Trial on the death of Oscar Turner 6/17/1909

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Trial on the death of Oscar Turner
TURNER WAS DEAD BEFORE WATER TOUCHED him And Tom Harris Owned up to Having Struck Him FEATURES OF TESTIMONY Case Dragging Slowly Along Today With Testimony Covering Dry Details Mostly - Manchester, June 17 The principal points brought out during the past 24 hours of the trial of Thomas Harris accused of killing Oscar Turner are that Turner was undoubtedly dead from a fractured skull before his body reached the river and that Harris told Frank Moon that he struck Turner. The fact that Turner was dead before he reached the river is shown apparently conclusively by the testimony of Dr. Stone who made the autopsy. He declared that there was no sediment i" tae dead man's lungs, throat, or bronchial tubes. Had he ever gasped lifter touching' the muddy waters of the Hoosick river there would have been. Then too, the wounds including the severe fracture of the skull described by lr. Stone would probably have killed Turner within a short time. The testimony of Pratt and Moon also Indicates that Harris had uii opportunity to throw the body into the river unobserved by them. The testimony this forenoon was not very interesting, as it was devoted largely to side details intended to close up the web that is being woven about the accused. The state witnesses were examined by State's Attorney Meagher, with Attorney General Sargent, only occasionally taking a hand. J. K. Batohelder does most of the cross examining, assisted by Frank C. Archibald who is associated with him. George Ieonard who is Turner's stepfather and with whom Turner lived, testified to fading the dead boy's cap a short distance down stream from where he was last seen alive. He also told about the finding of the pick-handle and shovel hidden near his place. Edward Pratt testified to going to Charles Potter's after the tools. M. V. Grady who nu tjobs on trie Job where Harris worked at loading tools for the electric railway company testified that Harris worked until about 5 o'clock on the day Turner is supposed to have been killed. Stephen Pratt who lived near the Harrises told of Harris and his wife coming to his house the next day after Turner's death. The three of them went to Willlamstown and got a gallon of cider which they drank. Surveyor I). T. Bates who made the maps for the state was called to tell the distance from where Turner was seen lying in the road to where his cap was found in the river. He fixed the distance at 81 feet. Sheriff Godfrey and Deputy Sheriff Nash were called and told of the finding the pick handle and other tools being found hidden near George Leonard's. They also told of the arrests and other matters of detail. Mrs. Maggie Harris, wife of the accused was on the stand this afternoon and told that she and Tom went to North Adams the night of the homicide and came home early in the evening. She went 10 her mother-in-law's while Tom went and got the tools so often referred to. Tom then came after her and they started for home. Near Dr. Harher's somebody came along and grabbed h'r by the shoulder and told her he was going "to get "next to her" or words to that effect. She wouldn't say that her. husband stiuck the man but said the next she saw of him he was lying on the ground. Then Frank Moon came along and asked Harris if he struck Turner and Harris said he a ad to to s:ive his wife. .lames Pratt came directly afterward. She said that Moon remarked to her husband that "that son of a b had got what he was looking for." She said that Turner got up partly and sat n gainst the fence after she saw him tn the ground. The four went to the Harris home and went In. They had several drinks on the way. Pratt remained all night. , The next morning she and her husband went out and hid tne tools near Henry Leonard's. Mrs. Harris was examined by the attorney general hut was not cross exanined. Miss Nettie Hawes, granddaughter of Charles Potter testified to hearing a racket about 11 o'clock the night of Turner's death. She went out and saw a man on the ground and Harris kicking him. She said that Mag Harris told her it was Oscar Turner. She went back after a lantern and the men disappeared. Mrs. Adelaide Harris, mother of Thomas Harris, testified that her son was at home at supper and went to North Adams on the evening of April 17, returning at a later hour. Trainer Harris, brother of Thomas Harris testified to similar facts. He also testified that there was a half pint bottle of liquor at the house. James Pratt testified that he went to the depot where he met Mike Hil-ller, Steven Gradey, Thujas Ryan, William Harris and Thomas' Harris, at work. Later went to the George Lewis house and was there a portion ofthe day. During the day drank one bottle and a glass of ale with Steven Pratt, later going to the car where the men were engaged In unloading tools. Remained there until noon and he went to Lewis' store and purchased something toeat.. Went back to the car where he saw Thomas Harris. Harris was at work with the others unloading tools and derricks. Then he went to tne noiei who Steven Pratt and drank a bottle of ale, remaining an hour or more. Returned to the car where he remained until 5 o'clock when he went home. Harris was there when he left. Saw Thomas Harris again at 6:30 and his wife. Harris said that he was going to North Adams. Had another bottle ofale at the hotel where he remained until 9 o'clock when he went to the home of his sister, Mrs. Thomas. Harris, loiter he went to the home of Thomas Harris' sister, Betsey Rose. Saw Thomas Harris' brother. Went to the watering trough near the electric railroad crossing to meet his brother on the 10.15 car. His brother did not arrive and- he walked down the road where he met Thomas Harris and his wife and Trainer Harris.- Thomas Harris asked him if ne would go to the. depot and get some tools with htm. They took some picks and shovels and laid them against the bank. He did not know whether there were handles among the tools or not. He helped carry the tools away. Thomas Har-4 ris, the witness said, threw down the tools near Dr. H. O. Barber's house. Pratt testified that he saw Oscar Turner at the home of Frank Moon where he left Thomas Harris and Mrs. Harris who went on toward home. He remained there about five minutes. Together . with Moon he went over the road toward the bridge. In the meantime Turner had left the house and followed Mr".and Mrs. Ilur-ils. They found Turner lying In the road and Moon asked the young man if he were hurt. Turner made no reply. Harris and his wife were standing in the road. Harris had a pick handle In his hand. Moon asked Harris If he hit Turner and Harris replied that he "gave him a raj)." The four then went on by Gettrge I Leonard's house where Turner lived. Had a drink from Harris bottle on the way. When they arrived at the Harris house they had some more whiskey and the witness laid down. He went to sleep mid it was daylight when he awoke. Harris and his wife left the house about 8 o'clock. " They went further up the road toward Steven Pratt's house. Harris said he-was going to Frank Moon's house to get some cider. On the cross examination witness testified that he saw one child at the Harris house that night, a boy about 10 or 11 years old and that he saw-Oscar Turner at the hotel. Turner drank a bottle cf ale and two glasses of ale. When the witness and the Harris' passed Frank Moon's house Turner was there and spoke to them. Neither Harris or his wife made any reply. When Turner spoke Pratt stopped and Turner left the house followed Harris and his wife. Witness told Moon that Harris and his wife had a bottl and tho two followed on after them to get a drink. In front of the Charles Potter house they came up with Harris and his wife and Turner. Harris, when askpd by Moon if he had hit Turner replied that he did because he insulted his wife. Witness testified that Harris told him the next morning that he had hidden the picks and sho ls on the George Leonard place because he was afraid something might be done about it. Frank Moon testified that he was sitting on the steps in front of his house on the evening of April 17 with Oscar Turner about 11 o'clock when James Pratt, Harris and his wife passed. Turner spoke to Pratt who stopped while the Harris's went on toward home. Turner left the house and went In the Rame direction. Later the witness and Pratt followed until they arrived in front of the Charles Potter house where he saw Turner lying Iw-slde tlje road, took hold of him, raised him and asked if he were hurt. Turner made no reply but spat two or fhree times. The witness asked Harris If he hit Turner with the pick handle and Harris replied the he did because he Turner insulted his wife. The four left Turner and went on to the Harris house .here they remained about one and " lioiirs. While there Harris ."d Ms wife loft the house for a time. A r-.orp complete report of Dr. B. f. St ye's testimony Is that he first --.V'-fred Turner's body at the carriage house of D. T. Bates on the morning of May IS without removing the clothes. His hair was matted and contained some dirt. There was J. wound on the head above the right ear, about one and one-quarter inches long. The wound ran horizontally on the head, was rough, cut througn the skin and reached to the bone, half a out and half a bruise. Above the large wound was another, more like J bruise, half way over the head, and there were marks or depressions above the eyes. The scalp was so loose that it was easily pushed off, showing the wound In good shape. The coat, trousers and shoes were removed and slit the shirt to remove it. In the pockets were found $1 20 and a key ring. The head was opened and cut down through the wound Around the wound, between the inner and outer skin, the vessels were filled with compressed blood. The skull was peeled and showed a break from the top of the head down as far as he could examine. The skull was re moved disclosing that the brain was full of depressed blood, mostly inside of the membrane. The brain was removed and the break in the skull followed as far as possible. The chest was opened finding that the lungs were in food state of preservation though collapsed. The lungs showed tne presence of air, were not soggy and contained no water. There was not water in the windpipe, , alrnyx, windpipe or mouth and all three were clean. The portion of the skull showing the fracture, was exhibited. CASTOR I A Tor Infanti and CMldren. Tfta Kind You talways Bough) Bears the Signature

Clipped from
  1. Bennington Banner,
  2. 17 Jun 1909, Thu,
  3. Page 1

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  • Trial on the death of Oscar Turner 6/17/1909

    coveredbri – 26 Sep 2017

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