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Sentenced to Death


John B. Walker to Hang for Murdering Stevens

In the district court in Lexington yesterday John B. Walker was arraigned before Judge Holcombe to receive sentence for the murder of George P. Stevens, of Farnam, in this county.

On the 11th day of last May John B. Walker on the streets of Farnam, seeing George P. Stevens enter a store, waited until he came out, when he deliberately shot him three times and then returned to his home. Stevens died two days later, and a warrant was issued for Mr. Walker; he was taken to Lexington and given a preliminary hearing on the charge of murder, was found guilty and bound over to appear at the next term of district court. In the September adjourned term of district court on Thanksgiving day November 30, 1893, the jury brought in a verdict of murder in the first degree. The attorneys made a motion for a new trial which the judge over ruled. They then filed an affidavit attempting to show that he was insane, which was withdrawn yesterday morning just before the sentence was pronounced.

The prisoner standing up with head bent forward listened without a quiver to the reviewing of the evidence by Judge Holcombe, who recalled to his mind all the circumstances connected with the shooting, and how the jury found him guilty of murder in the first degree. Referring to his age the judge said that “owing to your isolation from society you have probably not had the pleasures of life that you should have had, and your mind is probably dwarfed to a certain extent, which I regret, but which, with your old age, is in your favor. I presume this case will go to a higher court where the evidence will be reviewed and if they find any error they will probably give you a new trial. All points in the evidence being scrutinized the sentence is all I can impose upon you in accordance to law. The safe guards thrown around you for your protection have all been respected, and that you have been convicted of an awful crime and the evidence sustains said conviction, it is now my duty to sentence you. The law lays down the penalty and no difference how much I regret it I am here to carry it out.”

When asked if he had anything to say as to the charge, the prisoner said, “You know what the doctors said about my insanity.”

THE SENTENCE

The defendant being personally present in open court, attended by his counsel, was informed of the verdict of the jury and was asked whether he had anything to say why judgment should not be pronounced against him, and giving no good reason why sentence should not be pronounced against him. It is, therefore considered and adjudged by the court that John B. Walker, the defendant in this action, be confined in solitary confinement in the jail of Dawson county until the eleventh day of May, A. D. 1894, on which day, between the hours of 10 o’clock a.m. and 4 o’clock p.m., said defendant shall be taken by the sheriff to the place of execution in said county and there be hanged by the neck until he is dead, and that he pay the costs of the prosecution; taxed at $—.

The judge no doubt regretted to have to pronounce a death sentence upon the prisoner, as his feelings seemed to be more hurt than the criminal’s. The criminal heard the death sentence without moving a muscle or shedding a tear, and the only thing noticeable was that after the sentence was pronounced he chewed his tobacco all the time. At noon when the janitor took him his dinner he said he was worth half a dozen dead men yet and that he would probably be living when the janitor was dead. This might be, but if such were the case some one made a mistake. If ever justice was rendered to a man it was rendered to John B. Walker yesterday. This is the first man ever sentenced to be hung in Dawson county, and as George P. Stevens, the murdered man, died on the 11th day of May, 1893, so is his murderer, John B. Walker, sentenced to be hung until he is dead on the 11th day of May, 1894.

Gothenburg Independent 9(41):5, Saturday, 27 January 1894

 



Published: 8/12/2022 - http://www.historicfarnam.us
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