People v. Krist

CourtNew York Court of Appeals
Writing for the CourtVANN
Citation168 N.Y. 19,60 N.E. 1057
Decision Date10 July 1901

168 N.Y. 19
60 N.E. 1057


Court of Appeals of New York.

July 10, 1901.

Appeal from supreme court, trial term, Tioga county.

Fred Krist was convicted of murder in the first degree, and appeals. Affirmed.

[168 N.Y. 20]Frank A. Darrow, for appellant.

Oscar B. Glezen, for the People.


The defendant was indicted for the crime of murder in the first degree, committed on the 7th of April, 1900, at the village of Waverly, county of Tioga, by shooting one Katie Tobin in the head with a revolver, and thereby causing her death. To this indictment he interposed the general plea of not guilty, and the special plea that at the time charged ‘he was of unsound mind, and wholly irresponsible for his acts.’ Upon his trial in November, 1900, the jury found him ‘guilty of murder in the first degree, as charged in the indictment,’ and judgment of death was pronounced against him.

The defendant, of German extraction, was born in Oswego [168 N.Y. 21]county, and at the date of the homicide was about 30 years of age. His boyhood was passed chiefly in Ithaca, where for several years he served as an alter boy in the Catholic church of which he was a member. Those who observed him at this period of his life remembered him as a good boy, and quite strict in complying with the tenets and formalities of the church. When 15 years of age he went to Waverly, where he had since resided, and during most of the time has worked steadily in a furniture manufactory. His employers and others testified, without contradiction, that he was an exemplary young man, of good character and steady habits. On the 6th of May, 1891, he was married to Josephine Ganther, with whom he lived until September, 1899, when they separated, and have lived apart ever since. At some time during 1898 he became deeply attached to Katie Tobin, an unmarried woman, then about 18 years of age, who resided with her parents in the village of Waverly. She and her family attended the same church that he did, and they met occasionally there and elsewhere, but for a while their intercourse attracted no particular notice. She premitted his attentions, and returned his affection, and finally they became infatuated with each other. He did not conceal his attachment for her even from his wife, who finally asked him ‘if he intended to give up that girl,’ and when he answered ‘No’ she left him. Extreme intimacy does not appear to have existed between them until in January, 1900, when both suddenly disappeared. The next heard of them was in Wilkesbarre, Pa., where they lived together

[60 N.E. 1058]

as husband and wife for about a month under the name of Mr. and Mrs. Hyland. When their whereabouts became known to her family, her mother and Mrs. Donahue, her sister, went to Wilkesbarre, and brought her back to Waverly, without the knowledge of the defendant, who was absent at work. He soon learned the fact, abandoned his work, and returned to Waverly, where he made incessant efforts to see her, but without much success, owing to the vigilance of her friends, who were determined to keep them apart. She was willing [168 N.Y. 22]to meet him, and tried to answer his signals, but her friends prevented them from coming together, except in two or three instances. Her mother told him that he was a married man, and could not go with her daughter any more, and Mrs. Donahue vehemently reproached him for going with her sister when he had a wife. He was repeatedly ordered out of the house by different members of the family, and on one occasion, about four days before the homicide, Katie's father drove him away with a club. It became obvious in various ways that further intimacy with Katie was practically impossible.

Up to this time he had never been known to use intoxicating liquors, but on Friday, April 6th, he began to drink gin in immoderate quantities. That night he persuaded his wife, who, throughout his troubles, has been his faithful friend, to go with him to his rooms at the house of a neighbor, and, while she did not intend to remain, he coaxed her to stay, and she did not leave until half past 4 in the morning, when he went with her to a millinery store that she conducted. During the night he could not sleep, but walked the floor, wrung his hands, wept, and talked continually about Katie. He was under great excitement, and kept saying, ‘She has ruined my life, and I will murder her,’ or ‘will murder them.’ In the morning, shortly after 7 o'clock, he went to a hardware store, and purchased a screw hook, and when he had paid for it went over to the show case which contained revolvers, and asked ‘the price of guns.’ Upon learning the price, he examined several, and finally purchased one with some cartridges, and asked the clerk to load it for him. The clerk replied that he was not in the habit of doing that business, but the defendant said he was not used to loading a gun, and wished him to load it. The clerk declared he was afraid of a loaded revolver, and the defendant said the guns that are never loaded are the ones to be afraid of. The clerk said that was a good deal so, whereupon the defendant laughed, the revolver was loaded, and handed to him with the rest of the cartridges, and, putting them in his overcoat pocket, he walked [168 N.Y. 23]out of the store. He had a revolver in his possession before this, but a fellow workman, who roomed in the same house, seeing him wild from drink on the night before this purchase, took it away, and concealed it. About three hours after he bought the revolver, he hired a room at the Warford House, a hotel in Waverly, where he had previously boarded and had occupied a room known as ‘No. 22.’ He asked for and was assigned to this particular room, which commanded an unobstructed view of the house where Katie Tobin lived, and of the sidewalk leading from her house to the hotel and to the office of the police justice of the village. During the day he ran up and down stairs very fast, 30 or 40 times, and frequently visited the barroom, where he continued to drink gin. He went in to dinner at the usual hour, but said he did not want anything except a cup of tea or coffee. The afternoon before, he had applied to the police justice for a warrant against Katie Tobin, claiming that she had taken $35 out of his vest pocket. The justice put him off that night, but the next morning he came again, renewed his request, and insisted that a warrant should be issued. The justice tried to talk him out of it, telling him that he did not think he had a case; but he pressed hard for a warrant, and said, ‘All I ask of you is to issue one, and that will settle the whole question.’ He asked the justice to go over, and see Katie Tobin, and have her come to the office and meet him; saying: ‘That is all I ask,-just to see her. If I can get to see her, that is all I want. I am sure we can arrange matters.’ The magistrate refused to go, and at some time during the afternoon the defendant came again, and said that an attorney of the village, whom he had consulted, advised that the warrant should be issued; but the justice still refused. He went away, and finally came back at about 4 o'clock with an affidavit, which he had employed another attorney to prepare, and thereupon the police justice issued the warrant, and delivered ti to the defendant, who handed it to the chief of police, saying: ‘There is a warrant. She is over there now. I have been [168 N.Y. 24]where I can watch the house, and I saw her go in there a short time ago, and I know she is there.’ The officer went to the Tobin house, but did not find Katie, and so informed the defendant, who said, ‘Well, I know she is there.’ When the officer replied, ‘Well, I could not find her,’ the defendant said: ‘I will get even with those damned Tobins yet, God damn them. Excuse me for swearing. You never heard me swear before, did you? I have been drinking some gin, and I will get even with those Tobins.’ In the meantime it had been arranged between the magistrate and Mrs. Donahue, Katie's sister, that they should appear at his office at half past 5 that afternoon, and shortly after 5 he went to the store of the defendant's wife, where he found him, and notified him of the arrangement. He rushed out of the door in great haste, ran to his room in the Warford House, hurried downstairs to the barroom, asked for some gin, but the gin bottle was empty, and

[60 N.E. 1059]

thereupon he called for some whisky, and drank it. At this time Katie and her sister had left their home, and were on the way to the office of the police justice. The defendant met them about half way, in a public place, and in plain sight of many people took hold of Katie's arm, and said, ‘Katie, you won't go.’ Mrs. Donahue told him not to touch her sister, whereupon he raised a revolver, placed it near Katie's head, and fired. She fell instantly, unconscious, and mortally wounded. Mrs. Donahue sprang in front of him, caught him by the arm that held the pistol, but when she saw the body of her sister lying upon the ground she became dazed, and dropped his arm. He then shot three times at the prostrate body, making no attempt to shoot Mrs. Donahue, turned, and walked a few steps towards the chief of police, who was running towards him, threw down the revolver, and was at once placed under arrest. Katie Tobin died in about 30 minutes from a bullet wound in her left temple. Another bullet was found imbedded in a handkerchief, which was in the bosom of her dress. On his way to the police station he told the arresting officer that he loved Katie, and she loved him; that he had killed [168 N.Y. 25]her, and was willing now to die for her; that she had always said she was willing to die for him, and now he was willing to die for her; that all he cared about was his poor mother, and he did not know what she would do. When asked if the warrant ‘was a put up job to get hold of’ Katie, he replied ‘Yes'; that all he wanted to...

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4 cases
  • Napier v. Greenzweig, 90.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • January 15, 1919
    ...every fact which it might be contended should affect the expert's judgment. Swensen v. Bender, 114 F. 1, 51 C.C.A. 627; People v. Krist, 168 N.Y. 19, 60 N.E. 1057; State v. Doherty, 72 Vt. 381, 48 A. 658, 82 Am.St.Rep. 951; Howard v. People, 185 Ill. 552, 57 N.E. 441. In the instant case th......
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    • United States
    • New York Court of Appeals
    • February 24, 1914 reaches the conclusion that justice has not been done.’ People v. Decker, 157 N. Y. 186, 195,51 N. E. 1018, 1021;People v. Krist, 168 N. Y. 19, 60 N. E. 1057;People v. Gaimari, 176 N. Y. 84, 68 N. E. 112. The theory of the prosecution as to the defendant's connection with the killing of ......
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    • United States
    • New York Court of Appeals
    • July 10, 1901 determining questions of fact before referees, and not unjustly. Cases have come to our attention in which thousands of dollars [60 N.E. 1057]have been wasted in time and expenses before referees, but the supreme court has the power to correct this abuse and prevent further scandal. The ......
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    • July 10, 1901
    ...cases must be an appeal to the legislature for modification of the statute. The order of the appellate division and the proceedings of [168 N.Y. 19]the comptroller should be reversed, with costs to the relator, and the matter remitted to the comptroller, with directions to reassess the tax.......

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