The Plattsmouth journal. (Plattsmouth, Nebraska) 1901-current, March 04, 1909, Image 2

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

Great Interest Shown In Pro
gress of Trial
Trom Wednesdays Dally.
The last witness on the stand ye
terday afternoon when the Journal
rent to press was L. D. Hiatt In the
noted trial of Fred Ossenkop for the
murder of Charles Byrnes at Eagle on
, September 16, 1908. Immediately
following Mr. Hiatt, Sheriff Qulnton
was called by the defendant with a
view to Identifying the photogrphs
of Mr. Ossenkop's neck and head and
also to testify as to the custody of
the defendant between the date of
his arrest on September 17 and the
time the photogrphs were taken on
September 20. There seemed to be
more or less friction between the
sheriff and Attorney Gering for the
defense and the testimony of the
former was largely doubtful and un
certain. Considerable delay was oc
casioned at the outset by the ina
bility of the sheriff to recall wheth
er or not Ossenkop was in his cus
tody the day the photograph was
taken. The counsel for the defend
ant asked him to produce his record
which he did after some time. The
sheriff remembered arresting Ossen
kop on the evening of September 17
at his home near Walton. Ily refer
ence to his record he was enabled
to testify that the defendant was
In his custody from September 17
to 25, inclusive. The sheriff could
not recall the date when he took the
defendant to the office of Attorney
Jerlng. He recalled after consid
erable Btudy having taken him there
at somo date which he could not ex
actly fix. He recalled the defendant's
counsel calling attention to a cut
upon Ossenkop's neck. The photo
graph which Mr. Hiatt had Identified
showed a ragged cut along the back
of the neck which the sheriff thought
looked longer than the one he had
The witness cross-examined by Mr.
T. J. Doyle testified that he did not
observe any cut on Ossenkop's neck
the day he arrested him. The de
fendant called his attention to It
first on the 18th of September. At
that time there was a slight scab over
the Injury. Tho skin was barely
broken and the cut did not extend to
much more than below the surface of
tho cuticle. The memory of the sher
iff on matters vital to the defend
ant was rather poor and he was
uncertain as to several different
He was followed on the stand by
Ou8 It. OlBon, heud of the Olson pho
tograph Company of this city. Mr.
Olson testified to his experience with
the photographic business and to the
quality of the instruments he used.
On Thursday he went to Eagle at the
request of Mr. Oerlng and made a
number of photographs of the vici
nity of the tragedy. These photo
graphs were gone over in detail by
the witness who testified as to tho
point of view from which they were
taken and what could be seen from
the Beveral places. These places were
supposed to be the same as the sev
eral witnesses for the state had
testified to having been at when the
troublo occurred. He testified to hav
. ing seen Mr. Oering pick up an iron
cam from the street near the scene
vi me irageay. rnis cam lay un
der the edge of the walk and did
not project beyond the edge. It was
firmly imbedded in the earth and
about half burled. At the time the
photographs in qustlou were taken
several men took the positions sup
. posed to have been taken by Byrnes
and the defendant Bnd tho
witness was asked to testify as to
what he could see of them especially
as regards seeing the man represent
Ing' the : defendant kick the de
ceased. He could aiot see this occur
rence from the point of view ho oc
cupied. The defense sought to show
by this witness that II. V. Heaver,
one of the state's witnesses, could
not have Been the crime from where
he claimed to have been when it
occurred. This Olson testified to
He also was called upon to rebut tho
testimony of those witnesses who saw
or claimed to Bee, the defendant kick
the deceased. This he did asserting
that h could not see anything of the
kind from where he stood. The wit
iiess observed brickbats and rocks
in tho street and vicinity. The
ground near where the affray oc
curred was somewhat rough .and ho
observed tho gutter in front of the
hardware Morn was a little deeper
than elsewhere on the street.
The witness was cross-examined by
.Mr. Doyle and ho confirmed tho fact
that the cam which Mr. Goring had
found was Imbedded in tho enrth tin
dcr the walk. Witness Baw bricks
Imbedded In tho ground further up
the street. Tho witness hnd been
located at places where ho could Bee
men lying on the ground and ob
serve the actions of both the pros
trate men and the one standing up
but the views which Mr. Gering
wanted taken were not taken from
these points.
M. S. Drlggs of this city was the
next witness called and he made an
excellent one. He was in Eagle the
day that Mr. Gering and Mr. Olson
were there and he took part in the
several experiments they made. He
had observed the scene of the tragedy
from the several different points and
his testimony was very largely cor
roborative of what Mr. Olson had
testified to. He was present when
the cam was picked up and had seen
it sealed In a bag by Mr. Gering, the
cam being turned over to the witness
in whoso possession it had remained
ever Bince. This witness by the aid of
the photographs then explained in
detail to the Jury the several points
of view the pictures were taken from.
The members of the Jury manifested
great Interest in this.
On cross-examination by Mr. Doyle,
the witness testified that the cam
mentioned above was entirely under
the walk, the edge of It being some
five inches from the edge of the walk.
Ho spoke of a square rock which was
a foundation stone for a support to
the walk which came out flush with
the edge of the walk. Mr. Brlggs
made an excellent witness delivering
his testimony in a clear, lucid and
onvlnclng manner.
Jacob Johansen of Lincoln was
then called. He was a member of
the Lincoln police force. Knew Os
senkop and had met him in Eagle on
the day of the picnic when the wit
ness was there as a member of the
Havelock tug of war and latter the
witness and defendant had an In
dividual tug of war lasting some
twenty-five minutes which the wit
ness won. At this time from what
he had observed Ossenkop was so
ber. The cross examination of the
witness developed nothing new.
John T. Lelslo of Weeping Water
called. He was in Eagle on Septem
ber 16th. And had known Ossenkop
for Borne ten months. He saw the
defendant about nine o'clock that
evening near the hardware store in
Eagle. The witness was examined
very particularly on the condition of
tho street at tho point where the
tragedy occurred and he testified
that he was familiar with the float
used in dragging the street. The
street was some three feet higher
on the west Bide than on the enst.
He knew Eads, Price and Hudson,
three of the witness in the case
who had testified as to the condition
of tho street. He was unable to de
scribe the float but stated as his
opinion that the float could not
have gotten Into the gutter as the
high crossing and a telephone pole
standing about a foot from tho walk
would prevent. He testifien that
beer bottles could be seen in the
streets of Eagle almost any time and
place although he could not personal
ly remember seeing beer bottles on
Main street. His cross-examination
developed that he was not certain on
any proposition hardly. He was com
pelled to admit that the float might
be used on the streets and that the
only beer bottles he had observed
were in tno alleys of the town. He
did not make much material differ
ence In tho case by his testimony.
William English of Bennett, Neb.,
was called. Ho was a brother in-law
of the defendant. He knew both
the defendant and Byrnes and detail
ed their relations as he hal ob
served them. So far as he f'OII 111 HI'C
they were pleasant. The witness
m observed the defendant and d-;
ceased together a', different times ul
though he could not recall Just when
and where.
John Mink, a merchant of Prairie
Home testified that ho knew the de
f,.n.l.f.i - I 1.1 . ..
i. imnui mi ins reputation, it was
gooa so rar as ho knew. Witness
had observed the defendant and de
ceased many times and thought they
were friends. They wero standing
together near a railing near the
hardware Btoro and he observed they
were good friends and apparently
getting along together nicely.
i. ross examined witness testified
that ho observed thnt day In partic
ular as he, the witness was the can
tnln of the tug of war team and the
defendant was one of his men. He
wanted to know where his men wero
as it was Just before the match
'Witness gave his testimony In i
sinusiiiiorwnra, unreserved manner
and evidently Jimt as the reason an
pen red.
August Ppnhiie living near Eagle
In Otoe County testified he knew de
censed and defendant. He wns ac
quainted with tho character of de
fendant and knew It to bo good. He
saw the parties in Eagle on the day
of the trouble and they seemed to be
good friends.
Albert Stang of Bethany called
made an excellent witness although
his manner of testifying was such to
provoke some laughter from the
crowd. He is pronouncedly German
and used several expressions very
odd. This witness saw the Ossen
kops In Eagle on the day of the
picnic. He was well acquainted with
both Ed. and Fred Ossenkop and the
deceased Charles Byrnes. He saw
the defendant in the saloon during
the evening and at that time they
had a drink together. He then left
and joined his wife who was with
Mrs. Osenkop further down the
street. He told her to come on and
they would go as the others were
coming. He then went on after his
team and later he heard that trouble
had occurred and he walked to where
the crowd had collected. When he
got there the trouble was all over
and he did not observe any of the
Juror Wescott as soon as the de
fense had concluded with the wit
ness asked to be allowed to ques
tion him and developed that witness
and defendant had drank together In
the saloon during the afternoon and
also In the evening. He Investigated
closely and found that defendant was
In the saloon when the witness went
In In the evening. Thla character of
testimony had been heretofore ex
cluded by the defense by astute and
careful management but coming from
this witness It made a damaging Im
pression. Cross-examined by. Mr, Doyle the
witness served merely to confirm his
general testimony and reiterated his
statement relative to drinking with
the defendant.
This was the last witness examined
during the day, Judge Travis taking
taking a recess until nine o'clock this
morning, as Reporter Earl Travis
was worn out with the task of re
porting the case. There was fast
progress made during the day a large
number of witnesses being examined
and the trial during the afternoon
being conducted with an absence of
that friction which had manifest
Itself during the morning. There
were many ladles present during the
afternoon session and much inter
est manifested in the proceedings.
Wednesday Morning.
Court opened thla morning jjefore
an even larger crowd than usual
Interest In the case grows rather than
diminishes as the case progresses.
There was a large influx of visitors
and witnesses from Eagle, Walton,
Bennett and vicinity, most of whom
were called by the state for use in
rebuttal. Mrs. Byrnes, widow of
the deceased, has been a constant
and regular attendant being seated
within the bar, while Mrs. Ossenkop,
wife of the defendant, has also been
seated at his side on yesterday and
today. She was not present during
the former sessions of the court.
The defendant opened by calling
Car! Price to the stand. He lived
at Eagle for 21 years. Drayman.
Testified he didn't know the condi
tion of Main street but did not know
the west side of the street was high
er especially near the hardware
store. The corner lamp had two
mantles like ordinary gas mantles.
Played In the band on September 16,
coming down from tho park. He
did not see anyone float the street
that day. Float worked by throw
ing dirt toward center of the street.
Could not get closer to side walk
than about three feet.
Cross-examined! witness Btated at
the point where the telephone pole
stood it couldn't get closer thnn three
feet. Witness described location of
pole at the northeast corner of the
hardware store. Light at corner was
powerful enough to allow him to
read his notes. He had not worked
float on the street.
On redirect examination the de
fendant tried to Bhow the witness had
protested to Hudson against his tes
tifying to floating the street but
failed. Witness had also seen rocks
and beer bottles on street.
Juror Whlteman wanted to know
the distance between the telephone
pole and the sidewalk. Witness
thought a good two feet.
Juror Wescott elicited the infor
mation that witness had never
floated the street.
Attorney Doyle and witness had
quite n conflict over the question of
rocks In the street. Witness hnd
seen pieces of rock as big as his fist
In the atreet, They wero pieces of
foundation rock. Witness saw them
about two weeks ago and everyone
was looking Tor them. Had seen
a half brick out in the street about
two feet from tho sidewalk. Saw
cans In the street sardine cans.
Witness had not picked up any ot
these. Saw beer bottles In th"
street some two years ago.
Juror Wescott drew out thnt wit
ness could not remember seeing my
of these articles in Main street on
the day of the picnic.
Former County Attorney Unv.ln
called testified to seeing the defend
ant on the day after his Incarcera
tion In the county Jail. Ossenkop
showed him a small scratch on tho
left side of his neck. Photographs
looked like it.
Cross-examined scratch looked as
if made by a hinge or or sharp lnstru I
ment. Did not go under the skin.
Paul Johnson of AIvo, called. Seventy-four
years old. In America
6ince April 27, 1867, from Den
mark. In Cass County 40 years.
Farmer, retired. Knew Ossenkop
eight or ten years. Remembered
hearing of trouble on September 16.
Related circumstances regarding
hearing of trouble. On September
18 he examined the ground in front
of Spahnle's hardware store and
found one brick as big as his fist
Witness' son married Fred Ossen
kop's sister. That was not the rea
son for his making the examina
tion. Could not tell why he made
this examination.
Cross-examined by Mr. Doyle,
witness detailed what he did at
Eagle when he visited there on the
18th and thought he was there about
one hour. Did not think he was any
where but in the restaurant. Wit
ness did not tell anyone at Eagle
about the condition of the street or
seeing rocks or bricks there. Attor
ney Doyle had a great deal of diffi
culty in getting the witness to fix
the distance from the edge of the
walk to where the brick lay. He
finally fixed the distance at a foot
and a half. One of the bricks was
about the size of his fist and there
were probably three smaller ones.
They were lying scattered out In the
gutter. The bricks lay about In front
of the hardware store door.
Grant Hlrseh called. Lived at
Eagle for 4 or 5 years. Farmer and
carpentsr. Single. Knew streets at
Eagle before September 16. Street
high In center and sloped to side
walk. Photographs of street shown
him, good representation of street.
Walk at hardware store about 2 XJ
feet above ground. Telephone pole
about a foot from the walk . Describ
ed the float used on the walkrdl
ed on streets. Would throw dirt
either way toward or from the cen
ter. Witness had seen bottles, bricks
and rocks In street at different times.
Worked for Fred Ossenkop on Sep
tember 16. Had been in Eagle a
week before. Witness showed by
photograph points along the side
walk where he had seen beer bot
tles at different times. Went to
Eagle with Fred Ossenkop on Sep
tember 16 about noon. Was at ball
game. Then tied up team. Did not
see transaction. Helped Hobson
handle Byrnes' body, dressed and got
Jt ready. Turned body on side twice
to draw the mouth. Did not see any
marks. Spoke of the discoloration
and Hobson stated the embalming
fluid did not take effect at such
places. Found no marks on body be
low neck. No blood on back of head
Right Jaw swollen and lips puffed
One mark on right side of head near
eye. No cuts or marks, on the left
side so far as he saw.
Cross-examined by Mr. Doyle. Had
never worked on streets. Took beer
to dance hall or it was drank on the
streets. Nearly all dances caused
beer bottles to be left on streets, as
high as half a dozen after each dance.
Did not see beer bottles, brick bats
or rocks on the morning following
the dance on the 16th.
Witness never saw rocks grow at
Eagle. Soil ordinary Nebraska prai
rie. Had seen a "nigger head" on
streets as big as his fist about a
week ago. Did not know how rocks
got In street nor where they came
from. Saw crowd looking at rocks
Gering and Olson also. Saw photo
graph taken which Included rock
Can in street was taken up. Witness
denied having stated "Boys he is not
dead. He is all right." Witness
admitted he "was pretty well hooked
up" at the time. And admitted other
parties took him home the ight be
fore, j
A conflict arose over the line of
questions propounded by Attorney
Doyle and Judge Travis stated that
the State could Bhow the condition
of the witness as to affect his
ability to remember what occurred.
Witness and Gus Muck assisted
Hobson in taking care of the body.
Saw no marks on Byrnes' head. He
did not put his hand on the head
Witness not present when the em
balming fluid was administered. Os
senkop's brother married witness' sis
John P. Saltier called. Resident
of Plattsmouth.
Attorney Gering raised an objec
tlon to the presence of Wm. Hobson
In the room and and Judge Travis
ruled the same courtesy would be
given Hobson as was given Dr. Cum
nil us.
Witness acting mayor of this city
Kmbnlmer for 22 years. Familiar
with the business. Body should be
embalmed as soon as possible. Em
balming depended largely upon con
dition of body. A well mnn should
be treated by taking up artery and
pumping embalming fluid into ar
tery and draining blood through
veins. Cited Instances of such work.
Blood drawn from Jugular vein would
have to be forced or pumped. Some
blood might remain at some lowest
point causing discoloration. Effect
of waiting 5 to 7 hours to ombnlm
made blood thicker. If head lower
the blood seeks it. Same true of the
other positions of the body. Face
could be flushed by forcing too much
fluid into the cavities. Knew one
fluid which would remove discora-
tlon without removing the blood.
Others "did not. The more blood re
moved the better the results.
Attorney Doyle cross-examined
itness on his knowledge of the for
mula of embalming fluid. Witness
did not know the formula.
Witness testified the work was
largely mechanical but changes in
body must be watched to insure good
circulation. The breaking of an ar
tery prevented circulation. Attorney
Doyle showed by witness that coagu
lated blood caused by bruises could
not be removed by - embalming.
Blood escaping into the brain from
hemorrhage could not be removed by
Juror Lloyd asked as to the draw
ing of blood from the Juglar vein and
as told witness did not use that
The witness made a good one and
was remarkably fair and clear.
After a short recess at 11 o'clock,
eorge Vanoy was calld to the stand.
Lived near Prairie Home. Farmer.
Married. Knew Ossenkop for five
years. Knew of Byrnes. Was in Ea
gle on September 16 in the after
noon. Saw the tug or war and Os
senkop on the team. Did not see
Byrnes. Was on Main street about
:30 that night right south of the
pool hall door. Defendant went in
after coat. Fred and Albert Ossen
kop and Albert Stang started south
then behind witness. Saw Albert
Schroeder. Defendant was going af
ter his wife at the hall. Saw some
man grab Ossenl-. p by the arm and
neck. Knew Rose Winters but not
Mrs. Glebeurnath or Kettlehut. The
other man grabbed Ossenkop and
they clinched. They struggled toward
north. Ossenkop did not erab the
other man first. They fell off the
sidewalk between the team and the
sidewalk. Team reared and lumned
back 4 or 5 feet. Witness was about
two feet from men. Witness iden
tified photograph as to how team
stood. The two men fell to the
ground with Ossenkop on top. No
sounds of fall. Byrnes made no
move after falling. Witness illustrat
ed to the Jury by a photograph where
he stood. Byrnes never moved either
head nor hands. Ossenkop hit
Byrnes two or three times in the next
two minutes. He was on top of
Byrnes but a few moments when he
picked up his hat and got up. Pho
tographs were used to show how men
stood. Ossenkop did not kick the
deceased. Witness was very posi
tive about this. Saw some man
come across the street and throw a
flashlight on Byrnes. Another man
stood back of that man. The affair
was over. He observed a scratch on
Ossenkop's neck on the left side.
There was blood on his shirt and
neck. Photographs to show the
scratch were also shown. Ed. Ossen
kop and another fellow grabbed the
team. Team reared and Jumped
back. There was a buggy tongue in
the buggy. Witness did not interfere
as the men were big enough to take
care of themselves. Witness did not
know Byrnes. Thought Byrnes was
standing there. The lamp in front of
Dr. Dell's office not lighted. The
expression "Hit him again" was not
Cross-examined witness knew
Herman Lau. Not remember con
versing with him anO remarking
'I do not know what they want of me,
I was not there, unless they want
to stuff a lot of stuff Into me to
tell." Witness' testimony was flat
ly contradictory to that of the state
witnesses and sought to show
Byrnes as the aggressor. Heard no
talk between deceased and defend
ant. Witness did not know who man
was who clinched Ossenkop. Later
had hold of man's arms with his
hands. At the time Ossenkop was
facing southwest and Byrnes south
east. Defendant nearest the edge of
the sidewalk. Byrnes went off the
walk first. The men did not light on
their feet but fell immediately to the
ground. Witness could not tell who
stood near him. He did not make
any statements about the matter and
and did not get down on the gorund.
Ossenkop did not say anything dur
ing the troublo and hit Byrnes but
two or three times. Witness Just
west of them. Did not speak to Fred
at that time. Did not know where
Fred went to. Witness went about
15 or 20 feet north where Fred was
asked about how he got that blood on
him. Others there but could not re
call who knew Byrnes was dead at
at the time. Left Eagle about an
hour later with his wife. Brother-in-law
left with them. Did not talk to
Herman Hudson at the time. Did
not remember hearing anyone sny
"Who did It." Henrd people talking
about It who did It but no one asked
hlni. Redirect examination, John
Vannoy. cousin, had been asked what
he knewjy
There wns quite a notteenble In
ereaso In tho attendance of women
at the afternoon session over that of
tho morning. Tho usual noon re
cess wns taken from 12 to 1:30
Edward Ossenkop wns called im
mediately on assembling after din
ner. He Is a brother of the defend
ant. 34 years old. Lived in Lan
caster County 25 years. Nephew of
John and William Ossenkop of
Louisville. Knew Byrnes, one of his
neighbors. Fred farmed his father's
farm. Byrnes lived several miles
away. Had seen defendant and de
ceased together quite often. They
were schoolmates and friendly. Ia JB
Eagle on September 16. w ith his wife
and children. Fred did not go with
him. Saw Byrnes in Eagle about
3 o'clock. Saw Fred and Byrnes to
gether at the railing near the saloon.
They were talking together Jrlendly.
Saw Fred In tug of war. Had talked
to him before. Saw Johansen and
Fred have tug of war. Was in sa
loon that night about 9:30 or 10
o'clock with Fred. Albert Stang
came in. No beer drank afterwards.
They followed Stang out. Fred went
Into pool hall and got his overcoat.
Saw George Vannoy on street going
south as they came out. Met his
wife, Mrs. Stang and Rose Winters at
the hardware store. His wife sat
on a bench facing east. He talked to .
her, he facing southwest. Brother
William north of there. Fred talk
ing to Mrs. Stang. Did not
know Byrnes was in the nelghbon
hood. Did not Bee him in the sa
loon. When he heard the remark
he looked south and saw Byrnes
grab Fred by the arm and neck. Fred
then grabbed Byrnes. The men were
close together. Witness stated sev
eral were present. No blows were
then exchanged. The men clinched
and struggled, falling off the walk.
There was a team in the street right
east. Three teams were south of
there tied up, standing east and west.
Witness testified photograph shown -
him represented correct positions of
teams south of where the struggle
took place. Also the team east of
the plact was correctly stated. Wit
ness was present when these photo
graphs were taken. Witness 6 feet
2 inches in height as was Fred. He
was on the sidewalk when men fell
and jumped off the walk to catch the
team which reared and backed. Did
not see Orvll Prouty or Henry Kettle
hut. It looked to him as if one man's
leg struck the buggy tongue. Byrnes
fell underneath and Fred struck him
twice that he knew of. Byrnes nev
er moved hands or legs. He laid with
with head toward the southeast
about two and a half or three feet
from the walk. Saw no one to the
east of him at the time. Saw Hudson
coming from the east after he got on
the sidewalk. Hudson used flash
light. Fred got up on walk after
picking up his hat. Byrnes had no
hat on. Witness was within four
nr flv fppt ftf Rvrnpa nnl Tin nh.
Btacles Intervened. His brother did
not kick Byrnes. Witness never'
said "Now, give it to him." Got
some brandy for Byrnes from the sa
loon. Did not know who the person
was who grabbed his brother.
Frances Stang was a little north of
witness and Rose Winters was fur
ther away. Witness showed Jury by
a photograph just where he stood at
the time of the trouble. Saw Fred's
neck the next day, scar or mark on
back of left side as shown by the
photographs. Did not know the kind
of shoes Fred had on.
Cross-examined by, Mr. Doyle.
Talked to Byrnes on street about
3 o'clock. Saw Byrnes latter on the
street but did not remember talking
to him. Had not been in the saloon
long when Stang Joined them. The
coat defendant had on was an ordin
ary coat, not an overcoat. Witness
did not remember seeing Stang after
they parted at the pool hall. Wit
ness could not remember seeing a
crowd south of him. He did not hear
his brother say anything but he did
hear someone speak and he looked
toward his brother. No particular
reason for looking. He saw someone
to wltnness unknown, grab his
brother. He could not say how his
brother was facing but he knew his
brother's hands wbre not on Byrnes.
Byrnes grabbed his brother at the
back of his arm or coat. Iln could'
not say how they were facing. Byrnes
grabbed his brother with the left
hand. ' Witness was not close enough '
to Bee the position of Bynjes'- hand
on Fred's neck. The men went off
the walk in three or four seconds.
Witness was about three feet away.
Defendant's shoulders and chest
were on Byrnes' chest. Witness
thought he saw all the blows, he was
north and east of the men. Witness
was looking at the men while he was
catching the team. Witness knew
where the team was and was not
looking at It. He did not see the
men who drove up with the team and
he turned it over to same man who
came from the south. He saw Fred
Btrlke Byrnes twice and then he
turned the, tenm over to tho mnn.
Witness went to tho sidewalk. . At
torney Doyle sought to show the
witness wns present when Fred hit
one William Mamny In the saloon.
The defense objected strongly to this
and Judge Travis sustained the ob
jection for the present. Mr. Doyle
then asked the witness If ho had not
had several rows during the after
noon. Mr. Gering fought this also
Coon Vallery, from near Mynard,.
was a business visitor in the city yesterday.