Argument of Counsel in the Trial of John D. Lee, the Chief Murderer.
An Interesting Interview with the Bloodthirsty Wretch—What He Says for Himself.
Policy of the Mormon Church—Lee to Be Sacrificed—What He Says About It.
BEAVER, U. T., Sept. 18.—At the Lee trial, this morning, Mr. Spicer made a motion that Lee be discharged, on the ground that the statutes of 1852, under which he was in-dicted, had been repealed by an act of the Governor and Territorial Legislature, passed and coming into effect March 4, 1876. He read several sections of the new penal code, citing numerous authorities. The prosecu-tion made no reply.
Judge Boreman replying, said: "I do not think there is anything in the point raised, admitting that the statute of 1852 is ex-pressly repealed, but the authorities cited were not applicable to the case, and I could not see that any jubilee (?) was granted to John D. Lee by the Territorial Legislature, or by the law."
Mr. Denny began the opening address for the prosecution this morning, and continued till the recess at 2:30 p. m., confining himself to the acts of Lee in inciting the Indians to attack the emigrants before an answer to the message sent to Brigham Young was re-ceived, and acting in opposition to the di-rections of the council at Cedar, showing that Lee was the main leader in the massacre rom beginning to end.
J. C. Foster, of Pioche, followed for the de-fense, and advanced the theory that Lee par-ticipated in the massacre by an order from a higher authority at Cedar, and that the wit-nesses were not competent because they were actual participants.
The general opinion is that the jury will agree on a verdict of "guilty as charged in the indictment." It is said that the defense will take an appeal.
SALT LAKE, Utah, Sept. 19.—In the Beaver court this morning Bishop began the closing speech for the defense. He denounced sev-eral of the witnesses as having testified to such facts as related to Lee, screening and showing that they were actual and some wili-ng participators in the massacre; that the church had resolved to sacrifice Lee, dis-carding him and leaving him to a fate conse-quent on such evidence as had been intro-duced. He denounced the evidence of John-son, McMurdy, and Hamblin as untrue, and declared that these witnesses were a part of a conspiracy to hang Lee. He conjured the jury not to consent to this sacrifice by their verdict in order to lift the odium and cloud of guilt that the world had cast upon the Mor-mon people because of the massacre, but to throw aside the evidence of men whose hands were imbued with blood. He closed by read-ing a proclamation of Brigham Young, with accompanying instructions, September, 1857, when Governor of the Territory, as to the army supposed to be coming from the East with hostile intentions, begging the jury to consider the peculiar state of the country at the time, the emigrants having aggravated the Indians to such an extent that nothing less than their destruction would appease their wrath.
United States Attorney Howard, in his clos-ing speech, replying to Bishop, said he had been engaged constantly for the past three months sifting the facts and everthing re-lated or connected with the massacre. He came there for the purpose of trying J. D. Lee because the evidence led and pointed to him as the main instigator and leader. He had given the jury unanswerable document-ary evidence, proving that the authority of the Mormon Church knew nothing of the butchery till after it had been committed; that Lee in his letter to Brigham Young a few weeks after had knowingly misrepresented the actual facts relative to the massacre, seeking to keep him still in the dark and igno-rance. He denounced the aspersions hurled by Bishop against the testimony of Hamblin. McMurdy, and Johnson, and defied him and the world to disprove or impeach their testi-mony. He had had all the assistance any United States official could ask in any case. Nothing had been kept back, and he was de-termined to clear the calendar of every in-dictment against any and every actual guilty participators in the massacre, but, did not in-tend to prosecute any one lured to the meadow at the time, many of whom were only young boys, and knew nothing of the vile plan which Lee originated and carried out for the destruction of the emigrants.
Howard finished his remarks at 3:30 p. m., and the court adjourned till to-morrow at 10 a. m., when Judge Boreman will deliver his charge and the case be given to the jury.
Correspondence of The Inter Ocean.]
BEAVER CITY, Utah, Sept. 12,1876.
On Thursday morning, the 14th inst., the case of John D. Lee, one of the leaders in the Mountain Meadows massacre, committed in September, 1857, by the Mormons, and famed for its barbarity, comes on for trial in the Second Judicial District Court of this Terri-tory before the Hon. Jacob S. Boreman. Heretofore it has been impossible to bring to justice the perpetrators of this awful crime, because it was committed at the instigation of the Mormon prophet and his hirelings, whom the Mormon people, one and all, are bound by the most solemn oaths and dreadful penalties to shield from the law. In the for-mer trial of Lee, a year ago, the jury, which was composed of nine Mormons and three Gentiles, failed to convict, for this reason—It was a hung jury, being nine Mormons for ac-quittal and three Gentiles for con-viction. But the facts then de-veloped convicted the whole Mormon church in the eyes of the civilized world, and this conviction is now forcing itself upon the attention of the Latter-day hierarchy. Recent developments in the preparation for the ap-proaching trial plainly indicate that Brigham Young, who is Lee's foster father, has de-termined to make Lee the scapegoat, and al-low him to be sacrificed to appease the public clamor for justice. When Lee was re-leased some months ago on $15,000 bonds the leading Mormons went his security, but i as soon as the case was called in court yes-terday morning they delivered him up, and he was forced to return to jail. Beside this it is the universal declaration of the Mormons, who are but the echo of their leaders, that Lee should be executed, whereas a year since he was not only fellowshipped, but shielded by them. Their object appears to be to have Lee hanged, that the other priests and bish-ops, who are equally guilty with him, may cast all the blame on their dead accomplice. What strengthens this conclusion is the fact that the bondsmen—all of whom are leading Mormons—of the other three assassins who are under arrest, have not withdrawn from their bonds. It may be that Lee has consented to a conviction a jury, which must inevitably be composed in part of his Mormon brethren, in order to save the church from further infamy. He is cer-tainly fanatic enough, and talks in a manner most lovingly of his ecclesiastical leaders, protesting all the time that he will not betray them. Your correspondent interviewed him this morning, and gave him the grip of the Aaronic priesthood, which he heartily recip-rocated. In the conversation which ensued he expressed himself as a martyr to the cause, and among other things said he had spent a sleepless night in contemplating what he felt to be the sequel of the Mountain Meadows massacre. He had thought about it, and thought about it in the silence and darkness of his dungeon, and with every hour his resolve grew firmer to die true to his friends.
Sumner Howard. Esq., United States Dis-trict Attorney for Utau, has been working up the case against the entire gang of these as-sassins, ever since his appointment to the office of prosecuting officer in this Territory, and he has evidently hit upon a plan which will enable him to convict all who were implicated in the crime. He discovered the fact that the massacre was committed for plunder, and to satisfy a feel-ing of revenge which the Mormons had. and still have, as a church, against citizens of the United States, and that this revenge was gratified by the butchery of 137 emigrants as a military measure. The Territory had as-sumed a hostile attitude toward the General Government, and Governor Brigham Young, the prophet, was in fact and in law the mili-tary commander in Utah. But what more fully indicates the situation of affairs here at that time, are the minutes of mass meetings held by the Mormons in every town in the Territory. The following is copied from the Deseret News, the official organ of the Mor-mon Church, of March 24,1858, a few months after the massacre. Harmony was the resi-dence of John D. Lee. and, as will be seen, he presided over the meeting which uttered as its sentiments these treasonable words:
MASS MEETING AT HARMONY.
At a mass meeting of the citizens of Harmony, Washington County, U. T., and vicinity, it was
Resolved, That the policy adopted by Governor Brigham Young in placing this Territory under martial law and forbidding all armed forces to enter our borders under any pretense whatever was wise, humane, and just.
Resolved, That we approve the acts of the late Legistative Assembly in drafting resolutions to sustain Governor Young in resisting the present force sent by the governn en of the United States to enforce upon us corrupt officials, contrary to our wishes, at the point of the bayonet; also, in memorializing Congress and the Chief Magistrate of this nation not only to withdraw their forces from our Territory, but to redress our wrongs and grievances, bring to justice the murderers of Joseph and Hyrum Smith and Parley P. Pratt, who were honorably acquitted by the courts of this nation, to restore to us our homes and possessions that we have bought and paid for according to the require-ments of the government, and to extend to us our constitutional rights as American citizens, lest, by a continuation of insults and abuse, they force us to become their enemies. In view of the treat-ment we have already received from the parent government, we are hereby
Resolved, As a portion of the people called Lat-ter-day Saints, to stand by Governor Young and sustain him, carrying out all measures that he may deem necessary for the preservation of this people and for maintaining their rights.
And, furthermore, we pledge ourselves, our lives, our fortunes, and our all, to stand by each other and back up Governor Young in contending for the constitutional rights purchased with the blood of our revolutionary sires, and extended unto us as the rich boon of heaven.
And in conclusion we are
Resolved to follow the examples of our illus-trious revolutionary sires, and our motto, from this time forth, shall be Liberty or Death.
JOHN D. LEE,
WM. R. DAVIS,
E. H. GROVES,
Committee on behalf of the people.
J. R. DAVIS, Clerk.
In the winter of 1857-8 Lee and Danure were members of the Utah Legislature, as well as officers in the Territorial militia, which was then in actual service. In those facts, and others not necessary to mention, Mr. Howard sees the possibility, after the conviction of Lee by a court of law, of turning the remain-der of Mountain Meadows assassins over to the military authorities for trial by drumhead court-martial. Lee knows the butchery was enacted as a military measure; he has the pa-pers and the proof of this fact, and when the halter is about his neck Mr. Howard thinks his spirit of self-sacrifice for the cause will give way, and he will ''squeal." At any rate, the conviction of Lee is certain, and a vigor-ous prosecution of the other assassins will follow.
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