The Ham Case Still on Trial

Defendant on the Stand Tells How and Why He Killed David Bucklew.

Defense Not Yet Through With Direct Testimony—Case Will Probably Not Go to Jury Until Wednesday.

Monday was the fifth day of the trail of William Ham, on information for murder, and the case has not gone to the jury yet. At the hour of adjournment, 4:30 p.m., the defense had not finished their direct testimony. A considerable portion of today will probably be required in hearing witnesses in rebuttal.

On Monday morning Elijah Elam was the first witness for the defense, and he was followed by the defendant, William Ham, on his own behalf.

Ham testified that on the morning of Sunday. September 28th, he started from his residence at the McCartney home to go to the Hunter postoffice to meet Fred Haskell, who was circulating a petition for him, that he might enter the field as an independent candidate for Supervisor of No. 4 District, and that if Haskell had the requisite number of signers they were to go to Red Bluff on the following day to file the petition; that on the road some distance from the Hunter school house, as he was going along the road he met Bucklew coming in a two horse spring wagon, and just about as they met he saw Bucklew put his left hand in his pocket and draw out a revolver. Witness said to him, “what do you mean?” The wagon had passed witness about ten feet when he heard it stop and then he stepped from the right hand side of the road to the left and saw Bucklew standing up in his wagon with his left hand holding a pistol at about the heighth of his hip and heard him say, “I’ll fix you.” Witness says that he had drawn his revolver and had said to Bucklew, “Drop that” Bucklew he said then dropped down between the seat and dashboard and had his pistol, held in both hands, and pointed at the witness. Witness aimed at Bucklew’s face about two inches below the left eye and fired. The shot frightened the team and they started off on a jump. He saw Bucklew’s head drop back and thought that his bullet had struck him.

Ham was on the stand nearly the whole day and was put through a long and rigid cross examination.

On cross examination he stated that he and Bucklew had been friendly until the latter had informed against him for killing a deer, and stated that one day in passing along a road Bucklew in a cart, himself on foot, the former had crowded him out of the road and made a motion as though to draw a pistol.

Ham’s movements after he had shot Bucklew were inquired into carefully and minutely by the attorneys for the people. Witness stated that after the shooting he did not follow the team or see where it went but that he left the road and started to the north to a small creek and then through the timber to the McCartney home to tell his wife what he had done. From there to Tom Burrill’s who was also advised of the tragedy; that Burrill advised him to give himself up, and that he then went to W.B. Elam’s to get him to take him to town. In reply to questions he stated that he did not give himself up to Constable Elam but asked him to take him to town as he wanted to see Mr. Andrews; that he got into Elam’s carriage at a point on the road away from the house; that they came down the Dibble creek road as he wanted to point out to Elam some wood that he wanted to haul for him; that on reaching town he stopped at his house near Brewery creek bridge and put his rifle in the house; that they then came on into town, reaching here about 6 p.m. and that they had been to the Railroad Restaurant for supper and then came up to Main street and that he stood along the sidewalk along the Tremont thinking that he would see Mr. Andrews along there someplace; that Sherriff Bogard spoke to him and asked him if he knew anything about the killing of Bucklew and he told him that he did not; that about 8 o’clock Sherriff Bogard called him to one side, as he stood on the corner of M. Ward’s store, and placed him under arrest, and that he sent for Mr. Andrews, which he admitted was the first time he sent for him after reaching town.

When court adjourned on Saturday it was when objection was made to a question by witness J.N. Elam who had stated that he had heard Bucklew make a threat against Ham and was asked what the threat was. The Court stated that he would rule on the objection on Monday morning. Following the cross-examination of Ham. J.N. Elam was put on the stand again, the Court having ruled that the question was admissible. He was asked the question again, and said that in the Concordia Hotel on April 7th last, Bucklew said to him, “I see Ham is in town, the s_________. If he ever crossed my path and gives me an opportunity, I’ll fix the negro s_________.

Witness said that he had not communicated the threat to anyone until the told Attorney Johnson of the defense.

At 4:30 p.m. a recess was taken to 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Source: Red Bluff Daily News, December 16, 1902.

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