Testimony of Ed Johnson
February 6, 1906

[Johnson was examined by Defense Attorney Lewis Shepherd:]

SHEPERD:  Tell the jury how you spent that Tuesday.
JOHNSON:  I had been working on the rock church at St. Elmo since the day after Labor Day.  On Monday, it rained and we did not go to work that day.
On Tuesday, I went out to the church, I got there before 8:00 and left there about 8:00.  It was too cold to work.  I stayed around home for an hour or better.  Then I went up to the Last Chance Saloon and stayed there till about 2:00.
I went back home and came back to the saloon about 4:30 o'clock.  I stayed there until 10:00 that night. At noon that day, the saloon owner's son sent me over to his house to water a pony.  Then I helped fix some chicken nests until  about  12:30, and I came back to the saloon.
At 2:00, I left the saloon and went home and got dinner.  I got back at 4:30 and stayed until 10:00 at night.
SHEPERD: What did you do the saloon?
JOHNSON: I worked for the porter of the pool room.  I kept pool tables there two or three times a week.
SHEPERD: What did you do that Tuesday?
JOHNSON: When I got there, John Duckworth [a deputy sheriff, Jeff Lee, Mr. Jones [the owner], Uncle Ike Kelley, Joe Graves, and perhaps others were already there.  Jeff asked me to fix the fire upstairs because it was getting cold in the pool room.  Mr. Jones told me to light the lamps.
SHEPERD: How much money did you make that night?
JOHNSON: Maybe $1.00 or $1.50.
SHEPERD: Did you ever leave the saloon that night for any extended period of time?
JOHNSON: Mr. Jones sent me out for firewood a couple of times....

SHEPERD: Tell the jury everything that happened Thursday.
JOHNSON: I went to work Thursday morning and got there about 7:30 o'clock.  I stayed at the church till 8:00.  It was too cold to work and we were not getting out again until noon.  I went home.  After I got there, Johnny McConnell, who drives Schultz Brothers Packing House wagon, came by about 9:30.  We drove out to Whiteside, then we went to Sherman Heights, where he delivered his last load.
 We were driving back toward home when I was arrested.  Mr. George Kirkland, a deputy sheriff, arrested me.
SHEPERD: Were you still on the wagon when he arrested you?
JOHNSON: He came up to the wagon and stopped the driver and told him to "wait a minute."  Then he said to me, "Ed, I want you."  I got down and he handcuffed me.  I asked him what he wanted with me and he said, "I'll tell you later."
SHEPEARD: What happened next?
JOHNSON: They took me to jail and some men examined me and cut my clothes.  I reckon they were doctors.  One of them was, as he treated me before.
SHEPERD: Ed, did you assault Nevada Taylor?
JOHNSON: No, sir.  I never done what they charged me with.  If there's a God in heaven, I'm innocent.  If that was the woman they brought to the jail there in Nashville, I never saw her before in my life.  In jail, I learned she lived at the cemetery.  I learned since that the crime took place on a Tuesday, the 23rd.
SHEPERD: So you are denying that the leather strap found near the crime scene is yours?
JOHNSON: I didn't do it.  I never had any strap.  I didn't even have any belt, only these suspenders I got on.

[Johnson was cross-examined by District Attorney Matt Whitaker:]

WHITAKER: After Miss Taylor left that day, did you tell James Broaden that you were afraid they had caught you?
JOHNSON: No, sir.
WHITAKER: What did you tell him?
JOHNSON: I told him that I guess they'll lay this crime on me.  I told him I don't know what will become of me, so I gave him my ring and ask him to give it to my mother.

Shipp Trial Homepage