Murder Near Buffalo
Perry Bulletin; Perry, Dallas, Iowa; April 30, 1896
During a drunken row near Buffalo,
Joseph Goodness was killed by Jake and Jeff Mounts
Davenport Daily Leader; Davenport, Scott, Iowa; May 8,
Defendants, Attorneys Ask That They Be Dismissed.
The preliminary hearing of Ves and Jake Mounts, which
was commenced yesterday afternoon in Justice Block's court was bue well began
when court adjourned last night. The contest is a warm one and particularly so
because of the warm weather. While the council chamber of the old city hall is a
much better courtroom than any over crowded justice of the peace office in the
city, still the air of the room is stifling in the extreme and the attorneys in
the case did their best to appear cool while the witnesses mopped their brows
The witnesses examined yesterday were Dr. Berwald,
Capt. W.L. Clark, G. Huftel, the father-in-law, Mrs. James Bremer and James
Bremer, the man who ran the house boat on the island and B.L. McBride, a fellow
workman in the quarry with the murdered man, Joe Goodness.
The testimony was a substantial repetition of that
taken at the coroner's inquest. The doctor told of his being called to the boat
in which the deceased lived with his father-in-law and to having found him dead.
He further testified to having made a post mortem examination of the deceased
and to having found the skull fractured and a large clot of blood on the brain
nearly two inches in diameter. He said that the fracture extended down through
the parietal bone and that the clot of blood was directly under the fracture. In
the opinion of the doctor the injury was sufficient to cause death.
The cross-examination of the witness was thorough. The
defense brought out the material fact that the doctor had made no examination of
the other organs of the body so that he was unable to tell whether there were
any other derangements which might have caused death.
Gist of the Testimony
The other witnesses testified to the facts surrounding
the causes which led up to the blow struck by Jake Mounts. It was to a great
extent cumulative and was to the effect that a number of the boys of the village
went over to the big island on that Sunday. That there were three different
parties that went over at different times and that there were two kegs of beer
taken over. That after the boys got warmed up a little it was decided to discuss
the scriptures and that Joe Goodness and Vess Mounts were selected by general
assent to lead the discussion on either side. It soon developed that Mounts was
unable to hold his temper and Goodness said to him that no matter what remarks
Mounts made to him he, Goodness, would not get mad and he wanted Mounts to agree
to the same. It seems that the argument waged warm and that as the discussion
proceeded it became personal and some slighting remarks were made relating to
the money which had been paid in on the beer when Mounts struck Goodness and a
fight was on hand. McBride stepped in between the two men and told Mounts to run
and shoved him out the door. He attempted to stop Goodness but before he could
do so the latter was following Mounts. That in doing so he rushed through the
water between the boat and the shore instead of waiting to take the plank. They
went into the brush pell mell and Goodness soon overtook Mounts and grappling
they fell together Goodness on top. McBride came up before a blow was struck on
either side and grabbed Goodness and called to the other men to pull Mounts out
from under. This was finally done and Mounts was taken back to the boat and the
door shut on him while Goodness was not allowed to enter. Goodness seemed to
think, or at least that is what McBride testified to, that there was a feeling
against him and he took a boat and put off for the Iowa shore. As he was ready
to go McBride requested to be allowed to accompany him but he replied that no
one would go with him. This was about 6 o'clock. In about fifteen minutes the
Mounts boys and Clint Powell left for the Iowa shore also. Goodness went up town
and returned at about the time that the Mounts boys were landing. McBride also
testified that as the Mounts boys were about to shove off he heard one of the
boys say that if they could only "catch him in the river they would beat
his head off with an oar," but no name was attached to the declaration and
it was not attached to the name of Goodness by the witness.
There was also testimony to the effect that there was
an effort to make up on the part of one of the Mounts boys but that Goodness
refused the offer, and that it was in an assault on Vess Mounts that the blow
was struck by Jake Mounts.
The first witness upon the stand this morning was Mrs.
Goodness, the wife of the deceased. She testified that she was at home on
Sunday, April 26, and that she saw Mounts boys as they were rowing past the boat
in which she and he husband lived with her father and that she heard them say
that they would "do" Goodness when they caught him.
The next witness examined was Chas. Moore, who
testified that he was a coal miner and that he had lived all of his life at
Buffalo. He said that he was with the Mounts boys when they landed and that he
walked with them up the shore and that they met Joe Goodness. He said that
Vess Mounts walked up to Joe and offered to shake hands with him and said that
Goodness refused to shake hands. He saw Jake Mounts strike Goodness and saw him
fall to the ground. His hands were not up at the time the blow was struck. He
said that Goodness got up and walked up towards the boat in which he lived.
Had a Bad Memory.
Clint Powell was the next witness for the state. He
said that he was 20 years old and that he had lived in Buffalo three
years. He said the he had been on the island at Bremer's place on Sunday and
that he had drank freely and was considerably intoxicated at the time the
trouble occurred. He was not clear in his statements. He could not remember many
of the incidents which had taken place on that day. He said that he was on the
outside of the boat at the time the blow was struck inside of the boat; that he
saw the men run out of the cabin boat, Vess Mounts ahead followed by Goodness;
that he saw Goodness overtake Vess and saw them fall. He afterwards saw Vess run
back into the boat. He said that he accompanied the Mounts boys in their boat
and that they passed the house in which Goodness lived. He said that he
remembered that one of the boys asked whether Mr. Goodness was at home and that
was the only remark that he had heard. That they rowed up the creek and moored
the boat. He saw Goodness coming and saw him moored the boat. He saw him meet
the Mounts boys but did not remember what was said or whether anything was said
or not. He saw Goodness spit on his hands, then he saw Jake strike him with the
oar, and saw Vess Mounts kick him after he was down. They passed by the
prostrate form of Goodness and afterwards looked back and saw him get up and
start off for home. Did not remember of having heard the boys do any talking
after the occurrence though he accompanied him home. Saw Vess Mount's wife meet
him and take him into the house. The cross examination developed nothing new. On
re-direct he said he did not know whether Goodness meant to strike Vess Mounts
Edward Pugh testified that all he knew of the matter
was that he had seen the crowd down by the river at the time the blow was
struck. He knew nothing about the case.
Mathews Durr, who was on the island at the time the
fracas occurred, was also called to the stand. His evidence was to a great
extent corroborative and nothing new was developed.
The testimony of this witness and that of Olie Clark,
who followed him, was also cumulative in its nature. The latter saw the blow
struck that caused the death of Goodness. He was the most observing of all the
witnesses and though but 14 years old told a straight story.
The next witness was George Simmons. He was present on
the island and saw the first fracas. After the men were separated he put off for
home as he said he thought that there would be trouble and he did not want to be
mixed up in it. He left the island and put off for the Iowa shore a short time
before Goodness left. His story of the row on the island was substantially the
same as that of the other witnesses.
The next witness and the last for the state was Andrew
Perkins. On his direct examination he told substantially the same story as the
other witnesses but on cross-examination the defense sought to prove by him that
Goodness thought that Simmons who left just prior to the time that the men were
separated was one of the Mounts boys and that the reason he put off for the Iowa
shore at that time was to overtake him and to have it out. There was some
evidence to that effect drawn from the witness. At the conclusion of this
witness's testimony the state rested and the court took an adjournment for
Motion to Dismiss.
When court reopened this afternoon the defense
gave notice of a motion to dismiss the defendants on for want of sufficient
evidence. The argument on the motion was opened by Attorney Scott for the
defense. The attorney made a clear and concise review of the evidence from his
standpoint. He contended that there was not a particle of evidence on the part
of the state showing premeditation and that in the absence of this that nothing
more can be made of the case than homicide. He pointed out in support of this
the fact that the witnesses for the state had failed to show a single statement
that the Mounts boys had thought of doing personal violence to the deceased but
that on the contrary the state's witnesses had all testified that Vess Mounts
had extended his hand to the deceased when they met and wanted to let the matter
drop. His argument was clear and to the point.
At the close of Mr. Scott's argument the county
attorney raised the point that it was really a final argument and that he should
have the closing address. However, the court held that it was an intermediate
motion and therefore gave the defense the closing.
County Attorney Chamberlin is speaking as we go
Davenport Daily Republican; Davenport, Scott, Iowa;
May 9, 1896
MOUNTS BOYS BOUND OVER
Bail Fixed at $2,000 Each - Not Yet Furnished
Decision Reached at 4:10 Yesterday With Buffalo Residents Out in Force-
Confined in Jail
The preliminary hearing of the Mounts
boys was continued yesterday morning before Justice Block in the council chamber
of the old city hall. The first witness was Mrs. Joseph Goodness widow of the
murdered man. She told of hearing one of the Mounts boys say that they intended
"to do Goodness." She further related that her husband was exhausted
or injured to such an extent that he could not go to bed when he arrived at his
Following Mrs. Goodness, a coal miner named Chas.
Moore, was put on the stand. He was with the Mounts boys when the blow was
struck and told the particulars. The party, consisting of himself and the two
brothers, was walking up the railroad track when they met Joe Goodness, who was
walking down. The Mounts boys advanced toward Goodness and asked him to shake
hands and bury the hatchet. This Goodness refused to do. Words and threats
followed, ending in Jake Mounts saying, "Don't hit my brother,"
following the remark with the blow with the oar which he held in both hands and
swung over his shoulder. The blow knocked Goodness senseless, after which "Beff"
Mounts kicked him several times in the head. Mrs. Goodness then came upon the
scene and tried to induce her husband to come home. This he refused to do,
remarking with an oath, "Let me kill him." His wife threw her arms
about him and prevailed upon him to go home.
Clint Powell was the next to give testimony. He saw the
whole affair although he was about twenty feet away. Attorney Scott for the
defense conducted the cross examination and developed the fact that Goodness
spat on his hands as he advanced to meet the Mounts boys.
The next witness was Olie Clark and although he is not
yet out of his teens he told his story in a straightforward manner and made a
good witness. He saw Jake Mounts hit Goodness with the oar. Mounts held the
blade and struck with the handle. The only words heard to pass between the men
was a foul name Goodness called Mounts. After the blow Goodness took several
steps and fell to the ground after which "Beff" Mounts kicked him in
Geo. Simons and Andrew Perkins followed and
corroborated the testimony of preceding witnesses and as it was nearly noon, an
adjournment was taken for dinner, after which Attorney McGuirk asked that the
case be dismissed on the grounds that the evidence could not convict and
therefore was not strong enough to cause the prisoners to be bound over.
Attorney Scott made an agreement in favor of dismissing after which Justice
Block ruled against them and the arguments were commenced. Attorney Scott then
took the floor and talked for an hour followed by Attorney Chamberlin for the
state. Attorney McGuirk for the defense closed the arguments about 4:10 o'clock.
Justice Block then bound the prisoners over in the sum of $3,000 each for
appearance at the September term of the district court. They were taken to the
county jail in default of bail.
Davenport Leader; Davenport, Scott, Iowa; May 10, 1896
MOUNTS BOYS HELD
Justice Block Fixes Bonds at Three Thousand Dollars Each
The preliminary hearing of Ves and Jack
Mounts was brought to a close Friday and Justice Block bound over to the grand
jury in the sum of $3,000 each to answer the charge of murder.
The preliminary hearing was conducted with much care on
both sides and was one of the most interesting that has ever taken place in this
city. The attorneys for the defense were evidently well posted as to all of the
evidence that was to be introduced and had prepared themselves well for the
hearing. This preparation made a telling effect in behalf of the defendants. The
cross-examination of the witnesses was conducted with skill and a number of good
points were brought out. At the close of the evidence Attorney George W Scott of
Scott & Theophilus and A.P. McGuirk both made telling arguments on the
motion to dismiss while Attorney W.M. Chamberlin, on the part of the state did
his part of the work in a creditable manner.
The duty of a committing magistrate is not to pass
directly on the guilt or innocence of the parties brought before him, as the
charge of murder does not come within the jurisdiction of a justice of the
peace. It is his duty to hear the evidence in the case or so much thereof as may
be necessary to get at the nature of the offense that has been committed and
from that evidence to determine whether or not it is sufficient for the state to
base such a charge upon.
The Mounts boys are young, Ves, the older of the two,
is probably not over 22 years while Jake, the younger one, is not over 17. They
are rather boyish in their appearance and to look at Ves one could hardly
believe that he was the head of a family, though such is the case. In the court
room during the entire trial there were a large number of the citizens of
Buffalo who had known the boys from infancy. Next to the prisoners who were in
charge of Deputy Sheriff Kuehl, the most interesting among those present was the
wife of the deceased Mrs. Goodness. She is a woman of about twenty-five years
old but would be taken for about thirty or over. The father of the boys was
there also and watched the proceedings with great interest from start to finish.
He is not a man of means and it is likely that the boys will be compelled to
remain in the jail until the case is disposed of for the want of bondsmen.
Davenport Weekly Leader; Davenport, Scott, Iowa;
January 29, 1897
(From Thursday's Daily Leader)
JURY CHOSEN IN MOUNTS CASE.
OPENING ADDRESS OF COUNSEL AND TESTIMONY BEGINS
The jury has been selected in the
Mounts case and the testimony is now being taken. It was rather a surprise that
the jury should have been secured so soon. It was thought by a good many that
the selection of the jury would have taken all of today and probably some of
tomorrow. As it was it took but a day to secure the jury. The work was commenced
yesterday afternoon and was completed by noon today and the jury sworn.
The case will be very interesting it is thought. The
Mounts boys are charged with murdering Joe Goodness on the 26th day of last
April. It was Sunday and there was a camp on the island opposite Buffalo or
thereabouts. The camp was near the house boat owned by a party who had the camp
and it was decided by a number of the young fellows about the town that they
would take a keg of beer over to the camp and spend the day. The party who run
the camp said that they had no objection so long as they did not make a
disturbance. The two Mounts boys and Joe Goodness were of this party. During the
afternoon of that day some of the members of the party commenced a discussion on
the Bible. One of the Mounts boys and Joe Goodness seemed to be the main
speakers and Mounts became angry. There were hard words used and blows struck
and after a little scrimmage the parties were separated. The parties then left
for the main land but not altogether. Goodness preceded the Mounts boys.
As they landed they met Goodness on the bank of the
river and at this point the stories seem to differ. At any rate Goodness was
struck on the head with an oar in the hands of Jake Mounts and it was claimed
that "Bess" Mounts kicked him after he was down. The Mounts state that
this was done in self defense and it is thought that this will be the line of
The boys were brought to this city and a preliminary
hearing was had but the defense did not reveal the line of defense that it would
take and introduced none of its witnesses. There will be a strong effort made to
clear them. They certainly have good attorneys who will make a strong fight. A.P.
McGuirk and Scott & Theophilus represent the defendants and County Attorney
Lischer and ex-County Attorney Chamberlin representing the state will without
doubt make a very strong fight for their conviction.
The jury is composed of the following gentlemen:
Herman Arp, C.J. Barr, Charles Dahms, Joseph Hickson,
Charles F. Rehling, William Richter, W.H. Record, J.A. Taylor, F.W. Dittman,
John D. Tichnor, Otto Klug, Henry Eckmann.
After the jury had been secured and sworn the opening
statements of the attorneys were made. States Attorney Lischer read the case and
W.M. Chamberlin followed for the state with a short review of the case and
setting forth the points the state intends to prove.
The statement for the defense was made by A.P. McGuirk
and was a plain concise statement. He put forth a plea of self defense and it is
evident that this will be the plea for the defense in the case. The defense is
making a very determined and a very good fight and the cross questioning of the
witnesses showed that they were dead in earnest.
The first witness called for the state this afternoon
was Dr. C.L. Berwald of Buffalo who testified to being called to the cabin boat
of Joseph Goodness the day after the assault on Monday morning and finding him
dead. He also testified to holding a post mortem examination on the body of the
deceased in the evening of the same day in company with Dr. McCortney, of this
city, the coroner in which they found a fracture of the skull and the formation
of a blood clot under the fracture, that it was his opinion that the fracture
had been caused by a blow with a blunt instrument. The fracture was on the right
side of the head. The blood clot was about one and a half inches deep and about
two inches long. Asked as to how long Goodness had been dead when he was called,
he said that he thought the victim had been dead about three hours. Asked as to
how long the fracture had existed before he saw the body he said that it might
have existed about ten hours. He also testified to finding several minor bruises
on the face of the dead man, which, however, were not serious.
On cross-examination he said that he had not examined
the heart nor any other portion of the body and that he did not ascertain the
fact as to whether Goodness was intoxicated at the time of death or not.
The next witness called was Dr. McCourtney who
testified to holding the inquest on the body of Goodness. His testimony was
substantially the same as that of Dr. Berwald. He was still on the stand at the
time of going to press.
Davenport Weekly Leader; Davenport, Scott, Iowa;
February 2, 1897
TESTIMONY IN THE MOUNTS CASE
All Day Long the State's Witnesses Occupy the Stand.
The case of Bess Mounts on trial for
the murder of Joseph Goodness was occupying the attention of the court and jury
today and a large crowd of spectators filled the court room, who were anxious to
hear what was being said. The taking of testimony is proceeding very slowly as
the attorneys for the defense are very careful not to let any objectionable
testimony be given and subject each witness to a heavy fire of cross
The defendant this morning sat as usual near his
attorneys and was visited by his mother and wife although they were not allowed
to sit near him.
The last witness on the stand last evening was Charles
Strohn a lad of about 14 years of age. He was one of the boys who saw the
trouble between Goodness and the Mounts boys, and his testimony was clear and to
the point. He testified to seeing the Mounts boys meet Goodness near the landing
and seeing Bess Mounts go up to Goodness and offer to shake hands with him; he
also testified to seeing Jake Mounts strike Goodness with an oar and knock him
down and then seeing Bess Mounts kick him. He did not know whether Goodness
struck Bess Mounts first.
The next witness called was Olie Clark another of the
small boys who saw the trouble and his testimony was in substance the same as
that of young Strohn.
The next witness was Charles Moore, a young man from
Buffalo, who testified that he knew the Mounts boys since they were little boys
and that he knew Goodness by sight. He also testified that on the day of the
alleged murder he was walking with the Mounts boys from the levee when they met
Joseph Goodness and Bess Mounts offered to shake hands with him. Witness did not
know whether Goodness attempted to strike Bess Mounts, but heard Jake Mounts
say: "Don't hit my brother," and saw him strike Goodness with an oar.
Goodness was coming towards the Mounts boys at the time and the blow from the
oar knocked him down. Witness then saw Bess Mounts kick Goodness about the head.
He also testified that after the fight Mrs. Bess Mounts came down and putting
her arms about her husband attempted to lead him home, but that he asked her to
let him go back and kill Goodness.
The state next called a witness whom it had hardly
expected to be able to get to come. It was H. Hoepling, the father-in-law of
Joseph Goodness. He testified that he was a photographer and that last April he
was in Buffalo living in a cabin boat with Goodness and his wife. He testified
that Goodness went across the river that day and returned about 5 o'clock and
went up town. That about 5 or 6 o'clock that afternoon the Mounts boys passed
his boat in a skiff and asked if Goodness was there, saying that they were
looking for him and wanted to lay him out. He further testified that he saw
Goodness again about 6:30 o'clock near the bridge and Goodness told the witness
that he had been struck with an oar. That the witness then followed Goodness
He further testified that when he reached the cabin
boat Goodness groaned a great deal and kept the other occupants of the boat from
sleeping. At about midnight he arose from his bed and went out when he returned
he lay down on his couch and apparently fell asleep as he ceased groaning. This
was the last heard from him until morning when his wife arose and covered him
with a comforter not knowing that he was already dead. At about 6 o'clock
Hoefling arose and going to the other end of the boat he saw that Goodness was
dead and that his face had turned black. It was then that Dr. Berwald was
After dinner the winter [sic-witness] was recalled and on
further examination testified that when he met Goodness near the bridge he was
bleeding from the nose and ears and was in great pain.
The next witness was Mrs. Joseph Goodness, the wife of
the defendant, who came into the court room learning [sic-leaning] on the arm of
her father. She is a little, pale, sickly woman.
Her testimony was brief and in substance the same as
that of her husband.
This was the last witness for the state and the
prosecution rested its case.
At this point George W. Scott, attorney for the
defense, made a motion to take the case from the jury and let the judge consider
the evidence himself. The motion was overruled by the court and the taking of
testimony for the defense was commenced.
The first witness for the defense was Matthew Durr. He
testified that he was at the camp across the river from Buffalo the afternoon of
April 26 and that Goodness after he had had a quarrel with Bess Mounts over some
Biblical question followed Mounts and twice threw him down on the ground but
they were separated. He testified that Goodness afterward when he thought the
defendant had come across the river said he was going after him and started out
in a boat for that purpose refusing to take any one else with him. He also
testified that Goodness was quarrelsome when in an intoxicated condition and
that he came over to Buffalo about 20 or 30 minutes after Goodness had left him
and that the Mounts boys had preceded him. At the time of going to press this
witness was still on the stand undergoing the fire of cross examination.
Davenport Weekly Leader; Davenport, Scott, Iowa;
February 2, 1897
(From Sunday's Daily Leader)
MURDER TRIAL STILL ON
The attorneys for the defense in the
Mounts case, which is now being tried at the court house, are making a splendid
effort in behalf of their client and are putting up a very good fight. The
witnesses for the defense are not giving any testimony creditable to Goodness,
who was the victim of the fight. It seems that Goodness as well as the Mounts
boys was drunk on the occasion and the fact that he told several witnesses for
the defense that he would do up the Mounts boys may help out the defendant a
After Durr, the first witness for the defense, who in
cross examination got considerably muddled up left the stand on Friday evening.
Henry Krouse was called to the stand. He was on the island the day of the
trouble and saw Goodness chase Bess Mounts out into the woods and saw Mounts
return to the cabin boat and hide until Goodness had left in his boat. Krouse
was in the room with Bess Mounts and held the door. The only other statement
brought out by the cross examination was the fact that while hiding in the cabin
boat Bess Mounts had taken down a shot gun and placed it beside him.
The next witness called was Andrew Perkins, a coal
miner, of Buffalo. He had known Goodness and knew the Mounts boys, and on the
day of the alleged murder crossed the river to the island in a boat with
Goodness and several other men between 3 and 4 o'clock and they took and eight
gallon keg of beer with them and after landing the keg and the other men on the
island witness and Goodness returned to the Iowa shore to get more passengers.
He also testified that during the afternoon he heard Goodness and the defendant
Bess Mounts arguing and thought it was about paying for the beer but was not
certain. He also saw Goodness chasing Bess Mounts toward the woods and saw Bess
Mounts come back shortly afterwards and hide in the cabin boat. Goodness then
returned also and started to cross the river in a skiff. Witness asked him to
take witness with him but Goodness refused saying he knew what he was doing. He
also testified that Bess Mounts was in the cabin boat when Goodness left but
that the Mounts boys left for Buffalo in a skiff about 15 minutes afterward;
asked to the reputation of Goodness, witness said that so far as he knew him he
was of a good natured disposition at all times whether drunk or sober.
After this testimony the court adjourned until 9
o'clock Saturday morning when the taking of evidence for the defense was
The first witness called Saturday morning was George
Simons. Simons was the man who preceded Goodness across the river in a skiff and
he testified that Goodness followed him down the railroad track for some
distance under the impression that he was one of the Mounts boys.
Clem Vogelbaugh was the next witness called. He
testified that on the fatal 26th day of April last he and his brother-in-law,
Rudolph Wrage, went to the coal mine about a mile below Buffalo and returned to
Buffalo between 5 and 6 o'clock in the evening; that when they were about a
quarter of a mile below Buffalo they met Goodness who had been drinking, and
that he asked them if they had seen Bess Mounts land below, adding that that was
the man he was looking for. The witness replied that he had not seen Mounts when
Goodness walking up to them struck each in the breast with his fist and insisted
to know if they were telling him the truth. Being assured that they were he
asked them to go up town with him and have a drink and they started toward
Buffalo. Goodness then told witnesses that he had some trouble with the Mounts
boys over on the island and that he would do them up. Witness further stated
that when they passed the cabin boat of Mr. Hoefling, the father-in-law of
Goodness, Goodness told Mr. Hoefling to eat his supper for him as he was going
up to Buffalo to lay for the Mounts boys. The witness said they then went up
town to several saloons and he and his brother-in-law left Goodness who went
back towards his cabin boat and they went home.
The next witness was Rudolph Wrage the brother-in-law
of the above witness, and his testimony was substantially the same and though
both were subjected to severe cross-examination they did not differ as to the
main facts of the testimony.
The next witness called was Mrs. Bess Mounts, the wife
of the defendant. She said she had been married to the defendant two year and
that on April 26th, 1869, she was living with him in Buffalo. She said she knew
of his being on the island on that day and that on his return about 5 or 6
o'clock that evening she met him in front of Sylvester Mounts house and that he
came home with her. Asked as to whether the defendant, when she met him
said anything about going back to kill Goodness, she denied that the defendant
had said anything to that effect. She further stated that when they reached home
she found that his face was scratched, that a portion of his scalp was gone on
the back of his head the size of the wound being about the size of a quarter of
a dollar and that his shirt was torn down the back.
This witness was not cross-examined by the state and
Mrs. Sylvester Mounts, the mother of the defendant, was the next witness called
to the stand.
The witness stated that Bess Mounts was 20 years of age
and that the age of Jake Mounts was 16 years. She testified that on the
afternoon of April 26 Sylvester Mounts, her husband, was lying in the front room
of the house on a couch as he was not feeling well. She also testified to seeing
Goodness pass the house that afternoon in company with another man going towards
Buffalo and afterwards return. She stated that Jake Mounts returned home about 5
or 6 o'clock that evening and after supper went to church and that she went to
the home of Bess Mounts where she found the wounds on him as described by his
wife and that she remained there until about 8:30 and that Bess was home all
The court adjourned for the noon recess while this
witness was on the stand and she was recalled for cross examination when court
reconvened after dinner.
The next witness called was Sylvester Mounts, the
father of the defendant. He stated that he was 64 years of age and lived in
Buffalo township for 62 years. On the afternoon of April 26, 1896, he was lying
on a sofa in the front room of his home in Buffalo, as he was not feeling very
well, that while lying there he heard Goodness and a companion pass his house
and heard Goodness tell his companion that he had been up town laying for the
Mounts boys and that he was going to do them up. His companion remonstrated with
him and asked him not to do it but that Goodness insisted that he would. This
proved very valuable testimony and the attorney for the state failed to shake it
in the least by cross examination. The next two witnesses called were simply
called to prove that Goodness bore the reputation of being a bad man when drunk
and both stated this to be the case. The witnesses were Theodore Kautz and Capt.
Since his confinement in the county jail the defendant
has had time to think of the error of his ways and seems to have become
converted he spent a great deal of time reading the scripture and in prayer and
is hopeful that he will not be convicted.
After the taking of the above testimony court adjourned
and the jury was excused until Monday after at 2 o'clock.
Davenport Weekly Leader; Davenport, Scott, Iowa;
February 23, 1897
In the case of the Mounts murder case the attorneys for
the defense case have filed a petition for a change of venue to another judge.
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
During the past few weeks and especially during the
trial of Bess Mounts for the murder of Joseph Goodness the names of these men
have appeared almost daily in the public print.
The truth of the matter is that "Goodness"
was not the name of the dead man, or is "Bess" the name of the man who
was on trial as an accessory to the crime.
Peter Willi, one of the old and reliable residents of
Buffalo township was in the city yesterday and in conversation with a reporter
of The Leader he asked why things were thus and so. He said that Mr. Goodness'
name was La Bundy, a French name which translated means "goodness." He
sayd that Mr. La Bundy went by his real name until a short time before he was
killed and that the name was used by residents of the village of Buffalo after
they had ascertained that the translation was "goodness."
He also says that the name of Bess Mounts is
"Sylvester." He has always been nicknamed "Vess" but in some
way his name got upon the record as "Bess" and it is likely that it
will continue to be used so until the trial is over to say the least. It is also
likely that the name of "Goodness" will also remain in connection with
the case as it is now on record. Nevertheless it may be of interest to the many
who are watching the outcome of the case to know the facts.
Michael Lillis of Long Grove, has received word of the death
on last Friday of his brother Patrick Lillis, at his home near Barney, Iowa. The
deceased was formerly a resident of this city and will be remembered by many of
our old citizens. He was about 68 years of age and a native of Ireland. He
leaves besides his brother Michael, his aged mother, Mrs. Lillis, who resides
with Michael at Long Grove, his wife, formerly Miss Tobin of Long Grove, and
several children. The many friends of the deceased in this city and county
extend sympathy to the bereaved family in their affliction.
Davenport Daily Leader; Davenport, Scott, Iowa;
February 25, 1897
JUDGE WOLF TO TRY THE MOUNTS CASE
SET FOR TWO O'CLOCK THURSDAY, MARCH FOURTH
This morning County Attorney Lischer
received word from Judge Wolf that he would be able to be present here and try
the case of State against Bess Mounts on March 4. Accordingly the special venure
will issue tomorrow for fifty jurors to be summoned on that day from which the
jury to try the case shall be chosen.
A.P. McGuirk and George W. Scott the attorneys have
filed a motion for a dismissal of the case on the grounds of "former
jeopardy" and res-adjudicata. The motion contains a complete recital of all
the acts done in the case and sets out the indictment in full together with the
names of the witnesses examined before the grand jury and the action taken at
the former trial. It alleges that the deputy sheriff released the jury before it
had come to an agreement and that without the consent of the defendant or his
attorneys and in fact without his or their knowledge or consent and without
proper authority in the matter. The motion recites that he was once placed on
trial for this offense and that on account of matters therein alleged his life
was once in jeopardy and should not be so placed again.
Davenport Daily Leader; Davenport, Scott, Iowa; March
ARE HIS WELL WISHERS
Buffalo People Interested in Bess Mounts' Future.
A communication from Buffalo, the home of Bess Mounts,
who was tried for the murder of Joe Goodness and acquitted, shows that the
people of that place are wishing him success in life and a bright happy future.
His well-wishing friend in his communication says:
"Bess Mounts is among us again, and we nearly all
stand looking on with hope and with fear as to his future course. Oh, our
Father, guide him aright in this, the most important period of his life, that
when up in years he may not look back with a shudder at the choice he had made.
What a lasting pleasure it will be to him and to all who are so near and dear to
him if his choice is for the right.
(Signed) "From one who hopes and prays that his choice
may be for the best."