Sunday, August 10, 2008

Williams describes the killing of Broadhurst

As Williams sat on the witness stand described the killing of Dr. Broadhurst, the widow of the slain rancher, remained outwardly calm.

Testifying in a low monotone and seldom lifting his eyes for a look at the packed and crowded courtroom, or at his alleged partner in lust and murder, the slightly built Parma cowpuncher told details of the scheming which culminated in his waylaying and killing the prominent Oregon rancher on a highway to Jordan Valley during the early hours of October 14.

Williams claimed that at the last minute he tried not to kill the doctor but that he heard the voice of Gladys Broadhurst saying “don’t fail me…don’t fail me” and was driven to the murder.

Even after he had struck Broadhurst a crushing blow on the head he said that he repented and gave the doctor a cloth to hold over the hole in his head.

He said he wanted to flee but that Broadhurst came at him with a pocket knife. Then Williams picked up a 12 gauge shotgun (that was lying at his feet in the courtroom as he gave testimony) and fired a load of buckshot into the Caldwell Chiropractor’s chest.

Williams insisted he was carrying out the instructions given him the night before by Gladys Broadhurst.

As Williams spent a solid day on the stand, his alleged partner in crime often stared fixedly at him, but he paid no attention to her. She gave a helpless gesture as he described the killing, and she sometimes talked in an animated fashion with her lawyers.

Williams also described the preparations for the crime. He told how he and his alleged cohort obtained the murder gun and a bedroll from the home of his parents in Parma. He said that he used the bedroll to cover the body as he moved it from the highway to a place of hiding.

Gladys Broadhurst's greeting: Come to bed but first destory the evidence

The witness told of reporting back to his confederate after hiding the body the night after the killing.

“When I first got back to the Caldwell ranch I knocked at Mrs. Broadhurst’s bedroom window. She unlocked the door. As soon as I got inside, I said, ‘Well, I done it.’ She said’ Good. Come to bed.’ ”

“I said, ‘I haven’t destroyed the evidence.’ ”

“She told me to go do it and come right back.”

Williams related that he threw Dr. Broadhurst’s knife down a hill where he later helped Oregon officers find it, that he tossed away a wrench that he’d used to bludgeon the doctor at a cross road west of Caldwell, and that he burned the bed roll in which he had wrapped the body. He then returned to Mrs. Broadhurst and went to bed.

Williams explains his confession

The young man from Parma said that he confessed in court to the killing of Dr. Broadhurst because his lawyers felt that it might be helpful to his own cause. He had been told he said, “It might help to get the facts out among the people.”

He denied that any deal had been made with the prosecution and said that the only suggestion of being helped that he heard came from his own attorneys.

He said he was surprised when Mrs. Broadhurst first mentioned a “disappearance” for the doctor. But after they talked about it all the time he got used to the idea, he said, although he had tried to get Mrs. Broadhurst to run away with him instead.

Broadhurst wrote the Sweet Pea alibi note

Saturday afternoon, Stanley McDonald, handwriting expert of the Portland police department, declared that Mrs. Broadhurst had written a “sweet pea” note authorities found in her handbag, a note that attempted to establish an alibi for her and for Williams.

The note said: “Your cowboy strong arm didn’t do it, but don’t start anything or I’ll get you the same as I did the doctor. I warned you I need some cash. Sweet Pea.”

Mrs. Broadhurst suggested the note was written by a vicious twin brother of her former husband, Leslie Merle Lincoln. The twin brother proved to be mythical.

MacDonald also testified that Mrs. Broadhurst signed the name “Elaine Hamilton” to a marriage certificate issued at Reno on Sept. 17 to a woman who give that name and to Alvin Lee Williams.

A signature “Mr. and Mrs. Al Williams” at a Sacramento hotel was identified as Williams’ writing.

1 comment:

Johna S. said...

Hello. As a current employee of the Argus Observer, I am working on a story about when television first came to Ontario. The articles you published in this blog have been invaluable in guiding my research. I wanted to thank you for the time and effort you put into this blog. Also, I have a question. I easily found the photos mentioned in your July 18, 2008 post "Television comes to Malheur County, Oregon: July 15, 1953," but I cannot locate the article featured in your June 20, 2008 post, "Awaiting TV from Boise, Ontario viewers pick it up from Omaha; then the rain hit." I have searched our paper archives for the month of June 1953 twice now and still cannot find the article. Do you know the exact date when it was published? Any suggestions on where else I should look for the story?

Thank you,
Johna S.
Argus Observer
541-889-5387
JohnaS@argusobserver.com