Source type: newspaper
Document type: news column
Document title: “Chronicle of the Week”
City of publication: London, England
Date of publication: 28 September 1901
Volume number: 98
Issue number: 3203
Pagination: 477-80 (excerpt below includes only page 478)
|“Chronicle of the Week.” Tablet 28 Sept. 1901 v98n3203: pp. 477-80.|
|Leon Czolgosz (trial).|
|Leon Czolgosz; William McKinley.|
Chronicle of the Week [excerpt]
THE MURDERER OF MR. MCKINLEY.
After a swift and unsensational trial Czolgosz, the murderer of President McKinley, has been declared guilty of his savage and wanton crime. No other conclusion could have been come to, and certainly no other verdict would have satisfied the world. The criminal wanted to plead guilty, but this the Judge would not allow. It was as well that the story of the crime should again be told in open court, in order that the utter absence of motive might be impressed upon all the world. The only possible plea by which the counsel whom he ignored could have saved him was that of insanity, but there was no room for that in view of the evidence of the medical experts who had examined Czolgosz. His mind may have been to a certain extent unhinged by fanaticism, but it was clear to all that he was in complete possession of his faculties, and quite understood the consequences of his actions. The act by which he struck the President low had been long premeditated, and had been attempted before. He declared that he understood the position in which he had placed himself and was quite willing to take the consequences. As there was no question as to the facts of the case the prisoner’s counsel had no witnesses to call, and contented himself with a warning to the jury that if any doubt existed in their minds they must give the prisoner the benefit of it. “If the jury could find in their minds that this man is irresponsible, and give him the benefit of that belief, it would lift from the minds of the people of the country a great load. It would be better to think that the act of this man was the act of a madman rather than that of an assassin, slaying so noble a man in cold blood.” To this the District Attorney, in summing up, said: “Under the presumption of the law that this man is sane we must consider him so. There is a class of people in the country who must be taught that the law must be supreme. They must be given a terrible example of the majesty and the irresistible force of the law that they would tear down.” After a few words from the Judge the jury retired to consider their verdict, which was that of murder in the first degree—that is, murder with premeditation and intent to kill. The prisoner listened in stolid silence. Sentence was passed on Thursday.