Dateline: St. Charles, Missouri
Thursday, December 15, 1932
St. Charles Banner-News
MISSOURI SUPREME COURT RULES THAT DAVID MILLER
MUST HANG JANUARY 20
Court Also Affirms Two Other Death Sentences.
Miller was Convicted for the Murder of Pauline Duebbert
Turns Pale when He Hears the News
The Missouri Supreme Court yesterday affirmed the death sentences of three men, one of them is David Miller, and set January 20 as the date for the hangings.
Another to be hanged on that day is James W. Kellar, also known as Charles Campbell, who pleaded guilty before Circuit Judge McElhiney at Clayton last March 21 to the murder of Mrs. Sauer of Maplewood, wife of his benefactor. Kellar beat Mrs. Sauer to death with an iron pipe at her home. His sentence has been postponed until last April and this, his attorneys argued put him in jeopardy twice for the same crime. “We are satisfied the trial court felt it was a solemn responsibility and a distressing way to assess the death penalty” the opinion sated.
Harry Worden, convicted of originally attacking a 16 year old girl near Carthage, Mo., will also hang on that day. He based his appeal on the contention that he should have been granted a change of venue on account of public prejudice in Carthage. His father, Lew Worden, was hanged on for the same crime March 3.
David A. Miller was convicted by a jury in Circuit Judge e. B. Woolfolk’s court. He was convicted for the murder of Miss Pauline Daubert on her farm on the night of August 22, 1929. Robbery was the motive of this crime evidence pointed out when the hearing was held here.
Sheriff Grothe broke the news in the presence of Plackmeyer and reporters. Just after he was taken to his death cell on the top floor of the jail, he was told of the decision of the Supreme Court.
“Of course a man has to die,” Miller said, “But I hate to in this way.” He paled slightly and continued “its bad when you have to die by another, but I have confidence.”
Miller still maintained his innocence when he said, “I know I didn’t kill the woman, that’s why I have confidence. Haenssler can take my case to the governor.” In the present time, Miller is one of three occupying cells on the top floor. He was given two mattresses and two new baskets.
“Why can’t you put me up here two or three days before the time?” he asked. “I will sure be lonely up here.” And then the Sheriff informed him that it was not his (the sheriff’s) wish that he be put here, it was the law.
“I certainly want to thank you and Les, “ he told the sheriff, “You have been good to me.”
It is understood that Haenssler can take the case before the next Governor of Missouri.
Pauline Duebbert, 48, was murdered on her farm at Femme Osage and her cousin, August Meier was shot three times. August Becker and Otto Webbink, neighbors were the first to reach the scene of the shooting.
After blood hounds were employed, several bits of evidence, including gloves, overalls, guns, hats, etc., were found when the hounds found the murderer’s trail. It was by this evidence and the knowledge of strangers in the neighborhood that Sheriff I. Grothe and his deputy, Les Plackmeyer traced the movements of the murderers and had them both under arrest exactly one month following the murder.
August Meier ralliled and lived to testify against David A. Miller and Norman E. Tanner. Tanner at the last minute, decided to turn state’s witness and testify against Miller and himself. Seeing how the crimes were committed. Tanner was given life in the state penitentiary by Judge Woolfolk.
Miller has been kept in the county jail since his arrest in September 1929. Sheriff Grothe says that the man has been a model prisoner and has caused no trouble whatever. Miller has been frequently visited by a priest and it is said that he has been comforted to such extent that he has expressed himself as ready to die.
Tanner, months ago, was delivered to the pen. He is a young man of about 24 years. Miller will be 49 years old Christmas Day. His father, who lived at Swedesburg, Mo., is 86 years old.
If Miller is hanged on January 20, the job falls upon the shoulders of the newly elected sheriff, Charles Phelps.
At fist, the city and county people were greatly prejudiced and desired that “justice” be done.. Now, however, a great deal of sympathy is shown Miller by the people.
Miller’s attorney, Osmund Haenssler, appointed by the court to represent the defendant, has been working diligently on the case and recently went to Jefferson City to present this case before the Supreme Court. Claude Tuttle was also associated as an attorney for the defendant.
Commissioner H. J. Westhaues in affirming the sentence, holds that Miler is guilty beyond any doubt and that his crime was “cruel and atrocious.”
Les Plackmeyer and Wm. Bloebaum, former prosecuting attorney, are the only ones who have heard a confession from Miller. In telling his story to these men, however, he stopped when he came to the shooting and said he could not remember.
It was the testimony of a girl in the East St. Louis pawn shop and the testimony of Tanner that convicted Miller. Plackmeyer’s testimony at the trial made up more than sixty typewritten pages. The pawn shop girl pointed to Miller and Tanner at the trial and said they were the two who purchased revolvers from her.
The employer of Tanner and Miller helped the sheriff and Plackmeyer considerably in their efforts to locate the two suspects. After their identify became known, Grothe and Plackmeyer, with their evidence at hand, began tracing the movements of the suspects step by step, from the time they arrived at the Femme Osage farm the first time until they were captured.
The opinion handed down by the Supreme Court yesterday closes the next to last chapter of one of the most well read cases ever brought before the circuit court here.
Continue Reading Part V
Go back to Part III