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Norton and Wright Sentenced

Winfield Daily Courier - December 27, 1893

Two months ago today Capt. H. H. Siverd was laid to rest in that silent tomb and it is fitting today that his murderers should be sentenced to that living tomb never more to see the free light of God nor to breathe his free air until upon the morning of the day of their doom. Two months ago one of the best loved citizens ever known was laid to rest. While today two of the worst criminals that ever polluted this green footstool of God, by their dastardly conduct towards mankind, are sentenced to be taken to a tomb that is far too good for such inhuman cattle.

The law of this state and the integrity of her officers are placed above reproach. There can be no doubt, and every citizen of this republic that has known of this terrible deed can read the verdict, peruse the sentence, and say that the law did take its course and it has nobly done its work. There has been idle talk of these boys never being found guilty of this deed, by a few shallow minded numbskulls; but today the court and officers of this county have fully exonerated themselves in the eyes of the most pessimistic people and have gen two culprits a fair trial and they now are to receive their just desserts.

At nine thirty this morning they were taken to the courtroom where Judge Jackson passed the following sentence upon them. He said:

"The deponents will stand up and receive sentence. Morgan Wright and Wilbur Norton, each of you have been tried and convicted of murder in the first degree. Have either of you any legal cause to show as to why sentence should not be passed upon the verdict herein rendered? You say that you have none. Then have either of you, or anyone for you, anything to say before court passes sentence?" [No response.] The court then said:

"It is not necessary for the court to multiply words in giving sentence. The court is satisfied that what it might say will be received by you with that same stoical indifference which you have shown all through the trial. All during this trial you have exhibited a hardness of heart which is hard to understand in a human being. The court is satisfied that each of you have had a fair and impartial trial before an honest, fair-minded jury. Indeed, it is sad that two young men who have not yet reached the full vigor of young manhood, should receive the sentence which the law demands in their case. It is sad for the court and it regrets the necessity, but stern duty demands it, as well as society; that none of us should falter in the discharge of our trust. Without a moments warning and in the public thoroughfare of this city, you shot down and killed one of God's noblemen, while he was in the discharge of his official duty. It was one of the most cold blooded and dastardly murders which has ever come under the observation of this court. The only mitigating circumstance which you offer was that you were drinking, and that cannot avail for you anything in this court. At this dark hour of your lives, the court will not indulge in unnecessary harsh words, but wishes to offer here its pity and sympathy. It will therefore be the judgement of the court that each of you be conveyed from here to the county jail of this county and from there, without necessary delay, you be conveyed by the sheriff of this county to the penitentiary of the state of Kansas and be delivered to the warden thereof, where you will remain in confinement until upon proper legal authority and in manner and form provided by law, you, and each of you, be executed by being hung by the neck until you are dead, and may God have mercy on your souls."

Cowley County Historical Society Museum