Case Of Dr. Bennett

Prosecuting Attorney Withdrew Form [sic] The Inquest


Doctor Arraigned For Murder In The First Degree

Coroner Luton Mystified by the Actions of the Prosecutor—Cross Examination of Witnesses by Attorney for Defense, Which Furnished a Stenographer.

There were some very peculiar proceedings in the case of the prosecution of Dr. Charles T. Bennett of Detroit for alleged murder, and the coroner’s investigation into the death of Miss Alta B. Richards, who died while under chloroform administered by Dr. Bennett at the Eagle hotel. Coroner Luton called a jury, the members of which were S.K. Bolles, H.H. Drury, F.L. Colson, A.L. Hatch, F.E. Rice and Francis Lilly. The inquest was opened and the evidence of several witnesses was taken when Coroner Luton was called to the telephone. Prosecuting Attorney Rodgers was at the other end. He told the coroner to tell Assistant Prosecutor Minor to leave the inquest at once and go upstairs to the prosecutor’s office and that the prosecuting attorney would withdraw from the case. Mr. Rodgers told the coroner he had no business to allow Attorney McKnight, who was at the inquest as the representative of Dr. Bennett, to make any cross examination of the witnesses as he had done, and this was his reason for withdrawing from the case. Coroner Luton supposed the prosecutor was going to order the prisoner released and that all prosecution against him would be stopped, but this was not the case.

Continue reading “Case Of Dr. Bennett”


Sues to Recover Price of a Bogus Nugget

Redding, March 27.—A.F. Dobrowsky, a local jeweler, brought suit today against John W. Hare, an insurance agent, to recover $27 50 paid Hare for a nugget which proved to be bogus. The specimen appeared to be “lousy” with gold. The yellow metal filled its every crevice and there were large crevices. Had the filling been gold, the specimen would have been worth possibly $50, but it was not. It was goldfoil cleverly inserted by the hand of man. Hare paid $20 for the “gold brick” and sold it to Dobrowksy, not knowing its fraudulent character, at an advance of $7 50. The jeweler found it was bogus and demanded his money back, but the insurance agent would not return the full price, hence the suit.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, March 28, 1903.


Case Reversed

Waverly, Nov. 24.—The appellate division of the supreme court has handed down a judgement reversing the decision of the supreme court in the case of Frances Shipman as sole administratrix of the estate of Rufus Shipman vs. the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company.

Mr. Shipman was killed near the Erie depot in Waverly in September, 1909, while standing near a peach car on the siding. The case was tried in supreme court in September, 1910, before Justice Lyon, who granted the defendant a non-suit, and from that judgement the plaintiff appealed and has been granted a new trial by the higher court.

Source:  Elmira Star-Gazette, November 24, 1911.

Bennett Not Guilty

The trial of Dr. Charles T. Bennett, of Detroit, upon the charge of murder, was finished in superior court at Grand Rapids, Thursday afternoon, when a verdict of not guilty was rendered.  The jury was out but a few minutes.  The doctor was arrested last fall on a charge of causing the death of Alta Richards, a young woman who went to Grand Rapids from Adrian [sic] to be treated.  She called upon the doctor in his room in the Eagle hotel and he administered chloroform himself, with only a chambermaid as an assistant, performing a slight operation.  The woman died under the influence of the drug and it was shown that he had no proper restoratives at hand.  The defense showed on the trial, however, by many medical men, that the doctor could not be blamed.  There were internal conditions of which he could not be expected to know, and which were found only in the post-mortem.  The defense was conducted by William F. McKnight, of Grand Rapids, and Congressman Henry C. Smith, of Adrian.

Source:  Jackson Citizen, April 9, 1900.

Bennett Acquitted

The Detroit Doctor Found Not Guilty of Manslaughter. 

Grand Rapids, Mich., April 6.—Dr. Charles T. Bennett, of Detroit, was acquitted in superior court yesterday.  He made periodical visits to Grand Rapids as a specialist, and last winter Miss Richards died from the effects of chloroform he administered while undergoing treatment in a hotel room which served as an office.  He was arrested, charged with manslaughter.  The defense was conducted by Congressman Henry C. Smith, of Adrian.

Source: Muskegon Chronicle, April 12, 1900.

Dr. Bennett In Trouble

A Patient Died During an Operation from the Effects of Chloroform.

Dr. C.T. Bennett of Detroit, who is well known in this city, is under arrest in Grand Rapids and will probably have to answer to the charge of manslaughter. Miss E. Richards, whose home is at Middleville, died Saturday afternoon at the Eagle hotel, Grand Rapids, from the effects, it is alleged, of chloroform administered by Dr. Bennett.

That afternoon just as the doctor was about to pack his grip and leave for home Miss Richards called. He says he treated her several times before for rectal trouble, once at her home in Middleville and twice at Grand Rapids. She has been working in Plattsville, Wis., since her last visit to him and when she called Saturday she complained of feeling worse than ever. He at once decided an operation would be necessary. He had but one little room, a bedroom, in which he received his patients, and Miss Richards was told to lie upon the bed.

The doctor called in one of the chambermaids to assist him and gave the patient chloroform. He says he used no instruments and finished the operation in a few minutes. He was looking after the chloroform at the same time, and says that he had finished the operation when the patient suddenly ceased breathing. He saw at a glance that she was in danger and rushed out to the hotel office and asked the clerk to summon a doctor and bring him some brandy. Dr. D.S. Sinclair was called but when he arrived a few minutes later the woman was dead, and the coroner was notified.

Dr. Bennett had no explanation to make more than to state that he had graduated at Ann Arbor in 1872 and had practiced medicine ever since as a specialist in chronic diseases. He said that the death of his patient was simply a terrible accident and he was ready for an investigation that might be made and did not fear but that he would be exonerated.

The coroner, Dr. Luton, is quoted as saying: “I think this is the greatest outrage I ever heard of. I never knew in all my experience of a physician would attempt to administer the chloroform at the same time and in not taking the precaution to even loosen the woman’s clothing this doctor was certainly negligent. I believe he ought to be prosecuted.

The prosecuting attorney was called to the case and he at once ordered that Dr. Bennett be placed under arrest and held to await an investigation.

The inquest upon the death of Miss Richards, who died at Grand Rapids Saturday after undergoing an operation by Dr. C.T. Bennett was commenced Monday. The chambermaid who was called in to assist the doctor said that the woman’s collar and tie had been taken off, her waist opened, and that she wore no corsets.

This was contradicted a few minutes later, however, by Dr. Sinclair, the physician who was summoned by the clerk of the hotel. He said that when he arrived, the body of the woman was lying upon the bed, and that she wore a shirtwaist tightly buttoned, a standing collar and a white tie, all in place. Her skirt bands had not been loosened, and not a particle of her clothing had been removed. He himself removed her collar and tie and opened her waist. He also found that she not only had her corsets on, but they were tightly laced. After the inquest was adjourned Dr. Bennett was arraigned on a warrant charging him with murder in the first degree. He asked for an examination and it was set for June 29. An application for bail was refused. Dr. Bennett is very well known in this city. He has made regular visits here for the past fifteen years or more and consequently has a large circle of friends and acquaintances who will watch the outcome of his present trouble.

Source: Marshall Expounder, June 30, 1899.

Widow is Suing Erie for Damages

Her Husband, Rufus Shipman, Was Killed Near Waverly Station—Swinging Door Alleged Negligence Proof.

Waverly, Sept. 13.—The action for damage brought by Mrs. Rufus Shipman against the Erie on account of the death of her husband in front of the Erie depot at this place a year ago came up for trial before Justice Lyon at Owego today.

Mr. Shipman, who was a farmer living on the Ellis Creek road, came to Waverly and as there was a car of peaches being sold at retail just west of Fulton street crossing he started down to look at them.

It is alleged that while waking between the tracks cars in the siding were started and he was struck by a swinging door and knocked under the wheels.

Source:  Elmira Star-Gazette, September 13, 1910.

Issola Rorick Wins, Entitled to Life Insurance

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 28.—The United States Court of Appeals has reversed the decision of the District Court of Southern California in the case of Issola Rorick, against the Railway Officials’ and Employee’s Association, Judge Gilbert dissenting.  Issola Rorick is the beneficiary in the policy of insurance to D.G. Rorick, a conductor.  The company contested the payment of the insurance on the ground that it was not notified within fifteen days.  The company won in the District Court, but Judges Morrow and Ross decided that the company was liable.

Source:  Los Angeles Times, October 29, 1902.


Fatal Word from William Rochelle in Damage Suit Trial.

When Attorney M.O. Burns asked William Rochelle his age, the latter replied “19.” That ended his suit against Carl H. Dilg as proprietor of the American Taxi line for $1000 damages, Judge Walter Harlan dismissing it, Judge Walter Harlan dismissing it.

The jury had just been secured and all was in readiness to proceed with the hearing of the case.  But a minor cannot prosecute a suit on his own initiative and that accounts for the dismissal.

The suit grew out of Rochelle’s attempt to catch a street car on High street west of Fourth street.  He claims he was struck by one of Dilg’s taxis.

Source:  Hamilton Evening Journal, June 23, 1921.

Widow of a Santa Fe Conductor Files Suit for $5,000

Damages for David Rorick’s Death

Was Injured On the San Jacinto Run and Died Suddenly

Many railroad people will remember David Rorick, who was long connected with the Santa Fe, and prior to this death was conductor on the San Jacinto flyer.  He died in this city March 26, 1900, as the supposed result of a bump on the head while getting out of the mail door in the baggage car.

He was a member of the Railroad Officials and Employees Accident association and took out a policy on December 26, 1898, for $5000.  The company has failed to pay up the policy, which was made in favor of Rorick’s wife, and Saturday she filed suit in the superior court of Riverside county.

The complaint in the case is a long one and among other things alleges that decedent paid all demands made upon him by the corporation, yet since his death the widow has been able to collect the policy.

The plaintiff alleges that after the death of her husband she made all the required proof of his death, and within the time stipulated in the papers.  Yet the paper refused to disgorge, and new suit is brought and plaintiff asks for a judgement for the $5000 with interest at 7 percent, and for such other relief as the court may deem proper.

Rorick died quite suddenly and an autopsy revealed the fact that there was a small clot on the brain that may have been caused by the blow.  Rorick was apparently a strong man, but those intimately acquainted with him say that he could not stand much heavy work.

The case will prove an interesting one to railroad people, and to many friends of the widow, Mrs. Issola Rorick, who resides in this city.

Source:  San Bernardino Evening Transcript, November 26, 1900.