David Martin, 60 years old, was killed at Columbus last Friday night.  Seven bullets hit him. It is not known who killed him, but a man named Jap Painter, has been arrested.  The two were drinking together, and Painter was the last man known to have been with him.

Baxter Springs News, February 18, 1915, page 1
Baxter Springs, Cherokee County, Kansas



Coroner’s Jury Was Out But Ten Minutes This Afternoon on the Case

Also Bullet Holes and Blood on a Wagon Cover
Led to Belief that Body Had Been Moved

From Monday’s Daily:

After being out but ten minutes this afternoon, the jury empaneled by Coroner J.S. McAuley to consider the evidence regarding the killing of David Martin Friday night, returned a verdict placing the blame for the killing on Jasper E. Painter, in whose home Martin was found.  County Attorney F.W. Boss immediately filed a complaint against Painter who will be tried on the charge of murder.

The jury was in consideration of the evidence for two hours this afternoon, fully covering the circumstances of the case.  They had viewed the body Saturday and heard the statement of several men at that time.  Today more evidence was brought out and more details discussed.

Sam Salisbury and John McGinty discovered Saturday a canvas wagon cover in the Painter home which bore what were believed to be blood marks.  Officers also found a club outside the house which gave evidence of having been used as a weapon.

Bullet holes in the wagon cover led the jury to believe that the body of Martin had been dragged from one room to the other and then shot while on the floor.  Coroner McAuley discovered Saturday that only five shots had been fired into the body instead of seven.  The two additional penetrations were made by two bullets leaving the body.

The coroner’s jury was led to believe that the body of Martin had been moved after the club was used.  The matter of whether or not the blow of the club might or might not been fatal, was not debated extensively, and the complaint charges that Painter shot and killed Martin.

The funeral of David Martin was held at 2 o’clock this afternoon from the home of the daughter, Mrs. P.H. McKnight in East Columbus.

Preliminary Hearing on Charge of Killing Martin, Set for Feb. 27

Jasper E. Painter, charged with the murder of David Martin at the Painter home last Friday night, was arraigned before Justice of the Peace J.R. Carter this morning at 11 o'clock.  He declined to make a plea or statement of any sort and his attorney, Charles Stephens, entered no plea for him.

The Columbus Weekly Advocate, 18 February 1915, page 1
The Columbus, Cherokee County, Kansas
There perhaps has never been a more vivid example of what booze will do to a man and what it will not do for him, than the death of Sergeant Dave Martin, Friday night.  And yet if you keep your ear open you will undoubtedly hear some wise philosopher make the remark: “Well, why don’t people take what they want and quit when they have enough, like I do.”  There is lots of humor in this world that is intended for seriousness by the man who says it.

The Columbus Daily Advocate, 18 February, 1915, Thursday, page 2
Columbus, Cherokee County, Kansas

Single Hair Found On Club at Painter Home Has Bearing on Possible Evidence

Man Charged with Martin’s Death Selects His Attorney  But is Quiet Regarding Case.

From Tuesday’s Daily:

The Preliminary hearing of Jasper E. Painter on the charge of killing David Martin last Friday  night at the Painter house will probably be held late this week.  It will probably be set for tomorrow when Justice of the Peace J. R. Carter returns from Wichita where both he and Justice  E.R. Pattyson went to attend a Masonic meeting.  County Attorney Boss was compelled to change his complaint yesterday which he had ready to file and instead a coroner’s warrant was served upon Painter on account of the absence of the justices of the peace who would receive the county attorney’s complaint.

Painter made no comment last night when Sheriff Martin read the coroner’s warrant to him charging him with murder.  He retained Charles Stephens as his attorney in the case and he will be represented by Mr. Stephens at the preliminary.

Painter is not inclined to be talkative at the jail and doesn’t converse about his case. 

It is barely possible that the case of “Jap” Painter, may “hang on a slender thread,” and that thread be a single hair.  Ordinarily one hair is very insignificant, but in the killing of Sergeant Dave Martin and in the trial of the man charged with his murder, the hair may be a weighty bit of evidence.   

On the club which was found at the Painter house by officers there was clinging to the heavy end, a single hair.  The supposition was that the club may have been used on Martin and the hair remained clinging to the end of the club.  In this case the bruises on the victim’s head would be accounted for.  There were several contusions of the head that gave the appearance of having been caused by blows from some weapon.

The hair was taken to the office of Dr. W. N. Johnson to be microscopically examined to determine positively if it is a human hair.

The Columbus Weekly Advocate, 18 February, 1915, page 6
Columbus, Cherokee County, Kansas

George Wilson Also Testified He Heard Someone Calling the Name George

Trial of Jap Painter On Charge of Murder Reached Last of State’s Witnesses Today

Practically no new evidence has thus far been introduced in the murder trial of Jasper Painter, charged with killing friend and crony, David Martin, the night of February 12, in progress today at the district courtroom.  Much of the testimony was virtually the same as was used at the preliminary hearing and some of it at the coroner’s inquest nearly three months ago.

Perhaps the one which held the most interest to the jurors and the many attendants at court was that of George Wilson who lived near Painter and who heard the shots the night Martin was killed.  Mr. Wilson testified that about 11 o’clock that night he heard five shots near his home.  He soon heard someone calling “George! George!”  He thought it was Jap Painter calling him, although he admitted in testimony that he could not be positive it was Painter’s voice.  He first thought someone was having trouble with horses and went to the doors.  But no one was in sight.  He returned to his bed and in about five minutes he heard a sixth shot.

The next morning Wilson was one of those who went to the Painter cottage and saw the body of Martin.  He told of his conversation with Painter.  Those who had testified up to 3:30 o’clock this afternoon were: Irl Goodpastur, J. S. McAuley, E. R. Lane, Katy agent who received and delivered the jug of liquor to David Martin; George Wilson, Orville Smith and W. A. Hamilton, neighbors; and Ralph Martin, sheriff.

The jury was empaneled yesterday afternoon, and is made up of the following men: Clarence Allen?, J.S. Freeman, John Johnson, T. L. Buzzard, Martin Kitch, William Hewitt, O.M. Youse, Barey McCormick, J. J. Jacobs, William Johnson, James Stevens, W. H. Holman.

The first witness, Irl Goodpasture, assistant to Coroner J. S. McAuley.  Mr. Goodpasture was called twice to the home of Painter the morning after the killing and testified as to the finding of the body of David Martin, the empty revolver on the shelf of the two room house, the indications that the bed had been occupied by two persons during some time of the night, the fact that a lamp was burning on a bureau both times in the forenoon when he was at the house, also about the bullet holes discovered in Martin’s head.  He testified in some degree about the various conversations help between himself, County Attorney Boss and Painter regarding Painter’s companion.

Coroner’s Testimony
The second witness this morning was Coroner J. S. McAuley, who told of finding the body of David Martin on the floor in the north room of the Painter cottage.  His testimony related to the finding of blood on the revolver and the position and location of the bullet wounds and of two spent bullets found in the house.  One of these bullets was flattened on one side where, the prosecution contends, it struck a spectacle case found in Martin’s shirt pocket.  The revolver, the two bullets and the spectacles and case with the scar on it, were introduced in evidence by the county attorney, and also a butcher knife which the coroner testified he found beside the body on the floor.

The body bore cuts, bruises and bullet wounds, the coroner testified, and also a broken jaw bone.  The revolver he testified had blood on the cylinder and on the handles.  The face of the dead man bore powder marks.  There was also admitted into the testimony the statement of the coroner that when examining the revolver he smelled the barrel of the weapon and the barrel smelled as if fresh powder had been burned in it.

The county attorney, the testimony showed, had asked Painter if he owned a revolver.  Painter answered that he did.  Asked where it was Painter replied that that would be a hard question to answer.  The county attorney then asked Painter to get his revolver for them and that Painter went into the south room and finally found the revolver on the middle of three shelves under some white cloths and handed it to the attorney.  The five shells were empty.

The Liquor Jug
Coroner McAuley told the jury that a liquor jug about half full of liquor was one of the things found in the Painter home.  He also stated that when they drove up to the Painter home in the morning and Painter came from caring for his horses in the barn, his breath smelled of liquor, “But he apparently was not drunk,” said the witness.  “He walked straight and knew what he was doing.

The Columbus Weekly Advocate, Thursday, 6 May 1915, pp. 1 and 2
Columbus, Cherokee County, Kansas



Mrs. Kate Young of Indiana Asks About Martin’s Death

From Tuesday’s Daily.

The tragedy in the life of David Martin of this city who was murdered the night of February 12 in Columbus has just reached a sister who lives in Indiana, and a letter from her to City Marshall Albin today asked about the details of the death, throw the first light on his relatives that the city officials have discovered.

The letter arrived this morning and is from Mrs. Kate Young, _?_er street, Attica, Ind.  It does not state where the writer gained her information regarding Martin’s death.  It merely asks for details of his death.  The letter follows:

“City Marshall, Columbus, Kans.,

Will you please send me information of the details of the death of David Martin who was killed in your city on February last.

His Sister,

Marshall Albin wrote the most important details of the killing to Mrs. Young this morning.

This is the second letter received from women who believed they were sisters of Martin.  A former letter from a Missouri woman who later found that she was mistaken in her belief that Martin was her brother.

The Columbus Weekly Advocate, pg. 1, 1 April 1915, Columbus, Kansas.  



Murderer of Dave Martin Failed In Attempt for New Trial and Will Go to Prison

Later Saturday afternoon Attorney Charles Stephens applied for a new trial in the case of Jap Painter who was recently convicted of the murder of Dave Martin February 12.  The motion was supported by the affidavits of several persons regarding the intoxicated condition of Painter the morning following the murder, also by an affidavit from a Columbus woman who testified that she heard a friend of Martin threaten to kill him.  The threat was made two years ago.

Painter Sentenced
Judge Dunbar overruled the motion for a new trial and subsequently sentenced Painter to ten years in the state penitentiary.

Columbus Weekly Advocate, 5 May 1915, page 5
Columbus, Cherokee County, Kansas 

Articles compiled with the help of members of the Facebook group, Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness.

 The MARTIN Family -  researched and compiled by Adina Watkins Dyer

These articles have been posted to three sites, members of this Martin family lived in Fountain, Warren and Tippecanoe counties.

News Index  |   Tippecanoe County INGenWeb Project