Trial of Robert Donnelly, The Accused.


A Case Wherein Killing is No Murder.


In addition to the evidence of Everett, there was brought against the prisoner the damaging proofs that he was seen in the village in the night in question with a gun under his overcoat. And, further, it was proven that after the affair he had acknowledged the shooting, and said that if the gun had not hung fire he would have torn Everett's heart out. [...]

All during the trial the prisoner maintained a cool and easy demeanor, turning his eyes to the different parts of the courtroom, as as if looking for some one and not caring in the least whether or no he found him. While the scene given above was enacted he frequently broke out in a broad smile, as though it were an excellent piece of fooling gotten up especially for his entertainment. [...]

The prisoner having, in reply to the usual question, said that he had nothing to say, Mr. Justice Wilson then proceeded to pass sentence. In doing so, he said it was very true that no charge had heretofore been brought against the prisoner; but still it seemed from the evidence that he was infected with the spirit that seemed to be the bane of the neighborhood of Lucan. Now, he (the learned Judge) believed there were some good points in the Donnelly family. He had no doubt they were generous warm-hearted and would make warm friends. But there was no doubt they were bad enemies. He did not wish to refer to any distressing family matters, but he could not help referring to the fact that the prisoner's father was once under sentence of death. And he could not tell the prisoner that had the shot taken effect and killed Everett, Donnelly would most assuredly have been hanged. He then went on to speak in the kindest manner possible to the prisoner, assuring him that he was about giving him the lowest sentence the law allowed, in the hope that it would prove of benefit to him and lead him to seriously reflect in the enormity of the crime and the serious results it might have entailed. He then sentenced him to two years in the Penitentiary.

Source: Unknown, "Trial of Robert Donnelly, The Accused," London Free Press, April 1, 1878.

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