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Mail Tribune 100, March 4, 1921

The following news items were drawn from the archives of the Mail Tribune 100 years ago.

March 4, 1921


Opening arguments by state and defense, in the trial of Lark Evans charged with assault and robbery in the circuit court were begun this morning and the fate of the defendant will be in the hands of the jury by three o’clock this afternoon. With the verdict will end one of the hardest fought and sensational cases in the history of Jackson County. In the first trial the defendant was found guilty and sentenced from one to 15 years in the state prison, but was granted a retrial by the supreme court upon the grounds of new evidence.

District Attorney Rawles Moore in his opening remarks to the jury, attacked the reliability of the memory of the star witnesses of the defense in a calm manner, stressing the certainty of the state’s witnesses from Grants Pass that they had seen the defendant at the depot in Grants Pass on the afternoon of the day of the crime — September 13, 1919.

R. D. Hines, the very first witness for the defense said the district attorney, is “typical.” On the witness stand he testified positively that the test out of the Sandry car was made on Saturday, when every other witness testified it was Sunday, the day following.

The testimony of Gene Thomas, the 16-year-old boy, who testified that he talked to Mr. and Mrs. Evans on the evening of the crime about 5:30 o’clock was “good evidence for the state,” Mr. Moore said, and asked why the defense had not called the parents of the boy, who rode with him according to his testimony.

“You will remember in the testimony of C. P. Kribs, the Medford grocer, that he walked home with Evans on the evening of September 13, 1919, and that he wore an overcoat,” said Moore. “Yet when Evans was on the stand he testified that it was a bright sunny afternoon. It is not probable that it was nearer 9:30 o’clock at night, that he left the store with Evans, which is about the time of the arrival of the Ford car, as testified by Jacksonville citizens. I believe Mr. Kribs is an honest witness, but is it plausible that he would put on an overcoat on a sunny September afternoon.”

... After a short recess Attorney Gus Newbury for the defense began his first argument.

Reviewing the testimony as it was presented, counsel declared that no stronger evidence could be produced than documentary evidence, and “that the records of firms was more reliable and certain than the hazy, atmospheric recollections of Grants Pass transfermen and police officials.” He declared that by figures and facts the defense had proven that on the afternoon of the crime the defendant was employed in Medford, and that the chief witnesses for the state had been mistaken in their dates, and that it was the ninth of September that they saw him in Grants Pass. Attorney Newbury showed the jury the register of the Hotel Holland for September 9, 1919, showing that Evans and his wife had registered upon that date.

— Alissa Corman;acorman@rosebudmedia.com

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