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Ex Parte Wright and Leslie

Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas
Apr 20, 1898
45 S.W. 593 (Tex. Crim. App. 1898)


No. 1461.

Decided April 20, 1898.

Murder — Habeas Corpus for Bail — Proof Evident.

See case for facts upon which the court, holds that the court below did not err in refusing bail to applicants charged with murder, the proof being evident of a murder upon express malice.

APPEAL from Erath County. Tried below, in chambers, before Hon. J.S. STRAUGHAN.

Appeal from a judgment on a habeas corpus hearing refusing bail to applicants and remanding them to custody, they having been charged with the murder of one John E. Adams, in Erath County, on the 18th of December, 1897.

The following condensed but comprehensive statement of the leading facts adduced on the habeas corpus hearing is taken from the brief of respondent.

John A. Adams was constable of precinct No. 2, Erath County. He was vigorous in his efforts to enforce the local option law, which was in force in Dublin at the time of the killing, December 18, 1897, and had been for some years prior thereto. Tom Wright, one of the defendants, and Tom Blassingame were running "hop-in-weise" joints in Dublin at the time of the killing, and for some time prior thereto. About twelve months before the killing, Wright went to Blassingame and talked to him about getting Adams out of the way, and told him he would give $100, and that John McCarty and Dick McCain would each give $100 to have Adams killed. About a month before the killing Wright went to Dave Peevyhouse and told him that Adams ought to be killed, and that he (Wright) would do it, and that there could be so much money put to any one who would kill Adams. Peevyhouse was a witness for the defendants. Wright went to Gus Blassingame's house a few days before the killing, and told Gus Blassingame that he would give a horse, bridle, saddle, a Winchester gun, and $50 in money, if he (Blassingame) would kill Adams. As he went into the house to make this talk to Gus Blassingame he asked Tom Blassingame if Gus had to stay in the country. On Saturday night of the election, one week before the killing, defendant Wright waylaid Adams; and also on a former occasion burnt Adams in effigy. Gus Blassingame made an affidavit before the justice of the peace that Tom Wright tried to hire him to kill Adams. Adams got this affidavit and went to Wright in Brolton's tenpin alley, and cursed Wright and threatened him; but told him he would not hurt him unarmed, but for Wright to fix himself. After the meeting at the alley, Wright went home and began trying to get a shotgun. Harrison also advised Wright to keep quiet, and go to Stephenville and have Adams put under a peace bond. He agreed to do so, but said he would go and see McCain. After he came back Harrison asked him if McCain did not give him the same kind of advice, and he said no, and that, "By God, he was not going to have him put under a peace bond." He then tried to get a gun from Harrison and others, and asked if Bob Sneed did not have a gun. Sneed was the man to whom Leslie afterwards went and got the gun the killing was done with. Wright finally got the gun. He then went direct to town. He hid in the stairway, and when Adams came along he went out, slipped up behind him, and shot him in the back of the head. He waved the gun over the dead body and said, "There goes John Adams."

The proof shows that Leslie knew of the trouble between. Wright and Adams. Lafferty had two talks with Leslie about it, and Latham, Sleight, and others show that Leslie knew all about it. Latham and Sleight swear Leslie said to them on the morning before the killing, in the evening, that he (Leslie) had advised Wright to kill Adams, and that, "God damn him, he wanted him killed." Soon after this he went to Williams, and tried to borrow his gun "to go duck hunting." Williams refused to lend him the gun. He then went to Sneed and wanted his gun "to shoot quail." He got it. He then took the gun and went to Wright's house, and went out back of the house and tried it two shots. He also got cartridges. As soon as he fired the shots he came on with Wright to town. He walked along with Wright so as to conceal the gun for him. He heard Wright say he was going to walk to Adams and shoot him down. He went up in McCain's office after this with Wright, and made no effort to have the trouble stopped. He came down and watched for Adams, and when he saw him he said, "Here he is now; come on, Tom." Wright then came out and killed Adams, and Leslie seemed much pleased at the killing. He then went on after the arrest and took the gun, and held whispered conversations with Wright. He then went to the oil mill, and told Seders that it was done with the gun he got to go hunting, and that he had given it to Wright to take home only a few minutes before the killing. He offered no evidence that he had ever gone to hunt either ducks or quail. But he told Wray the size of the shot, which were large shot — too large for birds. He went to Wright's house that night, and begun to manufacture a defense for him, and stated that Adams went to draw his pistol, and that Wright then shot him. The next morning he swore that the gun was Wright's gun, and denied his statement to Latham and Sleight, and made other false statements.

No briefs for relators found with the record.

Martin George, W.W. Walling, and Mann Trice, Assistant Attorney-General, for respondent.

Wright and. Leslie were charged with the murder of John Adams. The charge was investigated by W.E. Lowe, justice of the peace of precinct No. 2 of Erath County. The defendants were remanded to jail without bail. They afterwards applied to Judge Straughan for a writ of habeas corpus, and, upon a full hearing of the testimony, were again remanded without bail. From this order and judgment thereon the relators appeal to this court. We have very carefully read the statement of facts; and, while it is not proper for us to comment upon the same, we think that, when all the facts are considered, a case of murder in the first degree has been made beyond any controversy, thus complying with the Constitution (article 1, section 11), which requires that the proof shall be evident of a capital crime, or bail will be granted. This provision of the Constitution has been completely filled by the proof in this case. The judgment is affirmed.


Summaries of

Ex Parte Wright and Leslie

Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas
Apr 20, 1898
45 S.W. 593 (Tex. Crim. App. 1898)
Case details for

Ex Parte Wright and Leslie

Case Details


Court:Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas

Date published: Apr 20, 1898


45 S.W. 593 (Tex. Crim. App. 1898)
45 S.W. 593

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