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Mail Tribune 100, April 9, 1921

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

April 9, 1921

JOHNSON IS SENTENCED TO TEN YEARS

Former Cashier Jacksonville Bank Pleads Guilty Before Circuit Judge Calkins and is Promptly Sentenced — No Statement Made — Plea Not Expected Today.

The unexpected happened in circuit court at Jacksonville this forenoon when Wm. H. Johnson, the former president and cashier of the Bank of Jacksonville, entered court with his lawyer, Herbert K. Hanna, and changed his plea of not guilty to guilty, on four of the 30 indictments against him for wrecking the bank, and on one of them was given an indeterminate sentence of 10 years in the penitentiary by Judge Calkins. The other three indictments to which he pleaded guilty are held in abeyance. County Prosecutor Rawles Moore was in court to represent the state’s interests.

Johnson was cool and collected, although looking somewhat worn. He made no remarks beyond personally changing his plea and stating that he was ready for sentence. The court made no comments in pronouncing sentence.

“I knew that it was coming to me and was prepared for it,” remarked Johnson to friends after he had received his sentence and Judge Calkins had left the court room. It is not known just when the former banker will be taken to the penitentiary, but it is anticipated that it will be some time early next week.

While it was generally known or expected that Johnson would eventually plead guilty no intimation had been given that he would do this today, not even to County Prosecutor Moore. It was evidently the intention of Johnson to avoid a large crowd being present for this interesting event.

The indictment on which he was sentenced was that which charged that he made a false report of the bank’s condition to the state banking superintendent.

The other indictments to which he pleaded guilty were as follows: For certifying a check for a customer, when there was no funds in the bank; for publishing false reports of the bank’s condition; and for receiving deposits, knowing the bank insolvent.

The remainder of the 30 indictments were ramifications of these four charges.

— Alissa Corman; acorman@rosebudmedia.com