of the Grand Jury
T one time, when an adjournment was taken the jury stood eleven to one
in favor of an indictment, but a change took place in the minds of some of the
jurors. What made the change, no
one seems to know. So the result of
the change was understood to be seven for returning an indictment and five
against it. The jury adjourned and
prepared a communication to Judge Bacon where they request that a special grand
jury be empaneled and a special attorney be appointed to further investigate the
case, as certain evidence could not be obtained by the present grand jury.
To the Hon. Thos. H. Bacon,
Judge of the District Court:
We, the undersigned, members of the grand jury, now in session in your
honorable court, sitting in the City of Hannibal, respectfully beg leave to
report: That we have made an effort
to thoroughly, fairly and fearlessly investigate the murder of Amos J.
Stillwell, which occurred in the last of December, 1888, in this city.
That in so doing we have labored under some very considerable
disadvantages, in that we have not had the benefit of competent legal counsel
and advice, nor the hearty co-operation and assistance from those most
interested. On the contrary, we
were the recipients of a very insulting communication from Mr. R. H. Stillwell,
(which is herewith submitted) doubtless intended to discourage and discredit the
labors of the grand jury in their efforts to discover the murderer of his
father. That we have, nevertheless,
obtained some important evidence, which we have sealed up and herewith turn over
to the custody of the court, and recommend that it be preserved for the use of
any future grand jury, but that we are satisfied there is other material
evidence attainable, which is not in the power of the grand jury to procure.
We would respectfully recommend that a special grand jury, composed of
the best citizens of Marion and Miller townships should at some future and
convenient time be empaneled for the especial purpose of investigating this
case, and that such a grand jury should be provided with a competent and zealous
prosecuting attorney of whose assistance and counsel they could avail themselves
at all times when desired.
Signed under protest as regards the part reflecting on R. H. Stillwell.
VAN B. LEFEVER,
WM. A GOODRICH,
JAMES P. DAVIDSON,
THOMAS H. RICHMOND,
JAMES W. WHALEY,
GEORGE W. PINE,
Dated - Grand Jury Room, Hannibal, Mo., February 18th, 1890.
Mr. Stillwell's Letter
February 5th, 1890
To the Grand Jury:
Gentlemen: - I hereto append a list of names which I represent to your
honorable body as having been present at my father’s house at the time or very
shortly after his murder. They are
mostly neighbors and employees and are in possession of facts and circumstances
of much importance touching the case. If
you are disposed to continue your investigation and make it thorough, as an
interested party, I must insist and do most earnestly entreat your honorable
body to subpoena and closely interrogate every party herein mentioned (together
with such others as you may elect). If
this request impresses the minds of your honorable body as being in accord with
justice, I believe compliance will ensue; if not it should seem, if indictment
is found, it should state on its face: Though especially entreated, we have
declined to interrogate the following witnesses whose names are represented to
us as knowing some of the merits of the case.
If this request impresses your honorable body as being unjust, may I have
expression from you with reason for same? In
any event, it is my desire that this paper shall form a portion of your records
of investigation, and be filed in clerk’s office with them.
Very respectfully yours,
R. H. Stillwell
Following are the names of witnesses suggested by Mr. Stillwell:
Mrs. League, W. League, Dr. Allen, Mrs. Allen, Dr. Gleason, Mrs. Gleason,
Prof Packard, Mrs. Packard, Mrs. R. H. Stillwell, Wallace Armour, R. H.
Stillwell, S. J. Miller, Jacob Kornder, Dr. Hearne, Matt Bell, Maria Sanders
(washerwoman), Lizzie Julius (cook), Josie (nurse), Walker Bryant, Mrs. Briggs
(editor of the Post), Wm. Wood (detective), Mr. John E. Stillwell and Mrs. John
E. Stillwell, St. Louis, Mo.
The request of the grand jury was granted by Judge Bacon and the
communication was filed as the proceedings of this grand jury.
The third grand jury has taken the matter under consideration with about
the same result as those previous. Among
the witnesses summoned was Mrs. Fannie Stillwell.
She appeared and retold her story, but when it came to cross-examination
there was trouble. One of the
members of the grand jury was not on friendly terms with the widow, and when he
asked her pertinent questions she answered in a very wrathful manner.
Just exactly what occurred has never quite leaked out, but this quarrel
caused the wreck of that examination. At
the time Mr. Davidson was drawn on the jury, Mr. R. E. Anderson,
Prosecuting attorney, was reported sick in bed and unable to attend to any
business. Thus they were left with
some legal questions confronting them and no legal adviser.
Judge Thomas H. Bacon made himself conspicuous by his absence when his
legal advice was much needed.