April 10, 1909|
Thomas S. Holloran Meets Death
at the Hands of an Assassin.
Monday evening last at about 8:30 at Varain, or what was formerly called Pleasant Valley, Thomas S. Holloran, a section foreman on the Y. V. railroad was killed in cold blood according to his anti-mortem statement and circumstantial evidence.
Holloran had been a boarder at the house of one S. Shehady, who keeps a store at Varain, but concluded to board himself, and built a cabin and quit Shehady about three weeks ago. Since then the two have not been very friendly.
There was no witness to the shooting but the victim lived several hours after the shooting and to those who came to care for him he told of the tragedy. He said he was in bed and at about 8:30 some one knocked at his door and on asking who was there received the answer the C. C. Plyler wished to see him. He went to the door in his nightclothes and Shehady met him with a shotgun and shot him in the stomach and ran away.
The wounded man made his way to where his section crew was camped, about a hundred yards distant, and the crew at once, notified the neighbors of the tragedy.
Shehady denies this statement and says he knows nothing about the shooting, as he was in bed at the time.
Coroner Johnson and a jury held an inquest on the remains of Holloran and the following verdict was rendered:
"We find the deceased was named Thomas F. Holloran, a native of Decorah, Iowa, aged about 30 or 31 years, that he came to his death on 5th day of April, 1909, in Mariposa county, by a gunshot wound inflicted by the hand of S. Shehady."
Shehady was placed under arrest and brought to Mariposa Wednesday evening by Deputy Sheriff Paine and is now in the county jail.
Shehady will have his preliminary examination on Wednesday next at Varain, before Justice Endean. He will be defended by Hon. G. G. Goucher of Madera.
June 12, 1909
MURDER IN FIRST DEGREE
The Shehady Trail Ends with the Above Result.
The case of Soloman Shehady accused of the foul murder of Thomas F. Holloran at Varain on the night of April 5, 1909, came to an end Wednesday night at about 12 o’clock when the jury brought in the following verdict:
"We, the jury, find the defendant, S. Shehady, guilty of murder of the first degree, and fix the penalty at confinement in the state prison for life."
This case, one of the most important criminal cases that has been tried in Mariposa county for many years was hard fought by both sides from the beginning until the time the case was turned over to the jury. No stone was left unturned on either side and the prosecution, headed by District Attorney Adair and assisted by F. G. Ostrander of Merced, deserves great praise for the able manner in which it fought to have the law upheld and justice done to both the defendant and the State.
Senator Goucher for the defense, ably fought the prosecution inch by inch, objecting frequently to testimony introduced, putting in testimony in rebuttal, etc., trying to break down the evidence of the prosecution or leave a reasonable doubt in the minds of the jurymen, so an acquittal could be obtained, or, as a last resort, to influence at least one juryman so as to get a "hung" jury, but the evidence, although circumstantial, was complete, or at least the jury seemed to think so as one would judge from their verdict.
The killing of Holloran was one of the most foul assassinations that ever blackened the history of Mariposa or any other county; Holloran was a section foreman on the Yosemite Valley railroad and lived in a lonely cabin in Pleasant Valley. On the night of April 5th at about 8:55, after he had retired he was called to the door of his cabin by a knock; he inquired, “Who is there?;” “Si wants to see you,” was the answer. Holloran opened the door and without warning of any kind was shot, the charge from a shotgun striking him in the abdomen. The assassin ran away and Holloran, wounded to his death, made his way to the section gang’s camp, gave the alarm and told his story to the neighbors who had been summoned after his arrival, in which he stated that Shehady was the assassin for he knew him by his voice. Holloran died before midnight.
Soloman Shehady the convicted man, is proprietor of the saloon and store at Varain, situated near the scene of the murder and he and Holloran had had trouble. It was proven by the prosecution that the defendant had made threats that he would “get” or “fix” the section boss.
Shehady was arrested on the morning of the 6th. He denied all knowledge of the killing as did his family, but the District Attorney and his assistant, retained by the father of the murdered man, worked hard and tireless on the case and established a chain of circumstantial evidence that was undoubtedly convincing to the jury.
The case was called on May 19th and lasted until midnight, June 10th, and was a very tiresome one to the Court, attorneys, jury and all concerned.
Judge Trabucco in this case proved his ability as a jurist by his decisions rendered without loss of time and in a fair and impartial manner.
At the end of the taking of testimony Attorney Ostrander for the prosecution, made the opening plea to the jury in a very forceful argument that consumed about half a day. He was followed by Senator Goucher for the defense, in a two and a half day argument in which he went over the evidence in the case and made a strong plea to the jury for a verdict of acquittal.
District Attorney Adair for the people closed their case in an answer to the counsel for defendant, in a talk that his constituents have no reason to feel ashamed of. His argument was free from slurs, kind and gentle towards the defendant, honest and fair, but convincing and Mr. Adair made many friends by the able manner in which he handled the prosecution.
Those who sat upon the jury were: Tony Fournier, W. W. Hilliard, G. E. Davis, L. P. Laird, C. H. Murphy, Joe Bauer, Augustine Hughes, Geo. Craft, Sam J. Lord, J. C. Grosjean, Lorenzo Valberde and J. H. Blackwell. C. L. Booth acted as an alternate juror but was excused before the case went to the jury.
On the verdict being read to the Court, The Judge immediately set June 26th as the day for the prisoner to receive sentence. Mr. Goucher thereupon gave notice that at that time he would make application for a new trail. The verdict of the jury meets with the approval of the people.