Sun, Oct. 20

1917: JEROME; Slayer of O. A. Daag Trial, September 18, Part 3.

"ACQUITTAL FOR P. KIERNAN IN MURDER CASE; Slayer of O. A. Daags at Jerome is Freed by Jury in Superior Court After Deliberation of Half Hour."

"Pat Kiernan, charged with the murder of Oscar Axel Daags at Jerome, last August, was acquitted by a jury in the Superior court at 9 o'clock last night, after the jury had been out for a period of 30 minutes, and after two ballots had been taken. The first ballot stood 9 to 3 for acquittal and the second resulted in all being in favor of the defendant's release."

"The case was placed in the hands of the jury following lengthy arguments by both the State's attorneys and the counsel for the defense. Following the instruction of Judge Smith the jurymen retired at about 8:30."

"To those who had attended all of the sessions of the trial, the verdict was in no way a surprise, as it had been conclusively proven that Daags, the victim, has made repeated threats against the life of Kiernan, and had spent much of his time just prior to his death in following Kiernan about town with the expressed intentions of 'gunning' him for the latter's alleged intimacy with Mrs. Daags."

"It was brought out in the trial that Daags had been of a quarrelsome disposition, and had been 'floated' out of Jerome on at least one occasion as a vagrant, and because he persisted in carrying a six-shooter wherever he went. As to the charges that Daags had made against Kiernan regarding the latter's conduct with Mrs. Daags, no evidence was introduced to prove that they were true, and it was assumed that Daags had been mistaken in believing that Kiernan had been intimate with Mrs. Daags."

"The examination of witnesses was ended at about 4 o'clock in the afternoon, and during the day a large number of men were called to the stand by the defence. Most of the witnesses testified to the fact that the defendant had been living in fear of his life, owing to the repeated threats of Daags to 'get' Kiernan, because of the latter's alleged intimacy with Mrs. Daags. A number of witnesses were also called to testify to the fact that Kiernan had always borne a good reputation as a law-abiding citizen prior to the date of the killing."

"ARGUMENT BEGINS: Attorney J. H. Morgan opened the argument to the jury in behalf of the defendant. He reviewed the testimony which had been given during the course of the trial, and asked the jury to bring in a verdict of acquittal in view of the fact that Daags had made so many threats to kill the defendant. He told of the finding of a large piece of lead, whittled into the shape of a cigar, which was found in the hand of the dead man after the shooting. He told the jury that Daags had pulled the piece of lead from his pocket a few seconds before he was shot, and that Kiernen in all probability mistook the leaden object for a gun, and fired at his victim only because he believed that the latter had a revolver and was about to open fire on him. He also stated to the jury that in all probability the State would make much of the fact that Kiernan had fired so many shots into the body of his victim, and asked the jury to consider the fact that when an automatic gun is used, it is sometimes rather hard to stop firing after the first shot has apparently accomplished the ends which the owner of the gun had in mind when he opened fire. The jury was also asked to consider the fact that testimony had brought out that after the first shot had been fired into Daags' body, the wounded man threw up his right arm, and still holding the leaden missle in his hand so as to cause Kiernan to believe that he held a gun in his hand and had created an impression in the mind of the defendant that if he did not kill Daags, Daags would kill him. Summed up, the statement of the defendant's attorney was that Kiernan had shot the man only as a last resort, and because he actually believed his life to be in danger."

"The arguments put forth by the State's representatives occupied several hours' time, and an attempt was made to show that Daags had been shot down in cold blood and in a premeditated manner. The State's arguments closed about 8 o'clock, and the somewhat lengthy instructions of the court were presented to the jury, following which the men retired to the jury room on the floor below."

"IS PLEASED AT VERDICT: Kiernan was made quite happy by the jury's acquittal. He stationed himself at the court room door and shook the hands of every juryman as he passed out of the building. Many of the defendant's friends were present in the court and all congratulated him on his acquittal. Kiernan himself stated that he was confident on his acquittal at all stages of the trial, although he did express a little surprise at the speed whith which the verdict of the jury was reached."

"HISTORY OF THE CASE: The murder for which Kiernan had been placed on trial occurred in Jerome on Sunday, August 12, 1917. Daags, who had been separated from his wife and absent from town much of the time, accused Kiernan of several unprintable crimes, and on several occasions had made efforts to kill Kiernan. Kiernan boarded at the home of Mrs. Daags, and on one occasion in February of this year, Daags followed his enemy to his wife's boarding house and shot at him twice with his six-shooter. On the evening of the killing, the men met on the street in front of Otto's cigar store in Jerome and a quarrel ensued. The men repaired to a vacant lot at the rear of the Bartlett hotel, evidently with the intention of settling their difficulties with their fists. Daags continued his abuse of Kiernan and reiterated all of the charges which he had made against the man in the past. Witnesses who saw the shooting state that the men quarreled for a few moments and then Kiernan drew his automatic and fired six shots at short imtervals into the body of Daags. Later Kiernan hunted up an officer and surrendered. He had been at liberty since his preliminary hearing under a bond of $22,500, signed by a number of prominent citizens of the copper camp."

(Weekly Journal-Miner; Prescott; Wednesday, September 26, 1917; page 3; from Wednesday's Daily.)

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