New Jersey News - 1899 - Murder of James Walsh

The following is a selection of articles appear in the Red Bank Register concerning the murder of James Walsh by William Bullock:

December 20, 1899

A Prisoner Beaten

Murderer Bullock Tries to Kill Harry Cottrell

William Bullock, who is in the county jail for the murder of Constable James Walsh of Red Bank, attacked Harry Cottrell, another prisoner in the jail, last Thursday and beat him on the head with an iron door knob. Cottrell was cut on the head and had it not been for the appearance of the jailer he would probably have been killed.

About ten days ago Jailer William E. Coleman discovered that the steel lock on Bullock's cell had been tampered with. The doors of all the cells in the murderers' row are operated from a brake box. There is supposed to be only one key to this brake box, but an examination made by the jailer after the lock on Bullock's cell had been tampered with convinced him that another key to the brake box had either been made by one of the prisoners or smuggled into the jail. Certain trusted prisoners were instructed to get into the confidence of the other prisoners and find out who had the second key to the brake box. Cottrell was one of the prisoners selected for this purpose and he found out last week that Bullock had such a key. He pretended to Bullock that he would help him to escape and he got the key from Bullock under the pretense of fitting it, and he then turned the key over to the jailer. Bullock told Cottrell when he gave him the key that he would kill him if he did not return it and Cottrell pretended to Bullock that he had broken the key in the lock. Bullock became suspicious of Cottrell's good faith. On Thursday Bullock enticed Cottrell into his cell under the pretense of making a further revelation of his plans to him. After entering the cell Bullock closed the door. The door closes with a spring and can be opened only from the outside. The only key to the lock was in possession of Cottrell. Bullock had the knob of an iron door and with this he beat Cottrell over the head. When the jailer appeared on the scene Cottrell threw the key to him and Bullock then ceased his assault.

Bullock has now been placed in close confinement. He was searched and on his person were found steel saws and other devices for jail breaking. A tramp by the name of Peterson broke out of jail several weeks ago and tried at the same time to release Ferguson and Bonner, two other prisoners. It is supposed that Peterson gave the tools to Ferguson and that Ferguson gave them to Bullock. It is now thought that Peterson got into jail for the purpose of liberating Bonner and Ferguson.


January 24, 1900

On Trial For His Life

William Bullock's Trial Begin Yesterday

The Taking of Testimony in the Case Was Finished This Morning and the Case Will get to the Jury This Afternoon

The trial of William Bullock for the murder of James Walsh of Red Bank was begun at Freehold yesterday. The courthouse was crowded, every seat being occupied and the aisles, ante-rooms and stairways thronged.

There was little difficulty in getting a jury. Two or three jurors were excused by consent of both sides, among them being Nathan J. Williams, the colored juror who lives at Fair Haven. Other jurors who were drawn and excused were Jesse Sickles and William B. Dolan of Matawan, Joseph C. HerBert and Abram Perrine of Manalapan, Elmer Morris of Raritan, John F. Conover, Howard A. Brinley and M. Howard Maps of Ocean, John Daley of Millstone, Henry D. Chamberlain, William R. Hagerman and George W. Brown of Neptune, Orlando J. Warden and Arthur E. Smith of Shrewsbury, Thomas W. Duncan of Freehold, William Bogle of Middletown, Jonathan I. Holmes of Holmdel, Austin P. Voorhees of Wall, George Fields of Upper Freehold and Edward Palmer of Eatontown.

The jury empaneled was as follows:

    William T. Conover of Wall.
    Nicholas J. Wilson of Shrewsbury.
    Albert M. Bedle of Raritan.
    Eugene Decker of Raritan.
    James Kelsy of Raritan.
    Samuel Shinn of Raritan.
    Horatio Croxson of Howell.
    Joseph Hoff of Howell.
    Robert Baline of Wall.
    James Bray, Jr., of Middletown.
    Daniel M. Voorhees of Howell
    Joseph Weir, Jr., of Neptune.

Prosecutor Eisley opened the case for the state. He told the story of the killing, stating that Constable Ware had gone to Bullock's house to serve two papers on Bullock. One of the papers was a criminal warrant issued by Justice Hulse of Freehold and the other was an execution issued by Justice Woolley of Red Bank. It was while serving these papers that Mr. Walsh was shot and killed by Bullock. After killing Walsh, Bullock got two men to row him across the Shrewsbury river, where he got on a freight train en route for New York and was captured at South Amboy.

Dr. Edwin Field was the first witness. He testified to having performed an autopsy on Mr. Walsh's body, and found that death had been caused by a bullet through the brain, which entered the left side of the nose. Two bullet wounds were in the right thigh, and there was a contusion of the left breast. Three bullets were found in the body, which were exhibited to the jury.

Albert C. Harrison, township clerk of Shrewsbury township, testified that Walsh was elected a constable in 1897 and filed his bond that year. His bond was renewed in 1899 but not in 1898.

Herman Frost told the jury that he was working for Bullock and that he was in the yard when Walsh was shot. He said that Walsh came in Bullock's yard with papers to serve. Bullock asked Walsh if he was going to take him to Freehold and Walsh said that he was, dead or alive. Frost was unhitching the mule and was on the other side of the animal from Walsh and Bullock. He heard three or four shots and on looking under the mule's body he saw Walsh lying on the ground but did not see Bullock do the shooting.

Amos Bennett testified that his house is across the street from Bullock's place. He heard the shooting and saw Bullock come out of his yard. He asked Bullock what the trouble was and Bullock said he had been shooting at a chicken.

George W. Baldwin and William Hallenbake testified that they were working along the river near Pintard's point when Bullock came along and got them to row him across the river. Bullock paid half a dollar for the service.

William McDonald of South Amboy, the officer who arrested Bullock, told the story of the capture. He said that Bullock at first claimed that he was not the man they were after, and that when he was about to be handcuffed he drew a knife and said he would rather be shot than captured.

Franklin Pierce Stryker, who went to South Amboy with Fred Frick and J. B. Rue to get Bullock and take him to Freehold, said that he warned Bullock that whatever he said would be used against him, but that Bullock went on and told his story of the murder. He said that Walsh had come in his yard and had told him that he was going to arrest him and would take him dead or alive; that Bullock said he asked Walsh if he could go in the house and change his clothes. Walsh said he could and Bullock went in the house and got his revolver. When he came out he told Walsh that he would not go with him and Walsh put his hand to his hip pocket as if to draw a revolver. Bullock pulled his own pistol and shot Walsh. Bullock said a knife or a pistol, he forgot which, fell out of Walsh's hand as he fell and that he picked this up and threw it over the fence. He said if he had had more bullets he would have gone to Colt's Neck and killed John E. Stilwell, who had had the warrant issued for Bullock's arrest, the charge being that Bullock had cut his wagon and harness to pieces out of revenge.

Mr. Stryker's testimony was corroborated by Fred Frick and J. B. Rue. Rue said that Bullock told him that when he went in the house for his pistol he put on an extra pair of pants, because he thought he might be out all night if he killed Walsh, and he would want to keep warm. A number of witnesses testified that they had looked for a weapon where Bullock said he had thrown the knife or pistol, but could not find it. Mrs. Walsh and Joseph Reilly testified that Mr. Walsh had no pistol with him that day, but that he had left it at home. Justice Sniffen testified that Mr. Walsh's other pistol was in his desk in his office when Mr. Walsh was killed.

William J. Leonard of Atlantic Highlands and George C. Beekman of Freehold were Bullock's lawyers. Mr. Leonard opened the case for Bullock by saying that as Mr. Walsh had not filed his bond in 1898 he was not a constable, even if he had filed his bond in 1899. He said that under these circumstances Walsh was a trespasser on Bullock's property, and that Bullock had a right to act as he did. He also stated that Bullock acted in self-defense, as he beleived (sic) that Walsh was about to shoot him when he put his hand to his hip pocket.

Joseph Lufburrow of Locust Point, William H. Knapp of Red Bank and Mrs. Lillie Giberson testified as to Bullock's good character.

Mrs. Bullock testified that her husband had come in the house on the day of the murder and had told her that Walsh was out in the yard to arrest him on a charge of cutting John E. Stilwell's wagon and harness. Bullock took his revolver with him when he went out of the house, and a few minutes later she heard pistol shots. She looked out of the window and saw Walsh lying under the shed. Her husband came in the house a few minutes later and then went away.

This morning Bullock went on the stand and told his story of the killing. He declared that Walsh had told him he would take him to Freehold, dead or alive, and that he thought Walsh was about to kill him when he shot him.

The taking of testimony was finished this morning. William J. Leonard and George C. Beekman both addressed the jury in Bullock's behalf. Prosecutor Heisley is addressing the jury at the time THE REGISTER goes to press.


January 31, 1900 Editorial Page

The verdict of murder in the first degree, which was rendered by the jury in the William Bullock case, seems to have struck a popular chord in the public mind. The verdict is applauded by almost every one, only here and there an individual expressing an opinion that the verdict should have been a lesser degree of crime.

While there is little doubt that the crime was murder in the first degree I do not think that the state will be particularly benefited by taking Bullock and choking the life out of him. In old times men used to be hung for many kinds of crimes. Thefts above a certain sum were punished with death, and so was sheep stealing, regardless of the value of the sheep. The poet tells of the frequent hangings in the lines:

    And the stealer of sheep and the slayer of men
    Were strung up together, again and again.

But hanging people did not stop sheep stealing. As people became better, crimes became less frequent; and as humanity gradually become civilized, barbarous punishments were stopped and hangings were restricted; until at present men are hung only for wilful (sic), premeditated murder, or for a murder committed while committing other crimes.

It is difficult for twelve men to look into another man's mind and decide for certain that that man had deliberated on killing another before he actually committed the crime. The law requires the jury to use their best judgment in deciding what a man's thoughts were, but the best judgment of men sometimes goes astray, and it is especially likely to go astray when they are required to decide on whether he had or had not been thinking of a certain thing at a certain time.

But even supposing that the men rightly interpreted Bullock's thoughts in this case, what is the state or the county to gain by hanging him? Two men have been hanged in Monmouth county within the past ten or twelve years, but hanging these men has not put an end to murder. The theory of hanging a man for killing another is that other men will be deterred from committing similar crimes, but the theory does not work in practice. The theory that hanging sheep stealers would stop the stealing of sheep similarly failed to work in the old days.

A dead man isn't of any use whatever to a community. A live man can be made of some use. Bullock has a wife and an infant child. He has no property and the child, and perhaps the wife also, will have to be supported by the public. In addition to depriving the community of a useful citizen, there is to be a further trespass on the public. A large sum of money is to be spent in killing Bullock, and more money is to be spent in taking care of Bullock's wife and child.

This money will come out of the pockets of the taxpayers of the county. Bullock's crime and his punishment constitute a direct loss to the community which can not be made up in any way. The only possible way in which restitution could be made would be by compelling Bullock to work for the remainder of his life, his earnings, above that is needed for his own support, to go to his wife and child, and to the family whom he bereaved.

The man who kills another without just cause forfeits all the rights due to him from the community. But the rights of the community are not forfeited thereby. The community has the right to demand immunity from further aggressions, and the right to demand that the criminal shall, so far as lies in his power, replace matters as they were before his crime was committed. The expense of hanging the criminal, and the expense of maintaining those whom he leaves behind, should not fall on the community, which has already been injured by him.

The humanitarian aspect of the case, the right to take life under any circumstances except in the defense of certain natural rights, has no place in the legal view of the matter. The legal view of a murderer should take no thought of what is best for him, but only of what is best for the community. Secure confinement, with such work as can best be performed under these conditions, should be his life portion. Whatever he makes in excess of his necessities, and in excess of his proportionate share of the cost of confining and guarding him, should go to those naturally dependent on him, and to those whom he bereaved. If he has no one dependent on him, or if the person he killed had no family, then the excess of his earnings should go to the state.

And in a general way the ethics of the treatment of a murderer should be the ethics of the treatment of criminals of lesser degree. The man who steals from another or who injures another in any way, should be compelled to make complete restitution before the community releases its hold on him, and he should be compelled to support himself in prison while making such restitution. In cases where the amount stolen is beyond the ability of the criminal to make good, there must of necessity be some abatement; but these cases would be comparatively few. It is only by following some such plan in the treatment of criminals that the rights of the community and the rights of individuals will be preserved.


January 31, 1900

To Be Hung On March 16

William Bullock Sentenced On Saturday

A Verdict of Murder in the First Degree Rendered on Thursday Morning

The jury in the case of William Bullock, who shot and killed James Walsh last November, brought in a verdict of murder in the first degree when court opened last Thursday morning. The usual effort will be made to obtain a new trial, and Bullock's lawyers feel confident that an application for a new trial will be granted.

Bullock showed very little concern when the verdict was rendered. A number of persons who were in the court room during the trial, and who heard all the testimony, the speeches of the lawyers on both sides, and the charge of Judge Collins, thought that the verdict would be for murder in the second degree. The judge's charge was said by some to be in their judgment almost a direction to the jury that the verdict should be in the second degree. The verdict rendered, however, meets with general approval. Bullock was brought into court on Saturday afternoon , and he was then sentenced to be hung on Friday, March 16th. Bullock received the sentence with apparent unconcern.


February, 7, 1900

Was It Walsh's Pistol?

A Pistol Found In Bullock's Back Yard

Some People Think It Was the Revolver Which Bullock Says James Walsh Drew on Him at the Time Walsh Was Killed.

A pistol is claimed to have been found last Saturday that bears on the Bullock murder case. Bullock has claimed that Walsh threatened to take him dead or alive and made a move toward his hip pocket; that after he shot Walsh either a pistol or knife dropped from his hand, and that he picked this up, whatever it was, and threw it over the fence. A search was made for the weapon where Bullock claimed to have thrown it but it was not brought to light.

Mrs. Bullock is now preparing to go South and she is having the place put in order before leaving it. Last Saturday Mrs. Bullock's brother and Paul Turner, son of Isaac Turner of Mechanic street, were raking the yard, when they came across a pistol. The pistol lay under a fallen grape arbor and was covered with rust. The revolver was loaded with the exception of one chamber. The boys who found the revolver gave it to Mrs. Bullock, who communnicated (sic) at once with her counsel. No one has been allowed to see the pistol. Unless it can be proven that it belonged to James Walsh, the pistol is of no importance to the defence (sic); although it is probable that the finding of the pistol will be claimed as new evidence when a new trial is asked for before the higher courts.


February 21, 1900

Bullock's New Trial

Judge Collins Grants Him A New Trial

The New Trial Granted on the Ground That New Evidence Was Found-The New Trial to Begin Next Thursday

William Bullock, who shot and killed James Walsh, will have a new trial. Judge Collins so decided when the matter was heard before him last Thursday and the new trial will be held the latter part of next week.

The ground on which the new trial was granted was the finding of a pistol in Bullock's yard by Paul Turner and Joe Rogers. When Bullock was tried the first time he testified that Walsh put his hand to his hip pocket and pulled a weapon on him; that after he had shot Walsh he had picked up the weapon and tossed it in the direction of the rear of the lot, and he thought it went over the fence in the Coleman yard. Fred Frick, Peter Lang and Frank Stryker searched for the pistol but did (not) find it.

Mrs. Bullock recently made arrangements to go South. Bullock himself, who last summer bought the house and lot on Stout street from Mrs. Marks, transferred it to her after he was taken to the county jail. Mrs. Marks rented the place to Isaac Turner and he sent his boy to the place to rake up the yard. The boy and Joe Rogers, Mrs. Bullock's brother, were raking up the yard when they found the pistol under a sprawling grapevine, and covered up with leaves. The pistol was found by Paul Turner, who picked it up and ran in the house with it, shouting to Mrs. Bullock.

"Here's Mr. Walsh's pistol; Mr. Bullock didn't tell no lie."

The pistol was shown in court, but no one knew positively whether Mr. Walsh had owned such a pistol or not. Bullock was brought into court and he told the same story of the shooting that he told when he was first captured, and which he told afterward at his trial. He said he was unnerved by fear and excitement, and that he could not tell whether he had thrown the pistol over the fence or not. He told the direction in which he had thrown it, and this corresponded to the place where it was found.

Prosecutor Heisley argued that a new trial should not be granted, but Judge Collins, in his decision, said that in the light of the new evidence presented there was no escape from granting a new trial. His remarks in making this decision were unbiased, and he refrained from saying anything favorable or unfavorable as to the result of this new evidence in the case. He said, however, that in granting the new trial he did not want to be understood as intimating that the new evidence and the story of Bullock in connection therewith constituted self-defense, since that was a question of fact to be determined by the jury in the case.

The prosecutor, after the new trial had been granted, stated that the new evidence would not change the result in the case and that at the coming trial Bullock would be sure to be again convicted of murder in the first degree.

Bullock has grown somewhat thinner since he has been in jail, but his health remains good.

The bills for the trial of Bullock have been paid. Ex-Judge George C. Beekman of Freehold and William J. Leonard of Atlantic Highlands each received $275 from the county for their services in the case. When Bullock sold his house and lot back to Mrs. Marks he received $100 in cash, and this has also been said to have been paid to his lawyers.


March 14, 1900

Bullock's Jury Disagree

Another Trial Necessary For James Walsh's Slayer

The Case Was Begun Last Thursday and Ended on Saturday Afternoon-The Jury Discharged Early Monday Morning

The jury in the Bullock murder case, which was tried last week, could not agree, and the jury was discharged at quarter past twelve o'clock on Monday morning, after having been out about 35 hours. One of the jurors was taken sick while the jury was out, and a doctor had to be called in to prescribe for him. A new trial will be necessary, and some lawyers think that the next trial will be held in some other county, because so many of the people of this county have already formed a strong opinion in the case.

Judge Collins and Judge Conover were on the bench when the case was tried. The case was tried before a "struck jury," that is, a set of jurymen specially drawn for this case, from whom twelve men were afterward selected as the jury to try Bullock. Most of the jurymen called had read newspaper accounts of the case and had formed an opinion. Some of these men said that in spite of having formed an opinion in the case they could give a verdict according to the evidence. Several of the jurymen did not appear on account of being exempt, or sick, or from some other cause.

One of these was Charles McDermott of Wall township, and the sheriff was instructed to ascertain the reason for his absence. Several of the jurymen had conscientious scruples against capital punishment, and they were excused by the court.

When a murder case is tried by an ordinary jury the person accused of the murder has a right to challenge twenty jurymen; and he can throw that number out of the jury box after they have been drawn. When the case is to be tried before a struck jury the person accused has only six challenges. Bullock's counsel insisted that Bullock was entitled to twenty challenges out of a struck jury, and after all but one of the jurors had been selected they challenged the jurors as fast as they were drawn. This was done to give them an excuse for demanding a new trial in case Bullock should be again convicted of murder in the first degree. Judge Collins allowed the jurymen to be challenged, thinking that perhaps a jury might be selected after their twenty challenges had been exhausted; but owing to the number of absent or exempt jurymen this could not be done, and one of the jurymen challenged by Bullock's counsel was put on the jury.

The jury as finally selected was as follows:

    James W. Danser of Freehold township.
    James Campbell of Ocean township.
    Edgar Schanck of Holmdel township.
    Hal Allaire of Wall township.
    Peter Forman of Millstone township.
    Clifford C. Snyder of Freehold township.
    Milton A. Fardon of Matawan township.
    Frank C. Bedle of Matawan township.
    Joseph Holmes, Jr., of Upper Freehold township.
    William Gifford of Neptune Township.
    Lewis F. Gordon of Upper Freehold township.
    Herbert A. Bushnell of Matawan township.

The evidence in the case was practically the same as in the first trial, except that the prosecutor was allowed to show Bullock's character by introducing evidence concerning his assault on Harry Cottrell, one of the men employed at the jail. Bullock had obtained a key which would unlock the lever which fastened his cell. Cottrell, to get possession of this key, offered to help Bullock escape. Bullock promised to give Cottrell $50 if he would do so and Bullock gave up the key, which was turned over to the jailer. Bullock afterward got Cottrell in his cell and nearly killed him. Bullock said he had paid Cottrell $10 of the$50 promised him, and Cottrell said he had not received a cent.

The finding of the pistol in Bullock's yard was another new bit of evidence. Bullock's lawyers tried to show that it was a pistol which Walsh had with him when he went to arrest Bullock, and that he had drawn it when Bullock shot and killed him. Daniel Minton told his story of how he had lost a pistol exactly like the one which was found. He had lived in the house where Bullock did, three years ago, and took his pistol in the yard to shoot at a dog. He lost the pistol, he did not know where, and had never seen it after he shot at the dog. He thought the pistol found in the yard was the one he had lost, but as a great many pistols are made exactly alike he could not swear positively that this was the same one. He had shot once at the dog and all the other chambers of the revolver were loaded when he lost it. The pistol found in the yard was loaded with the exception of one chamber. Bullock's counsel tried to show that the pistol might have been taken by Walsh from some boy. Their efforts in regard to connecting the pistol with Walsh's visit to Bullock's yard were not very brilliant, but they may possibly have raised a doubt in the minds of some of the jurymen.

The jury went out a little after two o'clock on Saturday afternoon. Milton A. Fardon of Matawan was taken very sick after the jury had retired, and it was reported throughout the county that he was likely to die. Dr. McLean of Freehold attended him and he got better.

On Sunday morning the jurors had decided that they could not reach a verdict, and they wanted to go in court and be discharged. Either on account of Sunday or because Judge Collins thought they ought to take more time to try and agree on a verdict, they remained out until quarter-past twelve o'clock on Monday morning, when they came in court and declared that they could not agree. They were then discharged.

It is reported that the jury stood 9 to 3 in favor of conviction of murder in the first degree.


April 4, 1900

The Petty Jury Drawn

Men Who Will Try Bullock Drawn Yesterday

Wilbur A. Heisley, the New Judge, Did not Sit on the Bench Because He Had Been Prosecutor in the Bullock Trials

The petty jury for the May term of court was drawn at Freehold yesterday. Judge John Rellstab of Mercer county was on the bench. Judge Wilbur A. Heisley was sworn in office on Monday but he did not take his place on the bench, as he was the prosecutor in the Bullock murder case, and Bullock will be tried by a jury drawn from the jurors selected yesterday. Judge Rellstab directed the sheriff to put 120 names in the jury box and to draw out sixty of them. These are the men who will serve as jurymen during the May term of court:

    Atlantic-Harry Schanck, Thomas Wolcott, Frank Wyckoff.
    Eatontown-William H. Reed, Nicholas White.
    Freehold-Michael Ford, John Connors, Frank J. Queeney, John T. McChesney. Lewis S. Packard, William F. Barkalow, Hugh Barkalow, Charles H. Cottrell.
    Holmdel-Garrett Longstreet, Alex. L. McClees, Elwood Magee.
    Howell-Joseph L. Butcher, Cornelius Messler, Charles R. Matthews, Henry Williams, Henry Matz.
    Millstone-Thomas T. Patterson, Edward Martin, Perrine Dey, John Chamberlain.
    Malalapan-George Stillwell, Isaac B. Davison, Frank Laird.
    Marlboro-Winfield Stryker.
    Middletown-Edward T. Burdge.
    Neptune-George F. Hulick, John L. Shreve, Carl Hoffman, Henry Gravatt, Jacob T. Johnson, J. Stanley Ferguson.
    Ocean-John Milan, Charles A. Reed, Samuel W. Hendrickson, Abram Brown, Harry P. Bennett, William E. Cline.
    Raritan-George M. Tilton, Charles H. Clarendon.
    Shrewsbury-Harry H. Stryker, William Sutton, Joseph Riley, Thomas J. Norman, William B. Mills, Walter B. Parsons.
    Upper Freehold-Harry Bulick, Elmer Polhemus, Albert Nelson.
    Wall-William G.Schanck, Henry Shumard, John S. White, Joseph R. C. Cramer, Joseph Cramer, Henry S. Howland, Robert M. Marks.


    May 23, 1900

    Bullock's Third Trial

    It Was Begun At Freehold Yesterday

    None of the Jurors Selected are From Shrewsbury Township-New Evidence Introduced-The Case Likely to Close To-Morrow

    The third trial of William Bullock for the murder of James Walsh of Red Bank was begun at Freehold yesterday at ten o'clock. Bullock has been tried twice before. At the first trial the jury returned a verdict of murder in the first degree and the day for his execution was set. A new trial was secured on the ground that new and important evidence had been found and at this trial the jury failed to agree on a verdict.

    Before the selection of a jury counsel for Bullock objected to the array because a colored man had not been drawn on the general panel of jurors. The objection was overruled. Objection was also made on the part of Bullock's counsel on the ground that the names of no colored men had been placed in the box from which the general panel was drawn. Sheriff Davis testified that the name of a colored man had been placed in the box from which the general panel had been drawn and the objection was overruled. An objection was then taken to the panel of 48 jurors drawn to try Bullock because the names of no colored men had been placed in the box when this panel was drawn. This objection was also overruled.

    Two of the jurors drawn to try Bullock, Henry Shumard of Wall township and William B. Mills of Shrewsbury township, did not respond when their names were called and Sheriff Davis was directed by the court to find out why they did not appear. Forty-four jurymen were examined before twelve men that were satisfactory to both sides were secured. Seventeen jurors were challenged by the defense and ten were challenged by the state. The others were excused by the court.

    The first juror drawn was Abram Brown of Ocean. He had formed no opinion, but he was challenged by the defense. The second juror drawn was Thomas Wolcott of Atlantic township and he was accepted. Walter B. Parsons, Thomas J. Norman and Joseph Reilly were drawn from Shrewsbury township. Parsons was excused by the court, Norman was challenged by the state and Reilly was challenged by the defense. Charles A. Reed of Ocean township was not adverse to capital punishment, but he didn't like the way they hung people in New Jersey. He was challenged by the state. Other jurors drawn and who were excused were Abram Brown, William E. Cline and Harry P. Bennett of Ocean; John Chamberlain and Thomas F. Patterson of Millstone; Henry Williams, Henry Matz, Cornelius Messler, Charles R. Mathews and Joseph L. Butcher of Howell; Hugh Barkalow, Frank J. Queeney, John Connors and Michael Ford of Freehold; Robert M. Marks and Henry S. Howland of Wall; Edward T. Burdge, Jr., of Middletown; Jacob T. Johnson, Henry Gravatt, Carl Hoffman, John L. Shreve and J. Stanley Ferguson of Neptune; Garrett Longstreet and Alex L. McClees of Holmdel; William H. Reed and Nicholas White of Eatontown and Isaac B. Davison of Manalapan. The most of those excused had formed an opinion in the case which they said would influence their action.

    The jury empaneled was as follows:

      Thomas Wolcott of Atlantic.
      Henry Schenck of Atlantic.
      William F. Barkalow of Freehold.
      Charles H. Cottrell of Freehold.
      John Milan of Ocean.
      Samuel W. Hendrickson of Ocean.
      George Stilwell of Manalapan.
      Elmer Polhemus of Upper Freehold.
      Albert Nelson of Upper Freehold.
      Perrine Dey of Millstone.
      Edward Martin of Millstone.
      Charles H. Clarendon of Raritan.

    Prosecutor John E. Foster opened the case for the state, stating the facts that would be proven and asking for a verdict of murder in the first degree. Attorney General Gray is engaged in the case with the state. The defense is being conducted by ex-Judge Beekman and William J. Leonard.

    The state's conduct of the case differed but little from the previous trials. The only new evidence introduced was that showing photographs of Bullock's place in red bank where the crime was committed. Joseph Barker had been photographed lying on the ground in the position in which Walsh's body was found and this photograph was introduced in evidence, along with others taken of the place. Objection was made to the introduction of the photographs, but the objection was overruled.

    The story of the killing of Walsh, and the escape and arrest of Bullock were told practically the same as at the previous trials. Dr. Field, who performed an autopsy on Walsh's body, repeated his previous testimony to the effect that Walsh's death was caused by a bullet through the brain. Other witnesses that have been examined by the state are Andrew Coleman, Eljah Conk, Albert C. Harrison, Lewis Brown, Charles Borden, Amos Bennett, Herman Frost and Robert T. Smith, all of Red Bank.

    The present indications are that the state will finish its side of the case to day and that the defense will open to-morrow. The defense is expected to finish by to-morrow night or possibly Friday morning, when the case will go to the jury.


    May 30, 1900

    Convicted Of Murder

    William Bullock Sentenced To Be Hung

    Friday, July 13th, is the Day Set for His Execution-Further Efforts to Save His Life are Likely to Prove Futile

    The jury in the third trial of William Bullock for the murder of James Walsh of Red Bank returned a verdict at ten o'clock on Saturday morning of murder in the first degree. Bullock was immediately sentenced by Judge Collins to be hung on Friday, July 13th.

    Bullock was apparently unmoved by the jury's verdict or by the judge's sentence. When asked by Judge Collins if he had anything to say why sentence should not be pronounced, Bullock made quite a lengthy speech. He said that a poor man had no chance in this world and if he was a negro he had still less chance. He said that he had told the truth during his trial, which was more than could be said of some of the witnesses, and that through constables and judges he had been deprived of his liberty, wealth and life. He said further that John E. Stilwell was the cause of his being sent to the scaffold and that Mr. Stilwell, Frank Stryker and Robert Allen should die with him. After being sentenced Bullock thanked the jury that convicted him for their attention during his trial and he was then taken back to his cell.

    The testimony in the case was all in at five o'clock on Thursday night, the time from then until midnight, with the exception of a short recess, being taken up by the argument of counsel and by the judge's charge. In summing up the case Prosecutor John E. Foster and Attorney General Grey, who assisted the prosecution, both addressed the jury in behalf of the state. Mr. Foster made the opening speech. He spoke about two hours and a quarter, going over the testimony in detail and presenting a forceful argument why the crime which Bullock committed constituted murder in the first degree. Attorney General Grey, in his argument dwelt mainly on the testimony of Bullock and Frank P. Stryker, the officer who worked up the case for the state. The testimony of Bullock alone, the attorney general argued, was sufficient to convict him of the crime of which he stood accused. William J. Leonard's closing argument in behalf of Bullock was more of an attack on Frank P. Stryker than a defense of Bullock. He said that Stryker, by trumping up testimony and producing witnesses to swear to it as he had done in the Bullock case, could hang any man in the state of New Jersey if he so desired.

    Those who heard Judge Collins's charge to the jury say that it was stronger for a verdict of murder in the first degree than at either of the two previous trials. The judge's charge was short. He instructed the jury on certain points of law, and told them that the circumstances of the case did not in any event justify them in bringing in a verdict for a less degree of crime than murder in the second degree.

    It was about half-past twelve o'clock on Friday morning when the jury retired. Up to the time on Friday afternoon that Judge Collins had to leave for his home the jury had not yet agreed on a verdict and the jury was ordered locked up for the night. Judge Collins returned to Freehold about ten o'clock on Saturday morning, when the jury came into court and announced that they had agreed on a verdict of murder in the first degree. It is reported that from the first ballot the jury stood eleven to one for the verdict as finally agreed upon.

    The trial did not differ materially from the two previous trials, the only instances where the state's case differed from the former trials being the introduction of photographs to show the manner of the killing of Walsh and the swearing of Peter Lang of Red Bank and Peter B. Campbell of Shrewsbury as new witnesses. According to Bullock's story of the shooting he and Walsh were face to face when the first shot was fired. The theory advanced by the state all along was that Bullock first fired upon Walsh from behind, the shots taking effect in his legs, and that as Walsh turned around the fatal shot in the temple was fired. This theory was strengthened by the new evidence introduced at the last trial.

    When Walsh went to Bullock's house to arrest him on the day of the murder Bullock told Walsh that he would go with him after he went in the house and put on a good pair of trousers over his old ones. It was while doing this that Bullock got the pistol from the house with which he committed the murder. J. B. Rue of Red Bank, who assisted in taking Bullock to Freehold after his capture at Perth Amboy, testified at the two former trials that he asked Bullock if he did not put on the extra pair of trousers with the expectation of killing Walsh and being out all night, and that Bullock admitted that he did. Bullock denied having made such an admission. Peter Lang of Red Bank was with Rue when the alleged admission of Bullock was made and his testimony at the last trial was corroborative of Rue's in every particular.

    Peter B. Campbell of Shrewsbury, the other new witness sworn by the state, testified that Bullock had been employed by him when a boy. Campbell said that one day Bullock attacked him with a razor and that in order to defend himself he picked up a pitchfork and struck Bullock in the mouth, breaking off two of his upper teeth. Bullock jumped to his feet and called Campbell a liar, it being with difficulty that he was kept from striking Campbell. Bullock afterward exhibited his teeth to the jury. His upper teeth are perfectly sound, but he has two lower teeth that are crowned with gold. Campbell's testimony is not thought to have strengthened the state's case, except that the incident showed Bullock to the jury in an unfavorable light. Bullock's manner from the time Campbell was called indicated more nervousness than he had exhibited at any time during the ordeal of his three trials.

    Bullock's testimony differed a little from his testimony at the two previous trials. A confession made by him when captured has been used against him each time that he has been tried. The defense has always claimed that the confession was got from Bullock by threats and misrepresentations. In addition to what he told at the previous trials of threats made against him when captured, Bullock stated at his last trial that a rope was brought into his cell at Perth Amboy and that while being taken from Perth Amboy to Freehold he was hit on the head by a stranger in the car. Frank P. Stryker denied these statements, testifying on the contrary that he warned Bullock when he was caught that whatever confession he made would be used against him.

    Bullock's counsel will make a further effort to save his life by carrying the case to the court of errors and appeals, but it is not thought that such an effort will be successful.

    John E. Foster, the new prosecutor, is generally commended for the able manner in which he conducted the state's case.


    July 11, 1900

    New Trial For Bullock

    He Gets Another Chance For His Life

    The Court of Errors Reverses His Conviction on the Ground that the Evidence of Peter B. Campbell was Improperly Admitted at the Trial

    The court of errors and appeals on Monday reversed the conviction of William Bullock for the murder of James Walsh on the ground that the evidence of Peter B. Campbell at Bullock's trial was improperly admitted. The point of error on which the conviction was reversed was one raised by the court of errors and appeals and which had not been raised by either the counsel for the state or the counsel for the defendant. The points of error raised by Bullock's counsel were that the struck jury order had been wrongfully vacated; that constitutional rights of colored men to be jurors and to be tried by a jury representative of colored as well as white men had been denied Bullock; that his so-called confessions as to motive and malice had been wrongfully admitted in evidence and that manslaughter had been wrongfully ruled out by the court.

    The point was touched on by Mr. Beekman for the defense that the evidence of Campbell should have been ruled out on the ground that it was prejudicial to the defendant's character. The evidence of Campbell was offered in rebuttal of testimony offered by Bullock himself that he had never had any trouble with any one, particularly with Campbell, previous to the killing of Walsh. At the trial Judge Collins instructed the jury to ignore the testimony of Campbell but the court of errors and appeals went further than that and decided that the testimony of Campbell should not have been accepted at all, and that it got to the jury without proper instruction.

    Justice Gilbert Collins, who has presided at the three trials of Bullock, has been assigned to the Hudson county circuit to succeed Justice Job Lippincott. As soon as a successor to Justice Collins has been assigned to the Monmouth county court Prosecutor Foster will move for a new trial. The case will probably be tried early in the October term of court.

    Bullock has already been tried three times for his life and his case is getting to be a sort of continual performance in the county court. The first time he was tried he was convicted of murder in the first degree and sentenced to be hung. A new trial was secured on the ground that new evidence had been secured and at this trial the jury disagreed. The third time he was again convicted of murder in the first degree and he was to have been hung on Friday. In the event of another conviction the case may again be carried to the court of errors and appeals and in any event it will be some time before Bullock will be hung.


    September 12, 1900

    Wm. Bullock Escapes

    Dug Out Of Jail Last Thursday Night

    An Iron Skewer Enabled Him to Dig Through the Floor of His Cell Into a Passage Way and the Rest Was Easy

    William Bullock, who shot and killed James Walsh last November, and who was confined in the county jail, dug out of his cell last Thursday night and escaped. He has not since been heard from, though a reward of $500 has been offered for his capture.

    Bullock was confined in a cell on the ground floor of the jail. Part of his cell was over an underground passage way, in which were the water, sewer and gas pipes. The passage way had been built in order to make it easy to get at the pipes to make changes or to repair leaks. This passage way was not generally known, though there was no secret about its construction. The floor of the cell over the passage way was of brick, and the cell floor was covered with a thin coating of cement. Bullock in some way had learned that this passage existed, and he had also learned its exact location, for the hole he had made in his cell led directly into it. He had secured an iron skewer, and with this he had chipped off the coating of cement. When he had got through the cement it was an easy matter to remove the bricks and make an entrance into the passage way.

    It is believed that Bullock had help from outside the jail, for a hole had been dug at the end of the passage way which led into the jail yard. This dirt at the entrance of this hole indicated that it had been dug from without and not from within. A high board fence surrounds the jail yard. The jail yard gate is not as high as the fence and this could readily be scaled. There were marks on the gate which showed that Bullock had got out by climbing over the gate. After leaving the jail yard all trace of Bullock was lost.

    Searching parties scoured the woods and fields near Freehold, but nothing could be found which could show the route he had taken. If he had outside help in his escape, his assistants probably had a wagon at hand in which to give him a good start on his way toward freedom. Many rumors have been afloat to the effect that he had been seen in various places, but investigation proved these rumors to be without foundation. Reports have also been many, declaring that he had been captured, but these reports, like those declaring that he had been seen, had no basis in fact. On Sunday it was positively announced that he had been caught near Philadelphia, but inquiry proved that Bullock had not been seen nor heard of there. Yesterday it was said that Bullock had been seen near Lakewood, and a number of officers went there, but their search was without results.

    An odd incident happened in Red Bank on the night Bullock escaped. J. Frank Patterson is the night marshal. About three o'clock in the morning he was talking to W. H. Hamilton in front of the Sheridan hotel when a colored man went to the fountain and took a drink. He had evidently been walking a long distance over the dusty roads, for he bathed his face and hands in the fountain. On seeing the man Mr. Patterson remarked to Mr. Hamilton: "If I were not sure that Bullock was safe in the county jail I would say that that man over there was Bullock."

    Jack White, the night watchman, also saw this colored man, but he says he did not think it looked anything like Bullock."

    Bullock has been tried three times for the killing of James Walsh. He was twice convicted of murder in the first degree and sentenced to be hanged. Each time the trial was upset by the higher courts on the ground that there had been errors in the case. In one of the Bullock trials the jury disagreed.

    Bullock would have been again tried for murder at the coming term of court if he had not escaped.

    October 3, 1900

    From an article regarding the opening of court

    Reference was also made to the escape of Bullock from the county jail. Judge Fort said that there was a rumor or a belief in some quarters that Bullock had had help in making his escape. He told the jury that it was their duty to investigate this matter; that it was a crime to aid a prisoner to escape and that any person so aiding in the escape of Bullock should be indicted. If after investigation, it was found that Bullock had had no aid in making his escape, and that there was no negligence on the part of the officials, the jury could bring in a presentment, telling the result of the investigation in order that the public might know the facts in the matter.

    Source: Red Bank Register, Wednesday, December 27, 1899