Convicted of Murder
Such was the Verdict Rendered by the
Jury in the Case of J. B. Walker
Charged with the Murder of
George P. Stevens
at Farnam, this county,
in [May] Last.
The examination of witnesses in the case of J. B. Walker, on trial for the murder of George P. Stevens at Farnam last [May], which was begun Thursday of last week, was continued Saturday afternoon and until nine o’clock at night, at which time the court adjourned until Monday morning at nine o’clock. The trial then proceeded, counsel for defense and prosecution stubbornly contesting each foot of ground gone over.
The defense did not deny the fact that Walker shot and killed Stevens, and that the act was premeditated, but set up the plea that their client was insane and not responsible for the murder.
After the jury had been addressed by the attorneys on both sides of the case and the court had given his charge, which was about five o’clock Tuesday afternoon, they retired to the jury room, and deliberated as to their verdict until 11 o’clock Thursday morning, when they came into court and returned a verdict of murder in the first degree, as charged in the information. The following are the names of the men who composed the jury:
L. N. Grundin, Foreman.
C. E. Shepherd.
B. W. Crabb.
G. H. Whiteman.
L. H. Walton.
A motion for a new trial was filed this morning by counsel for defense. Argument upon the same will probably not be made before next week.
Most all people conversant with the facts in the case endorse the verdict rendered.
Walker did not appear to be at all discomposed when the verdict was announced.
A number of ladies were in daily attendance at the trial.
At ten o’clock on Wednesday night the jury came into court to ask for further instructions as to the various degrees of homicide. They were given by the court.
But one juror of the regular panel, George Gray of Kennebec Precinct, was accepted on the case.
Among the extra jurors called were men who lived in this city and vicinity for months past, and long prior to the murder. When interrogated as to their eligibility to sit as a juror they caused ripples of surprise by stating they knew nothing of the case and had formed no opinions. Of course they were not accepted.
Judge Benson, of Eustis, who assisted County Attorney Cook in the prosecution, made a masterly and convincing address to the jury.
Judge Holcombe’s fair and impartial manner in all stages of the trial elecited words of commendation from all parties.
A report was in circulation Wednesday morning that the jury stood 7 for conviction, 4 for insanity and 1 for acquittal. By evening it had been cyphered down to 11 for conviction and 1 for acquittal, and the next morning it was reported they stood 10 for conviction to 2 for acquittal.