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January 5, i899. Patrick Sullivan. Sentenced December i4, i894; county, Onondaga; crime, burglary, third degree, and assault, first degree, after petit larceny; term, fifteen years; prison, Auburn.
Commuted to ten years, subject to legal deduction for good conduct.
Sullivan was convicted in Onondaga county in December, 1894, of burglary in the third degree and assault in the first degree, both crimes being charged as second offenses, he having been previously convicted of petit larceny. He committed the burglary in the daytime, while the occupants of the house were absent, and stole property worth about $20. Being pursued by an officer, he pointed a revolver at him, but made no attempt to shoot. For the burglary, he was sentenced to imprisonment for ten years, and for the assault upon the officer to imprisonment for a further term of five years. He was nineteen years old when convicted. The judge who presided at the trial writes that he regarded the assault as a small matter, but felt bound to impose sentence on conviction. He could not, under the statute, impose less than five years. He and the district attorney regard the case as a proper one for clemency. Arrangements have been made to take Sullivan, when released, to the residence of a relative, where he will be properly provided for, and be subject to such influences as will tend to keep him from criminal practices.
January 25, i899. Martin Hess. Sentenced February 26, i883; county, New York; crime, murder, second degree; term, life; prison, Sing Sing.
Commuted to fifteen years and eleven months, actual time.
The evidence on the trial was no doubt legally sufficient to support the conviction of murder in the second degree,although there seems to have been but little from which to infer an actual intent to kill. A verdict of manslaughter would have been fully warranted by all the circumstances, and would have been a more satisfactory result. The homicide was the sudden outcome of a barroom quarrel, in which the deceased appears to have been as much to blame as the prisoner. Hess was an industrious man of good character, and was at considerable disadvantage on his trial by reason of his ignorance of the language. With the commutation for good behavior, he has now served a considerably longer term than the maximum penalty for manslaughter in the first degree, and in view of all the facts, has sufficiently atoned for his offense.
February 2i, i899. Frank E. Chase. Sentenced November 22, i895; county, Ontario; crime, arson, third degree; term, five years; prison, Auburn.
Commuted to three years, two months and twenty-eight days, actual time.
With the usual allowance for good behavior, Chase's sentence would expire in June. It is represented by the guardian of his infant children that it is very important for the protection of their interests in certain actions now pending that he should be released before that time. This is confirmed by the judge who imposed the sentence and by the district attorney who procured the conviction, and they recommend that the application for clemency be granted.
February 21, i899. Henry L. Montague. Sentenced January 20, 1893; county, Jefferson; crime, forgery, second degree; term, twelve years; prison, Auburn.
Commuted to six years and one month, actual time.
Montague was convicted of forging his employer's name to a note for $50. This having been his second offense, the severe sentence of imprisonment for twelve years was imposed. Justice does not seem to require that he should serve the full term. The amount of the note was not large and most cf the money obtained upon it was returned. The judge who sentenced him writes that if Montague would let drink alone he would have no trouble. The commutation is granted on condition that hereafter he abstain from the use of intoxicating liquor.
February 23, i899. John Bowes. Sentenced March 29, i894; county, Ulster; crime, burglary, second degree; term, seven years and seven months; prison, Clinton.
Commuted to four years and eleven months, actual time.
It was claimed on the trial that Bowes was insane, but that defense did not prevail. He was, however, very soon after his conviction transferred as insane from the prison to the Matteawan Asylum, and has been kept there ever since. His friends, who have caused suitable provision to be made for his future care and custody, ask very earnestly for his release, and as there seems to be some doubt as to his responsibility for his conduct when he committed the act charged against him, it has been deemed just to grant their petition.
March i, i899. Antonio Minisci. Sentenced January 29, 1887; county, Monroe; crime, murder, second degree; term, life; prison, Auburn.
Commuted to twenty years, subject to legal deduction for good conduct.
Minisci was convicted in Rochester in January, i887, of murder in the second degree for killing Anello Dangiolillo by shooting him with a revolver; and was sentenced to imprisonment for life. The sentence is reduced to the extreme penalty for manslaughter in the first degree, a careful examination of the evidence given on the trial leading to the conclusion that a conviction for that offense would have been more consistent with all the circumstances of the case; and it is at least doubtful if the act was not committed in selfdefense. The commutation is recommended by the judge who presided at the trial.
March i0, i899. Edward Devine. Sentenced August i9, i898; county, New York; crime, grand larceny, second degree; term, one year; prison, New York Penitentiary.
Commuted to six months and twenty days.
The commutation is granted on the application of District Attorney Gardiner and Commissioner Francis J. Lantry, of the Department of Correction. The prisoner is very ill and cannot recover. His term, with deduction for good behavior, would expire in June.
March i5, i899. John Kinsella. Sentenced December 24, i895; county, Rensselaer; crime, assault, second degree; term, five years; prison, Clinton.
Commuted to three years, two months and sixteen days, actual time.
The judge and the district attorney who officiated at the trial, the present county judge and other citizens of Troy, unite with the prisoner's relatives in asking for his release on account of the death of his father. He has served all but about four months of his sentence, which was very severe.
March i6, 1899. Charles O. Peckens. Sentenced March 27, i896; county, Ontario; crime, grand larceny, first degree; term, eight years; prison, Auburn.
Commuted to three years, subject to legal deduction for good conduct.
The judge who presided at the trial writes that, had he known what was subsequently disclosed on the trial of Peckens' codefendant, that the latter was the principal and directing mind in the transaction upon which the indictment was founded, he would not have sentenced Peckens for a longer term than three years.
March 2i, i899. William Bergen. Sentenced February 6, i894; county, Monroe; crime, burglary, third degree; term, ten years; prison, Auburn.
Commuted to five years, one month and fifteen days, actual time.
Bergen's associate received a sentence of only two years; but ten years was the lowest that could be imposed on Bergen, the indictment against him being for a second offense, lie has now served, with the usual deduction for good conduct, a little less than eight years, and the judge, the district attorney, seven of the jurors, the complainant and other citizens ask for his release on the ground that his punishment has been sufficient.
March 23, i899. Henry Pierce. Sentenced December 4, i896; county, Monroe; crime, forgery, second degree; term, five years; prison, Auburn.
Commuted to two years, three months and twenty days, actual time.
The prisoner was a man of good character, except that he was addicted to the excessive use of intoxicating liquor, and it was to this failing that the crime of which he was convicted was directly and wholly attributable. From the report received from the prison, it would appear that a thorough reformation in this respect has been accomplished, and that if released he will not be likely to return to his former habit.