Creffield and the Holy Rollers made page one headlines from 1903 to 1907. When I was researching Holy Rollers: Murder and Madness in Oregon’s Love Cult I spent months transcribing hundreds of articles. I’m not sure why I was so obsessive. Maybe it was my way of immersing my self into a cult without joining one. Anyway, I’m posting them all for those who are really interested in the story, or are interested the history of journalism, or are interested in how a scandalous story played out in the "media" in a by gone era. Since I no doubt made typos and unconsciously corrected papers' typos, these web pages should not be cited in anything serious (e.g. your dissertation). For such projects they should only be used as starting points and you should refer to the original sources. If you want a shorter version of the story, buy my book. Enjoy.
June 28, 1906: Jury Is Secured To Try Mitchell
Seattle Star 6/28/1906 p1
State and Defense Weed Out Jurors
One half of the peremptory challenges allowed to state and defendant in the murder trial of George Mitchell had been exercised, and the places of the men challenged filled by other men at the time court adjourned for the noon recess today.
The state has exercised three of its six challenges, and the defense has exercised six of its twelve, and the nine places thus made vacant had been filled by others called and examined. The state’s fourth peremptory challenge was exercised shortly before the noon adjournment and J. W. Bovee, a paperhanger of Dunlap had been called to the box for examination. He had been examined by the attorneys for the state, but not examined by the defense.
In case the state and the defense choose to exercise all their peremptory challenges, it will be necessary to accept nine more jury men. Whether they will do so, neither side is willing to say, so the court is proceeding deliberately with the examination of jury men called to take the places of those dismissed under challenge.
During the morning session of the trial today the state dismissed two jury men and defense two. The state challenged M. F. White and J. C. Adams, and the defense challenged Thomas Olin and Chas. Sheldon. The place of White was taken by J. R. Hall, a cement contractor who lives at Green Lake and who, after a searching examination and cross-examination, failed to develop any bias or weakness which could be urged as an objection against hem. The places of Olin and Sheldon were taken by Clyde Wetmore, a mechanic of 2206 Rainier boulevard, and George W. Arnold, a painter of 2624 E. Union st. Before Wetmore was called to the place vacated by Olin, A. D. Reed was called to the jury box, but was promptly dismissed when in reply to a question he stated that he had already formed an opinion concerning the guilt or innocence of the defendant.
EXCUSED UNTIL MONDAY
At the opening of the trial Judge Frater announced from the bench that all of the witnesses for the defense would be excused until Monday morning. The attorneys for the defense objected to this proceeding and asked to have their objections entered on the records of the court, which was done. After a consultation between the court and Prosecuting Attorney Mackintosh, this order was rescinded and the defendant’s witnesses who were in court were instructed to remain in attendance. The witnesses for the state were dismissed Tuesday morning until tomorrow morning. It is now anticipated that the taking of testimony will be begun some time tomorrow.
The crowd of women, who attended the sessions of the trial religiously for the first two days and mysteriously disappeared from the court room yesterday morning, returned in full force again yesterday, only to disappear this morning again, with the exception of one or two who remained only a short time after the court convened.
Morning Oregonian (Portland) 6/28/1906. p1
New Tack Taken By The Defense
Blood Avenged Esther Mitchell’s Ruin.
Plea Of Brother’s Lawyers
Leave Wrong Done Mrs. Starr Out Of Consideration.
Law Had Righted That
Change In Front Due To Attacks By Prosecution--Jury Not Yet Secured To Try The Slayer Of Creffield.
by George White.
SEATTLE, June 27.--(Staff correspondence.)-- The third day of the Mitchell Creffield murder trial in the Superior Court failed to be productive of a jury. Twelve men who can dispassionately decide whether Mitchell is entitled to be acquitted for avenging the dishonor of his sisters, or to be found guilty of murder for shooting the Holy Roller prophet down in cold blood are hard to find. When court closed for the day the case to all intents was in substantially the same status as at the close of Tuesday’s session.
There were 12 men in the jury box, all had qualified and had been passed for cause, but only six out of 18 peremptory challenges had been used, and it is known that there are several talesmen in the jury box who will not be allowed to remain there. When court convenes again in the morning a peremptory challenge will be issued by the state, and the tedious work of examining talesmen will be renewed.
MAY TAKE DAYS MORE
It is doubted by those conducting the case if the jury will be completed before the end of the week. The defense is entitled to eight more peremptory challenges and the state to four. Today a mere handful of talesmen were examined, an hour or more being devoted to each. As each talesman that qualified took his seat there would be a breathless pause in court; for with 12 qualified men in the box the vain hope was entertained that the challenging would cease.
To those who are here from Oregon as witnesses this tedious proceeding is particularly wearisome. All are anxious to have the case get under way so that they may give their testimony and return to take up their business affairs at home.
There was much legal quibbling this morning, and also at the afternoon session. An apparent effort was made by both sides to influence talesmen through statements of the case adroitly presented in the guise of questions on examination. Judge Frater finally took a recess, summoned the attorneys to the bench and suggested that this unheard-of method of examination be dispensed with. It was accordingly dropped, to a great extent.
NEW PHASE OF CASE
During the examination of talesmen late this afternoon a new phase of defense was developed, one that shoes that Mitchell is even more firmly entrenched than is generally known. It serves as an offset to the claim of the State that Mitchell avenged a wrong which had already been righted by the law when he shot Creffield for the betrayal of Mrs. Starr, his married sister.
Mr. Morris, counsel for the defendant asserted that it was in protection of his younger sister, Esther, that Mitchell acted. Having learned the fate of Mrs. Starr, he feared for the welfare of his younger sister when he found she had been brought under the bestial influence of the Holy Roller leader. He had tried to divert her from her determination to follow Creffield, Mr. Morris said. Failing in this, he killed the man whose blighting influence was luring the girl to ruin.
Regardless of vigorous protests from the State, Mr. Morris succeeded in presenting this aspect of the case in the form of a question to M. F. White, the last talesman to be examined at the afternoon session.
Mr. White, who is an ex-police magistrate and justice of the peace, declared unequivocally that under like circumstances he would probably have shot Creffield. This statement, coming from such a source, made a deep impression in the court room. While still in the jury box, not having been disqualified, it is believed White will be challenged by the state the first thing in the morning because of his bold assertion.
Court had no sooner convened for the morning session than announcement was made by Prosecutor Mackintosh that attorneys on both sides of the case had agreed to exclude George Bill from the jury box. It is understood that Bill was not regarded as a satisfactory juror, even though he qualified readily. Neither side had any specific objection to him. By agreeing to his dismissal they saved valuable peremptory ammunition. Bill is of Indian descent and has no family ties.
L. G. Sheldon, of Seattle, was called to the jury box in Bill’s stead. Upon this talesman the attorneys spent nearly all the morning session. It was during his examination that Attorney Shipley, representing Mitchell, went into a phase of the case that is relatively new to the public mind--that of Creffield’s dealings with the prisoner’s younger sister, Esther. By disguising the statement in the form of an interrogation, in order that it might be admitted by the court, Mr. Shipley told of the causes that led up to Esther's mental derangement.
RUINED THE GIRL’S LIFE
He said the Holy Roller prophet found her a young and pure-minded girl of 15 and that under the blighting influences of his teachings and fanatical practices she had been robbed of her reason, had been converted into a hopeless monomaniac who stood apart from the brother that killed the reptile, who yet adhered to a belief that the brute would return from his place of torture, and believed the wrath of God was aroused because her brother killed the wretch, and because her sister, Mrs. Starr, came here from Portland ostensibly to aid their brother in his battle for life and liberty.
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Miller interrupted this recital of the prisoner’s wrongs. He objected to the uncomplimentary epithets applied to the deceased, obviously intended to work on the sensibilities and sympathies of the talesmen then in the jury box. He asked that counsel for the defense be instructed to desist from such methods. This stand was supported by Judge Frater, who said both state and defense might well be more explicit and direct in their methods of examining talesmen.
LEAVES OUT THE EPITHETS
Mr. Shipley then repeated his question, leaving out the epithets he had applied to Creffield. The question was again objected to on similar ground and the objection was sustained. It was apparent that the talesmen were affected by the counsel’s word picture of Creffieldism. The talesman under examination finally qualified and was passed for cause.
Sheldon having qualified, there was a stirring in the courtroom. Twelve men were now in the jury box and should there be no peremptory challenges, the taking of testimony could be proceeded with at once. The attorneys held whispered consultations for a few moments. Then Attorney Morris arose and issued the first challenge for the defense. He challenged R. F. Fisher, a Seattle druggist, who qualified for service on Monday.
J. C. Adams was called to the vacant seat in the box. He was questioned carefully. He qualified. Again there were 12 men on hand and the possibility existed that a jury had been completed.
CHALLENGES A SINGLE MAN
But the defense promptly made its second challenge, letting out H. A. C. Thompson, a barber. Thompson is a single man, and while he qualified on Monday, he gave the impression of being a strict advocate of law-enforcement in all cases.
W. L. Evans was called next and he qualified, whereupon the state challenged John Simms, a King County farmer, who qualified on Tuesday.
Thomas B. Doyle, who replaced Simms was promptly excused by Judge Frater because of his admitted prejudice against Creffield and his unholy practices. Thomas Olin, of Seattle, was sworn in for examination at the hour for noon adjournment. Thus at noon, the matter of selecting a jury was in exactly the same position as when the court convened at 9:30 A. M.
Talesman Olin qualified easily when court was called for the afternoon session. The defense then challenged Talesman French, who was passed for cause on Tuesday. S. A. White, who was called in his place, had an unalterable opinion, and was excused.
E. J. Quinn, who succeeded White, was disqualified, being in sympathy with the prisoner. N. O’Malley and Phillip Peterson were likewise excused, having formed opinions.
Object to Old Resident.
H. A. Terwilliger, an old-time resident of Seattle, succeeded in qualifying, in face of protests from the defense, who thought he was prejudiced for the defendant. Accordingly the defendant’s counsel got rid of him through a peremptory challenge. M. F. White was called in his place and was qualified immediately before the closing of court for the day.
The special venire of 60 talesmen was exhausted in the afternoon and a dozen men were secured from division No. 5 to fill out the afternoon. This evening the Sheriff is serving notices on a second special venire of 30 talesmen, who will be in court tomorrow.
The men in the jury-box at the close of the day’s work were:
John F. Dore, newspaper reporter; W. I. Evans, rancher; Harry Thompson, Civil War veteran and retired mining man; F. M. Townsend, City Water Works employee; M. H. Ring, Postal Service employee; Thomas Olin; civil engineer; Charles Sheldon, collector; L. F. Jones, rancher; M. F. White, theater employee; Fred Clinton, cook, and W. C. Howard, saloon and hotel keeper.
HEADLINES IN DIFFERENT PAPERS FOR THE SAME ARTICLE
Seattle Daily Times 6/28/1906 p1
Mitchell Meets His Aged Father
Parent of Young Man Accused of the Murder of “Joshua” Creffield Comes From Home in Illinois to Aid His Boy.
Evening Telegram (Portland) 6/28/1906 p3
No Headway Made in Mitchell Case.”
Proceedings Tedious and the Fourth Day Passes Without Selection of Jury.
by Walter Deffenbaugh
George Mitchell did not take much interest in the fourth day of the tedious process of selecting the men who are to decide whether he is a murderer or a mere follower of that unwritten code of human law which is headed by the old injunction, “An eye for an eye,” and which in its more modern form resolves itself into the doctrine that a wrong committed against the women folk (sic) of a household is punishable by death at the hands of the ablest male relative.
It was tedious for every one concerned. A penny firecracker would have awakened half the courtroom with a start. Two of the men in the jury box shamelessly slumbered during a good portion of the day. Prosecuting Attorney Mackintosh spent his periods of leisure in the seclusion of the bailiff’s easy chair and occasionally jumped up with a start. John F. Miller was much interested in the building operations going on outside, which juror Dore, from an advantageous point near the window seemed to be superintending. Mitchell’s attorneys’s Morris and Shipley, were mainly occupied in tabulating their notes upon the talesmen left in the box.
Only Mitchell, the defendant, was alert, but his mind was occupied elsewhere. Every time the door opened he turned his head and time and again his eager eyes scanned the faces of the spectators seats. He was looking constantly for the appearance of his father. Their relationship has not been as close as those which exist in more fortunate and more ideal families. They have been separated during much of the young man’s more mature years. The father had little to offer a son, poverty and loss of the boy’s mother through death robbing the home of much of its attractions, but he has done his best, and in this hour of his boy’s need he has come from his home in Mount Vernon, Ill., to be with him, come what may. It has been seven years since they met, the last time under more cheerful surroundings. Much has happened since that time. The youth has become a men. The daughters have been led into strange paths and disgraceful associations. The weird teachings of a self-styled prophet have poisoned their minds and broken up their home. The lust of a man has turned him from a religious fanatic into a thinly-veiled sensualist and these daughters have been his victims.
COMES TO DO HIS BEST
It is not such a condition as any father could face with pride. Some men would have stayed away from a scene of this sort. But these children are his children, and this boy, thrust into the position of the male protector of his sisters, has done his duty as he saw it. The result is an accusation of murder, and the father has come to do what he can for his children, and if possible to reunite his family.
It was this face that Mitchell was seeking all the morning. It was the expectation of the appearance of this smooth-shaven man of 57 years, slightly stooped, browned by toil, and with hairs scattered with the gray of long years and recent sorrow, which robbed the details of the preliminaries of the trial of the interest which are ordinarily as absorbing to him as the glistening, tingling knives of surgeons are to the man upon an operating table.
This was the affair of his attorneys. It was their part. They did not even tell him what was going on. But this was his own father. This was his affair. No one else had any part in that. And so he waited and watched and strained his eyes, watching for this old man to come.
MEETS HIS FATHER
They met early in the morning, before the trial opened for the day, down in the little cell off the jailer’s office. It only lasted two minutes, this meeting, and it was as simple as it was brief. They are both men of few words. It was a clasp of hands, a mutual assurance of pleasure at the reunion, inquiries as to health, and that was about all. The Mitchell family is not emotional and the meeting was not dramatic. It was the silent expression of everything sentimental, exemplified by men who have been used all their lives to struggle and fight and sorrow alone without a sign to the world of the fire of feeling which burns within them.
The elder Mitchell left to see his other children and old friends who pace the streets of this unaccustomed city which was made the scene in the final act of the tragedy which has ruined many of their lives. But he promised to come to the court room and it was for this return that young Mitchell watched and waited.
WEEDING OUT JURY
And while he waited, the attorneys, tired out and disgusted with their own bickerings, yawned and mechanically went through the careful process of weeding out twelve acceptable jurors from the flock of venire men.
The first special venire of sixty had been exhausted the evening before. All but twenty-seven of them had succeeded in escaping service. The others had either been excused or were seated in the box. While deputy sheriffs scurried all over the county in search of the newly chosen thirty, the attorneys busied themselves with the remnant or the regular panel, available from other court rooms.
Yesterday afternoon Thomas Olin of Preston was called to the box to take the place of J. J. Sinn; challenged by the state. C. W. French was then challenged by the defense. I. a. White, E. J. Quinn and Philip Petersen, a rancher of Cedar Mountain, were called in succession and excused because they had formed an opinion of the case.
This exhausted the available jurors and while the court awaited the arrival of available men from another court, Wilmon Tucker and Homer turner, the jury commissioners determined (??) the new venire of thirty ordered by the court. One odd circumstance in this ceremony was that Mr. Tucker drew from the box the name of his father, T. D. Tucker of Kent. The names of the men drawn are as follows.
NEW MEN CALLED
Dan Belard, Fifth Ward, Fourth Precinct; H. A. Keech, Suise Creek; P. Olsen, Eighth Ward, First Precinct, T. England, Meeker; E. Tucker, Seventh Ward, Sixth Precinct; D. P. McClure, Columbia; J. Goodhead, Black Diamond; M. N. Ogle, Ninth Ward, Seventh Precinct; O. D. Graves, Seventh Ward, fourth Precinct; Max Harrison, Second Ward, Second Precinct; William T. Griffith, Black Diamond; John Rindall, Cove; S. W. Harman, Eighth Ward, Fourth Precinct; Julius Koch, Third Ward, First Precinct; P. J. Paulus, First Ward, Fifth Precinct; A. W. Seely, Juanita; Fred Blenkin, Ninth Ward, Fourth Precinct; W. H. Fonda, Third Ward, Second Precinct; Wright King, Berlin; James Hart, Christopher; C. E. Green, Fifth Ward, Sixth Precinct; C. E. Tibbetts, Gillman; B. B. Dearborn, Forth Ward, First Precinct; E. O. Erickson, Second Ward, First Precinct, Ballard; T. D. Tucker, Kent; Walter Warnock, Franklin; C. F. Mitchell, first Ward, Second Precinct; L. H. Schavitzer, Georgetown; L. Wodeen, Auburn.
In the meantime the expected jurors had arrived and H. A. Terwilliger, an elevator man in the Sullivan Block, was called to the vacant seat. He was peremptorily challenged by Mr. Morris who had brought out the fact that he had been employed for four years in the Union Building where Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, John F. Miller had an office prior to his present term. M. F. White then took the chair and court was adjourned.
Mr. White was excused this morning on the third peremptory challenge of the state. R. Hall, a contractor, of 6540 Green Lake Boulevard, was called to the chair and passed for cause.
Mr. Terwilliger was excused upon the fourth exercise of the right of the defense, and Clyde Wetmore, of 2205 Rainier Boulevard, an employee of the Seattle, Renton & Southern Railway was passed.
Thomas Olin, who had been accepted last evening was then excused by the defense and A. D. Reed of Ballard was called. He had an opinion and was excused. George W. Arnold, a painter of 2624 East Union Street, was passed for cause.
The state then excused J. C. Adams and the defense followed with a challenge of Charles L. Sheldon. There seems no chance of obtaining a jury today.
There was a difficulty this morning over the witnesses for the defense. The appeared to claim their fees for attendance and this application was at first overruled by Judge Frater. He was finally induced by the attorneys for the defense to reconsider this and allowed the fees. He ordered, however, that they be excused until Monday Morning. This order was strenuously resisted by Mr. Morris, who said that he had done everything possible to save expense to the state and had only subpoenaed such witnesses as were absolutely necessary. He complained that the ruling of the court would work an unjust hardship upon these witnesses, who had been compelled to leave their homes and occupations to come to Seattle. The court replied that he would reserve his decision.
In commenting upon this feature of the case Mr. Morris said that the application had been made for sixteen witnesses who were vitally necessary to the defense, and that no fees had been claimed for the others who had come of their own volition before they were needed. He said that he would feel that he had subjected himself to charges which would justify his disbarment if he had not taken the precautions to have these witnesses ready when called upon to make his defense, and that they were fully entitled to their fees. The prosecuting attorney took no part in the discussion.
Seattle Post Intelligencer 6/28/1906 p1
Special Venire In Mitchell’s Trial.”
Thirty More Talesmen’s Names Drawn To Supply Deficiency
Efforts Of Court To Shorten Preliminaries Prove Unavailing.
When the court in the Mitchell case adjourned last evening, the state had used two of its peremptory challenges, and the defense four. with a total of twelve such challenges left, it was found necessary to draw a new list of thirty talesmen, who are summoned to be present in court this morning, or as soon afterwards as they can be notified.
The twelve men in the jury box at closing hour, in order, were:
John F. Dore, newspaperman, Seattle; W. I. Evans, rancher, Derby; H. a. C. Thompson, retired, Seattle; J. C. Adams, contractor, Hillman City; F. M. Townsend, city water department, Seattle; M. H. Ring, post office, Seattle; Thomas Olin, civil engineer, Preston; Charles Sheldon; collector, Seattle; L. F. Jones, farmer, Enumclaw; M. f. White, of Pantages theater, Seattle; Fred Clinton, cook Vashon; W. C. Howard, saloon man, Seattle.
“I would shoot that man,” was M. F. white’s answer to a question asked with the object of ascertaining his mental attitude towards the man who would attempt crimes involving the women of his own household.
A long interrogation, propounded by Attorney Silas M. Shipley during the morning session, was at once objected to by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney John F. Miller, on the grounds that illegal terms, such as “brute,” had been used. Mr. Miller asked that the defense be warned against asking questions which he declared were distinctly objectionable, and were propounded with the object of prejudicing the juror’s minds.
Court sustained the objection and asked attorneys on both sides to refrain from interrogation of that character. Mr. Shipley immediately asked a question almost as long, and on the same subject, but omitting the specific words objected to. Objection to this was sustained.
FIRST JUROR EXCUSED
The first juror to be excused yesterday morning was the Cedar Mountain miner, George Bill, who was dismissed by stipulation of the attorneys. Sheldon took his position. Then the defense challenged R. E. Fisher, of Seattle, peremptorily, and Adams took his place.
The defense’s second challenge fell on J. Simpson, a barber of Kent. W. I. Evans, who was called in his place said he was “not anxious to be here,” but he remained.
The state’s second peremptory challenge was exercised on John Sinn, of Novelty. Thomas B. Doyle of Terry avenue, bookkeeper, thought his prejudice in favor of a man’s supposed right to assassinate another could not be overcome by regard for instructions of the court, and Thomas Olin, of Preston took the place.
The next man to go was C. W. French, of Enumclaw whose chair proved a hard one to fill. I. a. White, of Seattle, the first candidate, had a fixed opinion, as had E. J. Quinn, of Seattle, who followed him. Phillip N. O’Malley at first was not quite so sure, but finally owned up. Philip Petersen, a rancher of Cedar mountain said he had a “partial” opinion, having read only one side of the case. He was excused after Mr. Mackintosh had labored on his case about an hour.
This exhausted the list of jurors available, but it was reported that a jury from department No. 3 would in all probability, soon be available. In the meantime Wilmon Tucker and Homer Turner, jury commissioners were summoned and the additional veniremen were drawn.
Of the panel from the civil action, H. A. Terwilliger, and elevator man, of Seattle was passed for cause, despite objections of the defense. Mr. Morris immediately challenged him. The chair was filled by the next candidate, M. F. White and the day’s proceedings ended.
Today the attorneys will find material for a time in the remaining ten of the old panel and in the special talesmen. Neither side is willing to indicate whether it intends to exhaust all its challenges, though it is broadly hinted that there was more than one man on the jury last evening who will have to go. The length of these preliminary proceedings bid fair to last the entire day and well into tomorrow.
The accused man displays little emotion during the trial. At times he appears to watch a juror who is being questioned very closely; at others he seems to give little heed to the case. His demeanor is quiet, even sober, at all times, thought the audience may be disposed for a moment to forget the fact that the life of a human being is being weighed in the balance.
In addition to the witnesses already mentioned as present from Oregon, Millton Beem of Tidewater; Charles Shires, of Carlton, and H. R. Morris, of Yaquina Bay, were in the courtroom yesterday.
Seattle Post Intelligencer 6/28/1906 p5
Thirty More Named as Special Jurors
The special veniremen whose names were drawn yesterday, and who are summoned to attend this morning at the Mitchell trial are:
Dan Belard, Fifth ward, Fourth precinct; (etc)
Morning Oregonian (Portland) 6/29/1906 p1
Jury Is Secured To Try Mitchell
Taking Of Testimony Will Be Begun In Creffield Case Today.
Crowd Fills Courtroom
Murder Trial The Sensation Of The Hour In Seattle--Prosecution Hopes For Manslaughter Verdict. Homicide’s Father Arrives.
In a box:
JURORS WHO WILL TRY THE CREFFIELD MURDER CASE.
The jurors who will decide as to the guilt or innocence of George Mitchell, the slayer of Creffield are: W. S. Perkins, etc.
by George White
SEATTLE, Wash, June 28.-- (Staff Correspondence.)-- The jury of 12 men that will try George Mitchell for the killing of Edmund Creffield, the holy Roller leader, was completed late this afternoon. At a moment when all hope of securing a jury today had been abandoned, the attorneys on both sides announced that they had no further challenges to make. The whole courtroom, spectators, lawyers, witnesses, Judge and prisoner gave one great sigh of relief. The monotonous routine of examining talesmen had grown unbearably wearisome and oppressive after four days. The jury was at once sworn in and sent to the jury-room.
The taking of testimony will be commenced in the morning at 9:300 o’clock. The prosecution will first make its opening statement of the case, then witnesses will be examined and cross examined, and the case for the state closed. Prosecuting attorney Mackintosh states this afternoon that he can complete his side of the case by tomorrow night, unless delayed by protracted cross examination. Attorney Morris arose to assure him that the cross-examination of the State’s witnesses would be exceptionally brief.
Mr. Mackintosh will not go into the intricacies of the case. He will introduce only such testimony as is required to establish the killing of Creffield by Mitchell, and the time, manner and place in which the killing was done. For this purpose Maud Creffield, widow of the deceased, will be placed on the stand during the day, as will also two policemen, two doctors and a Seattle newspaper reporter who saw the shooting. This will end the case for the state.
EXPECT ONLY MANSLAUGHTER
A rigid interpretation of the law of homicide will be depended upon for conviction. A verdict of voluntary man slaughter is said to be the prosecution’s greatest hope. The testimony for the defense will be far more exhaustive. Attorneys Morris and Shipley state this evening that the greater part of next week will be required to examine all their witnesses. They hope, however, to have the case in the hands of the jury by the end of next week. They will have experts on hand to testify as to Mitchell’s probable mental state at the time of the killing. Holy Roller followers will be called upon to explain Creffield’s teaching; Mrs. B. E. Starr, a sister of Mitchell, will be required to tell of her relations with Creffield, and Miss Esther Mitchell, the unmarried sister, will be called to the stand for a similar purpose. It is upon Creffield’s alleged attitude toward Esther Mitchell that the greatest hope of defense is based.
Yet this hope may be a vain one. It may be that Creffield’s unholy teachings as founder of the Holy Roller cult will operate, through the sister of the man who killed the fanatic, to send Mitchell to prison or the gallows. This is a thing that a week ago would not have been given a second thought. But today it is a matter of concern to the boy defendant, George Mitchell, and his legal representatives. They are looking upon the Holy Roller revival started by Esther Mitchell with grave apprehension.
AFFECTS MANY WITNESSES
In as much as several of the most important witnesses for the defense were followers of Creffield it is feared the revival will influence them on the witness stand. Being fanatics who looked upon law and organized society as oppressors of their prophet and of themselves, it is not known just what stand may be taken by them in their testimony, or whether they will confine themselves to the facts if these facts might tend to exonerate Mitchell.
The attitude of Mitchell’s two sisters shows the strength of Creffield’s influence, even now that he is in his grave. Esther has stood out against her brother from the first. Although the brother and sister were devoted to each other before Creffield’s advent, Esther now takes the stand that God is angry with her brother and that the wrong he has done in killing Creffield must be atoned for.
Mrs. Burgess E. Starr, the married sister whose husband sent Creffield to the Oregon penitentiary on a statutory charge, has now taken a similar stand. This is what causes uneasiness in the camp of the defense.
When Mrs. Starr came to Seattle the first of the week, she said she was determined to assist her brother to get clear. She appeared to be done with Holy Rollerism, and her husband had forgiven all her past misdeeds and taken her back under his roof. All seemed well until she reached Seattle and went to call on Esther. Esther, in the matron’s charge at the city jail, refused to see her.
SHE SEEKS AN EXPLANATION
Requesting an explanation of this queer treatment from her own sister, Mrs. Starr was informed that Esther believed Mrs. Starr had displeased God by coming to her brother’s aid.
This incident occurred at noon on Monday. Mrs. Starr had been in court all forenoon. She did not appear at the afternoon session. After he first called on Esther she became uncommunicative and since then her husband has been unable to get her to talk. His worst fears were confirmed today when Mrs. Starr called on Esther again, sent her a message privately, and was immediately received.
There seems little doubt that Mrs. Starr gave Esther some sort of assurance as to her attitude towards her brother George.
It is asserted by those interested in the trial that if Mitchell is convicted in the murder in any degree, even of manslaughter, he will have his own sisters to thank.
Other Rollers who have been subpoenaed by the defense and who may be affected in their testimony are Maud Hurt Creffield, the widow, Olive Sandall, Attie Bray, May Hurt, Frank Hurt and Mrs. Frank Hurt, all of Corvallis and vicinity.
MITCHELL’S FATHER ARRIVES
Today Mitchell’s aged father arrived in Seattle to be with his son in his hour of trouble. The elder Mitchell came from his farm at Mount Vernon, Ill. He is a man of very small means and could not well afford the trip, but by closest economy and denying himself many things he was able to come. He will be able to put up little or no money for his son’s defense. Father and son met at the King County jail this morning. It was the first time they had seen each other for seven years, but there was nothing dramatic about the meeting.
Neither is of demonstrative temperament. There was a simple shaking of hands, a brief exchange of greetings and then the two engaged in conversation regarding family matters. Five minutes later the son was taken into the Superior court, while the father returned downtown. He did not appear in court during the day.
It is a sad family reunion that the elder Mitchell has come to. Seven years ago when the mother died, the home was broken up and the children came to Oregon. The father had not seen his children since until today.
Interest in the trial has increased rather than diminished. Today every seat and every inch of standing room in the spacious courtroom was occupied. Dozens of people were turned away. Standing room will probably be at a greater premium tomorrow and during the remainder of the trial when evidence is being taken.
PROCEEDINGS VERY DULL
Today’s proceedings were very similar to those of the past three days, being dry in the extreme. as forecasted yesterday, Talesman M. f. White was peremptorily challenged by the state when court convened this morning. Although a former Police Magistrate and Justice of the Peace of several years standing, Mr. White declared in open court Wednesday that he would have acted just as Mitchell did. He was succeeded in the jury box by J. R. Hall, a Seattle contractor, who qualified. T. J. Olin was then challenged, and George W. Allen qualified in his place. The next talesman to be challenged was Harry Thompson, and after two talesmen failed to qualify because of being prejudiced, Emil Rex was passed for cause. H. E. Start was the last talesman to qualify before the jury was accepted. The defense had made eight challenges and the state four.
The defense was called upon for its ninth challenge. Attorneys Morris and Shipley held a brief consultation.
“May it please the court, the defense accepts the jury as it now stands,” said Attorney Morris. “We have no further challenges to make,” added Assistant Prosecutor Miller.
These announcements came as a surprise. It was believed in the courtroom that at least one challenge would be made by the state and possibly two by the defense.
Immediately before court adjourned for the day Attorney Morris arose and demanded that Esther Mitchell be brought into court in the morning. He asserted that she had been acting in a dilatory manner and had refused to be seen. He also hinted that Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Miller had given orders that she be kept in confinement, thus hiding her in avoiding interview with her brother’s attorneys.
The girl is wanted as a witness for the defense, despite her attitude towards her brother. Mr. Morris insisted that she be escorted into his presence that he may interview her tomorrow, Judge Frater so ordered.