Page images
PDF
EPUB

She say, 'Oh, yes, I love you so much.' Then I say, 'when Mr. Chapman get bury, then I marry you.' Then she say, 'We get marry in New York.' ''1

The jury brought in a verdict of guilty of murder in the first degree, and he was hanged.

THE TRIAL.2

In the Court of Oyer and Terminer, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, April, 1832.

[blocks in formation]

April 25.

The indictment had been found at a previous term of court: the prisoner arraigned and pleaded Not Guilty, and his trial adjourned until after the Lucretia Chapman Trial.' The Prisoner today was brought to the Bar.

Thomas Ross and William B. Reed, for the Commonwealth.

7

8

Samuel Rush and E. T. McDowell, for the Prisoner.

The following named jurors were severally sworn or affirmed: John Robbarts, sworn; Jacob Stover, affirmed; John Webster, affirmed; Amos Torbert, sworn; Henry Baringer, affirmed; Clayton N. Richardson, affirmed; George Trauger, sworn; Jonathan Ely, affirmed; John T. Neely, sworn; John Headly, affirmed; John Beatty, sworn; Ezra Buckman, affirmed.

1 W. H. Blayney, pp. 195, 400.

2 Bibliography, ante, p. 106.

3 See ante, p. 106.

Associates.

4 See ante, p. 107.

5 See ante, p. 107.

See ante, p. 107.

7 See ante, p. 107.

8 See ante, p. 107.

THE EVIDENCE.

The following evidence was adduced on the part of the Commonwealth, in addition to that al

Dr. Phillips. From the symptoms observed, am at a loss to say what was the cause of his death. They were not such as would probably have arisen from arsenic; at any rate as easily reconciled upon that cause as any other. If, upon a post mortem examination, arsenic had been found, should have considered the symptoms reconcilable. If a small quantity of arsenic had been taken the day before, the sickness would have probably continued; there was a mystery over the whole occurrence to me; was not able to reconcile the symptoms with those of cholera morbus, and therefore I inquired of Mrs. Chapman, at the time, in order to discover the cause; cholera morbus, when fatal, very frequently terminates in twentyfour or thirty-six hours.

Dr. Knight.10 Saw Mina in the room on Wednesday night, and, I think, Tuesday; when called upon to prescribe for Mina, found his pulse natural; nothing out of order; my opinion was that he had no fits. Visited Mr.

Cross-examined.

9 See ante, p. 124.

10 See ante, p. 125. 11 See ante, p. 126. 12 See ante, p. 118.

13 See ante, p. 119.

THE WITNESSES.

ready given in the course of the former trial:

C. three, four, or five times on Wednesday; my first visit was on Tuesday evening; persons having fits generally labor under a disturbance of the system, the pulse being either excited or depressed

there was nothing of this in Mina. At his request I bled him; should bleed a person if he asked me to do so so, whether his pulse required it or not. My opinion at that time was, that Mr. C. died of cholera morbus; considering nothing but the symptoms that were present, do not feel prepared at this time to say what was the cause of his death; there was no other case of cholera morbus in the neighborhod.

Benjamin Boutcher.11 Mr. C.'s mouth looked purple; his body seemed remarkably stiff; this was not more than one hour after his death; had laid out other bodies; never observed such stiffness before.

Mrs. Esther Bache.12 Never saw Mina scowl on any other occasion than on that at the breakfast table.

Ann Bantom13 called.

Mr. Rush objects to receiving declarations of Mrs. Chapman in Ann Bantom's testimony. The declarations of co-defendants against each other cannot be given in evidence.

The COURT. The only difficulty now is that which arises from the fact that Mrs. Chapman has been tried and acquitted.

Mr. Rush. Then we are upon terra incognita-the point is a new one. They are not co-defendants, because Mrs. Chapman has been acquitted. They are not now jointly charged. Community of purpose no longer exists now.

Mr. Ross. This was an indictment which involved a conspiracy. It does not affect the admissibility of this evidence, that one of the conspirators has been acquitted-and in order to prove this I hold in my hand an authority, 1 East's Cr. L. 351-to show that a person charged as aiding and abetting, may be convicted, even if the principal has been acquitted. The words in the indictment are the same"aiding and abetting." This is the declaration of Mrs. Chapman accompanying the commission of the murder, and it is for the Court to say whether there has been such a community of action proved as to render this declaration admissible.

The COURT. This is not entirely free from difficulty. There is a change of circumstances since her acquittal. Before her acquittal, she could not have been compelled to testify; now she might be compelled to do so (putting aside the fact of her marriage with Mina). That being the case, I think the declaration cannot be given. I have examined into it since last court, knowing it was an important question, and this is the best judgment I can form upon the subject, although I must say it is not entirely free from doubt.

[blocks in formation]

five o'clock in the morning, to Providence, in the stage, and from that on home; on board the steamboat, after dinner, he was taken with a fit; a physician being aboard, I got him to see to it; the fit passed off after a short time and the physician said he did not know what to make of it. Some time in the afternoon, he wished to make some confidential communications to me: asked him on what subject? He said on the subject of Mr. and Mrs. Chapman; told him I did not wish to hear any thing; that he had better keep what he had to himself; a short time after, saw him in conversation with Mr. Fritz. Mina then came to me, said he wished to talk with me, and said Mrs. Chapman had come to him, and that he had had

connextion with her some few days previous to Mr. Chapman's death; we then parted; Mina was taken very sick shortly after, vomiting a great deal (we were then coming down the Sound), and continued so all night; after breakfast next morning, as we were getting into New York, he took me privately aft the boat, and stated that he wished to have a conversation with me in private; he wished nobody else to hear; told him he had intimated that two or three times to me; that if he would answer me two questions, I would then listen to him; they were these: asked him whether he had ever

been in the piratical service, or whether he had ever been convicted, or in jail? He said he had not been in either; told him he was very foolish for talking in the manner which he had, on board the boat to strangers; what was stated after that, I beg the Court will not press me to divulge; and which I cannot divulge, consistently with my duty. as a police officer; told him if he would answer me those two questions, that nothing of it should appear against him on his trial, if he was indicted for the murder of Chapman; told him nothing else.

Mr. Rush objected to the confession being given in evidence, it having been made under the promise of favor.

Mr. Reed admitted the principle contended for in its fullest extent, but denied its affecting the evidence now offered. This is not a confession of guilt. It is a statement made by Mina with a view of shielding himself. There was no admission of his having participated in the murder.

The COURT. Any declaration which a man makes, drawn from him by offer of favor or by threats, no matter to what extent it goes, cannot be given in evidence. This point was recently decided by myself in a case of arson, in Montgomery county. The question, therefore, now is, whether this promise of Mr. Blayney comes within the rule of law.

The COURT asked Mr. Blayney to repeat his promise, which he did. The COURT were unanimously of opinion that this was not a confession drawn from the prisoner upon promise of favor.

Mr. Blayney. I asked Mina whether he had a medicine chest; he said he had, and had left it in Boston jail; asked him whether he had arsenic in it; he said he had medicine or stuff in it that would kill people, and kill rats; asked him whether he gave any of the medicine to Chapman; he said no, he was innocent; he said that when the woman brought up the bowl of soup he saw Mrs. Chapman take the soup from the

woman; she then put the physic in the soup. I asked him, "Did you see the physic?" He said, "No; she take it from my bottles; after Mr. Chapman take the soup he get very bad and die; Mrs. Chapman then come, kiss and hug me, and say, Lino, I want you to marry me; I say, no, not till I ask my father; she say, Oh, yes, I love you so much; then I say, well, when Mr. Chapget bury, then I will marry you;

then she say, we get marry in New York."

Cross-examined. I could not understand him for the first day scarcely; was obliged very often to make him repeat and explain.

Dr. Hopkinson.15 The inflammation presented the appearance of such a one as would have been caused by some active corrosive substance or poison; my reasons are derived from its intensity, and from its stopping at the communication with the intestine; but, on the other hand, extending into the esophagus.

Cross-examined. Inflammation of the stomach is found in fevers, in apoplexy, and in cholera morbus; a violent case of poison might resemble a violent case of cholera morbus; in this case a high degree of inflammation extended all over the stomach, and into the esophagus; am not aware of having ever examined a body in which death was occasioned by cholera morbus.

Cholera morbus is very rarely fatal in this country; when it is, it usually terminates in from one to three days, or more; symptoms of cholera morbus are, first, a sickness or nausea, with some pain in the belly; this is followed by a vomiting, first, of the contents of the stomach, and then bile, which is also discharged per rectum; cholera morbus is essentially a purging and vomiting of billious matter; sometimes the patient has great debility, weak pulse, and towards the end, cold extremities; those are the general symptoms; chemical authorities differ in many points; never before examined a body that had been buried; should think a per

15 See ante, p. 148.

son might have died of cholera morbus, and the body present precisely the same appearances after death as in the present case; authorities are not agreed upon the point, that the reduction of the arsenic in metal, upon chemical analysis, is the only evidence of its presence that can be strictly relied upon.

To the COURT. In the majority of cases of cholera morbus, inflammation is found in the intestines; though this is not invariable. Would not hesitate to say, from what I have heard of the symptoms, that Mr. Chapman could not have died of apoplexy.

Mr. Durand. Have studied chemistry, which is closely connected with my business. Arsenic has a distinctive odor; do not think I could be mistaken in the odor of arsenic unless the quantity were too small to produce a distinct odor; if an experienced chemist had detected the odor, I should, for ordinary purposes, have relied upon it as an evidence of the presence of arsenic think a well defined smell would be the best single evidence of the presence of arsenic. Recent authorities hold the same doctrine as respects ordinary chemical pursuits.

Cross-examined. The smell of arsenic resembles nothing so much as that of phosphorus acid. Garlic has not a smell like it; zine has a smell something similar, but not so near as phosphorus; antimony has not a similar smell, except there be arsenic mingled with it, which is often the case, these metals being often found together in their native state; I think onions,

« PreviousContinue »