Municipal Police Court

(Before H.C. Courtney, Esq., P.M.)

Thursday, 24th Nov., 1877.

Willy Selcalcher or Ahalt an Indian, came up on remand from the 23rd instant, on a charge of murder. The following information was laid by J.C. Craine: That he had reason to believe that on the 13th of December, 1868, one Willy Selcalcher, an Ahalt Indian did unlawfully, maliciously and feloniously murder one Giles Curtis, at Salt Spring Island by shooting him the said Giles Curtis and cutting his throat.

Henry Sampson being sworn said he was a farmer; in December 1868 he was a constable on Salt Spring Island; knew the prisoner; knew Giles Curtis; recollected hearing that Giles Curtis was dead and from information received went to Estes' house where he was living; found Curtis lying on the floor with a gun shot wound in his right temple and some of the buck shot down his breast; his throat was cut; looked round the house and found the knife produced covered with blood and some of the mans [sic] beard; also produced two shot taken out of the man's breast, and an Indian gun cover found on the floor close by the dead man; there was no one in the house at the time; the body was stiff and cold; knew that Curtis had money for he found it in the trunk which had been broken open and most of the things taken out; believed there was about $70--the money was lying in a little purse which was concealed under some rubbish at the bottom of the trunk; there was an inquest held on the body before John Morely [sic] and a verdict returned of killed by some person or persons unknown.

Howard Estes said he was a farmer; remembered December 13th 1868 recollect a man named Giles Curtis; he was then living with the witness on Salt Spring Island; saw him alive last between 9 and 10 o'clock in the morning of the 13th December 1868. Returned home about dusk on the same day; on nearing the house found his (witness') gun standing outside; the gun was loaded when he left in the morning; the gun had not been fired off; looked into the house but could not see Curtis, turned and went outside to the gate thinking that he might be in some trouble with his gun and called out to him; went back to the house and found him dead with his feet towards the door, and his head towards the window; witness then ran for his gun; and went to a neighbors by a trail; one of the neighbors went on further to tell others what happened; could not get anyone to go back with him that night as it was so stormy, did not go back till the next day. On going over the next morning with a neighbor they and the others came to the conclusion to shut the house up till they could get Mr. Morley, before doing so looked to see if anything had been taken and witness found his trunk, it did not belong to the deceased, broken open but they had missed the purse containing $60 and a pocket book containing a bill on the bank for $1,500; when he left in the morning there were twelve print shirts, pillow slips and a quantity of other articles, two new axes and a sack of flour, 5 large bed blankets were also taken. The prisoner, his wife and child were hired by the witness at Saanich to take his things to Salt Spring Island. Could not find Curtis' gun after the murder it was about the latter end of November when the things were taken to Salt Spring Island--Curtis had a double barrel gun which he bought from a Mr. Starks; both Curtis gun and the witness' were in the house in the morning. On the Sunday before the murder Curtis had gone to church and an Indian man and woman came to the house, the man about the size of the prisoner the woman was short and somewhat like the Indian woman in Court; the Indian asked where his tilicum was, he told them he would be back in a minuite; they said they were just looking about there.

David Overton being sworn said, he was living at Salt Spring at the time of the murder; Mr. Stark had loaned him a gun for three years previous to the arrival of Curtis and Estes; the stock of the gun produced is the stock of the gun witness borrowed from Mr. Stark; delivered the gun at Mr. Starks request to Curtis; this was a short time before the murder.

George Askew testified to the prisoner being arrested last summer on suspicion of having shot Richardson at Chemainus and that while discussing his character one man stated that if the prisoner did not kill Richardson he knew he had killed a man on Salt Spring and said that an Indian woman, the prisoners brothers wife, had told him all about it and what they had done with the things. From the story she gave he thought there might be something in it, and had made enquiries about it from other Indians at Comox, and it was from these enquiries that the prisoner was now charged. The Indian woman stated that the prisoner first proposed killing Curtis and had left the camp one morning and shortly after they heard a gun fired and the prisoner returned in a few minutes with a gun and a quantity of other things, they then broke up camp and went to New Westminister and finally to Comox.

The case was then remanded till 10 a.m. on Friday in order that a proper interpreter may be found.

Source: "Municipal Police Court," British Colonist, November 23, 1877

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