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The Ithaca Journal

Pre Trial

September 13, 1870


Court Proceedings – The Trial of Mike Furguson


            When the court met yesterday morning, the trial of Michael Furguson for the murder of John Lunger and his wife on the 20th of March last, being the order of the court  counsel for the prisoner, Messrs, Lyon & Donnelly, moved the postponement of the trial to the next term.

            The motion was supported by the counsel by the affidavits of Mr. S. B. Beers, setting forth that he had visited the mother of the prisoner, and had found her unable to attend on account of sickness. The affidavit also set forth that the mother of the prisoner said that he had at times manifested symptoms of insanity; that he had fits, and that he had been regarded as a man of less than medium mind. In view of these facts—that there were no friends of the prisoner available as witnesses, by whom to establish the previous life and character of the prisoner—it was held that the absence of so important witnesses should warrant the court in postponing the trial.

            District Attorney Merritt King stated to the court that the same reasons for postponing the trial had been presented at the May term, and that there was no valid reason for again putting off the case. He said he was assured by those who had gone at his instance to see her, that the mother of the prisoner told them that she had no desire to be present at the trial, and that she would not come unless she were obliged to do so: that the prisoner had not  resided with her regularly since he was five years old; that she could not do him any good by being present, and that she did not wish to do him any harm by her presence.

            The court, after hearing the arguments of the counsel and the District Attorney said he could not entertain the motion.

            The Court then ordered the Sheriff to summon twenty=four additional jurors which was done.

            Newell Gibbs of Lansing, was called and set aside, having a previous opinion as to the guilt of the prisoner.

            Edwin S. Ford of Enfield was next called and set aside. Peremptorily by Mr. Lyon.

            Absalom Blue, of Ulysses was next called and set aside.

            Morgan Buell, of Caroline, was next called. Said he hadn’t read anything about the homicide. He was decided competent, but was challenged peremptorily.

            John L. Writon was called by excused on account of legal exemption.

            Pierson B. Ogden was called and set aside.

            Joshua Brown of Lansing, was next called and being considered competent by the court was accepted by Mr. Lyon an sworn.

            Geo Collins called, not a citizen and was set aside.

            Enoch Van Kirk of Enfield, was next called, examined and having an opinion was set aside.

            The Court adjourned for dinner before examining any more jurors.

            P.S. -11 jurors drawn, of which Geo A. Johnson the first colored juror in the co. is one.


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