Day of Doom for Assassin Is Near
Believed That Czolgosz Has Little More Than Seven
Weeks to Live.
TRIAL TO BE SPEEDY.
Murderer of William McKinley to Face His Judge on Sept. 23.
FEW WITNESSES ARE CALLED
Buffalo, N. Y., Sept. 14.—[Special.]—Leon
Czolgosz, the assassin of William McKinley, has something over seven
weeks to live. It is planned to place him on trial on Monday, Sept.
23. No difficulty is expected in securing a jury. It is believed
that the trial will be ended by a verdict of guilty rendered in
three days and that by Friday, Sept. 27, Leon Czolgosz will be under
death watch at Auburn.
Six weeks must intervene between the
pronouncement of the death sentence and its execution.
District Attorney Penney decided on
his course today. He will not wait for the Supreme Court grand jury
to convene, but will present the evidence against Czolgosz to the
grand jury of Erie County on Monday morning. On the same day an
indictment will be reported to County Judge Edward K. Emery. The
assassin’s plea will be received, and if no attorney appears for
him counsel will be assigned by the court. The case will then be
sent to the Supreme Court for trial.
In the Supreme Court.
Three parts of the Supreme Court
will open on Monday, Sept. 23. Justice Henry A. Childs will hold
Part I.; Justice Edward F. Kruse, a close personal friend of Mr.
Roosevelt, will sit in Part II., and Justice Truman C. White will
hold Part III. It is usual to try criminal cases at this term in
Part III., so that the chances are that Justice White will sit in
the Czolgosz case.
The trial should not occupy more than
three days, so that within two weeks after the President’s death
the assassin may be under sentence of death.
The witnesses who will testify before
the grand jury are the secret service men, Ireland and Foster, Frank
O’Brien of the Coast Defense Guards, and a number of eye witnesses.
Secretary Cortelyou will not testify,
as he will be on his way to Washington, and it is not thought necessary
to have his evidence. A draft of the indictment has been made by
the District Attorney and is in the regulation form, charging murder
in the first degree.
Trial to Be Dignified.
Czolgosz will be arraigned at once
and his plea of not guilty will be entered, for a man cannot plead
guilty to murder in the first degree. A lawyer will be chosen to
defend him who can be counted upon to preserve the dignity and proprieties
of a court assembled for the solemn duty of trying the assassin
of the President. It is the concern of all interested in the prosecution
that the trial shall have every form of fairness, but that the occasion
shall not be belittled by pettifoggery. The best lawyer who will
accept the assignment will be detailed to defend Czolgosz. Those
who are seeking the appointment with an idea of gaining notoriety
and advertisement through it will be disappointed. The names of
men like Richard Crowley of Lockport, former member of Congress,
are under consideration.
The attorney assigned to defend Czolgosz
will receive $500 from the state.
A week from the day of arraignment
will be deemed sufficient time for counsel to prepare the defense,
so the trial will start on Sept. 23 beyond peradventure. District
Attorney Penney anticipates no difficulty in drawing a jury. He
said tonight that he thought that task would be easier than in the
ordinary murder case. Probably every man on the panel will have
formed an opinion on the guilt or innocence of the defendant, but
that will not be a disbarment if a man can say that the opinion
thus formed is one that could be removed by evidence. The defense
and the people will be entitled to thirty peremptory challenges
Guard against Insanity Plea.
The only defense imaginable is insanity,
and to guard against that District Attorney Penney has caused Czolgosz
to be examined daily by Drs. James W. Putnam, Floyd S. Crego, and
Joseph Fowler, who will be prepared to take the stand and combat
At present, District Attorney Penney
does not believe it will be necessary to introduce the confession
of the assassin, which will be admissible in evidence if it can
be corroborated in every detail. The direct witnesses of the murder
will testify in such manner as to indicate premeditation.
According to District Attorney Penney’s
calculations, Czolgosz will be under death watch in Auburn two weeks
from Thursday or Friday. Six weeks must intervene between the pronouncement
of sentence and its execution, so Czolgosz has something over seven
weeks to live.
District Attorney Penney decided today
that no inquest by Coroner’s jury was necessary, and discharged
the jury which had been assembled by Coroner Wilson. The Coroner
officially viewed the body and granted permission for the autopsy,
which was performed later.