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Sigourney News Review
December 17, 1896

A Ghastly Sight

Having been summoned by telephone on last Friday morning to go to Coal Creek and hold an inquest on the dead body of one Milton Brunson, I hurriedly attended the summons and accompanied Constable J.L. Cochran. We arrived on the ground at about 2 p.m.

Near the southeast corner of the barn and in the rear end of the lot on which his mother resides, and not to exceed 120 feet from her dwelling, the dead body was found lying on the ground, dressed just as he came into the lot in his usual clothing, with a pair of gloves still on his hands. His head lay towards the west in a large pool of blood which had flown from the gunshot wounds in his head and neck, death seemingly having been instantaneous. Upon searching the body nothing of value, except a silverine case watch and a few cents in change, was found.

A jury was empanelled and sworn and Dr. Cal Williams was subpoenaed to make a post mortem examination on the body, which was carried into an empty building, clothes taken off and an examination had.

Dr. Williams reported substantially as follows: One ball entered right eye; one ball two inches above left eye; one ball entered right breast between third and fourth rib; one ball entered left side of head in front of ear; one ball entered neck - ride side; some ten or twelve balls or missiles struck left side in region of spleen, four or five of which entered the abdominal cavity. Balls ranged in size from #6 birdshot to 38 revolver caliber.

Eight witnesses were sworn and examined, three or four of who testified as to having heard the shots fired and one or two as to having seen the flash from the weapons as discharged. All who heard the shots were of the opinion that the first two shots were from a gun, the report being quite loud, and the other shots which followed in quick succession being not so loud and probably pistol shots. The shots were fired after midnight, about 1 o'clock. No one of the witnesses who heard the shots fired heard any other noise indicating the presence or departure of one who might have been there at the time. No search was made that night to ascertain the cause of the shooting, and consequently the dead body was not discovered until the next morning.

The evidence elicited from the witnesses signally failed to implicate any individual or any number of individuals as being the perpetrators of the crime and the jury composed of E.E. Lortscher, Chris Aldinger, and W.J. Reed after patiently listening to the testimony of the witnesses and otherwise informing themselves, returned the following verdict, "that deceased came to his death from gunshot wounds fired by persons unknown to the jury."

J.M. Adams, Coroner


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