The Shooting - Chapter 6
As Brett watched the judge leave he heard buzzing conversations all around him.
He placed a hand over Jalen's and said, "He was really rough on you Jalen…I'm
sorry. I didn't know what I did would make you lose your job as Sheriff."
Jalen said softly, "Don't worry my young outlaw, he had to be stern. I told you
before we came in here he'd probably rake me over the coals because I was
responsible for you."
Brett said, "I didn't think it would be so bad. He wasn't even as rough on me as
he was on you."
Jalen gave Brett a smile. "Don't worry kid. I deserved it and we'll both learn
somethin' from this."
Brett nodded, but his blue eyes still looked worried.
Jalen said, "Let's step outside and get some air and a drink of water."
Brett nodded. Jalen stopped and asked Dan and Jack to keep an eye on the
prisoners and they stepped out for a few minutes to attend to their needs.
Slim and Bear had been grinning hearing the Judge raking the lawmen over the
coals. "Well they're getting' theirs." Slim said.
Bear nodded. "It's good to know they're not getting' off scot free."
Slim nodded. "What they did wasn't right."
Bear grinned. "Yeah. I hope they get slapped down good."
George Wright frowned slightly. "Don't count your chickens before they hatch
gentlemen." He cautioned.
The two looked at Mr. Wright. "What does that mean?" asked Bear.
"It means nothing is decided yet and the Judge may rule differently than what
Jack went outside to bring water back for the prisoners. He nodded at Dan who
was helping to keep guard over them until Jalen and Brett returned.
Brett came back inside and with Dan and Jack's help escorted the prisoners to
the outhouse and back into the saloon.
Jalen came back inside and sat down next to Roland. "Thank you for castin' your
lot in with Brett and me."
Roland said, "I'll cast my lot in with you two anytime."
When the prisoners were brought back into the makeshift courtroom Brett joined
Jalen and Roland at the table. "Mr. Harrison, how do you think things look?" He
Roland squeezed the young man's shoulder and just said, "Hard to say, but I know
Judge Graham is a fair man."
Brett nodded and smiled a Jalen who smiled back. They waited for the return of
Albert Graham read through his notes, the reports Jalen had submitted to him
about Brett over the past months and then reviewed Jalen's record as Sheriff. He
nodded to himself, satisfied that Jalen Christopher Brooks had been an excellent
Sheriff and he could see by the reaction of the people how much Brett had become
a part of this small community. He thought about the prisoners and how gleeful
they had looked and how they had acted each time he had mentioned to Brett about
going to prison and decided that these men wanted to see the boy fail and end up
in prison. He gathered up all the papers and reviewed everything in his mind.
When the appointed thirty minutes were up he entered into the courtroom.
Jack jumped up and announced, "All rise! Judge Albert Graham presiding. Come to
Everyone rose to their feet as The Judge entered and took his seat once more.
"Be seated." Jack announced. The people settled down, all eyes on the judge now.
Judge Graham said, "Sheriff Brooks Please approach the bench."
Jalen approached the Judge and stood in front of him.
Judge Graham said so all could hear, "You, Sheriff Jalen Christopher Brooks have
been put on a probationary status until I next come to Diamond Springs. If there
have been no further incidents of poor judgment in the performance of your
duties then the probationary period will be dropped and your permanent status
reestablished. I do have the power to revoke you from office from the bench.
Consider yourself warned young man. This court will not tolerate this kind of
behavior in the future. You are being given a second chance to redeem yourself."
Jalen looked up a bit relieved and said, "Yes Sir. Thank you Your Honor." He
dared not ask about his continuing to supervise Brett.
Judge Graham nodded. "You're welcome Sheriff. You may take a seat now."
Jalen did as he was told and sat down.
Albert Graham looked at the even younger deputy and said, "Deputy Sheriff Brett
Ashton Montgomery, please approach the bench."
Bret went and stood meekly, eyes downcast before the judge.
"Deputy Montgomery, please look at me." Albert Graham ordered.
Brett looked up and gulped as the man pinned him with sharp dark brown eyes.
"You, young man are one very fortunate person. You have everyone in town
vouching for you. I do hope you don't let them down. Since this is your first
serious infraction against your probation and it was under extenuating
circumstances I am inclined to show you leniency once more and shall allow you
to continue your probation under Sheriff Brooks. Your rules of probation have
been revised to allow you to carry a firearm only in the capacity of performing
your duty as Deputy Sheriff for the town of Diamond Springs. You are not to
carry a firearm at any other time or for any other purpose. Do you understand?"
Brett swallowed and said firmly, "Yes Sir."
The judge continued. "I am granting you the position of Deputy Sheriff also on a
probationary basis, the period of time being until I return on my next circuit
to Diamond Springs. Please remember that I may revoke your office of Deputy
Sheriff should you not comply with your rules of probation. The plea of guilty
has been expunged."
Bret said in a relieved voice, "Thank you Your Honor."
"You're welcome. When next I come to this town I expect to see better behavior
and judgment from both you and Sheriff Brooks or you both will have your offices
revoked and may even face charges deemed by either the townspeople or this
court. I want it understood that this is very serious and you both should heed
Brett nodded. "Yes Sir Your Honor, I understand."
Albert Graham pinned his eyes on Jalen, where he was sitting and he responded,
"Yes Your Honor, I understand."
The Judge banged his gavel. "Case Closed! I will take a one hour lunch break
before the trial we have scheduled begins. I suggest the attorney's get together
and select a jury of six men to render judgment in this case as a jury of twelve
is not possible due to the low population of this town. Court is adjourned for
one hour." Judge Graham banged his gavel once more and stood.
Jack Hillyard, acting as bailiff announced, "All rise!"
The people rose and once Judge Graham had retired to the back room of the saloon
to have his lunch everyone began to disperse to return after eating.
Brett and Jalen stayed to guard the prisoners and Dan their good friend brought
them and the prisoners something from the diner. "The judge really was rough on
you two." Dan commented.
Jalen gave a little sigh. "I figured he would be, but he's a fair man."
Dan nodded. He smiled at Cole and said, "Well now we'll have to watch ourselves
havin' both a Sheriff and Deputy as friends."
Cole chuckled and grinned at Brett.
Brett grinned back. "I'm glad that part with the judge is over."
Cole nodded. "Me too."
Roland Harrison and George Wright met together and talked some, exchanging
information regarding the trial that was coming up. They went around the room
and approached several men until they had a jury of six. Max Anderson, the
barber, James Duncan, the general store owner, Morris Hennings, the hotel clerk,
Hugo O'Brian, the blacksmith, Bertram Fisher, the banker and Blake Sheridan the
undertaker all were going to serve as jurors.
With the jurors assembled and the court ready for the trial when the lunch break
was over the Judge again took the bench.
Jack called the court to order and everyone settled down to watch the trial.
The judge asked the attorneys, "Gentlemen, are you both ready to present your
arguments in this case?"
Roland Harrison indicated he was as did George Wright.
Judge Graham said, "I'll hear the prosecution first, then I'll hear the defense
Roland Harrison approached the bench. "Your Honor, I intend to prove without a
doubt that these two men, He indicated Slim and Bear are dangerous men and
should be placed in the custody of the court for sentencing and removal to the
state prison. These two men are accused of accessory to murder in a stage coach
robbery. I have an eye witness to their participation whom I will call to
testify. I also have witnesses to these men being accessories to attempted
murder of Brett Ashton Montgomery, in which our own Sheriff Jalen Christopher
Brooks was shot in the performance of his duty by their gang leader Rory Hoffman
who was killed in the altercation by Brett Ashton Montgomery."
He stepped aside.
Judge Graham nodded. Mr. Wright. Your turn."
George Wright stepped up and he said, "I intend to prove these men are not
dangerous men, but victims of circumstance, in the wrong place at the wrong
time." He said, "I intend to prove they are innocent of the charges they have
against them. My clients plead not guilty to the charges of accessory to murder
and accessory to attempted murder."
A murmur went up from the crowd and the Judge banged his gavel and called,
"Order in the court!"
The people settled down and the judge said, "Gentlemen of the jury. You will
hear the case of these two men. Your job is to weigh the evidence and agree on a
verdict of guilty or not guilty."
The jurors nodded their understanding.
Judge Hillyard asked who will be the jury foreman."
Bert Fisher the banker said, "I've been selected Your Honor, I'm Bertram
Judge Graham nodded. "All right."
Brett, then Jalen were sworn in as witnesses for the prosecution and then the
two outlaws took the stand in their own defense. The trial began and continued
as evidence was presented and arguments made between both sides.
As the trial came to a close, Judge Graham said To the attorneys, "Please
present your closing statements gentlemen."
Roland Harrison the prosecuting attorney stepped up and said, "Members of the
jury, I believe with all the testimony that has been presented today that there
is no doubt about the guilt of these men. I have shown you their intent to do
bodily harm to Mr. Montgomery and there has been testimony to the killing in the
stagecoach robbery these men were involved with. It is up to you now to bring
back a verdict that is just and fair for these crimes. I rest my case." He
stepped back and gave the floor to Mr. Wright.
George Wright stepped up and addressed the jury. "Gentlemen of the jury. I want
you to consider the evidence given carefully. These men are not violent men who
had an intention to kill. They were being controlled by a man who forced them
and coerced them into the actions they took. They did nothing with malice or
harm on their minds, only being in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with the
wrong person. I will trust you six men to bring a fair verdict based on the
evidence presented, not on personal feelings about these men." I rest my case."
George stepped back and Judge Graham said, "Gentlemen of the jury, you have
heard all the arguments and the evidence. You will now go into the back room to
deliberate. When you return you shall render your verdict. The foreman of the
jury, Bertram Fisher shall speak for the six of you. You are dismissed."
The jury went into the back room to deliberate and Judge Graham said, banging
his gavel "Court will reconvene once the jurors return." He got up from the
counter and retired to a corner table in the room where he relaxed to await the
The jurors deliberated and looked at everything from all sides and after an hour
cast their vote. It was unanimous.
As the jury filed back into the courtroom Judge Graham again took his place at
the bench. He banged his gavel on the counter to gain everyone's attention and
the Bailiff, Jack called, "All rise, Judge Albert Graham presiding. Order in the
Once the jurors settled in, Jack said, "Be seated." When everyone got quiet
Judge Graham looked at Bertram Fisher. "Mr. Fisher, the jury has returned and do
you have a verdict for this court?"
Bertram Stood up and said in a clear voice. "Yes Your Honor We have."
Judge Graham nodded. "Please render the verdict Mr. Fisher for the charge of
accessory to murder at the stagecoach robbery."
Bertram said, "We find both defendants guilty as charged."
The men accused looked at each other and the room buzzed.
The Judge banged his gavel and ordered, "Order in the court!"
Once things again settled he asked, "Mr. Fisher for the charge of accessory to
attempted murder of Brett Ashton Montgomery how do you find the accused?"
Bertram Fisher again said in a clear and steady voice, "The jury has found both
defendents also guilty as charged Your Honor."
Slim jumped up, "That's not right! We didn't do anythin'!"
Bear yelled, "Yeah, we've been railroaded!"
The people were all talking and Jack Hillyard as well as Brett Montgomery went
over and subdued the prisoners.
When things again settled down Judge Graham said, "Deputy, Bailiff, bring those
two to the bench. I will now pronounce sentence."
Brett and Jack hustled the two men up in front of Judge Graham.
Judge Graham looked at the two of them. Richard Crane You have been found
guilty by a jury of your peers of being an accessory to murder. For this charge
I sentence you to fifteen years hard labor. I am showing leniency and not
hanging you due to the argument you were under the influence of an intimidating,
vicious, dangerous man. You have also been found guilty by a jury of your peers
for accessory to attempted murder. For this you are sentenced to ten years hard
labor. These terms are to be served consecutively. Bailiff, you may remove the
prisoner." Jack took Slim away from the bench and waited for Brett as they
awaited the sentencing of Bear. "Carl Withers." Judge Graham said, "You have
been found guilty of accessory to murder by a jury of your peers. I sentence you
also to fifteen years hard labor. I am also granting you leniency by sentencing
you to hard labor instead of hanging for the same reasons as your partner, being
under the influence of an intimidating, vicious, dangerous man. You also have
been found guilty of accessory to attempted murder and I hereby sentence you to
ten years hard labor to be served consecutively at the state prison."
Bear stood there and hung his head, knowing there was nothin' more to be done.
He had been tried and sentenced.
Judge Albert graham banged his gavel. "Case closed! Court is dismissed. Deputy
take the prisoner away."
Brett took Bear and led him to where Jack was waiting with Slim and they brought
the men back to the jail.
Judge Graham said to Jalen, "Sheriff, I will notify the Marshall and he will
come to Diamond Springs with his deputy and escort the prisoners to the Colorado
State prison. I'm sorry you're stuck with those two for a few more days."
Jalen said, "No problem, Thank you Sir."
Judge graham smiled and said, "I feel confident that Diamond Springs will be in
very good hands with you and your young Deputy."
Jalen returned the smile and said, "I'm sorry I can't shake your hand yet, but I
want to thank you for givin' us a second chance and for handin' out justice in
"Quite all right my boy and thank you. It's always a pleasure to come to Diamond
Springs."Judge Graham said, as he packed up his things and got ready to move on
in his circuit.
Jalen headed over to his office to see if he could help Brett. On the way out he
stopped by Roland Harrison and said, "Roland, Thank you again for all you did
for Brett and I'm glad those outlaws are bein' put behind bars for some time."
Roland smiled. "You're welcome Sheriff."
Jalen went on his way.
Roland shook George Wright's hand. "Thank you George for coming and helping
"It was my pleasure Roland the case I thought was pretty much cut and dried. I
didn't expect them to get off."
"Well it's not often we have a trial here and I'm glad you came and if I need
help again in the future I'll know who to contact."
George smiled. "Anytime. I'm going to go back to the hotel, freshen up a bit and
pack. I can get a train to Denver late this afternoon and hopefully be home
Roland grinned. "Well thanks again."
"You're welcome." George said and headed for the hotel, while Roland walked off
to his office.