Estaver Is Refused Bail When Held for Superior Court
DEFENDANT IS CHARGED WITH KILLING WOMAN
Case Probably Will Be Tried at Ajo in February
After one of the sharpest and most protracted legal battles ever staged in the justice court of the Tucson precinct, William S. Estaver, charged with the murder of Mrs. Anna C. Johnson, on the Ajo-Stoval road on the night of November 15, yesterday was committed to the county jail to face trail in the superior court, Justice of the Peace Oscar L. Pease declining to permit the prisoner to give bail.
County Attorney George R. Darnell, who with his deputy Ben B. Mathews, represented the state at the preliminary hearing, said last night that in the absence of any motion by the defense to have the case removed to Tucson, the trial would be held in Ajo, perhaps during the latter part of January or the first part of February.
The preliminary examination of Estaver was commenced in the justice court 20 days ago, being continued on two different occasions.
Yuma Men Called
At yesterday's session, which began at 10 o'clock and lasted until about 4 in the afternoon, the defense called a number of Yuma witnesses, whose testimony dealt chiefly with the tracing, step by step, of tracks which the defendant was said to have admitted were his own, from Stoval to the spot of the alleged crime, three and one-half miles east of the Pima-Yuma line.
H. H. Baker, county attorney of Yuma county, first took the stand, and told of his automobile trip from Stoval in the company of Sheriff J. M. Polhamus and Michael B. Hodges, of Yuma county. Mr. Baker testified that Estaver pointed out the stretch over which he had run for about 400 or 500 yards to overtake Peter Johnson, the dead woman's husband, who was driving the car at the time.
According to testimony previously adduced in the case, the Johnson couple had taken Estaver aboard their car at Tucson to permit him to join his wife, who, he was quoted as having said, was awaiting him at Sentinel. Estaver's car, according to an explanation attributed to him, had broken down west of Ajo. It was during this trip to Sentinel that Mrs. Johnson was killed and her husband seriously wounded.
Mr. Baker said he had nothing in his possession belonging to the defendant. The witness was on the stand about three hours, being examined minutely as to the details of the trip to the alleged scene of the shooting.
Tells of Autopsy
Dr. H. D. Ketcherside, also of Yuma, testified that he had held the autopsy over the body of Mrs. Johnson and had found two bullets in her head, one of which missiles, he said, was split. The bullets were of steel and of .32 calibre. The witness added that Mr. Johnson had been shot three times, once through the side of the face and twice through the body.
Sheriff Polhamus corroborated the testimony of County Attorney Baker as to the defendant's admission that the tracks leading to the alleged scene of the shooting were his own, and regarding the location, which, he testified, was marked by the tying of rags to nearby bushes. The sheriff said that a .32 Mauser gun was turned over to him by Southern Pacific Officer J. J. Sullivan, who brought Estaver into Stoval. The witness stated that he had found empty cartridges in the automobile.
County Attorney Darnell was next called to the stand by his "brother on the other side." Mr. Darnell admitted that he had in his possession certain grips, cartridges, a gun and a piece of glass, but that there was nothing to identify them with the case and that the objects had not been tagged.
Asks for Articles
Mr. Timmons then made a formal motion to have Mr. Darnell produce these articles in court. A long-standing legal campaign was renewed, Mr. Darnell having already refused to produce them at that stage of the proceedings.
Judge Pease announced that after taking into consideration his own duties and that of the county attorney, he did not believe that a committing magistrate could interfere with the prosecutor's method of trying cases.
Mr. Timmons then made a formal motion to have the case dismissed, contending that the state had failed clearly to establish both the county in which the shooting had occurred and the county where Mrs. Johnson had died.
Judge Pease ruled that under the Arizona law a committing magistrate was not concerned with either of these questions, which could be threshed out in the superior court.
"My duty is to ascertain whether a crime has been committed and whether the defendant was the man who probably committed it," the magistrate said.
Judge Pease accordingly ordered Estaver to be held to answer to the superior court, denying Mr. Timmons' request that his client be allowed bail. Sheriff Ben F. Daniels and Deputy J. Lew Tremaine then locked the defendant up in the county jail.