The Action of Governor Holcomb is
Denounced by the Citizens in Mass
[From our own correspondent.]
FARNAM, NEB., Mar. 5—A mass meeting of the indignant citizens of Farnam was held last night for the purpose of denouncing the action of Governor Holcomb in commuting the death sentence of John B. Walker, the murderer of George P. Stevens, to that of imprisonment for life.
The meeting was presided over by David Hanna.
Many vigorous speeches denouncing the Governor’s action were made by prominent citizens, including Col. C. B. Dunton and M. M. Runyon.
The following resolutions, which express the almost unanimous sentiment of the community were adopted:
Whereas on January 24, 1894, a judgment was given against John B. Walker, and sentence of death pronounced as the penalty for the crime of murder which he had committed on the person of George P. Stevens, on May 11, 1893; and
Whereas frequent examinations were made by experts, formally conducted by the judges of the supreme and lower courts, in which all doubt concerning the sanity of said John B. Walker was legally dispelled, and
Whereas such respites have been and were granted in the case in order to perfect the examination as the most exorbitant demands of energetic counsel could ask for or expect so that all doubt and uncertainty might be eliminated from the case; and
Whereas the infliction of capital punishment for crimes of the same nature in Dawson county has been so persistently averted and ignored as to make the name of the punishment traditional rather than an active measure of the law; and
Whereas such perversion of the intent and meaning of the law is the most potent factor in the creation of that most odious crime, known as "lynch law," or, in other words, "justice illegally administered": Therefore
Resolved, That in exercising the function of executive clemency in the case of John B. Walker, thereby commuting his sentence from that of death by hanging to that of imprisonment for life in the penitentiary, the Governor of Nebraska, Silas A. Holcomb, has been guilty of wilful error, either by allowing himself to be influenced by pleas of mercy where none should exist; by a desire on his part to curry favor in order to obtain results favorable and important to his personal ambition; by lack of consideration for the best interests of all those immediately concerned, or by total disregard for the law of the land, an exponent of which he claims to be.
Resolved, That the active sympathy of the State officials for an insane man whose sanity has been established by two or more intelligent juries and county citizens, the peers of the party under-going trial, is beyond our conception or understanding, and the sudden conversion to a condition of energetic sympathy or friendship of the swarms of influential men to Lexington, the capital of Dawson county, is past comprehension, in view of their former indifference to and apparent ignorance of the man.
Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be sent to the Omaha Bee, World-Herald, State Journal and county papers for publication.
The Independent Era (North Platte) 12(11):1, Thursday, 12 March 1896