An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Ninety-One

Above, headlines from San Antonio Express, January 1918

an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Ninety

Former Governor Thomas Mitchell Campbell, January 1918

“Two days, Mister Campbell,” says Miss Burgemeister, snuffling back her tears in the offices of Chambers & Watson. “Two sleepless nights preceding these two mornings. Struggling to force myself into clothes and out the door. Sitting. Waiting. And then nothing. I’m not sure I can make it through another night.”

“You can, and you will. It’s the only way for you to get out from under this cloud.”

“Judge Anderson,” says Dave Watson, “is losing patience with the prosecutor’s inability to produce his witness as well. That part works in our favor. He will not tolerate having a jury pool of 200 men sitting there idly twiddling their thumbs for one more day.”

“Can you think of any reason your former attorney would fail to appear in court?”

“No,” says Miss Burgemeister. “None at all.”

“Perhaps,” says Charlie Chambers, “the summons did not reach Missus Ramer before she traveled to Denison on business.”

“But why is her appearance so important to the defense? Miss Burgemeister, can you think of anything, even a seemingly insignificant detail, of your interactions with Missus Ramer that would make the state so determined to get her on the stand?”

“No. Absolutely nothing. I’m positive she will corroborate everything I’ve told you about the evening before… the evening before the….”

“Tell us again, Miss Burgemeister,” says Dave, “about the most recent conversation you had with Missus Ramer. When was it?”

“It was at the end of July. I telephoned her to see if she could help me negotiate a return for trial.”

“And her response?” asks Charlie.

“She was shocked that I wanted to come back to San Antonio. She said she could not in good conscience represent me because she didn’t yet possess the experience to stand up against the District Attorney. I asked her whom I should call.”

“And?”

“At first she said there probably was no attorney in San Antonio who was not somehow connected closely with either Otto Koehler or the San Antonio Brewing Association. But then, she said possibly Mister Watson and Mister Chambers might represent a different generation, one not as closely connected to the brewery. She cautioned me I might find no one willing to take my case.”

“And you haven’t spoken or communicated with Missus Ramer in any form since then?”

“No. Not once.”

“And yet, surprisingly, the District Attorney demonstrates no concern for the whereabouts of Missus Daschel. Her testimony would fortify your defense. Are you absolutely sure you have no clue as to her whereabouts?”

“Miss Burgemeister,” says Dave, “we realize you need your rest. Our questions seem repetitive to you. But Mister Campbell missed several of our earlier conversations. Please repeat when you last spoke with your friend.”

“It was then, during that same time period. Shortly before I telephoned Missus Ramer. I went for dinner at the Daschels’ apartment in Brooklyn. I told them I was determined to clear my name. They both looked horrified. Emmy said she feared for me if I did so. Heinrich was furious. He said he refused to have Emmy dragged back into my mess again. He threw his napkin on the table and stormed out of the room.”

“What did Missus Daschel say then?”

“She said she was sorry, but she thought I should leave. Leave and never bring up the subject again. If I valued our friendship, I would abandon the entire idea.”

“When did you see them next?”

Miss Burgemeister dabs her handkerchief under her right eye. “Never. Not since that evening. I tried telephoning. Finally I dropped by unannounced, about three weeks later. The Daschels’ name was no longer on the mailbox. A neighbor recognized me as a frequent guest and let me in the building. I climbed the stairs and found their apartment door ajar. It was empty. Completely empty. I telephoned Heinrich’s school, and the secretary said he no longer taught there. They vanished.”

“Do you have any idea where they might have gone?”

“Perhaps back to St. Louis.”

“Tom,” offers Charlie, “we hired a detective to try to locate them in St. Louis, but he found nothing.”

“Don’t worry, Miss Burgemeister,” says Dave, “with so many neighbors crowding around after the incident, there are no shortage of witnesses to back up your story.”

“I apologize, Miss Burgemeister. I won’t pester you with any more questions. I know you’re drained of all energy. Go home and rest. Tomorrow should be a full day.” Thomas stands and extends his hand to help his shaken client to her feet.

“Thank you, gentlemen, for your willingness to assume the risk of taking on my defense. For your faith in my word.”

~     ~     ~

“Gentlemen. I believe we’re heading into jury selection tomorrow morning. If Missus Ramer is still missing, Judge Anderson will not postpone commencement another day.”

“Impaneling twelve men with no connections to San Antonio Brewing Association,” says Charlie, “might take us through the full venire.”

“We must proceed carefully. If we strike many potential jurors, it will appear we’re frightened that our case is not a persuasive one. Four questions are all we will ask. Have you ever worked for the San Antonio Brewing Association? Have any of your relatives ever worked for the brewery? Do you own any stock in the San Antonio Brewing Association?”

“And did you know Otto Koehler?” adds Dave.

“What about their prior knowledge about the case?” asks Charlie.

“We can forget that. The only men in Bexar County who haven’t heard about this shooting are men who moved here during the past two years. Men who didn’t even live in this country. The death of Otto Koehler hit front pages everywhere.”

“Our problem is men,” says Dave. “Have you looked around at the spectators in the courtroom? Almost all women. The Bailiff told me they begin lining up outside the courthouse door at six o’clock in the morning in hopes of securing a seat.”

“And they appear empathetic,” nods Charlie. “They watch every little movement of Miss Burgemeister.”

“As much as it would help our case, suffrage will not happen overnight. The males seated in that box tomorrow will determine Miss Burgemeister’s fate.”

~     ~    ~

“So the prosecutor hands this over to us.”

“Save for the much-anticipated appearance,” says Charlie, “of the elusive Missus Ramer.”

“Not what I expected. That was lightning fast,” says Dave, taking a bite of one of the sandwiches his secretary secured for the noon recess.

“And the widow never once entered the courtroom.”

“I was surprised,” says Wade, “that the State failed to include Emma Koehler on their witness list.”

“The District Attorney wouldn’t want us to have an opportunity to cross-examine her. And, if we did, the jury would perceive us as bullying the unfortunate widow.”

“How did Missus Koehler tolerate her husband’s behavior?” asks Charlie. “She must have had some inkling as to his whereabouts.”

“In all my years of practice, I’ve never heard of a trial where a widow didn’t show up to demand vengeance. To indicate to the jury that the person who killed her husband must be punished. I understand her not wanting to face Miss Burgemeister on the stand, but to not be there to support the prosecutor’s portion of the trial is highly unusual.”

“Emma Koehler is known as a strong, extremely proud woman,” offers Wade. “She probably has no desire to relive the humiliation caused by her husband’s infidelity.”

“That’s a blessing for us. Even though Otto Koehler was a philanderer, Emma Koehler on the stand would exhibit nothing but disdain for Miss Burgemeister. We want the jurors to feel sympathy for our defendant, not the widow.”

“Missus Koehler might not be present in the room,” says Charlie, “but she made sure the District Attorney is backed by some of the biggest guns in San Antonio.”

“She personally is covering all expenses for Mister Ward and the former District Attorney, Mister Linden, to support the State,” adds Wade. “Judge Newton and his son are such close family friends, they volunteered their services.”

“If you hadn’t joined us,” says Charlie, “we’d be no better off than General Travis at the Alamo.” 

“Let’s summon the San Jacinto spirit instead. To prepare for the coming days, gentlemen, we need to dissect the case the defense has made to date. The undertaker’s testimony did no harm. That the bullets fired from Miss Burgemeister’s gun proved deadly is not news. But that unscrupulous former city detective, Crosby Marsden? His words could hurt us. He kept repeating that Miss Burgemeister said she shot Otto Koehler ‘to protect the honor of a friend.’ There’s no way those were her exact words.”

“Your cross-examination already chipped away at his credibility,” says Charlie. “Imagine him swearing on the witness stand that he did a ‘little investigation, not much’ into this case but can’t recall how much he was paid or who hired him.”

Dave smacks his fist into his palm. “And the sheer gall! With me right there staring at him on the witness stand, for him to deny approaching me for employment in the case. To deny he told me he was in possession of information and photographs that would be of use for the defense. For a substantial fee, of course. A pack of lies!”

 “Ah, but he tried to cover himself. ‘No, sir,’ he said before adding, ‘That is not that I recall.’”

“Well, you held his feet to the fire,” says Charlie. “How could he fail to remember who hired him to investigate the case about which he is testifying?”

“And you secured a commitment from him,” adds Dave, “that he must return with the report from his private investigation and name his client.”

“Plus,” says Charlie, “the final time you asked what Miss Burgemeister said, he changed his answer. I wrote it down. You asked, ‘Do you not know this woman said to you that she shot this man to protect herself?’ His answer, ‘I said so.’”

Thomas does enjoy the drive demonstrated by these young attorneys. “Gentlemen, we’re going to alter the order of our witnesses this afternoon. It’s unusual, but, Dave, I want you to be first on the stand after lunch. While Crosby Marsden’s words are fresh in the jurors’ minds, you need to tell them how he tried to sell you information.”

“Brazenly unethical, it is,” grumbles Charlie, “for a former police detective to try to profit from a case in which he was involved.”

“Unless he gets away with continued convenient amnesia. Whatever those photographs were or are, the District Attorney didn’t introduce them as evidence. We want to leave the jury with the impression that the unseen photographs might have helped indicate Miss Burgemeister’s innocence. That’s why we need Dave on the stand first thing. Then the German neighbor.”

“Frightening,” says Dave, “to have much of our argument rest in the hands of a man we can’t even understand. Thirty years in this country, and he still speaks not one word of English.”

“The wife of the Justice of Peace who accompanied Miss Burgemeister to the police station originally should prove a reliable witness to the jury. Missus Campbell. Her husband is well respected around the courthouse.”

~     ~     ~

“Where in tarnation,” fumes Dave, “did Mister Fraser dig up that mystery man?”

“It’s as though he pulled him out of thin air,” says Charlie. “He never mentioned him specifically to us before. He just said there were several men in the house.”

“That could present a problem. Except no one but that one policeman mentioned the unknown man. I’ve never heard so many conflicting details uttered by witnesses. I know it’s been several years, but you would think the memories from a shooting such as this would haunt you….”

“Unless,” Charlie raises up his index finger, “you were convinced when you arrived on the scene that it was an obvious case of self-defense. A murder would haunt you, but your neighbor defending herself against a powerful man? An enraged man? Maybe not.”

“Let’s go through all our notes. Take the witnesses one by one. Analyze the impact of their testimonies. Dave, you take the answers to our questions. By the way, you were great on the stand in undercutting the trustworthiness of that private investigator. Charlie, you take those in response to the District Attorney’s cross-examination.”

“Heinrich Cordt,” begins Wade. “Seventy-five years of age. Lucid and not hesitant, even though speaking with a translator. He and his wife have lived on Hunstock for twelve years. On that day, he heard Missus Daschel’s screams. Saw her running out of the house and ran over toward her. Heard three, maybe four, shots fired on his way. Found Missus Daschel hysterical. Missus Mott appeared with a bottle of whisky, and they revived the swooning woman.”

“So he was the first to enter the house?”

“And no one contradicted that, I believe,” continues Wade. “Mister Cordt said he and Missus Daschel entered the house. The door of Miss Burgemeister’s room was half-open. When he opened it, smoke still filled the air. A man lay on the floor. His shoulder twitched just once. Miss Burgemeister was leaning against the body. Her hand was on the back of his head, and she was crying. Her wrist was bleeding. He asked, ‘Miss Burgemeister, what have you done?’”

“Ah, the most critical part of his testimony.”

“She answered, ‘He tried to murder me.’ As she said nothing more and did not move, he lifted her up, placed her on a bench and sat down beside her. Thinking an artery had been cut, he held her wrist tightly until the doctor arrived.”

“Mister McAskill,” says Charlie, “asked Mister Cordt how well he knew Miss Burgemeister. He responded they were good friends. He explained his wife was eighty years old and frequently sick. Miss Burgemeister would come over to tend to her.”

“The District Attorney attempted to make Mister Cordt seem biased, but the old man hardly appears the type who would condone murder in exchange for a bowl of chicken soup for his wife. Instead, I believe his testimony painted a picture for the jury of a kind and caring woman.”

“McAskill then asked him about the telegram,” says Charlie, “whether Mister Cordt sent Missus Daschel one to inform her Miss Burgemeister was sick. He answered that Miss Burgemeister sent the telegram herself. She signed his name, but, he volunteered, she was very sick at the time. When asked if he knew Otto Koehler, he said he did not. He also said there were no indications of a struggle in the room.”

“Falsifying the telegram was a poor decision, but I trust Miss Burgemeister will be able to explain that action when we call her to the stand.”

“Missus Brooks, the former matron of the county jail,” says Wade. “She stated that Miss Burgemeister was brought in on a stretcher. She described the prisoner’s condition as nervous and extremely weak. She said Miss Burgemeister had three or four bruises on the right side of her throat and one or two on the left. One on her arm as well. Her left arm.”

“McAskill, though,” says Charlie, “got her to admit she had no opportunity to notice those marks until two days after Miss Burgemeister arrived. But she added, ‘They were plain to see.’ He then asked Missus Brooks if she and Miss Burgemeister became ‘pretty good friends.’ She answered affirmatively. Without specifying what, he asked if Miss Burgemeister had given her presents. She again answered yes.”

“Missus Brooks appears no pushover. Making friends with inmates was unlikely habitual. Again, I believe the District Attorney’s questioning along these lines continues to portray Miss Burgemeister as a nice person.”

“Then we have the next-door neighbor, Missus Campbell,” says Wade. “She said she didn’t know Mister Koehler. Miss Dumpke, the other nurse, lived in the house with Miss Burgemeister until she was married and became Missus Daschel. She returned shortly before the tragedy. A day or two before the shooting, Missus Campbell conversed with the two women across the fence. Missus Daschel explained she returned to San Antonio because Mister Cordt telegrammed her that Miss Burgemeister was ill. Missus Daschel, smiling, said she arrived to find her friend not sick at all. Miss Burgemeister simply smiled before they went inside.”

“We didn’t ask the witness about the telegram. Missus Campbell just popped up with it.”

“At home on the day of the shooting,” says Wade, “Missus Campbell saw a buggy drive up. A man hopped down and rushed so quickly up the steps she thought it was a doctor and maybe Miss Burgemeister actually was sick. Then, about ten or fifteen minutes later, Missus Daschel came running out of the house screaming: ‘Missus Campbell! Missus Campbell! Come quick! Hedda! Hedda!’ She rushed past the hysterical Missus Daschel up the stairs of the house and into the hall but heard a shot. As she ran back out, she heard another shot. She thought only two shots were fired: ‘That is all I heard.’”

“Does even one witness agree on the number of shots fired?”

Wade shakes his head. “Next, she said she went home to fetch some whiskey to try to revive Missus Daschel so she could tell them what was happening. When Mister Cordt, Missus Daschel and Missus Mott headed back toward the house, Missus Campbell returned to her house to telephone her husband, Justice of the Peace Campbell. His clerk told her that her husband was on his way home, and Missus Campbell waited for him. By then, policemen had arrived. She said she saw Miss Burgemeister sitting in a chair ‘like a marble statue.’”

“When Mister McAskill asked,” says Charlie, “Missus Campbell said she had never seen the dead man at the house before….”

“How can no neighbor have seen Otto Koehler enter that house prior to that afternoon? There were extended periods of time when he showed up almost every single day. Like clockwork. Missus Campbell says she might have spotted the horse and buggy there before, but she wasn’t positive it was the same one.”

“Missus Campbell,” says Charlie, “also said furniture appeared undisturbed. And then, eliciting titters from the audience, she added: ‘I admit I was excited, but it doesn’t seem to me the bed was mussed up.’”

“A much chattier witness than we envisioned. Well, at least Missus Campbell ruled out anyone inferring Miss Burgemeister seduced Otto Koehler before shooting him. On to Missus Mott.”  

“Missus Mott was in her kitchen when she heard the shots,” says Wade. “She was unsure where they came from but then heard Missus Daschel screaming: ‘Missus Campbell! Missus Campbell, help Hedda! Help Hedda!’”

“First shots and screams in different order than Missus Campbell.”

“Running outside, she arrived to find Mister Cordt at Missus Daschel’s side about the same time as Missus Campbell,” continues Wade. “Missus Daschel fainted, so Missus Campbell went back for some whiskey. After reviving Missus Daschel, the nurse insisted they go into the house with her to save Hedda. As they entered, another shot rang out. They all rushed out again. She remembers three shots before the screaming and one afterwards. When they summoned the nerve to reenter the house, they found Miss Burgemeister leaning against the bench in a swooning position, weeping.”

“I think she described her as appearing almost dead.”

“Assuming the man on the floor dead,” says Wade, “Missus Mott went into the kitchen to telephone a doctor for Miss Burgemeister. She telephoned three different physicians before reaching Doctor Jackson’s wife.”

“McAskill began his cross-examination,” says Charlie, “by leading her into saying she was very excited at the time, making her uncertain of any of the details.”

Thomas slams his palm on the desk. “Every witness we call, the District Attorney insinuates to the jury that their original testimony in front of the Grand Jury differed. They all say no, their testimony is the same. But he keeps attempting to sow seeds of doubt in the jurors’ minds. To refrain from making constant objections, I’ve almost bitten through my tongue. But it’s Judge Anderson who should put a stop to that.”

“By the time Missus Mott finished on the telephone,” says Charlie, “the house was filled with people. Seeing there were plenty to tend to Miss Burgemeister, she returned home.”

“It’s remarkable that they all expressed consternation for the welfare of their neighbor—who obviously had shot the man lying in a growing pool of blood on the floor—and uttered not a word of concern over his fate. And, again, Missus Mott had never seen Koehler there before.”

“Before dismissing Missus Mott,” says Charlie, “McAskill asked her if she had seen a large man who looked as if he were under arrest. She responded no, and said she didn’t even remember a police officer in her presence.”

“The District Attorney’s first attempt at inserting a mystery man on the scene. A possible co-conspirator or the shooter himself. I must admit, gentlemen, this tactic caught me completely off guard. Wade, now the poundmaster on duty at the sub-police station.”

“When Officer Fraser arrived on the scene, he found a man’s body on the floor and Miss Burgemeister sitting on the floor with her head resting on an old man’s lap.”

“Mister Cordt.”

Wade nods. “Yes. Officer Fraser believes he was the first officer to arrive. He attempted to question the old man but realized he did not understand English. He then addressed Miss Burgemeister, saying, ‘Lady, if you want us to catch the man who killed him, you better talk fast.’ She asked, ‘Is he dead?’ Miss Burgemeister then placed her hand on the Otto Koehler’s head and said: ‘I am sorry. I killed him. I had to do it.’ And then Mister Fraser placed her under arrest. He observed fingerprints on her throat.”

“Good. McAskill has been trying to dismiss the presence of fingerprints as valid evidence of a struggle.”

“By then Officer Harris had joined him,” says Wade, “and Harris collected one gun, which had been fired, from a table and one from the floor which had not. Fraser rang Crockett 210 to notify the police station to send a wagon. All of this, according to the poundmaster, occurred prior to the arrival of Mister Marsden.”

“So how could Marsden have seen Otto Koehler shudder one last time? His testimony is riddled with inconsistencies. The jury must have taken notice of how unreliable he is.”

“Under questioning by McAskill,” says Charlie, “Fraser said Marsden did arrive in time to help move Miss Burgemeister to the bed in the other room. There appears much confusion as to who was present in the house. Fraser referenced Officers Harris and McMurray. The District Attorney tried to place another poundmaster, Officer Applewhite, there, but Fraser said he was not there.”

“And now the distinction in Miss Burgemeister’s words emerges. Charlie, can you repeat this portion verbatim?”

“McAskill led the witness, ‘Is not it a fact Miss Burgemeister said she shot Mister Koehler to protect a friend?’ Fraser answered, ‘She said to Mister Marsden something about protecting a friend, a Missus Daschel, I believe.’ Then, ‘When you first went into the room was another man there besides Mister Cordt?’ ‘Yes, sir. I called him out and asked, “What are you doing here?”’

“To which I vigorously objected, only to be overruled by Judge Anderson.”

“‘I called him out of the room.’ ‘What did you say?’ asked the District Attorney. Knowing where this was heading and to try to prevent the jury from hearing a response that might bias them, you objected that there was nothing to indicate that, no matter what Fraser might have said in the other room, our client could have heard it.”

“So the District Attorney altered his approach to the question.”

“‘Well, how far was Miss Burgemeister from this door?’ asked McAskill. Mister Fraser: ‘It was not a door. It was sort of an opening with curtains.’ ‘Well how far was it?’ repeated McAskill. ‘I guess it was about eight or ten feet.’ And then he tried to sneak it in again, as you objected once more, Tom. But the District Attorney refused to surrender: ‘Well, in what tone of voice was it?’ ‘Just about as I am talking now. I said, “Step out, what are you doing here?”’”

“Unfortunately, the judge overruled my objection this time. So, Fraser continued. Charlie, what exactly were his words?”

“‘I asked him if he had killed that man. He said no. I told Mister Harris to take charge of that man.’ The District Attorney then tried to push Harris exactly where he wanted him to go: ‘Then, didn’t she speak up and say, “I did it?”’ ‘I think she only made one statement to me.’”

“So, poof. A mystery man materializes out of thin air. Only one witness places him at the scene. No one else.”

“The District Attorney,” says Wade, “might have introduced this invisible man to the jury, but he failed to get Fraser to change his earlier testimony. The poundmaster stood fast. He refused to be tricked into saying Miss Burgemeister confessed to the crime only after this invisible man was threatened with arrest by Fraser.”

“The jury can’t be impressed by the sudden presence of this phantom in the room. They’ll never believe that Harris, unauthorized, would simply release a key witness to or a participant in a possible crime. And no one has ever seen hide nor hair of him since. Even Fraser is unconcerned about how the man disappeared, never surfacing during the investigation. Like a mirage.

“I so desired to speak with Miss Burgemeister before her testimony begins tomorrow. But I could tell there was no way on God’s earth she had the strength to meet with us even for a short time.

“We have some loose ends I wanted to tie up. Her confusion about the visit to Judge Newton’s office. She says she’s positive about the location of the office that Otto Koehler sent Missus Daschel and her to for the property transfer. Have your clerks unraveled that?”

“They have,” answers Charlie. “Otto Koehler’s partner, John Stevens, has an office on the second floor, above the Newton, Weller & Wagner Store. The University Club is on the third. Mister Koehler could have made arrangements for a meeting to occur in either, and it would’ve been simple to have misled the women into thinking they were in the Judge’s office.”

“But what would be his motive in doing so?”

“Mister Koehler didn’t want anyone to connect him with the transaction, and the courthouse would be too public place for the deed to be notarized.”

“And this.” Wade passes a sheet of paper to Thomas.

Thomas glances at it quickly, notices nothing and raises his gaze back to Wade.

“The date, March 28, 1913,” says Wade. “Missus Daschel was married, yet she signed as a feme sole. Under her maiden name. Even with the new Woman’s Property Rights legislation, she would have needed approval from her husband to sell her half of the property on Hunstock to Miss Burgemeister.”

“We believe,” says Charlie, “that the nurses were unaware they were violating any laws. They only followed the instructions left for them by Koehler. He wanted to keep the transaction simple, hidden. The husband’s involvement would’ve complicated everything.”

“Does Miss Burgemeister know this now?”

“No,” says Wade. “We’ve had no opportunity to inform her.”

“Well, that’s just as well. Her life is complicated enough without us risking having her property taken away from her. I’ll question her about that saloonkeeper Otto Koehler had stand in as a front for his purchase of the house for the women. I doubt the District Attorney will dig deeply in that area because it only calls the dead man’s integrity into question.

“Earlier, when Miss Burgemeister spoke about the detective she hired to check on the welfare of Otto Koehler, she told me Koehler kept repeating, ‘I am lost. I am lost. If he gives me away, he goes up, too.’ I can’t refrain from wondering if his fears were about his interference in the prohibition election of 1911. Or perhaps with Oscar Colquitt’s election. If caught, there were any number of men who could have taken him down with them. I asked Miss Burgemeister if that were possible, but she said Otto Koehler never spoke with her about any brewery contributions at all. She assumed he was so morose about losing Missus Daschel that his rants were nonsensical.”

“Whatever his reasons,” says Wade, “for wanting to permanently submerge himself in the waters off Galveston, her reason for hiring Detective Shoaf was based on the belief he was lovelorn.”

“True. I’ll not open that door. And then we have the mess about the bank notes.”

“I’m unsure that Miss Burgemeister will be able to explain her efforts to cash them,” says Charlie. “Even around us, she appears sheepish and embarrassed by their very existence.”

“We’ll have to hope she exudes more confidence when questioned about them tomorrow.”

“And what of the yet-to-be mentioned new woman in Otto Koehler’s life?” asks Wade. “Miss Burgemeister doesn’t want to identify her. Will the District Attorney abide by that?”

“Neither of us have her on our list of witnesses. Are you confident the woman can contribute no information that will aid Miss Burgemeister?”

“Yes,” says Charlie. “We both questioned her. Similar to the other women in the fresh bloom of their relationships with the brewer, she thought he hung the moon and the stars. She had absolutely no idea of Miss Burgemeister’s existence until the shooting. Up until then, the new gal was convinced Koehler would leave his wife and marry her as soon as possible. But, in the meantime, why hold back?”

“While it would portray Koehler in a more deplorable light, the jury already is aware of his dalliances. Introducing a new scandalous relationship at this point would derail everything. The jury would get distracted completely from the facts that have been laid out thus far. We need them to stay focused on what happened in that house on that fall afternoon. That redirection will be a hard enough task tomorrow when Miss Burgemeister’s entire life is laid bare before them. If only she’d wear a hat with no veil tomorrow. To let the jury see the earnestness, the sincerity in her eyes as we have. Let them see her emotions so they can fully comprehend her story.”

“Tom, while you distracted the media so I could escort Miss Burgemeister unmolested out the side door to the Bremers’ carriage,” says Charlie, “I asked her. I stressed to her the importance of just that. She apologized, but said she couldn’t appear without a veil. She said one juror in particular made her jumpy, with his eyes always trained upon her. She said there’s no way she can withstand his constant gaze.”

“Which juror is it?”

“James M. Turley,” says Wade. “A 51-year-old stockman.”

“His wife,” says Charlie, “was in a horrible automobile accident with Ganahl Walker six or seven years ago. Their vehicle was struck by a train. They both spent months recovering but were lucky to survive at all.”

“The couple,” adds Wade, “is divorced now.”

“This is troublesome. If the couple divorced because Mister Turley believed his wife had no business in an automobile with another man, if he felt even the slightest bit betrayed, how will he view the direction Miss Burgemeister’s life has taken? I wish we had struck him as a juror. He might prove to be the least sympathetic man sitting in that box. Let her continue to shield her eyes from that Mister Turley’s stares. She’s shaky enough as it is. We can ill afford for him to unnerve her.”

Footnotes

Both major newspapers in San Antonio covered the murder trial in great detail. While the discussions among defense attorneys are speculative, they are based on court testimonies. Throughout the trial, witness accounts differed greatly.

As for the supposed “new woman” in Otto Koehler’s life? The Author wishes she knew who it was, or if she was. If Hedda did know her identity, it is only logical to assume her attorneys would have questioned the woman.

Ah, and the juror, James Turley. You remember him from Chapter Nine, don’t you? The Author is unsure whether Hedda sensed his eyes upon her but, as things unfolded, feels confident he did stare.

Continue to Chapter Ninety-Two

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