Murder At Burrton
C.B. Guist Killed and Body Thrown Into a Slough. The citizens of Burrton and vicinity have been thrown into a state of frantic excitement over a murder committed there Monday night or Tuesday morning, and it is probable that inside of the next twelve hours there will be some startling revelations brought to the surface by the coroner’s jury now in session. Monday evening C B Guist, a resident of Wichita, but who owns a farm southeast of Burrton, arrived at the latter place on a Frisco train for the purpose of visiting his farm. He started to walk out to the farm about 8:30 at night. This is the last seen of him alive. Tuesday morning his nephew, knowing that his uncle was coming up from Wichita, and feeling somewhat uneasy over his non-arrival at the farm, started to Burrton to see if any trace could be found of his relative. When reaching a point about four and a half miles from town he discovered the body of his uncle I a slough, partially concealed beneath a small culvert. Word was sent to this city yesterday afternoon and Sheriff Ainsworth and Coroner Abbey immediately went to the scene of the crime in an automobile. County Attorney Vander Holden joined them on train No. 1 and a jury was empaneled. The inquisitional body remained in session until 1:00 o’clock this morning, when an adjournment was taken until 3:00 o’clock. The case was taken up again at that hour and will probably not be concluded until late this afternoon. Guist was killed by being shot in the back of the head with a load of shot from a shot gun. Telephone advice from Burrton is that the murderer is known and will probably be taken ito custody as soon as the coroner’s jury has concluded its labors. (The Evening Kansan-Republican, Newton, Kansas. Thursday, July 1, 1909. Page 1).
Murder Was Done
Body of Wealthy Farmer Found Near Burrton, Harvey County. C. B. Guist, a wealthy retired farmer of Wichita, Kas., was found dead under a culvert near Burrton, last night by a boy named Giest, who is not a relative. He had died from gunshot wounds, a portion of his neck being blown away. No motive for the murder is known. Guist’s pocketbook was undisturbed. The coroner and sheriff are investigating.
Is Held For Murder
C. M. Guist Confined In The Harvey County Jail. Coroner’s Jury Orders Him Held for Killing His Uncle – Circumstantial Evidence is Very Strong. “The said jurors upon their oaths do say that C. B. Guist came to his death from a shotgun wound inflicted in the back of the head and neck, with felonious intent, said crime being committed in Lake Township, Harvey County, Kansas, exact point unknown, on or about the 29th day of June, 1909. Judging solely from circumstantial evidence, this jury is of the opinion that the deceased met his death at the hands of C. M. Guist, nephew and the present tenant on the farm of the deceased, and recommend that he be held for preliminary hearing before a justice of the peace.” It was almost 7:00 o’clock last evening when the coroner’s jury brought in the above verdict in the case of C. B. Guist whose dead body was found about five and one-half miles southeast of Burrton Tuesday morning. The jury had been in session, with the exception of a few hours, continuously since Tuesday evening. A few minutes after the verdict was rendered the accused man was placed under arrest and brought to this city where he was lodged in the county jail, there to remain until his preliminary is arranged for and he is either exonerated or held for trial in the district court. The evidence against the accused is wholly circumstantial, although there are not many men who would care to have his chances staring them in the face. At this time there are few, if any, who see how he is going to untangle himself from the mass of evidence that has already accumulated to say nothing of the possibility of unearthing additional incriminating facts as the case is delved into by the officials. C. B. Guist, seventy-one years of age and uncle of the accused man, was one of the oldest settlers in Harvey County, he having taken up a homestead in Lake township in 1871 and resided there continuously until about two years ago, when he removed to Wichita, but made frequent visits to his farm, which has been occupied for the past two years by the nephew, C. B. Guist. He arrived at Burrton on one of his peridical visits last Monday evening, although it is not known if he came over the Santa Fe or Frisco. So far as is known the nephew knew nothing about his uncle coming from Wichita on that particular date, although he stated that his uncle had told him he would be up “before or about harvest.” The dead man was seen to leave Burrton about 7:30 in the evening with the avowed intention of walking out to the farm. He was twitted considerably about a man, at his advanced age, undertaking such a walk, to all of which he responded in a joking manner. He stopped at the Koehn home, about a mile and half north of his destination, in the neighborhood of 8:00 o’clock, where he got a drink of water. Some more joking remarks were passed here about his being a “tramp” and he finally said that he “must hit the road” and started. So far as is known he was not seen alive thereafter.
Tuesday morning Robert Guist, the ten-year-old son of C. M. Guist, had been to the home of a neighbor on an errand. When returning home, as he was passing over the bridge that spans Kishawa creek, in the neighborhood of three-quarters of a mile from his home, he noticed a straw hat lying in the water about six feet east of the bridge and near the south edge of the pond. He thought some boys were fishing there and called to attract their attention. Being unsuccessful, he stopped the team and ran around to where the hat was, and as he did so he saw the feet of the body sticking from under the bridge. He ran to Charles Marak, who was cutting wheat nearby. At first he thought the boy was fooling, but finally went with him and found his story to be true. He sent his brother to telephone to Burrton to the marshal and he in turn notified the officers in this city. P. H. Riggs, a deputy constable, guarded the body until Coroner Abbey and Sheriff Ainsworth arrived on the scene. In the meantime the undertaker at Burrton had been notified and as soon as the coroner and sheriff had examined the body, its location, and made the necessary notes, it was taken by the undertaker to Burrton. The bridge under which the body was found is a concrete structure the regulation width and perhaps twenty feet long. In the center of the bridge was found a quantity of grass chaff, its position indicating that it had been scraped out of a wagon bed when something had been pulled out. On some of this chaff was found what, under microscopic examination, proved to be human blood. There were also blood stains on the west side of the bridge as though a body or the source from whence the spots came, had been slid over the side into the water. In the pockets of the dead man the coroner found one twist of Honey Dip chewing tobacco, a purse containing sixty dollars, and other articles, such as paper and books. The officers then turned their attention to the home of the nephew. It might be well to state here that he was married at one time, but his wife deserted him and he has been living on the farm since with no other companion than his ten year old son. They found the house in a very filthy condition. A close examination was made of the premises. There are two bed rooms on the east side of the house and in the northeast room the old gentleman slept when visiting at the house. In this room was found the old man’s black coat. Testimony adduced at the inquest showed that he was carrying this coat under his arm when he left Burrton to walk to the farm. In one pocket of this coat was found, in a sack, five packages of Honey Dip chewing tobacco. B. F. Grover, a groceryman of Burrton, testified at the inquest that he sold the old man six of these twists Monday evening and received therefore twenty five cents, this being the regulation price. The five found in the coat added to the one found on the dead man, make a total of six, the number he purchased.
A wagon was found in the yard with blood spots on the box. There was also a large spot on the front axle which, under microscopic examination, proved to be human blood. Chaff, greatly resembling that found on the bridge, was in the wagon box. In the southeast bed room, the one occupied by C. M. Guist and son, was found a double barreled shot gun. It was not loaded. A home-made belt for carrying shells was also found there, and in the kitchen a box of empty shells was discovered. No full shells were found on the place. One barrel of the gun showed indications of having been fired recently, but how recent could not be told. The boy testified that there was a shell in the belt on the day prior to the evening on which the old man is supposed to have been killed. The father claims that he shot the last one at a hawk three weeks ago and that the boy was away from home at the time, consequently knew nothing about the transaction. A pair of overalls with blood spots on them and identified as belonging to the accused, was found. An examination of the dead body showed that the shot had been fired from behind. About sixty shot had entered the back of the neck and head. The shot found are what is known as No. 1. In spite of the incriminating evidence against him, the nephew maintained his innocence, and some parts of his testimony were corroborated by his son. The old gentleman was last seen alive, so far as is known, about 8:00 o’clock, and ordinarily would have reached his destination about 9:00. The accused man and his son had been away harvesting and the testimony showed that they had reached home about the time the old gentleman is supposed to. The boy claims to have gone to bed right away and that he had not yet gone to sleep when his father came to bed. At this time, so the testimony runs, nothing had been seen of the uncle. One neighbor made an affidavit that his wife and himself were sitting on the porch between 9:30 and 10:00 o’clock and heard a shot from the direction of the Guist home. Notwithstanding the statements as to the time they retired, there were those who believe that this was the shot that snuffed out the life of C. B. Guist.
In conversation with a Kansan reporter, the accused man was asked how he accounted for the presence of this coat, the property of his uncle, in the bed room. To this he replied that the coat must have been left there from a visit made in May, although he admitted that he had never noticed the coat hanging there during all these weeks, if his version is correct, and he knew nothing of its existence until it was produced at the inquest. Asked if his uncle had ever had any trouble with anyone while a resident of Lake township, who might adopt such a horrible method of “getting even,” he cited two cases wherein lawsuits had been indulged in with the neighbors. However, he seemed to have no unusual amount of trouble of this nature and generally got along harmoniously with his associates. “Somebody wanted to get rid of him and put me into trouble,” the nephew said. In many cases of this kind the motive back of the murder is to profit from the dead man’s estate, but there seems to be nothing of this kind in his case. Deceased left two daughters who will, in the natural order of things, fall heir to his property. So far as is known, the dead man left no will therefore his nephew stands a slim chance of getting anything out of the estate. The nephew admitted that his uncle held his note for $240.00, but this note is also secured by a mortgage. The presumption is that the latter is properly recorded, so that even if the motive for the murder had been to get possession of this note it is not plain how this would have accrued to the benefit of the nephew as long as the mortgage remains a matter of record. The daughters referred to have lived with nearby neighbors for several years. One made her home with Ed Irons, and upon his death some time ago inherited his property, valued at about $12,000. She then went to live with the M. C. Hanson family, where her sister resided. The latter will be well taken care of from the Hanson estate, so it seems that they are both well provided for. The property left by C. B. Guist is worth approximately $10,500, the farm being valued at $8,000 and property in Wichita at $2,500. The accused man is about thirty-eight years of age and impresses us as being below the ordinary in intelligence. Yesterday he was attired in an old work shirt, overalls, wore a pair of heavy shoes and a slouch straw hat that might have served as a sun protector for several summers, judging from its looks. In fact, he is such a man as one might reasonably expect to run across in the backwoods district of “Arkansaw.” The ten-year-old son is a bright little fellow and was in the third grade at school last term. While he shows the effects of a lack of motherly training, yet he is no worse than a lot of boys who have mothers to guide them. He seems not to realize the awful charge that has been brought against his father. “Wonder what daddy is going to Newton for?” the boy said, as he sat eating his supper with a couple of newspaper men, the youngster evidently not realizing the wall of what now appears to be incontrovertible evidence that his father is facing. In talking about the case with the boy while eating supper, he was asked if he knew what would happen to him if he didn’t tell the truth about this case. “You bet I do, and I’ve told the truth all the way through,” was his prompt reply.
New Evidence Is Discovered. New facts were discovered today which go to forge another link in the chain of evidence surrounding the accused man. Yesterday a rural route carrier brought word to Burrton that a neighbor of Guist had discovered near the house of the latter, in the yard, a place that looked as though the ground had been disturbed. This morning County Attorney Vonder Heiden and Under Sheriff Blanpied went to this place and made a thorough investigation. They found that the earth had been disturbed, as represented, and a closer scrutiny showed blood mixed with the earth In the head of the dead man had been found a couple of pieces of what appeared to be ordinary window screen wire. At the investigation of the premises today the screen in the south window was examined and it was full of perforations as if shot or something of that nature had gone through it. The place where the ground had been disturbed was about fifteen feet from and directly south of the window. The supposition now is that Guist, or whoever fired the fatal shot, stood inside the house and fired through this window, the shot carrying portions of the wire screen into the skull of the victim. A hoe was also found with blood stains on the handle and blade. The boy had testified that they had loaned their shovel to a neighbor some weeks ago, so the supposition is that after the elder Guist was killed his murderer took this hoe and endeavored to conceal the blood on the ground. (The Evening Kansan-Republican, Newton, Kansas. Thursday, July 7, 1909. Pages 1, 8).
Looks Bad For Guilt
A Possible Motive For Murder Has Been Discovered. Disagreement Over Planting of a Crop Had Caused Some Trouble. Cleason M. Guist, who is confined in the county jail here charged with the murder of his uncle, C. B. Guist, near Burrton Monday night, has undergone a severe sweating at the hands of the officers today with a view of obtaining a confession from him, and he seems to be showing signs of weakening and it will not be surprising if all the facts in connection with the case are known within the next twenty-four hours. In looking around for a possible motive for the crime it has been learned that there was a difference between the dead man and his nephew over a twenty-acre field on the farm belonging to the uncle, but occupied by the nephew. This field, it is learned, the uncle wanted planted to oats last spring and he purchased the seed to have this done. The nephew took an opposite view of the matter and wanted to plant corn, and the corn won, the nephew feeding the seed oats to his horses. That this bone of contention had been discussed, in the past, and perhaps in a rather acrimonious manner, is indicated from a remark dropped by George Guist, the ten-year-old son of the accused murderer. “We’ll be glad that we can rent from some one else now,” George said, “then we can plant as much corn as we want.” It is probable that after the arrival of C. B. Guist at the farm Monday evening this much discussed question came up again, and that the nephew flew into a rage and shot his uncle. In writing up an article in last night’s paper it was stated that a hole was found in the screen over the window, indicating that shot had gone through it. This was a door instead of a window. Yesterday Deputy Sheriff Blanpied and County Attorney von der heiden were at the scene of the murder, and after discovering the blood in the yard which an attempt had been made to conceal by scraping dirt over it, the hoe with blood on the handle and blade, and the hole in the screen door, they made a test. A board was stood up on the spot where the blood was found, occupying the same position the uncle is supposed to have been in when he was shot. A shot gun was then fired through the screen door. A hole almost identical with the other one was made, and pieces of the wire screen were imbedded in the hard board. It will be remembered that pieces of this screen were found in the dead man’s scalp. Near the spot where the uncle is supposed to have fallen, the weeds had been cut away recently. A knife had evidently been used for this purpose. The presumption is that these weeds had become bloody and that the murderer cut them in the hope of obliterating this trace of the crime, although one weed was found with human blood on it.
The indications are that Guist killed his uncle some time late Monday night, and then worked until morning in disposing of the body and trying to cover up any incriminating evidence. In this he succeeded poorly, as he left a plain trail almost every step, although his efforts were crowned with about as much success as one would expect from a man of his apparent mental development. The Guists, it appears, were never early risers for country people. They usually got up about 7:00 o’clock at this season of the year, although the young son testified that on Tuesday morning they got up about 5:00 o’clock and that his father sent him to town on an errand, giving him twenty cents to get his breakfast. It is probable that the father had been up all night, and may have had some additional work to do in the way of hiding traces of his crime before going to a neighbor’s to harvest, and wanted to get the boy out of the way so that his operations could be carried on without fear of detection. (The Evening Kansan-Republican, Newton, Kansas. Friday, July 2, 1909. Page 1).
Guist The Murderer
Nephew In Jail Admits He Shot and Killed Uncle. A Bitter Quarrel Had Previously Taken Place Between the Two Men. Crime Described by Guilty Man. Those who were familiar with the net of circumstantial evidence that was being woven around Cleason M. Guist did not see how he could hold out much longer and plead innocent of the murder of his uncle near Burrton last Monday night. Bit by bit a net was woven around him that it seemed impossible for the accused man to break down, and yesterday, after a severe sweating at the hands of the officers, he made a complete confession, as follows: “The reason why I wish to make this confession is to stop this looking around and so that not to convict anyone that is innocent and I want to make a full statement. “When I came home from Hansen’s about ten o’clock, Monday, June 28th, the little boy went to the house and went right to bed and I put the little mare away and I came out ad saw him, my uncle, between the house and the barn and he had his coat on his arm. As near as I can recollect he just said ‘hello,’ and I answered back ‘hello,’ and I said, ‘you have got here have you?’ and the man said ‘yes, finally got here,’ and then I went up to the house and he followed up. When we got into the house he asked if I was cutting wheat and I said ‘yes, I am cutting wheat,’ and he said ‘where are you cutting?’ and I said ‘down to Hansen’s, because it is too wet, I can’t cut here,’ and he said, ‘O, —-, I know better,’ and then said, ‘I know a —- sight better, I mired down in my own field walking,’ and he said ‘by —-, I don’t see why you want to cut wheat for that ___ __ __ ____,’ and I spoke up and said: (Here follows a description of the quarrel, during which both men used much profanity.) Then I said ‘you are a ___ __ __ ____ and I will kill you for calling me that.’ Then he said ‘you can’t do it.’ We were in the kitchen and we both started for my bed room door. I beat him to the door of the bed room and I stepped to the door and fired through the screen door. I did not stop to think what might happen. I was mad. I just tripped the gun and threw the shell out on the floor. I set the gun back in the corner where it always set and then I went out where he was laying on his face, his hands by his side and he was dead. I put my hands on him and seen he was dead, and I went straight to the pasture and got my horses, harnessed them and hitched them onto the wagon and drove to the house and took off the sideboards and took out the endgate and then I drove up to where he was and then I got a plank from that bunch of weeds southwest of the house to slide him up on into the wagon, because I seen what I had done and I wanted to get rid of him. Then I took the plank and threw it back where it was, and then I went down the lane to the road and took him up to the bridge where you seen him there and stopped the wagon where that chaff was and I took a hold of him and dragged him out of the back end of the wagon and dumped him over where those blood spots were found on the west side of the bridge. Then I drove north to the cross roads and turned around there and drove back home the same way I had come. Then I put the end gate back on and the sideboards back on and drove the wagon under the trees where it was, unhitched and put the harness in the barn at the right place and turned the horses into the pasture. Then I went into the house and washed my hands, went to the trunk and got my tablet and wrote this letter to uncle for a blind. Then I took off my shoes and then I took my overalls off and hung them up back where they were in the north bed room, and I looked at them and saw no spots on them. I had a small lamp, kerosene No. 1. Then when I got those overalls off, I took the rest of my clothes off and went to bed. I laid there and went to sleep and slept awhile and the little boy woke me up. He got up and unlatched the screen door and went out and when he came back he could not latch the screen door and I told him to let it go and he came back to bed and he slept there till morning and I fell back into a sleep for a little while. I got up in the morning when it was coming day light and took the hoe and went out there and scratched those weeds and threw them away just east of the chicken coop and then I went and set the hoe back of the door in the bedroom, and then I went to the barn and called them horses up and fed them, harnessed them, hitched onto the wagon and took them up to the house and off the sideboards again and put on the seat for the boy to go to town. Just after I got the team harnessed ready to hitch up, I went and woke him up and he got ready while I was hitching up the wagon. I started him off for Mr. Merrick’s and I went and hitched up the little mare right away and got hitched up and started for Hansen’s. I met him half way between the mail box and the orchard, and he had the double trees. “When I dropped the body I just dropped the hat right over, it was not on his head.” (Signed) Mr. Cleasson M. Guist. Witnesses: A.R. Ainsworth, C.L. Hand, J.S. Blanpied, W.H. von der Heiden
The letter he refers to in this confession was one he wrote his uncle Tuesday morning, advising him that the wheat was about ready to cut and asking for certain instructions about the harvest. This, of course, was merely a ruse adopted with a view of directing suspicion from himself. The letter was posted in the rural mail box near the house, but by the time it got to Burrton the news of the tragedy had reached there and the letter was intercepted. Guist showed no particular feeling of emotion during the time the confession was being made and written down, or afterwards. (The Evening Kansan-Republican, Newton, Kansas. Saturday, July 3, 1909. Page 1).
Guist Shows Signs Of Fight
Self-Confessed Murderer Will Not Enter a Plea of Guilty. Cleason M. Guist, self-confessed murderer of his uncle, southeast of Burrton on the night of June 28, did not plead guilty when brought before Judge Branine yesterday afternoon, as was expected. The present indications are that he will fight the case on the grounds of self-defense. County Attorney Von der Heiden had filed information against Guist charging him with second degree murder, the penalty for which is anywhere from ten years to a life sentence in the penitentiary. It is not known, of course, what Judge Branine’s opinion would have been, but the county attorney was willing to recommend the minimum sentence and it is not unreasonable to suppose that this would have had no great weight with the judge in passing sentence. When Guist was brought into the court room yesterday the charge against him was read. Judge Branine asked him to stand up. “Do you understand the charge that has been filed against you?” asked the judge. “I do,” replied the accused man. “Are you guilty, or not guilty?” asked the judge. “I am guilty of killing the man but I did it in self-defense,” replied Guist. Thinking that the accused man did not understand exactly the nature of the charges against him the complaint was again gone over, but with no better results, as he still insisted that, while he committed the crime, it was done in self-defense. Judge Branine then informed Guist that he was neither pleading guilty nor not guilty and that he could not be sentenced, but would have to stand trial. Guist also said that he had not talked with a lawyer about his case; that he had no money to employ a lawyer to defend him, whereupon the judge designated Clarence Spooner to act as Guist’s attorney. Guist showed practically the first signs of sorrow since the killing when he was brought into the court room yesterday. He cried like a babe, his sobs being plainly audible over all the court room. It is probably that the second degree murder charge against Guist will now be dismissed and that a first degree will be filed. The general opinion is that, to use a somewhat aged expression, “he jumped from the frying pan into the fire,” when he brought forth the self-defense plea. He will very likely have a hard time convincing a jury that he acted in self defense, when it is remembered how carefully he went about disposing of the body of the murdered man and endeavored to eliminate all traces that would help to fasten the crime upon himself. (The Evening Kansan-Republican, Newton, Kansas. Thursday, July 15, 1909. Page 8).
Found a Home
George Guist, the ten year-old son of C. M. Guist, is now assured of an excellent home, as Mr. and Mrs. George Harner of Route 4 have taken the lad and have signified their intention of raising him. He is certainly fortunate in securing a home with such worth people. (The Burrton Grit, Burrton, Kansas. July 15, 1909. Page 1).
Guist Is Sentenced
Gets Fifteen Years For The Murder Of His Uncle. Cleason M. Guist, self-confessed murderer of his uncle, C. B. Guist, five and one-half miles southeast of Burrton on the night of June 28, was late Saturday afternoon sentenced by Judge Branine to serve a sentence of fifteen years in the penitentiary. There were not over two dozen persons, including spectators and attorneys, in the court room when Guist was called up for sentence. It was not generally known that his case was to come up at that time, else there might have been a large crowd of the curious on hand to witness the somewhat unusual spectacle in this law-abiding community of a murderer being sentenced to prison. It had been generally supposed that Guist would fight the case on the grounds of self-defense, but after mature deliberation he decided that this would be a foolish procedure, as he stood a good chance of being convicted by a jury of murder in the first degree and getting a life sentence, while by pleading guilty to the charge filed against him, that of second degree murder, it was possible for him to serve his sentence and once more breathe the air of freedom. It was the latter course that he chose. Guist sat in the court room for a couple of hours while other cases were being disposed of. He was clad in a blue shirt and blue overalls. He seemed to be perfectly composed and aside from the fact that he tapped the arm of his chair nervously with his fingers there was nothing to indicate that he was there charged with taking a human life and was about to be called before the court to know his fate. In fact, had he been seated among the spectators instead of in the prisoners’ dock, he might easily have been selected for a disinterested spectator who had dropped in to witness the somewhat dull and uninteresting proceedings in connection with the disposition of the cases which preceded his on the docket. The prisoner was asked to stand. He took his position before the judge’s desk and stood with bowed head while County Attorney von der Heiden read the charge against him. As the reading proceeded Guist seemed to be overcome, to an extent at least, by hearing the manner in which the murder was committed recounted and leaned with his left arm against the desk as a support. “You have heard the charge, what do you say to it? Are you guilty or not guilty?” asked the judge. “Guilty,” replied the prisoner in a voice scarcely audible a dozen feet away. County Attorney von der Heiden then stated that he had made out a statement of facts in the case, as near as he could obtain them, and asked the court to read these as well as the prisoner’s signed confession. Bidding the prisoner be seated, Judge Branine spent some time in perusing these documents carefully. During the time the judge was thus engaged Guist sat looking steadily at the floor and it was plan that thoughts of a serious nature were going through his mind. But one could hardly expect a man, charged with such a crime as he was, to display any great amount of unconcern at that particular moment. Up until that time he stood charged with murder, it is true, but now he was face to face with the stern reality that he was on the verge of being sentenced therefor, which seemed to have a tendency to put a different aspect on the case from his point of view. Before the judge commenced reading, County Attorney von der Heiden stated to the court that there were some mitigating circumstances in connection with the case, or at least some bits of circumstantial evidence which it might be well to consider before passing sentence. “It may be that after working all day in the hot field,” said the county attorney, “coming home and unexpectedly meeting his uncle and quarreling with him, he was not responsible to the same extent that he otherwise would have been. The prisoner is a man who had no means. He has been a hard worker. I also understand his uncle was a man who was not anything but an ill-tempered man and very likely was the direct cause of the quarrel which finally resulted in the killing.” Having finished reading Guist’s confession and the statement of facts prepared by the county attorney, the judge took occasion to preface the passing of sentence with a few remarks about this case in particular and the small value placed upon human life in general. He recited several cases which have occurred in this judicial district in the past few months where perhaps in a fit of momentary anger, persons have taken the lives of fellow beings. While it was evident that the deceased made himself offensive and used language which should not have been used, this action did not justify the defendant in taking the action he did. Furthermore, the defendant participated in the use of these vile epithets. Bidding the prisoner stand, Judge Branine sentenced him to fifteen years imprisonment at hard labor in the state penitentiary. Guist can, by good behavior, shorten his sentence about two and one-half years. (The Evening Kansan-Republican, Newton, Kansas. Monday, July 26, 1909. Page 1).
He Shot His Uncle
C.M Guist Received At The Penitentiary Last Night. Shot His Uncle in the Back. C.M. Guist from Harvey county, was received at the penitentiary last night. Guist was convicted at Newton of murder in the second degree and was sentenced to fifteen years imprisonent. He is a young man and he confessed to killing his uncle. The uncle was a farmer for whom the young man worked. One day the old man abused the boy by calling hi hard names, as he was in the habit of doing. Young Guist prepared himself, watched his chance and shot the older man in the back. There was a good deal of sympathy for the boy, as the uncle was known to be very abusive and it was because of this, perhaps, that he was not found guilty of murder in the first degree. (The Leavenworth Post, Leavenworth, Kansas Friday, July 30, 1909).
C. M. Guist Is Digging Coal
But he Will Soon Be Given an Easier Job on the Prison Farm. Cleason M. Guist, who was taken by Sheriff Ainsworth to Lansing last week to begin serving his sentence of fifteen years for the murder of his uncle, is working in the coal mine. However, the warden stated that he would keep him there only a week or two and would then give him an easier job on the prison farm. Guist seems disposed to make the best of a bad situation and promised to be a model prisoner in order that he might get out as soon as possible. The warden seemed surprised at first that the sheriff would bring a murderer to Lansing without handcuffing him, but there seemed to be no occasion for taking this precaution. Guist was perfectly harmless and said if the sheriff would provide him with the necessary documents he would make the trip alone and enter the penitentiary voluntarily. Many believe that he would have kept his word and that he would have made no attempt to escape, but it would hardly have been a wise precedent to establish. (The Evening Kansan-Republican, Newton, Kansas. Monday, August 2, 1909. Page 1).
(c) Excerpted from the book, Deadly Encounters: Murder in Harvey County, Kansas by Darren McMannis. Used by permission.