The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Shootout on Central

Two Men and Woman Lodged in Jail after Night of Crime--
Junk Dealer Tortured by Flame in Effort to Locate Money--
Rex Cafe Patron Robbed at Pistol Point.
    As the result of a holdup, bodily assault on an elderly junk dealer and gun battle with police in Medford early this morning. Mr. and Mrs. Jack Donovan of this city and A. E. Johnson of Jacksonville are held in the county jail on open charges. Donovan is accused of holding up A. C. Lawrence in the Rex Cafe shortly before 2 o'clock this morning and of taking part in a pistol duel on Central Avenue between Main and Eighth streets with policeman William Peck.
    All three are implicated in assaulting Pat Bohan, junk dealer on Plum Street [1506 Prune Street], at midnight, when they are accused by officers of attempting to make Bohan tell the hiding place of money the trio desired. Bohan declared a blanket was thrown over his face after he was struck behind the ear by a hard object, rendering him unconscious. His eye was also injured by a blow.
Torture Applied.
    Because of a badly burned leg, sustained when his assailants held an open flame against it in an effort to make him talk, Bohan is in the Sacred Heart Hospital today, recovering from the effects of the burns which practically cooked a portion of his foot, the skin being all burned away. Unsuccessful in their efforts, Bohan's assailants left, cutting the telephone wires before departing. He was unable to call the officers until this morning.
    Lawrence had been in the Rex Cafe for some time visiting Seth Blake, proprietor, when Donovan entered the establishment to order a cup of coffee. Before the order was taken, Donovan arose from the counter and approached Lawrence, holding a long-barreled .32 caliber revolver in his hand. The gun was pressed against Lawrence's body and Donovan, according to the victim at the police station this afternoon, gave him a hurried search, failing to find a wallet he had in a trouser pocket.
Told to "Come Across."
    Donovan became anxious and in no uncertain terms told Lawrence to "come across," which he did by handing him a $5 bill. Lawrence convinced the holdup man that it was all the money he had and that a mistake was being made, as he was not the proprietor of the establishment. Donovan had apparently convinced himself that he was holding up the proprietor, saying that he knew he had the right man.
    Donovan is alleged to have threatened Lawrence with death if a policeman entered the door, but luckily no officer arrived. After taking the money, Donovan laid the gun on the counter within easy reach and accepted a cup of coffee Blake brought to him. He placed several heaping teaspoons of sugar in the beverage, stirred it around nervously, took a drink or two and picked up his gun and left the establishment. The police were immediately notified upon his departure.
Meets Officer.
    When Donovan reached Central Avenue at the intersection of Eighth he met Officer T. H. Robinson and immediately poked the gun against him. However, a second officer, William Peck, arrived on the scene and, becoming aware of his approach, Donovan's attention was drawn from Robinson, who immediately struck him on the jaw.
    The blow partially stunned him and Donovan is then declared to have stumbled into the entrance of the Ethelwynn Hoffman ladies' ready-to-wear shop [41-43 S. Central], from where he took five shots at the officer. The shots went wild and the officer shot three times in return. Donovan fell once as if he had been struck, but was up in a moment. His gun was empty and he started to make his escape by running. Officers Ray Sloneker and Bennett were coming down Eighth Street and Sloneker fired at the fugitive, but missed. Donovan, however, was caught after a short chase.
    After Donovan had been captured, Johnson came into the Rex Cafe, looking for Donovan, officers say. Upon learning of his presence, policemen arrested Johnson as he was driving toward Jacksonville in his Dodge touring car, heavily loaded with baggage and grips. Johnson was accompanied by Mrs. Donovan, who was also arrested as an accomplice.
Johnson Grilled.
    Johnson was undergoing a vigorous questioning by District Attorney George Codding and Deputy George Neilson this afternoon at the police station.
    Chief of Police McCredie and Deputy Sheriff Louis Jennings visited the Bohan place this morning and there learned the details of Bohan's attack. They found the house in rummaged condition. The trunks had been opened and dresser drawers were open, with household goods disturbed.
    Bohan told officers this forenoon he kept no money on the place and said Mr. and Mrs. Donovan had been making their home with him for the past three months. They are believed to have come here from Mill Valley, Cal. Donovan was arrested here September 8 on a charge of intoxication, according to police records. He is also believed to have a criminal record.
Lawrence Frightened.
    Lawrence, who makes his home in Sacramento, had arrived in Medford only an hour or two before from Portland, with his wife, who was at a hotel during the holdup. He represents the Buckley Shirt and Underwear Manufacturing Company of St. Louis, Mo. He declared today he was the most frightened man on earth when he felt the gun press against him, but was loud in his praise for the efficient work of the police department.
    Five establishments today gave evidence of the gun duel, windows of the Cinderella Shop [44 S. Central], Milady's Beauty Shop [45 S. Central] and Ethelwynn Hoffman's shop on Central Avenue and of the Hudson-Essex Garage and Crater Lake Garage [103 S. Riverside] at the end of Eighth Street on Riverside Avenue being struck. Rumors on the streets all day gave rise to stories that from eight to 37 bullets had been fired during the affray. The shots were heard by many residents, some of whom thought a premature New Year's celebration was under way.
Medford Mail Tribune, December 27, 1929, page 1

Thug Robs Patron at Rex Cafe
    Walking into the Rex Cafe on Main Street at an early hour this morning a man giving the name of Jack Donovan, 30, asked for a cup of coffee and when Chas. Bennett, waiter, turned to serve him, Donovan stepped up to A. C. Lawrence, a salesman, patron of the restaurant, and poking a gun into his midriff demanded Lawrence's money. Donovan was captured and landed in jail.
    According to Lawrence, Donovan threatened him.
    "Keep quiet and hand it over," Donovan was quoted as saying. "If you say a word you're a dead man. If anybody comes in that door you're as good as dead."
    Whereupon Lawrence handed over a $5.00 bill.
    So sudden did this occur that waiter Bennett and Miss Viola Wyland, cashier, were dumbfounded and did not move.
    After Donovan backed out of the door he was watched while someone telephoned to the police. Donovan was picked up a few minutes later by Officers William Peck and T. H. Robinson at Eighth and Bartlett streets.
    Sheriff Jennings was summoned later and when questioned at the police station had not decided what charge would be placed against Donovan.
    According to employees the robber made no move to loot the cash register and molested no one else in the cafe.
    When caught, the police said, Donovan had emptied his revolver and had thrown it away. It was recovered.
    According to the police, Donovan confessed at the police station, saying:
    "Well, I pulled a boner."
    It was stated later that charges of assault with a deadly weapon and robbery would be filed against him.
Medford Daily News, December 27, 1929, page 1

Woman, Two Men Face Trial in Holdup
    Hearing on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and robbery will be heard against Jack Donovan, arrested last night after a gunfight with officers shortly after the robbery of the Rex Cafe patron, while Mrs. Donovan and Andy Johnson probably will be charged with assault with intent to rob in connection with the treatment of Pat Bohan, according to information from the district attorney's office.
    Bohan, a junk dealer, was found by neighbors yesterday morning, his left foot, ankle and leg severely burned. After his removal to Sacred Heart Hospital he told of being tortured to make him tell the hiding place of his supposed wealth. Hospital attendants said last night Bohan probably would suffer no permanent injury from the burns, although they are very painful.
    Donovan admitted, Deputy Sheriff Ike Dunford said, last night to having served a long sentence in the California Penitentiary on a robbery charge, remarked that he "made a boner" when questioned about the Rex robbery; and neither admitted nor denied implication in the Bohan case, saying he "couldn't remember."
    Positive identification of Donovan as the man who prodded his ribs with a gun and took $5 from him was made yesterday by A. C. Lawrence and by staff members of the Rex Cafe. Mr. and Mrs. Donovan had been living with Bohan for the past three months, they admitted to police, while Johnson has a wife and two children in Jacksonville.
    Johnson and Mrs. Donovan were arrested by officers as they drove toward Jacksonville about 3:30 yesterday morning. They had not learned about Donovan's arrest, and Johnson had been in the Rex twice since the robbery looking for him, employees told officers.
    Bohan told officers he retired about 9:00 o'clock Thursday night, but that the Donovans and Johnson roused him with their drunken noisiness about midnight. When they refused to be quiet, he walked toward the phone with intentions of calling police, he continued, but before he reached the instrument he was struck on the head with some hard object and fell unconscious. His face still is badly swollen and his eye severely bruised, police say.
    The junk man recovered consciousness, he recounted, when he felt his feet being burned. A comforter was held over his head and his torturers continually seared the soles of his feet, the toes and ankles, and in spots as high as his knee. Before leaving him, his assailants cut the telephone wires, police found on investigation this morning.
    Had the operator reported the disordered instrument, Bohan might have been spared many hours of suffering, Chief of Police Clatous McCredie stated yesterday.
    In a statement made to Assistant District Attorney George Neilson yesterday, Johnson declared that he and Mrs. Donovan were at Bohan's house until 1:30 or 2:00 Friday morning, leaving to come downtown to find Donovan. Bohan "had left," he was said to have declared vaguely.
    When they did not find Donovan, they started for the Johnson home in Jacksonville, the statement continued. He admitted that he stopped to get a quart of cached liquor, which he poured out when he saw officers approaching, Neilson said.
    Johnson and Mrs. Donovan were in the Rex just before Donovan entered, employees told police after the holdup. Lawrence was talking to Seth Blake, one of the proprietors, when the man later identified as Donovan entered the cafe, armed with a .32 caliber revolver, which police say belonged to Bohan, at the salesman and frisked his pockets, his statement to police declared. All the while he cursed Lawrence and the whole establishment, threatening to "shoot up the works" and announcing his intention of shooting several Medfordites, witnesses declared.
    When he found no money, he is said to have demanded that Lawrence give him what he had, and the salesman thereupon handed him $5. In the meantime, one of the waiters casually flicked crumbs from the counter, working toward the kitchen door, and escaped unseen. Wriggling out the chute he dashed to the police station, said he found no one there and sent out a call, which presently brought several officers.
    After drinking a cup of coffee, Donovan left the cafe, witnesses said, and proceeded down Central. Officers T. H. Robinson and Bill Peck were then on his trail, one going each way around the block. At the corner of Central and Eighth, the thug flattened himself against a building and presented the barrel of his gun to Officer Robinson.
    A passing car and the footsteps of Peck diverted his attention for a moment and Robinson hit him with his club, but the man's head withstood the shock and he started shooting. With the pretense that he had been wounded by one of the officers' bullets, the gunman stumbled into the doorway of a store, where he directed five shots at the officers.
    Only the plate glass windows of the neighborhood suffered from the fireworks, although the officers afterwards declared that several of the bullets came uncomfortably close. When the man exhausted his ammunition he made a dash down Eighth, but was overtaken.
    Mrs. Donovan refused to talk to her questioners, and hushed Johnson several times when they were first taken, officers said.
Medford Daily News, December 28, 1929, page 1

Donovan Hearing Set for Today--Wife and John Held for Further Quiz--
Tortured Man Remains in Hospital Bed.
    Jack Donovan, arrested early yesterday morning following a gun battle with the police and a holdup at the Rex Cafe, was to be given a preliminary hearing this afternoon in the justice court on charges of robbery while armed with a dangerous weapon, and of assault with intent to kill. Mrs. Donovan and A. E. Johnson will be held for further investigation in connection with the torturing of Pat Bohan, junk dealer on Plum Street.
    Bohan is still a patient at the Sacred Heart Hospital, and his leg is said to be in a bad condition where it had been burned with an open flame in an effort to make him tell where he had supposedly hidden money.
    Donovan is accused of holding up A. C. Lawrence of Sacramento in the cafe, taking a $5 bill from him, and then going out in the street to engage in a gun duel with Police Officer William Peck, who fired three times at Donovan and received five shots in return. None of the shots found its target.
Phone Report Hit.
    A report this morning that the telephone company could have been of material help in notifying the police earlier of the condition of Bohan was discredited this forenoon by manager R. B. Hammond of the Home Telephone Company. He declared that operators are able to ascertain whether telephone connections have been cut only by attempting to call the affected parties. Even if the disconnection of the Bohan phone had been reported, he said, the company would have been in no position to notify the police to investigate, as during a recent storm over 150 disconnections were reported and to have each officially investigated would have taken the members of a national guard unit.
    Chief of Police McCredie today could see no reason why the telephone company could have been of assistance in reporting something of which they had no opportunity to gain any knowledge.
    A piece of paper found in Donovan's possession yesterday gave rise to the theory that Bohan may have been assaulted before. Written legibly, the paper gave all Bohan's earthly possessions to Mr. and Mrs. Donovan, and declared the writer was sound in mind and body. The signature, however, was illegible and resembled a scrawl out of which the name "Bohan" could hardly be deciphered. Officers think Bohan signed it under force. It was dated October 9.
Medford Mail Tribune, December 28, 1929, page 1

Third Confession Given Last Night Says the Trio Intoxicated
When Local Junk Dealer Subjected to Pain and Threats.
    A. E. Johnson of Jacksonville, arrested with Jack Donoghue, alias Jack Donovan, and wife, charged with attempted holdup of [omission] local cafe, and torturing of Pat Bohan, second hand dealer, to compel him to reveal the hiding place of his money, last night made his third confession in as many days, the sheriff says.
    In his latest version of the escapades of the trio, Johnson avers, all were more or less intoxicated at Bohan's place. He alleges that the Donoghues plied Bohan with liquor until he was helpless and then beat him to make him divulge the cache of his purported wealth. Johnson further alleges that Donoghue applied lighted matches to Bohan's big toe, in an effort to make him talk. When the supply of matches was exhausted, Johnson says, the Donoghues attempted to ram Bohan's foot into a stove, where a fire was smoldering.
    Johnson further alleges that he was ordered by Donoghue to get a razor, which he did, and the razor was flourished before Bohan with threats to cut his throat.
    Johnson heretofore denied that he was a witness to the alleged torture.
Medford Mail Tribune, December 31, 1929, page 1

    Approximately ten cases will come before the grand jury in the first meeting of the year next Monday afternoon, District Attorney George Codding said this afternoon. The session is also to include investigations, the nature of which has not been divulged.
    The more important cases include those of Jack Donoghue, charged with assault with intent to kill and robbery while armed with a dangerous weapon, and Mrs. Donoghue and A. E. Johnson. The trio was arrested last week following a pistol duel between Donoghue and police officers and the alleged torturing of Pat Bohan, junk dealer, in an effort to extort money. Bohan sustained a badly burned leg when it was thrust into a stove.
Excerpt, Medford Mail Tribune, January 2, 1930, page 3

A. E. Johnson, Jacksonville, Charged as Accomplice of Donovan--
To Claim Had No Part in Extortion Attempt.
    Pat Bohan, aged junk dealer, was the first witness called by the state against Alfred E. Johnson, charged with being an accomplice of Jack Donovan, alias Donoghue, torture bandit.
    Bohan, still suffering from the effects of his experience, said that he had been drinking with the defendant and Mr. and Mrs. Donovan. About nine o'clock he retired. The trio, he said, made so much noise he could not sleep, and when his protests failed to quiet the din, he went to the telephone to call the police. While there he was hit on the head with something, and remembered nothing until he felt a burning sensation about his feet. There was a blanket over his head. The burning became more intense, and then he heard a voice he recognized as Johnson's say:
    "For God's sake, if you have any money, tell them where it is, so they will stop hurting you."
    Bohan said he could not tell who was applying the heat to his feet.
    J. F. Whitlatch testified that five days after the occurrence, at the direction of Bohan, he went to the house on Prune Street and found $100 under the linoleum in the bedroom.
    Dr. J. C. Hayes testified to treating Bohan, and that a survey showed he had sustained scalp wounds, chest bruises, and burned feet. He said the burns on the left foot were "third-degree burns."
    Deputy District Attorney George Neilson was called to identify three voluntary confessions made by Johnson.
    Johnson will appear as a witness in his own behalf this afternoon.
    A. E. Johnson, a resident of Jacksonville, with his wife and two children seated on a front row courtroom bench directly behind him, went on trial in the circuit court this morning, charged with being an accomplice of Jack Donovan, alias Jack Donoghue, "two-time loser" and twice convicted here, in the alleged torture of Pat Bohan, aged junk dealer, to force him to tell the hiding place of his purported wealth. He is represented by attorney Gus Newbury.
    Johnson, a very neat and very sad-appearing young man, will offer as a defense that he is a victim of bad company, and that Donovan, alone, shoved Bohan's foot into a stove as a climax to a night of drinking, without Johnson's knowledge or consent.
    Upon motion of the state, the jury selected this morning was taken to the Bohan home, in the southwest part of the city, to view the scene of the alleged crime.
    As tomorrow is a legal holiday (Lincoln's birthday), there will be no session of the court, and the Johnson trial will be concluded today, even if an overtime session is necessary. The jurors not serving in the present case were instructed to report Thursday afternoon, when the trial of Mr. and Mrs. Donovan, also charged with torture for robbery, will start.
    Johnson, during his incarceration since December 27 last, has made three confessions, giving his versions. The admissions have aroused the wrath of Donovan, who calls him a "squealer."
    Another packed courtroom was in attendance at today's proceedings.
Medford Mail Tribune, February 11, 1930, page 1

    Mistrial in the case of State vs. Andrew Ernest Johnson, charging the Jacksonville man with robbery by putting in fear, was declared by Circuit Judge H. D. Norton at 11:30 last night after the jury, out seven hours, reported it was unable to agree. Reports were that the jury was deadlocked three for conviction and nine for acquittal.
    Ending of the case means that Johnson must go back to the county jail until March 3, the date set for retrial, and that the state's case against Mr. and Mrs. William Donoghue on the same charge, scheduled to open at 9:30 a.m. this morning, is materially weakened.
    Had Johnson been either acquitted or freed, the state would have put him on the stand to testify against the couple with whom he was indicted. With the three still jointly indicted, the state will be unable, under the law, to use his testimony.
    Three alternatives are open to the district attorney's office. It can dismiss the charge against Johnson and use him as a state's witness. It can proceed with the Donoghue trial without Johnson's testimony. It might possibly persuade Donoghue, already convicted of two charges, each of which carry a maximum of life imprisonment, to plead guilty. If Donoghue did that, he would undoubtedly take the stand in his wife's defense, and might possibly appear against Johnson at the Jacksonville man's trial.
    Donoghue's version of what happened the night of December 26, when Pat Bohan, elderly Medford junk dealer, was injured, has never been told. His wife has been silent also.
    Bohan was taken to a Medford hospital the next morning suffering from third-degree burns on his feet, from a blow on the chest, and from a blow on the head. Johnson, in a statement to officers, said Donoghue inflicted the injuries in an effort to make Bohan tell where his supposed wealth was hidden.
    Separate trials for Mr. and Mrs. Donoghue will be asked, attorney Frank Newman of the defense stated last night. Unless defense counsel changes its plans at a conference before court opens, motion for the separate trials will be made at 9:30 this morning.
    Johnson, on the witness stand, declared he was in Bohan's house when the alleged torture took place, and that he took no part in it. Fear of Donoghue, he declared, kept him from interfering. He said that Mrs. Donoghue went to get matches which Donoghue used in burning Bohan's foot, but did not mention her further in connection with the alleged torture, except to say she was in the room where it took place.
    Closing arguments of counsel occupied yesterday afternoon in Johnson's trial. Both sides had rested their cases Tuesday.
    Gus and Don Newbury, appearing in Johnson's defense, declared that Johnson had been an unwilling spectator at the Bohan home the night of December 26 and did not interfere through fear of his life. His admitted drunken condition, they said, accounted for his failure to notify police of the alleged attack when they arrested him and Mrs. Donoghue on a Medford street.
    Johnson's silence before officers, on the other hand, was interpreted as evidence of complicity by George Codding, district attorney, and George Neilson, his assistant.
    Most bitter clash between counsel was over an issue of small importance to the trial, but reflecting on integrity of Medford police officers.
    "You notice that this admission is signed by police as witnesses," declared Gus Newbury in attacking signed admissions made by Johnson. "All admissions and confessions are signed by police. Why doesn't the state get a school teacher, or a preacher, or someone off the street to witness these statements, if they are made only at the request of a defendant?"
    "If we can't trust our police, who can we trust?" demanded Codding in answer. "I don't believe Mr. Newbury believes it, and I don't think he wants the jury to believe it."
Medford Daily News, February 14, 1930, page 1

    Trial of Mr. and Mrs. William Donoghue on charges of robbery by putting in fear is scheduled to start this morning in circuit court. Expectations are that Porter J. Neff and Frank Newman, appointed to defend the pair, will wage a strong legal fight to free Mrs. Donoghue.
    Their story of what happened on the night after Christmas, when Pat Bohan, elderly junk dealer, was tortured so mercilessly that he was in a local hospital for over a month, has never been told, and may be revealed for the first time if either goes on the witness stand.
    Already convicted on two charges that carry a maximum of life imprisonment each, Donoghue is expected to give testimony to aid in clearing his wife, even at the expense of his own chances of acquittal.
    Statements by Andrew Ernest Johnson in written admissions and on the witness stand were that Donoghue did the torturing, and that his wife witnessed part of it and brought him matches with which to burn Bohan's foot. Johnson was tried on the same indictment, in a separate hearing.
    Penalty for the crime of which the Donoghues are accused is from two to 15 years imprisonment.
Medford Mail Tribune, February 14, 1930, page 1

Gunman Receives Heavy Penalties for Local Escapades--
Johnson Jury Disagrees
    John H. Donovan, alias Jack Donoghue, "two-time loser" in California prisons, was sentenced to life imprisonment in the state penitentiary this morning by Circuit Judge H. D. Norton. Donovan, convicted of robbery with a gun of a patron of the Rex Cafe December 27 last, and afterwards of engaging in a pistol duel with the night police, received life terms on both counts, "the sentences to run concurrently," the court adding with grim humor.
    "I thank you, judge. It's the best place for me," was the smiling comment of the man of crime.
Try Johnson Again.
    The jury in the case of Andrew E. Johnson of Jacksonville, mill worker and an alleged accomplice of Donoghue's in the torturing for robbery of Pat Bohan, aged junk dealer, was unable to agree and was discharged last night after it became apparent that they were hopelessly deadlocked. The retrial of Johnson's case was set for March 3. The trial of Donoghue and his wife on the torture charge was scheduled to be called at the termination of the Johnson trial. He will not be taken to state prison until after this action is concluded.
    It was revealed today that Pat Bohan, tortured by Donoghue nigh unto death for robbery, had made a will last fall bequeathing to the Donoghues his estate, consisting of approximately $1700 in the bank and property in southwest Medford. The will is said to be in possession of the district attorney's office.
Close Friends.
    The Donoghues and Bohan were close friends. Donoghue, when not in his cups, was kind and helpful to the aged junk dealer and remained under his roof for three months. Donoghue was protector and aide.
    Then came the drinking party in the little house, and before it ended Donoghue ran amuck, beat his benefactor, burned his feet with matches and rammed his foot in a cookstove to force him to reveal the hiding place of his supposed wealth. Then, liquor-maddened and armed, he started a reign of terror.
    On the witness stand in his first trial Donoghue made the terse comment, "All the trouble in my life has been due to liquor." He was around the city six months and, according to the police, was an exemplary citizen.
    The life record of Donoghue, furnished by the California state bureau of identification, showed that he had spent 21 of his 40 years behind prison walls, including terms in San Quentin and Folsom, with an escape from the latter institution and recapture after three days' freedom. There was also a long record of days spent in county jails for offenses all having their birth in drink or drugs.
Excerpt, Medford Mail Tribune, February 14, 1930, page 1

    Unable to present its strongest case against Mr. and Mrs. William Donoghue on a charge of robbery by putting in fear, without testimony of Andrew Ernest Johnson, and unwilling to dismiss a similar charge against Johnson that he might testify against them, the district attorney's office yesterday delayed the Donoghues' trial until after Johnson's retrial on March 3.
    First trial of Johnson ended in a jury disagreement and a mistrial Thursday night.
    Two sentences of life imprisonment in Oregon penitentiary were passed by Donoghue yesterday by Circuit Judge H. D. Norton.
    One was for robbery while armed with a dangerous weapon, and one was for shooting at Medford police officers with intent to kill. He was convicted on both charges after jury trials.
    "I realize that I have been a burden to my family and to society," Donoghue commented when the two life sentences were passed.
Medford Daily News, February 15, 1930, page 1

Accused to Get Retrial in Torture Case Today
    Retrial of Andrew Johnson on a charge of torturing Pat Bohan, aged junk dealer, will open the new circuit court session at 1:30 today. A previous jury disagreed.
    Following this case, Mr. and Mrs. William Donoghue will be tried on the same charge. Donoghue has already been given two life sentences for his activities the same night. He was convicted for holding up a restaurant patron and shooting at pursuing members of the police force.
    The new grand jury will be sworn in previous to opening of today's trial.
Medford Daily News, March 4, 1930, page 1

    Introduction of new material in the second trial of Andrew Johnson for the serious burning December 27 of Pat Bohan was assured yesterday when District Attorney George Codding announced that he will dismiss similar charges against Mrs. Catherine Donoghue. Opening testimony will be heard this morning at 9:30.
    Mrs. Donoghue will be introduced as a witness against Johnson, who placed blame for the torture of the aged junk dealer on her husband in a series of confessions made to prosecution and police officers.
    Since the three defendants were indicted jointly for the crime, Johnson could protest the introduction of Mrs. Donoghue as a witness against him unless her case was previously disposed of, the district attorney explained.
    Donoghue has already been given two concurrent life sentences for robbing a restaurant patron and firing at policemen after leaving Bohan's home. He has served a number of penitentiary sentences, and once escaped from Folsom Prison, his record shows.
    Jurymen chosen yesterday afternoon for Johnson's trial were sent to Bohan's tumbled residence on Prune Street to survey the scene of the drinking party which ended in the alleged attempt by Bohan's guests to make him divulge the location of imagined wealth by burning his foot, first with matches and later in the stove.
    After four veniremen had been challenged by the defendant and two by the prosecuting officers, the following jurymen were selected: Lane Wyland, Frank Nelson, Oscar Lynum, Gain Robinson, William H. Gardner, Wade Wallis, George L. Clark, Charles Strang, Charles E. Clay, Louis Werth, W. H. Maultby and Robert E. Cook.
    Bohan was found by neighbors late the morning of December 28, unconscious from serious burns on one leg and foot. Although officers had not been informed of the attack, his alleged attackers were already lodged in jail, Donoghue after a gunfight with officers pursuing him after he had held up a Rex Cafe patron. Mrs. Donoghue and Johnson were arrested shortly after as they drove toward Jacksonville.
    In a signed confession made before a number of officers and Assistant District Attorney George Neilson several days later, Johnson told of a drinking party at the home of Bohan with its climax in the burning of the old man. He claimed to have taken no part in the affair except to obey a few orders from Donoghue, whom he claimed to fear very much. When Donoghue finally left the house, Mrs. Donoghue requested him to take her downtown to look for her husband, he said. He entered the Rex several times to inquire of his companion, once before and once after the holdup. Officers were informed of his search, and the couple were arrested shortly afterwards as they drove towards Jacksonville, Johnson's home.
    Bohan testified that when the party became noisy and he requested somewhat less exuberance, someone hit him over the head, knocking him unconscious. When he revived, a blanket was thrown over his head, his feet were being burned and he was threatened with worse pain if he did not reveal the hiding place of his money, he declared. Because of the excessive pain, he soon lost consciousness again. The phone was cut when officers arrived the next day.
Medford Daily News, March 5, 1930, page 1

Mrs. Donoghue Says Liquor and Smoke Made Her Ill--
Victim Also Hazy on Details.
    The state rested, and the defense opened, this afternoon at 2:30 o'clock in the trial of Andrew Johnson of Jacksonville, alleged pal of William Donoghue, torture bandit.
    The defense will probably endeavor to show that Johnson had no part in the torturing of Pat Bohan, but was an unwilling bystander, now caught in an act of circumstance.
    The first move of the defense, which takes the remainder of the afternoon, was to show discrepancies of state witnesses in their testimony since the first trial.
    Johnson will probably take the stand in his own behalf late today or in the morning.
    Mrs. William Donoghue, whose husband is under life sentence to the state penitentiary upon conviction as the torture bandit and Rex Cafe holdup man last December, was the principal witness this morning in the retrial of Andrew Johnson, Jacksonville, co-defendant with the Donoghues in their criminal adventure.
    Mrs. Donoghue turned state's evidence, and the indictment against her was dismissed under the provisions of the Oregon law providing such action. Besides, the district attorney felt the case against her was weak.
    On the stand Mrs. Donoghue was a willing and a voluble witness, but contributed little in the way of incriminating testimony against Johnson. She testified that liquor, she thought supplied by Johnson, flowed freely before the torturing of which her mate stands convicted, and the defendant is accused. The heat and the smoke and the liquor made her sick, and her husband gave "me a slap and told me to go to bed." When she returned some time later, the same husbandly treatment was repeated, and she again retired to her chamber. When she awoke and again returned downstairs, her husband was gone and she and Johnson started in search of him.
    Pat Bohan, still suffering from experiences of the night, was the first witness. He gave but meager testimony against Johnson, remembering nothing distinctly except that his feet had been badly burned.
    The case will probably be concluded by tomorrow noon at the present rate. In a previous trial of the case the jury was unable to reach a verdict.
    Johnson is represented by attorneys Gus Newbury and Don Newbury. His wife and children were in court today.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 5, 1930, page 6

    For the second time within the past month, a jury will probably retire today to decide if Andrew Johnson is guilty of the torture of Pat Bohan the night of December 26. The state will present final arguments this morning, followed by the defendant's concluding statements.
    Directly contradictory statements were presented the jury yesterday in the testimony of the defendant and Mrs. Catherine Donoghue, whose husband is jointly indicted with Johnson. A similar charge against Mrs. Donoghue was dismissed yesterday that she might be used as a state's witness.
    If Bohan was struck on the head and then burned with matches and in the stove, it was while she was upstairs, drunk, nauseated, and later asleep, Mrs. Donoghue declared. She was not surprised to see the junk man lying behind the stove against the wall when she came downstairs, she protested, and made no inquiry why he was there, thinking him drunk. Shortly after that, her husband pushed her into the kitchen and told her to go back upstairs, she said.
    Johnson testified that Mrs. Donoghue assisted her husband in his obscenely avowed intention to make Bohan tell where he kept his money. At the request of her husband, she brought more matches from the kitchen, and when questioned what she intended doing with them merely replied, "It serves him right," the defendant declared. Johnson himself took no part in the affair, and fearfully protested to Donoghue who threatened to kill him if he left the house, he testified.
    Arrangements were made early in the evening between Johnson, her husband and herself that they were to take their possessions to Johnson's house in Jacksonville later in the the evening, Mrs. Donoghue later declared. Pat was told nothing of the plan, and when asked the reason, she said: "It was probably just a crazy idea because we were very intoxicated."
    Contrary testimony was again introduced by Johnson, who declared he offered to take her away early the next morning, after Donoghue had left the house, as a chance to leave the place undisturbed. When questioned by prosecutors why he came downtown to search for Donoghue, the man he supposedly feared, he declared he thought he might get rid of the woman if he found her husband.
    Upholding the state's contention that the defendants knew Bohan had money hidden about the house, A. E. Whitlatch of Reddy Avenue testified that he found a billfold containing $100 under the linoleum in Pat's bedroom, which he presented to the injured man during his convalescence in the hospital.
    Seriousness of the very severe burns which kept Bohan a hospital patient for over a month, and which must still be specially dressed, was testified by Dr. James C. Hayes. Bohan was also suffering severe scalp lacerations and bruises on his face and side when he examined him, the physician stated. H. D. Bean, neighbor of the junk man, who found him the following morning, also described the hurts which skinned and blackened one side of Pat's face and neck.
    A number of police and sheriff's officers were also called to the stand to testify as to the condition of the pair when arrested on the Jacksonville Highway about 3:50 the next morning.
Medford Daily News, March 6, 1930, page 1

Hope of Submission to Jury by Noon Fades Before Lengthy Appeals Johnson Trial.
    The jury in the retrial of Andrew Johnson began deliberations at 2:55 p.m., following lengthy instructions of the court.
    William Donoghue, already under two life term sentences, was scheduled to appear before the court this afternoon, and enter a plea of guilty to the third indictment against him. He faces a minimum sentence of 15 years.
    Closing arguments in the retrial of Andrew Johnson, Jacksonville resident charged with being a pal of William Donoghue, torture bandit in a robbery attack with fire upon Pat Bohan, aged junk dealer, opened this morning in circuit court.
    Predictions that the case would be in the hands of the jury by noon today faded with long arguments by both state and defense in the offing. The jury will start their deliberations late this afternoon.
    Attorney Don Newbury opened for the defense and cited evidence to show that Johnson, befuddled by drink and intimidated by the death threats of Donoghue, was an unwilling bystander at the torture proceedings without realization of the crime being committed. It was contended that Johnson was in no mental condition to act, but that as soon as his mind commenced to clear he took the first opportunity that arose to depart.
    The state will hold that the intoxicated condition of the defendant is no excuse for failure to act, and that silence gave consent. Johnson, in the testimony, was alleged to have furnished the moonshine liquor for the orgy.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 6, 1930, page 1

    Andrew Edward Johnson was yesterday adjudged innocent by a jury of torturing Pat Bohan, his junk dealer host, but he is still in the county jail.
    Following his dismissal yesterday he was taken to Gold Hill to face hearing before Justice John Reed for driving while intoxicated, and was sentenced to four months in jail and $100 fine.
    The jury deliberated only 20 minutes before bringing in their verdict yesterday at 3:30 p.m.
    Although three confessions made by Johnson shortly after his arrest and his own testimony linked him closely with the crime, the jury was not convinced that he had actually participated in the burning of the old man's foot and leg to make him reveal his supposed hidden wealth, members said. One juror expressed the belief that "something should be done" about other charges against the defendant, but still maintained that he was not convinced Johnson was guilty of the charge.
Medford Daily News, March 7, 1930, page 1

Alleged Torturer of Bohan Says Jury Would Find Him Guilty,
But Life Terms Will "Hold Him for Awhile"--Judge Kindly.
    William Donoghue, "two-time loser" in California prisons and under two life sentences upon conviction for the holdup of a patron of the Rex Cafe and a gun battle with the police December 27 last, this morning refused to plead guilty to an indictment alleging torturing of Pat Bohan, aged junk dealer, as expected.
    Donoghue was charged with Andrew Johnson of Jacksonville, acquitted yesterday, and Mrs. William Donoghue, who turned state's evidence, with applying matches to Bohan's feet, and shoving Bohan's foot into a cook stove to make him tell the supposed hiding place of his money.
    Following Donoghue's changed attitude, Circuit Judge H. D. Norton said from the bench:
    "I'll say this much for Donoghue. He is ten times the man the other fellow (Johnson) is, and I have ten times as much respect for him. You are a hard nut and got what is coming to you, but there are things to admire about you."
    Donoghue, in refusing to plead guilty to torture, said:
    "The jury will find me guilty, all right, and I wouldn't expect to beat the case, but I won't plead guilty to burning that guy's feet, as a matter of principle."
    He also told the court; "If I did, I would ask the court to shoot me."
    Donoghue will be taken to Salem tomorrow to start serving his life terms. The court continued the torture indictment "indefinitely."
Already Sentenced.
    Judge Norton then remarked: "I cannot see the necessity of imposing a 15-year sentence upon a man already under two life sentences," and Donoghue rejoined:
    "They will hold me a while, your honor."
    Donoghue, regarded as one of the "toughest guys" ever detained in a Jackson County jail, has spent 20 of his 41 years behind prison bars. He served sentences at San Quentin and Folsom prisons. Liquor was the main factor in his downfall, according to his own word and the record of his crimes.
    Donoghue, handcuffed to jailer Ike Dunford, anxiously explained to the sheriff and prosecutor: "I don't want to cause you any trouble, but I'm not going to plead guilty to something I didn't do."
    Andrew Johnson was acquitted by a jury late yesterday after short deliberation. His wife and little daughter were in the courtroom. The jury took two ballots, the first standing ten to two for acquittal. Jurors said inability of the state to produce other than highly circumstantial evidence against Johnson governed their verdict.
    Johnson, following his acquittal, was immediately taken before Justice of the Peace H. D. Reed, of Gold Hill, where he pleaded guilty to driving an auto while intoxicated, and was sentenced to four months in the county jail and fined $100.
    Mrs. Donoghue will return to relatives in California. The indictment against her was dismissed when she turned state's evidence.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 7, 1930, page 1

Last revised September 1, 2009