The Final Exam – Solution

Simple, because of the different “r”s and “t”s, it is obvious that the verdict was not written out by Martin East, as stated in the caption. Martin East only signed his name. Additionally, East may have written the word “guilty” but that is indeterminable.

Further, the signature and body of the verdict were written at different times, as evidenced by the blotted foreman’s name but no blotting (mirror image) of anything else. Pens in use at that time were filled by dipping the nib into an ink supply (iron gallotanic ink), usually in the form of an ink well or container. The liquid ink (unlike today’s ball points and rollers), took some time to dry, hence the documents were blotted. If they were folded wet, as in the case of Martin East’s signature, the ink would blot a mirror image onto the interior of the folded page (which is exactly what occurred here).

Put it all together and the verdict was a pre-printed (pre-written) form. All one had to do at the finish of jury deliberations, was add “guilty” or “not guilty” and sign the document. As this was Judge Parker’s jurisdiction (the “Hanging Judge”), it is even possible that the word “guilty” was also preprinted, but not likely. Judge Parker sentenced 160 men to hang and 79 of them actually attended a necktie party put on by the good judge.

As an aside, and confirming the above, the trial of Crawford Goldsby (Cherokee Bill), started on February 26, 1895 (the day before the date on the verdict) and finished mid-June of 1895. Obviously, if the verdict was returned in June, there was no possibility that the verdict was signed by Martin East on February 27, 1895.

After an escape, another murder, and a second conviction, Crawford Goldsby swung on March 17, 1896.