Tales from the Morgue: Local law more severe than federal, misspellings notwithstanding

2014-01-17T18:00:00Z 2014-01-22T15:00:35Z Tales from the Morgue: Local law more severe than federal, misspellings notwithstandingJohanna Eubank Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
January 17, 2014 6:00 pm  • 

When a 35-year-old man elopes with a 13-year-old girl, there will be repercussions. In this case they came when federal authorities decided that they could prosecute the man under Arizona law, which was more severe than the federal law for the crime.

The Morgue Lady must defensively point out that "Arizona" was misspelled in the headline; it was not her typographical error (see the evidence to the right). This is what attracted her attention in the first place. How could they?

From the Arizona Daily Star, Sunday, Jan. 18, 1914:

photo

ARIZOMA LAW IS MORE SEVERE THAN MANN ACT
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John Peterson, 35, Who Eloped with 13-Year-Old Girl from Los Angeles, Will Be Prosecuted at Globe
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GLOBE, Jan. 17.—Grace Evans, the thirteen year old girl who eloped from Los Angeles with John Peterson, age 35 and her uncle by marriage, was brought here tonight and placed in custody of the matron of the county hospital, pending her appearance in the juvenile court.

She announced she was entirely to blame for the elopement. Peterson, who was brought here with the girl and placed in jail on a statutory charge, did not contradict her.

Shortly after their arrival here last week they were arrested by federal authorities and taken to Phoenix, where it was planned to prosecute Peterson under the Mann act, but when it was found that greater punishment could be given him under the Arizona state law if he was found guilty, he was returned here for trial.

"My relations with Mr. Peterson have not been improper," the girl said on her arrival. "I suggested the elopement. My aunt was jealous of me or she never would have notified the authorities and caused our arrest."

The girl said she had a mother, a widow, living at Galveston, where she asserted her aunt, Mrs. C. A. Evans, had a husband and Peterson a wife and grown stepchildren.

Mrs. Evans, who is here, said she came from Los Angeles to Arizona to recover diamonds valued at several thousand dollars which she alleged Peterson and the girl took when they left Los Angeles.

This story makes one crave a little more information. Is the aunt, Mrs. Evans, married to Mr. Peterson, or is his wife another aunt of the child? And it would appear, if evidence is found, that the couple should be prosecuted for theft as well. If Mr. Peterson is Mrs. Evans' husband, she should consider herself well rid of him and run as fast as possible if and when she recovers her stolen property.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

About this blog

"Tales from the Morgue" is a way for the Star to share stories from the treasure trove of information held in its old files.

Johanna Eubank, aka the Morgue Lady, was a research assistant in the Star Library — also known as News and Research Services — for 18 years before becoming an online content producer. She has had her share of sneezing fits after digging into dusty old files, so she's sure to find a few old stories to re-examine.

If you have suggestions, comments or questions about this blog, e-mail jeubank@tucson.com

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