FROM THE BOOK “THE BLUE EYED SIX” BY Edna Carmean: A true story from the late 19th century about four men who insured the town hobo and then hired a humble butcher and local ruffian to murder him so they could collect the insurance money…. all six having blue eyes!
DAY THREE: The trial of the Blue Eyed Six continues in the Lebanon Court house. A host of witnesses were called by the prosecution. Here are just a few highlights.
Jacob Kreiser: He lived 1/2 mile from the scene of the drowning. His testimony matched the testimony of the first witness Josiah Nye. He was a teamster who hauled coal to his customers which took him by Brandt’s hotel on a daily basis. He often saw “the four” at the hotel.
William Nye: Josiah Nye’s testified seeing all six men at Brandt’s on a regular basis, while riding his horse. Upon further questioning he fainted!
Elijah Stichler (Frank Stichler’s uncle) and neighbor to Brandt: Over heated objections from the defense was allowed to tell his story. As part of an earlier scheme Drews had offered him $100 to help kill old Joe Raber. He proposed that Drews and Elijah would take Joe fishing to Kitzmiller’s dam and go out on the water on a flat bottom boat. Drews would throw the old man into the water and Elijah would pole the boat over him to keep him down. Then they would jump in the water and go report to a neighbor, Michael Kohr, that they tried to save Raber but were unsuccessful. Brandt had also talked to him about the scheme and said their first plan was to chloroform Raber but he decided drowning was better. Elijah said on the day they were to drown Raber, Drews came to his door but he made an excuse of being sick and didn’t go along.
Michael Kohr: This witness lived close to Kitzmiller’s dam and testified he knew all six defendants and that in late November Brandt and Hummel stopped at his place and before leaving they stood by the dam for some time looking at the boats.
Jacob Kreiser & Charles Geib: They both testified they saw Joe Peters and his wife Lena with the crowd at the creek between 7 and 8 o’clock on the night of the drowning.
Lafayette Kreiser: He testified that the day after the drowning he saw four of the defendants, Stichler, Brandt, Hummel & Wise together behind Brandt’s shed. He could not hear what they were saying but he knew they were talking about money. He saw them behind the shed again on a day that Schweinhard, the insurance agent, was there.
Armand Weaver: The Coroner was called for the Commonwealth. He gave his testimony in a loud and assured voice. Early in the morning of December 8th he said, two of the defendants, Israel Brandt and Josiah Hummel appeared at his house to report the drowning. They had already secured a team for him to make his trip to Indiantown Gap. Weaver took Brandt to the home of a Dr. Alwine who accompanied them to hold an inquest on the body of the drowned man. He said Brandt was quite drunk and while they were on the way he told Weaver that he and others had the victim insured. He said he would give the Coroner $20 to file a good report so they could get their insurance money without any trouble.
Joseph Peters: He was recalled to re-hash the conversation he had with Drews in the mountain while chopping wood. He affirmed that Drews offered him money to participate in the drowning of Raber and that he refused. “I told him, that it wouldn’t do no good to drown Raber that they would find it out, and he said that nobody would find it out, that nobody would care. He was an old man who lived in the mountain and nobody would care if he would be worked out of the way.”
George Schweinhard: The insurance man was recalled to testify about circumstances at Brandt’s house when the proof of death documents were made out for the various insurance companies. “They were all there,” said Schweinhard, “except Zechman. We were talking in the side room and Stichler was laying on the bar in the bar room. After we finished making out the proofs, Stichler called Wise, Brandt and Hummel by name and said he wanted to see them so they went outdoors.” He then heard Stichler say, “I must have it today. I can’t wait any longer.”
Schweinhard stepped down and the Commonwealth rested its case. It was almost 11 o’clock at night. Court was adjourned.
NEXT UP: THE DEFENSE!
THE BIBLE: Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain? The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart; whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbor, and casts no slur on others. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. (Psalm 15:2; 25:5)