23 S.W. 1066 (Mo. 1893), The State v. Robinson

Citation:23 S.W. 1066, 117 Mo. 649
Opinion Judge:Sherwood, J.
Party Name:The State v. Robinson, Appellant
Attorney:D. E. Kennedy for appellant. R. F. Walker, Attorney General, for the state.
Case Date:November 09, 1893
Court:Supreme Court of Missouri

Page 1066

23 S.W. 1066 (Mo. 1893)

117 Mo. 649

The State


Robinson, Appellant

Supreme Court of Missouri, Second Division

November 9, 1893

Page 1067

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 1068

Appeal from Pettis Criminal Court. -- Hon. J. E. Ryland, Judge.

The defendant, a negro, was convicted of murder in the first degree, the charge being that he killed Johanna Schollman, a white girl, by stabbing her with a knife.

In substance, the salient facts developed at the trial are these: The deceased was employed as a domestic in the family of Mayor Stevens, of Sedalia. The defendant was also in the employ of Mayor Stevens, and slept in a room at the barn. On the evening of October 24, 1892, which was Sunday, the deceased left Mayor Stevens' house and went to Mr. Miller's, a place she was accustomed to visit, which was on the corner of Grand avenue and Twenty-fifth street. She arrived there between six and seven o'clock, having in her hand a little bundle which she said contained her night gown. She took supper there; said she expected some one to call for her, and that she was going out to see relatives next day in Benton county. She seemed to feel uneasy. Pretty soon the one who was to come for her came, and called out her name at the door, (who it was Mrs. Miller did not know) and she got into a buggy with the unknown man whom Mrs. Miller did not see, and rode off with him; this was about seven o'clock. At ten o'clock on the same evening, some unknown person called at Miller's for deceased, by calling her name at the door, but no one responded to this call.

A little after seven o'clock the defendant obtained a buggy from Field's livery stable, drove off in a few minutes, and about nine o'clock, when he returned the buggy, the horse was cool, did not seem to have been driven hard nor far, and though the streets were muddy that afternoon, the horse was not muddy. When defendant returned the buggy, he left therein a bundle, of which more hereafter. About eleven o'clock that night defendant returned to Mayor Stevens' barn, where he slept. Another negro, Swepstone, was in the bed, having arrived something like half an hour before. When defendant came in he lit his pipe and sat there smoking, but when he went to bed, his companion, who meanwhile had fallen asleep, did not know. Defendant was in bed, however, the next morning, and got up by six o'clock and started out on horse back and came back from town bringing a piece of meat for the family and took it to the house. That morning early he had also called by Field's livery stable and asked for a small bundle which he said he had left in the buggy the night before. This being given him, he rode off with it.

On that same morning, Monday, October 25, at an early hour, the body of deceased was discovered near the corner of Seventeenth and Moniteau streets. The deceased had apparently received the fatal wound which was a puncture of the interior jugular vein on the left side of the neck, and she had apparently been dragged by the heels, as shown by the disarranged condition of her clothing and the depression of the weeds, from that place which gave indications of a struggle, some sixty feet to where she was found on her back at the corner of the hedge. On her right jaw there was a well marked bruise of some kind. The punctured wound had the appearance of having been made by a pen knife. Dr. Muehl, the coroner, said: "I saw some marks where the body was lying and others in the vicinity; I saw a path where the body had been dragged, then went back to where originally the struggle evidently took place, at the southwest corner of the lot of the hedge there on Moniteau street and there was a clot of blood there where the woman had probably been knocked down there and dragged to the place where we found her. This trail was continuous from where it had taken place to where she was, the blood had come from the wound, for the side of the face and neck was also covered with blood which came from the wound itself, and there was more or less hemorrhage from the nostrils from the blow or shock." On the hedge and on the weeds there were bits of fur which were identical with that on the jacket of deceased, and which could be easily traced along the path where the body had apparently been dragged. A knife was also found in the field inside the hedge, and on the open blade of the knife was blood, and fur precisely like that with which the cloak of deceased was trimmed. The sexual organs gave tokens, as testified by one of the physicians, that an outrage had perhaps been perpetrated on the deceased prior to her death. One of the witnesses thought that the body of the deceased had been brought from a distance and then dumped down where found, but the other witnesses thought as did Dr. Muehl. That physician also stated that in case of a punctured wound, such as borne by deceased, that the blood does not spurt out, but seeps, goes slowly, and that it might take several hours between receiving such a punctured wound and the occurrence of death. He was also of opinion that the deceased had been dead four or five hours, though he admitted it might have been longer; could not say exactly. He saw the body between eight and nine o'clock in the morning. Dr. Muehl also stated that he did not think that loss of blood alone produced the death of the deceased, but was also caused by the blow, the shock, hemorrhage and fright.

There was also testimony in behalf of defendant, to the effect that deceased was seen between seven and nine o'clock on the evening of the twenty-fourth of October with a white man in a restaurant at Sedalia, and that defendant came into DeJarnett's restaurant in that city about nine o'clock that evening and bought a piece of chicken.

Suspicion was directed towards defendant by testimony elicited at the coroner's inquest and defendant was arrested and committed to the Pettis county jail. While there, Hyatt having been present at that inquest, asked defendant what had become of the bundle which defendant had left in the buggy, and he told Hyatt that it was only some tobacco which he had bought of Gottschalk that Sunday evening, just after he got into the buggy he had hired of Field. Asked by Hyatt what he had done with the overcoat he had worn that evening, describing it, he answered he did not wear such an overcoat, but that he wore a brown overcoat trimmed with fur which Hyatt would find behind the door in his room, which Hyatt did; but on looking between the mattresses of defendant's bed, he found the light overcoat which he had described to defendant, and which was abundantly shown to have been defendant's, hidden between the mattresses on defendant's bed, and spotted with what appeared to be fresh blood stains. On Tuesday after the homicide, Oliver...

To continue reading