Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1836-1922 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the
National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. external link Learn more
Image provided by: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL
Newspaper Page Text
pardbned Melchoir Jetley, the
famous murderer, who had form
ed the text for innumerable dis
cussions at debating societies dur
ing the period of his imprison
ment. Everybody knew about
Jetley; but since it is some years
since his release the story may
have faded out of the public
mind, so I will briefly record it.
Jetley hadserved seventeen years
for the murder of Sam Briggs. It
wa& a deliberate, premeditated,
cold-blooded murder. Jetley was
a racing man, and Sam Briggs
was his partner. Jetley had re
cently married a very charming
woman, the daughter of a fash
ionable clergyman of our town.
Their short married life was sin
gularly happy. Jetley abandohed
his-old habits and associates, set
tled down, reformed and went in
to business. Sam Briggs, his part
ner, followed suit and became his
partner in -business likewise.
They had been married about
eighteen months when Jetley was
called west on business. Some
body some busybody sent him
a telegram which brought him
back in a hurry. He went home.
Mrs. Jetley was not -there. The
scared maid told him she had
gorte to Kling's restaurant, fre
quented by a rather flashy,"spor
ty" set. Jetley wfent there in a
hansom, entered, saw his wife
seated at a fable with Sam Briggs,
drinking aaocktaik Jetley pulled
out a revolver and shot Briggs,,
He was tried, seh'tenced to
duith, and had his punishment
commuted to imprisonment for
life". "After seventeenyears Gov
ernor Cowper pardoned him.
And the imprisonment, and the
pardon, too, divided society into
two hotly antagonistic -camps.
Some maintained that he should
have been sent to iherchaiiv-OP
gallows, rather, for hanging was.
then the legal method of execu
tion. Others demanded that he be
freed. During the whole seven
teen years the Hgifatipn contin
ued. No doubt old-timers .argue
out the. matter yet, as we'dfjiSon
that evenings -
"Lopk at it this way'lafa Par
sons. "The man sho a fellow jnan
in cold blood. The law prescribes
a penalty far. murder. It should
have beenxected.," .
I mafntjaineti that itwas?fevery
mans duty to defend 4ns home.
We were divided half and half.
"I don't believe the taking of
life is ever justified," j)ut in Cran
borne, our Socialist boarder. "Jet
ley was the vlctftn oHiis environ
ment. How many of us would
not have done the same? Besides,
did you fellows- ever stop to think
that he may have had loved ones
who woul'd suffer 'Ihqre than he
by his death?"
"You're a sentimen talist,"
sneered, Hansons. ''Who cares for
a murderer serving a life sen
tence?" "Somebody may "have cared.
"Good Lord, Cranbornej do you
suppose she cired what hap'pened
to him, oc he what happened to
her? You treat those criminals as
though they were actuated by the
same emotions- as ordinary peo-