NYMONROE-L ArchivesArchiver > NYMONROE > 2005-03 > 1112066836
Subject: May 9, 1903 1
Date: Mon, 28 Mar 2005 22:27:16 EST
Rochester, Monroe, NY
Democrat & Chronicle
Sat May 9, 1903
KENT AND ATTORNEY BOTH ON THE STAND
Little Progress Made in Examination of Defendant
Court Adjourned Soon After He Was Called --
Told of Boyhood, Fraternity Affairs and First Meeting With Ethel Dingle-
Mr. Raines Explains Incident of Taking Possession of the Trunk and Its
Testimony of Dr. Acheson Regarding Dead Girl's Condition When She Was at
At Mary's Hospital - Her Mental Condition Described.
The feature of yesterday's session of the KENT manslaughter trial was
the admission in evidence of statements alleged to have been made by Ethel B.
DINGLE to Dr. John H. ACHESON, who treated her for peritonitis at St. Mary's
Hospital in this city shortly before the tragedy. The testimony was most
important, containing Miss DINGLE's story of her seduction while under the
influence of liquor and her repeated threats of suicide. It was admitted, after a
sharp conflict between counsel, as bearing on the girl's mental condition.
George RAINES took the stand to tell the story of the trunk and its
contents taken by his office staff from the room where KENT and Miss DINGLE
stayed in Buffalo as Mr. and Mrs. CROSBY. Mr. WARREN made it particularly
unpleasant for his opponent on cross-examination. Attorney Harlan W. RIPPY, Mr.
RAINE's managing clerk, followed his chief on the stand and testified about the
Leland Dorr KENT took the stand late in the afternoon and told of the
chapter house deal of the Saturday of the tragedy, which business he was to
complete on the following Monday. Mr. RAINES brought out the fact that the
defendant is and has been a constant reader of the Democrat and Chronicle. It is
possible that this will be used later to show that KENT was in the automatic
state on which the defense lays so much stress when he asked for a Democrat
and Chronicle and bought one coming down in the Whitcomb House elevator that
Sunday morning in the custody of the Homeopathic Hospital surgeons and the
KENT will be on the stand during the half-day session this forenoon and
probably all day Monday. The evidence, rebuttal and all may be gotten in by
Wednesday night and the case with the jury before Sunday. The trial continues
to draw crowds of the morbidly curious to the court room, despite the
G_mpish character of the medical testimony. Some of the women spectators carry
their luncheon, eat it in the toilet rooms of the Court House during the noon
recess and struggle with the "taxpayers" for places well up in the line at the
opening of court.
ETHEL'S MENTAL CONDITION
When the afternoon session opened Judge SUTHERLAND said: "I think I
must admit Miss DINGLE's statements to Dr. ACHESON as bearing on her mental
DR. ACHESON was then re-called by Mr. RAINES. He was a good witness and
his testimony was not interrupted by the District-Attorney except when this
evidence verged on the incompetent.
"Continue the account of what was said and done on the third day," said
"When I saw her at the hospital she told me again of being hounded and
pursued by people in Buffalo. I told her not to despair, that other people
had had trouble and lived it down. Then I went on to ask about her case. I
advised an operation.
"'If I thought I should die on the table,' she said, 'I would say
operate at once.'
"The following day I found her in the same condition, crying and
sobbing. She went more into the details of her trouble. She said she had been
engaged to be married on the same date as her sister Mabel, but it had been broken
"She said she had been out with the man one evening drinking highballs
and that while she was under the influence of liquor he had seduced her. The
next day, she said, she was disgusted with the man and broke off the
engagement. She said that was one of her reasons for not wishing to live. She would
prefer death to living in the torment she was in. I told her she was foolish,
one so young, to talk that way. She could yet achieve success as a nurse. She
said it was no use. That she had tried it and tried it over and over again.
That everyone was against her."
"Did she say anything about the defendant?"
"She said she was lonesome for Lee KENT. I told her if she wished I
would send for him. One day about the middle of the time of treatment I found
her in cheerful spirits. She said she had had either a letter, or a telegram
from Lee and knew he was coming. There was no message sent to him that I knew
"The fifth and sixth days were repetitions of the third and fourth.
There was an occasion on the evening of the fifth day, when I was in the
hospital and tapped at the door of her room.
MADE HER HYSTERICAL
"I stood near the door talking to her. Some man wandered down the hall,
evidently intoxicated. He stepped inside and waved his hand and said, 'Good
night, Maggie, I hope you'll soon be well.' I closed the door and followed
him down the hall and told the night sitter, who had the man put out.
"When I got back to the room she was hysterical and out of bed. She
said, 'Oh, who was that man? What did he want? Was he after me?' It required the
combined efforts of the night sitter and myself to quiet her."
"How long did these conversations last?"
"About three-quarters of an hour."
"Did she say anything to account for her fear of the man?"
"She said she didn't want the man she was engaged to to find her at the
hospital, as he wouldn't spare money to get down here and trouble her."
"What was said about her going away?'
"I told her that so long as she was not going to be operated on it
would be a good thing for her to go to some quiet place and rest up. She told me
that she thought of going to Dundas, Canada, to a relative there; that she
would be secluded there and nobody could find her."
"What further conversation did you have about her condition?"
"On the second last day, the sixth day of the treatment. I told her as
she worried as much about Lee not being there that she had better go where he
was. As she was not going to be operated on, I said, I could do nothing
further for her. I suggested calling in another physician for consultation. She
would not listen to it."
"What did you say to KENT about her condition?"
A VISIT FROM KENT
"On the seventh day Lee came. I took him to one side and told him it
was no use of her staying at the hospital any longer. That nothing could be
done for her medically and she wouldn't hear of an operation. I suggested
another physician's name. Mr. KENT said he would talk to her about it and let me
know what would be done."
"Did you hear from him again?'
"Yes. He telephoned me that they were going to Buffalo and wanted me to
meet them at the depot. That was at 3 o'clock, September 2d. They drove up
as I got off my wheel at the depot. She told me she had left her glasses at
the hospital and to send them on to Lee."
"Have you had anything further to do with the parties?'
"Nothing except that I received a letter from Lee dated the 6th of
September, which I believe you have. That note was torn in two pieces. The emblem
of a medical society at the top had been torn off. The letter was in
response to one of mine asking 'how is our patient?' It said 'Ethel is O. K. She
has no pain and is feeling fine as a lark.'
"At the time you treated her were there any abrasions or discolorations
on her face?'
"There were not."
"You were at the post-mortem during at least part of it?"
"I was. I was interested in it on account of my diagnosis of the case.
I caused the affected parts to be taken from her body. Dr. JOHNSON removed
the parts. They were cut longitudinally to enable us to see the tissues within.
The right ovary was twice the normal size. Both were cystic. The condition
made the removal of the right ovary proper surgical treatment."
"What is the pain arising from such a condition?"
"The pain is one of the most acute a woman can suffer."
"What is its effect upon the temperament?'
"it is one of the most prevalent causes of depression in a female."
"How is it in a person unusually sensitive to pain?'
"In one unduly sensitive to pain, the pain would be intensified."
QUESTION BY WARREN
District-Attorney WARREN took Dr. ACHESON for cross-examination, and
went at great length into the witness's testimony at the inquest and before the
Grand Jury, inferring that he had not volunteered evidence favorable to the
defense which he now gave. Dr. ACHESON asseverated that he had not yet made
up his mind as to the cause of Miss DINGLE's trouble, although he had come to
the conclusion, at the time she told him of her condition, that she had been
suffering from a venereal disease. Nothing to indicate such disease was found
at the post-mortem, he admitted.
Portions of the Grand Jury minutes were read by Mr. WARREN, and the
witness declared in many instances that they were incorrect and gave his exact
"Did you know Miss DINGLE's name when you were treating her?" asked Mr.
"Not at first."
"When did you find out her right name?"
name?" card fell out of a book where it had been used to mark a place,
and I read the name in picking it up. Then she told me that Ethel DINGLE was
her right name."
"Why didn't you tell before about your conclusion as to her having the
"I wasn't asked before."
"Didn't you tell Mr. MATSON she hadn't it?"
"No, sir. I wasn't asked."
"Did you tell KENT of the girl talking of suicide?"
"I did. The day I left."
"What was that letter you received?'
"It was given Mr. RAINES at the inquest. I thought you saw it; that he
gave it to you."
Mr. WARREN declared he never saw it. Mr. RAINES thought differently, but
would look it up.
"Can you remember the substance of it?"
"I ended 'Ethel is O. K. Has no pain and is feeling fine as a lark.'"
"That letter reached you Saturday morning, September 13th, the morning
of the homicide?"
"Did you notice the date stamped on the envelope?'
"It might have been of importance to do so," commented the
"He has said the letter was dated the 11th," said Mr. RAINES. "I may
have that letter. I never thought of it until you called my attention to it."
GAVE NAMES READILY
"Did you give the girl's name to Coroner KILLIP that Sunday only with
considerable hesitation," resumed Mr. WARREN.
"No, sir. i gave both names at once. He sent for me to come and attend
an autopsy at the morgue. I said 'It looks like a girl I treated. If it is
she, her name is Ethel DINGLE."
"Did you tell him about KENT?'
"I think I told him KENT was the man who brought her to the hospital
A recess was taken during which Mr. RAINES went over to his office in
the Powers building to look for the letter. On his return he stated to the
Court that he would have to make a further search after adjournment. Then counsel
took his witness and went over Dr. ACHESON's Grand Jury evidence with him.
Dr. ACHESON made a great many corrections in the Grand Jury minutes. He
said he had not been asked before either the Grand Jury or the Coroner
whether Ethel DINGLE had told him of the nature of her Buffalo troubles. Witness
had not refused to answer any question on any of the examinations he had been
subjected to nor withheld any detail the questions seemed to call for.
Answering Mr. WARREN, the witness said he had seen VILLIAUME at the
hospital, not at the morgue, the Sunday of the tragedy, and had not sent for him
to Buffalo. The District-Attorney was smilingly, derisive of Dr. ACHESON's
account of the interview with MATSON, at which he was also present, and tried
to make the witness admit that he had on that occasion aired his knowledge of
venereal disease. Dr. ACHESON was finally dismissed.
to be continued