The Trial of "Indian Joe": Race and Justice in the Nineteenth-Century West

By Clare V. McKanna Jr. | Go to book overview

1

The Prosecution

News of the double murder on Otay Mesa created a sensation in San Diego. Local newspapers carried stories claiming that the case had been solved and that the “guilty parties” had been apprehended and jailed. There seemed to be little doubt, at least in the minds of the Otay Mesa farmers and probably many San Diegans, that José Gabriel had indeed killed John and Wilhelmina Geyser. Fred Piper and his son had subdued the defendant at the crime scene, tied him up, and summoned help from nearby farmers. The constable, with the aid of a deputy coroner, a court clerk, and a farmer, had searched the crime scene for evidence and found two clubs that had been used in the killings. Although District Attorney Johnstone Jones had lost four homicide cases immediately prior to this one, the first four accused men had been white, not Indian.

This murder trial received a great deal of publicity and drew a large crowd to San Diego to observe the legal proceedings. A large contingent of farmers from Otay Mesa and townspeople from Otay drove their buggies or rode the National City and Otay Railroad thirteen miles north to San Diego to attend the trial. They were able to observe the proceedings in the San Diego County Courthouse that had recently been constructed. Completed and

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The Trial of "Indian Joe": Race and Justice in the Nineteenth-Century West
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Trial of “indian Joe” - Race and Justice in the Nineteenth-Century West *
  • Contents *
  • Illustrations *
  • Preface *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • Prologue - Murder on Otay Mesa *
  • 1 - The Prosecution *
  • 2 - The Defense *
  • 3 - The Judge and Jury *
  • 4 - The Crime Scene *
  • 5 - The Illusion of “indian Joe” *
  • 6 - The Scales of Justice *
  • Epilogue - Gabriel'sfate *
  • Appendix - Trial Exhibits *
  • Notes *
  • Selected Bibliography *
  • Index *
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