|The Daily Gleaner
Monday, January 26, 1925
Phyrle Foster, Brother of Dead Girls and Only New Witness, Gave His Evidence- - -Purchased Cord Used to Bind Girls As Fishing Lines for Williams- - -Defence Fails to Attempt to Break Down the Pecks' Stories of Williams' Confessions.
The thirteenth of the Crown's twenty witnesses was on the stand when the York Circuit Court adjourned on Saturday night about 8:30 o'clock, concluding the first week of the trial of Harry Darwin Williams, alias Darius Thornton, on the charge of having murdered his half-sister's two daughters, Cynthia and Necia Foster, aged 14 and 10 years, at Fosterville, on November 25th last.
The cross-examination of Claude Peck, who had related confessions of guilt Williams had made on the morning of November 26th, just before was driven away from Fosterville to Fredericton, was concluded early in the afternoon, and his story was corroborated at the evening session by Enoch Peck, cousin of the former witness. Enoch Peck was the last witness on the stand on Saturday and he was not cross-examined before court adjourned. However, Fred Peters, the defence counsel, made no attempt to break down Claude Peck's testimony of admissions of guilt by Williams.
With the conclusion of Claude Peck's evidence faster progress was made with other witnesses on Saturday afternoon, and another night session of the Court was being held Saturday evening. The only new evidence the Crown promised for the trial was given on Saturday afternoon by Phyrle Foster, brother of the dead girls, all the rest of it being the same as at the preliminary examination. Phyrle Foster was called to prove that Williams had come to the Foster home and especially requested that the girls go to his camp on the afternoon of November 25th, when they met their tragic deaths.
Incidentally he swore that the cords with which both girls' arms and also Necia's legs were bound had been bought by him last spring at Danforth, Me., for Williams as fishing lines; they were bought second hand and had been used only once as fishing lines by Williams.
Tells of Burning Blood Stained Bed Clothes and Also the Girls' Clothing
Arlington Boone, farmer, of the Parish of North Lake, one of those present at the camp when the bodies had been examined by Dr. Turner, was called and gave general corroborative evidence regarding the condition of the bodies and the camp. He had participated in the search for Williams and had seen him under guard at magistrate Foster's. He was one of the witnesses of the medical examination made by Dr. Turner. He had been present later and in response to general instructions had carried out the two blood-stained pillows each punctured by a bullet hole, and had thrown them on the fire. He had also discovered the second bullet on the floor under the bed. He had seen a quantity of bedding or clothing burned.
On cross-examination Mr. Peters questioned the witness regarding his acquaintance with Williams and the Foster family. He said that he knew Williams well enough to speak to him on the road. He was well acquainted with Ward Foster but didn't know the names of the members of his family. "I know the boys from the girls, though," he added as an after-thought.
Witness was then requested to be serious by Mr. Peters, who remarked that he had heard of people who couldn't tell boys from girls.
He then asked the witness if he knew of Williams having been engaged in potato picking. The witness said he had. He had also seen him engaged with Ward Foster building a foundation for a building to be erected by A.I. Fox.
Mr. Peters suggested that Williams was an industrious man, contrary to the impression gained from other witnesses. He must have been working by the day at hard labor on the foundation.
"I wouldn't say that," replied the witness. "I only saw him about five minutes."
Under cross-examination the witness said he did not know whether the articles he had seen burned were articles of wearing apparel or bed clothing.
HOLLIS VAN TASSEL
The Youth Who Burst the Sandbag
Hollis Van Tassel, a youth who had visited Williams' camp, identified the sand bag as that which he had burst while testing its strength. He had laid it back on the bed where it had been left. He did not see anyone take it away.
On cross-examination witness said there was a reporter and a photographer present when he broke the sand bag. It wasn't the first occasion he had seen it. The bodies had been removed at that time. A photograph had been taken of the sand bag before he had picked it up. He had not intended to damage the sandbag.
Witness said that he was fifteen years old and that he had visited Williams at his camp several times and that he had been well treated by Williams and welcomed. If he had not been well used he would not have returned. He had visited Williams at his camp a week before the tragedy.
Re-examined, witness said that he had never noticed any change in Williams at any time.
PHYRLE FOSTER (sic)
Brother of Dead Girls Gives Evidence for the First Time
Phyrle Foster, seventeen-years-old brother of the dead girls, was the next witness. He said he (Williams) was at home the evening before the murders. He was there when came home from yarding pulp. He remembered hearing him ask his mother if the children could come down after school the next day to do some cooking for him. His mother said they could go. Witness did not remember Williams asking Cynthia if she would go.
He had seen Williams about noon the following day enroute to the Foster home. He had overtaken Williams at the barn. Williams had the dog Towser with him and Williams asked him to tie the dog up in the bard, which he did. Williams was at the house when he returned. He did not remember Williams say anything to his mother about the children.
Williams was in the almost daily habit of coming to the house for milk and eggs. Witness left before Williams did. Williams did not have dinner at the house, saying that he had already had his dinner.
He next saw the dog the morning after the murder still tied in the barn where he had left him. He had seen the dog interfere with boys chasing the children. He believed Williams was aware of this because he had seen the dog make for Williams when Williams would be chasing and playing with the children. Williams had often had the dog tied in the barn but had always taken him back with him to the camp.
Witness said he had bought the fishing lines shown in Court for Williams last spring at Danforth, Me. There were six; the hooks had not been attached. They were used for fishing togue, a large fish belonging to the trout family. He had seen them in Williams' camp on the shelf.
To Mr. Peters witness said he and his uncle had gone together picking potatoes across the line in the latter part of September after their own crop had been picked. He returned before his uncle, who had returned two weeks later. Williams had not helped in picking their potatoes. During his absence the dog stayed with the Foster family. Williams had worked once in a while during the mornings when it was cool assisting with the haying. During the afternoons he used to go bathing, returning during the latter part of the afternoon to help loading.
It was the usual practice to fasten up the dog while Williams was visiting the house. Provisions had been made for the dog in an empty stable where it was warmer than in the kennel outside. He never remembered his uncle going back to the camp without the dog. Williams had come particularly on this occasion to obtain some milk.
Three of the six fishing lines he had bought for his uncle had been set last spring through the ice in the lake. Williams had only visited these lines once and had taken them up at that time. Witness said he often visited his uncle at his camp and had been there frequently with his sisters.
To Mr. Hughes witness said he had been told by his uncle that the three set lines had been taken up. The lines had been used before he got them for Williams and they were second-hand. Williams had said that the watch he gave the witness' mother was new when he got it.
JOHN L. FOSTER
North Lake Magistrate, the Last Witness Called at the Afternoon Session
John L. Foster, Justice of the Peace, a resident of the Parish of North Lake, a blacksmith by trade, said he heard of the murder between 10 and 11 o'clock the same night had had notified his two sons. The prisoner had been brought to his home about twelve hours later. He ordered him searched for arms. None were found, but a later search revealed eight rifle cartridges. He gave the prisoner no warning nor did he induce him to talk. Enoch Peck had left the house and returned with a rifle. Williams identified the rifle produced in court as the same. The prisoner stayed at his house until taken in charge by Deputy Sheriff Saunders.
Court then adjourned until 7:30 p.m.
THE EVENING SESSION
Mr. Peters Asks for Early Adjournment as
He is Ready to Start Trial of the Prisoner's Sanity
Requesting an early adjournment of the hearing of the trial of Harry D. Williams on the charge of the Fosterville murder Saturday evening shortly after the proceedings had been resumed at 7:30 p.m. Fred H. Peters, counsel for the accused, stated that it was his intention to proceed as early as possible on Monday to test the sanity of the accused before the Court. The result of this trial would show whether or not the accused was fit to be on trial for his life.
Adjournment was granted at 8:30 p.m., until 10 o'clock this morning by Mr. Justice LeBlanc following the application made by Mr. Peters and the hearing of the direct evidence of Enoch Peck, cousin of Claude Peck, the game warden who arrested Williams, and a member of the party which overtook Williams enroute to Magistrate John Foster's, where he said it had been his intention to give himself up. Mr. Peters said he was very much fatigued by the long strain and did not feel like attempting the cross-examination. Mr. Justice LeBlanc stated that he would be more lenient with Mr. Peters in view of his having agreed to defend the accused and the unusual circumstances of being called in to the case as it was being commenced, than he would if he had undertaken his defence in the regular course.
Enoch Peck's evidence corroborated that given by Claude Peck with respect to the incriminating admissions made by Williams following his arrest. He detailed again the statements made by Williams in his presence and in reply to Claude Peck that he had killed the girls and expected to pay the supreme penalty.. Witness said he had known Williams for several years and that he was as rational at that time and ever since his arrest as he had ever known him to be.
When court resumed at 7:30 p.m., Magistrate Foster was cross-examined briefly by Mr. Peters as to his acquaintance with the prisoner. Magistrate Foster sated that he recollected only having seen the prisoner on very few occasions, one of which being that when he had come to his place to borrow some books from his daughter. The books were books of fiction.
Asked if he held court frequently at Fosterville, Magistrate Foster replied: "Sometimes — business is very slack." Examining counsel suggested that fear of the manner in which he would deal with offenders brought before him probably had an effect on the number of cases, and the witness said: "Perhaps so."
Mr. Hughes: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."
Mr. Peters, after concluding his cross-examination, stated that he was very tired and requested an adjournment at 7:55 p.m. He said that just as soon on Monday as he could secure the witnesses he desire, he proposed to test out the question of the prisoner's sanity. He had had very little opportunity of communicating with witnesses in the interests of his client, having been in court from morning to night.
In reply to Judge LeBlanc, Mr. Peters said that he would try out the issue as to whether the prisoner was sane or insane and fit to stand his trial.
Judge LeBlanc then suggested that the examination in chief of the next witness go on, after which the Court would adjourn. He requested Mr. Hughes to call as the next witness the one whose testimony would be the longest. After a few questions had been asked on re-examination, Mr. Hughes called Enoch Peck, of Fosterville.
Claude Peck's Story of Admissions of
Enoch Peck, cousin of Claude Peck and one of the party which took Williams into custody, related the circumstances leading up to the arrest of the accused as previously stated. He had accompanied the prisoner to Magistrate Foster's, where the prisoner was searched. Previously, he said, immediately following Williams arrest, Williams stated that he had been on his way to give himself up.
Williams had been sick at Magistrate Foster's. He had vomited a little. Williams had also had a voluntary conversation with the witness as a result of which he (Peck) had left the house and brought back Williams' rifle from the woods.
The conversation was not allowed by Judge LeBlanc. Witness said he had heard Claude Peck warn the prisoner after the conversation, but Judge LeBlanc said there was some doubt and he would give the prisoner the benefit of the doubt. Mr. Hughes did not press for the admission of the conversation.
Enoch Peck, continuing, said he had found the loaded rifle in a corner of the fence in Thomas Kinney's field. There were marks on the ground about the rifle. The grass was trodden down all around and deep heel marks as though a man had stamped his heels down with considerable force.
He remained with the prisoner and Claude Peck in the car at Stephen Farrell's when they had been left to guard the prisoner by Deputy Sheriff Fraser Saunders while he had gone to visit the camp. They had a conversation with the prisoner, the prisoner answering questions. He heard what he believed to be a warning when his cousin had told the prisoner that he didn't have to answer the questions as they would be used in court against him.
A formal objection was made by Mr. Peters to the admission of the evidence, Judge LeBlanc ruling that he would admit it subject to objections.
Williams, in reply to questions, had said, continued the witness, "I know it. I killed the two girls and I expect to pay the supreme penalty—but I didn't do what you think I did." Claude Peck had said: "Well, we'll have expert advice on that," and Williams replied: "You can have expert advice and you'll find what I say is right."
After these admissions witness asked Williams which one he had killed first. Williams reply was not asked for, nor the details of the succeeding conversation. Neither he nor Claude Peck had said anything which would lead Williams to reply, "I did not do what you think I did."
Court then adjourned until this morning at 10 o'clock.
The Daily Gleaner Monday, January 26, 1925
WILLIAMS INSANITY TRIAL STARTED TODAY
Doctors Swear Prisoner Suffering From Dementia And Confusional Insanity
Test to Decide Whether Prisoner is Fit To Be Tried- - -Dr. Charles MacKay And Dr. W.H. Irvine Witnesses This Morning and Dr. D.R. Moore, of Stanley, This Afternoon- - -Williams Taken From Dock and Placed on Chair in Front of Jury.
Scenes said to be without parallel in the criminal annals of New Brunswick, if not in Canada, were enacted at the York Sittings of the King's Bench of the Supreme Court of New Brunswick this morning when the trial of Harry D. Williams, alias Darius Thornton, on the charge of having murdered his two half-nieces, Cynthia and Necia Foster, at Fosterville on November 25th last, was taken from the prisoner's dock and placed in a chair directly in front of the jury and witnesses and a trial as to his sanity commenced.
The same jury who are hearing the murder trial are now determining whether
Williams is a sane person and therefore fit to undergo trial. Meanwhile thirteen of the Crown's twenty witnesses had been heard before the murder trial was halted to have the sanity test. This unusual condition was caused through the prisoner's counsel not having been assigned to the case until indictments had been brought in by the Grand Jury and therefore being unprepared to go on with the sanity test at the outset.
Two Doctors Tell Results
of Examinations of Williams
That Williams is suffering from "dementia and acute confusional insanity," was the evidence of two medical practitioners this morning after a two hour examination of the prisoner yesterday in the York County Jail. Trial of the prisoner's fitness to stand trial on the murder indictments was commenced as soon as court opened this morning on motion by Fred H. Peters, counsel for Williams. Dr. Charles MacKay, of Fredericton, swore that Williams appeared to suffer hallucinations, and that he had discovered symptoms of marked mental confusion, while Dr. W.H. Irvine, also of Fredericton, satisfied himself by stating that Williams was suffering from "dementia — a total absence of proper mentality."
Williams moved from the dock to the chair within the rail without apparent interest and sat through the morning hearing with gaze riveted upon the wall beyond the jury. He was as listless as usual and sat practically motionless.
When the first two medical witnesses had concluded, Mr. Peters moved for an adjournment to allow Dr. D.R. Moore, of Stanley, who arrived in the city early this afternoon to make an examination of the prisoner, before proceeding farther with the sanity issue. Adjournment was made until 3 o'clock this afternoon, Judge LeBlanc stating that this was the last special adjournment he would grant.
Murder Trial Halted While
As soon as court resumed this morning Mr. Peters made his application for the immediate trial of the sanity of the accused, to determine whether or not the prisoner was in a fit state of mind to be tried. In support of his application he cited the Criminal Code to the effect that this issue might be tested at any time after the indictments had been presented and before the verdict had been returned that it lay within the power of the court to test the sanity of the accused.
In addition to his own conviction that the accused was not at present sane, Mr. Peters stated that he proposed to call two medical doctors residing in Fredericton, Dr. Charles MacKay and Dr. W.H. Irvine, as well as Dr. D.R. Moore, of Stanley, who would arrive in the city at 1:05 p.m. He also wished to reserve the right of calling further evidence in the persons of either Dr. C.D. Farrar, medical superintendent of a sanatorium in guelph, Ont., and Dr. McTaggart, professor of medical jurisprudence at McGill University, as well as a Toronto authority. He also suggested tests of Williams blood and spinal fluid be made.
Crown Prosecutor Objects
Mr. Hughes objected that there was nothing before the court which the court could grant such a trial. He thought the appearance of the accused was that of a normal man.
Mr. Justice LeBlanc then stated that it was not his wish to try an insane man and announced that he would grant the application. He did not wish his action in granting the application to prejudice the case in any way. It was an awkward position, as he believed this issue should have been tried before the main trial of the accused.
The jury was then sworn to try the accused as to his sanity and Mr. Peters outlined the principle upon which the sanity trial was allowed—that no insane person could be tried or executed for a crime.
Before proceeding to call witnesses Mr. Peters said he would welcome the presence of other recognized medical practitioners during the trial, should the crown desire it, and suggested the name of Dr. G.C. VanWart and Dr. C.P. Holden.
Mr. Hughes said he assumed the crown could determine that matter.
DR. CHARLES MACKAY
Says Williams' Mind Confused, That He Doesn't Understand What is Going on at The Trial and is Suffering From Confusional Insanity
Dr. Charles MacKay, of Fredericton, a medical graduate of Toronto University, practicing for seven years, said he had taken the preliminary courses of instruction respecting mental diseases. He had casually observed the accused for the first time when he appeared in police court. He had observed him twice at the police court and had examined the prisoner yesterday.
Mr. Peters then requested, recognizing the great responsibility he was taking, to have the prisoner taken from the dock and placed before the jury and witness where the witness could demonstrate his method of examination.
This was granted and Williams was seated facing both the jury and Dr. MacKay within the rail.
Dr. MacKay was then asked to pursue his own course. Dr. MacKay said it was very difficult to tell whether a man was sane or insane unless the symptoms were pronounced along certain lines. Dr., MacKay then asked the accused his name, but before a reply was received an objection was raised by Mr. Hughes and Judge LeBlanc held it was improper to ask the prisoner questions in the presence of the jury.
Dr. MacKay then stated that any demonstration of an examination would be useless unless Williams answers could be obtained to demonstrate his mentality.
To Mr. Peters, Dr. MacKay said he had during his examination of the accused made a general physical examination for reflexes and given question tests for orientation memory, location and moral issues. Williams appeared to suffer from hallucinations — morbid falsified beliefs. The tests had been made the same as those used in cases where he had been called to examine patients suspected of insanity.
As a result of his examination Dr. MacKay said he would say Williams was "in a very confused state of mind." Williams had apparently not been conscious of his predicament with respect to his trial. He had observed the prisoner for approximately two hours yesterday and had questioned him along different lines. The prisoner appeared very sluggish and apathetic. He had not been able to learn anything definite of his past history from Williams. He had not questioned him regarding his overseas service. He had questioned him regarding the present trial and found that Williams appeared not to understand what was taking place.
Asked what mental symptoms he had discovered, Dr. MacKay replied that he had found disorientation, hesitancy of speech, apparent difficulty of collecting his thoughts and marked mental confusion. The symptoms pointed to the conclusion that the man was suffering from acute confusional insanity.
Dr. MacKay said that blood tests would not determine insanity but might assist in determining the nature of insanity on the predisposing cause together with spinal fluid tests.
To Mr. Hughes, on cross-examination, Dr. MacKay said that confusional insanity was not a new term. It did not apply only to rapid ideas but also to a "stuporous state." There was a form of confusional insanity in which there was rapid flow of ideas. Either was a symptom of the two forms. The examination had been made in the presence of Dr. W. H. Irvine and F.H. Peters, counsel for the accused.
Witness admitted that it would be very difficult to determine whether the man was sane or not if he were shrewd enough to simulate the symptoms in anticipation of an examination along the question line but he had not depended on that. He had gone to make the examination with the belief that the man was sane and had not at any time, in the police court or afterwards, expressed the belief that Williams was insane.
DR. W. H. IRVINE
Says That Williams is Suffering from Dementia — Didn't know What Was Going on When Examined
Dr. W.H. Irvine, of Fredericton, was next called by Mr. Peters. He said he had practiced 31 years, 20 years in Fredericton. During his study of medicine he had taken the prescribed course for the treatment of mental diseases and had had occasional cases of mental disorders. He had first seen the accused yesterday afternoon when he had made an examination.
The examination consisted of a general physical examination including the heart and lungs and superficial bodily examination. All the means of investigation commonly used had been employed and the prisoner subjected to a very intricate verbal examination. The spinal cord had also been tested for muscle control.
His conclusion was that the man suffered from dementia, an absence of mentality, demonstrable in very many ways. This could easily be demonstrated to the court and jury if permitted.
Judge LeBlanc said it would be most improper to question the prisoner in the presence of the jury who would later be called upon to try his guilt.
Dr. Irvine, in reply to Mr. Hughes, admitted dementia was a very general term. He was satisfied of a weakness which he denoted under this term. The prisoner didn't know what they were there for at the time of the examination.
Mr. Hughes asked that this voluntary remark be stricken from the record.
Witness said it would not be difficult for a person to simulate certain forms of insanity but the question tests were only a contributory means of diagnosing a case. At this point the cross-examination became rather technical and involved. Mr. Hughes asking if it were correct to say that it was difficult to make the brain work for the purpose of an examination. This was qualified by the substitution of the words "differential diagnosis." Witness and counsel clashed rather frequently during the process of explanation.
The physical examination had been conducted concurrently in order to divert the attention of the subject. Dementia was not a temporary spell, but rather of long standing, certain phases of which were slowly progressive and must therefore have existed for some years.
Mr. Peters then asked for an adjournment until the arrival of Dr. Moore from Stanley.
Judge LeBlanc said he would grant a recess until 3 o'clock, but that this would be the last adjournment granted.
How The Murder Trial Jury Spent Sunday
The twelve "good men and true of the County of York" who are serving as jurors at the trial of Harry D. Williams on the charge of the double murders at Fosterville, spent the weekend together under the care of Sheriff John B. Hawthorn and Provincial Constables William Warren and Charles A. Sterling.
On Sunday morning they went for a walk, crossing the St. John river to Devon by the highway bridge and returning via the ice route. This gave them a good appetite for Sunday dinner at the Queen Hotel. In the afternoon Sheriff Hawthorn chartered a big sleigh and took the whole party for a drive to Marysville; on their return they crossed the river just as the Holy Rollers were baptizing some converts through a hole in the ice. Last evening Sheriff Hawthorn took the jurymen to the Methodist church, where they listened to a sermon preached by the pastor, Rev. F.H. Holmes on the subject, Give God a Chance
Jury Finds Williams Sane And Fit to Stand Trial
Verdict on the Sanity Issue After Being Out 43 Minutes
FRED SEYMOUR THE FOREMAN
Dr. J.V. Anglin Declares Accused Not Insane But an Imbecile
That Harry D. Williams, alias Darius Thornton, is sane and fit to stand trial on the two indictments for the murder of his half-nieces, Cynthia and Necia, at Fosterville, was the finding of the jury last evening after an absence of 43 minutes from the court-room at the conclusion of the trial of the prisoner's sanity and fitness to be tried for murder.
The case went to the jury at 8:55 p.m., when Mr. Justice LeBlanc completed his charge, following addresses by Fred H. Peters, counsel for the accused, and P.J. Hughes, K.C., crown prosecutor, which were commenced immediately after the resumption of court at 7:30 p.m. At 9:38 p.m., the jury was recalled to the court-room by Judge LeBlanc, who stated that he wished to further explain his charged more concisely under a recent decision of the Supreme Court of Canada. Under this decision the prisoner was to be presumed sane until otherwise satisfactorily proven. Previously he had stated that it rested with the crown to prove his sanity.
The jury was then asked if they wished to retire, but signified that they had already reached an agreement. Asked for their finding, Coun. Seymour, of Nashwaaksis, who had been elected foreman, stated: "We find the prisoner fit to stand his trial." Court was then adjourned until this morning for the trial of the accused on the murder indictments to be resumed.
DR. G.C. VANWART
Declares That Williams Does Not Appear To Be a Normal Man
Dr. G.C. VanWart, a medical practitioner of the city of Fredericton for thirty-four years, said he was a graduate of Pennsylvania University as well as Dublin University, and had occasion in private practice to meet with cases of insanity. He had pursued the usual courses of instruction in mental diseases.
As an observer of the examination made of the prisoner during the afternoon he would considered him to be fairly healthy. He had impressed him as being very indifferent and not clear-cut in his answers, a little mixed up and confused. He could not describe his physical condition and had expressed the opinion that he was fairly healthy mentally. He had not examined him physically.
Referring to the hermit-like life led by Williams and his aversion to the company of neighbors, as submitted to the jury in evidence, Mr. Peters asked if this was likely to produce unusual mental conditions.
Mr. Hughes objected on the ground that this was a hypothetical question. There was as much evidence to show that Williams frequented gatherings in the community where he lived.
Judge LeBlanc stated that questions should be based on facts.
In reply to a hypothetical question as to the possibility of an enfeebling effect being produced on the mind by a hermit-like existence, Dr. VanWart said he did not think so. He was not prepared to name the chief symptoms of confusional insanity.
Dr. VanWart said a man should have a physical examination, a number of observations. and a study made of his environment before a definite conclusion could be drawn. From what he had seen as an observer of the examination made during the afternoon he did not conclude that the prisoner was a normal man.
Cross-examined by Mr. Hughes, Dr. VanWart said it was possible for a man to simulate insanity at such an examination as had been made. It was advisable to make several such observations. The indifference of the man and his unchanging gaze were not those of a normal man.
DR. D.R. MOORE
Stanley Physician, Who Has Specialized in Mental Diseases, Says Difference in Williams' Ear Indicates Amentus Stigmata
Dr. D. R. Moore, of Stanley, a graduate of the University of Vermont in 1879, who had spent the winters of 1912 and 1914 in the Post Graduate Hospital of New York, where he had specialized in mental diseases under Dr. M.G. Slack, the recognized authority of the United States, said he had continued his study of mental diseases ever since. He had examined the prisoner and found that the limited examination afforded that here was a great difficulty in getting him to comprehend the simplest question.
He was satisfied that he had hallucinations, "that he had heard voices when he was alone." Questions had been put to the prisoner along different lines and there was nothing reasonable in his replies. From his observations he believed Williams had understood the nature of the questions because he did not request repetitions. He hesitated in his replies. Witness said he had seen nothing to indicate any disease of any internal organ.
Dr. Moore said he had noted a difference between Williams' ear which he regarded as significant and which the leading authorities considered an indication of amentus stigmata. The prisoner's right ear had a so-called top out of the perpendicular.
Dr. Moore was not allowed to repeat the circumstances of a case in which this had first been drawn to his attention.
Continuing, Dr. Moore said that Williams did not appear to recognize anyone present, including either his counsel or Dr. J.V. Anglin.
Dr. Moore stated that he felt satisfied that Williams' behavior did not measure up to that of the normal individual. He would not consider him sane, judged by his behavior. He would regard his case as approaching the type of confusional aberration.
To Mr. Hughes on cross-examination, Dr. Moore said he had been engaged actively in practice until six weeks ago, when he had been forced to have his eyes fitted with glasses in New York. His sight had always been below normal, requiring treatment of late. Since his return he had resumed his practice, avoiding unusual strain on his eyes.
Dr. Moore referred to a number of instances in which he had been called in connection with suspected mental cases. He had seen a case of lopped ear during his practice in which the owner was supposed to have shot a schoolmate. He had not previously been suspected of being a degenerate or insane. He based his conclusions that Williams had hallucinations on something Williams had told him and which he had accepted. They usually appeared at night, but he was not prepared to say whether or not it might be the voice of conscience.
First Witness Called by Crown to Prove Williams is Not Insane
Mr. Hughes then stated in reply that he proposed to call one or two witnesses, including Sheriff J. B. Hawthorn, to show that the prisoner had acted normally while confined in the jail. He would also call Dr. J.V. Anglin, superintendent of the Provincial Hospital. The fact that the man sat looking at the ceiling, he did not consider unusual. Where else under the circumstances would he look, he asked.
Sheriff Hawthorn said he had known the prisoner from either the 28th or 29th of November last. He had seen him regularly once a day while in the city. There was hardly a day he had not seen him. His physical condition was good. For the first few days the prisoner had not received the regulation jail fare of bread, water and molasses. After that the diet had had been increased by a regular dinner each day and breakfast recently. The prisoner ate his meals and showed no signs of illness.
About twelve days ago he had seen the prisoner fast asleep in his cell. He had also seen him last Friday night and on different occasions when he went to turn the light in his cell off. He spent practically all of his time reading books, some belonging to the witness and some brought in. He had received and written letters which he had seen. The letters written by the prisoner were intelligent. The last one he had seen some ten days ago. He had talked to him on different occasions after he had duly warned him, and the prisoner had appeared to be rational.
The prisoner was not allowed to smoke in his cell, but he had provided him with smoking tobacco. He had been permitted to smoke outside of the jail going to and from court. He had never seen anyone, however, so indifferent as Williams.
To Mr. Peters the Sheriff said Williams exhibited no concern when committed to jail or at any time. He never noted any change in the prisoner's countenance on receiving any letters. Neither had he exhibited any surprise when visited in his cell by his counsel or the doctor who had examined him yesterday. He had never noted any change of countenance in the prisoner in court on any occasion during the proceedings. He would not like to say whether he was sane or insane.
On re-examination Sheriff Hawthorn said he had not "counted" Very Rev. Dean Neales as a visitor. The Dean usually stayed with Williams for an hour regularly on his visits. Williams, he thought, recognized the Dean.
He had noticed that Williams sat with his back to his acquaintances from North Lake in court, particularly when Mr. Hughes was addressing the jury.
DR. J.V. ANGLIN
Says Williams Not Insane, but a Degenerate, a High Grade Imbecile or Moron, Knowing Right from Wrong
Dr. J.V. Anglin, of Fairville, superintendent of the Provincial Hospital for Mental Diseases, said he had been medical superintendent for over twenty years and had over 700 patients under his charge now.
He had been present in Court and had observed the prisoner. He had seen him for a short time on Wednesday in addition to being present during the afternoon. He would not venture an opinion as to his sanity but was not convinced that he was insane. The prisoner had apparently shown lapses of memory. They had been so extreme as to seem inconsistent with what he had heard and read. The only question he had failed down on was his age. there had always been a few seconds delay before answering questions. The weight of evidence given by Sheriff Hawthorn would be towards sanity—mental cases read very little. He would not attach much weight to his sleeping well. He thought he was taking more of the court proceedings than was suspected.
What he said and what he did would have to be considered together in judging his mental condition. There was no restlessness.
Dr. Anglin admitted that confusional insanity was regarded as a form of dementia, which had been known for about twenty years. It was akin to delirium such as a fever patient would have, a fragmentary procession of ideas. In some cases there was a rush of ideas while in others there was difficulty in grasping ideas. He had seen nothing in the conduct of the prisoner to conclude that he was suffering from such a form of insanity.
On cross-examination Dr. Anglin said he had examined the prisoner in the custody of his guardian on Wednesday last, in one of the rooms in the Court House. He had asked him regarding his health and had received intelligent answers. He did not believe Williams knew who he was. He had examined his eyes but not his mouth although aware that he had a plate of false teeth.
Of the 700 patients under his charge there were six who were regarded as criminally insane. They had been charged with murder. he did not look on the prisoner as insane but as a degenerate, a high class imbecile, or moron—inferior to the average man but capable of distinguishing right from wrong. The prisoner he believed to be interested when questions were asked and he believed he had paused coolly in making his answers.
Witness said he had been agreeably disappointed in the prisoner's face. He did not expect to find such a good face on one charged with such a brutal crime. He had expected a hardened face.
Lapse of memory would be one of the symptoms of confusional insanity; lack of ability to conclude his sentences. Hallucinations would also be one of the symptoms, but he understood the prisoner slept well.
Dr. Anglin, in response to a question, said he believed it possible for the prisoner to be feigning his present condition of indifference. He thought possibly he was expecting a certain end and was resigned to his fate.
Dr. Anglin said he had graduated from Queen's University in 1887 and had attended Edinburgh University for eight months. He had practical experience with insane persons ever since he was twelve years of age, his father having been an asylum official.
To Mr. Hughes Dr. Anglin said there was one type of insanity in which the pupils of the eyes differed and which was looked for as one of the symptoms. He had found no trace of it. If Williams was insane more time would be required to for examination. He had found nothing to warrant such a conclusion. If there were anything wrong he would attribute it to a defect from birth rather than a form of insanity.
To Mr. Peters witness said he had not recently read anything covering a case which would fit somewhat that of Harry D. Williams.
This concluded the evidence and court then took recess until 7:30 p.m.
The Daily Gleaner Tuesday, January 27, 1925
Addresses by Counsel and Judges Charge to the Jury
Addresses by counsel and Mr. Justice LeBlanc's charge to the jury were made as soon as the court resumed last evening to conclude the hearing of the question of Harry D. William's insanity.
Mr. Hughes, addressing the jury, said an insanity plea was "usually trotted out as a last hope in murder cases, particularly has this been carried to a great degree in the United States," he said. It was to be presumed the accused was sane and the defence were required to prove him insane on a plea of insanity. If this were not established then the presumption of insanity was taken as correct.
Insanity pleas were not carried to such extremes in Canadian courts as in the United States. Men might be tried and found guilty when every syllable that had been uttered that day might be true. It was for the jury to determine whether the prisoner was able to be placed upon trial.
Witnesses had been produced, who, after an examination of almost two hours, had found the accused had a confused head; he had given them confused answers. What other kind of answers could be expected if the accused desired to set up a defence? Dr. Anglin, above all men in the province, had said it was no good. Dr. MacKay had called it "confusional insanity." This might be true of many men who had some mental aberration or other. Dr. Irvine said Williams suffered from a kind of "dementia," a term covering anything from insanity to old age. Dr. VanWart said he could not give an opinion. Dr. Moore agreed that there was confusion. the jury had all seen Dr. Moore, said Mr. Hughes, and it was hoped his health would shortly improve. He did not believe Dr. Moore to be in a fit state of health to be brought into court.
Dr. Anglin pointed out that he had six patients in the asylum who were criminally insane, but all of them had shown some emotion in the box. Did Williams show any emotion? Did he look into the eyes of the witnesses? Did he look at his acquaintances from North Lake or the people about him? Did he look anywhere but where it might be expected under the circumstances?
Sheriff Hawthorn's evidence showed that he ate well, slept well and wrote letters which showed no trace of insanity. Dean Neales, who visited the prisoner week after week, had been in court but had not been called.
Mr. Peters interjected that he had not requested the Dean's presence as a witness to the prisoner's sanity.
Mr. Hughes asked for what had he been called if not for this. "Oh, gentlemen," he concluded, "it is too slim — this defence built up during the trial. It is like building bricks without straw."
THE DEFENCE COUNSEL
Fred H. Peters' Vigorous Appeal to Jury to Find Williams Insane
Mr. Peters, referred to the stress laid by the Crown Prosecution upon the fact that the issue of insanity had been brought up during the trial. As they should well know he did not have an opportunity of doing so previously. He had been called in to defend the accused without previous notice and had been granted a few brief hours to consider his defence. A 24-hour delay to further prepare his case had not been granted, so when the Crown Prosecutor stated that the sanity trial had been sprung as a surprise and without warning he submitted that this was not in accordance with the facts. He had endeavored to have the doctors present as early as possible but had not been able to procure anyone until he had through the Court obtained their services by supoena.
Dr. Moore he believed would be regarded well by all. He had been known as having given evidence at other places. Dr. Moore had arrived that day on the C.N.R. express. He did not go to a hotel but had come directly to the duty for which he had been summoned.
Mr. Peters submitted that the defence was not required to show the accused insane beyond all shadow of a doubt. If the defence were successful in showing him insane that was all required by law. No insane man could under the code be tried, sentenced or executed while insane, or not in his right mind.
He had on occasion to be in the police court on other business when Williams had been arraigned before Judge Limerick. He had been impressed by his condition and the remarks of those around him relating to the man's mental state at the time.
Mr. Hughes objected that Mr. Peters was speaking of something not in the evidence.
Mr. Justice LeBlanc stated that remarks should be confined to the evidence.
Mr. Peters, continuing, referred to the persistent indifferent attitude of the accused, maintained ever since his arrest. Dr. MacKay who had been brought in as an independent medical practitioner, had not examined the prisoner before being conducted to the jail on Sunday. He had given him a thorough examination for a long time, as carefully as the facilities of the place permitted. He himself had been greatly impressed with the thoroughness of the examination. Dr. MacKay had stated as his conclusion that Williams was suffering from "acute confusional insanity." He knew from his own experience that there were many types of insanity. The Crown Prosecutor expressed his belief that Williams was normal because he sat quietly gazing at the ceiling. Did he expect him to be chained, to gnash his teeth or to jump about to establish his insanity? He asked the jury to consider the horrible scene that had been re-enacted from the witness box. Has anyone ever heard of a more horrible crime? Has anyone ever read of a more terrible thing in the up-to-date press which scarcely missed anything? Had the accused changed countenance in the face of all this, charged with the awful murder of his two nieces whom he had loved and nurtured? "Can you gentlemen," he asked, "see him sit here from day today and believe that he is feigning insanity, feign his appearance in the face of all this? How is it possible that this man is not insane?"
The Examination of the Accused
None of the doctors would have attended except by supoena. They had no interest in the case and would not have appeared unless he had started the legal machinery necessary. They had been brought to give their candid opinion as to whether the man was sane or insane. Surely they could not disbelieve Dr. MacKay who said Williams was not sane, one of the men making a most thorough examination covering almost two hours. Dr. MacKay had given a proper examination as a man who knew how. He had given his independent conclusion. He was convinced the man was insane. Dr. Irvine, likewise, was convinced the man suffered from dementia.
Dr. VanWart and Dr. Moore had also examined the prisoner in the presence of Dr. Anglin, who had been present at his (Mr. Peter's) invitation. On the stand Dr. Anglin said he did not remember the answers given to all questions. Dr. VanWart had said the man was not sane, as the result of a few minutes examination. Did the jury believe Dr. VanWart would say Williams was insane if he were sane? He did not know what Dr. VanWart's evidence would be; he had not known until he had put him on the stand.
Dr. Moore was a well-known practitioner in the Maritime Provinces and Canada. He had taken post graduate work in mental diseases; he had an opportunity of specializing in cases of this kind and Mr. Peters contended he was an authority. He was somewhat infirm at the present time, but had today given evidence of just as bright a mind as he ever possessed. He said the man was insane and proceeded to give his reasons.
Considering the evidence of Dr. Anglin, a man of long experience at the Fairville institution, Mr. Peters said he had been brought here as a government Alienist, a man supposed to know all about cases of this kind. Dr. Anglin had said, however, that he would not say, he could not say that the man was sane or insane. All he would say was that he did not have the opportunity of making the tests he required to form a definite opinion. He said he had examined him for ten minutes on Wednesday last. There was no evidence of a further examination by Dr. Anglin except that he had been present that afternoon when another examination took place. When the Crown Prosecutor called this plea a surprise, he had known all along of his intention to raise this issue, as he had stated it on different occasions in court. Would it not have been a wise course for the Crown, knowing this, to have sent Dr. Anglin to the jail for a further examination of the accused?
"I submit gentlemen, and I don't want to bore you, that you as a jury of reasonable men cannot find but that this man is not sane," contended Mr. Peters. "Why has not Dr. Anglin made up his mind as to whether this man is sane or not? Gentlemen, I leave it to you."
THE JUDGE'S CHARGE
Mr. Justice LeBlanc Tells Jury Not to Allow Sanity Issue to Be Made Convenient Shelter to Avoid Trial
Mr. Justice LeBlanc, charging the jury, hoped that the members of the jury understood the issue they were to try. In order to avoid any confusion he defined it again. The issue of the prisoner's guilt of the murders had been temporarily abandoned. What they now had to decide only was that of whether or not the prisoner in the dock was sane or insane and therefore fit or unfit to stand his trial.
It was a peculiar situation due to the circumstances under which Mr. Peters had assumed the defence of the prisoner. He had not been ready to place his plea of insanity before the Court which in the ordinary course of events would have been first determined before dealing with the prisoner's guilt. He had reserved this question for Mr. Peters and it now came before the jury to be decided. It was one of the laudable qualities of lawyers that in cases of this kind that defence counsel, such as Mr. Peters, were required to work for welcome.
"I for one would be sorry to see the issue abused in our Canadian Courts," said Judge LeBlanc referring to the "brain storms" raised in connection with insanity pleas in United States courts in an effort to get the accused by. Counsel for the defence had stated the principle of law correctly when he said that no insane person could be tried, sentenced or executed. This did not mean all degrees of insanity, however, but only when he was insane so as not to understand what he was being tried for. As he recalled it he did not remember that any one witness had stated that the prisoner did not understand what was going on.
In his own opinion, Judge LeBlanc did not believe that short examinations would suffice to determine a man's sanity. Lengthy examinations he believed were required and even then in the case of a madman it was difficult for medical men to decide. The only man who had an experience of any appreciable length was Dr. Anglin. Dr. Moore, he concluded, drew his observations as a result of text-book theories. test books were all right as condensed information and experience but he did not believe the evidence of the others would go very far to say that Williams was so insane as not to be fit to stand his trial. The witnesses from North Lake had sworn that they had never noticed any change in the man.
Irrespective of all the doctors had told them, the jury was not devoid of all sense of observation. They had the prisoner before them for several days and he asked them to use their own observations. He felt that they were as competent as anyone heard in court to draw their own conclusions and findings. He did not mean, however, that they were as well qualified by medical training as the doctors. Quoting the sections of the code bearing on the issue, Mr. Justice LeBlanc said that the Crown must prove beyond doubt the sanity of the accused. While the defence was not required to prove insanity in all respect. A reasonable doubt he defined as an honest doubt. They must be satisfied that he was or was not aware of what was going on. "If you think this man is not sane and does not know what is going on," said his Honor, "then we don't want to try him." Judge LeBlanc concluded by urging the jury to give due consideration, not to hesitate to find him insane if they so believed, but not to make the insanity issue a convenient shelter for the accused to avoid his trial. "You are trying whether he is sane or insane and upon that issue alone," he said.
The whole twelve jurymen must agree, he replied in answer to a query.
The jury retired at 8:55 p.m., the addresses having consumed one hour and twenty-five minutes.
Williams Indifferent As Verdict Announced
The only difference which could be observed in the attitude of Harry D. Williams while the question of his sanity was being presented to the jury last evening for their consideration by both Fred H. Peters, his counsel, and P.J. Hughes, K.C., Crown Prosecutor, followed by Mr. Justice LeBlanc, was a slightly dampened complexion which reflected the glare of the electric lights.
While Williams was being conveyed to one of the ante-rooms during the absence of the jury, spectators who crowed around him said they saw him wipe a tear from one of his eyes. Williams had, however, shown a habit of rubbing his knuckles into his eyes from time to time.
As the jury filed into their places in the court room again at the request of Judge LeBlanc, Williams momentarily lowered his gaze to the interior of the prisoner's dock. When Coun. Seymour announced the jury's decision there was no sign of the prisoner's complete apparent indifference changing.
WANT MRS. FOSTER HERE AS WITNESS
Latest word is Mrs. Thornton is Preparing to Come Here from Houlton
Effort will be made to bring Mr. Ward B. Foster, mother of the two dead girls, here as a witness by Fred H. Peters, counsel for the defence, at the trial of Harry D. Williams, alias Darius Thornton, charged with the Fosterville murder.
Mr. Peters stated that he required her as a material witness in view of the medical testimony which had been given. P.J. Hughes, K.C., Crown Prosecutor, stated that this was the first indication that Mrs. Foster would be wanted. Her condition, he was informed, following the birth of a daughter and since the tragedy was such as to prevent her attendance. Mr. Peters said that it was necessary to have Mrs. Foster's evidence unless certain conditions could be revealed by other members of the family.
Meanwhile, a telephone message received by Mr. Peters from Houlton, Me., announced that Mrs. Ada Thornton, divorced wife of the prisoner, was prepared to come to Fredericton following the receipt of a telegram urging her to come at once. The telegram had been sent in reply to a message from a newspaper woman at Houlton to Mr. Peters.
"Think Mrs. Thornton would go to Fredericton if she thought would do any good."
The telegram came from Mrs. Cora N. Putnam. newspaper correspondent at Houlton, who had obtained information from Mrs. Thornton soon after Williams' arrest in which she said Williams had "spells" and had "acted queer" when they were married and living in Houlton some years ago.
The Daily Gleaner Tuesday, January 27, 1925
Williams' Trial on Murder Charge Is Started Again
Was Resumed Where It Stopped On Saturday Night
CASE TO TAKE SEVERAL DAYS
Speculation as to What Will Be Next Move to Save Prisoner
The trial of Harry D. Williams on the two indictments for murder at Fosterville last November was resumed this morning from where it had stopped last Saturday night.
The same jury who are trying Williams on the murder charge having found him sane and fit to be tried, there was much speculation today as to what would be the next move by Fred H. Peters, defence counsel, to save the accused.
It was that during the hearing of the sanity issue yesterday Mr. Peters named several expert alienists in Ontario and Quebec who he might wish to have called and it has been suggested that an effort may be made to show Williams was insane when the crime was committed.
It is said, in this connection, that at least one person who saw Williams on the night of November 25th, apparently but a short time after the two girls had been killed, is known and has told of his horrifying experience. If the insanity issue comes up again it is expected that Williams' whole life will be laid bare.
Two witnesses were on the stand this morning, Enoch Peck, of North Lake, who had completed his evidence on direct examination on Saturday night, being followed by Mrs. Ida Farrell, wife of Stephen Farrell, a close neighbor of the Foster family, who told of having discovered the imprint of a man's hand on Cynthia's knee when she was preparing the body for burial.
Enoch Peck, under cross-examination, said that he did not believe Williams was feigning indifference in the prisoner's dock and, that knowing the man as he did, that he appeared to him to be aware of everything taking place in court.
North Lake Witness expresses
the Opinion that
The attendance this morning when the court resumed at 10 o'clock was the smallest since the trial began a week ago today. The area around the prisoner's dock was almost completely deserted and presented a vivid contrast to the overflow audience last evening which heard the jury find Williams sane and fit to stand his trial. The attendance increased during the morning, however.
Enoch Peck, of North Lake, who had completed his evidence on direct examination Saturday evening, resumed the stand and Mr. Peters commenced his cross - examination. He said he had not noticed the man who drove the car for Deputy Sheriff Fraser Saunders closely enough to identify him as George Camp, a member of the jury. He had been told since that it was the same man.
Peck said he had worked with Williams tow or three years ago in a lumber camp. He found Williams sociable and a jolly man in a crew. He had been in the habit of having him for a partner in the evening card games which followed the day's work.
"Forty-fives, I suppose?" queried Mr. Peters.
"No, sixty-three," replied the witness.
Witness was then asked if any test had been made to prove that the contents of the bottle marked "strychnine" was as labeled.
"Nobody up there tasted it," he replied.
Witness was questioned closely as to what the prisoner had eaten or taken to drink, if anything, before becoming sick at Magistrate Foster's. Witness was not certain whether Williams had taken a cup of coffee before or after becoming sick. He did not know of anything unusual being in the coffee.
Interrogated with respect to rifle calibres and bullet weights, witness said he was not an expert. He had been overseas but did not have occasion to use a rifle.
Peck was then asked what he thought of Williams' appearance in the prisoner's dock.
"He appears to know everything that's going on—from what I know of the man," was the reply.
Mr. Peters— "Do you believe he is taking a deep interest in the proceedings?"
Witness— "Knowing the man, I really do."
Mr. Peters asked Peck if he believed the prisoner was feigning indifference.
Witness— "I don't think he is putting on much. He's sitting in the most comfortable way a person can sit in that box."
Mr. Peters— "How do you know? Were you ever in that box, Mr. Peck?"
Witness— "No, but I was there when a gentleman tried it out last night."
Mr. Peters— "Who was that?"
Witness— "Do I have to answer that?"
Judge LeBlanc— "Yes, go on."
Witness— "Dr. Anglin; he tried it out from all points." [Laughter]
Witness was then examined as the the nature of the ground where he had found the heel marks in Thomas Kinney's field where he found William's rifle. The marks had been made apparently from a sitting posture. Witness had never heard Williams say anything as to what had happened at his camp that night.
Following a fifteen minute recess the witness was cross-examined regarding Williams' service overseas and the nature of his service.
To Mr. Hughes on re-examination Mr. Peck said the Divisional Ammunition Column was that branch of the service which supplied the batteries with ammunition from the base of supply. He had no knowledge of Williams' service except what Williams had told him.
To the Court witness said the direction Williams was walking when arrested was not the shortest way to the international boundary. He had been between Ward Foster's and Magistrate Foster's residence at the time.
MRS. IDA FARRELL
Neighbor of Foster Family
Says She Saw Imprint of
Mrs. Ida Farrell, wife of Stephen Farrell, of Fosterville, a neighbor of the Foster family, said she had been speaking to Cynthia and Necia Foster on their return from school the day of the murder. She did not see them going to the camp. She had seen the bodies at the camp the next day when she went to assist in the funeral preparations.
She had noticed a dark bruise on the elder girl's hip and a little red sore embedded in the flesh below the knee near the front of the leg. The latter appeared to have been there for some time. There was also a smeared, dirty-like imprint of a hand on the right knee beneath the stocking. Witness did not see what had became of the clothing removed from the bodies except that they had disappeared from the foot of the bed where they had been placed.
Cross-examined regarding the condition of herself and the other women present in the presence of such a tragedy, witness broke into tears and for a few minutes was unable to reply to questions. The sore on the girl's leg had not been of fresh origin, according to its appearance. She heard since that Cynthia had fallen down and bruised her knee previous to the tragedy. The bruise also appeared to be of some days standing.
The imprint of the hand showed the thumb outside of the right knee, the fingers inside, all pointing downward. It was the mark of a soiled hand, there was no blood mark.
Judge LeBlanc said he could not conceive of doctors making an examination without discovering such marks as described.
Witness said she had discovered the marks after Dr. Turner had been there making his examination.
Judge LeBlanc said this showed the value of expert evidence. "Send a woman there and she will find more than the doctors."
Witness said the stocking had been gaitered below the knee. The stocking might have been previously rolled down and then replaced.
Mrs. Farrell was then asked about Williams as a member of the Foster family and his friendly attitude to the members of the family. She had never heard of Mrs. Foster receiving the present of a watch from her half-brother. "I've heard many times since I've been here," she said.
Court adjourned at 1 p.m. until 2:15 p.m.
The Daily Gleaner Wednesday, January 28, 1925
The Crown's Case Against Harry Williams Finished
And The Defence Opened
Prosecution's Twenty Witnesses All Called in Murder Case But Failed to Give Any More New Evidence- - -Williams' Visit to Sunday School- - -His Counsel, in Opening Defence, Says Williams Alone in World
The Crown's case against Harry D. Williams, charged with the murder of his half-nieces, Cynthia and Necia Foster, at Fosterville on November 25th, was concluded and Fred H. Peters, counsel for his defence with a brief address to the jury, when the York Sittings of the Supreme Court were adjourned last evening at 5:35 p.m., until 11 a.m. today.
Twenty witnesses in all had testified against the accused before Mr. Hughes announced that the Crown's case was complete. Six of these were on the stand yesterday afternoon, the evidence given being largely corroborative and including that of the women who had prepared the bodies of the two little victims for burial. Mrs. Rachael Wood, of North Lake, told how Williams had accompanied the Foster children to Sunday School about three weeks prior to the tragedy. There Cynthia and he had been members of her Bible class and he had read the lesson, sung hymns with the rest and otherwise taken part in the service on his one and only appearance in Sunday school.
Other witnesses heard yesterday afternoon were: Mrs. Emery Farrell, Mrs. Leonora Boone, and Thomas Kinney, of North Lake, and Edward London, of Canterbury. Mr. Kinney was not examined by Mr. Hughes he having been called on account of the fact he had appeared as a witness at the preliminary examination, where his evidence had not been considered pertinent.
Mr. Peters opened his defence to the jury at the request of Mr. Justice LeBlanc. He referred to the situation which had resulted from having been called in to defend the prisoner gratuitously without an opportunity of preparing a case and which had resulted in what might appear from time to time as a needless delay of the proceedings. Never in his life had ever heard of a case of a man being tried for murder who was so absolutely friendless and alone. This has also hampered him in his defence and it was only with great difficulty that he had procured two witnesses whom he hoped to place on the stand today. To the Court Mr. Peters had previously stated that he had received a telegram stating that Mrs. Ada Thornton, former wife of the accused, would arrive last evening from Houlton, Me., accompanied by Mrs. Cora M. Putnam.
MRS. IDA FARRELL
Again took the Witness Stand After Lunch and Concluded Her Evidence
Mrs. Ida Farrell, wife of Stephen Farrell, resumed the witness stand after lunch and was subjected to a half hour's questioning by Mr. Peters generally relating to her acquaintance with the accused and circumstances before and after the tragedy. Her short, snappy replies did much to lighten the monotony of the proceedings and drew many a ripple of laughter. Mr. Hughes re-examined on one or two points and then called Mrs. Nellie Farrell, of North Lake, wife of Emery Farrell.
MRS. NELLIE FARRELL
Tells of Burning a Bundle of Rags or Clothing at Williams' Camp
Mrs. Farrell said she resided between four and five miles from Ward Foster. She had been present while the children were being prepared for burial, but had taken no part in the preparation of the bodies.
While present in the camp she had picked up a bundle of rags or clothing from the floor and carried them out and burned them. She had received no instructions to do so, but had burned the bundle in rendering what assistance she could. She had also assisted by holding a princess slip to the fire to dry before being used in dressing the bodies. She had not seen the bodies other than the faces.
The witness was cross-examined briefly by Mr. Peters respecting her acquaintance with the deceased and her presence at the camp while funeral arrangements were being made.
MRS RACHAEL WOOD
Said Williams and Cynthia Foster Had Been Members of Her Bible Class
Mrs Rachael Wood, of North Lake, said she had last seen Williams about two weeks before the murder. She had seen him also with the Foster children at Sunday school about three weeks before the murder. Williams and Cynthia had been in her Bible class on that occasion.
Witness said she had assisted in dressing the bodies for burial. She had noticed none of the marks referred to by Mrs. Ida Farrell. She had also seen the clothing piled at the foot of the bed which had been removed from the bodies.
To Mr. Peters witness stated that she had never heard of the imprint of the man's hand until she had heard Mrs. Ida Farrell's evidence at the preliminary examination. Mrs. Farrell had never disclosed finding it with her and she had not seen it herself, and thought the doctors had made every necessary examination and did not look herself.
Williams had seemed "like a gentleman while in Sunday school."
To Mr. Hughes witness said that she had recollected Williams' appearance at Sunday school particularly because it was his first time there. He had taken part in the service, reading the lesson and singing at her request with the rest as well as putting something in the collection.
MRS. LENORA BOONE
Had Assisted in Preparing Bodies of Murdered Girls for Burial
Mrs Lenora Boone, wife of William Boone, said she had last seen any of the Foster girls at her home on Halloween when Cynthia and Hilda had called enroute to a Halloween entertainment at the school house in company with Harry Williams. She had assisted in preparing the bodies for burial but had not seen any of the clothing burned.
To Mr. Peters she said she did not see them at the concert although she had been there herself.
Crown Prosecutor Asks No Questions And Little New Was Brought Out
Mr. Hughes then called Thomas Kinney, of North Lake, but stated that he had no questions to ask. He had called him simply because he had been called at the preliminary examination where he had given evidence which he had considered of no importance.
Mr. Peters pursued the same general line of cross-examination. The witness, however, was unable to shed any new light on the case.
The witness said he was married but when asked if his wife — who may be a material witness — was in court, he replied in the negative.
Canterbury Station Man
Says Williams Looks Better Now
Edward London, of Canterbury, said he accompanied Deputy Sheriff Fraser Saunders to Fosterville when Williams had been taken in charge by the deputy sheriff. He had heard Saunders warn the prisoner that he "needn't make any talk as it might be used against you." He had viewed the bodies in the camp also and returned to Canterbury in the prisoner's company.
"You needn't make any talk unless you like, it may be used against you," was the second warning had had heard Saunders give the prisoner as they left Fosterville for Canterbury. He had seen the sandbag in the camp on the shelf.
To Mr. Peters witness said that the automobile in which the prisoner had been taken to Fredericton had been driven by a Mr. Camp. George Camp, a member of the jury, was identified as the driver of the automobile. The prisoner had quite a cold and he was coughing. He didn't look as well as he did now. He didn't appear to be nervous and did not evince any fear by his talk or demeanor. He had sat quietly in the car. He had looked haggard when he had next seen him the police court.
The prisoner had not changed countenance at all during the evidence at the city police court with the witnesses telling of the horrific scene within ten feet of him. He had been absolutely indifferent. His appearance indicated that he did not know what was going on. Some of the exhibits produced in court had been handed to Deputy Sheriff Saunders by Dr. W.L. Turner following the medical examination. The rifle had been secured at Magistrate Foster's.
To Mr. Hughes witness said he remembered that Williams had answered distinctly the questions addressed to him by the Police Magistrate in police court. He had also heard him answer the presiding Judge intelligently and promptly when arraigned last Tuesday.
Mr. Hughes then stated that this concluded the Crown's case. The names of the twenty witnesses were then checked by the court.
Mrs. Ward B. Foster Not Available
Mr. Peters then asked if he was to be debarred from having Mrs. Ward B. Foster as a witness. He concluded that since the Crown's case had been closed Mrs. Foster was not to be summoned.
Judge LeBlanc pointed out that the Crown counsel had already stated that Mrs. Foster's condition was such that she could not come to Fredericton just now. This had been substantiated by in statements from physicians. It was unfortunate for the prisoner but apparently it could not be helped.
Mr. Peters was then instructed to open his defence.
THE DEFENCE OPENS
Fred H. Peters Says Williams is Without Friends or Anybody to Help Him
Addressing the jury, Mr. Peters referred to the circumstances under which he had apparently delayed the proceedings. He had been called in to defend the prisoner on a charge of murder and he was found to do so gratituitiously. There was no provision for the payment of a fee for his services.
Never had he ever heard of such a case in which a man, charged with murder, had been so alone and without friends in the world. From newspaper reports it would appear that even his mother wished to see him hanged. This might not, however, be true. He had been greatly handicapped in his defence of the accused and had been forced to procure what information he could from the Crown witnesses. With great difficulty he had secured two witnesses for the defence and tomorrow morning he hoped to be able to produce some evidence. He did not wish to speak long and presumed that the Court would grant an adjournment until this morning.
Judge LeBlanc then announced that he would adjourn the court until 10:30 o'clock today. When requested by Mr. Peters to make it 11 o'clock, Judge LeBlanc consented and court was adjourned at 5:35 p.m.
JURYMAN WITNESS IN WILLIAMS' TRIAL
George Camp is Witness- - -May Not return To Jury
A Sensational Turn at The Murder Trial This Morning
MR. PETERS SEEKS TO UPSET TRIAL
Says Camp Ineligible for Jury As Employee of Sheriff
A sensation was created this morning at the trial of Harry D. Williams, charged with the Fosterville murder, when Fred H. Peters, counsel for the defence, called as a defence witness, George Camp, of Fredericton, a member of the jury impaneled to try Williams for his life and who have already adjudged him sane and fit to stand his trial.
The sensation was magnified when at the conclusion of Mr. Camp'sevidence., Mr. Peters moved that he be disallowed from re-entering the jury box as a member of the jury sitting on the case, on the grounds that he could not double in the capacity of a witness and a juror before the Court and also that he had served as the hired servant of the Sheriff of York County in connection with the case.
Mr. Camp was called to testify in connection with the trip from Fosterville to Fredericton on November when he had acted as chauffeur for Deputy Sheriff Fraser Saunders who brought the accused from Fosterville to the police station here. No objection was made by P.J. Hughes, K.C., Crown Prosecutor, to the calling of Mr. Camp as a witness but at the conclusion of Mr. Camp's evidence, Mr. Peters made his motion, citing Roscoe's Criminal Evidence in support of his application on the ground that the witness and juror could not act in dual capacity. His second ground for objection was introduced a few moments before the noon recess, that Mr. Camp had been "the hired servant of the Sheriff of York County, acting as a chauffeur for the transportation of Williams to Fredericton."
The court was adjourned to allow Mr. Peters to secure his authorities as it was then 2 o'clock. Meanwhile, Mr. Camp who was still in the witness box waiting a decision, was directed by Judge LeBlanc to rejoin the jury for lunch.
JUDGE ADDRESSES THE JURYMEN AS WITNESS
As soon as court opened this morning Mr. Peters announced that in view of certain disclosures made by witnesses during the progress of the trial, he desired to call George Camp, a member of the jury, as first witness for the defence.
Mr. Justice LeBlanc asked Mr. Hughes what he had to say to this.
Mr. Hughes replied that he didn't think it made any difference.
"All right, then," replied Judge LeBlanc.
When Mr. Camp was sworn and had taken the stand Judge LeBlanc said to Mr. Camp: "I don't suppose you will doubt the credibility of this witness?"
Witness— "Me? No sir!"
Mr. Peters then proceeded to examine the witness, who stated that he had driven Deputy Sheriff Fraser Saunders and the latter's son to Fosterville on November 26th When Williams had been brought back to Fredericton from Magistrate John L. Foster's. He had heard no warning given the prisoner by either Claude Peck or Enoch Peck in his presence nor by Magistrate Foster. He had heard Deputy Sheriff Saunders warn the accused that anything he might say would be used against him. Williams had said nothing at that time, the warning being given as he was going from the house to the car.
The party with the prisoner had driven to Stephen Farrell's where he was left in the car with Claude and Enoch Peck who had been guarding the prisoner with others when the Deputy Sheriff arrived. He had gone down to Williams' camp with the Deputy Sheriff and Edward London, of Canterbury.
Witness then identified some of the exhibits produced in court as similar to those which had been handed over to the Deputy Sheriff, including the rifle procured at Magistrate Foster's house. It was getting dark, between 5 and 6 o'clock, and while he had heard conversation from the rear seat he did not hear the nature of the conversation before getting to Stephen Farrell's.
At Canterbury, enroute to Fredericton, he had supper at the same table with the prisoner, the Deputy Sheriff and his son. Witness described the seating arrangements. He had recognized Dr. W.L. Turner in the hotel dining room. They had been joined by Dr. Turner at Canterbury and taken as far as his home in Meductic. He had not heard any conversation between Deputy Sheriff Fraser Saunders and the prisoner from Meductic to Fredericton. He had heard words but could not distinguish the import of the conversation. He never heard a rumor to the effect that the prisoner slept all the way down in the car.
To Mr. Hughes witness said he had made the trip to Fosterville in the ordinary course of business as the proprietor of a livery stable and taxi service. He knew there was talking from time to time to the rear of the car but he could not follow the conversations. The prisoner had eaten a good meal at Canterbury and appeared to enjoy it.
With the completion of Mr. Camp's evidence Mr. Peters moved that he be disallowed to return to the jury box as a member of the jury on the case. He held that Mr. Camp having given evidence in the case he could not sit as a juror.
Mr. Justice LeBlanc said that Mr. Camp had already been challenged by Mr. Peters for cause and had been found indifferent.
Mr. Peters stated that he was not aware of Mr. Camp's connection with the case until revealed during the trial. He had challenged him for cause but was not aware of this additional cause for challenge.
Mr. Justice LeBlanc that if a juror were not allowed to return to the jury box from the witness stand all that would be necessary for the defence counsel to do was call a juryman as a witness during the trial, ask him what kind of tobacco he chewed and then move to have him excluded from the jury. There could thus be no trial.
Mr. Peters was then requested to cite his authorities in support of his motion, which he did, quoting at length rulings and decisions against the doubling of parts at a trial as laid down in Roscoe's Criminal Evidence. He also submitted that Mr. Camp was a material witness and should have been summoned by the crown.
Asked by Judge LeBlanc why he did not draw the attention of the court to the situation and ask for a new jury when it was first discovered during the trial, Mr. Peters said he did not have all the authorities in his office and had been forced to visit the Law Library to investigate this phase of the case. He had spoken to the crown prosecutor about it the same day but had been informed that it was all right.
Mr. Peters stated he had another ground, that the witness was the hired servant of the Sheriff of the county of York. Mr. Peters said he did not have these references at present and Mr. Justice LeBlanc adjourned court until 2:30 p.m. directing Mr. Camp to join the other members of the jury during the noon recess.
WILLIAMS AGE IS GIVEN AS 50 YEARS
Figures in Application
for Grant of Land at North Lake
In a petition filed by Harry D. Williams for a grant of some twenty-five or thirty acres of land under the Labor Act is dated October 14th, 1921. Williams is described as being fifty years of age.
This is the application made by Williams for the plot of land surrounding his shack on the shore of North Lake which bears some evidence that an attempt was made at clearing. Witnesses swore, however, that it bore an neglected appearance and was described as a "haggle" - a mass of stumps and felled trees overgrown with small brush.
Williams' land, which has not as yet been granted to him under the terms of the Labor Act, is situated on a neck of land adjoining the farm of Ward B. Foster away from the highway. It is surrounded on two sides of its irregular shape by water. One witness yesterday, when asked if it would be difficult to make a road to the highway, said it was extremely rocky. Asked if one could not go around the rocks, the witness replied: "Only if you went by water."
The Daily Gleaner Thursday, January 29, 1925
Williams' Former Wife Broke Down in Court
When Harry D. Williams was led into the court room to the prisoner's dock this morning for the commencement of his defence on trial for the Fosterville murder, his former wife, Mrs. Ada Thornton, of Houlton, Me., was seated with other women witnesses from Fosterville facing sideways in the dock.
Apparently Williams did not see his wife, or if he did he showed no sign of recognition or interest. He entered the dock and immediately resumed his usual position and attitude of indifference, facing away from where his former wife sat.
A few moments later Very Rev. Dean Neales, Williams' spiritual adviser, who had been supoenaed as a witness for the defence, spoke to Williams, who replied to him in a hesitating and distracted manner, apparently indifferent as to what had been said to him.
Meanwhile Mrs. Thornton, accompanied by Mrs. Cora M. Putman, a newspaper correspondent of Houlton Me., was visibly affected by the appearance of her former husband, who says she has not seen since he deserted her some ten years ago. She broke down, but quickly wiped her eyes with a hankerchief.
Mrs. Thornton Says She Is Still Williams' Wife
Tells of Their married Life on Witness Stand — Married to Accused, Then Known as Darius Thornton, 19 Years Ago at Woodstock—
"No Brain Storms in This Country",
Says Judge LeBlanc as Houlton Red Cross Secretary Tells of Mental Cases Amongst Ex-Soldiers — Other Defence Witnesses
Harry D. Williams, charged with the double murders at Fosterville last November, is a married man, he wife being Mrs. Ada Thornton, of Houlton, Me., who has been referred to since the Fosterville tragedy and during the trial as his ex-wife. Yesterday she was a witness at the trial, being called by the defence, and she revealed on the witness stand that she has not been divorced.
She was called during yesterday afternoon by Fred H. Peters, defence counsel, and said she had been married to Williams at Woodstock, N.B. about nineteen years ago when she was a widow, and Williams was then known as Darius Thornton. He disappeared once for some time before he last disappeared from their home at Houlton over ten years ago. She has been referred to since the case began as Williams' divorced wife, but she said she had not obtained a divorce and was still his wife.
Mrs. Cora M. Putnam, of Houlton, Me., a newspaper correspondent, was also a witness for the defence. She told of coming in contact with mental cases amongst returned soldiers and told of their resembling Williams' condition. Under cross-examination she was starting to tell about mental cases she was brought in contact with in her work about cases of "brain storms" which ex-soldiers she had come in contact with had suffered when Judge LeBlanc interrupted to say: "We don't have any of those 'brain storms' in this country."
Chief of Police Nathaniel Jones and Very Rev. Dean Neales were the other witnesses called for the defence.
CHIEF OF POLICE JONES
Declared Williams Knew
What Was Going on
Nathaniel Jones, Chief of Police for the City of Fredericton, was the second witness called by Mr. Peters for the defence. He had received Williams into his custody from Deputy Sheriff Fraser Saunders personally at the police station in Fredericton. The prisoner appeared cold at the time, quiet and without any show of fear. He described Williams' actions after being brought into the police station and his docile conduct while under his charge and on his appearance in police court. The prisoner had at all times been indifferent to his surroundings and was emotionless, but he had indicated by what he said that he knew what was going on while in the police station.
To Mr. Hughes Chief Jones said he saw very little change in the appearance of the accused since he had first seen him. He had heard some conversation between Police Officer Bird and the accused relating to their war experiences while Williams was confined to the police station. He had seen him reading in his cell and had asked for magazines to take down to the jail with him.
Mr. Hughes did not press for the details of a conversation the prisoner had opened with the witness, as a result of which the witness said he felt certain that Williams knew what was going on.
Mr. Justice LeBlanc said he believed that Mr. Peters had opened the way for this conversation to be admitted, but that he had some little doubt as to admitting it.
MRS ADA THORNTON
Says Prisoner Was Kind Husband and Father—Left Her Once for an Imaginary Reason but Returned
Mrs. Ada Thornton, of Houlton, Me., said she was the wife of the prisoner; she was not divorced from him. She had one boy, seventeen years of age and she herself was engaged as a cook in a boarding house or hotel. She had been engaged as a cook for ten years. Her son had passed through the grammar school at Houlton and was now working. He had not been working long. She did not now maintain a home, rooming where she worked.
She had first met Harry D. Williams at Victoria Corner, in Carleton County, as a farmhand. She had known him four years before they were married. He was then known as Darius Thornton. She had not been keeping company with him during the four years she had known him. They were married at Woodstock about nineteen years ago.
Following their marriage they went to Houlton where their son was born. She had resided at Houlton ever since. The first employment he had was as a carpenter and after that as a section hand on the Bangor and Aroostook Railway for several years, working steadily, supporting her in a proper manner as his wife. He had always giver her his check when he came home with it. He had always been a very kind husband and father.
"I understand Mrs. Thornton, this is a very trying position to put you in," said Mr. Peters as Mrs. Thornton showed evident signs of her emotion.
On one occasion her husband failed to return in the evening from his work. She had made inquiries from the station foreman. Later she had received a telegram from him which informed her of her husband's location.
Mr. Peters suggested to the Court that he might be permitted to show that the telegram had come from outside the boundary of the State of Maine.
The question was allowed, although objected to by Mr. Hughes, witness saying that it was sent from a point beyond the State of Maine.
After receiving the telegram she made inquiries of a Mr. Graham, a friend of her husband, concerning her husband as a result of what had been communicated to her in the telegram. She then wrote a letter to her husband. Her husband then returned the following afternoon.
Her husband's action on this occasion had been for an imaginary reason, said the witness from her own knowledge.
Left Her 14 Years Ago
They had lived five years at Houlton. Other than this occasion her husband's habits had been regular. They always went out together at his desire. This was an invariable custom. On Sundays, if he stayed at home, they stayed together.
One other son had been born to them, who had died when five months old. To some extent her husband had been in the habit of contracting debts, but these were usually squared at the end of the month without being allowed to run. Between the two of them they kept their debts paid.
It was fourteen years ago that her husband had left her. He had been working as a mason when he came in one morning and said he was going to Ludlow to work on a masonry job for a Mr. Hallet. He went away, and that was the last she had seen of him. He had kissed her and the baby before leaving, his usual custom when leaving for his daily work. She never received a letter from him and she did not know that he had changed his name until after the tragedy at Fosterville.
Witness said she had visited once at Fosterville, where she and her husband had been entertained by his sister, Mrs. Ward Foster. She thought his mother had been sick on this occasion. She had never received a letter from his mother or sister or anyone else telling her about her husband.
She could not say that she had ever noticed any peculiarities about her husband.
To Mr. Hughes witness said that she had been a widow when she married the prisoner, her name then being Mrs. Saunders. She had known him for about eleven years and had not known anything wrong about him. He drank a great deal and it was through drink that he lost employment. She had some money from her first husband and he had remained with her practically as long as that lasted. She had used her money to help out when funds were low.
It had not occurred to her that her husband might have returned to Fosterville. She had taken no steps to inquire but would not say that she felt herself well rid of him.
Witness had not sent her husband any money on the occasion of his first absence from home.
MRS. CORA N. PUTNAM
Houlton Newspaper Correspondent and Red Cross Secretary Tells of Dealing With Mental Cases among Ex-Soldiers
Mrs. Cora M. Putnam, a newspaper correspondent, of Houlton, Me., said that in addition to her newspaper work she was secretary of the Southern Aroostook chapter of the Red Cross. She was sent to Fosterville to report the murder by a Boston paper on November 26th. She had seen the prisoner at Fosterville in the dooryard of a place across from Ward Foster's. He was sitting between two men in an automobile; she believed their names were Claude Peck and Enoch Peck. She had seen him with the Deputy Sheriff. He did not appear frightened or scared. She did not know how long he had been under arrest with handcuffs on. He appeared calm and indifferent.
"I was surprised to know that he was the person," said the witness when asked for her impression of the prisoner.
Mr. Hughes asked that this answer be stricken from the record as it was not a proper answer.
Judge LeBlanc ruled that it was not an answer.
She had asked him why he had done the deed. His answer indicated that he understood her question.
As secretary of a Red Cross chapter she had been brought into contact with cases of persons and mental diseases in returned soldiers, visiting hospitals where they were confined. She knew of two or three mental cases in which the patient would become quite rational after sudden periods of insanity not of long duration. They were not unusual among the cases under her supervision.
To Mr. Hughes witness said Williams had appeared rational and to know perfectly the position he was in. She thought it was 27 miles from Houlton to Fosterville.
VERY REV. DEAN NEALES
Invokes Protection of Court When Asked as to Conversations With Prisoner
Very Rev. Dean Scovil Neales, of Fredericton, called by Mr. Peters, said he had visited the prisoner in the jail. he saw him a little more than a week ago.
"Do you consider Harry Williams to be a sane man?" asked Mr. Peters.
Mr. Hughes objected and Judge LeBlanc said it was objectionable in that blunt form.
"I was merely doing it to save time," said Mr. Peters.
"Is that possible," said Judge LeBlanc. "I would be inclined to allow it for that reason."
Asked if Williams had said anything to him regarding his trial, the witness replied that before Williams had said anything to him he had told the prisoner as his spiritual adviser that anything that passed between them would be held sacred and he invoked the protection of the court in this respect.
"I certainly will not allow it. That belongs to another tribunal — not this," said Judge LeBlanc.
After a few further brief questions, which were objected to, Mr. Peters stated that he would drop his examination there, he had simply wanted theDean, opinion and could not seem to get at the matter.
Mr. Justice LeBlanc stated that he was treading on dangerous ground but that the court would not shut him out.
To Mr. Hughes witness said he had been his constant attendant. He had taken him books, but had not seen the prisoner read either books or papers.
Court then adjourned until 7:30 p.m.
Eligibility of Juror
Mr. Peters continued his argument in support of his motion to disbar Mr. Camp from the jury upon resumption of the court yesterday afternoon. Some delay was experienced in obtaining several authorities not available in court. Constable Charles Sterling was dispatched to Mr. Hughes' office for a copy of 18 Halesbury, which Mr. Peters requested. His Honor stated that unless he could produce something very binding upon him he had already made up his mind. Mr. Peters left the court room to procure an authority he had omitted to bring in with him. On his return he cited several authorities, including Myers vs. City of Montreal, Quebec Court of Review,34 Dominion Law Reports, 1917; The King vs. Betista, Canadian Criminal Cases, Vol. 21.
Asked to state his grounds concisely for the objection to Mr. Camp as a juror Mr. Peters said he was objecting on account of his close association with Deputy Sheriff Fraser Saunders and the prisoner from the time of his arrest until delivered into the custody of the Chief of Police at Fredericton, as well as his having been sworn as a witness for the defence and also that he should have been a witness for the prosecution. Halesbury's Laws of England, vol. 15, section 562, he stated, exempted sheriff's servants from jury duty.
Judge LeBlanc said it would have been far better to have notified at the court at the time the first disclosures of Mr. Camp's association had been made.
Mr. Peters submitted that the court was cognizant of these facts.
Mr. Justice LeBlanc then overruled the objection, stating his reasons, after asking Mr. Hughes if he wished to subscribe to the argument presented. It seemed to him that the first grounds, those of association with the Deputy Sheriff and prisoner, might form grounds for consideration by the triers. The triers had tried the issue as to whether or not the juror stood indifferent between our Sovereign Lord the King, and the prisoner at the bar. He was to assume that the juror had been tried and found indifferent, all cause had been considered. The counsel for the defence could then have challenged peremptorily. He found no fault with the learned counsel for the defence for bringing up additional facts which would have then had more or less weight with the triers.
On the grounds of the juror being a witness, the would relate back again to the triers. If the learned counsel's contention was correct he could see where it would be impossible to ever complete a trial if a juror could be called to the stand and then by reason of having acted for the defence, removed from the jury box. He thought this would be a serious state of affairs. The position was clearly preposterous.
Mr. Camp was then ordered to return to the jury box.
Williams Had Agreed to go on Stand
Decision to have Harry D. Williams take the stand in his own behalf was reached quite unexpectedly between the sessions at the court yesterday afternoon and last evening.
Five defence witnesses had been called during the day, but Mr. Peters had been able to make little progress towards building up a defence for the accused and as a last resort after court adjourned in the afternoon, he decided it couldn't make matters any worse and it might improve the prisoner's chances materially if he could induce Williams to go upon the witness stand himself. He therefore had court attendants have the prisoner detained in the ante-room while he spoke with him.
There was a number of constables, a reporter and others present while Mr. Peters conversed with Williams, who didn't seem to scarcely know his lawyer and to only partially comprehend what was going on. Finally Mr. Peters told Williams he thought he had better go on the witness stand and Williams replied lackadaisically: "All right."
And when he balked while being led to the witness stand the most surprised person in court was Mr. Peters himself.
Williams Balks While
Being Led to the Witness Stand;
Dramatic Scenes Last Evening at the Murder Tria
WILLIAMS ACTS LIKE A SCARED DOG
"I Won't Swear," He Sobs With Gaze Riveted on Court Crier
The trial of Harry D Williams on the two indictments for murder at Fosterville on November 25th last came to a dramatic close, except for the addresses of counsel and the Judge's charge, last evening when Williams suddenly balked while being led from the prisoner's dock to the witness box and refused to be sworn or to go on the stand on his own behalf.
Cowering like a dog with his fear-stricken face riveted upon the old Court Crier, James W. Fanjoy, Williams refused to take oath or to make an affirmation. Wild-eyed and looking like a scared, friendless, defenceless dog, more than a human being, Williams struggled to get away while Deputy Sheriff Fraser Saunders was leading him to the witness box.
Never before had there been such a spectacle in a criminal court hereabouts as the hundreds of spectators — men and women — who packed the court room beheld as Fred H. Peters, defence counsel, and Mr. Justice LeBlanc considered all the possible means of having the prisoner give his testimony which he had agreed to do when Mr. Peters conferred with him in an ante-room after the afternoon session of the court.
It was all without precedent and it caused intense suppressed excitement. Seated with a number of women and witnesses from North Lake, a just a few seats away from Ward B. Foster, father of the dead girls, and his daughter, Hilda Foster, was Mrs. Ada Thornton, wife of Williams and mother of the prisoner's two children. She had seen her husband for the first time in more than ten years when he was led into court during the day; but she showed little emotion while the scenes which thrilled the crowded court room were enacted.
The burly big Deputy Sheriff did not resort to violence as Williams struggled to get away from the old Court Crier, in whose direction he had fixed his almost constant gaze since the trial commenced over a week ago. On the other hand, Deputy Sheriff Saunders, while the astonished jurymen looked on from their places, endeavored to pacify his prisoner but Williams tugged him ten feet or more back until they reached the railing about the court enclosure.
And there Williams, with his cowering form huddled close to Deputy Sheriff
Saunders, steadfastly refused to budge towards the front of the court, While Judge and counsel conferred there was a whispered conversation between the Deputy Sheriff and his abject prisoner. "He won't take the Book," the Deputy Sheriff finally announced to the Court." "No, no," whispered Williams in a voice which was scarcely audible. A few moments later Williams burst into tears and buried his head against Deputy Sheriff Saunders' body. "I won't swear," he sobbed but his voice was so husky the judge couldn't hear him.
Mr. Peters suggested that Williams for some reason of his own was apparently frightened of the Court Crier and he said he would tell the Judge privately what he believed was the reason. Mr. Justice LeBlanc suggested he might give his evidence without taking the oath if for a good reason he wouldn't do so while Mr. Peters suggested that the accused might give his evidence from the prisoner's dock. The Judge finally ordered Sheriff Hawthorn to see if the prisoner would allow him to administer the oath to him. The Sheriff took the bible and started towards where Williams was still cowering alongside Deputy Sheriff Saunders, but as the Sheriff approached Williams renewed his struggle to get away.
"I won't swear, I won't swear," Williams finally spoke out in a voice which was plainly audible all over the court room.
"Will you make an affirmation then?" Sheriff Hawthorn asked him. Williams only shook his head, but that ended the attempts to get him to the witness stand.
IN FRONT OF THE JURY
Williams Stricken With
a Nameless Terror
Immediately after the jury had filed into their places at 7:30 o'clock last evening and had responded to their names, Mr. Peters stated that he desired to call the prisoner to the witness stand.
"Let the prisoner be sworn," said Mr. Justice LeBlanc.
Williams, still indifferent and apparently oblivious to all that was transpiring, was taken from the dock and through the crowd to the railed enclosure. Halfway past the front of the jury-box, he was confronted by the Court Crier with the open bible in his hand. The prisoner appeared to be stricken with a nameless terror and cowered away from the Book attempting to run in the opposite direction. The astonished officer, who has been his daily guard on his trips to and from the county jail, attempted to restrain and quiet the man. He was forced to put both arms around Williams' body to prevent him from breaking away when the prisoner tugged and strained to release himself with terrorized backward glances at the Court Crier.
Finally he released himself and made for the railing once more. The Deputy Sheriff went to him and endeavored to soothe his fear. Williams, shuddering and shaking, his his head on his arm against the officer's shoulder like a scared child.
Mr. Peters suggested that, for a reason known to himself, Williams was afraid of the Court Crier. He thought that probably someone else might administer the oath.
Sheriff John B. Hawthorne was then directed by Mr. Justice LeBlanc to make an attempt to administer the oath. The Prisoner, however, who by this time was wiping tears from his eyes, refused to swear. "He won't swear," said Deputy Sheriff Saunders, who had been talking to Williams in an attempt to restore his self-control.
Mr. Peters was nonplused. He stated that he had heard so much about the prisoner feigning insanity that he wished to put him on the stand as a last resort in order that the jury might judge his mental capacity for themselves. He asked if the prisoner might be sworn and give his testimony from the dock. Mr. Justice LeBlanc said he did not think this could be done. He suggested that if the prisoner did not wish to swear, if it was against his religious belief to make an oath, he could give his testimony under an affirmation and requested Sheriff Hawthorne to approach the prisoner once more.
"Will you make an affirmation," said the Sheriff, Bible in hand.
Still fear-stricken and almost uncomprehendingly Williams violently shook his head. When those hear him attempted to tell him the nature of his affirmation he again shook his head. "No, no! I won't swear. I don't swear," was his pathetic reply.
The prisoner was then returned to the dock where he once more resumed his steadfast gaze upon the ceiling, showing to some extent traces of his excitement.
Mr. Peters stated that he had no further witness to call.
"Then your case is closed?" queried the Judge. "Do you wish to go to the jury tonight?"
Mr. Peters, in reply, said that it would be doing him a great favor if His Honor would allow him some time to consider the case before going to the jury.
Mr. Justice LeBlanc then said that he would adjourn court until this morning at 10 o'clock. It understood that Mr. Peters would call no further witnesses.
had Judge LeBlanc stated that court would adjourn than Williams was off
his seat in the dock like a shot with his cap on and was rapidly pulling
on his mackinaw coat in preparation to leave court. He was taken out before
the crowd had left the court room.
Last updated: February, 2001