1896 - April 29 - CENTRAL DISTRICT COURT. UTLEY, J. - TUESDAY, APRIL 28.
The greater portion of Tuesday's session was taken up with the continued case of Charles T. Aldrich, Jr., of Sutton, charged with the shooting of Albert Baker, Feb. 22.
Charles M. Thayer, Esq., appeared for the prosecution and F. L. Brown, Esq. of Brown & Hopkins, for the defendant.
Mr. Thayer stated that the government proposed to show that Mrs. Baker, mother of the complainant, went to the mill on the day of the shooting, and was attacked by the defendant. The complainant went to the assistance of his mother and was attacked by the defendant. As he was leaving, the complainant was shot by the defendant.
There were a dozen or more witnesses on each side, and, at the request of counsel, they were excluded from the court room during the hearing.
The complainant, his brother, and mother, testified that on Feb. 22, Mrs. Aldrich as in the office of the Sutton Woolen Company, and ALdrich, who had some words with Willie Baker, concerning pay which young Baker claimed was due him, pushed her out of the office, and as she was on the lower step leading from the office, she was violently pushed by the defendant and fell on her back. When Albert Baker saw this, he went up to Aldrich and said that it was his mother who was thrown down, and then he grabbed Aldrich and the men engaged in a tussle. During all this time Aldrich had a revolver in his hand, and Willie Baker, seeing his brother engaged with Aldrich and fearing that he would be shot, rushed to his assistance. One of the workmen employed in the mill came up and held Aldrich while the Bakers ran away. They ran through the gate and along by the fence, when Aldrich began discharging his revolver. One of the shots took effect in the side of Albert Baker. It first grazed his hand.
Dr. H. W. Cronin of Millbury testified that Baker was brought to his office Feb. 22. He found a bullet hole on the left side, four inches from the spinal column. He located the bullet on the right side, two inches from the spinal column. He said that Baker was sick from the day of the shooting until March 17. He did not make any examination of the clothing which was worn by Baker at the time of the shooting and could not tell whether it was burned or not.
Willie Baker, in addition to his testimony related above, said that he went to the mill on the day in question to obtain some pay which, he claimed, was due him, but Aldrich refused to give it to him as he said the witness had spoiled cloth enough to warrant him in keeping the money which was due him as wages. He said that he did not have a knife in his hand during the scuffle with Aldrich.
Mrs. Baker said that she was in the office during the tussle, and when her son was down and Aldrich was pounding him she asked Mrs. Aldrich who was in the office to ask her husband to desist, but she only smiled.
For the defense, Aldrich, Mrs. Aldrich and three physicians testified before adjournment.
Dr. Davis testified to attending Mr. Aldrich and finding a cut on the side of the nose which required several stitches. It apparently penetrated to the nasal bone. There was also a bunch upon the forehead and he thought there were several scratches on the face as well. The cut on the side of the nose was apparently made by some sharp instrument.
Dr. Church testified that he was called into Dr. Cronin's office while Baker was there. He saw the blue flannel shirt at the time. Afterwards he saw a pair of overalls which Baker was said to have worn at the time. Where the bullet hole was found they appeared to be scorched.
Charles T. Aldrich, Jr., testified that Willie Baker had threatened him with violence when they had a dispute over the matter of pay. He owed him only $4. When Willie Baker called at noon, he objected to his going into the mill.
Hard words ensued and he finally took Mrs. Baker by the shoulder to put her out. At the feet of the stairs he was attacked by the mother and both sons and badly beaten. Mrs. Baker hit him with a dinner pail. Albert struck him in the face and kicked him, and Willie Baker stabbed him the nose with a jack-knife. He thought his wife was in danger and drew his revolver. In the struggle it was accidentally discharged twice. One shot hit Albert Baker in the hip.
Mrs. Aldrich, the wife of the defendant, testified at length the quarrel in the counting room, and said that when her husband was putting Mrs. Baker out, she went quietly until she reached the foot of the steps, when she turned at struck at Mr. Aldrich. At the same moment she saw Willie Baker coming toward them with something that looked like an open knife in his hand. With this he struck at her husband.
Mary Connors and other employees of the mill corroborated Mr. Aldrich's account of the altercation, and testified that the shooting was done inside the mill premises.
Charles W. Nunan, a Spy reporter, testified to seeing the condition of Baker's overalls after the shooting, and that they were burned as if the shot had been fired at very close range. The overalls were produced in court by State Detective Murray, who has been at work upon the case.
Officer C. H. Smith of Millbury testified that he had made experiments with pistol shots upon clothing at different distances, going to prove the defendant's contention that the shot must have been fired at close range inside the mill gate.
Judge Utley, in summing up, said that the evidence produced showed that the shooting took place on the defendant's premises after he had ordered the plaintiff away. To his mind, the shooting was either accidental or justifiable. He thereupon discharged the prisoner.
Worcester Daily Spy
April 29, 1896
Worcester Daily Spy, Worcester, Massachusetts 23 Feb 1896
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Worcester Daily Spy, Worcester, Massachusetts 29 April 1896
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