Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Albert Heuck & Henry Azbill: Two False Rape Accusation Cases - 1894

FULL TEXT: Governor Markham has pardoned Albert Heuek, who was sentenced in the Superior Court of San Diego County in October, 1889, to seven years at Folsom for an assault to rape. He gives the following reasons for his action:

From written evidence produced by Walter Ferral and M. L. Ward, District Attorney of San Diego, it was shown that Heuck was convicted on the testimony of the complaining witness, who swore positively that at the time of the alleged assault she had never had intercourse with another person. Since his conviction, however, it is proved that before that time she was living with another man.

It further appears that at the time of the trial her true character was not known, nor was the fact known that she was living as a kept mistress of the man spoken of and the associate of persons of questionable morality.

Farther, it appears that since Heuck’s incarceration she has brought suit for damages against another party with whom she claimed to have been criminally intimate prior to the time of the alleged assault by Heuck, and as the District Attorney found her testimony in the two cases did not agree, he refused to have anything to do with the last case.

The State Board of Prison Directors being satisfied that Heuck had been unjustly condemned on perjured testimony, recommended his pardon, which is granted, and he is restored to citizenship.

He has also pardoned Marcus Cesena, sentenced by the Superior Court of Monterey County in September, 1889, to six years' imprisonment at San Quentin for an attempt at rape.

The State Board of Prison Directors, alter careful investigation of the case, have recommended that the sentence be commuted to four years on the grounds that from the testimony submitted there seems to be grave doubts of his guilt.

It is shown by letters from many prominent citizens that the prisoner had an excellent reputation prior to his conviction, and the petition is signed by the majority of the jury that convicted him, the Sheriff and District Attorney of the county and many prominent citizens and county officials.

It also appears from the papers on file that it is the general impression among the better class of people in the county that the defendant was innocent of the crime, and the party on whom the assault was claimed to have been committed has at different times and to different people acknowledged that her testimony was false, lie is therefore pardoned and restored to citizenship.

He has also commuted the sentence of Henry Hunt, who was sentenced in March, 1882, by the Superior Court of Los Angeles County to imprisonment for life for murder in the first degree, to twenty-one years.

The Prison Directors have recommended the commutation for the reason that the murder was not a cold-blooded, deliberate one, the man killed having interfered while defendant was trying to shoot another man, and the killing being apparently accidental.

Although the prisoner was an old man at the time of the murder, he had always borne a good reputation as a peaceable man, and was not a bad man, a ruffian or a desperado. In the opinion of ex-Sheriff W. B. Rowland and a number of other prominent citizens, the punishment was an excessive one under the circumstances and the prisoner was guilty of no higher crime than manslaughter, and is a lit subject for executive clemency. His conduct has been uniformly good since his imprisonment, and Warden Aull and Captain Murphy unite in recommending him to clemency. He is now old and feeble and has now been incarcerated for nearly thirteen years, and it is the opinion of the board that he has been sufficiently punished.

His sentence will expire in February, 1895.

The sentence of Henry L. Azbill (Lilburn Azbill) who was sentenced by the Superior Court of Ventura County in to four years' imprisonment for assault to rape, has been commuted to two and one-sixth years, to expire next month.

Hon. B. T. Williams, Superior Judge of Ventura County, who sentenced Azbill, says that the boy was beyond the age when he could be sent to the Reform School, where he should have been sent rather than to San Quentin. The girl's father and mother have since related facts raise a doubt as to whether the offense was actually committed, and the boy and his parents were densely ignorant. His father has died and his mother and her children are county pensioners. He has always behaved well and complied with all rules of the prison, and the directors think that the ends of justice have been attained.

[“Pardons And Commutations. - Governor Markham Records Four in One Day. - Two Men Sentenced on Perjured Evidence of Women – An Excessive Sentence.” The Record-Union (Sacramento, Ca.), Mar. 1, 1894, p. 4]


More historical cases of False Rape Accusations


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