A Mystery


Jury Returned Verdict Monday Morning After Being Out Since Saturday

Towner, N.D., Aug. 5.—"Manslaughter in the first degree" was the verdict delivered at 9:30 o'clock this morning by the jury in the case of John Staff, the Minot farmer who shot and killed his wife May 25 last.

The case went to the jury at 10:30 o'clock Saturday night, after Judge Burr had delivered his charge. Two night and one day were spent in consideration before the verdict was reached.

Sentence will be pronounced at 11 o'clock Tuesday morning. The penalty may be from one to ten years' imprisonment in the state penitentiary.

The closing arguments of the attorneys in the case were made last Saturday afternoon. L. J. Palda presented the case for the state and E. R. Sinkler made the plea for Staff.

No witnesses were called by the defense, although it had been expected that some effort would be made to break down the state's evidence.

The shooting occurred shortly before 9 o'clock in the morning, Sunday May 25. Staff had been drinking during the night, and Sunday morning had a violent quarrel with his wife, according to the testimony of the children.

Mrs. Staff became alarmed and hid in a barrel near the house. A few moments later Staff fired his rifle at the head of the barrel, and the bullet passed completely through the woman's body, killing her instantly.

Staff has maintained all through the trial that he did not know his wife was in the barrel.

Valley City Times-Record, 8/7/1913

Three Ribs

Posted 10/10/2014