Love Letters to Estaver Are Introduced at Murder Trial
TENDER MISSIVES FROM 'FAIRY' ADDRESSED TO DEFENDANT WHEN HE WAS VISITING COAST CITIES
More Witnesses for State Are on Stand Saturday
Love letters addressed to the defendant by a writer signing the name "Fairy" were the features of the evidence introduced yesterday at the trial of William S. Estaver, Detroit dentist, on trial in the superior court on a charge of first degree murder, in connection with the death of Mrs. Anna C. Johnson, who was shot on the Ajo-Stoval road on the night of November 15, 1921.
In one letter, "Fairy" says that "it won't be long before I can have my divorce, and then – what do you want to happen?" In another portion of the same letter, the writer expressed doubt as to whether the recipient of the letter has found "another bobbed hair blonde."
"Washed my hair this morning, and thought of you while doing it; it wasn't a nice shampoo like you gave me," Fairy wrote in still another letter.
The missives were all addressed to "Dr. William S. Estaver" either at San Francisco or at Los Angeles, presumably a few days after the writer had left the coast last fall.
Read to Jury
The letters were read to jury by County Attorney George R. Darnell at the close of yesterday's session. Immediately afterward, a number of photographs, said to have been found among the defendant's effects when he was arrested on the morning after the shooting, were passed around to the jury for inspection. Some of the pictures showed the defendant and a woman in an automobile. Other photographs handed to the jury as being the defendant's were of ladies in distinct deshabille.
County Attorney George R. Darnell said yesterday that the state would close its case early tomorrow morning. It is believed that the trial will last until the latter part of the week.
Mr. Darnell is being assisted in the prosecution by Deputy County Attorney Ben B. Mathews. John L. Van Buskirk and K. Berry Peterson are defending Estaver.
The letters were postmarked Jackson, Mich., and were dated the early part of November, a few days before the killing. One of them, dated November 5, and written on stationery of the Hotel Rosalyn, Los Angeles, but postmarked Jackson, Mich., read, in part, as follows:
"Why did you do it? I'm afraid I shouldn't have left you . . .
"I could be ready to come within a week—if you want me to, dear. Do you—or have you another bobbed hair blonde? . . .
"Mary and Bud went to a charity ball last night, and mother and I went down and looked on. Oh, Billy, your Fairy had fits. The very same music we danced to every night in Juarez. And no Billy. I wanted to dance but didn't, 'cause you weren't there. I promised to tell you who (sic) I kissed. Took a taxi up to the house and was met by my brother—Bud, sister's fiance. He kissed me and I kissed he(sic), daddy and grand-daddy. that's all, dear—really. It won't be long now before I can have my divorce, and then? What do you want to happen? . . .
"Billy, dear, get a hold on yourself, and be a good boy for me. Don't raise the devil, dear; you must not look dissipated when I return.
"Billy, you DO want me to come back, don't you . . .
"Lots of love and kissing dear,
One letter was written on the California Limited train of the Santa Fe railway, and was dated November 2. Referring to certain "celebrities" that were on the same train, "Fairy" wrote:
"Dear, that fat man you saw yesterday was Allen McQuay, the singer, and the woman is Helen Jackson, the writer. And Mr. Southern (sic) (E. H. Sothern?), the actor, is also on the train—quite a crowd of celebrities. Allen McQuay and his pianist invited Helen Jackson and I (sic) to the Grand Canyon with them, and then go to Colorado Springs, but I declined. I couldn't see it, even if he does make $1000 a performance.
"Today Mr. Southern has treated us to lemonade, and entertained us royally. Helen and I breakfasted and lunched together . . .
Another letter was dated Jackson, Mich., November 6, 1921, and was in part as follows:
"Washed my hair this morning, and thought of you while doing it. It wasn't a nice shampoo, like you gave me. O, Billy, when am I coming home to you? Mama is ready to come any time, and I am more than ready. It won't take long to get Sonny. Then I just have to settle a few business affairs, and then—the devil himself couldn't hold me."
Garage Man Testifies
The first witness put on the stand yesterday was O. B. Anderson, who is engaged in the garage business at Rowood, near Ajo. He testified that on October 22 he got a call to go out to a point between Ajo and Sentinel to get a man with a broken down car, but that when he reached the spot the man had already been towed in. When he returned to Sentinel, he found Estaver and a woman who he said was his wife, already there, the witness said. Estaver and the woman left town on the night of October 23, going west to Los Angeles, Anderson said, adding that Estaver left instructions that Anderson was to drive the car through to Los Angeles when it was repaired, and collect his bill as well as that of G. R. McGaw, who had towed the man and woman into Sentinel. These instructions were followed, and Estaver paid him $130 in Los Angeles in settlement of both bills, Mr. Anderson testified, adding that Estaver sold his car to a dealer on November 2.
James Sleeths, signal maintainer for the Southern Pacific, testified that he met Estaver on the railroad tracks one mile east of Stoval at 10- o'clock on the morning of November 16, that Estaver inquired where he could get water, and that he was informed Stoval was only a mile away, the witness explaining on the stand that the town was visible from where the conversation was being held. Estaver then asked what was the nearest point east where water was available, and was told that there was a section gang nine miles east, according to the witness. Estaver then turned away from Stoval and began walking toward the section gang, Sleeths said, adding that before leaving Estaver said he had been riding with a man and a woman and that they had been held up.
Ellis Malone, formerly justice of the peace at Rowood, testified that on November 15, at about 4 p.m., Johnson and a woman and Estaver drove up in a Dodge car and bought cold drinks, "except," the witness added, "they were not cold, but hot," while a ripple of amusement spread over the courtroom. Johnson paid for the refreshments, and the party drove eastward in the direction of Yuma, the witness said.
George E. C. Johnson testified that he was the son of Peter Johnson, and that the woman who was killed was his stepmother. He said that her body was pointed out to him in the Johnson Undertaking company's parlors at Yuma on or about November 22, and that he identified it as the body of his stepmother. He saw the remains again in Olinger's undertaking parlors at Denver. Mr. Johnson testified that he drove the car through from Yuma to Tucson, in the same condition as he found it and its contents, except, he added, on cross-examination by Mr. Van Buskirk, that he took from the suitcase some articles of clean clothing for his father, who was in the hospital at Yuma, and except for two small pieces of windshield glass which he found on the left running board of the machine.
On cross-examination, Mr. Johnson said that the car he was driving was equipped with stronger lights than the usual stock car of the Dodge make, adding that he himself had made the change before leaving Denver.
J. N. McCain, a barber of Tucson, testified that on or about November 12, Estaver came into his shop at about 4 o'clock in the afternoon, and called for a haircut and shave. Estaver began the conversation as follows, according to the witness:
Told of Long Walk
"Well, I'm some walker."
"I walked in from Ajo today. I got a car broken down west of Ajo, and I walked into Ajo for parts, and not finding any there, I walked on to Tucson."
The witness said he had identified Estaver while the latter was in the county jail.
Deputy Sheriff J. Lew Tremaine, of Pima county, testified that the car was turned over to Sheriff Ben F. Daniels by George O. Johnson and Deputy Sheriff Elias of Yuma, and that the car was then entrusted into the witness's care by the sheriff. Mr. Tremaine declared that he had locked the car up and that it was in the same condition as when he had received it.
Mrs. Eliza M. Cronk, of Denver, testified that she and her husband. Walter F. Cronk, were in Stoval on November 15 and 16 of last year, en route to El Paso in their car, and that on the morning of November 16, Peter Johnson drove up with the dead body of his wife on the seat beside him. Johnson himself was wounded, she said, adding that efforts to get telephone connection with Yuma for help were unsuccessful. A passenger train was flagged, and Signal Maintainer Jack Sleeths and Special Officer P. S. Sullivan, of the Southern Pacific, stepped off, the witness said. The two men went down the track and in about 15 minutes returned with the defendant, the witness declared.
Mrs. Cronk testified that the first words she heard exchanged between Johnson and Estaver were spoken by the latter, who said:
"I didn't shoot you last night. Didn't you see two men jump on the running board and shoot you?"
Johnson replied in the negative, the witness said. According to her testimony, Johnson was put aboard the 12:30 train and sent to the hospital at Yuma.
On cross examination by Mr. Van Buskirk, Mrs. Cronk asserted that Johnson said when he first drove up that he had been carrying a man in the back seat, and that the man had shot him while they were riding through the desert. Mr. Van Buskirk then read what purported to be a transcript of Mrs. Cronk's testimony before the coroner at Yuma, in which she was reported as saying that Johnson had stated he had picked up a man in his car, that he had become unconscious and that when he recovered the man was gone. Mrs. Cronk yesterday expressed herself as being positive that Johnson's first words were that he had been shot by the man who was riding with them, and added that she did not remember whether she so testified before the coroner.
At this juncture, County Attorney Darnell announced that the state offered the Dodge car which Johnson was driving at the time of the shooting. The jury did not view the car until after the court session was over, late in the afternoon, when, in the custody of Bailiffs Joe Billings and G. E. Tuttle, the "twelve good men and true" inspected the car at the residence of Deputy J. Lew Tremaine, 245 North Main street. The examination consumed about half an hour.
John G. Bostick, proprietor of a local auto stage line, testified that on November 14 last, Bruce Crouse introduced Estaver to him, and that Estaver wanted to hire an automobile to take him out about 20 miles on the other side of Ajo. The witness said that he told Estaver it would cost him $75, that Estaver replied he would try to catch a ride, and that the next morning the witness saw the defendant in front of the Willard hotel, standing by an automobile.
F. F. DeMorse, assistant county engineer of Pima county, testified to the finding of two shells and a bullet at a spot west of Ajo, which had been marked by means of rags tied on bushes.
O. F. Hicks, special agent for Pima county, testified that a Mauser discharges its empty shells to the right and to the back.
Joe B. Kelley, special officer of the Southern Pacific railroad, testified that in November, 1921, two trains from Tucson stopped at Sentinel—No. 109, which leaves Tucson at 3:30 a.m., and No. 1, which leave this city at 5:25 p.m. and reaches Sentinel at 10:30 p.m. The latter stop is a flag stop, the special agent said.