Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

William C. Chormicle and the
Castaic Range War.

Los Angeles Times.
June 4, 1890.

Corroborative Testimony On Main Points —
Old Man Burola Still Missing.

The prosecution about closed yesterday in the Chormicle and Gardner murder case, upon the fifth day of the trial. During the presentation of their case they have introduced witnesses who witnessed the shooting of George D. Walton and Dolores Cook and who claim to have seen the defendants do it. More time has been spent in the cross-examination of the few witnesses for the prosecution than was consumed in eliciting their direct testimony, one of the witnesses being kept on cross-examination for a day and a half.

The shooting of Cook and Walton by the defendants has been proved beyond peradventure. The defense must necessarily base their request for an acquittal upon a plea of justifiable homicide or self-defense. The line of their questions indicates that such will be their theory, and they have a long list of witnesses whose testimony will begin to be taken this morning. The case will last several days yet, the tedious and long-drawn-out nature of the examination of witnesses by the defense having been outlined in their cross-examination of witnesses.

Gustave De Lavaux, a civil engineer, the first witness yesterday morning, testified that he went up in the canon, and examined the premises where the shooting occurred. He gave the measurements he took, and also testified that he found blood stains at the point where Walton fell. From actual experiments he testified that he could see persons in the house two or three feet back of the windows from the point where Walton fell.

A map or sketch of the locality, drawn by the witness, was offered in evidence, and he was examined upon it.

Upon cross-examination he stated that he is a native Poland, and has been in this country since October, 1881; in Los Angeles since January, 1884.

The witness, when asked who was present at the time he was at the house, pulled a piece of paper from his pocket and read the names of all who were there. He said he was employed by Mr. Appel to make a survey of the ground. Mr. Appel paid him. He did not know where Mr. Appel got the money. He started from W.W. Jenkin's house that morning.

The witness was asked if he had not been a witness for "Bill" Jenkins several times in controversies between himself and other parties about land. There was a cross-fire between the attorneys as to the question, but he was allowed to answer. He said he testified in a contest between Jenkins and Hilda Martinez, in which the latter had made application in the United States Land Office for some land in the Castac Canon. He also said that Jenkins and the company procured his services in that contest.

Dr. MacGowan was sworn and testified that he made an examination of the bodies of George W. Walton and Dolores Cook in an out-building on Mr. Jenkin's place in Castac Canon.

The defense objected to any questions about Walton, which was overruled, and the witness testified that Walton had two gunshot wounds on the left side of his body, which were about four inches apart. The wound were minutely described by the witness. The course of the upper wound was downward, and that of the lower wound upward, the bullet lodging in the upper cervical vertebrae, after passing through the spinal column. The fifth rib was cut [missing word] case.

The Doctor then testified as to his examination of the body of Dolores Cook. He said that he found a bullet wound on the left shoulder. It entered on the point of the shoulder, a little in front. It passed into the chest cavity, and striking the collar-bone broke it. Crossing still further, it cut a large artery. Passing through, it went into the cervical vertebrae on the right side. The course of the ball was nearly straight. It was lodged, partly in the bone and partly out. He died from the effects of the wound. The immediate effect of such a wound, the witness considered, would be that the person receiving it would fall helpless, being paralyzed at all points below the point at which the crossed the spinal column.

William H. George, being sworn, testified: I remember the shooting of Cook and Walton. I was down at my house at the time, which is about a mile and a half from the cabin. I went to the scene about an hour and a half after the shooting. I am acquainted with Thomas Riley. I met him at Mr. Jenkin's house before I went to the scene of the killing. He had a revolver in his hand. It was a kind of a new revolver. I took it in my hands at the time. It was loaded-all the chambers. We went up then picked up Mr. Walton's body.

The witness described the position of the tracks of the wagon and the buggy, made after the shooting, showing how they circled about.

At the afternoon session the cross-examination of George was concluded. He testified that Thomas Riley and two Mexicans went with him up the canon after Walton's body, and said that he had once had Chormicle arrested for building a fence on the land in dispute. He claimed the land as Government land, and Chormicle claimed it as railroad land. He denied taking up the land in the interest of Jenkins or any one but himself. He saw Mr. Freeman through the windows of the cabin from various points outside.

Mrs. Francisca Cook testified that she was Dolores cook's wife, and saw him after he was shot. She conversed with him before he died, and he told her that Gardner shot him. He saw Gardner on the inside of the window. The witness said her husband died about ten minutes after he spoke to her.

On cross-examination the witness could not remember who were present at the time her husband died. She had spoken to no one about the dying declaration until she told Mr. Appel.

Sheriff W.H. Riley of Ventura county testified that he saw the defendants in the Piru Canon, in that county, after the shooting. He found them in a house, and they had their rifles along. The witness put them under arrest. He identified the rifles, the Winchester and Marlin, as those in possession of the defendants. Sheriff Aguirre and himself brought them to Los Angeles.

On cross-examination the witness said that the defendants sent word to him where they were, and gave themselves up to him. He allowed them to retain their arms. They were afraid the "Jenkins outfit" might give them trouble at Newhall, and he put them in the baggage-car. They thought they might get a shot or two. They especially mentioned the "Jenkins outfit."

The defense now made Sheriff Riley its own witness, and he was examined out of the regular order. He was questioned as to the reputation of the defendants for peace and quiet, and stated that it is good. He was not acquainted with Gardner until this happened. District Attorney McComas called for Juan Burola, the old Mexican, who sat at the corner of the house during the shooting.

Mr. Appel stated that, so far, the prosecution has been unable to find where he is.

Thomas Riley was recalled, and testified that he pointed out to Mr. Goldsworthy the place where he found Cook and Walton, and other points at the scene of the tragedy. He testified that an ax was stuck in front of the cabin, and he went to the very spot he occupied the day of the shooting, and he could see the ax.

Mr. George was recalled, and testified that the ax was placed about two feet in front of the cabin. He held the ax himself, standing just inside the eastern corner of the house.

The prosecution announced that, with the exception of the missing Juan Burola and one or two minor matters, it was ready to close, and the court, at 3:31 o'clock, took an adjournment until this morning at 10 o'clock.

RETURN TO TOP ]   RETURN TO MAIN INDEX ]   PHOTO CREDITS ]   BIBLIOGRAPHY ]   BOOKS FOR SALE ] is another service of SCVTV, a 501c3 Nonprofit • Site contents ©SCVTV • Additional copyrights apply