Friday, December 27, 2013

"The collection of arms to be used in self defense of person or property is of itself proper and lawful..."


Pleads Right Of People To Self Defense


Killing Confessed on Stand
Is Murder, Says Judge
In Charge


Bench at Montesano Leaves
Little Hope for Reds
From Verdict

(By Associated Press)

   MONTESANO, Wash., March 12.
 --The case of ten Industrial Workers of the World charged with the murder of Warren O. Grimm, one of the former soldiers shot during an Armistice day parade at Centralia, Washington, last November, went to the Jury at 10.20 o'clock tonight.


(Special to the Review)

   COURTHOUSE. Montesano Wash., March 12.-- What accused I.W.W. admitted from the witness stand makes them "guilty or murder," according to instructions delivered by Judge John M. Wilson this afternoon to the jury trying the case of ten men charged with the death of Lieut. Warren O. Grimm, a victim of the Armistice day shooting at Centralia. In his charge to the Jury Judge Wilson* held that legal interpretation of justifiable homicide did not include a scheme of supposed self defense "stationing men in outside places for the purpose of shooting the persons real



or apparent from whom force or violence is expected."

   In the presentation of the defense's case. Bert Bland took the stand and said he fired from Seminary hill, into a crowd in front of the I.W.W. hall. His brother. O.C. Bland, said that he and John Lamb posted themselves, with a loaded rifle and revolver, in a window across from the hotel but did not shoot. Lamb corroborated this testimony.

   The Court's instructions were delivered before a crowd that packed every part of the court room. Perhaps 800 persons were present. Many of them had waited for five hours, prosecutor C. D. Cunningham, at four o'clock this afternoon, began his opening argument for the State. A night session was held in an effort to complete the arguments. The ease probably will be submitted to the jury late tonight. At 9:40 o'clock the addresses by counsel had been completed.

   No matter what verdict jury returns, the ten defendants cannot be freed. Attorney Herman Allen of Lewis county, today filed in chehallis a second charge of first degree murder against each of the prisoners. It is an information accusing them of the murder of Arthur McElfresh, another of the four ex-service men killed in the Armistice day tragedy. The preponderance of evidence, indicated that McElfresh was killed instantly as he stood before the I.W.W. hall. McElfresh was a druggist, 24 years old and an overseas veteran. He had served in Company M of the 16th Infantry. The warrants from Lewis county will arrive before the jury has agreed. In case of conviction the new charge is not expected to be pressed.

   The part of the instruction of Judge Wilson's which went to the crux of the issue said: "The collection of arms to be used in self defense of person or property is of itself proper and lawful, but the law does not authorize the killing of people stationed about, or property inside the habitation, and if you find, that any two or more of the defendants, in the manner and form and at the time charged in the information, planned to defend the I.W W. property therein or by of the persons therein, by the stationing of armed men in the Avalon hotel, the Arnold hotel, or on Seminary hill, for the purpose of shooting from those points, all persons actually or apparently engaged in a raid or attack upon the I.W.W. hall, or the persons or property therein, the placing of such men and the shooting from said outside points would not be lawful acts of defense of person or property but would be unlawful, and if you find that any two or more of the defendants carried out said plan and as a natural, necessary or probably result thereof. Warren O. Grimm was shot and killed as charged in the information, then such killing would be unlawful and would be murder and each and all of the defendants so planning or participating therein would be guilty of murder. But the mere collection and presence of arms is not sufficient Weheron to place information guilt on any of them, nor proof of conspiracy."

   The court also advised the jury that none of the defendants should be convicted simply on prejudice against the I.W.W.. which is not on trial.

   The jury was told that if the only evidence against Elmer Smith, Centralia atorney charged as accessory, was that he informed the I.W.W. they had a right to protect their hall then he should be acquitted....
[The Bisbee Daily Review, Bisbee, Arizona, Saturday, March 13, 1920. Vol. 24.--No. 58. Pgs. 1 & 2]
 * - Judge John Wilson of Olympia, WA. Grays Harbor County Superior Court. The incident about which the trial concerned was known as "The Centralia Massacre", or the "Armistice Day Riot". The killings had taken place on Tuesday, November 11, 1919.

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