Murder in the Police Station
By B. S. KEIRSTEAD
THE STORY:—While vacationing in New Brunswick, Inspector Jean LaTour of the R. C. M. P. is watching a university rugby game at Rockingham when he receives an order to go to the town of Wolfelon to investigate a murder.
Sergeant John Hollow was stabbed to death by a person unknown white sitting in the common room of the Wolfeton police station. Constable Durham, in another part of the Lhhoped room at the time, claims that he heard nothing. Chief of Police Pecksniff and Inspector Leyden—the latter from Montreal to capture rum runners—were in another room of the station but can throw no light on the crime.
Durham admits there was bad feeling between him and Hollow. Pecksniff refuses to divulge the identity of a visitor to his office that night, saying he will question the person himself. Leyden tells LaTour that Pecksniff hated Hollow because the latter married Pecksniff’s one-time sweetheart, who died a few months previously.
The Corrigini gangsters were in the cells that night. Bud Lawlor, a criminal discharged on probation, had threatened Hollow. He was seen at the station entrance by Constable Fellows, who thinks he entered. He is arrested. As LaTour and Leyden are inspecting the cells, Fellows declares he has found the fatal knife and knows the motive—and Lawlor makes a break for freedom.
Lawlor is captured and charged with Hollow’s murder, but LaTour believes him innocent and retains iMwyer Macpherson to defend him. Corrigini admits to IMTOUT that on the night of the murder he did make an unsuccessful attempt to escape from the cell.
LaTour interviews Hollow's daughter and learns from her that a large knife from a bone-handled set belonging to the family is mysteriously missing. Their conversation is interrupted by Robert Spengler, the girl’s sweetheart and a student at the near-by university in Rockingham. Spengler’s actions arouse LaTour’s suspicion. With Lawyer Macpherson, he decides to continue his investigation at the university.
Continuing the Journal of Lawyer Macpherson
THERE IS a fine view of Rockingham as you swing around a bend in the Saint John road a mile or so from the town. It is settled there, rather incongruous and ill at ease, on a bit of high land, with low country stretching away on either side, forlorn and desolate. But we had only a moment’s fleeting glimpse: the big police car swept around another bend, and then, all in a moment, we were entering the town itself.
After a rather gloomy lunch in a crowded restaurant, we took our seats in the stand at the university rugby grounds. There, wrapped in heavy coats and a rug against the persistent wind, we regained a sense of well-being and, after the manner of rugger enthusiasts, drew a good deal of pleasure from the prospect, the keen air, the green pitch with its challenging uprights, and the loud murmur of the crowd. We lit our pipes and began to talk rugger. LaTour and Eccles were interested in the match chiefly because of Spengler’s appearance in it. They kept reminding us in low tones to watch his play and behavior.
There was a burst of applause from the crowd. The visiting side was trotting out from the pavilion. Led by their captain, they came on to the field, idly tossing a ball from one to another. They were clad in smart, bright, verticalstriped jerseys, and looked fast and keen. They were followed by the Winslow fifteen, who, in duller colors, grey and dark blue, took up their positions for the beginning of play.
‘‘That’s McLaughlin,” Brian was saying to Eccles. ‘‘Watch his punting.”
Winslow kicked off. There was a roar from the crowd, and the match was on. The visiting three-quarters received the kick and attempted a run, but were smothered by fastfollowing Winslow forwards. From a loose scrimmage the ball was dribbled until it went into touch on the New Brunswick University’s twenty-five yard line. The throw-in gave the Winslow three-quarters the ball, and they started a run for the line. Rapidly the ball was flipped across to Spengler. It was evident that they were depending on his speed and strength to obtain tries.
But the inside three-quarters had passed without drawing their tackles. It was bad nigger. LaTour turned excitedly to us.
“Now watch,” he said.
There were three men ready for Spengler, three men on him almost as soon as he received the ball. Apparently he had only one play, a reverse pass to his inside. Instead, he tucked the ball under his arm and dashed for the goal line. The first tackier misjudged his plunge, but the other two flung themselves viciously on Spengler. He carried and dragged them a pace or so before he fell. LaTour and Eccles commented on the play in low voices.
The visitors had the ball from the scrum and attacked strongly, with a fine mixture of dribbles, short passing runs, kicks through and three-quarter attacks. Winslow, defending grimly and tackling hard, was in imminent danger of having its line crossed for a try.
A whistle. A set scrum, a quick heel and pass from the base of the scrum, and the visitors’ three-quarters were driving through the centre. There was a beautifully faked reverse pass, then the ball went out to the wing, Spengler’s opposing number.
Spengler rushed at him for a tackle, but the man snapped a pass to his inside. He was coming on to take the ball again when Spengler hurled him sprawling on his face. There was a gasp of indignation from the spectators. The whistle blew. The referee reproved Spengler and awarded a free kick at goal. McLaughlin made a perfect placement. The score stood three to nothing in favor of the visiting side.
“Getting anything out of this, sir?” LaTour asked me.
“I don’t know,” I said. “Spengler is playing desperately and not wisely, but that is not evidence.”
“I know that,” LaTour said, his voice judiciously lowered. “But I want to know my man. Could he be a murderer? If I can only be certain on that point, I think that in the end we shall get the evidence.”
I nodded doubtfully.
T)LAY RECOMMENCED. The visitors were opening up in an admirable manner and pressed steadily. Winslow maintained a strong defense, and the attacks gradually lost their sting.
Then a loose ball came bounding to Spengler’s wing. He scooped it up cleanly, dodged the opposing wing, and was off up the field. We saw then the strength and speed of which the man wras capable. He ran straight as an arrow, his knees lifted high, dangerous to any tackier.
The opposing full-back swung in his tracks and came diagonally across the field to cut him off. He had the shorter distance to run, but Spengler was the faster man. The crowd in the stands jumped to their feet. There was an inarticulate roar. A tense moment as both men approached the point of intersection, not ten yards from the goal line and at the very edge of the field. Then a gasp from the crowd as the fullback launched a magnificent diving tackle. His outflung hands snatched at Spengler’s ankles, caught them, there was a twisting jerk and Spengler flew into the air and crashed heavily to the ground. He lay there for a moment. Cries of “Well run!” mingled with “Well tackled!” People in the stands were sitting down again, both players were struggling to their feet. Then, in the midst of a sudden horrified silence, Spengler, fists flying, charged at the full-back and bore him
to the ground. Other players, running up, tore him off and the referee dismissed him from the field. The Winslow captain could be seen apologizing to the visiting side. There was a courteous exchange of remarks. Play recommenced. LaTour was leaning forward intently.
“Ah,” he said. “Do you see?”
“Rotten,” said Brian in disgusted tones.
“Very interesting, LaTour,” I whispered. “But it doesn’t make the man a murderer. After all, it’s very annoying to be pitched on to the hard ground in such a vicious manner. Quite a different matter from cold-blooded stabbing.”
“Hush !” said Eccles loudly, so that people in front looked around.
At the conclusion of play Eccles and LaTour pushed us out of the crowd.
“Now let’s see the dean of the men’s residence here,” Eccles said. “We shall probably get a better line on Spengler from him than from anyone.”
DEAN WILKENDEN had a suite of rooms in one wing of the residence building. LaTour knocked at the door, and a woman’s voice said: “Come in.”
Eccles hesitated, then turned the handle just as the door was opened from the inside, with the result that he was caught off balance and stumbled into the arms of a most attractive young woman. Behind her I could see a large living room half-filled with people drinking tea.
Brian muttered ecstatically in my ear: “Enter the police. My word, look at Eccles !”
The poor man was trying hard to pull himself together. “I beg your pardon, madam,” he said. “I didn’t mean, that is—we’re looking for the dean.”
“Do come in then,” said the charming young lady. “I’m Mrs. Wilkenden. Jack will be coming along shortly.”
We were introduced in a rather general manner to the assembled company, among others to the wife of one of the professors, who chatted to us about the game. Spengler’s exhibition of temper she termed “disgraceful,” but apparently such an exhibition was not out of character.
“He’s known to have a vicious temper,” she said.
While we were talking, the dean, a fine, scholarly figure with a dark, sensitive face, entered the room, and in a few minutes we were closeted with him in his private study. He passed us cigarettes and saw us in comfortable chairs.
“I must begin, Mr. Wilkenden,” I said, “by telling you who we are. I am Mr. Macpherson, a barrister, and this is Mr. Woodworth, one of my partners. Our offices are in Fredericton. Mr. Eccles here is superintendent of the New Brunswick division of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and Inspector LaTour is head of the Criminal Investigations Branch of the Police for this province.”
“Ah,” said Wfilkenden. “Yes?”
“In the course of some recent investigations,” I continued, “it has become necessary to make enquiries into the
habits and character of one of your undergraduates. We wish to do it as quietly as possible, hence we have come to you.”
“What has the young scamp been doing?” Wilkenden asked.
“The man about whom we are enquiring,” I said, "is Robert Spengler. He seems to be connected in some way with the daughter of John Hollow, who was murdered last week in Wolfeton.”
“Ah,” he murmured, very restrained. “This is serious. You are sure there is no doubt about this connection?” “None.”
“Is it what is commonly called an immoral relationship?” “No, I do not think so.”
“What can you tell us about him?”
Wilkenden hesitated. Presently he said:
“Mr. Macpherson, I do not think you have been frank with me. I must know more about this before I can reply to any questions. You have told me that Spengler is ‘connected’ with the daughter of a man who was murdered. Am I to take it that you are merely making formal enquiries, or is there something more back of this that you are keeping from me?”
I looked to LaTour, and it was he who replied.
“It is not entirely a formal enquiry, Mr. Wilkenden. There are some grounds to believe that Spengler may have been connected with the crime.”
Wilkenden looked very grave.
“May I ask what these grounds are?”
“I am afraid I cannot answer that question,” LaTour replied. “You must believe that we are responsible police officers, not given to starting at shadows, and that upon deliberation we have considered these grounds sufficient to justify us in coming into your university and bringing our investigations to your attention.”
This was said with such admirable dignity that Wilkenden was impressed.
“Very well, gentlemen,” he said, “I shall do what I can to help you. In return, I hope that you will attempt to prevent any unpleasant publicity affecting the university.”
“Will you tell us, then,” I asked, “just how Spengler stands in the university? Is he a good student?”
“He is hard-working but not very capable.”
“What is he studying?”
“He is preparing to be a doctor. His father & a doctor, you know.”
“He would have studied some anatomy, then?”
“Oh, yes. I should suppose so.”
“Is he popular?”
“That is a difficult question to answer. He has no close friends. But a football hero is always popular in one sense, as you must know.”
“What is the attitude of the members of the faculty toward him?"
“I can’t answer that question, Mr. Macpherson. I do not teach the man myself. I cannot sjx'ak for other members of the teaching staff.”
“But surely,” I urged, “you have heard some of the members of the faculty discussing his work.”
“If I have.” Wilkenden replied, “it would have been highly confidential. I do not feel that I should repeat, under these circumstances, remarks that were made casually and probably without the careful consideration which would have been given had they been made here and now.” I inclined my head slightly in recognition of the justice of this attitude.
“There is only one thing I can say. Because Spengler’s work has fallen below the requirements—not, mark you, because of any dissatisfaction with his character
or habits.......we are finding it necessary to rusticate him: that
is, send him away for a term, beginning the end of this term.”
“Ah !” It was Eccles who breathed the word.
“Does Spengler know of this?” I asked.
“He was informed after the last faculty meeting.”
“When was that?” Eccles shot the question out.
“A week ago Monday.”
"Gad !” Eccles exclaimed.
“How did Spengler take this information?” I asked.
“I have no idea,” Wilkenden replied. "It was conveyed to him by writing.”
“Have you seen him since?”
“Yes. He came to see me to get leave to go down overnight.”
“How did he behave? Did he speak of being rusticated?” “He mentioned it. He was restless and excited.” “Bitter?”
“Desperate?” The question came from LaTour. “Desperate?” Wilkenden repeated the word doubtfully. “I don't know. You might call it that. He was very upset about being out for a term—said he’d set his heart on becoming a doctor and wouldn’t give up, even if we did make it hard for him. I must confess I think rustication a poor remedy for a weak student. He was going down for the night to talk the thing over with his father. He said he planned to stay the night in Wolfeton.”
“What night was that?” Eccles asked.
“The Tuesday, I think, after our decision to rusticate him.”
‘Tuesday the twenty-fifth?”
“I think so.” Wilkenden consulted a notebook. “Yes,” he said. “Here it is in my record of overnight leaves-ofabsence. ‘October twenty-fifth. R. Spengler. To spend
the night in Woifeton with his father’.” “So he lied to you, LaTour,” Eccles said. “What’s that?” Wilkenden asked sharply. LaTour replied: “He told me he had
returned to Rockingham that night on the ten o’clock train.”
“He might, of course, have done so," Wilkenden said. “He may have found his father out of town and returned here by the next train.”
LaTour shook his head. “It is unlikely,” he said. “Spengler had other interests in Woifeton.”
“This Hollow girl?” Wilkenden asked. “Yes.”
“I can find out if he returned,” Wilkenden said. He went to his telephone and called a number.
“Hello, Timmons," he said. “Would you look up your records, please, and find out for me if Mr. Spengler returned to college that night he had leave-Tuesday the twenty-fifth?” After a pause: “He didn’t? You’re quite sure? Thank you.”
“He didn’t come back,” he said to us, his voice expressive of disappointment and foreboding.
“One more question, Mr. Wilkenden,” I said. “Had you ever any trouble with Spengler? I mean, he has a perfectly foul temper, I am told. Was it ever evidenced?” “Yes,” Wilkenden replied. “He had a murderous temper—” He paused suddenly, struck by the word he had used. Then he said: “Gentlemen, I am not used to talking to police officers or lawyers. You will please regard that word as unsaid? Spengler had a quick temper and he showed it on one or two occasions as, indeed, he showed it on the field today. But there was never anything as serious as the affair which you must have witnessed if you saw the game today. Indeed, we had wondered if it would be wise to have him included in the team because of his temper. Now 1 am convinced that we made a mistake.”
“Yes," I agreed. “It was a vicious attack.” “It was done in hot temper, though,” Wilkenden said quickly.
“Yes. We are aware of that.”
There was a pause, then LaTour asked: "Do you know Spengler’s people, Mr. Wilkenden?"
“No. I have never met them. His father is a prominent physician.”
“Or about his circumstances?”
“They have money. 1 believe, if that is what you mean."
"Does Spengler drink?”
"Not to my knowledge.”
“Any affairs with women?”
“Never anything serious. In his first year he fiaid some attention to one of our women undergraduates. Just the usual college affair: nothing to it.”
“Nothing, so far as l know. But I am not nursemaid to the young men we have here.” This was said with some heat.
“Quite, sir, quite,” LaTour said. “This was Spengler’s third year?”
“Thank you very much. Mr. Wilkenden. You have been very good to answer all these tiresome questions. I am afraid we have ruined the tea hour for you.”
“I am afraid you have,” he replied wistfully. “but 1 should not mind so much if I could feel that I had done anything to erase from your minds your suspicions of this unfortunate young man.”
“We shall see that his case is not prejudiced in any way." I replied. “Be sure, Mr. Wilkenden. that we shall take no steps that are not required as essential to proper enforcement of the law."
With this we left him. He watched us anxiously before he turned with a half sigh to re-enter the room where tea was being served to a light-hearted company grouped comfortably about the open fire.
nrilE NEXT DAY, in Woifeton, I was L introduced to Lawlor. my prospective client. The polite warden led me to the man’s cell and I was left alone with him. I think I may say that I realized at once this was going to prove the most unsavory case I had ever undertaken. But this only made
me the more anxious for success. I am afraid I was already making LaTour’s “contest” my own. and considered myself leagued with the forces of justice, as represented by l.aTour, against those of “mis-justice”—I prefer the word to “injustice” inasmuch as it does not convey the same idea of purposeful mal-intent—as represented by the Woifeton police and the Attorney-General. But it was a problem how I was to fit the ill-favored wretch who sat before me in the jail into this high-sounding scheme of battle.
Lawlor looked at me furtively when I was shown in. I told him who I was.
“Why are you interested in me?” he asked.
“I have been retained to defend you,” I replied.
He was very surprised, out did not press me as to who was his mysterious protector.
I asked him for an account of his doings the night of the murder.
Before he told me, he said :
“You know, I’m not bad really. I’ve a vicious temper, and when the drink’s in me I don’t know what I’m doing. They’ll bring that up at the trial.” He paused. “I was going down there to the police station that night. I started in the door, but changed my mind because I knew they’d smell the drink on me. That’s why the cop thought I was inside. He saw me tum in but didn’t see me come back.”
I interrupted :
“You didn’t enter the station?”
“No. I oughta’ve, to report. I was ticket-of-leave, you know.”
“Yes. Tell me what you did that night.” He told me—a pathetic story. He kept repeating: “I’m not really bad, you know, but what’s a guy to do when he’s been in the pen? You gotta live. I didn’t ever know nothin’ but stealing.”
The fellow was weak. He was a thief and a drunkard. But he was innocent of murder —of that I was sure—and he was frightened. To him the law was always punitive, and this time it threatened his life.
I met LaTour for lunch and told him Lawlor's story. I asked him to put a man on, checking up the story, to see if we could find witnesses who could testify to seeing Lawlor where he said he had been. LaTour promised to do this.
SUCH WAS the state of our investigations when I left with Eccles for Fredericton. I was engaged there for the following two weeks with my usual business. I kept in touch with LaTour by telephone, and went over to Woifeton once to see Lawlor. There was no word of any importance from Brian who was in Rockingham, though he showered upon us daily reports of great length and some literary and imaginative merit.
Since it was apparent that Brian was not going to be able to help in court, I took Foulkes over to Woifeton with me, leaving our senior clerk in charge of the office.
We reached Woifeton the afternoon of November 16, the eve of the trial. We dined with LaTour, and learned that the AttorneyGeneral, Farquhart, was conducting the prosecution, assisted by DesBarres. This made us only the more keen to win our case. There was a healthy rivalry between DesBarres and ourselves.
LaTour liad little to show for his two weeks of investigation. Nothing more had been learned from Pecksniff or Alice Hollow. Dr. Spengler had stated that his son had dined with him that Tuesday night, and had left the house at seven-thirty with the excuse that he had some people to see before returning to Rockingham on.the ten o’clock train. Where he had spent the night, LaTour had not learned. The doctor had said that he and his son had discussed the latter’s work. The matter had been left at that. Yes, the boy had seemed excited and distrait.
There was no further word from Brian, and the usual daily effort had not appeared.
Foulkes and I worked late that night. We had. I think, a good brief when we appeared next morning in court. And on us —LaTour had said it—lay the burden of extracting from Pecksniff in court, evidence which LaTour had failed to get from him in private. Continued on page 28
Continued from page 20
The prisoner, Lawlor, cut a poor-looking figure in the box. He was dressed in his best blue serge suit, a “hand-me-down” that hung slackly about his emaciated figure. He blinked like an owl and was very pale. In matters of court room procedure he was painfully anxious to do the right thing. People craned their necks to see him, of course. It was a murder trial.
The jury was selected in record time, and it was just past eleven o’clock when Farquhart rose to open the case for the Crown. The court room was crowded, overheated and very still.
“My Lord,” Farquhart began in his fine, striking voice, “and members of the jury. In this case of the Crown versus Albert Lawlor, the Crown has a very straightforward case to put to you. We intend to show that the accused has a criminal record: that he had uttered threats against the life of the deceased, John Hollow. We shall show that these threats were no empty threats, but were uttered in a manner such as impressed witnesses who heard them. We shall show that under the influence of liquor the prisoner has committed vicious assault with murderous intent in the past, and we shall show that on the night of October the twenty-fifth the prisoner was under the influence of drink.
“Then, if it please your Lordship, we shall show that not only had the prisoner motive for the crime, and a character predisposed toward brutal crime, but that he was in possession of the weapon with which this murder was committed.
“We shall show that the prisoner had the opportunity to commit the crime, and that he was on the scene of the murder at the time it was committed.
“If it please your Lordship, there are some words of warning which the Crown would like to utter for the benefit of the jury.
“We sha., probably hear, during the course of this case, a good deal about the weakness of circumstantial evidence. There is, of course, a danger in the use of evidence which is purely circumstantial and purely unrelated. But, my Lord and members of the jury, a close and logical relation between every item in a series of evidence, in which every part bears out the whole, forms the only sort of evidence that can be considered as convincing in a case of this nature. There is never, or practically never, an eyewitness to murder. But when it is shown that a man has a murderous and criminal character, that he had motive and intent to kill, that he had possession of the weapon which was used, and that he was seen at the place of the crime at the time it was committed— then, my Lord, we have something better than the uncorrelated evidence of an eyewitness which experience and psychology show to be unreliable; then we have a logical series of evidence which points to only one conclusion.
“Finally, we are trying the prisoner for the brutal and cold-blooded murder of a man who had devoted his life to the enforcement of the law. The very stability and security of our whole legal and social structure depend on the protection which we must afford to our citizens and most particularly to those citizens whose duties are the maintenance of the law. If we are to protect ourselves against the attacks of the criminal classes, we must not be swayed by pleas for mercy, by defenses stressing the weakness of the character of the prisoner. We must be stem and strong in our duty. Punishment must be visited on the evil-doer; punishment swift, severe and certain.”
The Crown began by proving corpus delicti and adducing the medical evidence.
THEN FRANK HURLEY, a guard from the penitentiary, was called. He had been Lawlor’s escort two years previously and had heard the threats against Hollow. Lawlor had said that he would “get”
Hollow when he “came out.” The threat had sounded vicious and Hurley had thought that Lawlor would carry it into effect. The prisoner had been a troublesome one, he added. He had a bad temper.
Foulkes cross-questioned. Hurley admitted that many prisoners made threats against policemen—threats that were very seldom carried out. But—he stuck to his point—Lawlor had a long memory and his threats had sounded as though he meant them. Foulkes asked how he distinguished between threats that were meant and those that weren’t. Hurley gave no satisfactory answer, but he had made his effect on the jury.
The Attorney-General produced a certificate of conviction which was placed on exhibit. This stated that Albert Lawlor had been convicted for a violent assault on John Biggs, a taxicab driver.
Biggs was then called to the witness stand.
“On the occasion when Lawlor assaulted you,” Farquhart asked, “did you give provocation?”
“No, I did not.”
“You were beaten unconscious?”
“Is it true that the prisoner then attempted to strangle you, and would probably have killed you if he had not been pulled away by a policeman?”
We objected on the grounds that if he were unconscious he could not know .what was happening, and in this we were sustained. In cross-examination it was evinced that both he and Lawlor had been drinking.
Jenkins, a constable, testified to arresting Lawlor on the occasion of this attack on Biggs. He had been attracted by the sound of fighting and had come up in time to pull Lawlor from the prostrate Biggs. Biggs was unconscious, and Lawlor was strangling him.
Tom Bishop, the proprietor of a lunch counter which was situated a block or so from the police station, testified that Lawlor had been in his restaurant the night of Hollow’s murder.
Lawlor had entered the restaurant at seven-forty. He had been drinking and had a flask with him. Lawlor had eaten a hurried meal and had left a few minutes before a quarter past eight. Bishop was quite certain of the times; he had a clock over his counter, and always had his eye on it at this time of night. Lawlor had been wearing gloves and a long coat. He had not removed the coat in the restaurant.
The cross-examination was fruitless.
THE NEXT WITNESS was Mrs. Smith, who kept the lodging house where Lawlor had been staying. Farquhart questioned her skilfully. She was a difficult witness, garrulous, anxious for cheap publicity, and unintelligent.
She was kept well in check by Farquhart, however, and he managed to establish the following facts: Lawlor had left his room on Tuesday, the twenty-fifth of October, at seven o’clock. He had returned to her house at a few minutes after nine. Lawlor had not paid for a week in advance. Yes, she had known that he had been in the penitentiary.
On the morning of the twenty-sixth, she had not been able to find her big, bone-. handled carving knife. ;•
Yes, the knife she was now shown was hep knife.
Farquhart had the knife marked for identification. Subsequently, of course, it would be identified as the knife with which Hollow had been killed.
The witness stated that the knife had been sharpened since it had been in her possession, but she was sure of its identity. She could not say ¿when it had been taken. She had missed if on Wednesday. It was kept in her pantry. Anyone in the house might have entered the pantry. She had not used it,
nor had she had occasion to use it, for several days before she missed it. She had no other roomer at the time besides Lawlor.
“About this knife of yours, Mrs. Smith,” I began, “you used it regularly?”
“No,” she said.
“What did you want it for on Wednesday when you went to look for it?”
She hesitated, then replied:
“I didn’t want it for anything. I just noticed it wasn’t in its usual place. Then I wondered where it was and couldn’t find it.” “Was this before or after the morning paper had come?”
“You knew about the murder, then, when you looked for your knife?”
“Mrs. Smith, is this your knife?” I asked, producing a bone-handled knife very like the one on exhibit.
The witness nearly said “Yes,” then hesitated. She eyed me warily and then said: “That isn’t the one I was shown before.” “Answer my question,” I said. “Is this knife yours?”
“No,” she replied.
“How do you distinguish yours?”
“Come,” I said sharply. “Tell the court how you can distinguish your knife from this one.”
She hesitated again. Then she said, as though repeating from memory:
“I can’t name any one thing. My knife is familiar. I can tell by the feel of the handle, the weight and balance.”
“Oh. Well now, madam, this knife you were shown by my learned friend—it is yours?”
“It has, however, been sharpened?”
“But its weight and balance are still familiar to you?”
“You say you seldom used this knife?” “Not very often.”
“Yet in spite of the fact that you never used it, you are so familiar with the feel of its handle that you can swear to this knife?” “Yes.”
“You knew the defendant before he went to prison?” I asked.
“Yes, I knew him.”
“He had, in fact, lodged with you before?” “Yes, he had.” She was truculent. She saw, I think, what was coming.
“He had rejected certain advances you had made to him?”
. “I don’t know what you mean,” she said. “My Lord, I object—” from Farquhart. “My Lord,” I said, “the point is relevant and essential.”
“I cannot see substantial grounds for your objection, Mr. Farquhart,” the judge said
“Very well, my Lord.”
I turned to the witness.
“Is it not true,” I asked, “that on one occasion you had suggested to the defendant that you were looking for a suitable husband?”
“No,” she replied.
“You did not go to his room at night and he did not send you out?”
“You have no personal animus—no personal hatred toward the prisoner?”
“No. I don’t like crooks.”
“You know the meaning of perjury?”
She glowered at me, and the judge raised a reproving eyebrow.
“I have no further questions, my Lord.” Farquhart ran over the essential points
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and had the old liag identify the knife again. Then he dismissed her.
CONSTABLE FELLOWS told how he had seen Lawlor at eight-fifteen.
“You saw him clearly?” Farquhart asked. “Yes. I turned to beckon a car to pass the comer. The lights from this car fell full on Lawlor. I recognized him. I was present when Hollow arrested him.”
“There was no doubt in your mind of his identity?”
“None at all.”
“Was he about to enter or to leave the police station?”
“He was at the door, about to enter.” “Thank you, constable.”
I took the witness.
“Constable Fellows,” I said, “you saw the defendant in front of the police station the night of October the twenty-fifth at about eight-fifteen o’clock?”
“How do you know what time it was?” “The St. James chimes had just struck.” “You are certain that it was not the halfpast eight chimes you heard?”
“I am certain. The chimes differ at each quarter.”
“And it was just before or just after you heard the chimes that you saw the defendant?”
“How long before.”
“Less than a minute.”
“How do you know?”
“Well ...” He hesitated, then said: “I judge time accurately.”
“I daresay you do,” I said, “but that is not satisfactory to me. I want to know what evidence you have for stating that it was within a minute of eight-fifteen o'clock when you saw the defendant.”
“I have told you. I saw the defendant. Then the clock struck. There was no lapse of time to speak of.”
“But you have just said there was a lapse of time, maybe a minute. You know that may very well have been five minutes. You may have been day-dreaming a bit, and the time may have passed very quickly.”
“I am certain,” he said. “It was not more than a minute.”
“Very well,” I said. “You heard the chimes. Within a minute you saw Lawlor. Is that right?”
I smiled gently at the witness.
“You are not very certain of the time, are you?” I asked. “You tell the court that it was before you heard the chimes that you saw Lawlor. Then you turn round and say that it was after you heard the chimes that you saw him. Which v/as it?”
“Before I heard the chimes,” he said in a gruff voice.
“You stated,” I said, “that you saw the accused about to enter the police station?” “Yes.”
“How do you know that?” I put some slight emphasis on the “know” and I think it nettled him.
“I saw him.”
“You mean you saw him enter the station door?”
“No. I saw him about to enter the station door.”
“Did you actually see him enter?”
“Then how do you know he was about to enter?”
He did not reply immediately, so I went on:
“As a matter of fact, you saw the defendant walking along the street in front of the police station. He was not in the door when you saw him. When you say he was ‘about to enter the door’ you are merely guessing at his intentions. If you didn’t see him enter, you can have no idea that he was about to enter. Isn’t that so?”
“Well, I didn’t see him go any farther along the street.”
“No? But then how were you able to see him at all?”
“By the lights of a passing car.”
“Exactly. And when the car had passed, you could no longer see the defendant, and Continued on page 82
Continued from page 29 you do not know whether or not he entered the police station.”
‘‘He was about to enter when I saw him.” “Did you see anyone else enter or leave the police station that night?”
“Only Detective-Inspector Leyden.”
“No one else?”
“Might someone else have entered, unseen by you?”
“It is hardly likely. I was right there in front of the station.”
“Would you have seen the defendant on the pavement in front of the station if a car had not passed?”
' “Do you not stand for the most part with your back to the station?”
“Yes, I do.”
“Might not someone have entered the station that night without being seen by you?”
“I suppose so. Yes.”
Next I took him up about the knife, but failed to get him to admit that he had suggested to Mrs. Smith that the knife on exhibit was her missing knife.
Farquhart tried to secure the point that Fellows had seen Lawlor about to enter the police station. He stressed the idea of direction, and suggested that Fellows had seen the accused turn toward the door. I must say he did it very well.
Leyden, whom I now saw for the first time, was an excellent witness, and told his story in a clear, straightforward manner. He described the knife, identified the knife which was now marked for exhibit as being the weapon with which the murder had been committed, and told about the police activities in tracing Lawlor. He described how Lawlor had been detained, had attempted escape, and had finally been arrested.
I did not crossexamine.
T)ECKSNIFF WAS the next witness. He described Lawlor’s character in a most prejudiced manner. He stated that Lawlor was due to report at the police station that night as a ticket-of-leave man, and stressed the significance of this point. It was necessary, he showed, for the murderer to have a good excuse for his presence if he had been discovered in the station prior to the commission of the crime. He made the point that Corrigini was locked in his cell and could not have escaped. He laid emphasis on Lawlor’s behavior the morning of his arrest, and cast a slur on Inspector LaTour. He even intimated that LaTour was retaining me for the defense and that our motives
were dictated purely by jealousy and frustration.
This incensed me and I gave the old fellow a bad time of it in cross-examination. I took up first the question of Corrigini. “This man, Corrigini, who was locked in the cells,” I suggested, “he had reason to dislike Sergeant Hollow?”
“Yes,” Pecksniff replied. “Hollow arrested him. He resisted arrest, and Hollow mauled him.”
“He was in the police station the night of Hollow’s murder?”
“Yes—locked in the cells.”
“Did you examine the cells to see if he had broken out?”
“No, of course not. He was there in the morning.”
“There was, then,” I said, “Corrigini, Durham and yourself in the station at the time of the murder?”
“Yes,” he replied.
“And there is nothing to show that the accused was there,” I said casually. “Well, you knew nothing about the murder until you heard Mr. Leyden call?”
“Then events transpired as have been related in this court?”
“Did you hear Mr. Leyden enter the station?”
“You were sitting at your desk?”
“I was at work.”
“Now, you have said. Chief Pecksniff, that there was no one else in the police station between eight and eight-thirty o’clock that night. That is so?”
“There was no one there whose presence is relevant as evidence.”
“I think the court should be judge of relevancy,” I said sharply.
“Who was there with you?”
“I have not said there was anyone.”
“But there was. Who was it?”
“You must answer.”
“My Lord—” Farquhart began, but the judge cut him short.
“The witness is to answer the question,” he said.
Pecksniff was silent. His great face was pale.
“Robert Spengler was there with you,” I said accusingly.
He started as though pricked with a spur. He looked at me, his eyes staring.
“No,” he said. “It was Dr. Spengler, his father.” To be Continued