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Robert Treat Paine Papers, Volume 4

Trial notes
Spe. Sup J. Ct. Decr. 1783

Cmnwlth vs. Cossomo Garcelli & Bartholomew Martel for murde of John Johnson

Oliver Vose evning 6 Novr. I was in Kitchen & the men & 4 Weomen in front Room. I heard an rucus like bursting a Door, near 8 oClock, 3 men came in to the front of the house. I took a Candle & stept into the Room. Mr. Beals seemed to resent their coming in, each of the men had a club 18 279 or 20 in. & near as thick as my wrist. Beals askd where is my Cutlass. I’ll cut their heads, one of them who is not here step’d up to Beals, he sd. to Beal Ill give you Cutlass & was angry. I desired em to go out & they went: I led em to the Street & returned into the house & put down Candle. I heard a noise in the street, not more than 2 minutes: & I saw one person on the ground & several round him striking him. I Stood on the stone of the Door 1 minute there appeard to be 5 or 6 engaged in the affray. Johnson had 4 wounds: the two Prisoners were of the 3. the company were dancing: there is the mark of a Club on the Door, it was made that Evning Beal next morning pointed to Martel & sd. that was one, I was satisfied likewise: this was before Whiting went, I had a little doubt before the Justice. Benja. Chandler I was at Mr. Vose with the Dancers, 3 men opned the Door & came in, one of the weomen push’d the Door, one of men push it back. I shov’d it to & put them into the Entry. One of them Struck against the Door, & I opned it they came in Beal calld for a Hanger, the tall man advanced 2 or 3 steps to Beals sd. do you want a Hanger or Cutlass & put his hand to his knife & starts it up: I am positive that those two were there I knew them before: Mr. Vose came in & spoke calm & got them out. it was not more than 1½ hour I heard a noise in the street of striking Canes. I stept out of Door to them I saw Johnson down in gutter & 2 striking him Garcelli was one they had Clubbs 18 or 20 in. long: Johnson cryd out for Gods sake they have stabd me, they left him & ran. I saw nothing in Johnson’s hand: I remember his Countenance. Jona. Beal I was at Mr. Vose, the 3 men came in. I heard murder cry’d. step’d to the door they sd. Johnson was stabb’d. heard striking of Clubbs Martel was in the room. away to get his Clubb & knife. I saw him on board the Brigg next morning Dr. Appleton found at first 3 wounds 2 in the small of his back and one between shoulder, & one on left side, 1½ pint of blood in the cavity Asa Stoddard between 8 & 9 I heard ’em cry stop Theif. Garcelli was running with a knife we catchd him & took the knife it was bloody John Tilley 6 Novr. evng. at Esqr. Greenleaf I found a Jack Knife in his Pocket 280 George Clark 6 of Novr. Eveng. 7 or 8 oClock I heard murder cryed a Womans voice I went to see wt. the matter I went down RE Ally.1 I saw 3 men; & some young Women going to Mrs. Woodrow Door. I ask’d what the matter they called me a dam’d Bouger came on me with Clubbs, Garcelli & a stouter man. I knock’d him down he me & drew a Knife, the 3 in a Gang together I lost my thumb nail by the blow & then I struck Garcelli. I went down the Alley 15 or 20 steps & returned: & heard Johnson say he was stabbed in the back. they run I follow’d ’em to the Roebuck. they had Clubbs 20 inchs long as big as my wrist; they went thrô the arch 2 of them one had got away: Garcelli came at us with a knife in his hand came up the Arch & run down fore street after I retreated down the Lane I heard a fighting with Clubbs—they struck a dozen blows before I knockd Garcelli down John Wheeler Clark & I in State Street heard Weoman holler, opposite Mrs. Woodrow they fell on Clark & struck him many blows all 3 in a cluster; Clark asked what is the matter he did not strike nor give any insults. all 3 went on him they all had clubbs. Clark retreated back, I heard Johnson say he wd. not see his Country man imposd upon; I did not see him have any weapon he went amonst them & in one minute I saw him drop; & it appeard all 3 were upon him their hands going up & down as striking & then they all run. I followed & never lost sight of Garcelli till he was caught. we got em into the Arch; Garcelli cleard his way with a knife & of course we pursued he made passes at me with his knife I struck him with the clubb I got from the other man: Fanny Grooms between 7 & 8 I was going out of our Gate, 3 men came & askd if they might have a dance, no, why not. we dont keep a dancing house, we’ll ha by God well have a frolick by & by: I went into the house in 4 or 5 minutes I went out again just got to the Gate, 3 men move out of Vose Entry one took hold of me & sd. if I said a word they wd. take my life away. they held a knife over my head. I cry’d murder my brother ran to Mrs. Woodrow’s Door they let me go & I soon saw ’em fighting with 2 men down the Lane, they I went to Mrs. Woodrows Door. Johnson wanted to go out Mrs. Woodrow asked him not he went out with a pr. of Tongs in his hands he held the Tongs up one knock’d em out of his hands & fell on him with Clubbs. I saw the Clubb still in one hand & stabbing him with the other all 3 of them; Saw em run up the Lane & 2 men after them 281 Jane Woodrow 3 men coming in askd for Drink, they seem’d enraged wn. arrivd; talked angry, the tall man sd. the & one; Garcelli was one, I think Martel not they went away—Soon after I heard a noise at Voses, Fanny & her Brother coming by my house. one of the men stepd across the Gutter quick & sd. why we no Dances. I went in the cry of murder Johnson went to go to the Door Some body knock, a childs Voice. I opd the Door saw the 3 men. Johnson said he wd. go Out. I put him back; I saw Clark & Wheeler come up, Clark had a cane; directly the mens attention was taken of the Girl & turned to these two men. Clark sd. these are the fellows who have insulted me held up his Cane & retreated, then Johnson burst out, saying do you think I’ll stand still & see one man insulted by so many: I afterwards found a pair of Tongs were in the Lane I don’t know that Johnson had them—he did not seem to be in a rage—Johnson a comn. sailor, much apt to drink:—the same men that came out at of Voses; Grace Vose the 3 men came in I turnd em out, they knockd, I let em in: Beal asking for a Cutlass one of them sd. here is a Cutlass, drawing his knife: I know Garcelli but not Martel Mr. Tudor my wish is to save the life of a fellow Citizen: their Transports shall support me against contempt of all mankind: 3 witnesses. Clark, Woodrow & Miss Vose did not know em. Martel was Committed to Goal 25 Octr. to 5th of Novr. Mary Hooper the night the man was killed, 3 men came to our house from between 6 & 7 oClock till bell rang Martel was one, he did not talk. I knew one more, not out of my house 5 minutes Polly Bass asked me to go & get Pies: I live at Mr. Kinch house. knew one of the other—not the third, I did not observe any thing in his dress Dominiqe was there also Sarah Morse I seem to recollect the size & dress of Martel that night abt. 8 oClock I went out the 3 men came between 6 & 7. I came home abt. 9 they were there I took no observation of him: Capt. Rosseau I know Martel well he has belong’d to my Brig 8 mos. he was in Goal 18 days before the affair: Garcelli never belonged to the Brig or work on board her but belonged on a Schooner Capt. Martin the 282 Schooner was absent from Long Wharf 3 or 4 days before this affaire—I never saw Garcelli on board my Brigg—I went on board my Brigg ½ past 8—I was coming out of the street by the Bridge saw Garcelli running; I was unloaded & landed when Garcelli came in: I saild 29th Novr. Benjn. Jarvis Foster. 255. the Distinctions of Homicide 290. of Manslaughter §.1. 292. Stedmans Case Lutterells Case 294. the Son fighting runs home bloody 296. the blood already heated 310. with regard to officers of Justice, they must give notice HPC84. § 44.45. Dominique I know Martel, I was him at a house at N End from past 6 till ½ past 8. I was there all the time, I went to buy some Pies with the Martel with us all the time. I never knew Martel till since in Boston. have seen him on board the Brigg Peggy Woodrow Johnson up Stairs & Mr. Brown, heard People going into Mr. Vose’s Johnson Mr. Vose was a Neighbour & he wd. not see him imposed on. I heard the men hallow like singing as they went into the Door, wn. he heard the Girl scream murder he went down, screamed murder twice as loud as she could Mr. Charles Mr. Whitney an uncommon degree of confidence to be so positive of the Identity, wn. so many Witnesses contradict. Martel is to be hunted to the Gallows Justice Greenleaf in Italy every man goes to a Dance Mr. Sullivan The Heinousness of the crime Strangers, our brothers. 283 it has been doubted whether we have right to take life of away in an alarming manner wn. therefore the court called I am not concerned but the Town will approve & applaud me the stabbing of Hamlin for Martel better 10 guilty escape than one innocent one suffer manifest disposition the Case of the Uncle the charges agt. Vose of being mistaken abt. Martel may induce a wish that he may be condemned: @ he doubted befor the Justice if Vose once doubted how could he afterwards remember; he fixt upon Courage & was mistaken Beal sd. he did not know whether Martel had a cap on Chandler endeavoured to associate Garcelli & Martel as comrades it must be owing to the Charge he has made agt. him, Clark & Wheeler say Martel was not there Dominique doth not remr. the night this is a mark of his Integrity Law of Evid: 158, if Witnesses are equall the witnesses at the No. are perjured if they are wrong; the others only mistaken { the Jury of the Town Partial— { if we had been in Goal on this Charge we should have been Crowded with { Friends to find out proofs 1 HPC80. Express malice to do some Injury to the person slain Garcelli did not know Johnson Kelynge. the act must be deliberate, the unlawful act HPC 74§10 Viz. killing in cons: of an unlawful act. Black: 191: manslaughter 5 Mod. King vs. Kate Ld. Raymond same Case 284 { human passions & frailties { the Cities of Refuge { Mm. manslaughter is reduced in such a manner that a man may suffer more for { stealing 13d. than killing a man 12 Mod. 305—not material who began the affray first. Keylinge 130: if A intended to kill on the first attack it is murder 7 Coke.87. the man killed with a Bowl the Case of the Boy who run with a Bloody nose 11 Mod. 252 Tooleys Case. a Man must not loose his life if he was right that he did not know it I don’t know that Johnson would have done any good if he had lived Johnson went out as a Subject of Britain to fight French men any where Keylinge 61: 67 Verdict Garcelli Guilty of murder & Martel not Guilty B. 6/ 12/ 20/.

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Royal Exchange Lane, now Exchange Street.


Memo. of Law vs. Garcelli & Martel

Kelynge 126 & 127. Maugridge Case. to shew wt. is meant by malice

“some think it to be a ranceur of mind lodged for some time before the fact, but they dont distinguish malice from Hatred

3. Inst. 62. he that doth a cruel act voluntarily doth it of malice prepensed

4th: Black. 199. also if even upon a sudden provocation one beats another in a cruel and unusual manner so that he dies yet he is guilty of 285 murder by express malice, i.e by an express evil design, the genuine sence of malitia

D. 200: a general rule

201. a general Rule that all Hom: is Mal: unless justified by Com. of Law: Excuse, for accident or Self Preservation. or Allevia. into Manslaughter by being the involuntary Conseq. of some unlawful act, or Occasiond by Sudden & Sufficiently violent Provocation all wch. must be made out by the Prisoner

Foster 291.

310 a Robbery.

256.7 Defn. of malice

274 Maugridge Case

290. I have already premised, the plea of Provocation must be proved

272 a private person interposing



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The Boston Evening Post reported the verdict on Dec. 27:

Monday last, at the Supreme Judicial Court, now sitting here, came on the trial of Cassamo Garcelli and Baitholomeu Martell, for the murder of John Johnson, in this town, as lately mentioned in the papers; when, after a trial which lasted till Tuesday afternoon, the jury brought in their verdict that Garcelli was Guilty, but acquited Martell. And yesterday sentence of Death was pronounced against Cassamo Garcelli.

At the same Court, one Morris was tried for shop lifting, found guilty, and sentenced to be sold for twenty years, to pay costs, &c. One Caswell was also tried for the murder of a young man, as has been noticed; he was acquitted of that charge, but committed on another indictment.

RTP noted in his diary for Jan. 15, 1784: “Garcelli executed.” The Boston Gazette reported on Jan. 19: “On Thursday afternoon was executed in this town, one Cassumo Garcelli, a Portuguese, for the murder of Mr. John Johnson of this town.” The Massachusetts Spy, Feb. 5, 1784, reported that “Cassumo Garcelli, who was lately executed in Boston, for the murder of Mr. Johnson, was an Italian, not a Portuguese, as has been mentioned. He was born in Leghorn, in 1760. It is said he committed two murders before the last which he was executed for; one person that he killed, was a man in Porto-Rico, the other a sailor in Philadelphia.”