The Ahern Family - Edith May Ahern, Part II

The Murder of Edith May Ahern
(Part II, June 1906)

The following is a record of trial of the murderer of Edith May Ahern, of Ste. Cunegonde, Quebec, as reported in The Montreal Star during the month of June 1906. Contributed by Shirley M. Kraft.

Date of IssueHeadline
4 June 1906Incarceration is Telling on Hackett
11 June 1906Jury Selected for the Hackett Trial
12 June 1906Interest is Keen in Murder Trial
12 June 1906Point Was Scored for the Defence
13 June 1906Hackett Stands the Ordeal Well
13 June 1906Two Witnesses Identify Hackett
14 June 1906Evidence Made Hackett Uneasy
14 June 1906Eight Year Old Boy Pointed to Hackett
15 June 1906Hackett Smiled at Crown Witness
15 June 1906Prosecution Has Closed Its Case
16 June 1906Declared Hackett is Not the Man
18 June 1906Hackett's Counsel Addressed Jury
18 June 1906Hackett's Fate Rest With Jury
20 June 1906"Guilty of Manslaughter", Declares the Jury in Trial of Hackett in Ahern Murder Case

Alleged murderer of Edith Ahern Shows Effects of His Confinement
Indicted by Grand Jury
The incarceration and suspense are beginning to tell on James Thomas Hackett against whom a true bill was rendered by the grand jury at the court of King's Bench on Saturday afternoon, on the charge of the murder of Edith May Ahern. When called to the dock to put his plea before Chief Justice Sir Alexander Lacoste, it was noted that the sangfroid and carelessness of manner which marked the prisoner's attitude in the earlier stages of the case had been considerable modified. There was something of a serious look in his eyes. When asked whether he was guilty or not guilty, he replied "Not guilty" in a loud sharp tone behind which there seemed to lie an indication that the man had at last come to realize the desperate situation in which he was placed. His counsel urged that the trial which had been fixed for Tuesday of the incoming week be postponed until Monday, the 11th, in order that evidence having as important bearing on the case could have time to arrive from Christlania, in Norway. The Chief Justice said that this postponement did not suit his own or the court's convenience, but these were small matters when one considered that it probably was a case of life or death for the prisoner, who must receive every possible consideration. The postponement was, therefore, freely agreed to. While Hackett's counsel and His Lordship were speaking Hackett gripped the rail of the dock, and followed the words with furrowed brow and a general intentness of attitude. The evidence from Norway, it is surmised, is being introduced by the defence with a view to disputing the credibility of Marks and Nygaard, two of the principal witness for the prosecution.
The Montreal Star 4 June 1906
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Choice of Twelve Men Took up Greater Part of the Forenoon
Review by Crown Counsel
Story of the Murder of Little Edith May Ahern Once More Told in Court The case of James Thomas Hackett, who is charged with the murder of little Edith May Ahern, was commenced in the Court of King's Bench this morning before Chief Justice Lacoste. The whole of the morning was spent in choosing a jury. At the opening of the Court, the counsel for Hackett stated they wished a mixed jury, and their request was granted. Each juryman called was challenged as to whether he was unprejudiced on the case. The questions as to whether they had read the newspapers and whether this had any effect upon their acting as jurors and whether they had formed an opinion against the prisoner on account of the stories published in the newspapers, were then put. After calling about thirty jurymen, the desired twelve were chosen. Eight jurymen were rejected and ten were peremptorily challenged. The jurymen chosen are as follows: W. H. Evans, W. Perreault, A. Charbonneau, J. H. Hamilton, Idor Lariviere, H. Guilbault, Harry Shaw, J. H. Hudon, Charles R. Westgate, A. Chartrand. A. Ryan, and William Moffat.

After the jury had been sworn in the question was brought up whether they should visit the territory where the murder was committed before hearing any evidence or afterwards. His Lordship stated that if they want there before any evidence was heard they would not be able to make any headway as they would not know where to look or what they were looking at as no one is allowed to speak to them about the case. It was then decided that the crown counsel proceed with the story of the case, and if at any time the jurors feel that they need to visit the grounds they will be allowed to do so. Crown Prosecutor Lafontaine then addressed the jury in French giving them an outline of the case. Mr. Guerin also gave an outline of the case and brought before the jury the facts which the Crown would undertake to prove. This was that Hackett had taken the little girl from the vicinity of her home on Napoleon street, Ste Cunegonde and from there had conducted her to some bushes near Cote St. Paul, and had there abused and exposed the little one to such an extent that her death resulted.
The Montreal Star 11 June 1906
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Court of King's Bench Crowded to Hear Ahern Murder Story Retold
Hackett, the Accused, Follows the Evidence With the Most Marked Attention
The second day of the trial of James Hackett for the murder of little Edith May Ahern opened this morning. As on the first day, the court room was crowded to the doors with the numerous spectators, who packed the seats and aisles and took up every available inch of space in their eagerness to see the man and hear the story which has excited such general and such intense interest. Conspicuous in the crowd were a large number of women, many of whom were friends or relatives of the family of the victim, while others showed their acquaintance with the accused by the smiles and nods which they directed to him whenever he happened to look in their direction. This was not often, however, for the prisoner at the bar followed the course of the testimony with the greatest interest, watching closely its effect on the jury, and seeming to realize at every moment that his life was at stake and depended on the verdict of the twelve men in the jury box. In his intense eagerness he seemed perfectly unconscious of the hundreds of eyes which were turned on him from every side of the court room, and which studied his every move and noted every detail of his appearance.
Not that there was anything very striking or deserving of attention in his aspect, which was characterized rather by insignificance, but from the circumstances of his position he assumed a terrible importance. Against the dark background of the dock his face looked ghastly in its pallor which was accentuated by the light sandy colored hair and moustache. His hands rested generally on the railing of the dock, and he moved but little seeming to be rendered almost incapable of movement by the intensity of his emotion. The small figure clad in sombre brown, which blended with the woodwork of the dock, seemed pitifully small and weak, an impression still further strengthened by the helpless expression of the small featured face. Down in the forefront of the spectators sat an old but active looking man with white hair and moustache, which he continually pulled in the intensity of his emotion as he followed the course of the trial. It was the grandfather of the murdered child and he watched every move and listened for every word with an expression of nervous strain and excitement which was almost painful to witness. Farther back sat the child's father and though he also seemed to take a deep interest in the movements of the court, his expression of mournful resignation indicated that he felt that whatever might be the result of the trial it could never restore to him the little daughter whose young life had been cut off by so sudden and so terrible a death.
Mr. F. X. Rochon, carter, of Ste. Cunegonde, was the first witness called to-day. He stated that he had met Hackett on April 3rd about 3.30 o'clock in the afternoon. He knew Hackett and also knew where Mr. Ahern lives. The distance from Ahern's house to where he met Hackett was about one acre. Hackett was under the influence of liquor at the time. As far as witness could remember he had on a black hat and an overcoat. He was not sure about the overcoat. Cross-examination by Mr. Rondeau as to the hour he saw Hackett, witness said that he remembered the hour because it was near his time for dinner. Witness was asked how drunk the accused was, and in answer said that he had never seen him so drunk before as he was on that day.
Alfred Arsenault, constable of Ste. Cunegonde, said that he had received news about 7.30 p.m. on the 3rd of April stating that the little Ahern girl was missing. On the following day searches were made by other officers of the police force as well as himself. "On the 5th , I found the body in the bush," said Arsenault, "and advised the parents." He was the first of the search party to see the body in the bush. The body was found in a lot of brushwood, surrounded by big trees. The bush took up about seven acres of land. When asked if he could see the houses on the street from where he found the body, he answered "No."
He was asked how he found the body, and answered that it was nude, and that he found it on a little raised surface of the ground. The child was lying face downwards with the head lying a little to the left side. The boots and stocking of the little girl were shown to him and he was asked if these were found on the body. Witness answered "yes" and he also stated that he found the tuque of the child very close to her head. A pair of gloves were also found, but they were found by Captain Tourangeau about half an acre from where the body was found. He was asked if he had found a razor, a key or a handkerchief near the body. Witness answered that he had not, but that he had read in the papers that such articles were found. He said that snow was on the ground at the same time, but only a few old prints of feet could be found, probably they had been there nearly all winter.
Sister Maissicotte (Angelina Gagnon) said that she knew Mr. and Mrs. Ahern, parents of the little girl. The little girl had come to school about 9 o'clock in the morning and had taken her lessons under the care of the witness. She stated that the little girl left school about a quarter to four, and that she was perfectly satisfied that little May Ahern had been there all day, and that she left school with her little brother to go home. Dr. MacTaggart, who made the autopsy on the body was then called. He read the report which he and Dr. Dugas had made after the autopsy on the body. There were a few scratches on the body but not sufficient to cause death. The organs of the body were in perfect order. From the examination, Dr. MacTaggart said that death was due to nervous shock and exposure. Mr. O'Sullivan then asked if it was not the long walk that had exhausted the child. Dr. MacTaggart answered that she might have been exhausted by the walk, and then the exposure to the cold at that time of the year was sufficient to cause death. It was impossible for the doctor to say how long the child was dead, but it was not over three days.
The Montreal Star 12 June 1906
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Hackett not the Man who Threw Bundle in Cote St. Paul Church
Father of Murdered Girl Breaks Down While Giving His Testimony in Court
At yesterday afternoon's session of the Court of King's Bench, one point was gained for Hackett through the brother of Cure Brisette, saying that he did not think Hackett was the man who threw the clothing in the church window at Cote St. Paul. At the afternoon session five of the witness were heard. The first called in the box was Mr. Hector Ahern, father of the little murdered girl. He gave the route which his little daughter might have taken in coming home from school on the afternoon of April 3rd. The clothing worn by the little one was then produced by High Constable St. Mars and Mr. Ahern was asked to look each article over and say if it was part of the wearing apparel of his little girl on the day she was missed from her home.
The father took the things one by one and while telling the court and jury that each article belonged to his little daughter, the memory of the dreadful deed came back to his mind and he broke into tears. He was afterwards questioned as to the age of his little girl and in answer he said that she would have been five years on April 15. Mr. O'Sullivan began the cross-examination and in reply to him Ahern said that he did not know Hackett, not having seen him previous to the affair. The child did not know Hackett either. Then followed a long series of questions as to the manner in which the child went to and from school, counsel endeavoring to learn if the witness was certain that the child had been at school that day. To this Ahern replied that he was sure she had been there because the sisters had told him so.

The next witness called was the Rev. Father Brisette. The reverend gentleman told the court how that on the 3rd of April his brother Adelard, who was with him in the presbytery, called him to look through the window and to see a man who had thrown the red bundle in the open window of the church basement. When the clothing was produced in court the Rev. Father recognized it as the same as was found in the basement of the church.
Adelard Brisette was next called. He is a brother of Father Brisette, a tailor by occupation. He told the court that he had been in the kitchen of the presbytery between 5.30 and 6 o'clock on the day in question. He had seen a man walk up and throw a parcel into the cellar window. The man had come from the direction of the wood, he had taken the parcel from under his coat and after throwing it through the window, returned to the road and walked away in the direction of the city. In cross-examination witness said that when first he saw the man, the latter was three or four feet from the end of the shed. He could not tell where the man had come from. Asked if the prisoner was the man whom he had seen, Brisette replied, "No, he is not the man." He could not recognize the prisoner as the man. "Is your eyesight good?" asked Mr. Rondeau. "Yes." "Can you distinguish objects at a distance?" "Yes." The man walked as if fatigued, according to Brisette. Asked as to the size of the parcel thrown through the open window, witness said that at first he thought it was a soldier's tunic. "Did you see the man's face so that you could again recognized him?", asked Mr. Rondeau. "No," replied Brisette. "But I do not think the prisoner was the man."

Witness said that his impression was that the man he had seen was stouter than Hackett, and that his neck was shorter than Hackett's. That Hackett was not the man he could not swear, but his impression was that he was not the same man. The difference in stoutness might have been caused by a man wearing padded clothing. This sometimes being done by tailors. There was a wrangle between counsel over this part of Brisette's testimony. A juryman took a hand in the discussion by asking to have the prisoner walk across the court. This the court declined to allow and the matter closed by Brisette declaring that he could not positively identify the man he had seen throw the parcel into the cellar window. Evidence was also given by Camillo Amireault, who drew the map used in the case, and by Cyrille Verdun, clerk in the hotel of F. X. St. Jean, 122 Vinet Street. Verdun said that on the afternoon of April 3rd Hackett had entered the hotel and had taken a drink of whiskey blanc. This concluded the evidence and the court adjourned till to-day.
The Montreal Star 12 June 1906
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Accused Murderer Pays the Keenest Interest to the Evidence
Prisoner Paled Somewhat When Police Connected His Family With Find Near Scene of Murder.
Public interest in the Hackett trial seems to grow instead of diminishing with its progress, and the morning's session which opens the third day of the case was conducted in a court room crowded to the doors with closely attentive spectators. Among those present might be noticed many men prominent in the professional and business circles of the city. The number of women present was again quite large and they followed the testimony of the witnesses with unwearied attention in spite of the heat and stuffiness of the court room which soon became almost unbearable. The growth of interest on the part of the public corresponded with a very evident increase of attention in the jurymen, who seemed to enter more into the responsibilities and duty of their position and who gave proof of their careful consideration by the number of questions they asked and by their close scrutiny of the various exhibits.

The evidence at this morning's session was still largely of the preparatory character and little of importance was brought out. What points there were, however, told generally against the accused. This was especially the case with the testimony of Captain Tourangeau of the St. Cunegonde station who was present when the body of the little girl was found and who in conjunction with Sub-Chief Charpentier, worked the ruse by which the handkerchief found near the body of the child was recognized as her own by the sister of Hackett's wife. At this point of the testimony the prisoner who had been following it with the most intense interest showed signs of emotion and his face generally so pale became distinctly flushed.
In spite of what must be the frightful strain of the trial, Hackett stands the ordeal very well, and though always pale with the pallor of death and wearing a expression of intense nervous strain, he still follows the testimony with all his attention and without any indication of the likelihood of a breakdown. He keeps ever to the one attitude and though now and then a sudden noise or movement in the court room may draw from him a quick glance he always reverts immediately to the witness box and the jurymen and his ceaseless watch for the effects of every bit of testimony. Still clad in sombre brown and with a pale face worn by the constant and frightful strain, Hackett's small figure leans forward on the side of the dock, his arms partly folded on the railing and he studies with unwinking eyes the progress of the terrible game in which his life is the stake.
The first witness to be heard at this morning's session of the Court of King's Bench in the Hackett trial was Mr. Alvares Dore, chief of police of Cote St. Paul. He stated that on the 4th of April he received advice from the Rev. Father Brisette that a bundle of clothing probably those of the missing young girl, had been thrown in the basement of the presbytery. He immediately went to the church and took the clothing which consisted of the little red cloak and dress. The following Monday morning he visited the aqueduct and he was told by a boy named Morgan that he had found the drawers, shirt, underclothing and little basket about seven or eight acres from the church. Cross-examination by Mr. Rondeau as to whether he had a key in his possession and whether he had tried this key to see if it would fit any of the doors in Hackett's house. Chief Dore replied that he had a key which had been found somewhere near where the body of the murdered child was found. He had taken it to Hackett's house where he found a little girl of about 11 years of age, and that he had tried the keys in all the doors of the house, but it would not fit any of the locks.

Witness was then asked if he had not heard that a handkerchief had also been found. To this he replied that one had been found, but he did not know where. As to the gloves found he did not know who had found them. "What has become of the key?', asked Mr. Rondeau. Witness. " I took it home and I don't know whether I could find it again." Juror--"What condition was the key in when handed to the chief?" The chief answered that the key was in good order, not being rusty. The Court asked at what hour the Cure showed the clothes to the chief, to which chief said it was about 6 o'clock on the evening of the 4th.
Elias Tourangeau, captain of Ste. Cunegonde police, was then called to the box. He stated that he was one of the search party, and that when the child was found the body was cold and stiff. The body was then removed to the basement of the church where the morgue authorities called for it. He stated that it was he who found the gloves and the bottles and that it was very near the body of the child, that he picked them up. The medicine bottle was found in the morning and the whiskey bottle near the canal bank in the afternoon. When cross-questioned by Mr. Rondeau as to the search he had made, Captain Tourangeau stated that they had started from the north end of the bush and had worked in rows up and down the bush until the body of the murdered child was found.

As regards the handkerchief found, Mr. Tourangeau stated that Mr. Ahern had found it and turned it over to him and that he had taken it to the detective office. He further stated that he and sub-chief Charpentier had visited the Hackett's house. He had thrown the handkerchief behind the bureau. Charpentier proceeded to make a search and he pulled out the bureau. The handkerchief was then found and Charpentier held it up to Mrs. Hackett. To this the woman said it belonged to her sister Bernadette. She called her sister Bernadette, but she did not take the handkerchief in her hand, it being dirty. The handkerchief was a white one with a red dotted border. After this the young lady Bernadette stated that she had taken the handkerchief from a young man some few days before.

Mr. Rondeau: "Were the women nervous." Witness: "No." Mr. Rondeau then questioned if the women were not really nervous because it was not an everyday occurrence for two men to visit a house and make a search. "No," said Chief Tourangeau, "They were not nervous." Bernadette then stated to Tourangeau that she had received the handkerchief from a young man named Johnny Denny, The young man was visited and he denied ever having a handkerchief of that description. Mr. Rondeau then questioned Capt. Tourangeau as to the treatment he and sup-chief Charpentier gave Mrs. Hackett when they called at the house. "Did you not treat her brutally?" "No, positively no," said the witness. "Did Mr. Charpentier use words which would hurt her feelings?" asked Mr. Rondeau. "No," said the Captain,.. "He was particularly careful and treated the lady delicately."

One of the jurymen then asked if there was a search made to see if there were any other handkerchiefs to correspond with the one which had been found. Captain Tourangeau stated that Sub-Chief Charpentier may have made a search but he did not. Two other jurymen asked whether the child's body had any muddy finger marks on it when the body was picked up. Captain Tourangeau told them that the only marks of mud were caused by the child's body lying on the ground and that no finger marks could be found on the body. The court was then adjourned until the afternoon.
The Montreal Star 13 June 1906
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James Maddick and Eddie McRae are Positive in Their Statements
But Stuck to His Testimony Through it all
John Dowling's Evidence
Contrary to the trend of the first day's testimony in the Hackett trial, in which the prisoner at the bar scored a point, at the second day's hearing two witnesses gave evidence to the effect that they had seen the prisoner in company with the little girl on April 3, the day of the murder. Both were quite positive and the close cross-examination of Hackett's lawyers failed to shake their testimony in any important point. The first witness called was Mr. John Dowling. He explained that on April 3 he was working at Redfern's mills with a team. About 4.30 in the afternoon he noticed a man and a little girl walking across the railway bridge which leads over the Redfern Basin. The little girl was about four or five years of age, wore a red coat, a red toque with blue and white border. Asked by Mr. Guerin if he saw the color of the little girl's dress witness said that the coat was too long and therefore he was unable to see it. He further stated that the little girl had carried a basket and that one end of it was broken so that he could see inside.
The man, he stated, wore a black fedora hat, a dark saque coat, and was fair. When asked by Mr. Guerin whether the prisoner at the bar looked like the man he saw, Dowling could not say for a fact that he was, but he looked much like him. The moustache of the man he saw on the bridge seemed to be heavier than the one on the prisoner at the bar. Dowling told the Court that he could say that the man was nearly up to his shoulders. Mr. Guerin then asked Dowling to step over to the dock and examine the height of Hackett and see if he then thought he was the man.

"I could not say. This man is so much higher up than I," replied the witness. Mr. Guerin asked that Hackett be brought on to the floor of the court. Mr. O'Sullivan objected to this, but the court granted Mr. Guerin's request.
Hackett walked over to Dowling, and the two stood side by side, Dowling said, "The man I saw came with his shoulders below mine, just like this," showing how they then stood. Dowling, continuing his testimony, said that the man spoke to the little girl at the end of the bridge and that the girl replied. The witness is deaf in one ear and did not hear what passed between them. Mr. O'Sullivan in cross-examination covered some of the ground gone over previously, and did not appear to like the manner of Dowling's replies. Dowling too, was nettled and said with some spirit, "If you will let me tell it in my own way I'll explain." The Bench said that the witness should answer only such questions as were asked.

A juror asked Dowling if the bridge spoken of was a regular passageway. To this Dowling answered that it was not. It was private for the Grand Trunk, but that many persons used it. James Maddick was the next witness to be examined. He is an iron worker by trade, and was employed on the new Grand Trunk bridge at Atwater avenue, on the afternoon of April 3rd. Some time after 4 o'clock, witness said he saw a little girl and a man pass by the bridge, the man was under the influence of liquor. The little girl wore red clothing and carried a little basket in her hand.
"Have you seen the man since?" "Yes." "Look about the court room and point out that man if you can see him." "There he is." This after a look about, and as witness answered the question he pointed to Hackett in the dock. Crown Prosecutor Guerin wanted to know what circumstances had attracted his attention to the pair. Witness said that his boss, Robert McManus, spoke to him, saying, "This beats Winnipeg for drunkenness." This reply brought a protest from the Bench, the Chief Justice saying that there was no relevancy in the answer. Cross-examination by Mr. O'Sullivan. "Do you know Hackett?" "Just by seeing him." "How did you know his name is James Hackett?" "By reading it in the paper." "Oh, you sometimes read the papers." "Yes, I read about the murder once."

Mr. O'Sullivan began a line of questioning as to the possibility of committing error. Witness said that he had never seen a man like Hackett. "There may be a man looking like him, but I haven't seen him yet." Asked if it were not true that in the detectives' office he could not identify Hackett. Maddick replied that he did not swear to his identification there. Mr. O'Sullivan followed this line trying to shake witness's statement. "Then you were not certain that Hackett was the man?" "I would not swear to him." "Then you could not do so?" "I could do so, but I would not." "But you are positive now and you were not then?" "I was just as positive then as I am to-day." "Then why did you not swear to Hackett's identity?" "I didn't want to do so because I thought they would keep me here for the trial, and I feared I might loss my job."
Edward McRae, a thirteen year old school boy, residing with his parents at 2302 St. James street, told the court that he didn't remember April the third but he remembered a certain Tuesday, in the beginning of the month of April. He remembered that day quite well because he had met a man and a little girl on the Grand Trunk bridge at St. Henri, and afterwards had heard that there had been a murder on that day. The little girl was dressed in red, with a red cloak, red toque and carried a little basket. He further stated that he had taken a good look at the man because he was drunk, and that he would know him again if he saw him.

"Do you see him here in the court-room?" "Yes, there his is," pointing to Hackett in the dock. Cross-examined by Mr. O'Sullivan, the boy said that he did not particularly notice the clothes worn by the man but he had a good look at his face. First he said that the man wore an overcoat and later admitted he was not certain. He saw the man's face and noticed he had a kind of ginger moustache." Questioned as to the possibility of mistake, the lad said he might make mistakes. In this case he was certain that the prisoner in the dock was the man he had seen on the bridge with the little girl. "Do you know to what you expose that man if you make a mistake?" "I don't know the meaning of the word expose."
Then the boy broke down and cried. At this pint a juror remarked that he, the juror, could not understand the question. The Chief Justice quieted the lad with a few kind words, and afterwards Mr. O'Sullivan asked him if he knew that the man would be hanged if he made a mistake. The boy replied that he did not know that, and reiterated that he was certain that he had not made a mistake. To the bench the boy explained that the man was not helping the little girl across the bridge. She was walking just behind and to one side of him.

Mrs. Frank Taylor, of Cote St. Paul, told of seeing a man and a little girl in red on the fatal day. The man passed at a distance of about fifty feet. She saw him sideways. He did not appear to be a big man. The prisoner was brought on the floor and Mrs. Taylor said that the man she had seen was about that height, a man probably between twenty-five and thirty years of age. Later, after six o'clock, she saw the man return alone. This time he was in front of the house walking on the Grand Trunk tracks. She could not identify the prisoner as the man who had passed her house. Alcide Lecours followed. On the evening of April 3, he was driving along the bank of the aqueduct and saw a man with a little girl. They were lying on the bank and arose as he, witness, drove up. The man was evidently drunk and took a couple of steps to steady himself. The girl was dressed in red. This was all he saw.
Before closing the court at the end of the afternoon session, on of the jurymen asked His Lordship to allow them to have a few newspapers to read, as they found the hours very long. "We do not want to read about the murder, you can cut all reference to it out of the papers. We find the hours very long." Counsel for the defence made no objection to the jurors having papers to read, and the request was granted by His Lordship, but he cautioned the jurors to read no comments on the case.
The Montreal Star 13 June 1906
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Christian Marks, an Important Crown Witness, was Heard
Positive of the Identify of the Man Noticed Near the Scene of the Crime.
At this morning's session of the Hackett trial the Crown produced one of the most important witnesses, the Swede, Christian Marks, who met the prisoner walking on the railway track near Cote St. Paul on the evening of the murder. The Swede was perfectly clear and decided in his testimony, and declared that he had not the slightest doubt as to the identify of Hackett with the man he and his friend, Nygard, met. It was a dramatic moment in the case when Hackett was ordered to stand up in the dock and face the witness, who pointed to him and said, "That is the man."

Hackett showed some nervousness under the ordeal, and especially when the witness was called he moved about restlessly in his chair, pulled at his collar, became rather flushed, and gave evidence of his excitement. In general, however, the accused seems to become more confident and at ease as the case proceeds, and as familiarity takes away the first terror of the court proceedings. He sat back comfortable in his chair, twirled his moustache at times, and though always very attentive to the testimony, seemed to take more interest in the comings and goings of the spectators at the trial and to the happenings of the court. Rev. Father McCrory was the first witness in the morning session. He stated that on the first Sunday after Easter he was with the person who found the key, which was produced by Chief Dore, of Cote St. Paul, at yesterdays' session. Percy Morgan, clerk, residing at Cote St. Paul, said that he had found part of the clothing and the little basket. He was all alone. He looked at the things and laid them down, and then went to see Chief Dore about his find. The basket was found first, and the clothes were found in a straight line about five feet away from the basket.
Christian Marks, one of the most important witnesses in the case, was then called. He stated that he was a worker in the Montreal Steel Works. On the 3rd of April last he left work about six o'clock and went to his home with Johannes Nygaardt. They walked along St. Patrick street until they came to a bridge, and then went home by way of the railway track. When they were walking along the track they passed a man, who made an impression on the witness's mind. The passed about two feet from the man, and they noticed that he was drunk.

Mr. Guerin: "Did you ever see the man before?" Witness: "Yes." Mr. Guerin: "How did you know him?" Witness: "We worked in the same shop." When walking on the track Nygaardt said to Marks "Here comes a drunken man." Marks, then noticed that his head was down and that the man had his hands in his pockets. He noticed that the man's clothing was black and that his hat was a soft felt one. He also noticed a black belt with a shining buckle around the man's waist. Clothing and belt were exhibited, and witness said they looked like those the man had on.
Hackett was then asked to stand up and witness said "that is the man I saw that day." After this Marks went to Nilsson's house where they asked him if he had met the man, giving Marks his description. On Saturday evening he went to Point St. Charles along with Sub-Chief Charpentier, and on the same evening he went to Toronto. When he returned from Toronto he was taken to Place Viger Station on the Monday night. This was the Monday night immediately after the child's body was found. He was shown Hackett at the station in company with Capt. Coleman and Special Constable Carter. Mr. Guerin: "Have you any doubt that the prisoner at the bar is the man you saw on the tracks?" Marks: "None whatever."
Mr. O'Sullivan commenced his cross-examination by asking Marks where he first met Hackett. Witness answered that it was about November 1904. Cross-examined by Mr. O'Sullivan as to time and walk of Hackett when he met him on track, witness said that Hackett was walking in ordinary gait. It was about 6.25 in the evening. Mr. O'Sullivan: "If the man had his head down how could you see his face?" Witness: "It's very easy to see a man's face when you are only two feet away from him." Witness was then asked to explain how he generally went home, and explained that as soon as the six o'clock whistle blew he used to meet Nygaardt and both of them would go home together. Mr. O'Sullivan: "Why did you go to the police station to speak about the man?" Witness: "Because I knew him." Mr. O'Sullivan: "Didn't you identify Bradley as the man?" Witness: "No." Witness continued to say that he had called at the police station in the afternoon and that he was shown Bradley by Chief Carpenter. "The Chief," continued the witness, "spoke of the murder to me." Mr. O'Sullivan: "When did you know about the murder?" Witness: "When it was read to me from the Star on April 5th." Mr. O'Sullivan: "Why did you go to Toronto with Chief Carpenter when you knew the man worked in Montreal?" Marks: "Because Chief Carpenter took me there to see a man."
The question was then brought up by Mr. O'Sullivan if the witness was sure that Hackett worked in the Montreal Steel Works. Witness said he was positive. He then explained how Hackett had sold his time to another workman and how he had gone to the office of the steel works and saw the manager about the matter along with a police officer. Mr. O'Sullivan: "Didn't you go to Lachute with Mr. Charpentier?" Witness: "Yes." "How long were you there?" "About fifteen minutes." "When you arrived home, did you see the prisoner at the station with another police officer?" Witness: "Yes, with two or three officers." "When you saw Hackett, why did you say he was the man who killed the child?" "I did not say that, I said he was the man I saw on the track."

Mr. O'Sullivan then went on to question Marks as to his coming to this country, if he was not forced to leave Christlania, Norway, instead of leaving of his own accord. Marks answered that he had come here of his own accord and that he paid $18 for his ticket when he came across, two years ago yesterday. Mr. O'Sullivan: "I suppose you will take a trip if you get the $100 or $125 that's promised by the Mayor?" Mr. Guerin objected to this question, as having no bearing on the case. The court sustained the objection. Before closing the court, one of the jurors asked if any of Hackett's relatives or Hackett himself had ever done him any injury. Witness answered that nothing had ever been done to him, and he would treat Hackett the same as he would any other man. Mr. Dougall Gylling interpreted from the Norwegian language into French and from French into English with marked accuracy.
The Montreal Star 14 June 1906
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Little Nilsson Child Saw Him with Little Girl on Day of Murder
Found Near Scene of Crime It Was Claimed by Hackett's Wife, Says Detective
James Thomas Hackett was again identified at yesterday afternoon's session of the Court of King' Bench as being the man who was on the aqueduct with a little girl dressed in red. This testimony was given by Oscar Nilsson, a young lad only eight year of age. He told his story without hesitation, and did not even whimper when the lawyers for the defence put some pretty stern questions to him. The young lad's father also gave some important evidence, stating that he had met the two witnesses, Marks and Nygaard, and that after they had passed the man on the aqueduct they had told him, Nilsson, that they knew him.

James Nicholson was the first witness to be called at yesterday afternoon's session. He said that about 4 o'clock, when he was near the Grand Trunk Railway bridge, a man and a little girl passed him. They were going in a westerly direction. The child wore red clothing and appeared to be about four years of age. The little coat worn by Edith Ahern was produced and witness recognized it, and also the little basket, as those that the little girl had on April 3rd. The man was short, had fair hair, fair moustache, and wore dark clothing. Mr. Guerin: "Did you see his face?" Witness: "No, I only saw him sideways." A coat and pair of trousers belonging to Hackett were then produced and Mr. Nicholson said that they resembled the ones that the man wore the day he saw him on the track.
Cross-examined by Mr. O'Sullivan as to whether he had noticed the man or not, witness said that both man and child had crossed the bridge before he reached there, and he did not get a good look. Mr. O'Sullivan (pointing to the prisoner): "Do you identify this man as being the man you saw?" Witness: "He looks like the man I saw." Mr. O'Sullivan: "You won't swear he is the man you saw?" Witness: "No." Mr. Guerin: "Could you say he was the man?" Witness: "He looks enough like the man to be the man." Alfred Riopel, detective, of the city force, was shown the men's clothing, which is used as evidence in the case. Crown Prosecutor Lafontaine asked him where he got the clothing. He stated he got it in a closet in Hackett's house. When he called there, he saw two women, and they had looked over the house with him and had given him Hackett's working clothes. Besides the working coat and trouser, another pair of trousers were found in Hackett's bedroom. Mr. Lafontaine: "Do you know the clothes that the prisoner wore on April 3rd?"
Mr. Riopel: "Not personally, but when I returned from Hackett's house after getting the clothes he admitted to me that they were the clothes he had worn on April 3rd." The examination brought objections from the prisoner's counsel. It was claimed that the witness could answer only in matters of personal knowledge. When it was sought to learn what had taken place in the detective's office, Mr. O'Sullivan objected, saying: "The authors declare that the police have no right to ask questions." "That is certainly erroneous", responded His Lordship. "Surely the police must make investigations."

Mr. Rondeau questioned the witness as to what Hackett had told him of the clothing worn that day. The point at issue was to learn which were Hackett's "Sunday" trousers and which were his working ones. One coat had a couple of tears. Witness had suggestion that this might have been due to a man crawling under a barb wire fence. Mr. Rondeau asked if this could have not been months previously. Riopel answered that the tears appeared to him to have been of recent origin. Some people had told him that the man seen with the little girl had gone through a space in the wire fence bordering the aqueduct, and had been caught there, tearing his coat. Considerable time was occupied by Mr. Rondeau in trying to learn from the witness what manner of tear would be affected by clothing caught in fence barbs. This did not seem to be very illuminating. Chief Dore, recalled, produced a key which, he said, had been found by Father McCory and given to him. The key was that spoken of as having been tried on locks in Hackett's house. The key was filed as an exhibit.
Mr. Adolphe Deschamps was next called, and he explained the finding of the mysterious handkerchief. He said that on the Sunday following the finding of the body he had visited the woods and just through curiosity had visited the spot where the body was found. Along with his brother and three other gentlemen he walked about the place. After walking for some time he came across a white handkerchief with red dots. Asked by Mr. Lafontaine where he found the handkerchief, witness said it was about one and a quarter acres from the body of the murdered child was found. He brought the handkerchief home and on Monday gave it to Mr. Ahern, father of the child.

Witness was stood aside and Joseph Charpentier, sub-chief of detectives, was sworn. The latter produced a handkerchief, and it was filed as an exhibit. Witness said that Captain Tourangeau had give him the handkerchief. Deschamps was then recalled. He said that the handkerchief produced was the one found by him.
Detective Charpentier was then recalled, and told of visiting Hackett's house, accompanied by Captain Tourangeau. He told the latter to throw the handkerchief behind a bureau. Afterwards a search was made, and the handkerchief was found there. Mrs. Hackett, when she saw the handkerchief, said: "That is Bernadette's handkerchief." The girl was called in and the latter said it was her handkerchief. The girl told the officer she had stolen the handkerchief from "Johnnie Kenny." At first the girl appeared to be certain it was her handkerchief. Later he returned and she did not appear to be so positive.
Oscar Nilsson, a machine operator, residing at St. Paul, followed. On the afternoon of April 3, he was at home working in his house. His little son, Oscar, called to him that a drunken man and a little girl were on the canal bank. The boy said that he was frightened that something was about to happen, because the man stopped and began to unbutton the little girl's coat. Witness said that he told the boy to run about his business. About 6.25 o'clock, when he was chopping wood in his yard, his son called to him, "Here, pa, is the man who went up with the little girl." The man was then alone and walking on the track. The man was about 250 to 270 feet from witness at this time. The witness did not see the man'' face. He wore a dark suit. The clothes worn by the man were similar to the exhibits produced. The man also wore a soft felt hat and appeared to be about 5 ft. 6 in. Hackett was brought to the floor of the court, and Nilsson said that the height of prisoner would be about the same as that of the man he had seen. At the time two men, named Marks and Nygaard, came from the opposite direction and passed the man on the track. Both men came to witness's house. Marks lived there. Marks said to witness that he knew the man.

In cross-examination, Mr. O'Sullivan began by asking at what distance witness was from the man. "About 250 feet as I said before." "About 250 feet?" "Yes" At this point His Lordship interrupted and remarked to the lawyers for the defence that there was no utility in asking questions answered in the examination if chief. Mr. O'Sullivan: "How could you identify a man's coat at 250 feet when you could not identify a man five feet away?" Witness: "I did not identify the coat. I simply said it was similar in appearance." "Are the gowns worn by myself and my confrere the same?" "Yes, but your's is slightly faded." "Could you tell the difference at 250 feet?"
The court again interposed: "The jury are men of good common sense, and can judge for themselves. You must leave something for them in this case." Again Mr. O'Sullivan asked a question asked previously. "Better not ask such questions," said His Lordship, "they may develop too much." Oscar Nilsson, jr., followed. He told the court that he was eight years of age. He had never taken an oath, but would tell the truth when answering questions. He remembered a day when he saw a man with a little girl, near the bridge. The man looked to be drunk. The girl was not as tall as himself. She was dressed in red and had a little red toque, she carried a little basket. Articles produced were identified by the boy. The boy was asked where he had seen the pair: Near the bridge, he replied. Asked what the man was doing, the boy answered that the man was undressing the little girl and he thought was going to throw her into the water. Asked why he thought so, the boy said that he was afraid, the man was looking into the water. He ran to his father, who told not to bother, as the man would take the little girl home.

Then with his brother and two Taylor children he ran to the bridge. From there they saw the man try to climb through the fence. He stuck in the wire and got the little girl to help him through. He saw the man again that day. It was before supper time when he first saw the man with the little girl. He next saw the man on the railway track, but did not remember whether it was before or after supper. Mr. Guerin: "Did you see that man after?" Witness: "No." Mr. Guerin: "Did you see him in court?" Witness: "Oh, yes." "Now look about the room and see if you can see the man." Counsel objected
Meanwhile the boy was placed on a chair and after a glance about the room, pointed straight at Hackett saying, "There." Counsel's objections were being expressed in the court while the boy was identifying the prisoner. The objections were not sustained, and the court required what reply the boy had made. The case was adjourned until to-day.
The Montreal Star 14 June 1906
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Nygaardt's Identification Brought Smile to the Face of the Prisoner
Dr. McTaggart Recalled by Crown for Further Testimony as to Cause of Child's Death
At yesterday afternoon's session of the Court of King's Bench, James Thomas Hackett was again recognized as being the man seen on the railway track at Cote St., Paul, near the scene of the awful tragedy, on the 3rd of April last. This was the testimony given by Johannes Nygaardt, who was with Christian Marks, the witness heard yesterday morning. After Nygaardt was called to the box to give his testimony, and as he proceeded to answer questions which were put to him by Mr. Guerin, Hackett showed steadily increasing interest. When Mr. Guerin asked Hackett to stand up and then put the question to Nygaardt: "Do you see that man around the room," meaning the one he met on the tracks, and looking around Nygaardt answered: "Yes, there is the man," pointing to Hackett the prisoner returned his look with a smile. This is the first time Hackett has been seen to smile during the whole of the proceedings.
In the afternoon, Oliver Dionne, Point St. Charles, deposed that he had known the accused for about eighteen months, and was working with him at the Montreal Steel Works last summer. He knew the waterworks and stone bridge on Church street, Cote St. Paul, and he had met Hackett there once last summer. It was a spot where many people went for recreation. He also knew the bush at Cote St. Paul, but he had never seen the prisoner there, nor had the accused ever spoken to him of it. When he was working with Hackett at the Montreal Steel Works, the latter was "a good boy."

Mr. Rondeau, in cross-examination, elicited the fact that the bush was used by picnickers, and was a splendid spot for such outing. After hearing Dionne's evidence Chief Justice Lacoste asked the members of the jury if they thought that it would be necessary for them to visit the grounds where the murder took place and in answer the juryman stated that they now had a pretty good idea of the surroundings and distance by the plans which had been supplied them in court and they thought the visit was unnecessary.
Johannes Nygaardt was next called. He stated that he had worked in the Montreal Steel Works along with Marks for some time. On the evening of April 3rd he was returning home with his friend Marks, when on the Grand Trunk Railway track at Cote St. Paul they passed a man who was very drunk. The man wore a belt and his pants were hanging so low from his waist that the belt was very easily noticed. The belt was produced in court and witness recognized it as being the one the man wore because the buckle was so bright. He described the clothing of the man as being shabby, dark in color and that the man walked with his head down. Mr. Guerin: "Do you see that man around the room?" Witness: "Yes, there is the man sitting over there in the box." It was at this time that Hackett smiled at the witness.
In cross-examination by Mr. O'Sullivan, witness said that his attention was attracted to the man because of his very drunken condition. His trousers were soiled around the lower part, and his boots were also dirty. He was not wearing a collar, but had on a light shirt, which was buttoned up round his neck. Mr. O'Sullivan: "You think that the man at the Bar is more ugly than you are?' Witness: "I think that on that day", meaning the day of the murder, "he was uglier than now." Mr. O'Sullivan: "Then do you think it is a good thing to go to gaol?" Witness: "No, I do not." Nygaardt continuing, stated that he never worked with Hackett, and that it was very seldom that they met anybody on that track when they were returning home. Mr. O'Sullivan then asked him if men were in the habit of wearing belts. Nygaardt answering yes, but that the ones he saw were either narrower or wider than the one produced.
Sub-Chief Inspector McMahon was the next witness heard. As the jury is a mixed one, questions and answers have to be given in both French and English. The inspector gave his answer in English and then himself translated the question into French and gave his answer in French. The belt was shown to him and he recognized it as the one taken from Hackett at NO. 14 police station on the 11th of April. Cross-examined by Mr. O'Sullivan, the Inspector stated that he did not know whether the accused had worn that belt on the day of the murder or not, adding that laborers in all classes were in the habit of wearing similar belts. Rodolphe Plante, laborer, 502 Centre street, had known the accused for about a year and a half. At the beginning of April Hackett asked him for the loan of a dollar, but did not state for what purpose he wanted it.

Witness loaned him the money. At that time witness had heard of the disappearance of the little Ahern girl. On Friday of the same week Hackett offered his time ticket for sale. It represented 49¼ hours work, and was good for $6.84. He gave no reason for wanting to dispose of it. The next day was pay day at the works. Witness purchased the time ticket for $5. In reply to Mr. Rondeau, witness stated that Hackett worked more time than he laid off: he was a good, hard working man. To the foreman of the jury, witness said that he was not in the habit of being a private banker to the men, but when a case happened to come along, he lent a man money to help him out. When Hackett wished to dispose of his time ticket, witness made no remarks.
William Carter, special constable at the Montreal Steel Works, deposed that according to the time blotter, Hackett did not work on April 3. He was in the habit of working at night, and on the night of April 4, he worked all night, commencing at 6 p.m. He did not work on April 5, and on the following day witness saw him at the corner of St. Patrick and St. Etienne streets. Hackett then went down St. Patrick street towards the steel works, and it was then that the witness noticed that he answered the description of the man, given in the papers, wanted for the murder of little Edith May Ahern. At the Steel works Hackett asked witness if he could see the foreman, a man by the name of Prevost.
Just at this point witness had asked Hackett if they had found the man who had murdered the little girl. Hackett then became nervous and said that he had seen something about it on the bulletin. Witness then went away. The next time he saw Hackett was about 7.15 p.m. on April 11. It was on Grand Trunk street, and witness was in company with Police Captain Coleman. Hackett was with a lady, and they turned into a lane and entered a house, into which they were followed by witness and Coleman. Coleman had a conversation with Hackett, and finally asked him to go along with him and see if he could identify a Jew, who, he said, had replaced him on a job. Hackett did so, and witness accompanied them, all three going to the detective office at the City Hall, and from there to Place Viger station. Soon after they got to the station they saw Christian Marks and Detective Charpentier on the platform Witness was standing near Hackett and Marks came up and pointed to the accused and said (witness believed) "That's the man." Coleman, witness and Hackett then returned to the detective office. For a little while witness was alone in the detective office with Hackett, and the latter said to him: "I see what it's all about and what I'm here for. It's about that little girl that was killed. That's what drink does for a man." Hackett also said that he had been thinking about going away but when he saw the account of the murder in the papers, he would not go.
To Mr. O'Sullivan, in cross-examination, witness said that he was the man who gave information to the police about Hackett, as, from the description he had read in the newspapers, he believed him to be the man wanted. So far as witness knew, Hackett always did his work, and he never heard any complaints about him. When witness asked him if the murderer of the little girl had been found, he became nervous and turned his face away. Witness did not know that Hackett was naturally nervous. At the time he spoke to Hackett he had not seen in the newspapers that a reward had been offered by the mayor for the capture of the murderer, but he saw it the same evening. He spoke to Capt. Coleman about Hackett three days after the reward was offered. Police Captain Coleman, of No. 9 police station, testified in regard to the circumstances of Hackett's arrest. Carter had already mentioned the name of Hackett to him twice, when on the evening of April 8 , he went with him to Hackett's house. Witness then corroborated the evidence given by Carter as to what took place in the house, and said that when they got to the corner of Centre street on their way to the Detective Office, Hackett said "I hope this means no trouble for me." Witness asked: "What trouble can it mean for you?" Hackett said: "Perhaps some money affair, or something like that." Witness then told of the visit to Place Viger station, when Hackett was taken in charge by order of Detective Charpentier, and was detained at the Detective office.
The following afternoon, April 9 witness formally placed Hackett under arrest, cautioning him that he was not bound to say anything, but that if he did say anything it might be used in evidence against him. Witness made no promise to him to induce him to make a statement, and neither did he make any threats to him. Witness called his attention to the fact that he had made a statement and said "Listen and I will read it to you." Chief Justice Lacoste then asked where he got the statement and in answer witness said that it was made to Chief Charpentier and taken down by Mr. Berrigan, stenographer for the department. Mr. O'Sullivan objected to the production of the statement. In answer to a question witness said that he read over the statement to Hackett and asked him to sign it, but he declined to, saying that he was not going to sign it either as a murderer or as having committed a murder. The Court reserved judgment as to the admission of the statement.
Captain Coleman's cross-examination was then suspended, in order to allow the prosecution to recall Dr. McTaggart, who, in reply to Crown Prosecutor Guerin, said that the scratches on the body of the little child might have been made by the point of a pin, or the like. The body appeared as if it had been dragged along the ground. By Mr. O'Sullivan: The scratches were on the anterior part of the body, and it seemed as if the body had been dragged face downwards" In answer to questions by the foreman of the jury, witness said that when he saw the body it was stiff, and the hands were closed, as they always were in rigor mortis. He did not make a microscopic examination of the nails or hair. He examined the hands carefully, but he did not see any evidence of a struggle. As far as he was aware no attempt had been made to wash the body before he examined it.

By His Lordship: The only thing which might be suggestive of a struggle was that the hair was a little tossed: otherwise there was nothing to indicate anything of the kind. The autopsy revealed nothing to show that the child had received sufficient violence to show the actual cause of death, and he reached the conclusion that it was due to nervous shock and exposure from the circumstance connected with the matter. By Juryman Ryan: The scratches on the body were not such as would be made by finger nails, as a rule. By Juryman Westgate: The injury on the neck were deeper than the scratches, but was not like an impression made by a finger nail. The wound on the forehead might have been caused by a rough-pointed instrument. It was simply a superficial scratch. If the child had been held down by the throat to prevent it screaming, evidence of it would have been revealed by the autopsy. In reply to Crown Prosecutor Guerin, witness said that if a person died from fright or shock, the body revealed no external or internal evidence of it.
The Montreal Star 15 June 1906
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Evidence in Defence of James Hackett is now being Heard
Mrs. Mooney, First Defence Witness, Says Hackett Was Home Before Six O'clock on Fatal Day
The evidence for the Crown was brought to a close at this morning's session of the Hackett trial, and the defence immediately began its case with the testimony of Mrs. Mooney, who had lived in the same house with the Hackett family. The prisoner, who had shown signs of nervousness at times, and especially during the testimony of the later Crown witnesses who were the most important for the prosecution, seemed to become more at his ease when the witnesses for the defence were called, and his look was more confident and cheerful during their testimony. In spite of the comparative sultriness of the weather and the excessive heat and closeness of the court room, it was crowded to its utmost capacity throughout the session, and hundreds of morbid sightseers had to be turned away from the doors because there was no more room for them. Every seat, every aisle, and even the steps leading up to the Bench were thronged, and there were very few of those who came in that did not stay till the adjournment of the court.
Now that the famous case is drawing to a close the public interest seems to reach a culminating point. Hackett, in looking about him at the throng, seem to be perfectly unconscious of his position as the centre of interest, and were it not for the extremely careful attention he gives to the witnesses, he might be taken for a mere casual spectator. In fact, far from the terrible strain wearing him down, he seem to have improved since the beginning of the trial and is looking stronger and more self-possessed than at the opening. Captain Coleman was again called at this morning's session. In his evidence, the Captain stated that he had taken two men to the goal to identify Hackett, but they could not do so. John Donovan, an iron worker, was then called. He informed the court that Hackett had called for his time, and that he told him to wait till Friday, pay day, for his time. Hackett told him he wanted to go away to Boston, and he wanted to get his money. He said that Hackett was a good man in the works. Mr. Guerin then stated that the evidence for the Crown had all been heard.
Mrs. Mooney was the first witness for the defence. She said that she lived in the same house with Hackett from about the 14th or 15th of December last. On the 3rd of April she gave him his supper because his wife was not there. This was about 5.15 p.m. After that Hackett smoked and went to his room. After a while Mrs. Hackett returned home. She went into the room, and after a short stay with her husband he came out and went to visit his mother. Mr. Guerin then cross-questioned witness as to her doing on the Monday. She could not swear that she had seen Hackett on that date. She had been home all morning, but from one to three o'clock she had gone to work at the American Steam Laundry. On the Tuesday morning she did not go to work either, and she served dinner for Hackett and his brother. His brother said that he had taken dinner, and therefore he did not eat. When Hackett was taking his dinner there were no signs of liquor on him. In the afternoon witness said she stayed in the house and worked around. After a while Hackett, who had been reading a book, arose and went out. Mrs. Mooney said she did not go out on the Tuesday. On Wednesday she went to see her husband at the gaol.

Mr. Guerin: "Are you sure you are not getting the two days mixed?" Witness: "No." "When Hackett came in what did he say to you?" "He asked me if he was too late for work." "What did you tell him?" "I thought not." After this Hackett went to bed. The time was about 6 o'clock, as Mrs. Mooney always sent her child out for the Star about six. Hackett's usual hour for going to work was about 6 o'clock, but witness did not know what time he started at the works. Mr. Guerin: "Did you notice the clothes on Hackett that day?" Witness: "No.' "You know he hadn't a hard hat on?" "Yes." "Do you know if he wore a dark suit of clothes?" "I did not remark." Mr. Guerin: "Did he have on a pair of gloves?"

Clothes were exhibited, and witness was asked if she recognized them, the pants she could recognize, but the coat she could not. Hackett, continued the witness, never wore braces, but wore a belt. As to the bright buckle she had never noticed it. After Hackett had gone to bed at 6 o'clock witness said she went to her room to read the Star, which the little child had brought into her.

Mr. Guerin: "What time did you take your supper?" Witness: "I do not remember." Mr. Guerin: "How do you know the time so well?" Witness: "Because my clock was in front of me." Witness continuing, said that about 7 o'clock or ten minutes past sever, Mrs. Martin came in and stayed a few minutes. Dave Martin called and asked for Hackett, but upon being told by witness that he was sleeping Martin went away. Mrs. Hackett and Mrs. Martin went out about 7.15 o'clock, and she, Mrs. Hackett, did not come home all night. Hackett slept soundly all night, and only got up when his wife came home about 7 o'clock. Mr. Guerin: "Did Hackett sleep about thirteen or fourteen hours?" Witness: "I did not count hours. Hackett is a very heavy sleeper."

When witness got up next morning it was about 9 o'clock and she saw Hackett smoking his pipe. She had her dinner along with Mrs. Hackett, but she did not know where Hackett was. About 1 o'clock she went out, but did not see Hackett, nor Mrs. Hackett. On the Wednesday night she saw Hackett return about 7 o'clock, and he had a lunch and a bottle of tea. Mr. Guerin: "Is it not so that Hackett started to work at 6 o'clock Wednesday and worked until 6 o'clock the following morning and how could you say he was home at 7 o'clock?" Witness: "I guess it must have been Monday then instead of Wednesday."
Lena Mooney, the ten year old daughter of the previous witness was then called. She appeared to be very nervous, but the court told her she had nothing to fear. She said she remembered the 3rd of April and that her mother stayed in the house. She remembered that James Hackett had come into the house. Mr. O'Sullivan: "How do you remember that day so well?" Witness: "Because my mother did not go to work, she had a pain in her back." Witness then said that Hackett had come into the house about a quarter past five. He had asked her mother if he was too late to go to work. Her mother had looked at the clock; this is how she was so sure of the time he came home. Mrs. Hackett then came home about 6 o'clock and Mr. Hackett was in bed. Later Mrs. Martin came in and also Mr. Martin. The day after the child stated that her mother went out to see her father at the gaol.

Cross-examined by Mr. Guerin as to whether she went to school or not, the child said that during the month of April she did not go to school. She was in the yard all day. As to seeing Hackett, she could not remember seeing him except about five o'clock. She said that she did not see the clock, but she heard her mother telling Mr. Hackett that it was a quarter past five. The little girl was quite sure this occurred in the Tuesday night, because the mother was home all day with a sore back. "The next day I know my mother went to gaol to see my father. On the Thursday she went to see my grandmother." Mr. Guerin: "Did you see Hackett on Thursday?" Witness: "I do not remember." She did not know whether Hackett had worked that week or not. She said she knew that when he went to work he generally left about 6 o'clock. Mr. Guerin then cross-questioned the child extensively on the fact of her only remembering what happened at 5.15 on the Tuesday evening, and that she did not remember any other time or any other happenings. Mr. Guerin talked to the child gently and occasionally a smile would creep over her face in response. After her evidence the court adjourned until a quarter to three.
The Montreal Star15 June 1906
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Marie Anne Leduc is Positive in Exculpating the Prisoner
Wife of Accused Corroborates Other Witnesses' Testimony in Support of an Alibi
One witness at yesterday afternoon's session of the Court of King's Bench in the Hackett trial, swore that Hackett was not the man that she had seen. Marie Anna Leduc, who is one of the important witness for the defence, swore that the man she had seen pass in front of her home on Gault street, Cote St. Paul, on the afternoon of the third of April, was stouter and taller than Hackett, and that she could not make a mistake, as she had seen the man for at least five minutes. He had passed by her door with a bundle and had gone in the direction of the church and when she saw him come back he did not have the bundle with him. Bernadette Primeau was called and she explained the handkerchief story by saying that she did not notice the red dots on the handkerchief at the time the detectives showed it to her at the house of Hackett on account of her being so nervous. While giving her evidence she would occasionally glance at the prisoner and smile, he returning her greeting in a like matter.
Alexander Lefebvre was first called. He was one of the party who went to Place Viger Station. He and James Walsh entered Chief Carpenter's office after they had returned from the station. When there Walsh had spoken to Hackett and asked him his name. The man then answered in the following words: "My name is James Hackett, and I'm not ashamed of anything I've done." The reason Lefebvre was called was to give evidence which had not been given by Special constable Carter. William Clerk, bookkeeper in the Montreal Steel Works, was next called. He stated that Hackett, according to their records, commenced work on January 25th 1904: was discharged February 29th 1904: reinstated February 9th 1905. Marks commenced working on November 14th 1904. This was all the evidence he was asked to give. Sydney Dean, clerk in Montreal Steel Works, who has charge of making the pay-rolls, stated that Hackett did not work in the Steel Works in November, 1904. He could not say whether Hackett worked in April 1906. Crown asked no question, and witness stood down.
Mrs. James Hackett, wife of the prisoner, was next called. She gave her evidence in French, being a member of a French family before she was married, and not speaking much English. Mr. O'Sullivan: "Do you remember the 3rd of April?" Mrs. Hackett: "Yes, because my little cousin entered the convent of Cote St. Paul on that date." She continued her evidence saying that she saw her husband at home between 2.30 and 2.45 o'clock. About five minutes to three she and Mrs. Martin met her husband at the corner of Shearer and Centre streets. She stated that she was on her way to a hardware store at the corner of Napoleon street. She then proceeded to Hackett's mother's house, and later returned home and reached there about five minutes past six. She stated that on that evening Mrs. Mooney had given her husband his supper and he had gone to bed, and was asleep when she come in. She asked him if he had taken any supper. He told her yes, and she then went out to her cousin's, Mrs. Martin, and had supper there. Mrs. Hackett and Mrs. Martin then returned to the house about 10 o'clock and she was told by Mrs. Mooney that here husband was still asleep. Mrs. Hackett went back with Mrs. Martin and passed the night there, returning home in the morning about ten minutes to seven. That is the Wednesday morning.

Mr. O'Sullivan: "Does your husband wear gloves?" Witness: "No." Gloves were produced, and Mrs. Hackett said she never saw them before and further stated that her husband never wore mitts or gloves. Asked by Mr. O'Sullivan if her husband ever read papers, and if he discussed the murder case, she said yes they talked together about it. She said that on April 3rd her husband was not nervous, neither was he nervous any days after the murder had taken place. Cross-examined by Mr. Lafontaine, witness stated that she had been married 12 years, but although she had heard her husband often speak about Cote St. Paul she had never gone there with him any time. She thought he knew the place pretty well.
Mr. Lafontaine: "When you came home and saw your husband, had he been drinking?" Witness: "No sir." She further stated that there was no drink kept in the house. When asked if she did not think it queer to see her husband in bed so early she stated that whenever he was not working he went to bed very early. She did not know why he did not go to work on that night. Mr. Lafontaine: "Can you speak English?" Witness: "No." Mr. Lafontaine: "Not at all?" Witness: "A few words." Mr. Lafontaine: "Do you know Chief Carpenter?" Witness: "No." Chief Carpenter was sent for and in the meantime the evidence of Marie Ann Leduc was heard. She lived on Gault Street, Cote St. Paul, behind the church.
She said on April 3rd she saw a man passing her door about half past six about thirty feet from the house, the man was drunk and he had a parcel under his arm. This man, she continued, went towards the church and when he passed back again she notice that the parcel was gone. She said she was taken by Chief Dore to try and identify a man at the detective office, along with four or five others. Mr. Rondeau: "Is the man you saw at Cote St. Paul the man at the bar?" Witness: "No, the man I saw was a little stouter and taller." The question was asked by Mr. Rondeau if while she was in the hallway, waiting outside to give her evidence, if some one did not come and speak to her, witness answered yes she was spoken to by Chief Dore, who told her to say that the prisoner is the man she saw. Mr. Guerin: "But was it not that Chief Dore said, "examine Hackett well?" "No sir, replied the witness, "that is not what he said."

While being cross-questioned witness said that the evening of the third was bright and clear, and that she saw the man for at least five minutes from where she was standing on the gallery of her home. She noticed that the man had light hair and light moustache, he walked with his head down, he had no overcoat on but she could not say whether the coat he did wear was faded or not. She did not pay much attention to that. A juryman asked the witness if she understood: by Chief Dore's question that he wanted her to tell a lie in court. Witness, with some hesitation answered, "I think so." Mrs. Hackett was then re-called. She remembered seeing Mr. Charpentier, but she could not remember Chief Carpenter or Mr. Berrigan, because there were so many people in the office when she was first brought there. She was asked if she did not state in Chief Carpenter's office that she had supper at her own home on April 3. Witness answered that she was excited then, and may have said it, but, now that she is under oath she said "No". Amelia Hackett, wife of Wilfrid Martin, cousin of the prisoner, was next called. She remembered very well the 3rd of April last, because on that date her mother had taken her little sister to the convent. She corroborated the evidence given by Mrs. Hackett telling the story of what she and Mrs. Hackett had done during the afternoon and evening. Mr. O'Sullivan asked witness if from the time of the murder until the time he was arrested, did she notice if Hackett acted very nervously or like a man that had committed a crime. Witness answered "No". She also stated that Hackett never wore gloves or mitts. Witness then described the events of the night when Hackett was taken by Captain Coleman. She stated that Captain Coleman and other gentlemen had called and had talked with Hackett privately in a room for about five or ten minutes, after which, witness said they went out. Hackett saying he was going into the city. Cross-examined by Mr. Lafontaine, witness made the same statement over again.
Bernadette Primeau was then called and was questioned as to the handkerchief finding behind the bureau. She said that three men had come to the house and that the handkerchief had been found behind the bureau, and Mrs. Hackett asked her if this was her handkerchief. Witness answered she could not swear that she had claimed the handkerchief. She then stated that she had taken a white silk handkerchief on the Sunday before Hackett was arrested from a young man. Handkerchief was produced and witness was asked: "Did you ever see this handkerchief?" Witness: "Yes." Mr. Rondeau: "Has it ever been in your possession?" Witness: "No." "Will you please produce handkerchief you took from young man." Nicely ironed, and washed, witness took from her coat pocket a white handkerchief, saying: "This is the one I took from the young man." Witness stated that she did not claim that handkerchief as hers at the house of Hackett when Sub-Chief Charpentier showed it to her. She then went on to explain that the handkerchief that she had taken from the young man was a white one and did not have any dots on it. She stated that from the way the detective held the handkerchief at Hackett's house she could only see the white part and not the dotted border, otherwise she would not have said it was the one she took from the young man. She said that on account of her being nervous she might not have examined the handkerchief close enough else she would have found out her mistake. This finished the evidence for the afternoon. One of the jurymen requested that they be allowed to have the child's clothes and the map used in the case in their quarters for the night, so as they could have a talk and make an examination. His Lordship ordered that their request be granted. There are now left only about four witnesses to be heard in the case.
The Montreal Star 16 June 1906
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Mr. J. O. Rondeau Made Strong Plea for the Prisoner's Life
Another Witness for Defence Declares That Hackett is Not the Man Seen at St. Paul
The proceedings in Hackett trial Saturday afternoon culminated in a pathetic scene during the address to the jury of Mr. J. O. Rondeau, counsel for the defence. Jurymen, ladies visiting the court, Hackett, Mrs. Hackett, Mrs. Hackett's mother, and many male spectators were seen to weep, and after the speech the counsel himself returned to the lawyers' table in the centre of the court room and buried his face in his hands to hide his tears. Mr. Rondeau had addressed the jury for about two hours and forty minutes. He brought before them the fact that if Hackett was hanged, what would become of his wife and family. He turned to the jurymen and addressed them as follows: "Gentlemen, you all have hearts and can imagine what suffering it is going to be if the prisoner at the Bar is hanged. It is with you to decide whether the prisoner at the Bar is guilty or innocent. "If there be a doubt in your mind that the prisoner, James Thomas Hackett, is not guilty of that terrible crime I ask you to give him the benefit of that doubt." After uttering these words the counsel began to sob and his voice commenced to give out under the strain of the speech which he had made.
"Think of it men," continued the counsel, "is it to be the man's life or his liberty. I plead with you to bring in a verdict that will be true to justice and that this verdict will be in favor of the prisoner, and that he be allowed his liberty." Over all the court room, whether the people were of the opinion that Hackett was guilty, or whether they thought he was not guilty, the speech of the young lawyer brought tears to their eyes. This is the first time that Mr. J. O. Rondeau has taken part in such an important case, and after the court adjourned and as he was sitting weeping in his chair before the lawyers' table many parties in the court came and shook hands with him and congratulated him on his able speech in defence of the prisoner. Evidence of more witnesses for the defence was taken in the morning, and the afternoon was left for the speeches of the lawyers, but after hearing Mr. Rondeau speak the court adjourned until this morning at 10 o'clock.
Miss Marie Louise Juteau, 17 years, living at Cote St. Paul, was the first witness called at the opening of the court on Saturday morning. She lived at the corner of Maisonneuve and Eadle streets. Mr. Rondeau: "Did you go to the City Hall?' Witness: "Yes, I went to see Bradley and also Hackett." Mr. Rondeau: "How often did you go?" Witness: "Twice to see Bradley." She stated that she saw a man a short time before her supper on the 3rd of April, a short distance from her home, walking along the street between the church and the convent. She had walked very close to the man, so close that their shoulders touched. She did not pay much attention to the man at first, but after she turned around and looked at him. Asked by Mr. Rondeau whom she had identified at the City Hall as the man she saw, witness said it was Bradley. The reason she gave for identifying Bradley was that the man she saw at Cote St. Paul looked like him, inasmuch as he was stouter than Hackett, and that his neck was much shorter than Hackett's. Mr. Rondeau: "The man at the bar is not the man you saw/" Witness: "No, the man I saw was stouter." Witness stated, that when she saw the man, he had no parcel, but it had been thrown away. Asked how she knew it had been thrown away, she explained that Miss Leduc had told her the hour when she met her at her door.
Cross-examined by Mr. Lafontaine as to whether witness had examined the man face to face, she answered that she had not. She did not examine him till after he had passed. She stated that the man had a moustache the same color as that of Hackett's. "Yes," answered the witness, "but it was much heavier than his." She stated that the man walked with his head down. He seemed to be tired by the way he was walking. Mr. Lafontaine: "Was the man drunk?' Witness: "He appeared to be." She stated that the man she saw wore just an undershirt but had no collar on, his coat being buttoned up very tightly around the neck. The man had no overcoat on, but only an undercoat. Mr. Lafontaine: "Why did you point out Bradley?' Witness: "Because he answered the description of the man I saw better than Hackett did." Asked if she noticed the clothing of the man, she stated that she remembered that he wore a black suit, a soft felt dark hat, and that his suit seemed to be very dirty." Coat and other articles were exhibited in court, but the witness could not recognize them as the ones worn by the man she saw. She concluded her evidence by saying all she could swear to was that she had met a man with a light moustache and light hair, he was larger than Hackett, and walked as if he was drunk.
Mr. Hector Garand was brought up by counsel for the defence to relate a story of mistaken identity. Court ruled that this witness would not help the case at all, because people often make mistakes in identifying others. David Martin, 152 Richelieu street, was then called. He remembered the third of April very well, because he was injured some time before, and that he had visited Hackett's house. He stated he had called at the Hackett house on the evening of April 3rd, and on being told by Mrs. Mooney, that Hackett was asleep he went away. He remembered that the third of April fell on a Tuesday. Asked by Mr. O'Sullivan if he ever visited Hackett in the evening, witness said he called there nearly every night. Cross-examined by Mr. Lafontaine as to when he was injured, witness said it was on 17th March, and that nearly every day from that time he was in the habit of visiting Hackett. The accused was only a friend of his, not a relative. Jean Viglino, the official Italian interpreter, was then called as a witness. He was called to give his story of the man that he had thought was the one wanted, and whom the detectives had shadowed. The court thought that the evidence which was about to be given by this witness would be a presumptive evidence, too remote from the main facts in the case, and, therefore, it was not legal. The defence then declared that the evidence on their side was closed.
Before making their addresses to the jury the counsel asked that Chief Dore, of the Cote St. Paul police, be recalled. This was done to verify the evidence of Miss Leduc on Friday. Mr. Lafontaine then asked witness if he had not told Miss Leduc to enter the court and to look at Hackett and say he is the man. Chief Dore said that he never said such a thing. He had a conversation with her, but he just said to her that "when you go to the court you will see Hackett, and say that he is he," but I did not say that with a view of influencing the young girl." The court then stated that the above statement was one of double meaning, and it would be left to the jury to decide which statement they should take. After this the court adjourned until 2 p.m.. His lordship announcing that he would hear the speeches by counsel in the afternoon.
At the opening of the afternoon session, Mr. J. O. Rondeau, counsel for the accused, addressed the jury in French. "It is a matter of liberty or death on the scaffold of a man who is innocent," said Mr. Rondeau. He referred to the grief which had been experienced by both families, by the Hackett family in finding their main support under arrest on a charge of murder, the grief of Mr. Ahern and his family in losing their darling daughter. What added to the sadness of the Ahern family' grief was the finding of the little body in the bush, scratched and exposed as it was when found. Mr. Rondeau then refereed to the way in which the police had acted. He remarked that they seemed to be inclined to arrest everybody that was seen around Cote St. Paul who answered the description of the man alleged to have been seen with the little girl.

He referred to the certainty of time which marked the evidence on both sides. Crown witnesses stated he was in one place, they said it under oath, defence witness said he was home at a certain time, they also under oath. Which were to be believed? It was for the jury to decide. He referred to the fact that some persons called as witnesses identified Bradley as the man. Counsel did not wish to say anything against Bradley, but he thought it well to bring out a few things. Mr. Ahern stated in his evidence that his child did not know Hackett neither did he (Ahern) know Hackett. The child was very timid and shy, and the counsel took this as a point to notice. The child might go with Bradley but he did not think she would go with Hackett, a man a total stranger to her. He then went on and dealt with the evidence of different other witnesses. Mrs. Mooney's evidence he referred to as showing the movements of Hackett on the third of April.
She does not stand alone in this evidence," said counsel. Her testimony had been corroborated by other witnesses. Mrs. Hackett had called at her house after being out in the afternoon, and Mrs. Mooney had told her that Mr. Hackett was asleep. She had entered the room and her husband was there asleep.
He then went on to speak of the evidence given by Mrs. Mooney's little daughter, corroborating her mother's statement that Hackett had come in to the house about twenty minutes past five, and that he had remained in the house, her mother having given Hackett his supper. He also referred to the evidence of Dave Martin, who said that on account of his injury, he was unable to go to work. He had called at Hackett's house and there learned that Hackett was in bed. Mr. Rondeau then went on to mention how so many witnesses had said that they could not identify Hackett as the man they had seen. He was too small. The other men were stouter and taller. Some of these witnesses saw the man's face, and they could swear that it was not Hackett they had seen.

In closing, Mr. Rondeau pleaded to the jury, if there be any doubt in their mind as to the innocence of the prisoner, Hackett, to give him the benefit of that doubt. "Imagine a poor woman left with her little children and her husband, an innocent man, hanged on the charge of murder?' At this moment Hackett, his wife, his wife's mother, ladies attending the trial, a few jurymen, and even the counsel himself, were seen to wipe away the tears brought to their eyes by the address. The court then adjourned.
The Montreal Star 18 June 1906
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Counsel for Defence and Crown Prosecutors have made their Pleas
After Charge From Chief Justice Lacoste, Jury Will Determine Fate of Accused.
Unless the jury should disagree, James Thomas Hackett will know some time after to-night's sun has set, whether or not he is to die upon the scaffold for the murder of five year old Edit May Ahern on the evening of April 3 last. The speeches for the defence and for the King have been made and all that now remains is for the Chief Justice, who is presiding, to lay the law before the jury both in English and French, and then twelve of Hackett's peers, carefully selected by his own and the Crown's counsel, will retire to deliberate and decide if he is guilty according to the strict letter of the law, of one of the most foul murders that has shocked the community in many years.

The scenes, as the case commenced its closing hours on Saturday morning were dramatic in the extreme. It was apparent from the opening of Mr. Rondeau's speech for the defence that he did not propose to confine himself to a declaration that the alibi concerning Hacketts' movement on the fatal afternoon, has been proved. He made, rather, a powerful, well worded and pathetic appeal for the life of the sobbing man in the dock on the ground that to send him to his death would leave a widow and starving children disgraced for life: he urged that innocent men had been hanged, and that it was a crime in the sight of God to take the life of a fellow man except where there was no doubt. "A life for a life," but only when there was not a possibility in the wide world of a mistake.
The prisoner's wife and her mother fell upon each other's necks and wailed aloud as the fight for life went on: Hackett's sobs could be heard in every corner of the crowded court room and jurymen sniffled and used their handkerchiefs freely. As he staggered to his seat after his peroration, spoken in a broken voice, Mr. Rondeau added to the scene by breaking into a flood of tears. And this was, to a great extent, repeated to-day. Mr. O'Sullivan, the English-speaking counsel, was not so eloquent as his partner, but the appeal was worthy of the young lawyer. Tears trickled down the faces of the jurymen, and old court habitués mopped their eyes and nodded assent to many of his declarations.
Then the change came. Mr. Lafontaine, the French Crown prosecutor, rose to claim the price demanded by the law. There was no sentiment in his address. There was no attempt at oratory. Every word was thought out, and the arguments were delivered in cold, hard statements that made listeners feel that the shadow of the scaffold had fallen across the court room. Step by step he traced the movements of the prisoner on that awful day, and slowly but unquestionably surely he laid before the jury a compact and comprehensive argument before he sat down, declaring that all the law asked for was a fair verdict; that if there was a doubt it belonged to the prisoner. "But," he said, "there is no doubt." Sir Alexander Lacoste looked at the clock and said "We will adjourn until 2.30."

Hackett was led from the dock to the cells, where he was given the last noon meal before knowing whether or not he is a convicted murderer. When the court reassembled, Mr. Guerin delivered his address. It was without sentiment and without any attempt to influence the jury beyond a stern request for justice. Mr. O'Sullivan, counsel for the defence, before beginning his address to the jury, thanked His Lordship and the Crown prosecutors for their kindness' shown towards the counsel for the defence. He also thanked the jury for their kind attention which had been given while all the evidence had been given in the case. He addressed the jury in English and went over the evidence of the case in much the same way as Mr. Rondeau on Saturday afternoon. He emphasized before the jury what it meant if Hackett was hanged. He told them that if he was hanged the life of an innocent man would have been taken, and that he was sure that the jury would return a verdict which would allow the prisoner his liberty. This completed the address for the defence, and Mr. Lafontaine, for the Crown, then spoke.
He recalled to the jury what the duty of Crown prosecutors was. They were to bring before the jury the proof in a case, they were to protect society against criminals and it was their duty to now bring before the jury and the public the proof in this case of murder. He stated that the proof had been sufficiently brought before the jury without him going into it in detail, and taking up their time. They were intelligent men and could render a verdict true to God and man. The question as to whether the accused was at home the day of the murder or not was discussed. Mr. Lafontaine went extensively into the evidence given by Mrs. Mooney, her little girl and Mrs. Hackett. The evidence of these three people, witnesses for the defence, was stated to be unacceptable by the prosecutor.

Mr. Lafontaine then took up the evidence which had been given and went over the route of the man and the little girl. He cited the little McCrae boy who saw the man on the bridge with the little girl and recognized Hackett as being the man. Then along the canal bank the men at work on Redfern's bridge, the men on the aqueduct at Cote St. Paul, the little Nilsson boy, Mrs. Taylor, Marks and Nygaardt were also referred to. The prosecutor gave a complete review of the route of the man, and pointed out how well all the facts of the case pointed to Hackett. In closing, he spoke to the jury as men with a conscience, and told them that in this case it was for them to return a verdict according to their conscience and what they thought was right.
The Montreal Star 18 June 1906
Back to Index 19 June 1906

Verdict Was Returned at Half-past Eight
Chief Justice Sir Alexander Lacoste Explained the Difference Between Manslaughter and Murder
An immense Crowd at the Court and Vicinity
The scene at the close of the Hackett murder trial was dramatic in the extreme. "The prisoner is guilty of manslaughter," were the words which ended the famous case. It was just half past six when Chief Justice Lacoste finished his address in English, having first spoken in French, and he then announced that he would return to court at half-past eight and hear their verdict. Unquestionable he expected that they would have little difficulty in coming to a unanimous decision and he was right. When Hackett left the box to take his evening meal in the cells he was evidently ill at ease and feared the worse. He remarked to one of the guards that it was a pity they all had to wait for two hours; why could not the jury have been asked right away to deliver their verdict.
He ate heartily, as he has done ever since the trial started, and when he was told that the time had come to appear in court he led the way at a smart pace up the stairs and into the dock. From his pocket he drew a piece of tobacco and placing it in his mouth folded his arms and awaited the verdict. Never since the famous Baxter trial has there been such a crowd in court. How the men and women managed to find excuses to get past the guards is a mystery. But they did and there were one thousand others on the stairway and grounds opposite the court house bemoaning their fate that they too had not been able to be present to see the much talked of prisoner as he listened to his fate. There were one hundred and forty-seven women present; not one of them having any direct interest in the case. None of the women of the two families made unhappy by Hackett's act were present but both Mr. Ahern, junior and senior were there. Back from the centre of the room where sat the learned counsel and the press the crowd was a typical race track crowd; just such as was seen at the Montreal gaol yard on the morning when the last man was hanged. They were laughing and talking, splattering the floor with tobacco juice and taking the whole thing as they might a circus. In all this they were actually joined by court officer.
With the appearance of the Judge's crier there was a cry for silence and the scene changed. His Lordship stepped slowly up to the bench, bowed solemnly and took his seat. There was not a whisper as the twelve men came into court. That they had agreed was apparent. That Hackett was to hang no one doubted. The prisoner fixed the small rat like eyes upon the men in the jury box and scanned each face therein he knew that he was doomed. His face was ashen, and for one short second he glanced around the room at the multitude. Then his eyes again sought the jurymen and he listened intently while their names were being called out. Each man, responded in a clear voice as though he felt that his duty to his country and the prisoner had been faithfully performed. Next came the fatal moment. "Do you find the prisoner at the bar guilty as charged in the indictment?" came the question from Mr. Sicotte, and without hesitation the foreman replied: "We find the prisoner guilty of manslaughter."
There was a hum of muffled whispering and the prisoner smiled. That he felt relieved there is not a possibility of doubt; unlike the average man who hears a verdict which will probably send him to prison for life, Hackett seemed rather to expect congratulations and when the guards touched his arm and told him to step down he did so with alacrity and was quickly on his way to the cells. Meanwhile there had been the usual formalities to dispose of before the court adjourned. The judge thanked the jury for attention, and for the manner in which they had done their duty. He clearly gave they to understand that he quite agreed with them. The jury thanked the judge for the many kindness', and the lawyers who had been engaged in the case congratulated each other on the manner in which their work had been done. Down in his cell Hackett was visited by counsel and a few newspaper men. He was undoubtedly relieved that the ordeal was over and in reply to a question he said,: "I'm glad it's over, although it did not end as I expected it would. But never mind, the day will come yet when I'll get what is coming to me."
At 2.30 p.m., Mr. Guerin, Crown prosecutor, commenced his address to the jury in English. He explained exactly what the charge of murder was. He explained how Hackett was to be given the benefit of the doubt if there be any in the mind of the jurors. He said that it did not mean a common ordinary doubt, but it must be a doubt which shakes the chain of evidence which had been given by the witnesses. He referred to the affair as being brutal murder which was a blighting stain on the fair name of Montreal. He stated that beyond doubt a murder had been committed, this was admitted by the counsel for the defence. The question is, who is the man".

He then went over the route of the supposed murderer and movements of Hackett on April 3rd. About 2.30 he was at St. Jean Hotel near Ahern's house. He was next seen by Mr. Rochon, who knows Hackett well, at the corner of William and Napoleon streets. About 4 o'clock school got out. Next time, shortly after 4 o'clock, a man was seen with the little Ahern girl. Mr. Dowling was the man that saw him this time. He had assisted the two over the bridge at Redfern's Mills. The next point is the Atwater Ave. bridge, where Maddick saw the man and that he identified Hackett as the man he had seen. Next one to see him was Mr. James Nicholson. He met him at the Grand Trunk bridge. He saw a man drunk and also a little girl dressed in red. The little McCrae boy then came along and he identified the man he saw on that day as Hackett. About 5 o'clock Mrs.Taylor saw a man and child on the aqueduct in Cote St. Paul. She saw his clothing and also those of the little child. The little Nilsson boy was the next one to see the man and little girl. He and other children followed the drunken man and the child along the aqueduct and it was he who saw the man's coat get caught in the fence, and the little girl loosen it off the barb wire fence. Next is Mr. Lecour, of the Water Works. He saw the man and little girl lying in the grass. The man got up and took the little child and they went away. Lecour's description was so good that there is not doubt the man was Hackett. Mr. Guerin then referred to the time at which Lecour saw the man. This had caused much discussion, but Mr. Guerin did not lay any strain on the particular minute. The two then moved towards the woods. Cure Brisette's brother is the next witness heard from. He saw the man throw a red parcel in the basement of the church. Miss Leduc, then saw the man and then Miss Juteau; they both gave a good description which would just fit Hackett's looks.
At 6.30 o'clock the man is returning to the Grand Trunk tracks. Mrs. Taylor again sees him but she noticed the child is not with him. Then Mr. Nilsson sees the man, then his two little boys, then Marks and Nygaardt met the man. Marks passes the remark that he knows the man and that he used to work with him. He recognizes the belt which he saw on the man the night he met him on the track. Mow, said Mr. Guerin, this is shortly after 6 o'clock, about 6.25, and there are five people who recognize Hackett. Would these people come here and perjure themselves? How could Hackett be home at that hour? He referred to Mrs. Mooney's evidence. He stated that he could not see how her statement could be taken as she had contradicted herself in a few important points. He then spoke of the little girl's story, which was nicely told, but must have been prepared.

The story of Mrs. Hackett was referred to by Mr. Guerin as the last favor a faithful wife would do for a worthless husband. He would not say anything against her story, although it did seem strangely told. On the Wednesday Hackett worked. Thursday he didn't work. Friday he called for his time and it was here Mr. Carter steps in and confronts the prisoner with the question if he had heard about the murder of the little girl. The man Hackett blushes and Carter becomes suspicious. Mr. Guerin then went on to explain the arrest and the taking of Hackett to the Place Viger Station, where he was recognized by Marks. Mr. Guerin then spoke of the hiding of the clothes. "Who hid the clothes?" asked Mr. Guerin. "What were they hid for?" The color was red, they were easily detected, they were putting coal in the Church, they were to be hidden. At this moment Hackett smiled at the words of the counsel. Mr. Guerin then referred to the gloves, key, and handkerchief which had been found. These Mr. Guerin declared were not brought by the Crown but by the defence.

In closing, Mr. Guerin stated that what the jury was now to do was to return a verdict as honest men, according to their conscience no matter what the consequences might be. "Let justice be done though the Heavens fall." He spoke for two hours. The jury then adjourned for ten minutes and after this His Lordship Chief Justice Lacoste addressed them both in English and in French.
"Gentlemen of the Jury" commenced His Lordship, "you are now called upon to do a most important duty, that is in rendering the verdict in a murder trial." "To begin with" continued His Lordship, "you must be sure first that the prisoner at the bar is the man who was seen last with the little girl." If this conclusion was arrived at the next thing for them to decide was if the crime had been proven. His Lordship stated that the defence had admitted that a crime had been committed but contended that Hackett was not the man seen with the little girl, in fact they had proof that Hackett was at home in bed at the time the affair took place. On the other hand the Crown had taken steps to prove that Hackett was the man. The jury had taken an oath to decide according to the evidence, and "it was their firm duty, whatever the consequences to give a verdict according to their conscience."

The fact upon which the guilt of the prisoner was inferred must be clearly proved. If one of the facts essential to the condemnation of the accused had not been proved, in the judgment of the jury, the prisoner must have the benefit of the doubt. If there was a reasonable doubt in their minds, they must give the accused benefit of it. His Lordship then went over the evidence which had been given by the Crown witnesses. Giving the names of those who had positively identified Hackett as the man seen with the little girl. The evidence of Marks and Nygaardt His Lordship referred to as being very strong. "It has been proved," said His Lordship, "that the man seen with the little girl got his coat caught in the barbed-wire fence. Strange to say there was also a tear in the prisoner's coat."

In appreciating this evidence, the jury would take into consideration the testimony of Mr. Brissette, Miss Juteau and Miss Leduc. Referring to Chief of Police Dore, of Cote St. Paul, having spoken to one of the witnesses for the defence whilst waiting in the corridor of the Court House to give her evidence. His Lordship said that such a step was imprudent, but he did not think that there was any intention to bias the witness's mind in any way. It would have been better, however, if Chief Dore had not spoken to her.
Coming to the evidence relating to the alibi, the Chief Justice said that Mrs. Mooney had deposed that the prisoner was at home at 5.15 p.m. on the day of the disappearance of the child, with whose murder he was charged; that she prepared his supper and that he went to bed at 6 o'clock. The evidence had been corroborated by Mrs. Mooney's little daughter, by Mrs. Hackett, by Mrs. Martin, by David Martin, and it seemed to His Lordship that it was a straightforward story of the truth. He then explained to the jury that if they were to return a true verdict they must either take one side of the case or else the other. The Crown had made a good case, and they had given proof. The defence had made a good case and had given proof that the accused was at home. They must now choose which story to accept.

In concluding his address His Lordship explained to the jury the difference between manslaughter and murder. In the case of murder, said His Lordship, there must be premeditation and informed the jury that in the present case the real cause of death was not defined. The medical evidence had shown that it might be fright, it might be shock, or it might be exhaustion. Having stated that manslaughter sometimes came very near murder, he explained what the law regarded as premeditation and again remarked that if the jury had doubt in their minds, they must give the prisoner the benefit of it. It was then half-past six and His Lordship announced to the jury that he would be ready to hear their verdict at half-past eight, but if at any time they wanted to get any advice they could find him in his office. After two hours recess the jury returned a verdict as above.
The Montreal Star 19 June 1906
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Chief Justice Lacoste Sentences the Guilty Man to Imprisonment for 25 years:
Although Hackett Pleaded Innocence His Lordship Made Comprehensive Statement of the Prisoner's Apparent Guilt.
From the lips of His lordship, Chief Justice Lacoste, James Thomas Hackett heard the words to-say which condemn his to St. Vincent de Paul penitentiary for twenty-five years. If, however, Hackett proves a ruly prisoner and without any "bad marks" of any kind he may again see his liberty when he reaches the age of fifty-one years. He is to-day thirty-two and with the good conduct time of three months in every years he will thus serve nineteen years and three months, bringing him back to the new Montreal in the year 1925. The crowd which gathered in the court room to hear the law's decree was the greatest in its history. It was a sweltering mass of humanity and it listened to every word, as it fell from the judge's lips, with the greatest evident interest and in an oppressive stillness broken only by the solemn voice of the learned president of the court.
When Hackett was called to the bar, he presented an appearance unlike any attitude he has yet assumed since the fight for his life began. He was unshaven, his cheeks were sunken and his face pallid. That he expected the worst that could happen, a life sentence, was evident and towards the middle of the judge's charge both he and the four hundred spectators in the room became certain that it would be so. His brown jacket, the jacket which played such an important part in the case, was more wrinkled that ever, and the sleeves seemed to have shrunk up his arms as he stretched his hands towards the railing and nervously pawed it. Altogether he presented as awful a spectacle of human depravity as the dock has ever held.

As early as ten o'clock people began to crowd into the court room, but it was not until eleven that the judge made his appearance. By this hour the humidity had reached an almost unbearable condition, and as His Lordship entered the room he seemed half inclined to turn back and order a clearing out. He mounted the steps and so the crier finished his call for all people who had business with the court to draw near, bowed to the assemblage and took his seat. Business of a minor character was soon concluded, and the wizened up slayer of little Edith May Ahern made his appearance. Women craned their necks to get a view of him, and most glared as though they would have liked to have taken the law into their own hands.
There was, however, no sign of approbation or otherwise when the sentence was pronounced beyond one single clap of hand, but the man who did it was evidently too frightened to continue. When Hackett was asked what he had to say before sentence was pronounced, he spoke as follows and in a fairly firm voice: "I am innocent of the crime for which I have been tried, but as I have been found guilty I am ready to take my punishment." His Lordship's piercing eyes must have seemed to the prisoner to see his very soul and his voice was of the same sombre, majestic character as that so well remembered when he sentenced the Westmount badger game workers, Mr. and Mrs. Barber.

He said: "You put your case in the hands of twelve men, twelve men who were able to appreciate the nature of the evidence given. You were most ably defended. The addresses to the jury were all as impartial as they possible could be, and the jury rendered a verdict of manslaughter. "These twelve men stood between you and public opinion. The cry of public opinion was that you had committed murder, but the jury, after listening in a most careful manner to all the evidence, after taking all the circumstances into consideration; after giving you all the benefit of what doubt there might be, came to a conclusion that you were the man that accompanied that little child on the night that it met its death.
"In the eyes of the law the Court cannot say that you are a murderer, and the Court must be guided by the verdict rendered. I am not allowed to tell you that you committed murder or rape, or even attempted to commit rape. I cannot say to you that you killed that little child with malice aforethought. "I am not allowed to tell you that as a direct result of the exposure suffered by that child through you, it died. I am not allowed to tell you these things because the verdict is manslaughter. "This verdict applies merely to the actual killing of the child, and it must be my law, and upon that law I have to measure out the punishment. "I can tell you, James Thomas Hackett, that you were the man who accompanied that little child upon that afternoon; I can tell you that you are the man who kidnapped that little child. "I can tell you that you are the man who stole her from her parents; who enticed her by what sorcery, by what remarkable means, I cannot understand, to follow you , a drunken man , as she did. "You took her to parts far from where mankind could see you; you took criminal charge of that little child. "I can tell you, Hackett, that you are required to tell the law what you did to that child, and all the details surrounding your movements of that afternoon. "All this I can say. "I can say that this was a heinous crime, a most heinous crime, and you are responsible for it all. "I can say, Hackett, that the verdict of the twelve men chosen by you to decide your case, were standing between society, between public opinion and yourself. "To-day I am standing as a judge between public opinion and yourself, and if I listened to that public opinion I would sentence you to spent the rest of your natural life behind prison walls. "But the scales of Justice musts not be forgotten. I am bound to base my actions on the charge which I honestly made to the jury, and as a result you shall only suffer to the extent of twenty-five years in St. Vincent de Paul Penitentiary.
The Montreal Star 20 June 1906
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