Posted By:Denise Hansen
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Subject:Mrs. Collins Not Guilty of Murder
Post Date:April 10, 2012 at 10:59:55
Message URL:http://genforum.genealogy.com/ne/messages/15142.html
Forum:Nebraska Genealogy Forum
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From the Oregonian, dated October 15, 1909:

Mrs. Collins Not Guilty Of Murder
Jury, in Hour and Half, Acquits Her on Ground of Insanity
Woman Thanks Talesmen
Judge Gatens Gives Her Into Care of Friend – Defense Dispenses With Argument – Conference With Relatives Is Planned

Mrs. Kate M. Collins was last evening acquitted of the charge of murdering her husband. The jury in Judge Gatens’ department of the Circuit Court, which heard her case, killing Dr. Roy A. Miles Collins being the charge, brought in a verdict of “not guilty on the ground of insanity,” at 5:10 o’clock last evening. The jury was out exactly an hour and a half, the case being submitted to it at 3:40 o’clock. At no time did any of the talesmen vote for conviction. The first ballot stood six for acquittal, and six for not guilty because of insanity. Two jurymen stood out for not guilty until 5 o’clock, when the jury came in for further instructions. The talesmen wanted to know if a verdict of not guilty on the insanity ground were returned what disposition would be made of Mrs. Collins; whether she would be summarily examined and sent to the asylum at Salem, or whether she would be given her liberty. Judge Gatens declined to inform the jurymen upon this point, saying it was for them to do their duty, no matter what disposition would be made of the accused woman.

After the verdict had been returned, Judge Gatens placed Mrs. Collins in the custody of her daughter, Mrs. Gertrude Garber, until further order of the court. Judge Gatens said last night that he would call a conference of those closely related to Mrs. Collins, and then determine what is best to be done.

“It may be her health will improve,” said the judge, “or she may grow worse. Then it will be time enough to send her to Salem. But, if she should be sent to the asylum now she might improve in the next few weeks or months and be considered by the board there fit to be at large, and then be given her liberty. So I think it is wisest to place her in Mrs. Garber’s custody for the present.”

In Care of Friend
Mrs. Collins was taken to the Crystal Springs Sanatorium every night during the trial, but last night she was taken to the home of Mrs. Ellen L. Stratton, a relative of Mrs. Collins’ former husband, Mark Van Winkle.

Although extremely weak, Mrs. Collins was obliged to stand during the reading of the verdict last night. She was supported by Deputy Sheriff Bird and Charles Garber, her son-in-law, and displayed very little emotion. After the verdict had been read she shook hands with all the jurymen, as did Mr. and Mrs. Garber.

“I don’t know why I have so many friends,” she said.

Later, in talking with one of the jurymen, who wished to converse with her personally, to satisfy himself as to her condition, she said: “Some people think I’m a very bad woman. But if you had been through what I have been through, you wouldn’t be standing here.”

At no time during the trial was Mrs. Collins placed on the witness stand in her own behalf, and Judge Gatens instructed the jury that this was not to be held against her.

In instructing the jury on the defense of insanity, Judge Gatens said that if Mrs. Collins had sufficient reason at the time of the shooting, July 24, to know its nature and consequences, and to distinguish between right and wrong, she must be held accountable. The judge also said a verdict of some degree of homicide should be returned if the jury found Mrs. Collins to have been controlled by mere emotional insanity, or temporary frenzy or passion arising from excitement or anger.

Defense Doesn’t Argue
It was 2 o’clock yesterday afternoon when Attorneys Giltner and Sewall finished the testimony for the defense, and Deputy District Attorney Page began his argument for the state. One of the jurors had said to Judge Gatens that he thought he knew as much about the case after the last witness was called as he would after the arguments, and thought they should be dispensed with. So the attorneys for the defense did not reply to Vreeland’s argument, thereby preventing a speech by Chief Deputy Fitzgerald.

Deputy Page argued Mrs. Collins’ words after the shooting, “I suppose you want to know why I did it,” show the working of a reasonable mind. That she drew the revolver on her husband before that time showed, he said, premeditation. He called attention to the testimony that for 20 years Mrs. Collins had been sane.

“It was unfortunate that these people were ever married,” said Vreeland. “Dr. Collins was only two years older than this woman’s daughter. Yet, Mrs. Collins would hardly have been able to get along with anybody as a husband.”

Deputy Vreeland also explained the meaning of Mrs. Collins’ words to Dr. Frisbie immediately after the shooting. “She probably didn’t know whether or not she had killed Dr. Collins,” he said, and in asking Dr. Frisbie to bring her husband back to live she was doing nothing irrational. He was a physician. This would also explain her action in talking to her husband’s dead body. Of course the woman knew she had fired the shot, but she probably did not know whether it had taken effect. She was hysterical afterwards, but any woman would have been.”

Defense Calls Doctor
Judge Morrow, Dr. R.L. Gillespie and Dr. Samuel L. Robinson figured in yesterday morning’s testimony for the defense. Dr. Robinson was prominently connected with the George T. Myers will case, which was on trial in the County Court last year. He was accused by Myers of having caused the death of Mrs. Myers. Dr. Robinson said yesterday that he considers Mrs. Collins a paranoiac.

Dr. W.N. Jones and Dr. William House were called by the state in rebuttal. They were members of the board which examined Mrs. Collins at Crystal Springs Sanitarium soon after the murder. Neither thought her insane, but Dr. Jones testified insane people at times have lucid intervals, and that Mrs. Collins might have had such an interval of rationality when she was examined. Dr. House said it was his impression when he examined her that she would have committed suicide had an opportunity been presented.

Dr. W.T. Williamson, the other member of the examining board, failed to put in an appearance yesterday, but sent instead the message: “Prosecuting Attorney will not let me go.” He is still in Tacoma. Deputy Fitzgerald informed the court that the state had made every effort to have Dr. Williamson here.

Attorney Giltner made a motion to dismiss the case because no evidence that Mrs. Collins actually killed her husband had been introduced by the state. Judge Gatens overruled the motion.

The jurymen were: Ed Loder, A.L. Stone, D.W. Marsh, F.D. Thomas, S.S. Inghram, Charles T. McPherson, E.W. Morrill, H. Hildebrand, S.H. Morris, Alonzo Perkins and T. Melton.