Murder in the First Degree is the
Finding of the County Court
PRISONER WAS STUBBORN.
He Refused to Answer Questions, Refused to
Say Whether or Not He Wanted a Lawyer, and
Judge Emery Appointed Former Justices
Loran L. Lewis and Robert C. Titus
as His Counsel——Czolgosz Had Been
Confined in the Penitentiary.
Leon Czolgosz was this afternoon indicted for murder in the first degree, for the killing of President William McKinley.
At 4.15 o'clock the grand jury voted the indictment.
At 4.41 the grand jury appeared before Judge Edward K. Emery in the county court.
"Have you a report to submit to the court, gentlemen ?" asked Judge Emery.
"We have, your honor, a partial report," replied Foreman Theodore Krehbiel, rising from his seat.
District Attorney Thomas Penney took the Indictment and passed it to the court. Judge Emery excused the jury and left the bench.
There were not many persons present in court, as it had not been believed that the evidence could be presented and a report submitted today.
It is a most noteworthy fact that this indictment was voted by the grand jury just 10 days to a minute after the shooting of the President and less than three days after the death of the President.
The rumor that the murderer was to be arraigned spread quickly about the hall and crowds began to gather.
The indictment is in the usual form of murder indictments and charges that on September 6th, 1901, Leon Czolgosz feloniously and wilfully shot William McKinley with a deliebrate [sic] and premeditated design to effect his death and that from that wound the said William McKinley died of September 14th, 1901.
At 5.36 Czolgosz was brought into the city hall by Detectives Solomon and Geary, who led him up the stairs from the basement to the 1st floor and thence to the second floor by way of the stairs at the west side of the building.
The entrance was made quietly, and very few people knew the murderer of the President was in the building until he reached the county court room on the second floor. The news quickly spread through the building, however, and a crowd followed the prisoner into the court room. Czolgosz walked between the officers quietly and maintained a stolid indifference to the gaze of the crowds as he was led into the court room.Czolgosz, it was learned, had been in the penitentiary.
A detail of policemen furnished by Supt. Bull took Czolgosz from the penitentiary to the jail and thence through the tunnel to the city hall and to the county court, where Judge Emery awaited the arraignment of the prisoner.
Czolgosz was shackled to Solomon and Geary held his arm.
Assistant Superintendent Cusack led.
Judge Emery promptly took the bench.
All was bustle in a moment but in another the dignified silence of the court room prevailed.
The crowds surged about the prisoner. "Czolgosz, have you a lawyer?" asked Mr. Penney.
Four or five times he repeated the question.
The prisoner never spoke and stood with eyes on the attorneys' table in front of him.
"You have been indicted for murder in the first degree. Do you want a lawyer?"
Still no answer.
"Czolgosz, do you want a lawyer?" asked Judge Emery.
The prisoner stubbornly refused to answer.
The officers told him the judge was speaking and Mr. Penney repeated the question.
Still no answer.
The prisoner, still stubbornly refusing to say whether he wanted a lawyer, Judge Emery asked the officers if they knew whether the prisoner had had any counsel. The officers shook their heads in the negative. Mr. Penney suggested that in view of the prisoner's refusal to answer, counsel should be assigned to advise with him upon the subject of his plea. Judge Emery then stated that the Erie County Bar Association had considered the matter and had suggested the names of two men of high character. Judge Emery said that after seriously considering the question, he had decided to adopt the suggestion of the Bar Association. "Therefore," said he, "the court assigns Hon. Loran L. Lewis and Hon. Robert C. Titus as your counsel."
Both are former supreme court justices.
Judge Emery then asked the officers to notify the attorneys. Mr. Penney said he would do so or have it done. All this time the prisoner remained silent, shifting his head from side to side with his eyes cast upon the floor. He was then shackled to Detectives Geary and Sullivan, who started out of the court room with him.
The crowd surged after them, but found the doors barred by four patrolmen. Outside the court room the prisoner and detectives were surrounded by Capt. Regan and twelve patrolmen, G. N. Mitchell, jailer, and several deputy sheriffs. He was hurried downstairs, then down the stairway to the basement to the entrance to the tunnel, and taken to the jail.
The instant he left the door burly policemen barred the way, and no one else in the room was allowed to go out until the assassin had been taken to the lower floor and was safely on his way back to the jail by the underground route.
[Source: Buffalo Commercial, September 16, 1901.