OCR Interpretation

The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, January 22, 1916, NOON EDITION, Image 19

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1916-01-22/ed-1/seq-19/

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Arall, led to a a large oak tree, 800
yards from where Garrett had sat at
his table. Fixed firmly by clamps
against the side of the oak tree was
a rifle, trained upon the colonel's
house. It was immovable, and was
so well concealed in the underbrush
that it had been discovered only by
he merest accident Ellis Tomlin
sbn had found it
Ellis gave testimony at the trial to
the fact that when they were boys
he and his cousin had played in the
grove and had made investigations
into the ballistic properties of small
arms. The judge and jury adjourned
to the spot, a bullet was inserted in
the rifle, and, when discharged, it
hardly varied by two inches in its
course from the flight presumably
made by the ball that killed Garrett
What further evidence was need
ed? The jury found Thornton guilty
and here stood Janet Clifford tell
ing me that her lover wa& a wronged
man, and that the guilty man was
I started upon my Investigation
with a heavy heart, but I knew tha
women do possess a certain instinct
in such matters, and, while I could
find no decisive clue. I did come
upon certain suspicious circumstanc
es. I had known Ellis Tomlinson was
a man of unworthy character. I had
always distrusted him and the influ
ence which he had over his uncle.
My investigations proved the follow
ing facts to be true:
First, there had been a quarrel be
tween Ellis and the colonel on the
afternoon after Thornton's return.
This was sworn to by a little colored
boy in Garrett's employ, who had
overheard the high words and the
colonel's threat to disinherit Ellis.
The bo'yalso said that, far from hav
ing turned Thornton out of his home
a second time, the colonel had affec
tionately invited him to take up his
residence there on the morrow. He
had been afraid to substantiate
Thornton's statements to this effect, I
made at the trial. This established
a strong motive for the murder hav-
ing been committed by Ellis.
Secondly, the bullet fire'd from the
fixed rifle by the foreman of the jury
was of plain lead, tipped with nickel.
The bullet that had killed CoL Gar-'
rett, while of the same caliber, had a
slightly thinner coating. This fact
while not necessarily suspicious, in
duced me to call in a friend, an ex
pert in mechanics.
"What would be the effect on the
flight of a thinner bullet?" I asked.
"It would not carry quite so far, on
account of the smaller initial mo
mentum," he answered. ' '"'
"Then," I said, after explaining the
situation, "if the bullet fired by the
foreman fell at a certain fixed point,
a slightly lighter' bullet "
"Would have to be fired a little
nearer to fall at the same point," he
"But that proves nothing," I said
in despair.
. He smiled. "Everything is capable
of proof," he answered. "Have you
the experts' opinions given at the
Well, we sent for the records. I
shall never forget how, with only a
week of life for Thornton, with the
girl's pleading face ever before me,
and her confidence that almost un
nerved me, we debated the pros and
cons of ballistics.
In all that mass of detail it was
hard to set a finger upon the salient
point It was not until the third day
that the expert hit on a fact which
was to change the entire situation.
The court experts, men hired by
the state, had traced the course of
the bullet with exactitude, from, the
moment it left the rifle until it hit
Garrett The rifle had been, as I said,
fixed; consequently it had been im
possible to sight it It was fired at
point-blank range, but the rifle was
fixed at an upward slant of nine de
grees, which was the equivalent of
800 yards' sighting. The bullet had,

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