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.
July 24, 1906: Mackintosh Will Oppose Calling Commission
Seattle Daily Times 7/24/1906 p5
Mackintosh Will Oppose Calling Commission
Prosecuting Attorney Declares That Esther Mitchell and Mrs. Maud Creffield Will Have to Stand Trial
Believes The Women Are Perfectly Sane.
Says County Cannot Afford to Let Desire to Save Expense Give Rise to Belief That Crime May Be Committed.
Esther Mitchell and Maud Creffield will be tried for the murder of George Mitchell whether they are previously examined by a commission of alienists or not, and despite the findings of any such commission should one be appointed. This point has been decided by Prosecuting Attorney Mackintosh, who, ever since the arrest of the women has had this point under consideration, and who had decided on the course he would take some time ago.
Mr. Mackintosh admits that if any one desires to follow out the suggestion made by Judge Frater from the bench yesterday and formally charge the women with insanity that the court is empowered to call a commission to examine into their mental condition, but he holds that such action will not preclude the right to demand a criminal trial under the laws of the state.
In support of this contention Mr. Mackintosh advances the fact that the only supreme court decision in this state covering the question is that made in connection with the Champeaux case and which holds that the record of the examination may be introduced during the trial, but that none of the testimony or expressions of opinion on the part of the members of the commission is admissible unless the parties in question are placed upon the stand as witnesses in the criminal proceedings.
Mr. Mackintosh believes that neither woman is sufficiently deranged mentally to excuse them of the crime with which they are charged, and further holds that the desire to save the county expense is far from being a sufficient reason for turning the women loose without any attempt to convict them. Such an act, he believes, would be equivalent to announcing to the world at large that King County had rather save a little money than prosecute the people who commit murder within its boundaries.
Mr. Mackintosh further holds that an examination of the women on an insanity charge would be nearly as expensive as a criminal trial, as the women’s attorneys would insist on calling in a large number of witnesses and the state would be duty bound to have witnesses and experts of its own in order to prevent any miscarriage of justice. Consequently, Mr. Mackintosh will oppose, so far as is in his power, any attempt to have a commission called, and will insist that the women be tried for the crime with which they are charge.
Seattle Post Intelligencer 7/24/1906 p9
Esther Mitchell Appears in Court
Is Arraigned, Along With Mrs. Creffield, Before Judge A. W. Frater.
Mrs. Maud Creffield yesterday pleaded not guilty to the charge of murdering George Mitchell in the Seattle union depot July 12. Esther Mitchell, who fired the shot which cut off her brother’s life was granted until July 31 to plead.
In speaking of the case Judge A. W. Frater said he supposed the defense in each case would be insanity, and he thought it would be a good thing for this county and state if the prisoners could be declared insane at once. Thereby, he thought, the law of 1905 permitting the transportation of nonresident insane to their homes in other states, could be brought into effect. The condition of affairs culminated in the killing of Franz Edmund Creffield and George Mitchell had had its inception in Oregon. It was hardly right, he said, that the expense of caring for these cases should be thrust upon Seattle.
The possibility of Judge Frater taking action in these cases, and appointing commissions to examine the mentality of the prisoners is one that has been much discussed. The prosecuting attorney’s office has already been quoted as opposing it, as risking an expensive preliminary proceeding, which after all might have little effect, if the verdict of the insanity commission should be that the women were insane. While the attorneys for the defense say they are satisfied in their own minds that the women are insane, they also state that the insanity is of such a nature that it requires an examination into the women’s past history and antecedents before convincing proof can be brought.
Attorney Silas M. Shipley represented Mrs. Creffield yesterday, and reserved for her the right to demur to the information at a later date, if she should so desire. Esther Mitchell was represented by C. L. Baxter, of Baxter & Wilson. The women appeared quite composed in court, and there was little in their manner to indicate that they thought the appearance a preliminary to a most serious trial.
Daily Oregon Statesman (Salem) 7/25/1906
He Insists on Trial
District Attorney Mackintosh Determined to Prosecute Esther Mitchell and Mrs. Creffield.
SEATTLE, July 24.-- Prosecuting Attorney Mackintosh today stated that he would insist on Esther Mitchell and Mrs. Maud Creffield being brought to trial for the murder of George Mitchell. He will oppose any attempt of a commission to examine the mental condition of the women, but at the same time admits he cannot prevent it under the law. Mackintosh states, however, that the result of the examination will be no bar to criminal prosecution. The findings of such a commission simply may be admitted as evidence before the jury in the criminal trial.
Corvallis Gazette 7/24/1906 p3
--Mrs. James Berry is visiting her parents in Salem. She left the last of the week.