Transcribers note: The articles on the Tompkyns/Tonkin murder, change the spelling of names, without notice, for the first two days, Tonkin was spelt Tompkyns in the Post-Dispatch and 1 day in the Globe-Democrat, and then changed to Tonkin with no explanation, several other names are treated the same way. If at any point I have put a word description, or comment, it will be in these sort of parentheses { }. All spellings of words are how they were in the paper. Karen King - kleeking@mindspring.com

 

St. Louis Daily Globe – Democrat December 25, 1881 page 6

 

THE TONKIN TRAGEDY.

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Kitty Mulcahy Clings to Her Confession of Firing the Pistol.

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Her Companion’s Identity Still a Mystery – A Reward Offered for the Pistol – The Girl’s Story of Going Astray.

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While the confession of Kitty Mulcahy evidently affords a certain satisfaction to the official mind, it does not prevent the formation of new theories based upon the belief that it may be inaccurate in detail. In the absence of any positive proof to the contrary, and, taking into consideration the statement of Mr. Turner, the police are prepared to believe that a part of her statement is true. That she fired the shot that killed the spy, whom she seems to have dreaded with a feeling akin to superstition, there seems, according to the prevailing theory, little room for doubt; but whether she is at the same time endeavoring to shield an accomplice, the officers are not willing to hazard an opinion. It is easy to observe, however, that they are inclined to that view. If the prisoner had not made so many statements might prior to her positive confession, it have been regarded as a final answer to the problematic question, "Who killed Tonkin?" As it stands, there is a vague suspicion that she is trying to shield her accomplice by still withholding a part of the truth.

It is evident that her statement has weight only when corroborated by extraneous proof. Her admission, in regard to the

USE OF THE PISTOL

is corroborated by Mr. Turner, an eye witners {witness}, who will swear that a woman fired the shot. Her location of the parties to the tragedy at the time the fatal shot was fired also agree with his testimony, while her evident trepidation upon the slightest allusion to the dreaded scene can not be wholly disregarded. Although she has told and retold the story since her first confession Friday, it does not vary in the slightest degree, and the same shudder seems to creep over her frame that was noted when she first declared that hers was the true hand that had stricken down the victim. With her every word and deed is natural and artless. One how has talked with her for half an hour is convinced that she is a creature of impulse, with whom action is the outgrowth of sentiment, rude as consistent with such a depraved nature, and that all her conclusions are formed with little regard for consequences. In short, as Capt. Fruchte thinks, it was her first intention to withhold the facts, but being incapable of forming a plot of sufficient ingenuity to protect herself under critical examination, she was forced by her own contradictory and inconsistent statements into the final admission of the main fact in the case.

Taking these characteristics into consideration a circumstance of the inquest is noted by Capt. Fruchte as evidence in support of her admission. He says that when the woman was taken to the Morgue to be sworn over the body, she

ADERTED HER EYES

from the face of the dead, and refused at any time to look upon the pallid countenance, giving as her only explanation that she "did not like to see dead people." It is quite certain that she did not see the face of Tonkin at the Morgue at all, and yet when she was called upon to give her statement at the inquest, she said that she had met the dead man, Tonkin, at a certain place, and that he had offered her the cap and $2. The intefence {conclusion} which the Captain draws is that she must have seen the man when he was killed, else she could not have identified the two as one.

Kitty’s behavior yesterday was consistent with the character of one who has found relie {relief} in telling a great and guilty secret. She received a great many visitors,. For most of the officers who came she had a pleasant word to say, and seemed all the while to be appealing to them for compassion. She did not like to talk about the shooting, but stuck to her first statement whenever reference was made to it. Several newspaper reporters who came in and annoyed her with cross-questions were received and dismissed with an outburst of violence, and one gentleman who made himself particularly obnoxious was

BADLY DRENCHED

by a dash of water from the bucket in Kitty’s cell.

Sergeant Watkins and a GLOBE – DEMOCRAT reporter, who entered the calaboose late in the evening, found her standing upon the bench in her cell, with her clothing closely drawn about the knees, screaming in mortal dread of the rats. The turnkey had for convenience placed the garbage-basket close to the bras {bars} of the cell and the rodents came in a perfect horde from the crevices in the floor and congregated there like beings of greater intelligence about the market place at Christmas time. Kitty is a creature of superstition and her dread of the rats was real and unfeigned. Seeing the Chief of Detectives she appealed to him to rid her from the pests. The officer took out his pistol and smilingly pretended that he would shoot them, thinking that she would be frightened into silence. She only said, "Shoot away."

"No, I want you to shoot ‘em," he said.

"All right, give me the pistol."

The rats ran away from the new comers, taking refuge in the prisoner’s cell. She stood against the wall, holding her hand through the bars, and the officer seemed about to comply with her request, when the reporter protested, "No, don’t do it, or if you do, wait a while,

SHE’S KILLED ONE MAN."

The rats held a consultation and reluctantly withdrew, leaving the officer, the reporter and the prisoner lone in the field. The officer gave her a cigar, which she lighted and placed in a corner of her mouth. Having regained he composure, she fixed one hand upon the iron grating of her cell and proceeded to enjoy the cigar, spitting anon in a coquettish way over her shoulder. A few days of total abstinence appeared to have enhanced her looks, for depravity so evident at first now appeared less repulsive; and while it is possible that she was romancing when she made the statement that she had once traveled with a living statuary show as a model, the idea did not appear ridiculous or impossible.

Soothed by a good cigar, her tongue was loosened, and the conversation became free and natural, the prisoner talking with all the simplicity of a child. She said that she was sorry for what had happened, and that when she got out again she was going to go home and behave herself.

"My sister was here to-day, and you bet I told her a heap," she said.

"What did you tell her?" she was asked.

"Told her to let the men alone, make them let her alone, and keep out of the calaboose and the House of the Good Shepherd?"

"You have been there, have you?"

"Ask that girl over there in the next cell. She was there with me. There’s no fun in it," she said.

"If you get out and go home are you sure you would not try to make your sister bad?"

"What? No, sir, I wouldn’t. Think I want here {her} to come here and

SLEEP WITH THE RATS?"

"Kitty," said the officer, coaxingly, in the hope of gaining information about the pistol, "you don’t seem to be a very mean girl; how did you happen to start so bad?"

"Well, you see, when I was a little girl I used to read in the dime novels all about young girls running away from home and having a good time, and so I thought I could have plenty of fun that way too. I thought it would be a great thing to sneak off and leave my parents and not let them know where they could find me."

"How old where you when you ran away?"

"About thirteen or fourteen."

"With anybody?"

"Yes, a circus woman."

"Where from?"

"Kansas City."

"Did you do anything in the circus? – play any part?"

"No, not at first."

"What did the woman want with you?"

"She thought I would learn a song – and – dance act to do with the minstrels in the side show."

"Where did you go?"

"Down into Texas."

"To what points?"
"Fort Worth, Dennison, Sherman and other places?"

"Where did you go from there?"

"Came to St. Louis and joined May Fisk’s blondes."

"You are no blonde."

"I don’t care, I’m telling the truth. I dressed in tights, and I danced in the solos, too. That’s more ‘n some of ‘em could do."

"What made you quit that?"

"Got tired. If I had let the men alone I would have been alright."
"Who do you blame?" asked the Sergeant.

"I tell you it was a policeman. He is dead now, poor fellow. I was awfully stuck on that policeman."

"Kitty, tell us the truth," said the chief detective, "Who was that man with you when you shot Tonkin?"

"’Pon my word and honor, what I told you before is so.

I DON’T KNOW.

I thought I’d see him to-night. He said he’d be back and bring me twenty yards of gros-grain silk."

"Did you believe he’d come?"

"Yes, I kinder thought he would; but the men fool me so often that way. I think they’ll come, and I wait and watch, and they don’t," she said.

"Are you sure that’s the man that gave you the pistol, and that you are not trying to shield Billy?"

"Billy didn’t have nothing to do with it, and the other man didn’t see it. He gave me the pistol, that’s all, and I shot the man and threw it at him."

"Don’t you know where that pistol is?"

"How could I tell you when I threw it away."

"May be somebody found it."

"May be they did. I don’t know about that."

"Tell the truth, didn’t you keep it?"

"No, when I shot the man I threw it at him and ran."

"What made Lou Allen tell the Coroner all those stories about Billy?"

"She don’t like him. You know she has her daughter and her son there in the house with her. I told Billy and he told on the boy and had him arrested for being an inmate. That’s worse than being a girl."

The police are anxiously looking for the accessory and the pistol. Buckley has been released, but Scharlot is in jail on another charge where he can be reached in case the testimony should again turn against him. The Chief of Detectives says he will give $25 reward for the pistol used in the shooting, and ask no questions why it has not been delivered over before.