Monday, January 6, 2014

You Be the Jury -- Guilty or Not Guilty?

I recently came across a case in the newspaper. The incident took place in Paris, Bourbon Co., Kentucky. I'm going to post the article exactly as it was printed. Your job, should you choose to accept it, is to decide if the Defendant is Guilty or Not Guilty. I'm telling you up front that convincing arguments can be made either way. Tell me what your verdict would be by either posting on the comments below or on facebook where you will also see this posted. No excuses -- guilty or not guilty.

In the next couple of days, I will post how the jury ruled. Enjoy!

The Case 

We saw a gentleman yesterday who was in Paris during the preliminary trial of Thos. H. Probert for the killing of J. H. Spears, and as we and others have published partial accounts of the affair, we will deem it but proper to give the important testimony. On Sunday, eight days before the occurrence, Probert rode up to a fishing frolic and Spears frightened his horse. Probert told him not to show his backside. Spears followed him up, and asked why he spoke to him so. Probert said his horse was wild, and as he was unwell, he didn’t wish to be thrown, and he meant what he said. Spears said he was a better man than Probert and could whip him and insisted on a fist fight. Probert declined, saying he didn’t wish to mar the enjoyment of the party and would rather postpone it. Spears afterwards told witnesses that he had sent a man to prepare arms; that he intended to call upon Probert, and if anything occurred, murder him.  Probert was informed of this, and advised by witness to absent himself from house; that Spears was intoxicated and might carry his threat into execution.

That night, Spears visited Probert and was told that he was absent. On Friday Probert went to Cincinnati and returned on Monday evening. That evening (Monday) Spears, accompanied by a friend, went as far down the railroad as Cynthiana. Probert was informed by Spear’s friends that he got into the baggage car at Cynthiana and advised to go in and make up their difficulty, but he said he didn’t wish to see him, and upon arriving at the depot at Paris, immediately repaired to his bar-room. (Probert had been the baker for the hotel and had acted as bar keeper for two or three months) soon after, Spears came out of the car intoxicated and assisted by his friend, went down in the saloon of the Bourbon House. His friend remarked to Probert, “I have brought you a customer,“ and Spears called for something to drink. Probert set out the liquor and Spears asked him to drink with them several times. Probert declined. Spears asked him if it was because of their difficulty, or if he didn’t wish to drink.  He said it was the latter. Spears then threw the liquor in Probert’s face.  Probert asked him if knew what he was doing. Spears said he did, and at the same time Probert picked up the pistol, and Spears drew back the glass and the pistol fired, and the glass was thrown at the same moment.

Spears received one ball in the neck, one in the face and one in the side of the head, and two struck the ceiling. The tumbler knocked down a cigar box, and broke a pane of glass in the window. The only persons present were Spears’ friend and the two young Messrs. Thurston and the landlords of the hotel. Spears lived in a state of insensibility for three hours. The pistol was an Allen’s revolver, and had lain in the same place from which Probert drew it when he fired, behind the water tank, during his absence in Cincinnati.

Spears was proven to have been very drunk in going from the cars, and walked between two friends, who braced him by the arms to prevent his staggering or falling. But Mr. Thurston said he walked alone when in the saloon. Spears was not armed, but his friend ran out of the room when the fight commenced, and said they were both shooting and one or the other must be killed. Probert was not on good terms with Spear’s friend. Probert came out and desired to go to jail, and his friends secreted him until the Sheriff could arrive to prevent Spear’s friends from mobbing him who seemed to be afraid he might leave.

This is a picture that hangs in the home of a friend of Rogers Barde of Paris, Bourbon, Kentucky.
I am so grateful that she sent it to me.

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