Adkins Bankruptcy Case

Charleston Gazette
December 11, 1907

Nine Guilty, One Innocent, Verdict In Adkins Case

Floyd Only One of Defendants Allowed to Go Free

Usual Motion Is Made

Judge Keller Will Decide This Morning Forcible Addresses Made

"We, the jury, find Albert Davis, Fred Adkins, Charlie Brumfield, John A. Adkins, Albert Adkins, William Brumfield, John Fleming, Bob Fleming and William Fleming guilty, as charged in the indictment, and we also find Floyd Adkins, not guilty."

These words were uttered at 4:40 o'clock yesterday afternoon, after the twelve men who have been listening to the evidence in this sensational case for a week had fled into the court room and delivered their verdict to the clerk. The jury was out nearly two hours, and from what could be learned, there was very little doubt of the guilt of the first five defendants, from the time they entered the jury room to consider the verdict. The defendants' attorneys made the usual motions, after the ten defendants were turned over to the marshals, who in turn left them for the night in charge of Sheriff Melton at the county jail. Judge Keller will hear the motions this morning, and should be decide adversely, he will then pass sentence on the ones found guilty.

Addresses of Attorneys

Both the addresses of Messrs. Marcum and Blackwood were able and uner different circumstances would have been convincing for their clients, but the evidence offered by the government was so strong that very few in the court room expected any other verdict.

Mr. Blackwood in his address to the jury pointed Fred Adkins out as a good man, but no possessed with that intelligence that people who were raised in refinement around them could boast of. He made a terrific charge against the evidence of George Ward and said he was the original party to the devilment.

Hon. Lace Marcum closed for the defense. He took each witnesses testimony piece by piece and analyzed it thoroughly. Always an eloquent speaker, and a strong man before a jury, Mr. Marcum fully sustained his well earned reputation in this case. He bitterly denounced Ward, Brumfield and several of the governments witnesses, and asked that they, the jury, weigh well the evidence, and gave his clients the full benefit of every reasonable doubt.

It was nearly twelve when Mr. Marcum had finished his address, and in order that the jury could take the case early, he concluded to allow the district attorney to close before adjourning court. For nearly an hour and a half this fearless prosecutor held the interest in the crowded court room with his matchless presentation of the government's case. Starting at the very beginning of the trail Mr. Northcott went over the case. Starting at the very beginning of the trail Mr. Northcott went over the case. He scattered to the winds the evidence of the defendants, and literally tore asunder every bit of testimony that was offered by the defense. Never before in the history of the federal court has such a case been offered to the deliberations of a jury. Mr. Northcott said he thought, and he was certain every one else thought that the government had fully made out its case, and he asked for the conviction of each of the defendants, with the exception of Floyd Adkins.

Judge's Instructions.

At the afternoon session of the court Judge Keller gave his instructions to the jury. In his usual careful manner, the judge instructed the jury what constituted conspiracy, and quoter from section 5440 of the revised statutes, which provides that upon conviction of this offense, all parties to the transaction could be fined a maximum fine of $10,000 and two years in the penitentiary or both, at the discretion of the court. According to section 5399 of the revised code, Judge Keller instructed the jury that any one who obstructs or impedes the ends of justice was also guilty of conspiracy. He then reviewed the testimony, after first reading the indictments, which charged the defendants with carrying away goods, and said if the jury believed these facts were proven beyond any reasonable doubt, then they must find them guilty. He explained that it took two persons to form a conspiracy and clearly explained the definition of the word. Then as to the elements of proof, he said, that first, that a conspiracy existed; second, that the overt act was committed; third, that one of the defendants was a conspirator. He then instructed the jury that if from the evidence the jury find that a conspiracy was formed, no matter how long before the robbery they had sufficient proof under section 5440 to find them guilty. He then dwelt on the guilty intent and fully explained the point. Again he said that it was not necessary for all the acts charged to be proven to make a charge of conspiracy.

At 2:55 the case was given to the jury, and at 4:40 a verdict of guilty as to the ten defendants was returned.

Crime and Punishment

West Virginia Archives and History