Monday, March 28, 2016

PEOPLE v MELISSA GOINGS: TRANSCRIPT OF A MURDER CASE DEFENDED BY LINCOLN

Set forth below is a transcript which I made of the important documents in the court file from a murder case which Lincoln defended.

The document numbers in the right hand column represent the document numbers assigned to the documents by the Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln website.




DATE
PEOPLE v MELISSA GOINGS: 
TRANSCRIPT OF COURT FILE
DOCUMENT
DOC. #

4/21/57

VERDICT OF CORONER’S JURY

We, the undersigned, jurors impaneled and sworn on the 21st day of April, in the year 1857, in the township of Worth, in the county of Woodford, in the state of Illinois, by Benjamin W. Hindy, Coroner, to inquire & true presentment make, in what manner & by whom Roswell Goings, found suddenly deceased on the 18th of the present month, came to his death. After having examined the said body & hearing the evidence, we do find, that the deceased came to his death by violence; & that said body has on it the following marks & wounds inflicted by Malisa Goings, the wife of the deceased; a bruise on the back, & a long deep cut on the head & the skull much fractured, & the brains injured, & which the jury find did cause the death of said person in five days from their infliction.

Given under our hands, at the time & place of said inquisition mentioned.

[signatures]


57057
4/21/57
RECORD OF TESTIMONY BEFORE CORONER’S JURY

James Brady Old man stated about the window he put his hand on her & told her to hush she dared him, he went over and she struck him he told me about 2 hours after it happened and said I knew nothing more after she struck him he said I expect she has killed me.

James Brady

57083
4/21/57
RECORD OF TESTIMONY BEFORE CORONER’S JURY

Josephus Going did not see the lick struck she said she had struck him I ran in and found him on the floor trying to get up I assisted him into the rocking chair and washed of the blood. He appeared to have hjis mind until about 12 or 1 o’clock when it was entirely gone I went form [illegible] I think the wound received shortened his days he never spoke to me after he was hurt. He would answer by shaking then nodding his head the accident occurred on Tuesday they had in days previous lived rather disagreeable.

Josephus Goings

57081
4/21/57
RECORD OF TESTIMONY BEFORE CORONER’S JURY

Testimony of Joshua Van Wilson is as follows: He states that Malissa Goings did strike the deceased first on the back and he fell and 2nd  between [illegible] and [illegible] on the head and he lay in a manner senseless on the floor for some time, the blows were made with a stick of stove wood about a foot long a split stick about as large as his arm, he thought it was cause of death he lived not qie a week he died on Saturday night, lived 5 or 6 days I do not know which, they had quarreled before then, I don’t know how long he had been sick, about a month or so only once to eat while sick not hardly able to walk if she [illegible] struck him she meant to kill him if she could; this was told to me two days before the affray by her.

Joshua Van Wilson his X mark

57082
4/21/57
RECORD OF TESTIMONY 
BEFORE CORONER’S JURY

Roswell Hibbs I was told the old man was hurt I come to see him he could not speak James Brady came & he said he would tell how it happened He spoke about placing the board in the window [illegible] took hold or run my hand about her neck took my seat she dared me to come then I went; & she struck me he said if I get over it I will have revenge

Roswell Hibbs

57084
4/22/57
CORONER'S RETURN

State of Illinois, Woodford County}ss

Whereas it was represented to me Benjamin W Hindy, Coroner of said county, on the 19th day of April, that a male person died the night previous at his residence in Worth Township, in said county, supsed to have come to his death by violence, casualty, or undue mans; whereupon on the 20th I caused to be summoned a jury of twelve good and lawful men of the neighborhood, to wit [names] to inquire how and in what manner, and by whom, or what he came by his death; and on the 21st said jurors assembled at the said place where the said dead body was lying, I appointed John Bowen, one of them, as foreman, and in the presence of the rest administered to him the following oath “You, as foreman of this inquest, do solemnly swear, that you will diligently inquire, and true presentment make, how, in what manner, and by whom or what, the body which lies dead, came to its death; and that you will deliver to me, the coroner of this county, a true inquest thereof, according to such evidence as shall be given you, and according to the best of your knowledge and belief, so help you God,” And to the other jurors the following oath, to wit; the same oath which John Bowen, your foreman, has just now take on his part, you and each of you do solemnly swear to keep on your respective parts; so help you God.”

Whereupon the said jurors, after examination of the said body, and hearing the testimony of Joshuan Van Wilson, Samuel W. Beck, John Brady, Benjamin Grove, Josephus Going, Roswell Hibbs, Thomas Sunderland, and Z.H. Whitmire and J.M. Clark physician who held a post mortem examination, who were subpoenaed as witnesses, returned the following verdict, to wit: We, the undersigned, jurors impaneled and sworn on the 21st day of April, in the year 1857, in the township of Worth, in the county of Woodford, in the state of Illinois, by Benjamin W. Hindy, Coroner, to inquire & true presentment make, in what manner & by whom Roswell Goings, found suddenly deceased on the 18th of the present month, came to his death. After having examined the said body & hearing the evidence, we do find, that the deceased came to his death by violence; & that said body has on it the following marks & wounds inflicted by Malisa Goings, the wife of the deceased; a bruise on the back, & a long deep cut on the head & the skull much fractured, & the brains injured, & which the jury find did cause the death of said person in five days from their infliction.

Given under our hands, at the time & place of said inquisition mentioned.

[signatures]

I Benjamin W. Kindig Coroner in and for said county and state aforesaid do hereby certify that the foregoing is a true statement of the proceedings had before me, of and concerning the death of the said Roswell Goings

Given under my hand and seal, this 22nd day of April A.D. 1857, B.W. Kindig Coroner of Woodford County #Seal#

57062
8/24/57
RECORD OF PRELIMINARY HEARING

Justices Court before R.J. Cassell and Joseph Morley two of the Justices of the Peace within and for the County of Woodford and State of Illinois

The defendant Melissa Goings brought before the court on charge of killing Roswell Goings April 23 1857

Witnesses for the people not being present the cause continued til tomorrow at 10 o’clock A.M. Subp issued for Thomas Summerland, Benj Grove Joshua Hamilton and John Brady for the people

April 24th 1857 Subp returned duly served by reading by John Lyons Cost

After haring the evidence and argument of the council it is ordered by the court that the defendant be held to bail in the sum of one thousand dollars to be and appear at the next term of our circuit court to answer an indictment to be then and there preferred against her
Whereupon the said defendant tendered her bond with Armstrong Goings and Samuel W. Beck as security, which bond was approved by the Court this 25th day of April 1857

R.L. Cassell JP, Joseph Morly JP

I R.L. Cassell do hereby certify that the above is a true transcript of the above cause as taken from my docket this 24th day of Augt 1857

R.L. Cassell, J.P.

57063
10/8/57
INDICTMENT

State of Illinois, Woodford County}

Of the October term of the Woodford County Circuit Court in the Year of Our Lord 1857

The Grand Jurors chosen selected and sworn in and for the County of Woodford in the name and by the authority of the People of the State of Illinois upon their oaths present that Melissa Goings late of the County of Woodford and State of Illinois not having the fear of God before her eyes but being moved and seduced by the instigation of the Devil on the fourteenth day of April in the Year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty seven with force and arms at and within the County of Woodford and State of Illinois in and upon one Roswell Goings in the peace of the said people of the said State of Illinois then and there being unlawfully feloniously and of her malice aforethought did make an assault, and that the said Melissa Goings with a certain stick of wood which she the said Melissa Goings in her right hand then and there held the said Roswell Goings in and upon the to of the head of him the said Roswell Goings then and there unlawfully feloniously willfully and of her malice aforethought did strike and beat giving to the said Roswell Goings then and there with the stick of wood aforesaid in and upon the top of the head of him the said Roswell Goings one mortal wound of the breadth of one inch and of the depth of one inch of which said mortal wound the said Roswell Goings from the said fourteenth day of April in the Year aforesaid until the eighteenth day of April the same month, in the year aforesaid in the County of Woodford aforesaid in the State aforesaid did languish and languishing did live on which said eighteenth of day of April in the year aforesaid the said Roswell Goings in the County of Woodford aforesaid of the said mortal wound died, and so the Jurors aforesaid upon their oaths aforesaid do say Melissa Goings the said Roswell Goings in manner and form aforesaid unlawfully feloniously willfully and of her malice aforethought did kill and murder contrary to the form of the statute in such cases made and provided and against the peace and dignity of the same People of the State of Illinois.

Hugh Fullerton, States Attorney

[Endorsement]

Filed October 8, 1857 P. Doty Clerk

The People vs Melissa Goings//Indictment for Murder// A True Bill, John M. Davison, Foreman of the Grand jury

Witnesses: G.W. Whitmire; Joseph Goings; James Baily; Roswell HIbbs; Joshua Van Wilson; Dr. Wood; J.V. Clark; Mary Flowers; [illegible]

57066
10/8/58
COURT MINUTES

People vs Melissa Goings} Indictment for Murder

This day came the Grand Jury into Court and presented this indictment endorsed a True Bill John M. Davison Foreman. It is ordered by the court that a capias issue herein returnable forthwith.

57068
10/10/57
COURT MINUTES

People vs Melissa Goings} Indictment for Murder

This day came the people by Hugh Fullerton states attorney as well the defendant in her proper person attended by Groves & Lincoln her attorneys. A copy of the indictment, list of jurors & witnesses having been furnished & given to defendant. The defendant being arraigned and called on for a plea & for plea herein says she is not guilty.

And now afterwards on the same day this cause coming on further to be heard the defendant being called came not and also Armstrong Goings & Samuel Beck her sureties being called came not to produce the body of Melissa Goings.

It is therefore ordered by the court that the recognizance in this cause be forfeited and that scire facias issue herein returnable to next term of this court.

57070
3/31/58
COURT MINUTES

People vs Melissa Goings} Indictment for Murder

And now on this day this cause is continued.

57074
10/5/58
COURT MINUTES

People vs Melissa Goings} Indictment for Murder

And now on this day comes the states attorney H Fullerton and on his motion this cause is stricken from the docket.

Judge’s docket says continued with alias capias

57077
5/24/59
COURT MINUTES

People vs Melissa Goings} Indictment for Murder

Now on this day comes the people by Henry Miller States Attorney and in his motion this cause is stricken from the docket with leave to reinstate.

57080

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