Docloer D "Doc" Mahon [15164] Kentucky Court Appeal


(Filed Nov. 9, 1889—Not to be reported.)

1. Criminal law-Competent to prove acts done in another State--Under an
indictment for a crime committed in this State it is competent to prove
acts done in another State for the purpose of showing the criminal intent.

2. Jurisdiction where defendant was in another State when crime was
committed--Where a crime is committed in this State one who puts into operation
the force or power that caused the wrong is punishable in this State. al-
though at the time of the commission of the offense he was in another

3. Aiders and abettors--One who aids and abets in the commission of a
murder is as guilty as he who actually does the killing.

4. Evidence-Declaration of co-conspirators--Under a joint indictment
against several defendants for murder, charging a conspiracy, their decla-
rations while in charge of the persons killed. after the latter had been taken
from the officers of the law, were competent against each defendant in so
far as such declarations referred to the purpose the defendants had com-
bined to accomplish.

W. M. Connolly. A. J. Auxier, R. M. Ferrell and P. A. & J.S.
Cline for appellants.

S. G. Klnnesr and P. W. Hardin for appellee.
Appeal from Pike Circuit Court.
Opinion of the court by Judge Pryor.

The appellants, Valentine Hatfield. and Doc. Mayhorn and Plyant Mayhorn, were indicted, tried and convicted in the Pike Circuit Court for the murder of one Tolbert McCoy. The verdict and judgment fixed their punishment at confinement in the State prison during life, from which they have appealed to this court.

The two Mayhorns were tried together, and a separate trial had for the accused, Valentine Hatfield,

As the facts of both records apply to the one charge of murder, and the legal questions in many respects are identical, we will consider the case as If there had been no separate trial.

At the August election, in the year 1882, a personal difficulty originated between three of the McCoy boys and one Ellison Hatfield, the brother of the appellant, Valentine Hatfield, in which Hatfield was stabbed or cut with a knife, and died in a short time from the effects of the wound. What caused this trouble between these parties is not disclosed by the record, nor was it proper for the court below, in the trial of these appellants, to have made such an inquiry. After the fight had terminated between the McCoys and Hatfield, the McCoys were at once arrested by one who is termed "a Special constable”, and named Floyd Hatfield, and placed in the custody of Tolbert Hatfield and Joseph Hatfield, two justices of the peace of Pike county. These officers of the law in connection with the con-
stable, all of them related to the man killed, thought it proper to carry the prisoners, the three McCoy boys, to the county seat to be tried. and had the precaution to have with them a guard to protect their prisoners against any attack that might be made upon them by the Hatfields, who had remained behind. They had not proceeded many miles in the direction of Pikeville before they were overtaken by Valentine Hatfield, one of the accused, Elias Hatfield
and others, who, according to their own statement, wanted the law enforced, but. as a matter of public convenience, thought the officers of the law should try them In the magisterial district where the fight took place. The accused, Valentine Hatfield, was also an officer of the law (a justice of the peace), but lived in the State of West Virginia, a short distance from the Kentucky border. The officers of the law, having these boys in charge, seem to have had but little
hesitation in surrendering their jurisdiction to the Virginia justice of the peace, who, in conjunction with a posse of armed men, returned with their unfortunate young prisoners, that they might have their trial, as the defense new contends, in the civil district bordering on and near the Virginia line. These parties had not gone far on their return before they were joined near the mouth of a branch, by a man called Ans Hatfield and his squad of men, and among them the two Mayhorns (appellants). who are the son-in-laws of the other appellant, Valentine Hatfield. This squad of men were armed with guns when they met these
Kentucky justices, who had been divested of their jurisdiction by the Virginia justice, and, after proceeding to the residence of Jerry Hatfield, the party obtained a rope and tied the three boys together, and in this condition carried them to the Rev. Anderson Hatfield. where the party was entertained at dinner. While at the home of the Rev. Hatfield, Ans. Hatfield stepped forth and directed "all of Hatfield’s friends to form a line," and, from the testimony, although there is some conflict in the statements, these appellants all went into line, and, if doubt exists in this particular, that they were all present is a conceded fact.

The prisoners were then taken across the river, or the line bounding the two States. and confined in a school-house on the Virginia side. There they were guarded by armed men, the defendants being among the number, who, now on the stand as witnesses, Protest against any criminal intent on their part, and avowing their purpose to protect these boys from injury by others. They kept them confined in this room until they heard of the death of Ellison
Hatfield, who, it was said, had been stabbed by the youngest of the McCoy boys, and then the clamor for human blood began. Tolbert McCoy was twenty-one years old, Pharmer, nineteen, and Randall, fifteen.

In the meantime they permitted the mother of the boys to visit them, and this old lady seeing that human law was powerless to save her boys, on beaded knees implored the interposition of Divine Providence for the protection of her offspring from the brutal resolves of these merciless men; and the appellant, Valentine
Hatfield, in mocking of her fervent appeals, required her, using the language of the witness, "to make less noise and leave."

After learning of the death of Hatfield they took these boys from the school-house to the Kentucky side of the river, the two appel lants, the Mayhorns, being along with the armed force, and when reaching the spot where they were to carry into execution their murderous intent, they surrounded their victims for the purpose. as they proclaimed, of having "a shooting match" and, cocking their guns, blew the top of the smaller boy’s head off, shot Tolbert some fifteen times and Pharmer eleven times, and then made the night hideous by hooting, as the owl, in contempt, doubtless, of the law, and those who administer it. The appellant, Valentine Hatfield, was not actually present when this wholesale murder was commit ted, but with his gun on the opposite side of the river, some two or three hundred yards distant, ready and near enough to give aid and assistance should an attempt be made to rescue the prisoners, and to administer an oath to each one of his forces, on their return from the murder of this little boy, that they would never reveal the action of any one connected with the brutal act. The oath was administered. and, doubtless, the greater portion of the band proved- faithful to their chosen leader.

The indictment in this case charges a conspiracy on the part of these appellants and many others (who are indicted with them) to commit this crime, and those not guilty of the actual shooting as being present, aiding and abetting in the commission of the offense.

It is argued that what transpired, with reference to this offense, or the custody of these boys on the Virginia side of the line, is incompetent, because it constituted an offense against the laws of that State and not that of Kentucky; and that the accused, Valentine Hatfield. being on the Virginia side of the boundary line, could not, in contemplation of law, have aided and abetted a murder in Kentucky so as to bring him within the jurisdiction of the Kentucky courts. Again, that he was not near enough to the parties on the 9th of August, when the wrong was perpetrated, to have aided and abetted in its commission, an , therefore, cannot be convicted as a principal; and lastly, there is not only a want of evidence connecting him with the actual offense, but a want of evidence showing any criminal intent.

It is not pretended that the courts of our State can enforce its laws beyond the State boundary, but it is well settled that when one puts into operation the force or power that causes the injury, he is responsible where the wrong is perpetrated, although he may not be actually present. If either of the appellants had stood on the Virginia side and shot the deceased on the Kentucky side, the offense would have been against the laws of Kentucky. 1 Bishop’s Crim. Law, 111. Such legal questions, however, do not arise in this case. The appellants, or those living in the State of Virginia, came to this State and took from its jurisdiction the deceased, who was charged with violating the law of the State, and under the pretense of having them tried in a district convenient to the witnesses summoned, or who would likely be summoned for prosecution took them from the custody of the officers of the law and transported them to the Virginia side of the line where they were held as prisoners until the result of the stabbing of Ellison Hatfield could be ascertained, and the latter dying from his wounds, the boys were brought back to Kentucky and murdered on the night of the 9th of August, l882, by a band of men under the leadership of Valentine Hatfleld, who, from the inception of this reckless violation of law to its conclusion. could, at any time, have stayed the hand of the murderers and saved the lives of these young men. From the time the officers of the law in Kentucky made to him, as the record shows, a willing surrender of their bodies, he, as the presiding judge of this
murderous clan, follows them to the bunk of Loy river, on the night of the 9th, and there, with gun in hand, awaits their coming from the scene of murder, that he may, in the darkness of night, administer to each and all of them an oath never to reveal the names of those guilty of this heinous crime.

He was as much u principal in the murder as the man who fired the gun that took the life of the fourteen year old boy. These appellants had combined to do an unlawful act in conjunction with others. and that was to punish the deceased for his assault on Ellison Hatfield. and to take his life if Hatfield died from the wounds received. Their declarations while in charge of these prisoners, after they had been taken from the law officers, was competent against each one
when spoken in reference to the purpose they had combined to accomplish. The instructions in this case embraced the whole law. The one for murder is in the usual form, and so in regard to those present aiding and abetting in the act done. The case, so far as the appellants, the Mayhorns, are concerned, depends solely upon the testimony establishing their guilt. We forbear to discuss it further, and have recited the facts as detailed by the witnesses for the State, sustained in many instances by the testimony for the defense, showing that they were present during: the entire period that these young men were in the custody of this lawless gang. While each one of the accused has testified as to his innocence of any purpose even to commit crime, and have been to some extent corroborated by others who were their friends and associates, it is sufficient to any that. the jury trying each case, after hearing all the testimony, had no reasonable doubt as to their guilt, and after in careful reading of the record it would be difficult, in our opinion, for any rational mind to reach a different conclusion.

The history of crime. whether committed in this State or out of it. Will present no state of facts more clearly establishing guilt than is found in this record, applied to either or all the parties convicted, and to find a more cruel and inhuman murder we must leave our civilization and resort to the annals of savage life. It is needless, however, to comment on the enormity of the crime or the helpless condition of the young victims of this murderous band. The law has been enforced in these cases and, in its administration. the appellants can truly say the jury, in inflicting the punishment by imprisonment for 1ife "has tempered justice with mercy."

The judgment of conviction, as to each one of the appellants, is affirmed.

Your "back" function should return you to your previous location.


The Webmaster's Pad

Except as noted, foreground and background images are original photos from Minnesota by the webmaster.

Hosted by Delta Systems