Tweet Follow @PlanetSlade

Pearl Bryan: chapter five continued

<<<Previous Chapter  –   Page: 1, 2, 3, 4   –   Next Chapter>>>
Pearl Bryan
Secret London
Murder Ballads

The hearing began on the dot of 9:00am, about an hour before the court normally began its day's business. This allowed police to get Jackson and Walling into the court without any trouble, and there were only about half a dozen people in the public gallery as they prepared to start. Police stationed in the corridors outside insisted that all the attorneys and officials produced proper identification before letting them into the courtroom. Unfortunately, anyone the attorney vouched for as his assistant had to be allowed in too, and many of these people turned out to be no more than curious friends whom the attorney owed a favour.
Word soon got out that the hearing had begun, and the crowds waiting outside the jail for Jackson and Walling to emerge flooded into the courthouse corridors instead. Police barred them from entering the hearing itself, where the attorneys' friends filled every spare seat in what Barclay calls "an immense throng". Also in court was Pearl's father, Alexander Bryan, with his three sons Fred, Frank and James. They'd brought a ten-strong legal team with them from Greencastle to help Kentucky ensure the requisition went through.
Pearl's case was national news by now, and the New York Times had a man in court to watch as Jackson and Walling entered. Jackson was handcuffed to a Sheriff Archibald, but Walling walked in free beside a court bailiff. "Jackson sat in the jury box, looking in an absent-minded manner out of the windows," the NYT man reports. "Walling, who is the more communicative, talked with several friends as he laughed and stroked a scant growth of beard." (34)
The same NYT story gives the lawyers' names as Ermston (arguing Ohio's case to keep the two men) Lockhart and Nelson (both fighting for Kentucky), Shephard (representing Jackson) and Andrews (for Walling). The case would be decided by Judge Buchwalter, who had recently refused to deliver a black murder suspect to Kentucky because he believed the man would not be safe there.

Nelson sarcastically congratulated Ohio for its kindness in giving Kentucky's crooks a safe haven

Ermston began Ohio's case by arguing that there was still no certainty on the issue of where or how Pearl had been killed. Kentucky's requisition documents relied only on a belief that Jackson and Walling had been involved, he added, rather than giving any outright statement that was the case. The papers also failed to specify any date for the killing, or to establish a motive on Jackson and Walling's part, he said.
Andrews claimed that, given the opportunity to do so, he could show that Walling hadn't even been in Kentucky at the time Pearl was killed. This line of argument proved a mixed blessing for his client because, although it hinted that he might have a alibi, it also amounted to confirmation that Kentucky should have jurisdiction of the murder trial.
Nelson poured scorn on Ohio's case, sarcastically congratulating Cincinnati for its kindness in giving Kentucky's criminals a safe haven. He demolished Ermston's technical arguments one by one, pointing out for example that Ohio law required no specific crime date in the papers for a case like this. Buchwalter said he'd announce his decision at 2:00pm, and cleared the court for lunch.
"There was a rush of spectators from the room to see what the crowd would do on the street," the CE reports. "There had gathered a large crowd on both North and South Court Streets while the hearing was in progress, waiting for the prisoners to be brought out and taken to Kentucky. Again, they were disappointed, for the prisoners were simply returned to jail to wait until the afternoon session of the court." (35)
The police had stationed a couple of patrol wagons near the jail just in case, but as it turned out, these were not needed. The crowd followed Jackson and Walling all the way back to the jail house, but made no attempt to attack them.
When Buchwalter returned, he ruled in favour of Kentucky's requisition request. Jackson and Walling would remain in their Hamilton County cells for one more week, he said, and if no appeal court reversed his decision during that time, they'd be taken across the river on March 14. "No matter how much Judge Buchwalter may have disliked to honour a requisition from Kentucky, he saw that public feeling was in no humour to be trifled with," Barclay says.
The bravado they'd shown before the hearing was forgotten when Jackson and Walling heard Buchwalter's decision. Barclay tells us Jackson grew "as pale as death" and was "visibly agitated and trembling" when he heard the news. "Jackson wept when he was told he would be taken across the river," Doran adds.
"Of course I do not want to go to Kentucky," Jackson told the reporters who questioned him. "I not only fear that we would be mobbed, but I don't believe we would be given a fair trial. How can I think otherwise when an authority like Sheriff Plummer told us that, if we were taken over to Newport, the people there would lynch us for sure. [...] Since he told me that, I have not had any great longing to visit his state."
"We have fought desperately to prevent going there," Walling added.
As the two men's final week in Ohio dragged on, the papers dug up whatever scraps they could find to keep the story alive. The CE was clearly determined to run a Pearl Bryan story every day, no matter how little new information it had to impart. On March 8, it revealed that Carothers and the doctor who'd analysed Pearl's stomach contents for him had both submitted their bills to Newport's commissioners. On March 9, their big story was that George Jackson hadn't changed his mind about anything he'd already told the police. On March 10, it was that Walling was being bothered by rats in his Hamiliton County cell, but that the same animals left Jackson in peace. (36)