State v. Ryan

Decision Date08 November 1937
Docket Number26760.
Citation73 P.2d 735,192 Wash. 160
PartiesSTATE v. RYAN.
CourtWashington Supreme Court

Department 1.

Appeal from Superior Court, Lewis County; George B. Simpson, Judge.

Claud H. Ryan was convicted of murder in the first degree, and he appeals.


Warren Hardy, of Seattle, for appellant.

Jas. E Sareault, of Chehalis, and Lloyd B. Dysart, of Centralia, for the State.

MAIN Justice.

Claud H. Ryan and Walter Seelert, alias 'Pinky' Mason, were charged by information with the crime of murder in the first degree. To the information, Ryan demurred, moved to strike and moved to make more definite and certain, all of which were overruled. Ryan also moved for a change of venue to another county, on the ground of local prejudice, and this motion was likewise overruled. The case went to trial against Ryan alone, the other defendant not having been apprehended and resulted in a verdict finding Ryan guilty of murder in the first degree and finding in favor of the death penalty. Ryan made a motion in arrest of judgment and also for a new trial, both of which motions were overruled. From the judgment and sentence entered in accordance with the verdict of the jury, Ryan appeals.

The facts essential to be stated in order to present the questions for consideration may be summarized as follows: Emma Cartier, a widow, lived alone in her home, a two-story house in South Bend, Pacific county, this state. Early in the morning of April 7, 1937, she was awakened by noises in the house and, upon investigation, found two men coming upstairs. She asked them what they wanted, and one of them said: 'We want money, bonds, jewelry.' Mrs. Cartier then said to them that she would give them her money if they would leave. Immediately thereafter she handed them five $20 bills. After this, her mouth was taped and her hands were taped behind her back. One of the men then went to her desk and took therefrom coins, bond coupons, stock certificates, and other documents, as well as some jewelry. The men then left the house, and, as soon as Mrs. Cartier could free herself, she went to her neighbors to telephone the chief of police at South Bend, the telephone wire at her home having been cut. The chief of police telephoned the sheriff of Pacific county, who, in turn, telephoned the sheriff's offices in a number of adjacent counties, one of which was in Lewis county.

In Lewis county, the message was received at Chehalis by S. R. Jackson, a deputy sheriff, the report indicating that the men probably were traveling on the road, or might be traveling on the road, leading from South Bend to Chehalis. Jackson called another deputy sheriff, J. D. Compton, and, having armed themselves, they proceeded west on the road leading from Chehalis to South Bend. After traveling about fifteen miles, it being then shortly after daylight and foggy, they saw two cars approaching. Thereupon the officers pulled to the left side of the road. Jackson got out with a flashlight and attempted to flag the cars, both of which went by without stopping. The officers then turned their car around and pursued the other two cars for a distance of about two miles, when they came upon them, and, sounding their siren, one of the cars, a Nash coupé, pulled off the pavement to the right side of the road and stopped; the other, a Ford sedan, proceeded on ahead. The officers drove up beside the Nash coupé, the front end of their car being about opposite the left door of the Nash, with a space of about eight feet between the two. Jackson, who was on the right-hand side, got out, and, taking a step or two towards the Nash car, he was shot by a gun that had been equipped with a silencer. Jackson sank to the ground and died soon afterwards. Compton got out on the left side of the car he was driving, and the two men in the Nash coupé got out. Thereupon a battle took place in which, as Compton described it, he and Ryan, the appellant, shot it out for ten minutes. One was on one side of the officers' car, and the other on the other. When Seelert came out of the Nash coupé, he went to the ground and remained there while Compton and Ryan were shooting at each other. This shooting kept up until Compton had exhausted all shots in his shotgun and in his automatic. In the meantime, he sustained two or three wounds. At this time, a truck approached from the rear and Compton went back to meet it. As he went, two shots were fired at him. After Compton got back to the truck, Ryan and Seelert got into the officers' car and drove away. Ryan was arrested April 13, and soon thereafter the information was filed which charged murder in the first degree while engaged 'in the commission of a larceny and while engaged in with-drawing from the scene of a robbery and a burglary.' Upon the trial, Ryan and Seelert were positively identified as being the two men that committed the robbery and burglary in South Bend.

The first question to be determined is whether the trial court erred in refusing the motion for a change of venue, which was supported and resisted by affidavits. Whether such a motion should be granted rests in the discretion of the trial court and will not be disturbed by this court upon appeal, in the absence of a showing of abuse in the exercise of that discretion. The record made in favor of the change of venue is less persuasive than it has been in other cases where it has been held that the trial court did not abuse its...

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20 cases
  • State v. Meza
    • United States
    • Washington Court of Appeals
    • June 27, 2022
    ...the scene of a felony. Diebold, 152 Wash. at 73-74, 277 P. 394. This case does not establish a rigid requirement. In State v. Ryan, 192 Wash. 160, 73 P.2d 735 (1937), a defendant committed a burglary and then shot an officer around 40 miles away when the police tried to stop him. The court ......
  • State v. Conner
    • United States
    • Iowa Supreme Court
    • April 14, 1976
    ...of 20 hours); State v. Jackson, 71 Mont. 421, 230 P. 370 (1924) (lapse of one and one-half hours, distance of 30 miles); State v. Ryan, 192 Wash. 160, 73 P.2d 735 (1937) (distance of 40 A murder which occurs as part of an unbroken chain of events to aid in escape or to conceal guilt of the ......
  • State v. Walker, No. 22003-6-III (WA 12/28/2004)
    • United States
    • Washington Supreme Court
    • December 28, 2004
    ...was a factual issue for the jury to decide. The State bases this assignment of error on one sentence taken from State v. Ryan, 192 Wash. 160, 166, 73 P.2d 735 (1937): `Each case must depend upon its own facts and circumstances and, as a rule, presents a question for the jury.' But, `{a} cou......
  • People v. Fuller
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
    • November 21, 1978
    ...755; Commonwealth v. Carey (1951) 368 Pa. 157, 82 A.2d 240 Armed defendant fled from residence he burglarized at night; State v. Ryan (1937) 192 Wash. 160, 73 P.2d 735; Lakes v. State (1937) 61 Okl.Cr. 252, 67 P.2d 457; State v. Adams (1936) 339 Mo. 926, 98 S.W.2d 632 defendants fleeing aft......
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