Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Thriller Thursday - Wrapping Up the Villers Trial, Part 12

In this installment of Thriller Thursday I'll continue with the articles on the Villers trial. Some drama (or should I say melodrama) takes place in Mrs. Tromer's testimony and some disjointed testimony given that will hopefully be clarified in other clippings.

Jamestown Weekly Alert - 20JAN1898, pg2
"On opening court Saturday morning the attendance was considerably less, not as many ladies being present as heretofore. Mrs. Tromer was carried in and answered questions through the interpreter on cross examination for a short time, when she began to cry out in a loud and wavering tone of voice uttering mournful cries sounding something like the wailings, or half singing of an insane person. She was at once removed to a waiting room and after a short time her cries were stopped and she again relapsed into quiet."

Ok...already starting out here I'm annoyed. I think the real drama is this woman. Seriously. Were the stays on her corset too tight? Did they still wear corsets? And am I the only one thinking that maybe she was finally silenced with a punch to the face? I get it. Horrible stuff happened to her and her husband, but there were quite literally years in between all this. It's normal to get a bit emotional, but I'd be pissed not hysterical. If someone killed my husband I'd be trying to rip his throat out not sobbing like a nub. Yeah. I'm a modern woman. Anyway...

Jamestown Weekly Alert - 20JAN1898, pg2
"On cross-examination

She said about the first time she met Villers was while living on the Kennison place when one day during threshing time Villers being at the house he attempted to put his hand on her breast. He had always tried to be familiar with her; her husband objected and was angry when she told him of these occasion (sic), as she always did. They incensed her greatly. These attempts were made before Tromer left; not every time she saw Villers, but often. (Here witness was removed from room.)

Little Hilda Tromer was called and stated she saw Villers pull her mother into his lap and attempt to kiss her; was not asked at LaMoure as to this. Her mother did housework alone for the family.

Otis Frazer recalled to testify to plowing for Villers about a month and a half in 1894.

Albert Eitell, also recalled, said he hand (sic) worked with Villers in fall of '94. Villers cropped the northwest quarter, near the house, that year. Louis Villers, he thought, worked it in '95; he threshed with him before Tromer left.

Mrs. Jos. Comber of Montpelier was the next witness. She had not been on the stand before and her testimony was anxiously hatened (sic) to by the audience. She said she knew Villers well in 1894; Villers and Tromer coming from Jno. Comber's place on day in fall of '94 and when they left her house went in direction of Villers' place. It was about 3 p.m. Villers came in to light a pipe and she asked him who was out in the buggy and he said Tromer."

Jamestown Weekly Alert - 20JAN1898, pg2
I understand they were trying to cram so much into these article, but the terrible grammar was really getting to me. It is unfortunate that there wasn't more detail as to the reason these questions were asked of the witnesses. While I'm sure those following the case intently in 1898 were familiar with the details, the lack of clarification as to why which fields were farmed isn't as clear to someone looking back more than 100 years.

"John Kenoskie of Adrian was next called. Witness' testmony (sic) objected to by defense as not having been included in information. States attorney on oath said evidence of witness was not known to him until after proceedings had been begun. Objections over-ruled, and witness statement received.

He said he had met Villers once, before Tromer disappeared; had with neighbors joined in search for the body. In company with Wm. Benjamin of Adrian, they had searched the grounds on the Villers place. Remembered seeing two straw stacks burning near there on the Sunday following Villers arrest. In searching for some clue of Tromer, he found a hammer lying in road by side of buggy track leading to Villers house; kept hammer at his own hause (sic) every (sic) since; it had been used some by himself and boy.

(Hammer here introduced in evidence and witness recognized it as same.) He said hammer was in same condition as when he had it and was found about a half mile from the culvert.

In interrogatories the defense here asked if the hammer might have been useful on a mowing or threshing machine. Witness excused."

So in this post we see some testimony reported, but nothing linked together. Nothing put into a nice package for consumption. I can only assume that they're building up to something, but only time will tell. 

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