Wednesday, January 26, 2011

John Krebbs Shot By His Wife

Centerville Daily Citizen - 23 October 1902
John Krebbs, of Jerome, Met Death From Shot Gun
  John Krebbs was shot and killed by his wife in Jerome about 6:00 o'clock this morning. He lived but twenty minutes after being shot. The shooting was done out in the yard just at day break as Mr. Krebbs was starting to his work in the mine. The shooting was done with a shotgun and Mrs. Krebbs claims it was accidental and that she did not know the gun was loaded. The Krebbs family consisted of husband and wife and two children who have but recently moved to Jerome and but little is known about the family. Mr. Krebbs was about forty years of age and was a miner. It is not known if any ill feeling existed in the family. It is said that Mr. Krebbs was out in the yard and the wife standing in or near the door when the shot was fired. The full charge shot struck the man in the abdomen making a terrible wound which caused death in twenty minutes. There were no eye witnesses to the shooting.
  Sheriff Davis was telephoned about the shooting and in company with the coroner left for the scene of the shooting early this morning to hold an inquest over the body.
  Later: A telephone message this afternoon from Jerome states that the coroner's jury came to the verdict that John Krebbs came to his death by means of a shotgun wound from a shotgun held in the hands of his wife and that she is criminally responsible. Mrs. Krebbs has been placed under arrest and will be brought to Centerville tomorrow by Constable George King, of Jerome, and placed in jail. In the meantime she is under guard. 
  Coroner Allen Shaw, Sheriff W. P. Davis and County Attorney E. M. Probasco have been in Jerome nearly all day investigating the case. J. N. Dooley acted as clerk of the coroner's jury which was empanled (sic) from among the citizens of Jerome.
  The Citizen's informant says that the evidence given before the coroner's jury showed that Mr. Krebbs had arisen early this morning in order to go to work in the mine but that his wife would not get up to get his breakfast for him. Thereupon he threw a bucket of water upon her as she lay in bed and then the trouble began which ended in the loss of the man's life. It is alleged that Mrs. Krebbs got the shot gun and coming to the door pointed it at her husband who was leaving the house for the mine. She had said she "would fix him". She still claims however that she meant only to scare her husband and that the gun went off by accident The Krebbs have resided in Jerome off and on for about nine years.
  The husband will be buried sometime tomorrow.
Semi-Weekly Iowegian - 20 February 1903
Mrs. Krebbs On Witness Stand
Defendant Testifies to Charge of Killing her Husband
Large Crowds Attend the Trial Daily
  The trial of Mrs. Krebbs for the murder of her husband is still occupying the attention of the district court.  The sensational part of the trial took place on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday, when Mrs. Krebbs was placed on the witness stand in her own defense. After leaving the witness stand she fainted and the episode made considerable stir in the court room. Her story as told to the jury had the air of truthfulness and was in corroboration of the story told by her daughter, who preceded her on the stand. Her story was substantially as follows:
  She had been married three times. Shed was divorced from her first husband some years ago; her second husband was killed in a mine accident. She married John Krebbs in 1891 and the little girl, Clara, is their child, the older daughter, Lena, being a daughter of her first marriage.
  Her story was to the effect that Krebbs was always cruel and brutal and of an ungovernable temper and had beaten her on a number of occasions and that she was confined to her bed two months at one time as the result of his abuse and that she was afraid of him, as he had threatened to kill her on many occasions. The last straw was when he assaulted her daughter (his stepdaughter) and then she decided to ask for a divorce. On the day before the shooting she came to Centerville to consult a lawyer concerning a divorce. When he came home that night he was drinking and very angry about her consulting a lawyer. The next morning about five o'clock he got up and built a fire, something very unusual for him to do, and then took a quart cup of water and going to the bed where her daughter, Lena, was sleeping, threw it in her face, then getting another cup full he threw it on her. She then got up and he caught her and threw her on the floor and beat her head against the wall, asking her if she told the lawyer about his assault on Lena and when she said she did because she had to, he said "that settles it, I'll fix you so you won't tell anybody else and I'll do it right now". She says she really thought he intended to kill her and when he went out of doors apparently to get some weapon to do it with, she rushed into the kitchen and caught up the shot gun and as she got to the door he came in the kitchen door and grabbed the gun by the muzzle and tired (sic) to wrench it from her grasp. In the struggle it went off the charge striking him in the breast, from the effects of which he died a few minutes later.
  She says she had no intention of shooting him but took up the gun in strict self defense.
  This is the gist of her evidence and if the jury takes it at its face, the result will not be in much doubt. She told it in a low voice and very brokenly and was frequently overcome with emotion. The case will probably go to the jury tonight.
  The defense closed yesterday and then came to the rebuttal and surrebuttal  evidence which occupied a comparatively short time and the attorneys commenced their plea. Assistant prosecutor Wycoff opened for the state and will be followed by C. H. Elgin and C. F. Howell for the defense, County Attorney Porter closing for the state It is expected that the case will go to the jury tonight.
Centerville Daily Citizen - 21 February 1903
Mrs. Krebbs Not Guilty
Jury in Krebbs Murder Case Returns Verdict of Not Guilty
Jury Went out at 11:20 and Was out Four Hours
Verdict Received by Judge Eichelberger In Presence of Large Crowd
Emma Clara Krebbs a Free Woman 
Closing Events of the Trial
  "We the jury find the defendant, Emma Krebbs, not guilty".
  The above is the verdict in the Krebbs murder case that was returned to Judge Eichelberger's (district court this afternoon at 2:20 o'clock) and on which hung the fate of Emma Clara Krebbs, who has been on trial the past twelve days for the murder of her husband, John Krebbs in Jerome the 23rd of last October. The verdict was returned to court in presence of a large crowd, it having been learned that the jury had arrived at a verdict and everyone who heard it started for the court room. Estelle Gordon, the deputy clerk, received the verdict from the bailiff who had received it from the foreman of the jury, Albert L. Gale. She opened the paper, and with a trembling voice read, as it appears above, and Emma Clara Krebbs was a free woman. A cheer of approval went up from the people. Judge Eichelberger ordered that she be released. Her daughters threw their arms around her neck and the three wept for joy. Many friends pressed forward to congratulate the defendant, her attorney's being first. 
  The Krebbs Murder case went to the jury this forenoon at 11:20 o'clock. Mr. Porter closing his argument at 10:45 and Judge Eichelberger then read his instructions to the jury and then it retired. Mr. Howell closed the argument for the defense last evening shortly after four o'clock, having talked almost five hours. Mr. Porter commenced at once with the closing argument for the state and talked an hour last evening before court adjourned. His argument was a fine effort and demonstrated that he has left nothing undone to secure a conviction. His oratorical powers were brought out to a marked degree and all who heard his address say that it was a good one. He reviewed the came from the beginning to end and touched heavily upon the argument of the defendant's attorneys. He scored Mr. Howell unmercifully, just as Mr. Howell had rubbed it into him and from the arguments of these two attorneys it appeared that the contest was between the attorneys as much as anything else. Mr. Porter made all out of the case there was in it and acquitted himself well.
  The court room was again crowded this morning with people eager to hear Mr. Porter's closing argument and the instructions of the court. A large percentage of those present were ladies and the interest was intense. As the trial drew nearer and nearer to the close the interest grew more intense and the people were on the tip toe of expectancy watching for every word or action from the parties connected with the trail.
  The reading of the instructions by Judge Eichelberger consumed about twenty-five minutes. After he had closed Mr. Howell offered additional instructions and requested that they be given to the jury.  The court looked them over and replied that they would not be competent and marking them refused, put them in a drawer and called the bailiff to take charge of the jury. The big crowd lingered in and around the court room thinking the jury might return in a short time with a verdict. But as the noon hour ? ached and nothing was heard from the jury room the crowd melted away. The defendant and her two daughters slowly walked from the court room to the jail, as if the defendant had a feeling that perhaps that would be the last out door walk she would have as a free woman. 
  The editor sincerely appreciates the contribution of the above news articles to The Jerome Journal by Marion Zemo of Centerville, Iowa, who had received them from Gary Craver of Centerville.

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