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 29, 1906: Trial is Now on in Earnest


Kenneth MackintoshSeattle Star 6/29/1906 p1

Mitchell Trial is Now on in Earnest

Jury Secured Yesterday Afternoon and Trial Begins This Morning With the Address of Deputy Prosecuting Miller.


(In a box)


W. S. Perkins, farmer and former mill hand of Brighton Beach.

H. E. Start, rancher, Vashon Island.

M. O. Rex, restaurant keeper, of Seattle.

J. W. Boves, paperhanger, Dunlap.

F. M. Townsend, city water department, Seattle.

M. H. Ring, post office, Seattle.

Clyde Wetmore, clerk, Seattle.

George W. Arnold, painter and grocer, Seattle.

L. F. Jones, rancher, Enumclaw.

J. R. Hall, cement contractor, Seattle.

Fred Clinton, cook, Vashon Island.

W. C. Howard, hotel man, Seattle.



The original telegram sent by George Mitchell to O. V. hurt, of Corvallis, Ore., immediately after the killing of Franz Edmund Creffield has been carefully preserved and is offered to the jury on the Mitchell murder trial as an important bit of testimony, both showing that Mitchell did the killing and that at the time he did so he was in a cool, sound frame of mind.


This fact came out in the opening statement made this morning by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney John Miller. Judge Miller in his statement recited the circumstances of the killing, following closely the published accounts of the tragedy. He gave the names of the eye-witnesses to the crime, and what the state would attempt to prove by each one. He wound up his statement with the declaration that when these facts had been proven to the satisfaction of the jury, the state would ask for a verdict of guilty as charged.




The telegram which forms so important a link in the chain of evidence was written by Mitchell in the police station three minutes after he had arrived there after his arrest. Mitchell had asked for a telegram blank, and when it was handed him wrote:

“O. V. Hurt, Corvallis, Ore.


“I’ve got my man. Am in jail here.



Hurt is the father of the wife of Creffield, and since the shooting has taken an active part in raising money for the defense of his son-in-law’s slayer.


The defense reserved the statement of its case until a later time.


The first witness called by the state was Dr. F. M. Carroll, county coroner. as he was not present, the state called Dr. Bories, who held the autopsy over Creffield’s dead body.




The story of the killing of Creffield by Mitchell, as told on the witness stand this morning by half a dozen witnesses introduced by the attorneys for the stat, tallies in every essential particular with the stories of the killing published in The Star at the time of the tragedy.


So far as developed during the examination of the first half dozen witnesses there were no actual eye witnesses to the shooting. Many people heard the report of the fatal shot and looked towards or hastened to the scene of the crime, several arriving on the spot within the first minute or two after it occurred. Among there were J. Tuchten, a diamond setter in the employ of Mayer Bros; John a. Whalley, an insurance man; Dr. W. C. Capps, a physician, and Peter Wooley, a bootblack.




All four of these witnesses were on the stand during the morning session of the court, as were also Dr. F. M. Carroll, county coroner, and Dr. Emil Bories, who was present at the autopsy. The four eye witnesses to the events immediately following the tragedy told practically the same story. At the time the shot was fired each was engaged at his place of business, except Tuchten, who was on the streets, and all four heard the shot.


All rushed to the scene of the tragedy, except Dr. Capps, who hastened to the window of his office, in the Washington block, directly across the street. All testified that Mrs. Creffield, who was with her husband at the time he was killed, berated Mitchell for killing him, striking him with her arms and hands, while Mitchell endeavored to ward off the blows by guarding his body with his arms.


When shot, Creffield sank to the ground without a word or apparent conscious effort, and the medical experts testified that from the nature of the wound, death must have been instantaneous and without pain. The attorneys for the defense laid special stress on the fact that death came at once and also on the fact that the defendant did not show any excitement and made no effort whatever to escape after having committed the crime. To bring out these two facts was about the extent of their cross examination of the several witnesses.




Throughout the morning session the examination of witnesses was conducted in an almost perfunctory manner. The state had summoned a dozen witnesses and the facts tending to prove the killing were well substantiated and virtually confessed by the defense. The defense, for instance, admitted the identification of the accused as the man present at the time the killing took place and admitted that Mrs. Creffield, who was called into the court room for identification, was the woman present.


An effort was made by the defense to get from the witnesses a statement of the words addressed by Mrs. Creffield to the prostrate body of her husband after he had been shot, but on the objection of the state this evidence was denied admission by the court as immaterial. The words which the defense desired to bring out were those in which Mrs. Creffield declared that it was impossible for anyone to take the life of “Joshua.”




As has already been many times related the shooting occurred on the east side of Second av. between Cherry and Columbia Sts. near the entrance to Quick’s drug store. Mitchell fired the shot from behind and the ball from his revolver entered the neck of Creffield, severing the spinal cord. Mrs. Creffield turned immediately upon Mitchell and demanded to know why he had committed the deed, saying, “He never did you any harm; why did you want to shoot him?”


The sound of the shot immediately attracted a crowd of spectators, and among them Police Officer LeCount, who place Mitchell under arrest and turned him over to two other officers who had come in the patrol wagon, after having first taken away Mitchell’s revolver.


On the witness stand this morning Dr. Bories produced the bullet with which Creffield was shot, it having been cut from the dead man’s body in the course of the post-mortem examination.




The work of procuring a jury in the Mitchell murder trial came to a sudden and somewhat unexpected end at 4:30 yesterday afternoon, when Attorney William H. Morris for the accused, announced that the defense was satisfied with the panel as it stood.


The defense was still entitled to four more peremptory challenges and the state to two more, had they chosen to exercise them, but the announcement on behalf of the defense that the jury was satisfactory was immediately followed by a similar announcement on behalf of the state.



Seattle Post Intelligencer 6/29/1906 p1

Evidence Against Mitchell Today

State Will Place In Stand Witnesses Of Death Of Creffield

Case Will Be Brief One

Probable Defense Will Begin To Present Evidence Before Night


The trial of George Mitchell, on the charge of murdering Edwin Creffield, May 7, last, will begin in earnest this morning. The jurors are all drawn, and it is probable that before court adjourns at 5 o’clock this evening, the hearing of evidence for the defense will have already begun.


The four days’ work of selecting the jury came to a sudden close at 4:30 o’clock yesterday afternoon, when counsel for the defense announced that it was satisfied with the panel as it stood. Counsel for the state immediately waived its right to one more peremptory challenge, which would have given the defense an opportunity for four more challenges, after Mr. Mackintosh and Mr. Miller had dismissed the last man to whom they might have an objection. The men who will hear the evidence, and who will be asked to decide whether or not Mitchell is guilty of murder in the first degree, in slaying Creffield, are: (A list of the 12 jurors)




Prosecuting Attorney Kenneth Mackintosh stated last night that the opening statement by the state would be confined to outlining its plan of action, which will be simply to prove that the ace (sic) of George Mitchell in killing Creffield was premeditated murder. He expected to have all the state’s evidence in early in the afternoon.


Will H. Morris ventured the professional opinion in open court yesterday evening that the cross examination of the state’s witnesses would in this case be the shortest on record in a murder trial.


Each side expresses itself as well satisfied with the personnel of the jury and with its own chance of proving its case.


“It is too early to make any prophecies as yet,” said Mr. Mackintosh, “but I hope we shall be able to show that there is nothing to their acknowledged defense of insanity.”


“We are going to show an absolute defense in this case,’ said Attorney Silas M. Shipley, of counsel for the defense, “both in fact and in law. We are not going to ask the jury for any verdict that will be in violence of their conscience or of their oath.”


“The defense is well pleased with the completion of the jury after four days hard work,’ said Will H. Morris, also counsel for the defense.


Mr. Morris entered a protest yesterday evening, just before court adjourned, to what he claimed was an unwarranted action on the part of Deputy Prosecuting Attorney John F. Miller. He moved the court that the witnesses for the defense be brought into court in the morning, and stated that Esther Mitchell, sister of the accused man, and one of the witnesses he claimed, for the defense, was kept in charge of the police matron, and that her brother’s counsel had not been allowed to visit her.



“You can visit her if you want to,” was the statement of Mr. Miller, but he did not state that he had not issued any prohibitive order to the police matron. “I am not here to catechized,” was his answer. He further stated that Mr. Morris had talked to her before Mr. Miller had. The girl will appear in court this morning.


The first witness today will be Dr. S. H. Voorhies (sic), the physician who performed the autopsy on Creffield. He will be succeeded by eye-witnesses of the killing, including Mrs. Creffield, who was accompanying her husband when the boy met them on the street; and by the officers who arrested Mitchell and those who took his statement when he reached the police station. These will be asked to give the simple story of the incident, and that will be the state’s case.


All the witnesses for the defense are from Oregon, and their evidence will be concerned with the incidents which are suppose to have led Mitchell to pursue his victim to Seattle and kill him. It is expected two or three weeks will be occupied in hearing their testimony. No evidence will be heard tomorrow, which is taken as a holiday in jury cases.


Seven jurors who had been passed for cause left the jury-box yesterday, three peremptorily challenged by the state, and three by the defense.




Mitchell appeared more cheerful in the courtroom yesterday. He watched the proceedings closely, but at the numerous recesses chatted and laughed with several of his former acquaintances in Oregon. Possibly of some effect on the man’s frame of mind was the arrival yesterday morning of his father, from Illinois. The aged man had come two-thirds of the way across the continent to a family reunion under most strange circumstances. One son he found in jail accused of a crime which might lead to his death on the gallows. Another, from Portland, is reported to have been willing to take his brother’s place. A sister of the accused, and daughter of the aged traveler, is under close surveillance of the police, and is stated to adhere still to the very religion from which her brother sought to free them by removing the man whom he blamed for it all. The prosecuting attorney states she will give no evidence in support of the defense, thought she will not be introduced by the state, unless for rebuttal purposes.


Corvallis Times 6/29/1906 p1

Trying Mitchell

What Lawyer Morris Said About it since the Case Went to Trial.


There is deep concern in Corvallis over the outcome of the Mitchell trial, now in progress at Seattle. Tidings from the court room are generally looked upon as encouraging. It has for instance been observed in a great many cases where talesmen have been interrogated on the subject during the examination by the attorneys, they have almost invariably declared it to be their opinion that Mitchell did right in killing Creffield. This means that the knowledge of Creffield’s teachings has become widely disseminated, and in the state of Washington his doings are looked upon with disfavor. It is known here also that the attorneys for the defense are not in any sense discouraged with the outlook. In a letter written Wednesday evening to a friend in this city, Mr. Morris, senior counsel for Mitchell, said that up to that time, the case had gone pretty much along the lines he had expected and that he had every hope of an outcome favorable to his client. He added that the prosecution was making a strong fight to secure a conviction, and the defense was meeting the assault with equal vigor, and that he felt reasonably certain that those struggling on behalf of the Mitchell boy would hold their own in a legal battle.


All Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday was spent in securing a jury. On the subject of jury, Mr. Morris stated in his letter that he was very well satisfied, although most of the rulings of the court in the process of selecting them had been adverse to contentions of the defense. It is estimated now that the trial will occupy the greater part of next week. Copies of the Seattle papers received in Corvallis teem with accounts of the trial, to which large space is given up to pictures, incidents and other details of the proceedings.


The discouraging feature of the trial is the attitude of Esther Mitchell and Mrs. Starr, sisters of the defendant. They are apparently still under the Creffield influence and claim to have a revelation that it is God’s will that they do not give testimony to aid their brother, whom they insist should suffer the full penalty of the law. If Mitchell goes to the gallows it will be because of the fanatical testimony of his own sisters. Mrs. Starr went to Seattle determined to aid her brother, but after and interview with her sister, Esther, changed her mind.


The jury was secured last night and the taking of evidence is in progress today. The witnesses for the prosecution are Maud Hurt, two policemen, two doctors, and a Seattle newspaper reporter. It is expected that their testimony will all be in today, and that the evidence for the defense will begin tomorrow and continue for several days.



Oregon Daily Journal (Portland) 6/29/1906 p8

Mitchell Trial Is Under Way

Prosecution Has Opened Case Against Slayer Of Creffield

Jury Secured at Last to Hear Murder Case

But Two Hours Consumed In Hearing Testimony Of Five Witnesses Called By State--Mrs. Creffield And Esther Will Testify.


(Special Dispatch to The Journal.)


Seattle, wash, June 29.--The jury to try George Mitchell was secured late yesterday afternoon. The prosecuting attorney made his opening statement this morning declaring the state would make out a case of “cold-blooded murder.”


In the space of two hours this morning the five state’s witnesses testified. Among them was Dr. Bories, who performed the autopsy on Creffield, who told the course the final bullet took in the body. John A. Whaley, the real estate dealer, who ran from his office to the scene of the shooting upon hearing the report of the shot, declared Mitchell was calm and collected and that he was smoking a cigar.


Mrs. Creffield and Esther Mitchell will testify late this afternoon. The state expects to close its case by 4 o’clock. The defense is pursuing dilatory tactics to escape being compelled to make an open statement this afternoon. No court will be held tomorrow.



Last evening when the chance of securing a jury to try Mitchell appeared to be gone, for the day, at least, Attorney Mackintosh, for the prosecution, and Attorneys Morris and Shipley for the defense, surprised the gathered throng, as well as the court, by announcing that they had no further challenges to make. The jury of 12 men was completed as follows: (the jury list)


Attorneys on both sides of the case are satisfied with the men that are to hear the case whom they believe will be fair and impartial.




The life of George Mitchell is believed to hinge upon the attitude of his two sisters, Esther Mitchell and Mrs. Burgess E. Starr, the latter being the sister for whose ruin Mitchell killed Creffield. There is some apprehension expressed by the defense as to the stand of the sisters of the defendant will take when they are called upon the stand. Until yesterday Mrs. Starr had avowed her intention of standing by her brother, saying that she had successfully shaken off the baleful influences of the late Holy roller leader. Her sister, Esther, who still clings to her faith in her betrayer, however, has now prevailed upon Mrs. Starr to return to her faith in the dead fanatic and a strong prop has been knocked from under the bulwark the defense has been so carefully building up since the time of the slaying of the “apostle.”



When Mrs. Starr came to Seattle she was with the defense saying that she would do all in her power to free her brother of the charge which hags over him. When she went to see her sister, Esther, who is in charge of the matron at the city jail, and was refused an audience, the matter preyed upon the mind. She became uncommunicative and yesterday sent some message to Esther which gained her immediate admittance. After a long consultation with her sister it is stated she left the jail with the determination that she return to her faith in Holy Rollerism.


Oregon Daily Journal (Portland) 6/29/1906 p8

Gardner Will Testify in the Mitchell Case


W. T. Gardner, superintendent of the Boys’ and Girls’ Aid society, leaves today for Seattle, where he will testify in the trial of George Mitchell, who shot Apostle Creffield of the “Holy Rollers.”


For several weeks Mr. Gardner had Esther Mitchell, the sister of the accused man, in his charge. He will testify as to her mental condition and will also tell the jury and court of the confessions of her relations with Creffield which she made to him. He will appear in court Monday.





Seattle Daily Times, 6/29/1906 p1

Mitchell is at Last on Trial


Evening Telegram (Portland) 6/29/1906 p1

Dramatic Moment When Widow of Late Holy Roller Enters Court


(Headline and Photo across entire top page)



Stares Straight Ahead as She Is Led Into the Midst of the Crowd Listening to the Mitchell Trial.

Attempt of Prosecution for a Dramatic Moment Fails, as Witness Did Not Identify the Alleged Prophet’s Widow.

Imprisonment, Grief and the Change of Dress Alter Woman--Incidents of the Shooting Are Detailed.


by Walter Deffenbaugh




Standing in the midst of the crowded courtroom, neatly gowned all in black, her eyes blazing with the fire which seems to burn in the look of everyone of the women who believed and still believe that Franz Edmund Creffield was in truth Joshua returned to life, Mrs. Maud Creffield, his widow, appeared for a dramatic moment this morning.


She did not speak. She looked at no one in the crowd through which she was called from Judge Frater’s private chamber where she was held under the charge of the police matron. She stared straight ahead at the judge with a snappy flash in her eyes as she stood directly behind the man who killed her husband.


Assisting Prosecuting Attorney Miller had summoned her for the purpose of being identified by a witness who saw the shooting that May morning on First Avenue. The defense had previously announced that they would admit that the woman who had been described as being with the man killed was Mrs. Creffield, but the prosecution summoned her anyway. so it had not yet come her turn to speak when she pushed through the staring crowd and faced the scene which the death of her husband had created.




There was an intentness in her demeanor which was almost defiance. Whatever it was in her--religious fervor, fanatic belief that her husband or a sense of martyrdom--gave her an expression and a bearing different from any ordinary woman.


Her appearance was startling. It sent a thrill which was almost a shiver through the men inside the rail who turned in their chairs to meet that blazing look in her eyes. Those who have talked with Mrs. Creffield--and few have been permitted to do so since the shooting--say that she is not a woman of much intelligence or of strong mind. So it must have been something else which gave to her that bearing in a person which marks him in a crowd and causes people on the street to turn about and look.


So far as the trial is concerned the purpose for which Mrs. Creffield was avowedly summoned into the court room failed. J. Tuchten, a jeweler, employed by Mayer Bros., was on the witness stand and she was summoned that he might see her and say to the jury that she was the woman he had seen hovering over her husband’s body on the sidewalk.


“Call Mrs. Creffield,” ordered Mr. Miller in his best dramatic manner.



There was a scurrying of bailiffs, a craning of necks and a wait. Then she appeared in the doorway, followed the bailiffs through the crowd, and halted half way up the center aisle. Mitchell alone among those inside the rail failed to turn his head. He kept his eyes upon the jury where they were fixed all day.


“Is this the woman?” asked Mr. Miller.


“I don’t think so,” answered the witness.


“Step closer, Mrs. Creffield,” instructed the prosecutor.


She advanced to the rail and stood directly behind Mitchell and stood there.


“Is this the woman?” Mr. Miller asked again.


“I don’t think so,” was the answer. “The woman I saw was a short, fat woman. I’m not sure.”


It was the woman, but no comment was made until the fact t that the witness was mistaken. She had changed much. That look in her eyes was not present that morning when Tuchten saw her, and she was much better dressed.


This was the first dramatic scene in the many in which this trial will undoubtedly bring out.


The real trial of the case began this morning. The jury was unexpectedly accepted at 4:25 this afternoon, and after the witnesses for the prosecution had been sworn and ordered to leave the room this morning, Mr. Miller opened the case of the state. It was a brief review of the evidence of the shooting, made in as nearly a dispassionate manner as Mr. Miller’s virile personality would allow. He said:




“About 7 o’clock on the morning of May 7th, this defendant, George Mitchell, shot and instantly killed Edmund Creffield on the streets of this city. Mr. Creffield and his wife arose early that morning to do some shopping and were walking south on the First Avenue on the right-hand side of the street. Near the corner of Columbia Street they crossed diagonally to the left-hand side. Mrs. Creffield was on the inside, and they walked along with their elbows touching close to the buildings.


“When they came to the Quick Drug Store, this defendant was standing there and after they had passed fired a shot from his pistol, which entered the base of Creffield’s brain, the ball lodging in the right point of the jaw. His wife looked around and saw George Mitchell with a smoking revolver in his hand.


“She rushed to him and asked: ‘What did you kill my husband for? He never did you any harm.’ He never answered, but continued coolly smoking his cigar.


“Officer Le Count came up and found the defendant walking up and down, while Mrs. Creffield scuffled with him, pushing him away from her husband. Someone pointed him out as the man who had fired the shot, but in answer to the policeman’s question he said: ‘Wait till I get to the police station and I’ll make a statement.’


“When he got there he asked for a telegraph blank and sent this message to O. V. Hurt, Corvallis, Oregon: ‘I’ve got my man. I am in jail here.’ That telegram, gentlemen, will be introduced in evidence.


“To Louis Sefrit, a newspaper reporter, he said: ‘I came here Wednesday morning and had been looking for him. I saw them a block and a half away, and when they passed me, I jumped out and fired.’


“That, gentlemen, is briefly our case.”



Dr. Emil Bories was the first witness called. He testified that there was a bruise on the forehead caused by the fall of the body and a bullet hole in the back of the neck. He demonstrated its location upon the neck of Mr. Miller. He said that the bullet had cut through the spinal cord at the second vertebra and had lodged in the right point of the jaw. The wound had caused instant death by cutting off the action of the respiratory organs.


He testified that when he was summoned from Cherry Street on his way down town, he found the body in the drug store and tat a woman was bending over it.


Joshua is not dead,” she was saying. “They can’t kill Joshua.”


“This is no josh,” he said he answered after an examination. “This man is dead.”


He said that Creffield had a fine brain and that all his organs were well developed and in good condition.


On cross-examination the defense brought out testimony along lines which seemed to indicate an effort to show that Mrs. Creffield had extracted letters from her husband’s pocket and gained testimony, that Dr. Bories had left to go to the telephone, and that he had cautioned her not to remove anything until the coroner arrived. To this she had answered that she was the man’s wife and that she had right to take anything she wished.


“She was very cool,” he said. “And I could hardly realize that she was the man’s wife.”


On re-direct examination Mr. Miller brought out the statement that there were powder marks on the back of Creffield’s neck.


On re-direct examination Mr. Miller brought out the statement that there were powder marks on the back of Creffield’s neck.


Dr. F. M. Carroll, the county coroner, was the next witness. His testimony was technical and official. Mr. Morris took pains to bring out the fact that such a wound causes instant and painless death.




J. Tuchten, whose testimony has been indicated above, was then called. He testified that he had walked behind the couple down First Avenue and saw them stop and Mrs. Creffield get weighed in front of the Quaker (sic) drug store. They crossed the street and he was on the other side when he heard a shot and saw Creffield falling. He ran across and heard Mrs. Creffield ask Mitchell why he had killed her husband. He said that Mitchell stood there, looking at the body with a cigar in his mouth. On cross-examination, he became somewhat confused and explained that he was much excited at the time of the shooting.


Mrs. Creffield was called during this testimony and after she had retired Cr. W. C. Capps, a dentist in the Washington Block, was called. He testified that he heard the shot and looked out of the window. He saw Mitchell walking away and Mrs. Creffield ran after him and took him by the arm and they walked back together to where Creffield lay.


John A. Whalley, an insurance man, whose office is in the corner of the second floor of the Colman Building, was the next witness. He too heard the shot and ran to the window. He said he saw a woman striking at a man who was backing away from her and something lying on the sidewalk which he thought at first was a woman’s wrap. He recognized Mitchell as the man and said the woman was Mrs. Creffield. She was striking wildly, he said, and Mitchell was warding off the blows.




They finally walked back while he was running to the scene and when he arrived the woman was bending over the body. He heard her speak to Mitchell several times while she was talking to the dead man, as he put it. She kept repeating to Mitchell in the intervals, “He didn’t hurt you,’ or something to that effect.


On cross-examination, the defense tried to find out what she was saying to the “dead ma, but the prosecution objected and after a strenuous protest by Mr. Morris, the objection was sustained.


Dr. Bories was recalled to produce the bullet which he had obtained from Deputy Coroner Wiltsie and identified it as the one he had removed from Creffield’s jaw when he performed the autopsy.


Peter Wooley, a bootblack, who has a stand in front of Arnold Zbinden’s saloon at the foot of Cherry Street, was then called and proceeded to fill the courtroom so full of explosive English of the Italian variety that the bailiff had to open a window. He was utterly unable to answer “yes” or “no” to any question and each query brought out an excited review of his idea of the whole affair. The attorneys finally gave it up. Wooley swore that Mitchell walked south from the body, while the other eye-witnesses all testified that he had walked north. Mr. Morris tried helping him out by suggesting that he had not had his eyes fixed upon the scene all of the time.


“I was running,” spluttered the witness. “You can’t look at the floor when you run.”


This was the end of the morning session. Through it all Mitchell had scarcely moved from his seat at the corner of his counsel’s table. He was nervous and eagerly listened to the questions. His lips were firmly pressed together and he wiped his face with a handkerchief.


The jury, which was completed yesterday, is made up as follows:

W. s. Perkins, farmer and mill hand, Brighton Beach.

H. E. Start, rancher, Vashon.

M. O. Rex, restaurant keeper, Seattle.

J. W. Bovee, paper-hanger, Dunlap.

F. M. Townsend, foreman, city water department, Seattle.

M. H. Ring, mail collector, post office, Seattle.

Clyde Wetmore, street car man, Seattle.

George w. Arnold, painter and grocer, Seattle.

L. F. Jones, rancher, Enumclaw.

J. R. Hall, concrete contractor, Seattle.

Fred Clinton, cook, Vashon Island.

W. C. Howard, saloon-keeper and hotel-man, Seattle.


It is probable that the prosecution will conclude its case late today. It will endeavor only to prove the fact of the actual shooting and will depend upon the cross-examination of the witnesses for the defense for its other ammunition. There will be no session tomorrow, the time of the court being devoted to juvenile cases and motions. The defense expects to open Monday.




Creffield’s widow was placed on the stand in the afternoon session and testified that she was walking on the street with her husband and that the first intimation she had of impeding tragedy was the report of the pistol shot, evidently fired from behind her.


Her husband fell forward upon his face, and as he lay on the sidewalk at her feet she looked around and saw George Mitchell with the revolver in his hand.


At this point Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Miller asked her if the defendant in the dock were the man she saw. Looking at Mitchell intently for a moment, she turned toward Mr. Miller and remarked, in a contemptuous tone: “Yes, that is the man.”


After the shot had been fired and she saw that her husband had been fatally hurt, if not killed, she turned and caught Mitchell by the hand, exclaiming: “Why did you do that? He never harmed you.”


It was at this time that the defendant was arrested by Officer Le Count who testified this afternoon that when he approached the man he was cool and collected and showed no evidences of agitation. In submitting to arrest he said to the patrolman: “I have only done my duty.”



Morning Oregonian (Portland) 6/30/1906 p1

Story Of Killing Told By Widow

Mrs. Creffield On Stand In Murder Trial.

Testifies Without Emotion

Confines Herself To Bare Facts Of Tragedy.

State Closes Its Case

Seattle Court Then Takes Adjournment Over Sunday--Real Struggle Begins When Defense Opens. Long Fight Is Expected.


SEATTLE, June 29.-- (Staff correspondence.)--The evidence through which the State of Washington expects to send George Mitchell to the gallows for the murder of Edmund Creffield, the Holy Roller leader, was submitted today. The court was then adjourned until Monday, at which time the defense will give its version of the killing and its justification of the deed.


The prosecution of young Mitchell was brief and to the point. Ste state contented itself with proving the simple facts of the killing, the manner in which the crime was committed, the attitude of Mitchell when he fired the fatal shot and after he had achieved his purpose. The prosecution utilized every legal technicality available in restricting the cross-examination of witnesses against Mitchell.


Prosecuting Attorney Mackintosh and his assistant, John F. Miller, succeeded in making the most of the case against the youthful homicide. They established that the killing was deliberate, that it was executed in a calm and deliberate manner, and that Mitchell throughout the tragedy maintained the attitude of a man who is in full possession of his faculties and who knows full well what he is doing.




They did their best to discredit the claim of the defense that Mitchell was temporarily insane when he stepped up behind the Holy Roller leader and shot him dead.


Six hours sufficed to complete the case against Mitchell. As many days will be required to put in the defense.


The star witness of the day was Maud Hurt Creffield, widow of the deceased, who was with the Holy Roller prophet when he was killed. She saw the killing and grappled with her husband’s slayer. Her testimony was the most important offered by the state. Contrary to expectations, she made no reference to the pernicious cult of which her husband was the founder. Her testimony dealt with the material facts of the case. She showed no animus. It was hard to believe that she was Creffield’s widow.


Mrs. Creffield was called to the witness stand late in the afternoon, after police officers, eye-witnesses and doctors had testified to the facts surrounding the shooting. As she was led out of the witness room a hush came over the courtroom. There was a craning of necks to see the woman who had been at Creffield’s right hand in his outrageous fanaticism.




She was not the type of woman that had been looked for. As she walked quickly down the aisle to the witness stand, those in the courtroom saw a short, stockily built woman yet in her twenties, rather comely and of very ordinary personality. She was in mourning, and the solemn black of her widow’s weeds harmonized with her jet black hair and eyes and pale, olive complexion.


Her eyes were the only unusual thing about her. In these there was a strange expression--one that suggested a lack of sympathy with the things about her and with the world at large. When she replied to the questions put to her by the attorneys she spoke in a weak voice and displayed a very ordinary education and a lack of individuality. It was not hard to understand why she had been selected by Creffield as his lieutenant in propagating the teachings of Holy Rollerism.




Replying to questions from Mr. Miller, Mrs. Creffield told calmly and without display of emotion of the killing of her husband by Mitchell. She and Creffield had arisen early on the morning of May 7 she said. Passing along First Avenue they reached a point in front of Quick’s Drug Store, when she was startled by a loud explosion. Turning instantly, she saw her husband sway and fall to the sidewalk. Then she saw Mitchell with a smoking revolver in his hand.


“Why did you do that? He did you no harm.” she quoted herself as having said. She stated that Mitchell made no reply, but calmly placed his revolver in his hip pocket. Fearing he might fire again, Mrs. Creffield said she rushed up to Mitchell and seized him by the hands. He resisted, drawing his own hands free and seizing her by the wrists. After a moment he released her and she dropped down beside her husband.




Her examination by the state was brief. The cross-examination was searching, but confined to her statements on direct examination. The efforts of the prisoner’s attorneys to question her regarding her husband’s lecherous cult were resisted by the state. Judge Frater ruled that such questioning was not proper cross-examination and to this ruling Attorneys Morris and Shipley, Mitchell’s lawyers, took exception.


A lively legal skirmish ensued, the jury being removed from the courtroom while arguments were presented pro and con. Judge Frater stood by his ruling and an exception was entered by the defense. Mrs. Creffield was then excused from the stand. It is probable, however, that she will be recalled by the defense next week.



When the morning session of court convened there was on hand a crowd such as has seldom if ever been witnessed in a Seattle courtroom. Not only was every seat and chair occupied, but the standing room, every inch of it, was packed with curious humanity. Scores of people stood outside the corridors, patiently awaiting an opportunity to crowd within. Women were largely represented, at least 50 being in the courtroom.


Promptly at 9:30 o’clock the witnesses for the state were lined up before the bench and sworn. They were then excluded from the courtroom, the jury was brought into court and the opening statement for the state presented. This preliminary outline of the case for the prosecution was set out by Mr. Miller. In a quiet and business-like manner he described the events of the killing of Creffield by Mitchell. Mr. Miller said in part:




“About 7 o’clock on the morning of May 7th, this defendant, George Mitchell, shot and instantly killed Edmund Creffield on the streets of this city.  Mr. Creffield and his wife arose early that morning to do some shopping and were walking south on the First Avenue on the right-hand side of the street. Near the corner of Columbia Street they crossed diagonally to the left-hand side. Mrs. Creffield was on the inside, and they walked along with their elbows touching close to the buildings.


“When they came to the Quick Drug Store, this defendant was standing there and after they had passed fired a shot from his pistol, which entered the base of Creffield’s brain, the ball lodging in the right point of the jaw. His wife looked around and saw George Mitchell with a smoking revolver in his hand.


“She rushed to him and asked: ‘What did you kill my husband for? He never did you any harm.’ He never answered, but continued coolly smoking his cigar.


“Officer Le Count came up and found the defendant walking up and down, while Mrs. Creffield scuffled with him, pushing him away from her husband. Someone pointed him out as the man who had fired the shot, but in answer to the policeman’s question he said: ‘Wait till I get to the police station and I’ll make a statement.’


“When he got there he asked for a telegraph blank and sent this message to O. V. Hurt, Corvallis, Oregon: ‘I’ve got my man. I am in jail here.’ That telegram, gentlemen, will be introduced in evidence.


“To Louis Sefrit, a newspaper reporter, he said: ‘I came here Wednesday morning and had been looking for him. I saw them a block and a half away, and when they passed me, I jumped out and fired.’


“That, gentlemen, is briefly our case.”




During this recital the young defendant seemed to awaken from the lethargic state in which he had been during the selection of a jury. He leaned forward in his chair and followed the state’s attorney with the closest attention. In fact, Mitchell showed close interest in the examination of all the witnesses.


During the time Peter Wooley, and Italian bootblack who witnessed the tragedy, was on the stand, Mitchell laughed repeatedly at the witnesses broken English. He seemed in a good humor when court closed for the day, and seemed relieved that the state had been brief in its case and had sprung no surprises.


The first witness to be called to the stand was Dr. Emil Bories, the Seattle physician who was at the scene of the tragedy immediately after it occurred, and who performed an autopsy on the dead man. Dr. Bories stated that he found Creffield’s body lying in the drug store. A woman was lying across the lifeless form, stroking the hair and muttering, “Joshua, Joshua. They can’t kill Joshua.”




“I misunderstood the woman, Creffield’s wife, thinking she said it was all a ‘josh,’” said Dr. Bories. “I said to her: ‘Madam, this is no josh; this man is dead.”


This odd statement created a ripple of merriment in the courtroom, which was instantly stilled by the sharp rapping of the bailiff’s gavel.


On cross-examination, the doctor stated that Creffield’s brain was entirely normal and well developed and that the wound inflicted by Mitchell was such as caused instant and painless death. The ball entered the back of the neck, he said, penetrating at the base of the brain and shutting off lung and heart action. Regarding Mrs. Creffield’s demeanor after the shooting, witness said she was unusually cool and collected, showing little or no emotion.



“I could hardly believe,” he said “that she was the wife of the man who lay dead on the floor.”


Dr. F. M. Carroll, coroner of King County was the second witness. His testimony coincided with that of Dr. Bories. He, too, thought death must have been instantaneous and painless. Dr. Carroll was succeeded in the witness chair by J. Tuchten, an eye witness of the shooting.


Mr. Tuchten was walking immediately behind the Creffields until a moment or two before the shooting, when he chanced to cross the street. His attention was attracted by the firing of a shot and he looked just as Creffield sank in his tracks to the sidewalk. He ran across the street to the scene and heard Mrs. Creffield ask the slayer why he had killed her husband. Mitchell made no reply.




Tuchten said he was particularly impressed by the calm demeanor of the man who did the shooting. Mitchell stood near the body, smoking a cigar, and showed no signs of emotion. Similar testimony was given by W. C. Capps, a dentist who has offices in the Washington block near the scene of the shooting. he heard the fatal shot and saw the body lying on the sidewalk. further testimony substantiating the facts of the killing and all of a similar nature, was given by John A. Whalley, and insurance agent, and Peter Wooley, a bootblack, at the forenoon session.


The afternoon proceedings were taken up by Mrs. Creffield, the officers who arrested Mitchell and had him in custody and a newspaper reporter who interviewed him shortly after the shooting.


Patrolman LeCount who made the arrest, said Mitchell submitted quietly. he asked him why he killed the man and Mitchell, after putting him off, finally told him at the police station, that Creffield ruined his sister and was the leader of the Holy rollers, a cult that was driving women out of their minds and robbing them of their chastity. Corroborative evidence was presented by Charles Tennant, sergeant of detectives; Police Captain Willard and by Louis Sefrit, reporter for the Seattle Times.




The last witnesses of the day were Police Captain John Sullivan and H. P. Ford, who saw Mitchell send a telegram immediately after the shooting to O. V. Hurt, Mrs. Creffield’s father, at Corvallis. In this telegram he said: “I have got my man. Am in jail here.” Mr. Miller then stated that the case for the State was before the jury and adjournment was taken until Monday at 9:30 o’clock.


The fact that Mrs. Creffield made no radical statements while on the stand today has given the defense hope that the Holy-Rollers have made no organized plan for assisting in Mitchell’s conviction. Esther Mitchell, the defendant’s sister, was brought into court yesterday morning, but was not questioned by Mitchell’s attorneys, who were busy with other matters. She will be on hand again Monday, and will be closely questioned as to the causes of her prejudice against her brother before being place on the witness-stand.




The opening statement for the defense will include a full and complete outline of the causes leading up to the shooting. This statement, it is believed, will take up the greater part of Monday of itself. Thirty or more witnesses will be examined for the defense and this will take up the remainder of next week and possibly part of the week following, it is stated.


On every hand it is believed that the jury will return promptly a verdict of acquittal. There are few people in Seattle that have been following the case who believe Mitchell will be convicted, even of manslaughter.

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