Tom Williams Killed by Pat Rickman. Williams too Attentive to Rickman’s Wife. An exciting scene occurred on Main street in this city this morning at 10 o’clock. The report of two pistol shots aroused the attention of those in the vicinity of Main and Fourth streets, and rushing to their doors they discovered one colored man pursuing another. The pursued ran into Tyson’s restaurant and from there to the hallway, where the pursuer fired three more shots at his victim, one ofwhich struck to the right of the spine, passed through the liver and out in front. The pursued turned and ran into the street and to the corner at Clark’s Hotel, where they grappled and had quite a struggle which resulted in the pursued being thrown into the area that surrounds the hotel; the other then jumped down upon him and with the butt of the pistol began to pound him on his head, inflicting twenty or more heavy blows on him. A number of persons, including a couple of policemen had collected at the scene, but as one shot had been reserved and they did not know whether it was intended for a finishing touch for the victim, for himself after completing the job, or for anyone who attempted a rescue, there was some delay in efforts to stop the brutal assault, but the sickening thuds were more than could be withstood and Marshal Ainsworth, Mart Covert and others leaped down, but were unable to make the aggressor stop his blows until he had several times been hit on the head with a heavy substance. During this scuffle the pistol was again fired, but as the ball did no injury it is not known for whom it was intended. The wounded man was carried to Roff’s drug store, the coroner was sent for; his ante-mortum statement taken, which was to the effect that he was shot without cause, and in fifteen minutes he was a corpse.
The participants were Pat Rickman, a stonemason, and Tom Williams, cook at Clark’s Hotel. Both are colored men. The difficulty occurred over the intimacy existing between Williams and Rickman’s wife which, it appears, has continued for some time, and the following are said to be the facts in the case. Rickman went to the Strip, last fall, to do some work, leaving his wife and children at his home in this city. While there he received word that Williams was too attentive to his wife and he came home to investigate; what he learned is not known, but he then told Williams to stay away from his house. Rickman returned to the Strip, and it appears that Williams’ visits were continued; on the completion of his work Rickman returned home, and discovered that the meetings between Williams and his wife continued, and he several times told him to cease his attentions to his wife. The immediate cause of the murder was a letter written yesterday by Williams to Mrs. Rickman to meet him at a dance in Peabody tonight; this letter found its way to the hands of the husband this morning, when he immediately started out on the war path, with the result as stated above. Rickman is now in jail. Pat Rickman is a light colored Negro who has long resided in this city; he was industrious and had a nice home, and by strict attention to his business and his quiet manners had won the respect of all his acquaintances. Mrs. Rickman until lately, enjoyed the confidence and respect of her neighbors, and was looked upon as an upright, worthy woman. Mr. Rickman, despite the brutality of the assault upon the destroyer of his home, has the sympathy of the people in his great trouble. Tom Williams, the murdered man, was a comparative stranger in the city, having lived here only a short time, coming from Hutchinson. He was a dudish sort of a fellow and posed as a ladies’ man, although having a wife and child. He was cook at Clark’s Hotel, where he and his family lived. His body is now at Edwards & Schumachers undertaking establishment. The Newton Kansan, Newton, Kansas. Thursday, February 14, 1895. Page 1.
A coroner’s jury was impanelled yesterday afternoon to take evidence regarding the killing of Thomas Williams yesterday by Pat Rickman. The jury sat again this afternoon but was dismissed until 3 o’clock that an autopsy might be held. This afternoon by means of a post mortem examination participated in by Coroner McKee and Doctors Seaton and Bennett, it was found that the ball had passed through the large lobe of the liver. It is remarkable that Williams was able to show fight at all, as the immediate inward hemorrhage must have been very marked. Although badly beaten about the head, Williams must have died from the effects of the bullet. The wound was essentially fatal. Owing to inability to get the evidence until the close of the trial the statements of the various witnesses will not appear in the Republican until tomorrow evening. All the witnesses thus far examined tell practically the same story, agreeing in all essential points with the account given in the Republican last night. The number of eye witnesses to the shooting was large, and as a result the evidence is rather voluminous. The case is proceeding very slowly. The Newton Daily Republican, Newton, Kansas. Friday, February 15, 1895. Page 4.
The Jury’s Verdict
It Is Found that Pat Rickman Killed Williams with Felonious Intent. After a most searching and deliberate session, the coroner’s jury in the Williams case returned a verdict last evening. The verdict is given below in full. Quite a number of witnesses were introduced and related about the same story with reference to the shooting. Fred Brandt testified that Rickman was in his place of business the morning of the murder. When Rickman saw Williams pass the door he stepped out and began firing. During the fight six shots were fired, one after the marshal and Rickman were struggling for possession of the gun. The first shot was the one that took effect. Rickman was at that time about five feet back of Williams. Brandt did not hear Williams say anything. George W. Geary testified that he heard Williams say while in the stairway, “I am shot. He is killing me.” Weir Conrad testified that he placed a large plank over Williams, thinking to shield him from Rickman’s blows. He and Marshal Ainsworth took hold of the gun and attempted to take it from him. During this scuffle a shot was fired. N.A. Mathis testified to about the same facts. E.E. Pollard testified to Rickman’s conduct before the day of the shooting relative to the intimacy existing between his wife and Williams. When Rickman was in the Strip he received an anonymous letter telling him he had better come home and look after his wife. Rickman said that at that time he would have knocked a man down for hinting that his wife was other than she should be. At one time after affirming the truth of the anonymous letter, he told Pollard that no man could come between him and wife and still live. Pollard advised him to do nothing rash, but to await developments; meanwhile making arrangements to have some one watch the movements of his wife and Williams. He testified that he saw Rickman the morning of the murder, but did not talk to him.
In the post mortem examination Coroner McKee and Doctors Bennett and Seaton found that four scalp wounds had been inflicted and that a bullet had passed between the seventh and eighth ribs, through the liver, severing several important blood vessels, and causing fatal internal hemorrhage. It was the general opinion of the physicians that death might have resulted from the blows inflicted upon the head but that the bullet wound alone would have caused death in from fifteen to forty minutes. The jury consisted of J.W. Hurst, D.E. Scott, C. Kirlin, H.C. Smith, C.L. Schafter, and J.J. Risdon. The verdict rendered is as follows: “An inquisition holden at Newton in Harvey county, Kansas, on the 14th and 15th of February A.D. 1895, before me, James McKee, coroner of said county, on the body of Thomas Williams, colored, of Newton, Harvey county, Kansas, came to his death as the result of a gunshot wound from a revolver in the hands of Patrick Rickman, colored. Said wound was inflicted on the said Thomas Williams, colored, by Patrick Rickman, colored, on Main street, city of Newton, Harvey county, Kansas, on the 14th day of February 1895, at about the hour of 10 o’clock a.m. upon the above named Thomas Williams, and that his death was caused by said wound and that we do find that the said Thomas Williams’, colored, death was caused by the said Patrick Rickman and with felonious intent. In testimony whereof, the said jurors have hereunto set their hands, the day and year aforesaid. – James W. Hurst, David E. Scott, J.J. Risdon, H.C. Smith, C. Kirlin, C.L. Shafer, and James McKee”. The Newton Daily Republican, Newton, Kansas. Saturday, February 16, 1895. Page 4.
A Useless Proceeding
It may be all right, but it seems queer that it should require nearly two days for the coroner’s inquest to find that Thomas Williams was dead, that a gun shot wound was the cause and that Patrick Rickman did the shooting, when more than a hundred men saw the brutal act committed. The coroner’s inquest is to find out what was the cause of death, and in this instance it could have been determined in a few minutes. It was absurd to use so much time and money when a hundred men saw the crime committed. There was much more necessity for an inquest over the death of Gray, who is supposed to have frozen to death a week ago. The Newton Daily Republican, Newton, Kansas. Saturday, February 16, 1895. Page 4.
Funeral of Williams
The funeral of Thomas Williams, the murdered man, occurred this afternoon, being held at the Second Baptist Church. The Newton Daily Republican, Newton, Kansas. Saturday, February 16, 1895. Page 4.
Rickman Bound Over
He Will Be Tried for Murder at the Next Term of Court. “Thomas Williams came to his death by means of a revolver in the hands of Patrick Rickman and said Patrick Rickman is committed to the county jail to await trial at the next term of the district court of Harvey county.” Such is the substance of the decision of Judge S. Lupfer at the preliminary trial of Patrick Rickman for the murder of Thomas Williams the 14th of last month. The office of Judge S. Lupfer was crowded to suffocation this morning at 10 o’clock, the hour set for the preliminary hearing of Patrick Rickman. It was thought by some that the defense would waive examination, but this was not done, and an hour was consumed in subpoenaing witnesses. The prisoner, his attorney, Charles Bucher, and the prosecuting attorney, County Attorney C.E. Branine, entered the room about 11 o’clock and the crowd was rapped to order. George W. Geary, a brakeman on the Santa Fe, was the first witness called to the stand. He is young man and told a clear story of the shooting affair in which Thomas Williams lost his life February 14. He declared that Rickman was not excited, but deliberately went after his victim and followed him up until overpowered by the authorities. He told the story of the shooting practically as related in The Republican the day the affair occurrred. He was an eye witness to the shooting and claimed not to have been excited, and to have followed the two men throughout the affray. Dr. James McKee, coroner of Harvey county, was called and stated that he first saw the murdered man in Roff’s Drug store. In entering the store he passed Pat Rickman, who was sitting near the door, and was having his wounds dressed by Dr. Roff. Williams was lying by the stove on the floor in a dazed condition. “What’s your name?” the Coroner asked him. “Thomas Williams” was the reply after considerable effort. “Where do you live?” “At Clark’s hotel.” “Have you a family?” “Yes, a wife and child.” “Who hurt you?” “Pat Rickman.” “What was the trouble between you and Rickman?” “Nothing.” The wounded man was fast becoming weaker and had every appearance of dying. “Take me home,” he said with a gasp, “I am dying.” “Yes you are,” replied the doctor, and in another minute Williams was dead.
The coroner examined the body at Edwards & Schumacher’s morgue and found that the ball had entered the body, passed through the liver and came out between the seventh and eighth ribs. In the passage of the bullet several important internal organs were punctured and death was caused by hemorrhage. There were five scalp wounds on the head, each of which had cut to the skull, but the skull was not fractured. One wound above the temple had produced a slight contusion. In summing up the doctor said that death was caused by internal hemorrhage. Marshal A.R. Ainsworth was called to the stand this afternoon at 2 o’clock after a recess of two hours had been taken for dinner. He testified that he saw none of the affray until the combatants were cinched in the area-way south of Clark’s hotel. He attempted to wrest the revolver from Pat Rickman and while he and Wier Conrad were struggling to get the weapon, Rickman cocked and fired it. He said that Rickman appeared to be very much excited and that his eyes would indicate that he was almost mad. The defense had no testimony whatever to offer, and therefore no argument to make. The judge immediately announced his decision as stated at the beginning of this article. The defendant was present throughout the preliminary hearing and evinced no nervousness whatever. His face was pale, however, and it could be noticed that the affair was weighing heavily upon his mind. He made no statement in court today. It is the general belief that the defense will reserve all of its testimony until the trial in the district court, at which time a plea of temporary insanity will be made. The Newton Daily Republican, Newton, Kansas. Friday, March 1, 1895. Page 4.
Held For Murder
The preliminary trial of Pat Rickman for the murder of Tom Williams, resulted in Rickman’s being held for trial for murder. But few witnesses for the state were examined, they being George W. Geary, Coroner McKee, and Marshal Ainsworth, whose evidence was positive and direct to the fact of the killing by Rickman. Charles Bucher appeared as counsel for the accused, but no evidence was presented by him, and that the court found there was reasonable cause to hold Rickman for trial, and so ordered. The presumption is that the defense will be based on a plea of temporary insanity. The Newton Kansan, Newton, Kansas. Thursday, March 7, 1895. Page 1.
The Case Is Stated
Lawyers Make the Opening Statements in the Rickman Case. Temporary Insanity Is Claimed. After devoting the greater part of the afternoon session yesterday to getting a jury in the Rickman trial one was at least obtained at 3:50 o’clock composed of the following men: Adam Kramer, E.D. Brown, A.D. Brubaker, W.J. Sloan, William Dalton, George H. Kline, Charles Barnard, E.R. Smith, Linsey Harlow, J.C. Matlack, J.S. Stone, F.M. Payme. County Attorney Branine at once began his statement of the case for the state. In substance he said: “Gentlemen of the jury, the defendant in this case is charged with murder in the first degree. Before you shall have gone to your jury room the court will instruct you I regard to the essential differences between murder in the first degree and murder in the second degree. We think that the evidence will show that this man is guilty as charged in the information, that on the 14th day of February last he did in this city deliberately, intentionally and with malice aforethought take the life of Thomas Williams, who prior to that time had been a cook at the Clark Hotel in this city. We think the evidence will show that ill-feeling had existed between the defendant and the deceased for several weeks prior to the killing and perhaps for several months. That during this time defendant made numerous statements against Williams and that several days before the shooting occurred Rickman lay around waiting for an opportunity to kill this man Williams. That days before he had provided himself with a revolver and was only waiting a convenient time to use it with deadly effect. We will show that on the morning of the shooting Williams as cook of the Clark House, went to the grocery of S.P. Byers for the purpose of ordering groceries for the noonday meal, that after talking for a few minutes he left the store to return to the hotel, going south. We will also show that three buildings the south of Byers’ grocery Rickman had gone into Fred Brandt’s restaurant and was waiting for Williams to pass that he might have an opportunity of killing him. When defendant had entered the restaurant he turned and faced to the street and talked a little to the proprietor. We will show that as Williams passed the door of this restaurant Rickman sprang out of the door and taking a large revolver from his pocket fired with deadly effort at Williams, the first shot taking effect and of itself had no other wounds being inflicted. Evidence will also show we think that immediately after firing the first shot defendant grasped the weapon with both hands for the sake of better aim and fired again, the deceased then ran into a stairway between Frank Tyson’s eating house and the building next south, the defendant pursuing him and firing three more shots while on the stairway. In a few moments both men emerged from the stairway and ran south to the corner of the Clark House and there Rickman grappled his victim and after belaboring him with the revolver held as a club threw him down the area way to the south of the hotel, immediately following him and continuing to strike him on the head and shoulders. We will show that men attempted to shield the body of the prostate man by covering it with a plank which lay in the area way but that Rickman immediately snatched it away and continued his assault, that Marshal Ainsworth together with Weir Conrad and Mart Covert went down and arrested Rickman the last shot in the defendant’s gun being fired during the scuffle which ensued. Rickman was then taken to jail and Williams to a drug store a few doors north where he died a very few minutes later. Gentlemen, we think that when we show the motive and the spirit of the act committed by the defendant you will be unable to return any other verdict than that of guilty as charged.”
Attorney Branine spoke sixteen minutes and was followed at once by Charles Bucher who made statement for the defense. Below is given a summary of his statement: “Gentlemen of the jury, we did kill Tom Williams, and although I was not there I suppose we shot him with a gun which has been produced here in court and that in the fight that followed we beat the iron on the barrel. But gentlemen of the jury, we did not kill Tom Williams with malice aforethought, nor did we kill deliberately and in cold blood. At yonder table sits a man for whose life a fight is now going on, Pat Rickman, one of the best men in Harvey county even if his skin be black. This we can prove by evidence not to be disputed. The defendant had a wife and two children which he loved as well as ever man loved his wife and child, loved them as you love your families, gentlemen of the jury. He had by his industry built up a little home for those he loved. He was a mechanic of acknowledged ability but the time came when he was thrown out of employment and then as every man will do in such a situation he cast about him for any kind of work that his family might be fed and finding nothing to do at home he went to Oklahoma. Then it was that this man Thomas Williams stepped in and seduced Pat Rickman’s wife and laid the foundation for what Mr. Branine is pleased to call ‘a little feeling’ on the part of Rickman. To accomplish his hellish designs this man Williams carried poisoned liquor to Rickman’s wife, nor was this all. It was not enough that he had stung this defendant to the death but he must go farther. With his wiles and blandishments he even tried to win the children of the man whose wife he had led astray. He even tried to win their affection from their father. When Rickman left to find work he was a happy and a joyous man in the knowledge that he had a home and loved ones worth laboring and living for. But while away there came to Pat an anonymous letter stating that he had better come home and keep an eye on Williams and Mrs. Rickman. Then it was, gentlemen, that his mind was seized upon by a distraction which no man can describe, for words fail. He was foreman on a job of masonry and we will show you by the evidence of the contractor that on the next day after receiving this letter, anonymous as it was, Rickman was wholly incapacitated for work, that he could not lay a brick or take charge of the workmen intelligently. He couldn’t not stand the suspense, but at once came home. His wife told him there was nothing to the report, that it was a lie put out by some enemy and that it had no truthful foundation. This Rickman wanted to believe and he did so. Who would not believe his wife as against the statement of an anonymous letter? And so Pat was willing to go back to his work in the territory. Before he went he decided to take his wife to Arkansas City, leaving the children with relatives here. But mind you, Mrs. Rickman was not long in Arkansas City. She came back because Williams wanted her to do so. Then Williams began to make his boasts of having destroyed Rickman’s home. Rickman came back to Newton and heard on all sides insinuations and sneers about himself and his faithless wife. But still he hoped that if he were around this trouble might cease. His wife declared that as yet everything was all right. Williams was told to stay away which he did but not for long. Rickman had found out that while he was away his wife would leave home and the children would go to the neighbors crying for ‘mother’ while she was out with this villain, Williams. But worse than all we will show you that a brother-in-law of Rickman, presumably for a price, did a thing that of right should damn him for all eternity. This brother-in-law was so low in degradation that he helped on this liaison between Williams and Mrs. Rickman, even going so far as to carry notes between the two, fixing times and places for meeting clandestinely. At last it was suggested to Rickman that he could find out the truth by intercepting the letters which were coming to his wife. To make matters short he found out by opening letters that there were two colored girls in another town who were acting as go-betweeners for Williams and Mrs. Rickman and the morning of the murder he opened a letter containing a railroad ticket for Mrs. Rickman whereby she might get out of town to meet Williams. Before this, at the suggestion of Williams, Mrs. Rickman had been doing hateful and aggravating things, hoping that Pat would become angered and strike her, thereby giving her opportunity of obtaining a divorce. But Rickman still loved his wife too much to strike her and so no grounds for divorce were established, but on the night before the killing Rickman’s wife broke down and confessed all and Rickman still refused to believe, thinking she was as before simply trying to anger him, though for what purpose he did not know. At length he arrived at a realization of the awful fact of his wife’s gross infidelity to him and then it was in the black melancholy of his grief he was made the involuntary instrument of divine wrath in destroying this adulterer.
Attorney Bucher then went on to state that it would be proved that insanity was in the Rickman blood and that several of Pat’s relatives had died in mad houses or with diseased minds and contended that no man’s mind was ever subjected to a greater strain than was put upon the defendant’s when he discovered the truth in regard to his wife and Williams. He impressed it upon the minds of the jurors that men often go mad from loss of property and that Rickman’s loss was incomparably greater than any loss of fortune. Mr. Bucher closed at 4:40 p.m. having talked for thirty minutes. The taking of evidence was then proceeded with, but owing to its being very full and complete no reporting of testimony will be given until tomorrow’s Republican appears. The Newton Daily Republican, Newton, Kansas. Wednesday, July 10, 1895. Page 4.
Evidence Being Taken
What the Witnesses Have To say. Rickman Admids the Killing of Williams and the Question Now Is, Was Rickman Temporarily Insane When he Committed the Murder – Proceedings of the Trial. Beginning with a few witnesses Tuesday evening the taking of the state’s evidence was continued throughout yesterday until 5:30 p.m. when, some of the state’s evidence being absent, the defense commenced calling witnesses. Below are given the names of those testifying to the circumstances immediately surrounding the murder, and occurring on Main street during the enacting of the tragedy. For this purpose the state called F.D. Van Duyn, Mrs. T.W. Williams, S.P. Byers, Fred Brandt, Otto Wester, T.N. Hanson, Grant Shepherd, Weir Conrad, Marshal Ainsworth, Mart Covert, and Dell Banks. The main points in the testimony of these witnesses went to show that on the morning of the killing, Thomas Williams, head cook at the Clark Hotel, went to S.P. Byers’ grocery for the purpose of buying articles for dinner. About 9:30 he started back to the hotel and just as he passed the door of Fred Brandt’s restaurant a few doors south, Pat Rickman stepped out and drawing a large revolver from his pocket, aimed it at Williams and fired, hitting him. In an instant he fired again. Williams then ran up an enclosed stairway on the south of Frank Tyson’s restaurant. Rickman pursued. Three more shots were fired on the stairway and then both men ran out upon the street, Rickman being in hot pursuit of Williams. Running to the entrance of the Clark Hotel the two men grappled, Rickman pounding Williams on the head with the revolver. Williams broke away and ran a few paces west and waited for Rickman to come up. He then grappled Rickman and attempted to throw him over the area way on the south of the hotel but losing his hold was picked up by Rickman and hurled over the railing, Rickman immediately following, still pounding him with the gun. A crowd having gathered, Marshal Ainsworth, together with Mart Covert and Weir Conrad went down into the area-way and after a hard struggle in which Covert used iron knucks on Rickman’s head he was taken and disarmed. Rickman was then taken away and the dying man was carried to the Newton Drug Company’s store where he died about ten minutes later. Dr. James McKee – Am coroner of this county; held post mortem examination on the body of Williams together with Drs. Bennett and Seator. Found five scalp wounds cut to the skull and presumably a bullet hole passing through the right lobe of the liver. The gun shot wound would under any circumstances cause death in thirty minutes. Drs. Bennett and Seaton gave practically the same evidence.
In the absence of the jury beginning at 1:30 yesterday afternoon the court heard arguments relatives to the administration of Williams’ last words considered as a dying declaration. Drs. McKee and Roff were put on the stand and together with the lawyers made things interesting for all concerned for a few minutes. Charles Kennedy – Know Rickman. Heard him say last winter in Dickinsheet’s coal office that if ever a man should come between him and his wife he would kill him. Frank Dickinsheets – Testified to the same effect. A.B. Berdine – Am a brother-in-law of Rickman. Advised him last winter to open his wife’s letters if he was uneasy about her. A letter was then read in court written by Rickman to Berdine, stating that he had followed Berdine’s advice and intimated that he had proofs of his wife’s infidelity. Court ordered Berdine to remain in attendance to appear for the defense. Mrs. J.A. Robinson – Am Mrs. Rickman’s sister. Saw Williams at Rickman’s home during his absence. When Rickman was home last September he and his wife had trouble about Williams in my presence. He told her that if she cared more for Williams than she did for him she could go. She said she would. Then Rickman said he would kill Williams before he should be allowed to break up the home, and at once got his revolver and started down town. Mrs. Rickman called to him twice, the last time telling him that if he went he would have to take the consequences. He then came back. Knew it was not right for Williams to go and see Mrs. Rickman during the absence of Pat but thought she knew her own business best. Both my husband and I have been up to Branine’s office since the killing. J.A. Robinson – Saw Rickman on the night before the shooting. Am his brother-in-law. Had some talk with him about work and as we talked Williams came out of the Clark House and went north. When we separated Rickman went north and I returned to the Clark House. Did not want to walk up street behind Rickman. Denied knowing Williams was armed and intended to kill Rickman that night, and that he (Robinson) did not want to follow Rickman for fear of being in range of the bullets when the firing commenced. Admitted being with Williams the night before the tragedy but denied being in Rickman’s yard. E.E. Pollard – Rickman and I had a private conversation before the shooting, in which he told me the trouble between himself and Williams. I advised him not to be hasty but to set a trap to to catch the man so that he might be sure of his guilt and then to give both the partices concerned a sound horse whipping. D.N. Garten – Saw Rickman in the sheriff’s office a few days before the shooting. Passed me in the door and failed to speak as he was accustomed to do, as we were friends. Remarked at the time that he acted queerly and asked Pollard what was the matter with the man. Ed Slater – Two days or such a matter before the affray Rickman, with whom I had always been friendly, said he wanted to talk with me privately and we went to the upper story of the court house. There he told me of the trouble he was in and asked me if I had ever seen him looking so badly. His face then assumed such a frightful look and he acted so queerly that I was afraid of him myself. He acted crazy. I said to him, “For God’s sake, Pat, don’t do anything to lay yourself liable.” Have seen defendant angry many times while at work with him but never saw him look as he did that time in the court house.
Frank McGowan – I work at the slaughter house west of the city. Rickman was out there a day or two before the killing and was armed with a large revolver which had just been cleaned. James Gray – Testified to the same thing. Josiah Foltz and Frank Foltz – Corroborated the evidence of witnesses who testified earlier in the day. J.B. Fugate – Testified that the defendant had at times asked that the mail coming to both himself and his wife be delivered to him only or to Mrs. Rickman. Daniel Dell – I live east of Peabody. Gave a concert the 14th of February last and sent a letter containing a ticket to Mrs. Rickman so that she could come up. I did so because my daughter asked me to. The ticket was half of a round trip ticket which I had traveled on and the conductor had failed to take up. Williams was to be at the concert. Have known Pat Rickman many years as a sober and industrious citizen and as a good neighbor. Had not seen him for nearly a year until a few days before the killing of Williams. I met him on the street and stopped to see how he was getting along but he merely touched my fingers in a mechanical way and passed on without stopping. I noticed at the time that there was something very peculiar about his appearance. In fact his facial expression was that of an insane man. In 1866-67 I was outside superintendent of the farm at the insane asylum located in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, and during that time had control of about 200 insane patients of varying degrees of insanity. Saw Rickman a few days later and his appearance was worse than before. Am certain he was insane. Cross-examination – The first time I saw Rickman last winter and noticed his appearance I could not get the idea out of my head that he had become insane. I think I told my wife about it when I went home. I also spoke to his brother. Have had more experience than most men with insane people. Did not look Bucher up to tell him what I knew about the case but will say that I am friendly to the defendant. I cannot describe to the jury what I term an insane facial expression, simply because it is indescribable. Court then adjourned until 10 o’clock this morning. Owing to train No. 4 being hours late Judge Martin could not get down from Hutchinson and consequently court was adjourned until 1 p.m. The Newton Daily Republican, Newton, Kansas. Thursday, July 11, 1895. Page 4.
Juror Payne Is Ill
Court Proceedings at a Standstill on Account of a Sick Juror. Interesting Testimony Given. Court opened at 1 o’clock yesterday and the state proceeded with the introduction of evidence in the Rickman trial. Below is given a summary of testimony by the various witnesses: D.W. Parham – I know Rickman. Saw him the day before the shooting. Also the morning of the tragedy saw him at the postoffice. Do not think he received a letter then. Am not positive, however. Weir Conrad – Saw no weapon in the hand of Williams at the time of the struggle between him and Rickman. Did not see the examinationwhich followed at the Newton Drug Store and cannot tell whether or not weapons were found on him. Frank Dickinsheets – Testified that Rickman was in the coal office across the tracks from the Clark on the morning of the affray a short time before it occurred. Dr. James McKee – In examining Williams I found no weapon on him. Rilla Dell – I live southeast of Peabody. While Mrs. Rickman was at our home last January she was asked to come up to a concert we were to give on the night of February 14. Agreed to send her a ticket and did so paying for it out of my own means. Had never written anything about Williams. Here counsel introduced several letters purporting to have bene written by the witness and her sister to Mrs. Rickman. These letters contained many allusions to a certain “T.” saying that he could furnish money for her to come up to the concert. A letter was also read written by Mrs. Rickman to the witness. She professed profound ignorance to the contents and meaning of these letters but became badly rattled about the matter. O.W. Roff – Did not see any weapon taken from Williams after he was killed or before he was taken to the drug store. Ed Slater – I told Pat that his wife was the most to blame for the trouble. Pat was always very careful about his money and took it home for the use of his family. I have often heard him say that there was nothing too good for his wife and children. At this point the state rested and and at 2:40 o’clock the witnesses for the defense were called and sworn. Dr. Miller was the first witness called and his testimony in substance was as follows: Dr. Miller – Am a practicing physician and know something of the human brain, its structure and functions. Men may become insane over the loss of fortune or friends. There is such a thing as hereditary insanity just as there is hereditary consumption. That is to say, a man may have an inherited tendency to insanity just as he may have an inherited tendency to consumption. In either case the tendency may never show itself, but neither one could stand as much exposure along the line of his particular hereditary taint as could a perfectly sound person. Although loss of family might result in insanity, I cannot at present call to mind such an instance. If a man should discover his wife’s infidelity and the matter should begin to prey on his mind, as it naturally would, continuing through a period of some months, supposing he had a hereditary taint of insanity in his blood, he might lose his mind. Have been Rickman’s family physician for several years and always noticed that he showed a great deal of affection for his family. I saw him at the jail shortly after the shooting and dressed his wounds. He did not recognize. Afterward Ed Slater came in and Pat reached inside his vest pocket in a menacing manner as if trying to get hold of a weapon. When I told him who had come to see him, he fell back on the couch and began to cry. Had written several prescriptions for Rickman prior to the killing. He was a splendidly built man. Insanity sometimes comes very suddenly. Insane men generally have no motive in their actions and are as likely to assault a friend as an enemy. Although there is nothing in the action of Rickman prior to the murder which would mark him as insane, still, insane persons are often very cunning in laying their plans so as to not be suspected. Have never treated the defendant for insanity. The cuts on Rickman’s head would not have produced the condition I found him in. A diseased mind is often troubled with a violent headache lasting for weeks or months. There is an intangible line between excessive passion and insanity. No two authorities agree upon a definition for insanity and all state that there is no perfect classification of its various forms possible. There is such a thing as partial insanity and also temporary insanity.
David McBride – Am a contractor and worked last summer in Oklahoma City on a job where Pat Rickman was at work. Rickman was a good mechanic and was foreman of the bricklayers on the new school buildings being put up at that time. One Sunday he received a letter as I found out later and from that moment he was a changed man. I met him a few minutes later and he would not recognize me. There was a peculiar look in his eye and I set him down as crazy. Have seen insane patients. Next morning Rickman was unable to work but merely wandered around among the workmen without doing anything. Do not remember that he asked to lay off. He did not work at all that day. The next day he went home to Newton. I am not a drinking man. Wayman Anderson – Am a cousin of the defendant. His mother and my father were full brother and sister as were also his father and my mother. Knew Williams. Heard him say that the Rickmans were all cowards and that he would go to see their wives whenever he pleased and that if any objection was made he was ready for them. That if Pat wanted a game with him, he was loaded. Rickman told me about his trouble last fall and has not looked like himself nor acted like himself since. He was losing flesh at the time I speak of and complaining of a terrible headache. He looked like an insane man. Cannot describe his appearance. Am unable to do so. One uncle on Pat’s mother’s side and also one on his father’s side were insane. Also Noah Anderson, a cousin. Once when some entertainment was being given at Rickman’s house during his absence I went down to see if there was dancing going on as it was against his wishes. Did not write the anonymous letter he received nor do I know who did write it. Joseph Shields – I clerk at Hurford’s grocery. Rickman and I were on the police force together and are friends. He told me about his trouble a few days before the affray. Nate Anderson – Am a cousin of the defendant. Saw him some time before the shooting. Thought from his general appearance that he was going the way other members of the Rickman family had gone, that is to say, I thought he was becoming insane. Knew Williams. About the first time I met him he asked me some very suspicious questions about the women and girls of Newton. Am not connected with a house of assignation (rendevouz) and never have been. A.B. Berdine – A short time before the tragedy I slept with Pat while on my way home to Arkansas City from the north part of the state. He rolled and tossed all night long until about 4 o’clock in the morning when he arose, built a fire, and walked the floor the rest of the night. All the time he groaned and muttered a great deal to himself. He was not at all natural as he had always been a very steady man. I am certain he was not in his right mind at that time. W.P. Walters – Am a plasterer and have known Rickman for a number of years. He is as good a man as ever I have known. He has worked for me at various times and always showed a great deal of affection for his wife and children and was always on the lookout for all the work he could get so that he might provide for them. While he was doing night work on the police force of this city he asked me for work during the day that he might increase his income, saying that his family needed more money. I gave him work that he could spend three or four hours a day on, which he did taking the time he would otherwise have been asleep. Before the shooting a few days he was at my house and acted strangely. While there he asked me for a small balance of rooms three dollars I owed him for work and when I told him I could get the cash in a few days he said if I could give him a coal order for the amount it would be the same to him. This I did at once and when I handed him the order he did not seem to care whether he took it or not. His conduct was so strange that I noticed it at the time. He was not right. Cyndy Rickman – Joe Rickman is my husband and is a cousin to Pat. Saw Mrs. Rickman leave Church with Williams. Told Pat about it; also that Williams at one time had seen Rickman on the outside of the Church and had gone inside in a mimicking way as though he were afraid of Pat. Williams accompanied me home at one time and asked me to kiss him good night, which I refused to do. Pat came down to our house one night shortly before the shooting and said he would stay for supper and I at once got things ready for him. I looked around and he was reading a letter and shaking all over so violently that I asked him what was the matter. He gave me no answer but got up and left with a wild look about him. He at once struck off up town and did not come back to eat. He had done practically the same thing the day before. Said he could neither eat, drink, nor sleep. On the day before the shooting he walked into the house, passing me without speaking and acting in a strange manner. Do now know that Rickman intended to kill Williams. Don’t think I ever told anyone that I would not tell what I knew against Pat. Joe Rickman – Am a cousin of the defendant; had a conversation with him in which he said that Williams had gained the affections of his wife, and there was no more happiness for him on this earth. He did not act natural. I grew to be afraid of him myself, although I was one of his friends. When I told him that Williams had coaxed his little sister to go riding with him Pat cried out, “My God! Now that he has ruined my wife, is he going to destroy my sister?” and closed by breaking down and crying. I told Pat that Williams had said, “I will go to Pat’s house whenever I choose, and if he wants to get in a game with me he will find me loaded.” I then advised Pat to get a gun. I saw Pat after he killed Williams. He did not know me, although I spoke to him.
Cross-examination – I told Pat to get a gun because Williams had said he would make Pat dance, and I had heard he was a bad man. I did not advise him to kill Williams. I was very anxious to keep away from Pat as he did not act right; don’t think I said on the morning of the killing that if I could get a gun I would go and kill Williams if he was not already dead. Frank Childs – Testified to the ill health and apparent mental disturbance of Rickman before the killing; stated that he was afraid of Pat himself. Rev. H.H. Turner – Testified to having talked to Pat about Church members dancing, and that Pat had asked him to dissuade Mrs. Rickman from going to the dance at Peabody. Milton Rosch – Until this trouble came on him Patt was always sociable to me. I noticed a few days before he killed Williams that he was acting very strangely, as he went right by me and would not speak. I thought at the time something was the matter with him. Clark Pierce – Rickman came into the office of the Fisher House the day before Williams was killed, and carried himself in a very peculiar manner. He would not recognize anybody when spoken to, and went out without speaking. Overturf was running a joint in the next room. Rickman did the same thing the next morning, refusing to speak as he did the night before; walked twice around the stove and then out into the street again. I think he acted differently than he would, had he gone in for the purpose of finding a man he intended to kill; can’t tell just how a man would act under those circumstances, having never had any experience. When court convened this afternoon Juror F.M. Payne was too ill to be in attendance and after dismissing a number of the state’s witnesses and giving the jury special instructions in regard to conduct, Judge Martin announced that court would be adjourned until next Monday at 10 o’clock. The Newton Daily Republican, Newton, Kansas. Friday, July 12, 1895. Page 4.
(c) Excerpted from the book Deadly Encounters: Murder In Harvey County by Darren McMannis. All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.