The Chariton Leader, Chariton, Iowa
Thursday, October 4, 1906
James Wyland, of this city, received a copy of the Ft. Wayne, Indiana,
Journal-Gazette, of the 5th instant, from a brother of his, residing there,
containing an account of a murder committed there by ABBOTT KENDALL, a son
of the late E.L. KENDALL, of this city, and a half-brother of the HON. N.E.
KENDALL, of Albia. The paper also contains a two column cut of the accused,
which removes all doubts about the identity of the person. The editor of
The Leader grew up with ABBOTT, down in Washington Township, and recognizes
the features, although seemingly much older than when he last saw him. The
maiden name of ABBOTT's mother was BLACK, which accounts for his assumption
of that name. Following is the account:
Auburn, Ind., Oct. 4 -- The grand jury which has been in session since
Monday, this afternoon returned an indictment against EDWARD BLACK, the man
who on the night of August 2, last, killed MATTIE CANNON, of Garrett, by
shooting her twice with a shotgun and then beating her brains out with the
butt of the gun; charging him with murder in the first degree. BLACK was
immediately arraigned in court and pled guilty to the charge. He was
brought into the court room in the custody of Deputy Sheriff Raub and from
his actions, he being so calm and deliberate both in body movements and
speech, one would not have known but that he was arraigned for some mere
minor effense instead of the great crime of murder. The prisoner did not
seem to be at all surprised at the nature of the indictment, in fact, it was
just what he was expecting, and instead of the notification being a shock to
him it seemed to be a great relief.
'MAKES A CONFESSION.
A short time before the jury charge was read to him he made a confession of
the murder and gave his real name, which, he says, is ABBOTT ALEXANDER
KENDALL, to the authorities. The confession was written out in his own hand
writing and reads as follows:
Auburn, Ind., Oct. 3, 1906.
"This is my confession:
"First sin -- I did swear and curse at Jesus, my God.
"Second sin -- I did write letters to MATTIE to come back to my house.
"Third sin -- And I did cohabit with MATTIE in my house.
"Fourth sin -- Then I did kill her.
(Signed) "EDWARD BLACK".
Then questioned further regarding the crime he had committed and while in a
repentant mood he stated that his real name was not BLACK, but was ABBOTT
ALEXANDER KENDALL. His reasons for assuming the name of BLACK and going by
that name for the past seven years are set forth in the following statement
made by him:
"In view of the investigation and my pending trial for the murder for which
I am guilty, I am ready to disclose to the world my true name, which I have
not used for many years. I was born in Lucas County, Iowa. Soon after my
father's return from the civil war he and my mother were divorced, leaving
her with two children -- myself and a sister by the name of ANNA.
"ANNA married a man by the name of DOWLING, who lives in Beaver City, Neb.
My father married again, and had a son -- my half-brother -- who is a
successful lawyer at Albia, Ia., whom I have not seen for fifteen years.
"My mother married a man named BENJAMIN WATKIN with whom she moved to
Pattonsburg, Mo. To them were born four children, three boys and one girl.
There my mother died some years ago. Leaving there and not wishing to be
followed by or burdened with the care of my half-brother and sister, I came
to Indiana locating in Garrett. There I gave the name EDWARD BLACK, and it
is by that name I have been known ever since and it was in that name I held
the property I owned in that city. I simply changed my name so that my
relations could not find me.
"In conclusion and after fully considering the statements above made I
voluntarily affix my true name, which is,
"ABBOTT ALEXANDER KENDALL."
'QUESTIONED BY THE JUDGE'
After Judge Bratton had read the charge to the prisoner and asked him the
question, if he was guilty or not guilty, receiving an answer in the
affirmative, the following questions were propounded to him and answered,
which will give some idea of the attitude this man has taken concerning this
Q. I will ask you again what plea you make to the indictment that has been
read to you: Are you guilty or not guilty?
A. Yes, sir, I am guilty.
Q. Is that the plea that you want uttered in this case against you, a plea
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Do you have any attorneys to represent you?
A. Yes, sir, I had; yes, I told you they took my case, but I didn't want
them to come in my way. I just wanted to tell --
Q. Do you want your attorneys to make a defense for you in this case?
A. I do not feel that I do.
Q. Are you opposed to the attorneys whom you have selected making any
defense for you in the case?
A. I am rather opposed to them, but I did not choose them; there was a
mistake there; I did not go after them; I did not send for them.
Q. Do you now object to the attorneys making an appearance for you in this
case and making a defense for you?
A. Yes, sir, I do.
Q. Would you prefer to have this case submitted to a jury for their
consideration and for the purpose of determining what punishment should be
assessed against you?
A. I am not afraid to leave it to you.
Q. Do you claim the right to have the case submitted to a jury for the
purpose of assessing what your punishment shall be?
A. Of course. I am not posted much in the law; I am not posted; I am not
afraid to trust it to you. You do just what you are directed to in your
Q. Do you insist on having a jury try the case?
A. Well, perhaps then that might be better; I do not know.
Q. What is your choice and pleasure in the premises?
A. What would be your choice?
Q. Yes; whether this case be tried to a jury?
A. Or left to you?
Q. Or left to the court?
A. I would not hardly know; it doesn't seem to me that I would turn my hand
over for the difference; I would just as soon leave it to the court.
Q. You understand fully do you; and completely, that if you enter a plea of
guilty in this case that it may result in the judgment that your punishment
would be that you suffer death, do you?
A. Yes, I understand it.
Q. and considering that statement by the court, do you still say that your
plea in this case is that you are guilty as charged?
A. O, yes indeed, I cannot deny it.
Q. I will enter the plea of guilty and I will take the matter under
advisement with your permission and not render judgment today. Is that
satisfactory to you?
A. I do not seem to understand.
Q. I say I will enter the plea as you have indicated; that your plea would
be that you are guilty as charged, but I will not render judgment on that
plea today, but will take the matter under advisement and think it over, is
what I mean. Is that satisfactory to you?
A. Yes, sir, it is all right.
Q. What is your reason for pleading guilty?
A. Just merely because I feel that if I do not come out with the truth in
the hour of death, no matter when it is, I feel that Jesus will destroy my
soul just as I restored (sic) her's; I know it is awful.
Q. You make that statement, then upon a sincere conviction that you are
guilty in all respects as the indictment charges?
A. Yes, sir, I have to; premeditated.
Q. Then the entry will be in this case that you plead guilty?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. And that the court takes it under advisement for the purpose of
determining what punishment shall be assessed in the case, and you are
satisfied to permit the court to do that, take it under advisement for a few
A. Yes, sir, whatever you do will be all right.
'MAY PUT UP A VIGOROUS FIGHT'
Attorney D.D. Moody, of Auburn, who represents the murderer, was present
during the hearing. At the conclusion of the questioning of the prisoner by
the judge, the attorney was asked if he had anything to say to the court.
Mr. Moody said that in the absence of Mr. Sharpless, of Garrett, the other
attorney with him in the case, he wished any further action deferred until
tomorrow morning, which request Judge Bratton readily granted.
Mr. Moody was afterwards seen by a Journal-Gazette correspondent and asked
if any defense would be made. He said that while he was not certain just
what action would be taken in the morning, yet he was of the opinion that
they would ask that a special plea of not guilty be permitted and a defense
be made on the ground of insanity. A demand for a jury trial would also in
this instance be made. Mr. Moody contends that the court can, under the law
only decide the case one way if left to his honor, and that would be the
penalty of death, while if tried before a jury the penalty could be either
death or imprisonment for life, it being optional with the jury. He states
that the evidence at hand could surely prove that the man was insane.
Copied by Nancee(McMurtrey)Seifert
November 4, 2004