[NOTE: The following is a very lengthy article and the following is an abstract.]
Last Saturday morning when Judge Collard asked R J. Boykin, Jr., “if he had anything to say why sentence should not be pronounced upon him,” he rose and responded with the following:
I am asked by your Honor, “if I have anything to say why sentence should not be pronounced upon me.” I feel that I have nothing to say that would alter your Honor’s determination to impose the sentence in accordance with the verdict of the jury that has convicted me. The terms, the rules, and the technicalities of the law have been complied with.
I do here solemnly say that I have been convicted unjustly. I do say that I never had any unfriendly feelings for William Broadnax before the commencement of the unfortunate difficulty, which cost him his life and me my liberty. I do say that I never intentionally provoked the quarrel; nor had Broadnax the right to think so. And I do say that after it begun, I abandoned it in good faith and would never have been troubled, if he had not called me back by words, which I would rather die than submit to without notice or reply. When I retorted back to his vile and infamous epithets, then he threw the glass, which I tried to stop, and when I believed he meant to kill me if he could, I shot him.
I never put my hand in my hip pocket till after coming back when he raised the glass. He started to raise a bottle at me before Mangum asked me to stop the fuss and it was then that I said, “if you hit me with that, I will shoot you.”
I will swear before my Maker that I never heard Broadnax say “Go away I want no fuss,” or anything like it, and I don’t believe he said it. I will swear that I never said, “I don’t like you, Bill Broadnax.”
Steve Stewart, Jim Hefley and John Hefley may have heard rumors or talk just after, that these things were said, for that agreed with the general feeling and belief, and they may have come t believe them, as they were friends of Broadnax and did not like me. But I do say they were never said in that difficulty.
My father [no name given] was sick in bed at the time. My enemies had it all their own way and my own friends were afraid to speak.
Falsehood got fastened at the start, and that side has convicted me. Old Mr. Durand has come near telling the correct tale than anybody else.
And I also here say that I never struck Broadnax with my hand, but I jumped forward and tried to clutch his arm as he raised the glass.
I here say that I believe the jury that convicted me have acted honestly and I have no ill will against them, but I do believe that the common notion and the general prejudice, entered into their deliberations, like the air they breath enters their bodies and inclined them to believe the state’s side in preference to mine.
The most honest men are unconsciously governed by their prejudices and the most hones juries sometimes decide against the weight of the evidence. I believe it would be almost as hard for the people of Milam county to rid themselves of the idea of my guilt as it would be for the Christian to deny his Bible.
I shall bear my punishment without complaint and fell more suffering on account of the plain and sorrow I give those so near and dear to me than on my own account.
My noble and devoted father [no name given] I can never repay but will try in future to behave like a man and hope yet I may be a man not altogether unworthy.
To Mr. Breeding, Judge Broaddus and above all, my faithful, zealous and eloquent advocate, Mr. Homan, I give my heartfelt thanks. And in the dreary and lonely solitude of my cell it will be the greatest pleasure and solace to remember the few kind friends who have stood by me in my trial and those who have persecuted me, amongst whom are some I had vainly imagined would be my friends, I shall try to forget.
To your Honor on the bench and to the people of Milam county, I bid a final farewell; and I hope that time may come when your Honor and the people may realize that I “have been sinned against as well as sinning.” I am done.
The judge then proceeded to pronounce the sentence, which was 20-years in the penitentiary.