he did not change his statement in regard to the time till he had learned that Wm. Seamans had seen and recognized him on the road to Virgil, and then be changed it to 10 or 11 o'clock.
Counsel for the defense had raised the question as to the unreasonableness of defendant's wearing the clothes of the dead man on the next day, but evidence has been brought forward to show that Truck did not wear those clothes till he was ready to leave Homer on his way to Tully. Witness Hawley testified that he saw him wearing his old coat in Homer on Wednesday morning. The old coat was found rolled up in a bundle in the back of the wagon when defendant was arrested. He wore it till he got out of Homer. Clothes are not easily identified positively. Those would not have been but for certain marks of mending. The patch made from the mother's cape of cloth different from the rest the defendant couldn't know about. What about a watch? How should the defendant know about the private initials put in a secret place; also about the jeweler's private mark when he had repaired it? How should he know that a watch could be positively identified? When he wore those clothes he was 20 miles away from the scene of the tragedy, with all traces leading to him destroyed, as he supposed.
The district attorney then referred to the two letters sent out from Truck to Mr. Fassett and Mr. Witty. That is the defendant's own confession, said the speaker. Do you notice how he refers to the mortgages given WayIand Spencer found in the trunk, one of $1,500 and one of $1,100? How did he get those facts unless be secured them from the documents themselves found in ransacking the trunk? And will you tell me that the man who wrote those letters and who remembered those figures so exactly for so long a time was either a lunatic or an imbecile?
Attention was called to the testimony of the sheriff that when first confined the defendant read novels and other things; that custom continued till about the time of the grand jury when he suddenly claimed to Mr. Fassett that he could neither read nor write. Was not that keenness as regards the commission of the crime? And that attitude has been continued ever since.
Circumstantial evidence was next discussed and was shown when good to be better than direct evidence, for, said the speaker, witnesses may lie, or may see things wrong. But if you have facts from various sources all put together you have incontrovertable evidence. A number of examples of circumstantial evidence were given; an apple on the ground. It fell from a tree. How do you know? No one saw it [fall]. We know it because apples grow on trees. It is circumstantial evidence. We went to bed last night. The ground was bare. This morning snow is on the ground. It snowed last night. How do you know? No one saw it. Why, there is the snow. That is the evidence. We see tracks of a horse and cutter going west along the road. We say some team has passed west along the street. How do you know? No one saw it. There are the tracks. It is better evidence than some one looking out, for the observer may be sleepy or tired or thick headed and not notice, but the evidence remains. That is circumstantial evidence and better than direct evidence.
The district attorney then turned to a discussion of the evidence of the defense. He called attention to the fact that one must be laboring under such a defect of reason as not to know the nature and quality of the act and that It was wrong. There must be substance to the defect of reason in order to have it figure. The one question is did he know what he was doing and did he know that it was wrong. As evidence that he did, attention is called to these name telltale letters written to Fassett and Witty. Truck is the writer. Truck says "I killed the cuss; I am the guilty one." Notice the word "guilty.” "I don't want any one to suffer for what I done." Isn't that comprehension and appreciation of the nature and qualify of the act, and that it was wrong ? Are those the letters of a crazy man or an imbecile? Skill and cunning is sticking right out of them. Can you read those letters and say that John Truck did not know what he was doing on that 14th day of March, 1899?
What was he doing on the Saturday before the crime? Working for Blundon. "I would like to take your farm," he said. "I am going to Virgil to get a horse on Monday." What did he get his gun for? Not to kill a man, as a crazy man would have said, but to kill foxes. What was he doing on Monday? He went to Virgil, inquiring for a horse. What on Tuesday? Deceiving men as to where he was going; waiting for a favorable moment. The people in the neighborhood said that nothing in his appearance, struck them as irrational. All said he was rational now on his return to Homer. His wife was gone. He could not start for Tully early Wednesday morning. Was it irrational for him to delay while looking her up?
Now his acts at Miller’s house, were they the acts of one insane? Dr. Hamilton has testified to you that one who does murder under a defect of reason never adds to it plundering. That evidence has not been controverted. After this crime did he not select and did he not select well? Doesn't it show that the defendant knew what he was doing? Doesn't the fact of his placing the body in the room where it would be most burned; doesn't his waiting till a late hour before starting for home show a good head? Where is the dementia, where the mania or the melancholia? One of the defense's experts says he had all of these three states, the other says he is insane at all times. Was he blue? Some of their witnesses have testified that he was on Monday mornings after spending a Sunday at home. What troubles may he not have had there to produce blues? What kind of insanity is it that doesn't increase in twenty years, that permits a man to go about and do his work as usual? This is the kind of insanity you don't see. The third period of this circular insanity was never heard of till after the defendant's expert physicians had been here in court. Before it had been simply nervousness and melancholia. But when it appeared that alternating insanity would send a man to the insane asylum at once, then lay witnesses began to tell of the period of calm between the two.
Two or three witnesses said he was irrational, but they could not say that he was devoid of reason. The theory of the law is that witnesses must describe in court the acts and conversations upon which they base their impressions of irrationality in order that you too as jurors may draw your own conclusions from the same. What irrationality is shown? He was never violent; never unreasonable; sometimes he forgot; he wouldn't hitch up a horse once when it was another man's business to do it. Dr. White acknowledged that big stories are not an indication of insanity, and that not even liars are insane. You have heard that Mr. Fassett sent his maniac up to Mr. Armstrong to run an engine. Doesn't that show that Mr. Fassett trusted him? Philip Weingartner knew him for twenty-five years and worked with him and never saw any thing out of the way in him. So also with Mrs. Stevens for three years.
Now as to expert witnesses, they are not to be laughed at, or scoffed at or ridiculed. After I had made up a hypothetical question as to the different things Dr. White had said were not essential and I asked him if taking all those things away from the original hypothetical question would he still consider it the same, he said it might make some difference in his opinion. I have no apologies to offer for such experts as Dr. Allison and Dr. Hamilton. Dr. Allison is the greatest expert on criminal insane in New York state. His testimony should carry great weight. Dr. Hamilton stands at the head of his profession in the United States if not in the world. He has an international reputation. Is he not the best expert the country off affords? Did he not show that he understands his business? Could you ask for better skill? It so, I do not know where you would find it. Surely not in this country. His evidence must be given the greatest of weight. He told you there were no indications of insanity in this defendant. He told you how he knew. He told you that the defendant knew the difference between right and wrong. Dr. Hamilton says that a bad conformation of the head is not essential. Dr. White acknowledged the same thing.
I have been criticized for swearing the witness Tompkins. I wanted to know what was going on in the jail. It was suggested by Dr. Allison who first saw Truck pass the note from Tompkins to Mr. Hyatt. Have you not seen Truck's interest in the case as it proceeded? Did you not observe his emotion this morning when his attorney was summing up his case? Did you not see him laugh when I objected to Mr. Miller's leading questions and when he replied that he had learned it from me and the judge said we were both pretty good at it?
They have attacked the sheriff for interest in the case. Is it not right that the sheriff should do what he can to secure punishment for crime? But l leave it to you would the sheriff try to swear a man's life away? I leave it to you, would Sheriff Brainard stoop to such a thing?
The climax of the district attorney's address was reached when he replied to the insinuation of counsel that there was complicity between the witness Tompkins and himself, and his denial was terrible in its earnestness and power. How could Tompkins, he said, have learned the facts to which he testified except from Truck or unless Dr. Allison took them to him or I did? This is a serious accusation. It is a terrible charge to bring against the prosecuting officer of your county. Could there be a prosecuting officer so base, so lost to all sense of decency as to create evidence in a criminal case? I say before God Almighty that I never did it. I never said a single thing to him. The two letters from client to counsel have also been referred to as a trick on my part. I deny it in toto. I knew nothing about it till Dr. Allison told me of the letters he had seen passed. The state does not choose its witnesses where evidence is. There they must go to get it. I have tried to gather up every scrap of evidence I could find; your sheriff has aided me in every way. I have never known a more efficient officer in Cortland county than Sheriff Brainard. I would not mislead you. If I have brought you to the knowledge of the facts in this case I have done my duty, otherwise I have not.
This task of yours is an unpleasant one. The eyes of all the county are riveted upon you. Laws are enacted to guard person and property, but unless those laws are upheld, the whole matter is cheapened. You are not responsible for the consequences of your verdict. The law does not place that upon you, and you need not assume it. Was it wrong for the prosecuting officers to follow this case up a year ago? Should they have shrunk from doing their duty because of the consequences? Was it wrong for the coroner's jury to do its duty or the grand jury, or should they have shrunk from it because of the consequences? Would it be right for me to let the prisoner go because I didn't want to prosecute him? Would it be right for the court here to let the prisoner escape justice because he didn't want to sentence him? You simply say did the defendant commit this crime with reason and knowledge enough to know what he was doing. If so, there is but one verdict. You have nothing to do with what comes after. Your duties are done after you have rendered a verdict. You are not responsible. There is the court of appeals if there is error. You are simply a part of the machinery of the law.
The defense has made an appeal for sympathy. This is not a case for sympathy. There is nothing to be done but to render a verdict according to the evidence. If he did such a crime is he to plead for mercy at your feet ? Sympathy only has its place with the governor. But if there were sympathy would it not be on the other side? Think of the mother who one year ago to-day at just about this hour sat beside the coffin of her son at his funeral, unable to even gaze upon his features for a last goodby look because he was so badly burned. Think of the victim himself called before his Maker so unexpectedly in such an unprepared manner. Think of the brothers and sisters who are left. Yes, if there is to be sympathy it is on the other side. But I do not ask it. All I ask is justice. It would endanger the life of every one in this county if justice failed, if crime can go unfinished. Law does not ask for vengeance, but to make an example of the guilty one. Unless law is upheld justice becomes a farce. Take your time in making up your decision. Do not be hastened into effecting a compromise. Compromise is cowardice. Remember that every unpunished murder takes away from the safety of every man's life.
The district attorney closed at exactly 5 o'clock, having been speaking to a minute the time of Mr. Miller in the forenoon, 2 hours and 55 minutes. Judge Sewell then gave the charge to the jury. This is the judge’s first murder trial, and his voice trembled a little as he began speaking and he was visibly affected. The charge in full will be published later, as it was a very able one. Several requests for the charge were made on both sides, and granted, and at 5:45 exactly the case went to the jury.
1) John Truck was not executed.
2) Governor Benjamin Odell orders examination of John Truck's mental condition (page 241).