The Shooting of Jack Perjue, and
The Trial of Harry Mills
(Salt Lake Herald, 6 July 1897)
Tragedy at Monroe
John Pardue Fatally Wounded by Henry Mills
(Special to the Herald)
Monroe, Utah, July 5--In a row over the shooting of a dog owned by Harry Mills, he shot John Pardue in the abdomen. Pardue died within an hour.
(Deseret Evening News, 6 July 1897)
Killed at Marysvale Yesterday by Harry Mills
Ben Reid Was Also Wounded
Trouble Occurred in Saloon--Perdue Died Within an Hour After Being Shot.
Richfield, Utah, July 6.--Details have just been received here of a killing at Marysvale yesterday, during the celebration, by Harry Mills, a relative of the late W.H. Lyons of Salt Lake. He was in a saloon between 2 and 3 o'clock in the afternoon, quarreling with a man named Peterson, when Jack Perdue or Perjue took up the quarrel in Peterson's behalf.
Blows followed and Mills was worsted, so he ran across the street and got a 38-caliber pistol and came back, Sheriff Stocks trying to prevent him from doing harm. Mrs. Mills followed, but her husband turned a deaf ear to her entreaties.
As he entered Perdue kicked at him and he shot at Perdue but missed his head. He shot gain and struck Ben Reid, an aged bystander. By this time several men had hold of the two but Mills got his hand loose and fired hitting Perdue in the right ribs. The bullet passed through the entrails and lodged in the back by the left ribs.
Perdue ran outside, was carried to a camp house close by and died fifty-five minutes later. A coroner's jury was called and returned a verdict not stating the intent of Mills to doing the shooting.
(Richfield Advocate, 7 July 1897)
Harry Mills Kills John Perdue. Ben Reed wounded
As The Advocate goes to press news reaches us that the celebration last Monday at Marysvale ended in the killing of John Perdue and the wounding, not seriously, of Ben Reed. From all the facts that can be learned at this early hour the following is a summary:
Harry Mills and John Perdue were in the saloon, when an old quarrel was started. Mills left the saloon, went to his home and brought his revolver back with him, went into the saloon and fired 3 shots. The first entered John Perdue's abdomen, the second went into the wall and the third struck the collar bone of Ben Reed, a bystander. Reed left Tuesday morning for the hospital at Salt Lake City. Perdue lived about 2 hours. The quarrel started sometime ago over a mining deal and Perdue had often threatened to kill Mills. At the time of the shooting both men were sober. Mills is a married man about 34 years of age. Perdue leaves a wife and two children.
J.B. Jennings left yesterday for the scene as the defendant's attorney.
(Salt Lake Herald, 7 July 1897)
Quarrel Over a Dog Ended in a Murder
Jack Perdue Was the Victim
Ben Reed, an Aged Miner, Received a Wild Bullet
Harry Mills, Formerly of Salt Lake, Did the Shooting--
Both Men Had Been Drinking,
and Some Say the Tragedy Was the Result of an Old Feud--
Statement of an Eye-Witness--
Wives of the Two Men Are Wild With Grief.
(Special to The Herald.)
Richfield, Utah, July 6.--There has perhaps never been a murder case in southern Utah that has created such a sensation as the killing that occurred at Marysvale yesterday, which was chronicled in The Herald today. Jack Perdue, the dead man, was of a genial nature until he became angry or intoxicated, while Harry Mills, the man who did the killing, is a step-son of the late W.H. Lyons, formerly proprietor of the Lyons block in Salt Lake City, and a heavy owner in the mines of the Marysvale country. The trial that will follow will no doubt be one of the most hotly contested, if not the most that has happened in southern Utah since John D. Lee was tied for participation in the Mountain Meadow massacre, for it is conceded that every member of the Lyons family will go broke to free Mills.
The following account of the killing is from an eye witness:
Marysvale had been preparing to have a rousing celebration, the greatest in its history, and had hired a brass band from here and invited people from far and near to take part. The forenoon programme went off quietly and everyone looked forward to a great time. The afternoon sports were going on and some 60 men were in Stewart's saloon drinking, among the rest Mills and Perdue.
Mills had a dog killed the day before, and he accused a young man named Peterson from Annabella of killing it, and a quarrel followed. Perdue took an interest in the fight, saying, "Give them room. Let them fight." And Mills said something to him, when Perdue answered back in a quarrelsome way, showing that he was ready to take up Peterson's row. Then the two exchanged several blows.
Got a Gun
"I'm not your equal, Jack, but I can equalize us," said Mills, as he drew away and left the saloon.
Mills went to his house and got a 38-calibre pistol and went back to the saloon. Sheriff Stocks of Piute caught hold of him and tried to get him not to go to the saloon again, even following him inside, but go he would. His wife came in and tried to get him to go away.
As he came into the saloon Perdue kicked at him.
It was then that Mills drew his weapon and fired, but some one struck his arm and his missed his aim, the bullet striking the floor. He shot again, but struck the veteran miner, Ben Reed, in the fleshy part of the right shoulder.
By this time the saloon was nearly empty, but the five who were there had now caught both men and were holding them down, trying to take Mills' pistol away. Mills got his hand loose long enough to use it and shot while the pistol barrel was almost up against Perdue. The bullet entered at the right side, just below the ribs, passing through the entrails and lodging among the little ribs at the back of the left side.
Perdue ran out of the back door, followed by two or three, who found him walking among the boxes and barrels, his shirt and vest on fire, while his skin around the wound was terribly burned with powder. His arms were doubled across his bowels, while he was bent over and groaning. Looking up at one of his friends, he exclaimed, "By --, he got me." He was carried into a camp house close by, and Dr. Lyons was called to attend him, but to no avail, and 55 minutes later he died.
Talked of Lynching
Sheriff Stocks arrested Mills at once, shackled and handcuffed hi and put him in jail. Talk of lynching was freely indulged in by several of the people of the town and the officer put a guard around the jail to prevent any such thing.
After he was in custody Mills broke down, and frequently asked, "Is Jack dead?" When told that he was dead his grief knew no bounds.
Perdue was genial and popular, but somewhat quarrelsome. Several years ago he served 30 days in the Sevier county jail for using insulting language before a lady while he was drunk. He shortly after went to Salt Lake and took the Keeley treatment. From there he went to Piute, where he was married, and stayed for some time. But he got into a cutting affray and cut another man with a knife. For this he got six months in jail. W.H. Lyons had work for him, and knowing him as a former neighbor, paid the fine and had him come to the Vale and enter his employ last fall. He leaves a wife and two children with no means of support, and the poor woman is frantic.
Mills is hot headed, but he was usually well liked. He, too, has a wife and two children, and Mrs. Mills is said to be wild with grief at her husband's misdeed.
An Old Feud
It has been known for a long time that the two men hated each other, but no one knows the exact cause. Some say it was an old insult Perdue gave to Mrs. Mills; others that it was an old difference over an old mining claim, while others lay it to many little troubles.
A coroner's jury was called soon after Perdue was dead. Nine witnesses were summoned, but only four were examined. The jury then returned a verdict, saying that the dead man came to his death from a gunshot wound made by a weapon in the hands of Henry Mills, giving no judgment of the intent. A preliminary hearing will perhaps be held tomorrow, as Attorney J.B. Jennings has been called to Marysvale to defend Mills. Public opinion seems to be much divided in regard to the case.
(Salt Lake Tribune, 7 July 1897)
John Perdue Shot by Harry Mills, a Grocer
Result of a Drunken Row
Ben Reid, an Old Miner, who Attempted to Prevent Mills from Shooting,
was Himself Shot, and Now Lies in a Hospital in this City --
His Story of the Affray -- The Quarrel was Over the Killing of a Dog --
In a Fist Fight Mills was Worsted -- Then He Got a Gun
Ben Reid, an old Marysvale miner, lies at Holy Cross hospital with a 38-caliber bullet in his left shoulder. John Perdue is dead. Both men were shot in a row at Marysvale on Monday by Harry Mills, a son-in-law of the late W.H. Lyons of this city. Mills and Perdue had been quarreling and while endeavoring to separate them Reid was shot.
The wounded man was lying on a little white cot in the men's ward at the hospital last evening. He was suffering much pain from his wound and was a trifle delirious, but he managed somewhat incoherently and disconnectedly to tell the story of the affray. Several patients in neighboring cots raised themselves upon their elbows to listen as the old man's voice penetrated the semi-darkness of the ward. Without, a tall maple waved its branches in the ghostly light of the dying evening, and with their soft rustling came an occasional puff of air which tossed the curtains at the windows and blew refreshingly through the room.
Reid's Story of the Shooting
"We were all in Steward's saloon, down there bout 1 o'clock," said the old miner, with a vague and indefinite gesture toward the window, "when Perdue and Harry Lons got to quarreling over Harry's dog, which some one had killed. They was both considerable full, had been drinking all the morning and when they got to fighting Harry got the worst of it. He ran out of the saloon and over to his grocery store just across the street and in a minute he came back with a gun. Sheriff Stocks and I tried to prevent him from getting at Perdue, but he broke away and fired three shots at Perdue. At the first shot I felt a sharp pain in my shoulder, as if a wasp had stung me, but I didn't notice it much I was so excited. The second shot struck in the ceiling overhead, but the third one hit Perdue in the stomach and he ran outside and fell down. They picked him up and carried him into a house near by and a little after he died, so I heard.
"That's every bit I know about the matter," the old man said, in conclusion. "They pestered me about it down at Salina and I couldn't tell them any more than I've told you," and he tossed uneasily on his cot and rambled on incoherently about some mines and mills in Marysvale.
Lived But a Short Time
Reid is an ex-Justice of the Peace of Piute county and has been in Marysvale for nineteen years, so he stated in the course of his talk. He is a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., and has several grandchildren there. Advices from Marysvale announced that Perdue had died fifty-five minutes after the shooting occurred. An examination of the wound showed that the ball entered the right side of the abdomen and ranged toward the left kidney.
Perdue was a mining man who had considerable property in the Marysvale district. He was a married man, with several children, and was highly thought of. He was a half-brother of Reuben DeWitt, County Commissioner of Piute county. A letter to The Tribune from Marysvale says that feeling runs high against the murderer, Mills, and there is some talk of lynching. Mills is in the hands of Sheriff Stocks and the latter is guarding him with a shotgun.
(Salt Lake Herald, 8 July 1897)
Coroner's Jury Verdict of Murder in First Degree
Justice of the Peace Jeremiah Dennis was sent for to hold an inquest on the body of John Pardue, who was shot by Harry Mills on Monday. It was nearly dark when the inquest began. The jurors were Edward Acton, Philip Scoggins and A.M. Bertholdi, and after hearing the testimony of James Stocks, Frank Wright, Alma Neilsen, E. Paulsen, H. McIntosh, G.F. Dalton, Lem. Acton, C.L. Davis, F. Reynolds and W.H. Dougherty, and after being carefully instructed by County Attorney Page, they brought in the extraordinary verdict (for a coroner's jury) of "murder in the first degree."
The funeral of John Pardue took place at 2 p.m. today and was attended by a large concourse of relatives and friends. Whatever of extenuation or of condemnation there may be for the chief living actor in the fearful tragedy had best be discussed at the proper time in Judge McCarty's court, where Harry Mills must answer to the law.
(Salt Lake Herald, 9 July 1897)
Sheriff Blamed and Mills Held Without Bail.
(Special to The Herald)
Richfield, Utah, July 8.--J.B. Jennings returned from Marysvale today. He says Judge McCarty held the examination of Mills yesterday. Th evidence showed that Mills had the pistol in his pocket from the first, and didn't get it when he crossed the street.
S.L. Page and C.W. Jones prosecuted and Jennings defended.
The court criticised Sheriff Stock for not stopping the row sooner. He held Mills without bail, and he is now in jail.
(Salt Lake Tribune, 9 July 1897)
Judge McCarty Severely Censures the Sheriff--The Evidence
Marysvale, July 7.--Harry L. Mills, who shot and killed John Perjue in a saloon fight here last Monday, had his examination before Judge William M. McCarty today; the local justice, Jeremiah Dennis, catching the Judge on his way to Panguitch and unloading the hearing upon him. On account of mutterings of lynching, Mills is protected by armed guards day and night.
The charge is murder in the first degree. The hearing began at 10 a.m. and last till 8 p.m. The evidence was that a Fourth of July celebration was going on in town; Mills dog had been shot through the leg in the morning, and about 1 p.m. Mills went into Orville Stewart's saloon, where there was a big crowd, and proclaimed $10 reward for information as to who shot the dog. A.D. Peterson answered offensively, and a quarrel ensued. Peterson wanting to fight, but Mills, much the smaller man, demurring, but saying he was willing to even up their physical difference with guns. At the moment John Perjue stepped in and took up Peterson's side of the quarrel, and again Mills, pleading his inability to fight Perjue, an athlete of 27, with his fists, said he would equal things with a weapon. But a scrap ensued. Perjue shoving Mills against the wall and the bar, and Sheriff Stocks separating them, Mills left, saying to Perjue, "I'll fix you." He returned in about five minutes, his wife following and trying to prevent Mills from shooting. Mills offered a duel to Perjue, which was declined, but the quarrel was kept up. Perjue laughed at Mills, and apparently kicked at his head, the Sheriff getting between the two and trying to ward off Perjue's blows, while Perjue was reaching around the officer endeavoring
To Get Mills's Gun
Just then Mills partly freed himself and fired his 38-caliber Smith & Wesson hammerless revolver, his arm being held up by the Sheriff, the bullet lodged in the ceiling. The Sheriff grasped Mills, and the latter reached between the officer's arm and body and fired, this time shooting Benjamin Reed in the shoulder. [Reed is a miner, aged 65, and is now in St. Mary's hospital on account of this wound.] Perjue was all the time trying to get at Reed, and in his struggle hit Sheriff Stocks a hard blow on the head with his fist. Then Mills fired the third shot, the ball entering Perjue's left side and lodging near the spine. Perjue exclaimed, "My God! I got it" ran out and fell, dying in about an hour, as heretofore stated.
Another version is that Mills tried to avoid trouble, didn't want to fight either Peterson or Perjue, didn't make any threats, and when he went out of the saloon it was to get dinner and not for his pistol, which he had all the time, and he kept on his person ever since an attempted burglary of his store some nights before; and when he went back to the saloon it was to get his hat.
Perjue and Mills had had trouble off and on for six years about a mine and other things, and Mills heard that Perjue had threatened to kill him.
Mills's version is that he was acting in self-defense all through and didn't shoot till he had been badly beaten, at one time to unconsciousness.
Judge McCarty held Mills without bail to answer the charge of murder in the first degree. The Judge at the same time severely reprimanded Sheriff Stocks for standing by and allowing the quarrel to grow, it was a flagrant violation of duty.
Public opinion sustains Judge McCarty in his scorching censure of Mills, the saloon-keepers and the Sheriff.
(Salt Lake Herald, 10 July 1897)
Defendant Gives an Account of the Marysvale Shooting
Marysvale, Utah, July 7.--At the preliminary examination of Henry Mills, the result of which has been published by The Herald, the defendant claimed that he acted in self-defense. The gist of Mr. Mills' evidence in his own behalf, and which was given with every evidence of frankness and sincerity, was as follows:
He went into the saloon and told Daugherty his (Mills') dog had been shot, and asked him if he had heard any shots. He also offered $10 for information as to who had shot the dog. His testimony from this point and to the time he left the saloon was almost word for word as given in The Herald by your correspondent. In the first melee with Perjin, Mills had lost his hat, and his statement is, that in crossing to his residence in the rear of the store, he remembered losing the hat, and not desiring to appear in the presence of visitors in his then rather disarranged toilet, he started to return, and met the sheriff, who urged him to return. He told Sheriff Stocks that he was not going back to see trouble, but had business there. He went into the saloon and asked Daugherty about his hat, and then went to the pool table, intending to sell a cow to one Barnes. Mills testified that Perjin again commenced abusing him and forced the row, and that when Perjin kicked at him he pulled the gun, intending to make Perjin stand back. The sheriff grasped his right arm and the pistol was accidentally discharged. (Where the bullet went is as yet undetermined). The next thing Mills felt was some one's hand on his throat and a choking sensation, and from that time until he found himself out doors and in the hands of the sheriff, he avers he knew nothing of what transpired.
H.A. Beckstead testified that about six weeks or two months ago he heard Perjin call Mills a "Ear," and shortly afterwards Perjin told him that if Mills "ever monkeyed with him (Perjin) he would kill him." Mills also testified that he had been warned, the morning of the tragedy, to be on his guard against Perjin.
(Richfield Advocate, 21 July 1897)
This paper is in receipt of a communication from a Marysvale reader who demurs to the sharp rebuke administered to Sheriff Stocks and those in control of Orville Stewart's saloon by Judge William M. McCarty, sitting as magistrate at the hearing of Harry L. Mills, accused of murdering John Perjue. Our contributor believes the whole blame of Perjue's death rests upon the shoulders of the young man who pulled the trigger and that Judge McCarty does great injustice by attempting to distribute the odium of the heinous crime.
It may be the Marysvale writer's point is well taken; it is possible that Harry Mills is solely responsible for the digging of Jack Perjue's grave, for the anguish and gloom that pierce and flood the heart and home of the widow; it is certain that Harry can be made none the less answerable to God and the law by proof that others beside himself were in a measure accomplices to the frightful deed; but The Advocate takes it that Judge McCarty had no thought of shielding the accused by censuring his impassive abettors, nor does it agree that none but Mills is culpable.
Five parties or classes there were, aggressive or inert, to the homicide of Jack Perjue. They were deceased himself, who forced the fight; Harry Mills, who sent the leaden harbinger of death into the bowels of the quarrelsome meddler; Sheriff James Stocks, who stood idly by and allowed the dispute to wax warmer to the point of insane wrath; bartenders Fenton Reynolds and W.H. Daugherty, or their employer, whose duty to themselves, their patrons and the power that licensed their house demanded the interference to avert the sad catastrophe, and the bystanders and witnesses, who either allowed or encouraged the fatal altercation.
It is not fashionable to find aught but perfection in the biography of one gone beyond the veil. Men in this world are prone to pursue and abuse their fellows through life, exhausting their vials of calumny this side the grave and saving naught but sweet strains of panegyric to chant beside the tombs of unconscious and senseless clods that they kicked or ground under foot when animate and able to suffer. It may then be an innovation to plainly opine that Jack Perjue brought his death upon himself. Impelled by the demon drink he forced and mouthed his way into a quarrel that rightfully was none of his. He stayed not at heaping odious and insulting invectives upon the man whom he knew he was able to outdo in a physical test of strength and prowess, but following the role of a cowardly bully to the last he cuffed and buffeted Mills, his supposed plaything, tormenting him beyond the point of human endurance. Jack Perjue's bestial behavior fails infinitely to excuse Harry Mills for taking his life, but it exemplifies a spirit of cowardly persecution that is scarcely less censurable than the devilish passion, which stung by undeserved injury leads on to murder.
Chief actor now in the desperate struggle which follows his deed of violence is Harry Mills, charged with murder in the first degree, a crime punishable by death. Our sympathy goes forth more to the man panting for freedom and in jeopardy of death by law than to him who inanimate lies silent and peaceful beneath the sod. Yet little can be said to comfort the prisoner who already has suffered a thousand hells. To him it could be no palliation in conscience or law that he was driven, humanly speaking, to the killing of Jack Perjue, even if this were true; but a cold survey of testimony thus far adduced shows that the dead man's life blood was not shed in self defense. Ample opportunity offered Harry Mills to complain of Perjue before proper authorities and have him confined and stripped of potency to do harm; but such a measure was slighted. Mills seemed not to avoid but rather to invite the fatal onslaught by the bulldozer, Perjue. Far be it from our thoughts to throw about Harry Mills the cloak of blamelessness, even of self defense and extreme provocation, when lawful means of protection were at hand, even though conceding that he was stung to the quick by unprovoked abuse and in peril of his life.
The testimony of witnesses for the state and the defendant goes to show that James Stocks, sheriff of Piute county, armed with authority to arrest any person disturbing the peace of another or trampling his rights under foot, was within earshot of Mills, Peterson and Perjue from the first to the last of their brawl and affray. It was his official duty to take the men in custody at their first outbreak of filthy and unseemly language. He remained in criminal inertia, listening to the bitter words and looking on at the menacing attitudes until Mills left the saloon for the purpose, as many thought of getting his gun to use upon Perjue. He saw Mills return to the barroom and presumably armed to reenter into the quarrel with Perjue. He still stood inactive, a sponsor and executor of the law and one elected to see that peace is preserved, while the two men their minds inflamed by alcohol and lacerated by cutting epithets, were approaching inevitably the encounter that terminated in the death of one. Sheriff Stocks asserted not his power as the guardian of peace until the men had got beyond his or anyone's else control in the murderous combat. Judge McCarty put it mildly in his censure of the conduct of Sheriff Stocks.
A man stepping into a licensed saloon to buy a drink or mingle among friends is as much entitled to protection as when he enters a restaurant for lunch. Bartenders are there to serve drinks and see that their customers receive decent treatment. Two men quarreling and scuffling in a theatre, church, livery stable or dry-goods store would be ejected and arrested at the complaint of those in control. If such were not the case in the restaurant or the theatre few would dine there or attend the play. Conditions in a saloon are essentially the same. License is granted it upon the theory that it will abide the law that gives it being. The bartenders of Stewart's saloon, from a moral point of view, are well nigh as guilty of homicide as is Harry Mills. Mills and Perjue were both customers and they owed it to them to prevent the death or misuse of either by complaint before the peace officer. The sheriff was at hand to arrest them at the proprietors' instance. Poor old Ben Reid, who now languishes in the hospital at Salt Lake, unoffending but wounded by the bullet from Harry Mills's gun, was their guest and deserving of their protection. The other half-hundred men in the barroom at the time of the shooting were in imminent peril of death or maiming because of the criminal carelessness of the caterers behind the bar who had received sufficient warning by the long aggravating quarrel to warrant them in having Mills and Perjue arrested or at least ejected. Fate, and not Stewart's bartenders, is to be thanked for the life of any of the fifty men assembled in the Marysvale saloon on July fifth and Judge McCarty spoke advisedly when he loaded a portion of the guilt of Jack Perjue's death upon the shoulders of the whisky vendors.
But Judge McCarty might have gone still farther in his applications of the moral to this sad story. He might with justice have chided the group of onlookers, who as human rapaces [sic] gathered about the two chiefs in the disgraceful tragedy, egging them on by prodding words or countenancing their actions by their silent presence. He might rightly have reprehended the complaining witness himself, Emanuel Poulson, who now with accipitral [sic] cravings deviates from duty to hasten the conviction of Harry Mills. If it be for justice's sake that this complainant Poulson shows such zeal to see the prisoner hung; if it be to subserve the ends of peace and law that he now frets to avenge Jack Perjue, why did he remain passive in Stewart's saloon that black Monday when he must have known a conflict between the accused and the deceased was approaching with fatal certainty? Why did he not interfere to succor Jack alive, if it be his love of Jack dead that now works within him the longing to see the blood of Harry?
Indeed from one phase, Jude McCarty might have pronounced the cool spectators of that awful crime more guilty of murder than Harry Mills. Harry Mills in deep, unquenchable remorse, may partially salve his conscience with the thought that it was an inborn and unconquerable passion that led him to kill Jack Perjue. Emanuel Poulson and the others, who were present at the quarrel, fight and slaughter, never entering a protest but rather speeding the conflict, have no recourse to hot tempers to soothe their stricken consciences as they think of Jack Perjue's death which they hastened by their negligence.
Who killed Jack Perjue? Jack Perjue, Sheriff Stokes, Stewart's bartenders, Emanuel Poulson and Harry Mills must answer; one to his God, another to the State, the remainder to an outraged sense of justice in a horrified people.
(Richfield Advocate, 4 August 1897)
Newspaper Thinks He Was Justified in Killing Perjue
Cedar City Record.
Many erroneous reports concerning the killing of John Perjue by Harry Mills at Marysvale during the Fourth of July celebration have been sown broadcast by various newspapers. The facts as near as we have been able to glean them from various sources seem to warrant a verdict of justifiable killing. Perjue was a man far superior to Mills in stature and physique and while ordinarily a good sort of a fellow, when crazed with drink as he was upon this occasion was very quarrelsome, and had figured in a cutting scrape and other disparaging affairs. What other course was open for a small man choked and beaten by such a bully against his urgent protests and given no protection by the sheriff who was all the while present? At best, however it was a very sad calamity, and much to be regretted. Such affairs are far too common, and it should not only be the duty of officers, but also of all good citizens to intervene and check such wrangling before they reach their fatal termination.
(Salt Lake Tribune, 7 August 1897)
W.H. Lyon's Store Destroyed by Fire
The Fire Occurred in the Night and Store and Contents, Valued at $6000, were Destroyed -- It is Thought that the Insurance Lapsed and that the Loss Will be Total -- Property Owned by a Salt Lake Lady -- The Fire Supposed to be of Incendiary Origin.
Richfield, Utah, Aug. 6.--Dr. F.J. Lyon, who was in this city this morning, received from Belknap a telegram stating that the W.H. Lyon store at Marysvale burned to the ground about 1 o'clock this morning. The building and stock of general merchandise, valued at $6000, had been heavily insured, but according to Dr. Lyon's recollection the policy expired only a few days ago and the loss is complete.
The property belonged to the widow of the late W.H. Lyon, owner of the Lyon block in Salt Lake City, and her two sons, Dr. Lyon and Harry Mills. Mills is now in jail, charged with murdering John Perjue on July 5th. His family used to live next door to the store, but since his confinement they have moved to a distant dwelling.
The blaze is suspected to have been of incendiary origin. No one was in the building at the time.
(Salt Lake Tribune, 8 August 1897)
That is the Reckoning of the Marysvale Fire -- Not Incendiary.
Marysvale, Aug. 6.--This is fast becoming a center for tragic occurrences. Following the Mills-Perjur murder, which took place here on July 5th, with exactly one month's interval, is the burning of Mills's store, known as the firm of F.J. Lyon & Co., which took place at 1 o'clock this morning. The above-named establishment, together with the Dr. Jones store building, in which the postoffice was kept, was burned to ashes early this morning.
The loss of the Lyon property was about $8500, while that of Dr. Jones was $1500, making a $10,000 loss in all. The cause of the fire is not known, but the popular idea is to the effect that it was spontaneous. The fire evidently started in about the center of the store. It seems an improbability that it was set on fire at all. The Jones building was set on fire by sparks flying from the other one. It was only by persistent effort that the entire town was not wiped out of existence.
(Richfield Advocate, 11 August 1897)
The Lyon Store at Marysvale Burned to the Ground
Probably by Incendiaries
Conflagration Last Thursday Night at One O'clock. Loss about $5,500.
Dr. F.J. Lyon, in Richfield on business last Friday morning, about ten o'clock received via Belknap the wired information that the W.H. Lyon store at Marysvale had burned to the ground at one o'clock the night before. The building and stock of general merchandise were valued at from $5,000 to $6,000 and the loss is total, insurance having expired only last month. W.W. Riley and Mrs. W.H. Lyon were in charge of the business but no one was in the store at the time of the conflagration.
The destroyed property belonged to Mrs. W.H. Lyon and her two sons, Dr. Lyon and Harry Mills. Previous to the 5th ult., when Mills killed John Perjue, he and his family resided just back of the store but since his incarceration the residence has been at a dwelling some distance away. Some of Perjue's friends are known to have vowed vengeance against Mills and the Lyons and it is generally conceded that the blaze was of incendiary origin.
(Richfield Advocate, 18 August 1897)
Writing of the burning of the Lyon store at Marysvale, a Herald correspondent says the fire unquestionably was the work of an incendiary, and it was well planned. The main store building was about 36 feet long by 23 feet, with shed roof addition on back about 12 feet deep in which coal oil and heavy hardware was kept. In the shed room was where the fire was first seen, close to a kerosene tank. Your correspondent was one of the first upon the ground, and is confident that the fire was the act of an incendiary. The loss in stock to the Lyon store could not have been much less than $7,000.
Mr. W.L. Jones, our postmaster, is certainly a man who should ever suffer at the hands of a spiteful dastard yet his loss, totally so, amounts to over $1,000 on his building and personal effects.
The Lyon family are progressive and energetic citizens, but they have recently suffered great afflictions. O the Fourth of July, the son, in order to escape great bodily injury, shot a man and death resulted, and now their worldly possessions have been swept away by the act of an enemy. I hope your correspondent will never have to look upon such human distress as was depicted upon Mrs. Lyon's face the night of the fire.
(Richfield Advocate, 1 September 1897)
About a fortnight since Reuben DeWitt of Marysvale wrote an open letter concerning the Lyon fire. The Advocate had stated that the blaze was probably of incendiary origin but had mentioned no names of suspects nor hinted at any. Nevertheless the Piute commissioner flies into a rage on his own account and to the rescue of others never yet accused. Without stopping to reply to cowardly and dastardly slur at the Lyon family and the writer covertly worded by mischievous and guarded innuendo, we go at once to the issues respecting the conflagration's origin.
It is conceded by everyone but DeWitt and a few of his kind that the fire started in the back room of the store. Everything in that chamber was heavy hardware, crockery, vinegar, coal, oats, kerosene and machine oil. None of that is of spontaneous combustion quality. There had been no fire in the building all day; Dr. Jones was there forty minutes before the discovery and there was no fire then. At the close of business hours the previous evening the back door was locked; after the fire the lock was found unlocked.
The Advocate is prepared to discuss the proposition further at any time our friend at the Vale may please. For the present we simply inquire whether or not at first blush or after due consideration a man of sound mind could wonder at The Advocate's joining the overwhelming majority in expressing the opinion that some scoundrel touched the torch to the Lyon store and wether or not this man DeWitt made an ass of himself by denying charges that had never been urged against him.
(Salt Lake Tribune, 10 September 1897)
It is Begun at Junction--Trouble in Getting a Jury
The Mills Case
State vs. Harry L. Mills, for the murder of John Perjue, Judge O.W. Powers and Ferguson & Frew for the defense and Samuel L. Page, assisted by Judge William H. King and C.W. James for the prosecution. The following jurors responded: Moroni Morgan, J.H. Fox, T.C. Smith, Sidney Manning, Harry King, Gardner Crawford, George Beebe, Elmer Nay, J.W. Sargent, Stephen Monson, C.P. Humphrey and W.H. Mackintosh.
Upon the completion of the panel Judge Powers for the defense, challenged the summoning of the jury upon the constitutionality of the state under which the jury was summoned, viz.: Chapter 3 of the Session Laws of 1896, on the ground that it never was passed, as appears by the journal of the House of Representatives, in accordance with the provisions of section 22, article 11 of the State Constitution, in that it was not read three times, nor was it passed by yea and nay vote, nor third reading by any vote.
Judge King, for the prosecution, objected to the challenge, and the challenge was overruled.
Defense then said that a standing objection was noted to the jurisdiction of the court and carried throughout the entire procedure. Up to the noon hour fifteen jurors were called and only four retained. Those remaining were T.C. Smith, C.P. Humphreys, Elmer Nay, Moroni Morgan. Court then adjourned till 2 o'clock p.m.
At the reopening of court for the afternoon session eight more jurors were called. They were James Monson, Daniel Smith, John Westwood, J.W. Bay, Jr., Joseph Harris, L.D. Morrill, Charles D. Johnson and John Stein. Out of this number but two were retained, and they were Charles D. Johnson and John Stein.
In the questioning of jurors a heated discussion arose between Judge Powers, for the defense, and Judge King, for the prosecution. The former accused his opponent of making the religious faith of man a test of his qualifications to act as a juror. But investigation proved that the accusation was founded entirely upon rumor and the subject was dismissed. The names of James Ruby, George A. Brown and Joseph Neilson were then called. This exhausted the jury box, and only Brown was retained out of this trio, which totaled only seven retained out of the seventy-four impaneled. An additional venire, returnable tomorrow at 9 o'clock, was ordered issued. Judge Powers waived any objection or point that might be raised to the issuance of an open venire before the six men had been summoned and examined, and an open venire for twelve additional jurors was also issued, returnable a.m. Court then adjourned till that hour.
(Deseret Evening News, 11 September 1897)
The Mills Murder Case Being Stubbornly Fought
Junction, Piute county, Utah, Sept. 9, 1897.-- ...
The case of the State vs. Harry Mills, for the murder of John Perjue was next called. The defendant looked somewhat pale, and there was an anxious, keen expression in hi blue eyes. He is thirty-two years old, but appears young and almost femininely delicate, and he impresses one who first looks upon his countenance as a pampered darling, but not presenting a vile or wicked heart. Messrs. Powers, Frew and Ferguson appear for the defense, while Judge King and Prosecuting Attorney Page are on the prosecution.
Judge Powers challenged the impaneling of the jury on the ground that the law under which it was summoned is unconstitutional and offered reasons for his challenge. The matter was argued at great length, after which the court denied the challenge, to which ruling exception was noted by the defense. It will be remembered that before the Supreme court in the Hayes case this same question was raised and not passed upon by that body for the reason that the point had not been raised by objection of otherwise during the trial of the case in the lower court. Should conviction be had in this (the Mills) case, and it goes up, the question of unconstitutionality will be properly before the supreme tribunal of the State.
Judge Powers also objected to the jurisdiction of the court to try the case on the grounds that the law authorizing courts in the State of Utah to try and determine criminal cases by information is null and void for the reason that the said law was never adopted or passed by the Legislature in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of the State. This objection, of course, was overruled and exception duly noted by the defense. The defense asked, which request was granted, that it shall be deemed that this objection, as to jurisdiction, is offered and urged to each and every step and proceeding that shall be taken during the trial of the case, the ruling of the court, of course, to so overruling the objection and due exception to be noted for the defense.
At the close of court after examining the panel of twenty-four jurors, seven only were found to be qualified and acceptable to both sides.
Just before the calling of the first list of jurors this morning the wife and mother of the defendant entered the court room and took seats beside the prisoner. They appeared very serious and worn. The mother has a refined and intelligent appearance; the wife looks girlish and sweet and her dark eyes possess a sad, pathetic expression that touches the disinterested beholder. She kissed the prisoner when she first entered and tears fell from her eyes for a little while. There are two little children with her, a boy and girl, one of which sat upon his father's lap.
The whole morning was consumed in the examination of jurors which resulted in the retention of two out of a panel of seventeen. An order was again made for the issuance of another open venire.
(Salt Lake Tribune, 11 September 1897)
Junction, Sept. 9.--The names of those who appeared this morning at 9 o'clock as jurors in the Mills murder case from the issuance of the open venire were: D.S. Gilles, William Hiki, Alma Jensen, John Barnson, J.E. Peterson, D.B. Brown, A.M. Lamborn, Chris Kotkie, J.E. Keitch, M.C. Dalton, J. Hilend and Josiah Nichales. Out of this number only two were retained; they were Chris Kotkie and J.E. Peterson. This swelled the number of jurors to nine, and again exhausted the jury box. Thereupon the old venire was destroyed and a new one issued returnable forthwith.
When the examination of jurors began this morning, Judge Powers arose and challenged the jury upon the grounds that the names were not drawn by the Sheriff or his deputy, but by the District Clerk. Court ordered that the names be returned to the jury-box and drawn by the Sheriff in accordance with the law.
Attorney Gilbert Beebe of Junction was also entered as additional counsel for defense.
(Piute Pioneer, 11 September 1897)
At exactly 9:45, the much-talked-of Mills case was called, with the defendant in court, and Powers, Straup and Lippman and Ferguson and Frew as counsel for defense, and Samuel L. Page, Public Prosecutor, assisted by Hon. Wm. King and C.W. Jones for the State.
The first calling of the jury to fill the panel of 12 was made at 10 o'clock, and the examination of jurors was commenced. Judge Powers for the defense challenged the jury upon the grounds that the State of Utah has no jury law, and that the alleged jury laws were never passed, hence the summoning and impanelling of the jurors present was not lawful. The challenge was demurred to by counsel for the state and the challenge was over-ruled. The defense noted an exception, and made a standing challenge of the mode of summoning and impanelling jurors to continue throughout the entire procedure.
The examination of the first panel lasted till noon, and out of the first twelve only four were retained. On reconvening at 2 p.m., eight more jurors were called and the examination continued throughout the entire session. When adjournment was taken at 5 o'clock, the jury box was exhausted and only seven retained, viz: Mone Morgan, Elmer Nay, Thomas Smith, John Stine, C.D. Johnson, C.P. Humphrey, G.A. Brown. Six of the thirty summoned were absent and the above named were left out of the 24 examined. An open venire for twelve more jurors was issued by the court returnable at 9 o'clock Wednesday morning.
Two additional open venires were issued, one on Thursday for 15 jurors and one on Friday for 6. In all, 61 jurors were summoned and 53 examined before the required 12 suitable men could be found. In addition to the seven above were, Christopher Kotkie, J.E. Peterson, John Whittaker, James Thomas and C.E. Elder. The selection of the last named gentleman being made at 4 p.m. Friday. Upon completion of the panel, S.L. Page, as Public Prosecutor, made the opening statement to the jury, in which he set forth the facts as the State expect to prove, after which the examination of witnesses for the State began with Fenton Reynolds as first witness. Reynolds had passed the ordeal direct and was undergoing cross examination with Judge Powers pouring hot shot into him, when the PIONEER left the scene of excitement and anxiety at 6 p.m. Friday and prepared for press.
(Salt Lake Herald, 11 September 1897)
Some Interesting Incidents in the Mills Case
Constitutionality of the Jury Law Attacked -- Rumor of a "Religious Test" --
Difficulty in Securing a Jury
Junction, Sept. 8. -- The case of the state vs. Harry Mills for the killing of John Peyne at Marysvale was called today and Mills was brought into court by the sheriff. He looked somewhat pale and the keen and quick movements of his eyes betrayed anxiety and nervousness. He is a young man of frail build and impresses the observer as a man not bad at heart or depraved in habits. Messrs. Powers, Frew and Ferguson are his attorneys, Judge W.H. King and County Attorney Page represent the state.
After the roll of the jury was called and the 12 men drawn were about to be sworn, Judge Powers challenged the impanelling of the jury on the ground that the law under which it had been summoned is unconstitutional, and offered the following reasons to substantiate his claim:
Chapter lii, of the session laws of 1896, being an act entitled "An act to provide for drawing and summoning grand and petit jurors," under the provisions of which the jurors now here were drawn, selected and summoned, was never adopted or passed, as appears by the journal of the house of representatives of the state of Utah for the year 1896, in accordance with the provisions of section 22 of article xi of the constitution of the state of Utah.
Said law was never passed or adopted by the senate and house of representatives of Utah. Said law was never read three times in the house of representatives. Said law was not passed by an aye and nay vote of said house of representatives. Said law was never passed at the third reading by any vote whatsoever in said house of representatives.
The challenge was argued at great length by Judge Powers for defendant and Judge King for the state, after which the court denied the challenge. It will be remembered that before the supreme court in the Hayes case this same question was raised and not passed upon by that body for the reason that the point had not been raised by objection or otherwise during the trial of the case in the lower court. Should conviction be had in this (the Mills) case and it goes up, the question of unconstitutionality will be properly before the supreme tribunal of the state.
Judge Powers objected to the jurisdiction of the court to try the case on the same ground that the law authorizing courts in the state of Utah to and determine criminal cases by information is null and void for the reason that the said law was never adopted or passed by the legislature in accordance with the provisions of the constitution of the state. This objection was overruled.
At the close of court this evening after examining the panel of 24 jurors, seven only were found to be qualified, and acceptable to both sides to try the case and were sworn in as follows: Thomas C. Smith, Elmer Nay, Mone Morgan, C.P. Humphries, George A. Brown, Charles D. Johnson, John Steen. A special venire, returnable tomorrow at 9 a.m., was ordered issued.
A Religious Test
During the examination of jurors this afternoon a heated discussion ensued between Judge Powers for the defense and Judge King for the state. The former inferred that religious faith had been made a test of qualification to act upon the jury Mr. King indignantly denied the charge and investigation proved that it was unfounded or, at least founded upon rumor only. Mr. Powers thought there had been too much of that kind of thing in the past and that it should be at an end, to which Mr. King heartily assented.
Junction, Piute Co., Utah, Sept. 9.--In the Mills case the defense challenged the impaneling of the jury upon the additional ground that names of jurors were not drawn from the box by the sheriff, but were drawn by the clerk. The prosecution denied the challenge. It was ordered that the names be returned to the box and be drawn by the sheriff and another open venire issued.
Attorney D.J. Frew, counsel for defendant, asked that Mr. Gilbert Beebe be entered as counsel for defense, which was granted.
Early in the forenoon the wife and mother of the defendant entered the court room. Mrs. Mills, after kissing the prisoner took her seat to his right, while his mother seated herself closely to his rear. There were two children accompanying Mrs. Mills, a girl and a boy.
The wife looks girlish and sweet, but pathetically sad. During the examination of a juror by the prosecution at the mention of the death penalty tears started to her dark eyes but were presently under control.
The whole morning was consumed in examining jurors and at about 1 o'clock two were added to the seven of yesterday, making nine jurors now obtained. The panel being exhausted an order was given to issue another open venire.
(Salt Lake Tribune, 12 September 1897)
Little Progress in Getting a Jury--Deadly Assault by Insane Youth
Junction, Sept 10.--The venire in the Mills murder case was exhausted and only two additional jurors secured. They were James Thomas and John Whittaker. A third open venire was issued for six jurors, returnable forthwith.
Assault and Insanity
William Mangum, a young man of 19 living at Circleville, was arrested on a warrant sworn out by his father on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon last Sunday. He was taken before Justice Joseph Weeks and fined, and being unable to pay, was committed to the county jail at Marysvale for seventeen days. Since his confinement at that place his conduct has been so strange that he was informed against by the County Attorney to appear today to be tested as to his sanity. He was brought into court today, but owing to the fact that there was not two practicing physicians to conduct the examination he was returned to jail and will be examined as soon as the doctors can be secured.
(Salt Lake Herald, 13 September 1897)
Testimony in the Mills Murder Case
Bartender and Other Witnesses Give Accounts of the Trouble --
Mills Fired When Perjue Kicked at Him
Junction, Utah, Sept. 11.--After summoning about 60 jurymen in the Mills murder case, 12 men were secured, the last one being accepted at about 5 .m. today. The names of the jurors are as follows:
Mone Morgan, T.C. Smith, Elmer Ney, C.P. Humphries, George A. Brown, John Steen, Charles D. Johnson, J.E. Petersen, Christopher Kottke, John Whittaker, James Thomas and C.L. Elder.
On agreement between counsel, the witnesses not testifying were excluded from the court room.
County Attorney Page opened the case for the state by a brief review of what the prosecution will attempt to prove. O.W. Powers announced that his statement of the case for the defense would be made later.
Ben Reynolds was the first witness, and testified substantially as follows: On the 5th of July last he was tending bar in the Stewart saloon, Marysvale. Harry L. Mills came into the saloon and stated that some one had shot his dog and he would give $10 for information regarding the shooting. Ab Petersen seemed to regard the remarks of Mills as being addressed to him and resented them. A quarrel ensued between the men and ungentlemanly epithets were exchanged. Just then E.M. Petersen told his brother Ab to "smash him." At that juncture John Perjue came from the billiard table and said, "Let 'em fight."
The quarrel was then transferred to Perjue and Mills. The latter told Perjue that he (Mills) was too small a man to fight him, but he would make himself even and fight him. Perjue then grappled with Mills and with his left hand pushed him against the east wall of the saloon. Sheriff Stocks then came and separated the men.
Would Fix Him
Reynolds then testified that Mills hurriedly left the saloon and went over to the Lyon store across the street and said as he started out, "I'll fix the long-legged s-- of a b--." In a moment or two Mills returned and passed down the south side of the saloon. Presently the altercation between Mills and Perjue was resumed. Perjue accused Mills of having a gun, to which Mills replied, "Yes, and I'll use it, too." Mrs. Mills, the wife of Harry Mills, came into the saloon and attempted to persuade her husband to return to the store. Mills refused to go and Mrs. Mills retired.
Story of the Shooting
Andrew Sargent was called and testified to having been present at the homicide. He related how Mills and Payne stood facing each other during the altercation. Mills kept his right hand in his pocket, lightly, with the knuckles exposed above the pocket.
He first heard Mills say: "I'll go out with you and fight you any place or in any way." Perjue replied: "Harry, this is child's talk." The quarrel continued and Perjue applied an offensive epithet to Mills. Mills responded with a like epithet and Perjue gave a strong, vicious kick, which Mills narrowly escaped and almost simultaneously Mills fired. The kick was directed a little to the right of the front of Mills.
Cross examination--Perdue was a strong, athletic man and kicked viciously. He was standing still, or, rather, as he kicked some one pulled him back--the sheriff probably. They were not clinched. All was done almost simultaneously. Both were angry. The right side of Mills was a little inclined toward Perdue as the latter kicked.
The witnesses, William Hardy W.H. McIntosh and William Warnock gave substantially the same evidence. The cross examination by the defense upset more or less the details of the testimony.
Emanuel Poulsen, after giving the details of the homicide, was bombarded by a scorching cross examination. As there were flaws and contradictions in the testimony the entire preliminary examination was offered in evidence. It was elicited at the cross examination from this witness that if Sheriff Mills had not pushed Perjue backward, the kick which he aimed at Harry Mills might have broken his neck.
Mr. Alma Straw, the next witness, testified that the sheriff had requested witness to help him take care of Mills in the progress of his angry quarrel with Perjue, but he jerked away from him. He did not tear his vest.
Sheriff Stocks was sworn. He said that just before entering the saloon the second time, he attempted to prevent the defendant from re-entering. Mills said that he did not desire any trouble. He wanted his hat. He saw Mrs. Mills in the saloon. He described the scuffle, which he endeavored to prevent, and said the whole affair was done so quickly that he could not keep account of the time.
The pistol of Mills was shown in evidence.
(Salt Lake Tribune, 13 September 1897)
Hearing Begun Before Judge McCarty at Junction
The Story of the Homicide
Mills Wanted to Give Ten Dollars to Find the Man Who Had Shot His Dog,
and Going into a Saloon Got into a Fight Over the Matter--
The Story of the Shooting Told by Eye-Witnesses--Composition of the Jury,
Obtained After a Four Days' Effort and Several Venires
Junction, Sept. 11.--The jury panel was filled yesterday at 4:30 p.m., when C.E. Elder took the oath. T.C. Smith, C.P. Humphreys, Elmer Noy, Moroni Morgan, Charles D. Johnson, John Stern, George A. Brown, Chris Kotkie, J.E. Peterson, James Thomas and John Whittaker are the other eleven jurors.
Samuel L. Page, as public prosecutor, made the opening statement to the jury and outlined what the State will endeavor to prove. The testimony opened at 5 o'clock p.m., with Fenton Reynolds as first witness. Mr. Reynolds testified substantially as follows: On July 5th he was tending bar in the Stewart saloon, Marysvale, and at about noon Harry Mills entered the saloon and addressing one of the bartenders, said that his dog had been shot and that he would give $10 for the name of the person who did it. At this juncture, Ab Peterson interposed and queried as to what he would do if he found out Mills replied that it made no difference what he would do, but he would freely give the $10. This led to a hot quarrel between Mills and Peterson. Presently Perjue stepped up and asked what the trouble was, and, on being told, said, "Smash him, Ab."
Here Peterson dropped out of the difficulty, and it was continued between Mills and Perjue. Mills told Perjue that he could not fight him, but would make himself even with him and fight him. Here blows were exchanged and Perjue shoved Mills against the wall. Mills dropped down and loosed himself, and ran out, saying: "I'll fix you, you long-legged s-- of a b--." and ran across the street into a gate and toward his house, and in a minute or two returned, but was met in the road by Sheriff Stacks, and after talking a moment they both came into the saloon and the quarrel was resumed, and almost simultaneously Perjue kicked and Mills shot, the shot striking the ceiling and passing over Perjue's head. At this juncture the Sheriff jumped between the combatants and all clinched. Two more shots were fired, when Perjue broke loose and, turning, said: "My God, he's got me!" and ran out and fell over a pile of empty beer bottles. Then he was picked up and carried to a washhouse in the same lot, where, about fifty minutes later, he died.
Six more witnesses testified at today's session for the State, and all, in substance, to the same thing. Judge Powers, for the defense, made repeated attempts to break down the testimony, but with very little effect.
At 5 o'clock this evening court took an adjournment till 10 o'clock Monday morning.
(Deseret Evening News, 15 September 1897)
After a Long Effort Jury is Secured and the Taking of Evidence Begins
Junction, Piute Co., Utah, Sept. 11th, 1897.
At about 5 o'clock p.m. yesterday, afer examining fifty-eight talesmen and consuming nearly three days, the required number was obtained to act as a jury in the Mills trial.
The first witness called was Ben Reynolds, whose testimony was substantially as follows: On the 5th of July last he was tending bar in the Stewart saloon, Marysvale. Harry Mills came in and stated that some one had shot his dog, and he would give ten dollars for information as to who had done it. Ab Peterson seemed to appropriate the inquiry to himself and resented it. A quarrel ensued between them and ungentlemanly epithets were exchanged. Just then Ern Peterson told his brother to "smash him"--Mills. At that juncture John Perjue came from the billiard table and said "Let 'em fight." The quarrel was then transferred to Perjue and Mills. The latter told Perjue that he (Mills) was too small a man to fight him but he could make himself even and fight him. Perjue then grappled with Mills and with his left hand pushed him against the east wall of the saloon. Sheriff Stocks then came and separated the men. Mills then hurriedly left the saloon and went over to the Lyon store across the street and said, as he started out, "I'll fix the long-legged s-- of a b--." In a moment or two Mills returned and passed down the south side of the saloon. He re-entered and the altercation between him and Perjue was resumed. Perjue accused Mills of having a gun to which Mills replied, "Yes, and I'll use it, too." Mrs. Mills came in and attempted to persuade her husband to return to the store. Mills refused to go and Mrs. Mills retired. The row was again resumed and epithets were exchanged. Perjue kicked at Mills, who had his right hand in his pants pocket and Perjue's foot had not more than touched the floor before Mills fired. The sheriff then grasped Mills and caught his hand, but Mills reached around the sheriff and fired again, hitting Perjue just below the point of the right lower rib. Perjue exchanged, "He's fixed me."
Judge Powers for the defense then put the witness through a rigid cross-examination out of which the latter came badly "rattled."
There were a number of other witnesses examined for the prosecution and whose description of the details were substantially the same as the above.
At 4:30 p.m. the court adjourned until 9 a.m. Monday morning.
(Salt Lake Herald, 15 September 1897)
Blood-Stained Clothing of the Dead Man Produced
The Widow Overcome by Emotion--Prosecution Rested and
the Defense Outlined its Case
Junction, Piute County, Utah, Sept. 13.--The district court reopened this morning at 9 o'clock and the trial of Mills, for the killing of Perjue was resumed. One of the jurors, Chris Kottke was feeling unwell.
Alma Nielsen of Richfield for the prosecution, was the first witness called. He was present in the Stewart saloon at the time of the Mills-Perjue tragedy on July 5. He said that he, not Straw, put the fire out of Perjue's clothing and went to him when he fell.
Mr. Thomas Cluff saw Mills come out in a hurry and heard him say: "The long-legged s-- of a b--." He came out of Lyons store hurriedly, soon after- Stocks [sic -- line dropped?] met Mr. Mills on the sidewalk.
Messrs. King and Powers, after consultation, agreed that if Dr. Lyons were placed upon the stand, he would testify that Perjue died from the effects of the gun wound inflicted by Mills.
Alma Straw was recalled and the defense asked whether Mills was running or walking at an ordinary gait when he left the saloon and came back.
"I do not remember; he may have been running." It was shown that he had previously testified that he walked at an ordinary gait.
The clothing of Perjue was here brought into court and identified by Mr. Straw and offered as evidence.
Objected to by defense; objection overruled.
During the display of the blood-stained clothing of deceased, Mrs. Perjue burst into an uncontrollable fit of sobbing. The lady is good-looking, young, and has two sweet little baby girls, the oldest perhaps three years old; the youngest a baby of a year or 14 months. She is clad in deep mourning. The expression of her face is sweet and sad and characteristic of intelligence and good sense.
Alma Nielsen was recalled and confessed that he had been drinking this morning. To a question he acknowledged his signature to coroner's inquest.
The prosecution rested.
Judge Powers addressed the jury at considerable length upon the discrepancies of the testimony offered by the prosecution and offered the statement of the defense and what it would prove in favor of the good character of defendant and the opposite character of the deceased.
Court adjourned until 2 p.m.
(Salt Lake Tribune, 15 September 1897)
Prosecution Rests--Defense Opens on Defendant's Good Character.
Junction, Sept. 13.--The Mills murder case was resumed in District court this morning. The first witness to take the stand was Alma Neilson of Richfield, who was present at the shooting on July 5th. Mr. Neilson testified substantially the same as other witnesses for the prosecution, as reported in Monday's Tribune. The witnesses for the State held together very firmly and little discrepancy was noted in the different testimonies.
Following Neilson was Joseph Dennis, who testified that he was outside and heard Mills say when he came out that he would fix the long-legged s-- of b--.
After Dennis left the stand, T.F. Young was called, when the Sheriff announced that Mr. Young had been subpoenaed but refused to appear unless his fees were paid in advance. Thereupon the court ordered that an attachment for Mr. Young be issued, and that he at once be brought before the court. Mr. Young is now in Manti City, and a deputy will leave here for him by the early train tomorrow. It is quite likely that besides undergoing a severe sentence from the court that he will pay a penalty.
At 11 o'clock this morning the prosecution rested, and Judge Powers for the defense made the opening statement to the jury, of what the defense expected to prove.
On reconvening this afternoon, depositions were taken for the defense from four parties as to the general character of Mills when he lived in Wyoming in 1890.
The defense called Charles Morrill as the first witness. Mr. Morrill testified as to the general good character of the defendant. Those who followed Morrill as witnesses for the defense were Martin Reinheimer, O. Stuart, Mrs. Mills, wife of the defendant; Alma Green and E.M. Riley, all as to Mills's good character and repute.
Dramatics at Junction
Illustrating the Scene Where Mills Shot and Killed Perjue
Junction, Piute county Utah, Sept. 12.--On Saturday afternoon Emanuel Paulson was called to the stand in the Mills murder case. Mr. Paulson did not hear much of the quarrel between Mills and Petersen. After the pushing of Mills against the east wall by Perjue, the witness stated he returned to the rear of the saloon, where he witnessed the killing of Perjue.
A startling and sensational act was then performed, in which the witness assumed the role of Sheriff Stocks, Judge King played the part of Mills and the Hon. S.L. Page was assigned to the part of Perjue the effort being to elucidate to the jury how the shooting was done, and the several actors are deserving of unstinted praise for the fine display of histrionic ability, as the exhibition was an eye-opener to residents of Junction City. Judge Powers put the witness, Paulson, through a severe cross-examination, and proved his memory rather defective. He drew from him a part confession that he talked to persons about lynching Mills on the day of the homicide. Judge Powers then read the testimony of Mr. Paulson as he gave it in the preliminary examination of Mills. On further questioning, Mr. Powers drew from witness Paulson the statement that if the kick aimed at Mills had not been partly neutralized by a slight push by the Sheriff it would have struck Mills in the jaw, and with such force that it would probably have broken his (Mills) neck.
Alma Straw was then called to the stand and closely questioned by Judge King relative to presence of Mrs. Mills, and his having, at the request of the Sheriff, attempted to remove Mills from the saloon, and how Mills's shirt was torn in jerking away from the witness. Judge Powers took the witness in hand and badly cornered him relative to the time when the Sheriff asked him to assist him by taking care of Mills, and drew from the witness that it was just before the shooting, and that instead of taking Mills in charge the witness broke for the back door.
More than usual interest was manifested as Sheriff Stocks took the witness chair and proceeded to relate his story of the tragedy. After the first trouble Mills went from the saloon to the store. The Sheriff met Mills about in the middle of the street and talked to him, and believed he had pacified him. The witness testified that Mills was bare-headed he having lost his hat in the first tussle with Perjue, and that Mills wanted his hat, and they returned to the store. When the trouble was resumed, he deputized Alma Straw to take charge of Mills while he caught Perjue. Mr. Straw failed to hold Mills, and Perjue sprang forward and kicked at Mills, who instantly fired. The Sheriff then caught Mills by the wrist and attempted to wrest the pistol from him. At this juncture some one struck the Sheriff behind the left ear, which somewhat staggered him, and immediately some one jumped on his back, which prevented him from securing the pistol, which was discharged twice in the struggle, the second one hitting Perjue.
After the cross-examination by Judge Powers, the Sheriff illustrated with Attorneys Page and Jones as assistants, how the shooting took place.
(Salt Lake Herald, 16 September 1897)
Sick Juror in the Mills Murder Case
Testimony for Mills
Did Not Return to the House for a Gun
Witnesses Testify to His Good Reputation--
His Wife's Account of the Events On the Fatal Day
Junction, Utah, Sept. 13.--The Mills murder case this afternoon was taken up with evidence offered by the defense for Harry Mills. A number of depositions were read by Judge Powers from the witness stand, made by various persons who had known the defendant in other parts of the country before his coming to Utah. They all testify at length, under oath, to the good character of Mills and his reputation for peacefulness, quietude and morality, affirming that he was respected by the citizens where he lived and expressing regret at his departure.
Charles Morrill testified that he had been sheriff of the county and appointed Mills as his deputy; knew him only as a good, peaceable citizen; had not heard of his having trouble with anyone; he certainly desired to see defendant acquitted.
Charles Reinheimer knew the defendant's reputation for peacefulness as being good. To cross questions, he had heard of his having rows with various parties, that he is quarrelsome when drinking or that he was in the habit of carrying a gun.
Mr. Stewart, proprietor of the saloon in which the homicide occurred, had not heard the good reputation of Mills questioned. Cross examination showed that he had heard of his row with Stacy, when he struck the latter with a billiard cue; also of his horse-whipping a boy last fall.
The Defendant's Wife
Mrs. Harry Mills was next called to the witness stand. She testified that she is the wife of Harry Mills, the defendant; is 29 years of age; was married in Wyoming ten years ago; she recognized the pistol shown her in court as being that of her husband's. On the morning of the 5th of July last Harry awakened her by firing it twice at her bedroom window; she arose and, looking through the window, saw him put it in his pocket; she observed it again in his pocket later, about 9 or 10 o'clock, just before the affray which resulted in the killing of Perjue she was in the store; she came from the house, (which is close to the rear of the store) to the store. The house was locked when she came to the store. Mills did not come to the store for his pistol a few minutes prior to the shooting of Perjue.
Cross examination--She and Harry were the only ones who clerked in the store except, occasionally his mother, Mrs. Lyon. The store has three rooms and a cellar; there is a door in the rear of the building; she watched him in the morning put the gun in his pocket; he did not take it out after she entered the house; she did not know whether he put it away afterwards; saw him about 9 o'clock; did not see him any more before the tragedy occurred.
The bearing of Mrs. Mills was firm and self-possessed, and she replied to the questions put to her with apparent frankness and positiveness.
Harry Has a Gun
Alma Green failed to make a good impression upon the spectators. He had left the morning "exercises" to seek other "sports" and had found Mills wrestling with another man on the side walk near the postoffice. His 16-year-old daughter had accompanied him "probably to keep him from getting drunk." She called his attention to the fact of Harry Mills having a gun in his pocket and warned him to be careful; he then observed that was the fact; believed that Harry wore a coat and gray pants that day.
Cross Examination--Had not been paid $100 out of Lyon's store, nor Lyon's horse called "Paddy" for this testimony.
Mr. Riley lived at Mrs. Lyon's. On the 5th of July he and Mrs. Lyons were joking Harry about "celebrating" with his pistol and Mrs. Mills doing so with a new waist, and smilingly asked which was the most dangerous. Mills responded in the same vein by drawing the pistol out of his pocket as far as the cylinder. This was about 9 o'clock.
Abel Grosvenor, a venerable uncle of the defendant, was visiting at the Lyons house on the fatal day. He was coming up toward the store to call Mr. Riley to dinner when he observed Mills go toward the house, but stopped within probably ten or 15 feet of the porch, then turned and went back toward the saloon. This was probably five minutes prior to the shooting. Mills did not go to the house or the store.
Mrs. John Baler, Jr., was at the house of the Mills' at the time of the fatal occurrence. She saw Harry Mills approach the porch where Johnnie Baler was sitting, speak to the latter then go back.
Junction, Piute County, Utah, Sept. 14.--Court was indefinitely adjourned this morning on account of the illness of Juror Peterson. It will be some time before a doctor can arrive as he must be brought over a distance of more than 30 miles by team. Juror Moran complains of not feeling well. He has a bad cold, which seems to be increasing rather than diminishing. Juror Kottke feels better today than yesterday.
In the meantime the testimony of three witnesses, Messrs. Fairbanks of Annabella and William Farmer and Hugh Lisonbee of Monroe has been taken by the court in depositional form. Their testimony was unanimously against Perjue as a man of good reputation for peace. Each averred that he was an overbearing, turbulent and aggressive man.
(Deseret Evening News, 16 September 1897)
Sudden and Serious Illness of a Juror Brings a Halt in the Hearing
Defense Attempts to Prove the Good Character of Mills Prior to the Killing of Perjue
Junction, Piute Co., Utah, Sept. 14, 1897.--As Juror Peterson was taken very ill, no court could be held this morning. A doctor has been sent for but as he has to come upwards of thirty miles over a wagon road, it will be some time before he can arrive. In the meantime the testimony of Messrs. Ralph Fairbanks of Annabella, and William Turner and Hugh Lisonbee of Moroni, was taken in depositional form. They all agreed that the reputation of the deceased Perjue was notoriously bad; that he was aggressive and quarrelsome.
Opening of the Defense
Junction, Utah, Sept. 15.--This afternoon the defense offered its evidence for Harry Mills, and opened the proceedings by Judge Powers offering depositions of four witnesses who had known this defendant in other parts of the country prior to coming to Utah. They unanimously testify at length to the good character and reputation of Mills for peacefulness, quiet and morality, affirming that he was respected by the citizens where he lived who regretted his departure.
Mr. Charles Morrill testified that he had been sheriff of the county, and appointed Mills as his deputy; known him only as a good, peaceable citizen; answered affirmatively the question if he desired to see Mills acquitted.
Mr. Reinheimer knew the defendant's reputation for peace and quiet being good. He had not heard of rows with various parties or that Mills was quarrelsome when drinking or that he was in the habit of carrying a gun.
Mr. Stewart, proprietor of the saloon in which the affray occurred, had known the reputation of Harry Mills for peace and quiet as good; never heard that reputation questioned.
Cross-examination: Had heard of a row with Stacy; also of his horse-whipping a boy last fall.
Mrs. Harry Mills was next placed upon the witness stand. She testified that she was the wife of Harry Mills, the defendant; was married in Wyoming ten years ago; is 29 years of age. She recognized the pistol displayed in court as that belonging to her husband. Harry fired it twice just outside of her bedroom window early on the morning of the 5th of July; saw it again in his pocket at about 9 or 10 o'clock; just before the affray which resulted in the killing of Perjue he did not come to the store for his pistol; she was in the store just prior to the shooting; came from the house (which is close in the rear of the store) to the store; the house was locked when she came to the store.
Cross-examination: Mrs. Mills testified that she was the only one who clerked in the store except Mr. Mills and occasionally Mrs. Lyon, his mother; the store has three rooms and a cellar with a door in the back; she watched him in the morning put the gun in his pocket; he did not take it out after he entered the house; she went to the float also to the forenoon celebration exercises. Mr. Mills was not with her; she did not know whether he put it away during that time; saw Harry about 9 o'clock; he had the gun in his pocket at that time; didn't see him any more before after the tragedy.
Mrs. Mills conducted herself with composure and apparent frankness.
Mr. Alma Green was watching a wrestling match between Mills and another man at about 11 o'clock on the day of the tragedy; his sixteen-year-old daughter, who had left the "exercises" and accompanied him "probably to keep him from getting drunk," pointed out to him that he must be careful, as Mills had a pistol in his pocket; he then observed that fact; believed that Harry wore a coat and gray pants that day.
In cross-examination it was intimated that he had been paid a hundred dollars by Mills's mother or his testimony, which he denied.
Mr. Riley testified that he saw the pistol in Mills's pocket about 9 o'clock and that he and Mrs. Lyons were joking Mills about celebrating with his gun.
Abel Grovenor, a venerable uncle of Mills's, saw the latter go towards the house; come to within about ten or fifteen feet of the porch, then turn back toward the saloon, about five minutes prior to the shooting. He did not go to the house or the store.
Mrs. John Baler Jr. was at the house of Mills at the time of the homicide. She saw Harry Mills approach the porch where Johnnie Baler was sitting, speak to the latter, then turn and go back.
Court adjourned until 9 a.m. tomorrow
The Prosecution Rests
Junction, Piute Co., Utah, Sept. 15, 1897.--The court reopened this morning at 9 o'clock. Mr. Chris Kottke of jury was not well and some uneasiness was felt on his account.
Mr. Alma Nielson of Richfield was the first witness called. He was present in the Stewart saloon during the Mills-Perjue tragedy on July 5th. It was he, not Straw, who got the fire out of Perjue's clothing.
The testimony of Joe Dennis was contradictory in regard to epithets and language used by the two men in the altercation preceding the shooting.
Mr. Thoms Cluff saw Mills come out in a hurry; heard him say the "long legged s-- of a b--," He came hurriedly out of Lyon's store soon after. Sheriff Stocks met him on the side-walk.
Messrs. King and Powers agreed to let it go on record that if Dr. Lyons was placed on the witness stand he would testify that Perjue died from the effects of the gun wound inflicted by Mills.
Alma Straw was recalled. Defense asked whether Mills was running or walking at an ordinary gait when he left the saloon and came back. Answer: "Do not remember; he may have been running." It was shown that he had previously testified that he was walking.
The clothing of the deceased was brought into court and identified by Mr. Straw. These were offered in evidence; objected to by the defense; objection overruled.
During this proceeding -- the display of the blood-stained clothing -- Mrs. Perjue, the wife of the deceased, burst into a heavy fit of sobbing. The lady is young, of medium height, light complexioned, and is good looking. The depression of her face is gentle and sad, and suggests intelligence and good sense. She is dressed in deep mourning and has two sweet little baby girls with her; one a child of probably three years, the other a baby of about a year or fourteen months.
Mr. Alma Nielson was recalled. Confessed h had been drinking this morning; acknowledged his signature to coroner's inquest.
The prosecution rested and Mr. Powers, counsel for defendant, addressed the jury, directing, in a general way the discrepancies in the testimony offered by the prosecution; stated that defendant was born in Minnesota, thirty years ago; at 15 he went to Denver, thence to Wyoming. Would prove that his reputation was good as a quiet, peaceful citizen, wherever he had been. Mr. John Perjue, he said, was noted as a turbulent over-bearing and dangerous man who had on various occasions threatened the life of the defendant.
Court adjourned until 2 o'clock p.m.
(Deseret Evening News, 18 September 1897)
Continuation of the Noted Case in Piute County
Junction, Piute County, Sept. 15, 1897.--Juror James E. Peterson was a pretty sick man yesterday morning, and when court was convened Mr. Peterson was too ill to sit, and an adjournment was taken to this morning when the juror was sufficiently convalescent to permit the continuation of the Mills murder case. The most important witness called today was J.F. Gibbs for the defense. He gave a graphic account of the affair as he was an eye witness and had unsuccessfully attempted to separate combatants at the first onset: Perjue rudely warned him to keep out of it and threw him off; would not say certainly how may persons there were in the saloon; probably forty; may be not more than thirty-five; Mills did not say he would make himself even with Perjue; witness stood near the men and heard all that passed between them; did not go to Judge Sargent and say that "there was going to be trouble; Mills had gone after his gun." Ern and Ab Peterson and Frank Dalton were also examined, the cross-examination throughout being very searching and severe. During the afternoon Mrs. Mills wept bitterly and Mr. Mills was whispering as if trying to comfort or re-assure her.
After the jurors had left the room Tom Young was called up to give a reason why he should not be fined for contempt of court in refusing to respond to a subpoena of the court to appear as a witness in the case. He replied that when the sheriff served the subpoena he told him he would not be compelled to attend on it as it was not filled out properly. The court fined him $5 and costs of attachment, amounting to $32.
(Salt Lake Herald, 18 September 1897)
Mrs. Mills Broke Down at the Murder Trial
Testimony for Defense
Defendant Never Went Home for a Gun
Witnesses Swear That He had It Before the Trouble Occurred,
and Perjue Was Very Abusive--
A Girl Gives Way to Tears While on the Witness Stand.
Junction, Piute County, Utah, Sept. 15.--Juror James E. Petersen, in the Mills murder case, had so far recovered from his illness that he was helped to court this morning and listened to the testimony of witnesses until about 5 o'clock this afternoon, when he was too weary to keep up longer. Petersen was a very sick man during all of yesterday, causing much apprehension. Dr. Loring of Monroe is attending him.
F.C. Murray was the first witness sworn this morning. He testified to the good reputation of Mills as a peaceable man.
Fanny Halliday was at the Mills residence, back of the Lyon store, and testified positively that Mills did not enter the store or residence at the time that it has been believed that he left the saloon and went to get his gun.
Judge King made a vigorous and ingenious attempt to break down the evidence of the witness, but her testimony remained practically unshaken. The strain, however, was severe, and the girl broke into tears.
John Baler, jr., of Junction, saw Mills have a gun in his pocket about 10 o'clock a.m. and again about 11 o'clock. Baler was very ill and was sitting outside of the Mills residence when Mills came behind the store and returned to the saloon without entering either the house or store.
In the cross-examination, Judge King endeavored to make the witness confess that he was too drunk to know what took place, but the witness was clear on the point in question.
Mrs. Martha J. Lyon, mother of the defendant, was next called. She saw Harry have his gun about 9 o'clock on the morning of the fatal day.
John Baler, sr., testified to the good reputation of the defendant prior to the time of the tragedy.
Sheriff Stocks testified positively that when he met Mills in the street the latter did not say, "I'll show the G-- d-- s-- of b--."
An Eye Witness
J.F. Gibbs was called by the defense and gave a graphic account of the affair, as he was an eye witness and had endeavored to separate the combatants at their first encounter, which Perjue resented. Mills did not say he would make himself even with Perjue; did not hear defendant use the express s-- of a b--." Witness stood nearest to the combatants and heard all that passed between them. Did not go to Judge Sargent and say that there was going to be trouble; that Mills had gone for his gun.
Ern. Petersen testified: When Mills was asking bout the slayer of his dog Ab Petersen said: "You can't lick any man that shot your dog." Perjue then came and took up the row. Mills and Perjue started to quarrel; Mills walked backward; Perjue called him a vile name. Didn't hear Mills call Perjue any name. Witness had been drinking that day -- too much to be steady.
Ab Petersen testified that Mills came into the saloon and offered to give $10 to ascertain who had shot his dog. "I asked him what he would do if he knew and told him he could not whip any one who did it. I don't remember epithets. Perjue waved his arms as if to open out the crowd and make room, and said, "Let 'em fight." Two blows passed between Perjue and Mills. Don't remember if Harry lost his hat.
Cross-Examination: "Mills said he would make himself even to me, and as Perjue interposed he said: "Or with you, either." Didn't hear Perjue say, 'Harry is always talking gun crack.' It was after the push and blows that Harry said, 'or you, either.' I went to Reinbreiner's, but not because I was afraid that Mills would shoot me."
Mr. Frank Dalton testified that Mills did not use any epithets. "Perjue used very vile language during Mills' absence. When Mills returned I heard him ask Dorrity for his hat."
"Mills went round to the billiard table and talked to Mr. Barnes a cattleman. Mills said nothing to Perjue until after he had talked to Barnes. Perjue advanced into the room. I saw Perjue kick and Mills shot immediately. Perjue rushed to strike Mills and struck the sheriff. The kick was of sufficient force to go above Mills' head."
Mrs. Mills Wept.
This witness sustained a very heavy cross-examination and during its progress Mrs. Mills was weeping bitterly, while the defendant was whispering to her as if endeavoring to give her reassurance. The point which the prosecution endeavored to make with this witness was that, after seeking his hat and getting through with his conversation with Mr. Barnes, Mr. Mills did not retire, but sidled into the crowd where Perjue stood, thus apparently inviting or challenging the latter to further contention; also that the shot which followed so instantaneously upon the kick must have been fired from a pistol in peculiar and unusual readiness.
Fined for Contempt
After the jurors had departed, Mr. Tom Young was called up to give a reason why he should not be fined for contempt of court in having refused to appear as a witness in the case, in response to a subpoena served by the sheriff at Manti. His reply was that the sheriff had proffered the information that the subpoena was not filled out properly and that he needn't obey it unless he wished to do so.
The court fined him $5 and costs of attachment -- about $32.
Junction, Piute County, Utah, Sept. 16.--At the opening of the court this morning Juror Peterson was a little improved, though still feeling rather bad. Mrs. Mills looked ill and worn; the defendant, though exhibiting deep interest, continues to be well sustained, and cool.
W.H. Ware testified that Mills' reputation had always been good prior to this affair. Saw a gun in Harry Mills' pocket at about 11 o'clock; think it was in the right hip pocket.
Lost His Temper
This witness created a great deal of merriment by his angry and almost defiant replies in the cross-examination and by his appeals to the court.
John Baler had a conversation with John Payne just prior to the shooting; also an hour or two earlier; had hold of Payne during the shooting, "but he was too strong for me."
Cross-examination. A minute or two after I came into the saloon Harry Mills said something about shooting; did not see the flash of the gun before Perjue's foot struck the ground. Witness indicated by clapping his hands the succession of the three shots, which occupied about three seconds Perjue struck the sheriff. It looked as if Perjue was grabbing for his neck. Perjue struck with the right hand and grabbed for Mills over the shoulder of the sheriff with his left hand.
W.H. Dorrity testified to very vile language having been used by Perjue to Mills. He also told Mills he would fight him with a gun. Mills said "come on now." Perjue called him a coward and other vile names. Mills retorted by saying they were no more applicable to him than to Perjue; the latter then rushed and kicked.
H. Van Martin, an attorney at law, was an eye witness of the killing. In the cross-examination he lost his equanimity and will be recalled.
(Salt Lake Herald, 19 September 1897
Believed Perjue Was Going to Kill Him
Story of the Tragedy
Did Not Carry a Gun to Shoot Perjue
Other Witnesses Testify that Perjue Had Threatened Mills,
and That He Had a Bad Reputation -- The Defense Rests --
Congressman King Ill.
Junction, Piute County, Utah, Sept. 16.--In the Mills murder trial this afternoon H. Van Martin could not remember that he met J.U. Sargent the day of the homicide, or that he said he thought it was a most cold-blooded murder, and that saltpeter could not save Harry.
Edmund Ericson was in the saloon and saw the affair. He testified to having heard Perjue use very vile language to Mills.
Mr. Acton saw Perjue rush forward and kick. Mills was down on one knee when the last shot was fired.
Mrs. Harry L. Mills testified: I went from the store to the saloon. I had heard there was trouble between my husband and Perjue; when I got in I rushed to find Mr. Mills, and told him I would like him to come home with me; he said he would in a moment, when he found his hat; Mr. Perjue was using very vile, abusive language to Mr. Mills, and the crowd was pushing him back. Mr. Dalton told me I had better go out; he thought there would be no trouble. I did not take hold of Mr. Mills and tear his vest. Harry did not break away from me. I remember taking his torn vest (which was torn before I came in) because a lot of letters and a pocketbook fell out of the pocket just outside the saloon door.
Frank Wright saw the whole affair at the saloon; there was much drinking, Perjue did not drink; the Petersen boys were pretty full. Perjue used very obscene language; didn't hear Mills say that he would make himself even; Perjue said: "You are always making some gun crack, Harry!" Didn't hear Mills say: "I don't want to be led into trouble with men whom I cannot fight; I am going to protect myself." I have never said that the killing of Perjue by Mills was a cold-blooded murder; never said Mills ought to be hung; Mills did not say to Perjue, "I am ready for you." Mills didn't challenge Perjue to come out and fight him on the bench; I heard Mills decline to fight. Don't know when Mills' vest was torn; whether by Mrs. Mills, Mr. Straw or by Perjue in the first struggle.
Mr. Perdue's reputation as a bad man was testified to by Messrs. Stewart, Reinheimer, Sargent, Lee, Wright, Foisy, Ware and Mrs. Marcia King. The depositions of four other men, sustained the same testimony in regard to the character and reputation of Perjue were read by Judge Powers.
Mr. Acton, sr., testified that on the 2nd day of July he had a conversation with Mr. Perjue. He called Mr. Mills a s-- of a b--; said he would like to cut his heart out and would do so some time. Mrs. Perjue was not present.
Mr. Reinheimer talked with Perjue about Mills. He aid he would fix him, did not hear him say Harry was carrying a gun.
Mr. Holdaman testified that on the morning of the 5th Perjue said to him that he would fix Mills before the day was out.
The boy Ericson told a story which was a telling one for the defense and which the furious prosecution of the prosecution failed to shake. [sic] It was to the effect that he met Perjue in the mountains as he (Ericson) was coming down with load of wood for Mills to pay on a harness purchased from the latter. Perjue advised him not to pay, and said if he ever found Mills alone in the hills, as he had met him, "they would have to haul him down."
Mr. Riley testified to Perjue's unreasonable anger at Mr. Mills for refusing to let him have some potatoes out of the store which had been promised to another man.
Junction, Piute County, Utah, Sept. 17.--Mr. Beckstead testified this morning that Perjue had threatened the life of Mills because he would not let him have some potatoes that Mills said had been promised to another man.
Mills on the Stand.
A great deal of interest was manifest when the defendant was placed upon the witness stand. He testified that he once interfered in a row where a man was being kicked. Mr. Perjue struck at me at that time. I went home and stayed there. At another time Mr. Casey was swearing at me in a saloon about the interest on some money I had lent him.
I was very excited and all broken up at the preliminary hearing in this case. Perjue once pulled a gun at a dance; I persuaded him to put it up.
Perjue said to me on one occasion that I had lied about some potatoes which I refused to let him have, and that if I monkeyed with him he would fix me. I had heard numerous threats which he had made, and was afraid of him. Had carried a gun most of the time since a certain burglary. Had not carried it for Perjue. I shot the revolver twice outside the bedroom window; then reloaded it and placed it in my pocket. Went for the cow; was in the house the major part of the morning; I wrestled with Nelson in the forenoon; had no coat on all the morning. When I went in the house about noon my wife called my attention to the fact that a pet dog had been shot in the hind leg and hip. I went to the saloon and asked Dorrity if he knew who had done it, and offered $10 for information. I was angry about the dog; after some words Peterson either began to roll up his sleeves or take off his coat. I don't know which. I said I would stand no show with him; that I could not fight him, but would make myself even. Perjue said smash the G--d d-- s-- of a b--. I told him it was no affair of his; he said he would make it so. He took hold of me and pushed me against the wall. I broke loose and he struck me twice; I ran out of the saloon. Went through the gate and towards the house; didn't go in. I missed my hat and went back. No one handed me gun or cartridges while I was out. The gun was in my pocket all the time. I met Mr. Stocks; he asked me not to go back if I wanted trouble; I told him I wasn't after any trouble, but had left my hat in the saloon and, further, wanted to see Mr. Barnes on business. When I asked Dorrity for my hat he was busy, but said he would get it in a few moments. I spoke to Barnes; my wife asked me to go home; I refused. Perjue addressed me very obscenely; he told me to name my time and place and game. Some one caught me by the throat; I thought Perjue was on my back; don't remember much of what followed; I thought I was being killed; I fired through intense fear; that was the passion that predominated within me; not anger or revenge. I knew he was a desperate and dangerous man and that he always drew a knife in a row.
Mills bore a very severe cross-examination. He occupied the witness stand about five hours. His testimony remained practically unshaken , though the bombardment of the prosecution was very severe and trying. He exhibited anxiety and solemnity and at times appeared under great physical strain.
Conviction of John Perjue in the First district court was offered by the defense, but was ruled out by the court. The defense then rested.
Juror Petersen appeared quite ill this morning, but better this afternoon. Judge King of the prosecution has, however, felt ill and has needed the attention of the physician at intervals.
(Salt Lake Tribune, 19 September 1897)
Testimony All In, and the Arguments On.
Evidence as to the Bad Relations Between Mills and Perjue--
Defendant Tells the Story of the Affair.
Junction, Sept. 16.--When the hour for convening District court arrived Tuesday morning, it was learned that Juror J.E. Peterson was very ill, for which reason court took an adjournment till 4 p.m. In the meantime a subpoena was issued for Dr. William James of Marysvale, who arrived early in the afternoon and made an examination of the sick man's condition, and reported that Mr. Petersen would not be able to appear at court that day, and another adjournment was taken till 1 a.m. the next day, at which time the defense in the Mills case was further continued. F.C. Murray was called for the purpose of testifying as to Mills's good character.
After excusing Murray, Miss Fanny Halladay was called. The trend of her testimony seemed to be to substantiate a point: argued by the defense, that Mills did not go into the house and get his gun on leaving the saloon. Miss Halladay was in Mills's house when Mills entered the gate back of the store.
The third witness called was Mrs. Martha J. Lyon, who said that she was the mother of the defendant, Harry L. Mills; that he (Mills) was born thirty years ago at St. Cloud, Minn.; that he lived till the age of 15 at that place, from whence he went to Denver and after living there five years, moved to a stock ranch in Converse county, Wyo. There he married Miss Matilda Wyman, in February, 1887; leaving Wyoming in 1889, he, with his father's family, came to Salt Lake City and engaged in the livery business, and left the latter place for Marysvale six years ago, and engaged in the mercantile and mining business.
A Witness Punished.
While Mrs. Lyon was on the stand, Chris Morrill, deputy sheriff, entered with T.F. Young, the man who refused to appear at court when summoned by subpoena. Mr. Young was called up and asked if there was any reason why he should not be fined for contempt. Mr. Young replied that the Sheriff told him that he could not force him to come on the subpoena, as it was improperly made out. The court administered to him a severe rebuke and fined him $5 and costs, amounting to $27.35.
John Baler, Sr., followed Mrs. Lyon and testified to the good character of Mills.
Sheriff Stocks was also a witness for the defense, and contradicted the statement made by Joseph Dennis that Mills threatened Perjue on leaving the saloon.
On reopening at 2 o'clock p.m. all the witnesses on both sides, some forty-seven in number, were called in and admonished by the court to remain within calling distance from the courtroom, in order to be ready for summons at any or all times.
J.F. Gibbs was next called by the defense, and stated that he was in the saloon when the trouble began, and said in substance that Perjue pressed the encounter.
Ab Peterson was next called. This is the man with whom the difficulty began and his testimony was eagerly listened to by all.
Peterson was a witness for the defense, but his testimony aided the cause of the State very materially. From him it was ascertained that when the crowd at the saloon knew that Mills went out for his gun, that he (Peterson) ran out and across the street to Reinheimer's store and said that Mills had gone for a gun to kill him and Perjue, and asked for a gun with which to protect himself. Other witnesses for the defense were Frank Dalton, William Ware and Earnest Peterson.
was begun with John Baler recalled to testify on the main case. H. Van Martin, attorney at Marysvale, was next called; he was held in the chair during the entire forenoon and recalled again in the afternoon. Mr. Van Martin got very much excited in the course of his examination and endeavored to advise counsel and court as to the proper manner of cross-questioning and was called down by the court.
F.M. Daugherty was the next witness for the defense. His story was to the effect that Perjue was the aggressor in the fight.
Those following Daugherty were Edwin Erickson, S.L. Acton, Jr., Mrs. Mills, wife of defendant, and Frank Wright, after which came the depositions as to the good character of Perjue, from A.J. Sargent, John Lee, Frank Wright, Ed Foisy, Ralph Fairbanks, W.B. Farmer, Hue Lisenbee, J.S. Hide and Martha King.
Junction, Piute county, Sept. 17.--After the mail which carried reports to The Tribune had departed for the north yesterday afternoon, Judge Powers put a large number of the business men of Marysvale and Piute county on the stand, who testified to the good reputation of Defendant Mills for "peace and quietness," and to the bad reputation of John Perjue, the deceased. Then followed Alicia Green, Sol Acton, Martin Reinheimer, O.S. Holderman and Edmund Erickson, who testified to threats of death and bodily harm to the defendant by Perjue. Erickson testifying that while he and Perjue were getting firewood near the vale, Perjue said: "If I ever catch Mills out alone in the hills, I'll bet my life against a box of matches they will haul him home in a wagon."
At the opening of this forenoon's sitting, H.A. Beckstead was called and testified that Perjue had made threats on the life of Mills because he (Mills) would not let him have potatoes which had been promised to another party.
Accused on the Stand
This is the surprise day of the trial of Harry Mills, being the close of the evidence, including the recital by Mills of the incidents of the shooting. Mills was put on the stand at 10 o'clock and questioned regarding alleged "gun plays" and other troubles in which the defendant was mixed up. His statements were apparently frank and without reserve, as, from his statements, his participation in the troubles was in the interest of peace and protection of the weaker parties in the scraps," Mills also testified that threats of Perjue regarding defendant had been told him.
Mills gave his height as 5 feet 7-3/4 inches, and weight as 140 to 145 pounds.
The defendant then began a recital of his movements from the early morning of the day of the tragedy until the Sheriff took him from the saloon, after the life and death struggle with Perjue. In substance, it was as follows: Some person had shot Mills's dog in the leg on the morning of July 5th, and the defendant went into the Stewart saloon about 12 m., and offered $10 for information as to who had shot his dog. Ab Peterson, who was leaning against the bar, asked Mills what he would do if he knew who shot the dog. Mills replied that it made no difference. Peterson said to Mills, "You wouldn't do anything; you can't whip anybody." Mills told Peterson that he (Mills) thought he knew something of the shooting. Peterson called Mills a liar, and made a demonstration as if to fight. Perjue then appeared on the scene and said to Peterson, "Smack the G-- d-- son of a b--," meaning Mills. The row was then transferred from Peterson to Perjue. Mills told Perjue that he (Mills) was too small to fight him. With an oath, Perjue made a rush for Mills, caught him by the throat and pushed him against the east wall of the saloon. Mills released himself from Perjue's grasp and backed toward the door in the southeast corner of the saloon, while one or two light blows were exchanged. The Sheriff then appeared and stopped the trouble. Mills crossed the street and passing east of the store went through the gate to the front of his residence, back of the store, where he talked a moment to John Baler, Jr. Mills had visitors at his residence, and remembering he had lost his hat in the scuffle with Perjue, returned to the saloon. When inside, he went over to the bar and asked Daugherty for his hat, and then went down the south side of the saloon and asked a stock-buyer named Barnes when he would be at liberty, as he wanted to sell a cow. Barnes was playing card, and Mills moved eastward a few feet, when Perjue accosted him with vile epithets. A boy had told Mrs. Mills, who was in the store, that Harry was in a row in the saloon, and she ran over and asked her husband to return to the store. Mill replied that he would in a moment, or as soon as he saw Barnes again about the cow. Mrs. Mills left the saloon and Mills returned to where Barnes was playing cards. In a moment or two, Mills again moved a few feet to the east and was again accosted by Perjue with vile names and the statement to Mills to "name his game" the time and place, and he (Perjue) would meet him. Mills replied that if it must be settled in a row, that they could go out on the bench and settle it at once. Perjue said, "You've got a gun, you G-- d-- son of a b--." Mills replied, "I'm no more of a G-- d-- son of a b-- than you are." Perjue sprang forward and made a terrific kick at Mills, missing his face a few inches. Mills pulled his gun, some one struck his wrist, or grasped it, and the pistol went off accidentally. Mills alleges that in drawing the gun he intended merely to stand Perjue off. Somebody, Mills says he doesn't know who, grasped him; a hand clutched his throat; he "felt a smothering sensation," and knew nothing further of the trouble until he found himself outdoors in the hands of the Sheriff.
Judge King put Perjue through a minute and rigid cross-examination. The incidents immediately connected with the shooting were carefully gone through by Judge King, who attempted to compel an acknowledgment from Mills that he was in the act of drawing his gun when Perjue made the kick to which Mills entered an energetic denial. As the kick passed his face Mills pulled the gun, which exploded, as before described.
The defense put Ab Peterson on the stand, and Judge Powers asked "Mr. Peterson, what were the relations, friendly or unfriendly, between you and John Perjue at the time of the killing?"
Judge King interposed an objection, which was sustained. Mr. Powers then stated the reason for asking it, that if the relations were unfriendly it would show that John Perjue was so eager to carry out the threats he had made on the life of Mills that he was ready to and did champion the cause of an enemy, and desired his statement to go on record, with his exception to the court's ruling.
Judge Powers then announced that the evidence for the defense was in.
The prosecution then called Alma Green. He was questioned relative to seeing, about a month ago, John Lee and Ben Reynolds, who helped him carry goods to his house, and that Green told Reynolds he had been promised $100 by Mrs. Lyon to testify as to Perjue's threats against Mills. The witness denied it most positively.
A.J. Sargent was then called for the State and questioned as to H. Van Martin, a witness for the defense, as to whether or not Van Martin stated soon after the shooting that "it was cold-blooded murder". Judge McCarty ruled the question out, as being merely an opinion of Mr. Van Martin at the time, and that his opinion then is no impeachment of his testimony given at this trial.
William Scoggins was then called, and stated that Mills's reputation for peace and quiet was not good. To Judge Powers the witness acknowledged he does not like the Lyon family.
Archie Beard was then sworn for the State. He testified to the bad reputation of Mills. The defense brought out from the witness that he had once clerked in the Lyon store; that a question arose as to the disappearance of a $10 bill; that Beard had been discharged, and since then had not liked the Lyon family. Other witnesses were introduced on the question of Mills's reputation, and were simply paralyzed by the defense.
The State's attorney then read some of Mills's evidence at the preliminary examination, which closed the evidence and both parties rested. The arguments will be made tomorrow.
(Deseret Evening News, 20 September 1897)
The Slayer of Perjue Regains His Liberty after a Long, Tedious Trial
The trial of Harry Mills at Junction, Utah, for the killing of Perjue has been brought to a termination. The arguments closed late Saturday night and three hours afterwards the jury brought in a verdict of not guilty. Mills was immediately given his liberty. The trial has been a long and tedious one and all concerned are glad that it is over.
The arguments to the jury on Saturday of Judge Powers for the defense and of Judge King for the prosecution, were both characterized by brilliance and logic. Judge Powers occupied three hours and three-quarters and closed at the midday adjournment of the court.
Judge King occupied the time from 2:30 p.m. until 6 o'clock, when the court took an adjournment, after which he continued the argument from 7 p.m. until 8:25--four hours and forty minutes in all.
The defendant's features betrayed conflicting emotions through the day. Mrs. Mills was not present during the argument of Judge King. She sobbed almost continuously during the argument of Judge Powers and when she attempted to arise and go out at the noon hour she moaned piteously and sank to the floor in a swoon. The weak state of her heart rendered the swoon dangerous but she presently revived.
The reading of the charge to the jury by Judge McCarty occupied thirty-five minutes and was a remarkably lucid and fair document.
(Salt Lake Herald, 20 September 1897)
Man Who Killed Perjue Goes Free
Jury Out Three Hours
Able Arguments by Congressman King and Judge Powers
Mrs. Mills Fainted and Fell to the Floor
(Special to The Herald.)
Junction, Utah, Sept. 19.--The arguments in the Mills murder case were closed about 8 o'clock last night, and the court then charged the jury.
The juror then retired and after being out about three hours, returned a verdict of not guilty.
Junction Co., Utah, Sept. 18.--The closing evidence yesterday was offered by the prosecution in the testimony of two or three witnesses who said that the reputation of Harry Mills for peace and quietness was bad. One man, John Lee, said that public opinion was divided, but he thought the majority of the people believed Mills to be a good man. This brought down the spectators with laughter.
Another testified that Mr. Green told him that he was to receive $100 in cash or merchandise and Mrs. Lyon's horse "Paddy" for testifying in the case.
Mr. Green denied this, and Mrs. Lyon was called and to the question: "Have you ever promised to anyone any money, goods or thing of value touching the testimony in this case, or do you know of any such thing," replied positively in the negative.
It was also proven by the defense, and the acknowledgments of the above-mentioned witnesses, that they each entertained personal ill will against Mills and his family.
At about 5 o'clock the prosecution opened the argument to the jury and a night session was held, when Mr. Frew outlined the side of the defense for an hour and a quarter.
Judge Powers delivered a most masterful address to the jury, which occupied three hours and 40 minutes. He spoke in behalf of the character of the witnesses for the defense, showed up the dangerous character of the deceased, Perjue, and dwelt with great emphasis upon the threats which he had made upon the life of Mills.
As the witnesses of the prosecution came up, one by one, he thought of Shakespeare's saying: Lord and good angels deliver us, etc.! He hoped his life would never be at stake at the hands of such men. He criticised the prosecution for placing only a part of the witnesses upon the stand, such as would fasten the guilt upon the defendant, and withholding such witnesses as would testify to anything which might be in his favor. He hoped to live to see the day when there would be a law in this state compelling the prosecution to put every witness upon the stand when the state would not be anxious to condemn a man to death unfairly.
Judge Powers wound up with an eloquent and powerful protest that if ever men were justified in taking the life of another in self defense Harry Mills was thus justifiable.
Congressman King, for the prosecution, opened his argument by disclaiming any feeling in the case. "You, gentlemen, are not the pleaders for the defendant, but to uphold the laws. The state is not interested in convicting an innocent man, neither can it overlook a crime. If Harry Mills has committed no crime, bid him depart from this court room without a stain upon his honor; but if he be guilty of a crime, bid him pay the penalty though it tears the heart strings of wife and mother."
Judge King made a dramatic peroration on the histrionic ability of his opponent. He showed up the discrepancies of Harry Mills' testimony of yesterday, compared with the preliminary testimony.
Mr. King occupied the whole time from 2:30 o'clock until 6 p.m., and then, after an hour's adjournment, continued from 7 o'clock until 8:10 - four hours and 40 minutes in all. The arguments on both sides were vigorous, logical and brilliant.
Mrs. Mills Fainted
The defendant betrayed various conflicting emotions throughout the day. His wife sobbed deeply almost continuously throughout Mr. Power's speech, and upon attempting to arise and go out at the noon adjournment, she moaned piteously and sinking through the arms of her husband who tried to support her, fell unconscious to the floor.
At 8:15 Judge McCarty began to read the charge of the court to the jury, and occupied 35 minutes. It was a remarkably clear and fair document.
(Salt Lake Tribune, 20 September 1897)
Jury at Junction Return a Verdict in His Case.
Were Out But a Short Time.
Trial Lasted One Week and the Finding was Made Early Yesterday Morning
Junction, Utah, via Belnap, Utah, Sept 19.--At exactly 12:20 this morning the sworn bailiffs announced that the jury in the Mills cases had arrived at a verdict. Court convened and the roll call made, after which the court said: "Gentlemen of the Jury.--Have you arrived at a verdict?" Mr. Peterson, as foreman, said: "Yes, sir." The clerk took the verdict, and after filing, read as follows:
We, the jury, in the case of the State of Utah vs. Harry L. Mills find the defendant not guilty.
(Signed.) J.E. Peterson, Foreman.
With this the defendant and counsel exchanged congratulations and the court announced that the defendant was at liberty and dismissed the jury. This ended the August term of the Sixth district court for Piute county.
Harry L. Mills has been on trial all the week for shooting John Perjue to death in Marysvale on July 5th last. The Tribune has had full reports of the trial.
Judge McCarty and his stenographer have departed for Panguitch.
(Richfield Advocate, 22 September 1897)
Verdict Saturday Night Clears Him of Murder
The final arguments in the Mills murder case, tried at Junction before Judge McCarty, closed at eight o'clock Saturday evening. The jury retired and was out only three hours before returning this verdict:
We, the jury in the case of the State of Utah vs. Harry L. Mills, find the defendant not guilty.
J.E. Peterson, Foreman
The prosecution's attorneys were County Attorney S.L. Page, assisted by C.W. Jones and Congressman King who were retained by some of the family of John Perjue whom Mills killed in self defense on July 5th last. Counsel for the defense were Judge Powers, Ferguson and Frew and Gilbert E. Beebe.
Copyright 2006 by Ardis E. Parshall