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, 1896

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 inordinately.
     Yesterday's Proceedings.
     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.
     Today's Proceedings.
     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 or not.
     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 dinner.
     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 to press.

Davenport Daily Republican; Davenport, Scott, Iowa; May 9, 1896

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 home.
     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 the head.
     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

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)

     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 defense.
     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

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 examination.
     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 home.
     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 called.
    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)

     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 great deal.
     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 resumed.
     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 that evening.
     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. Hugo Hoffbauer.
     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.

     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


     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 16, 1897

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."