The Trial of James Turner


Source: Burnet Bulletin, 29 Oct 1899
Transcribed by JoAnn Myers, May 2004



This trial was taken up on Monday of last week, and consumed the attention of the Court till last Tuesday evening, when the jury retired to form their verdict. Nearly every day of the trial the Courtroom was thronged with listeners of both sexes and all ages, such was the interest; although this was the second trial of the case.

The character of the counsel on both sides added much to the interest; for the state appeared District Attorney Kinnard, assisted by Messrs. Blackburn & Hammond; for the defense, J. G. Cook, Messrs. Matthews and Browning, and Judge R. L. Harrell.Capt. Hammond, who opened the case, made character in this trial both by his skill in examining witnesses and his speech, in which he drew such a pathetic and eloquent picture of the Jennings home desolated by death, that even the prisoner at the bar was melted into tears, and everybody was sorry for the young man and for both families.

Judge Matthews is always strong before a jury, and in this case is said to have been both argumentative and poetic; he dwelt with emphasis and effect upon the evidence that showed that Jennings brought a gun to town the day of the killing, but the presence of which the Court would not allow the state to explain, although the prosecution introduced it. His quotation from Tennyson is said to have been beautiful and touching.

Judge Blackburn replied to Judge Matthews in the most powerful and eloquent speech we ever heard at the Burnet Bar. There were passages in it of intense dramatic force; his analysis of the strong points of the evidence keen and clear; his sarcasm and ridicule a revelation to this [text missing]... had lived in the centre of population, he would have long ago been on the Supreme bench of Texas.

J. G. Cook's speech consumed most of Tuesday, and we suppose, fully sustained his reputation as a criminal lawyer. His analysis of the evidence is said to have been most searching and ingenious.

District Attorney Kincaid closed in a two hours address which, aside from its other merits, kept the audience frequently wreathed in smiles by his ridicule of points made by opposing counsel. While making little pretensions to oratory, the District Attorney is always interesting and formidable."The battle of the giants" was over the gun, whether the defendant and Miss Jennings were engaged or not, the blow with the rock, and the testimony of the defendant.

His Honor's charge was long, clear as a bell and read in a way that every one in the room could hear and appreciate it.

The jury announced their verdict yesterday morning at 11:35. It was 1 years in the penitentiary. The prisoner bore the news like a man.

Following is a list of the jury, who were very patient under the long and severe strain of body and mind to which they were subjected:

J. W. Nicholson
,
E. L. Corley
,
L. L. Joy,

J. C. McClish,

Ed. Risinger,

Berry Pogue,

S. H. Patton,

A. Swaney,

J. T. Olney,

I. B. Reynolds,

W. H. Thompson,

Frank Curry.


 

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