Insane From Disaster


Hired Man, Discovered in Act of Assaulting a Domestic, Fires Three Shots


Murderer Immediately Turns Gun on Himself in Attempt to End His Life

(Special to Tribune)

Dickinson, N.D., May 1—James Caldwell, wealthy land owner of Stark county, living in the vicinity of Taylor, N.D., made famous by his defense in the suit started by "J.C.R.," known as the "man of mystery", together with his wife, was murdered in cold blood by their hired man, Mike Shumek, yesterday noon on the Caldwell farm, 20 miles south east of here.

Tries to Take Own Life.

Details of the crime reaching here this afternoon state that the murderer immediately turned the gun on himself in an attempt to end his life. He is not expected to live. The shot pierced one of his lungs.

The tragedy occurred, it is said, when Caldwell and his wife upon returning to the homestead made famous in the trial proceedings held in this city last winter, discovered the hired man assaulting a 14-year-old girl working on the Caldwell farm. When Caldwell talked with Shumek about it, the latter fired in rapid succession on both the farmer and his wife.

The girl fled to a nearby home.

State's Attorney Bergeson of Stark county, who left for the scene immediately, telephones this afternoon from Taylor that the shooting occurred yesterday noon and not last night as has been supposed, and that the tragedy occurred in the Caldwell barn.

The girl, Ellard Cross, gave her age as 14 years, and was employed as a domestic on the Caldwell farm. She admitted that Mike Shumek, the hired man, 27 years old, had assaulted her.

Both Killed Instantly.

The shots were fired from an automatic rifle, the bullet striking Mrs. Caldwell under the chin and resulting in instant death. The shot fired at her husband struck him in the right ear.

The alleged murderer was taken to a hospital at Dickinson this afternoon.

The Bismarck Tribune, 5/1/1917

Developments in Slope Murder Case

Mike Chamak, hired man, says Caldwell shot at him; that he grabbed gun from rancher and fired first at Mrs. Caldwell and then husband. Buried bodies with straw in barn.

Fourteen-year-old domestic says alleged murderer tied her to bed with strips and assaulted her. Says he returned after killing Caldwell and wanted her to kill him. On refusing he sent bullet into his breast.

Chamak under guard at Dickinson hospital, is native of Russia and is 27 years old. Worked for Caldwells two years.

Coroner's inquest to be held at Taylor Tuesday forenoon, postponed. Will be held at Dickinson this evening. Members of jury are Dickinson men.

After murder, alleged slayer crawled to farm home near by, first turning cattle loose from ranch.

Bismarck Tribune, 5/2/1917

Instantly Killed

Posted 04/16/2013