Slattery, Michael

Commutations 219

Wise was convicted of murder in the first degree for causing the death of Charles F. Beasley while attempting to rob him on one of the public streets of the city of New York. The evidence given upon the trial together with additional evidence adduced upon the application for clemency shows that the crime was committed by Wise in company with a confederate named Sweeney. There was no thought of killing Beasley or of doing him bodily harm, but, while they were engaged in the attempt to rob him, Sweeney struck him a blow which felled him to the ground, and his head coming violently against the pavement his skull was fractured, resulting in his death. Wise was taken into custody at once, but Sweeney escaped. Legally, Wise was no doubt as fully responsible for Sweeney’s act in striking Beasley and for the consequences of it as if he himself had delivered the blow, although in fact he in no way consented to it, and had not contemplated anything of the kind. And although the killing of Beasley was altogether unintentional and occurring as it did quite in the nature of an accident, still those by whose act it was brought about were, under the statute, guilty of murder in the first degree, being at the time engaged in the commission of a felony. But in view of all the circumstances, death, the only penalty prescribed by law for the offense, seems too stern and severe, and some mitigation is due by way of executive clemency. Imprisonment for life will be fully commensurate with Wise’s guilt and sufficient for all the demands of justice.

July 11, 1900. Michael Slattery. Sentenced November 14, 1895; county, Monroe; crime, burglary; term, five years, to commence at the expiration of a previous term; prison, Auburn.

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