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TRIAL AND EXECUTION OF CZOLGOSZ.
Leon Czolgosz, the assassin of President McKinley, was placed on trial Monday, September 23rd, at Buffalo, in Part 3 of the Supreme Court, criminal section, with Justice Truman C. White on the bench. The assassin pleaded guilty, but in accordance with the laws of th« state the Justice ordered the plea set aside and a plea of not guilty entered instead.
The following jury was quickly secured: Frederick E. Lauer, plumber; Richard J. Garwood, street railway foreman; Henry W. Wendt, manufacturer; Silas C. Carmer, farmer; James S. Stygall, plumber; William Loton, farmer; Walter E. Everett, blacksmith; Benjamin J. Ralph, bank cashier; Samuel P. Waldo, farmer; Andrew J. Smith, produce dealer; Joachim H. Mertens, shoe dealer; Robert J. Adams, contractor.
The prosecution was conducted by Thomas Penney, District Attorney of Erie county
The testimony given at the trial simply brought out the facts already known concerning the assassination.
Two well-known lawyers, Judges Lewis and Titus, had been appointed by the court to defend Czolgosz, but as he had refused to consult with them they were unable to make any defense for him further than to protect his legal rights at the trial. Hence, the trial was short, lasting only part of two days. Before it was concluded, however, Czolgosz was given an opportunity to speak in his own behalf, but declined to do so.
On Tuesday, September 24th, the jury found him guilty, and on Thursday, September 26th, he was again brought into court to receive sentence. When asked if he had anything to say why sentence should not be pronounced against him Czolgosz tried to speak but was unable to make himself heard.
One of his attorneys said for him: "He says no one had anything to do with the commission of his crime but himself; that his father and mother and no one else had anything to do with and knew nothing about it."
Justice White then pronounced sentence in the following words: "Czolgosz, in taking the life of our beloved President, you committed a crime which shocked and outraged the moral sense of the civilized world. You have confessed that guilt, and after learning all that at this time can be learned from the facts and circumstances of the case, twelve good jurors have pronounced you guilty and have found you guilty of murder in the first degree.
"You have said, according to the testimony of credible witnesses and yourself, that no other person aided or abetted you in the commission of this terrible act. God grant it may be so.
"The penalty for the crime for which you stand is fixed by this statute, and it now becomes my duty to pronounce this judgment against you. The sentence of the court is that in the week beginning October 28th, 1901, at the place, in the manner and means prescribed by law, you suffer the punishment of death. Remove the prisoner."
Under this sentence Czolgosz could have been executed any time after midnight of October 27th, but the execution did not take place until Tuesday morning, October 29th.
On the afternoon before his death Czolgosz reluctantly received two priests into his cell, Fathers Fudzinski and Hickey. They remained with him for three-quarters of an hour and pleaded with the prisoner to repent and pray for Divine forgiveness. He rejected all their advances and they withdrew, saying they would be ready to answer a call from him at any hour of the night.
His brother, Waldeck Czolgosz, was admitted to see him, and said, "I wish you would tell us, Leon, who got you into this scrape?" The assassin answered: "No one. Nobody had anything to do with it but me."
"That is not how you were brought up," said the brother, "and you ought to tell us everything now."
"I haven't got anything to tell."
"Do you want to see the priests again?"
"No, damn them. Don't send them here again. I don't want them." Then he added, "and don't you have any praying over me when I am dead. I don't want it. I don't want any of their d—d religion."
Czolgosz spent the greater part of his last night on earth sleeping, apparently peacefully. At 5:30 o'clock a. m., when Warden Mead went lo his cell, he was still asleep. He was awakened and the Warden read him the death warrant. He listened in silence and gave no outward sign of any emotion he may have felt.
Czolgosz asked to see his brother again and was told that it was impossible. His breakfast was then sent to him, of which he ate but little. He then prepared for the death chamber.
"I want to make a statement before you kill me," he said to Superintendent Collins.
"What do wish to say, Czolgosz?" asked the superintendent.
"I want to make it when there are a lot of people present. I want them to hear me," said the prisoner.
"Well, you cannot," said the superintendent.
"Then I won't talk at all," said the prisoner sullenly.
While he was partaking of his breakfast the witnesses were gathering in the offices of Warden Mead and at 7:08 the procession passed to the death chamber, going through the long south corridor.
The guards on either side of Czolgosz had hold of his arms, as if either to support him or to keep him from making a demonstration. As he stepped over the threshold he stumbled, but they held him up and as they urged him forward toward the chair he stumbled again on the little rubbercovered platform upon which the chair rests.
He took his seat in the electric chair without a tremor. As the cap was adjusted he said something through his teeth that sounded like a curse. The keepers paused and asked if he wished to say anything. Czolgosz straightened up and said:
"I am not sorry I did this thing. I did it for the working people. Mv only regret is that I have not been able to see my father."
Then the straps and electrodes were adjusted.
Warden Mead raised his hand and at 7:12:30 Electrician Davis turned the switch that threw 1,700 volts of electricity into the living body.
The rush of the current threw the body so hard against the straps that they creaked perceptibly. The hands clinched suddenly and the whole attitude was one of extreme tenseness.
For forty-five seconds the full current was kept on and then slowly the electrician threw the switch back, reducing the current volt by volt until it was cut off entirely. Then just as it had reached that point he threw the lever back again for two or three seconds.
The body, which had collapsed as the current was reduced, stiffened up against the straps. When it was turned off again Dr. MacDonald stepped to the chair and put his hand over the heart. He said he felt no pulsation, but suggested that the current be turned on for a few seconds again.
Once more the body became rigid. At 7:15 the current was turned off for good.
At 7:17 the warden, raising his hand, announced:
"Gentlemen, the prisoner is dead."
The jury that witnessed the execution of Czolgosz and returned the formal finding in his case was composed as follows: Foreman, John P. Jaeckel, Auburn; Ashley W. Cole, Albany; H. H. Bender, Albany; Charles R. Skinner, Albany; George Weston, Norwich, N. Y.; D. L. Ingalls, Westfield; H. O. Ely, Binghamton; C. J. Wallace, Syracuse; Charles R. Huntley, Buffalo; Dr. W. A. Howe, Phelps. N. Y.; Dr. G. R. Trowbridge, Buffalo, . and John A. Sleicher, New York.
The physicians were: Dr. Carlos F. MacDonald of New York and Dr. Gerin of Auburn. Other witnesses were: E. Bonesteel, Troy; W. D. Wolff, Rochester; C. F. Rattigan, Auburn; George R. Peck, Auburn, N. Y.; W. N. Thayer, former warden of Dannemora prison, who assisted Warden Mead, and three newspaper correspondents.
The following report of the autopsy was made by the physicians:
"The autopsy was made by Dr. Edward A. Spitzka of New York, under the immediate supervision and direction of. Dr. Carlos F. MacDonald of NewYork and Dr. John Gerin, prison physician. The autopsy occupied over three hours and embraced a careful examination of all the body organs, including the brain.
"The examination revealed a perfectly healthy state of all the organs, including the brain. All of the physicians who attended the execution were present at the autopsy, and all concurred in the findings of the examiners.
"Carlos F. MacDonald,
After the autopsy, the body was disposed of by the state authorities, according to the following agreement with the assassin's brother:
"Auburn, N. Y., Oct. 28.—J. Warren Mead, Agent and Warden Auburn Prison: I hereby authorize you as warden of Auburn prison to dispose of the body of my brother, Leon F. Czolgosz, by burying it in the cemetery attached to the prison, as provided by the law of the State of New York.
"This request is made upon the express understanding that no part of the remains will be given to any person or society, but that the entire body will be buried in accordance with the law in the cemetery attached to the prison.
v Witnesses: "John A. Sleicher,
"George E. Graham."
Czolgosz's father signed a similar agreement., After the body was placed in the grave, quicklime and acid were poured upon it to completely destroy it. v"