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Murder of
Michael Barrett
in 1898


The Haley-Barrett Case

Haley Bound Over Under $3,000 Bonds

Lincoln Beacon, July 20, 1898
The preliminary hearing of Michael Haley, charged with feloniously taking the life of Michael Barrett on the evening of July 21, took place before Squire Geo. I. Robinson Monday last. Haley was bound over under a bond of $3,000 which he gave at once and was released from custody.
The testimony is contradictory in the extreme so far as a narration of the fight which resulted in the killing is concerned.
Wm. Barrett, principal witness for the defense, testifies that his brother made no threats and that Michael Haley made the first assault, which took place at Haley’s house, whither Michael Barrett had gone to see his uncle, John Martin. He testified that Haley made a really unprovoked attack with the butcher knife, after he had been prevented from striking M. Barrett with his fist.
John Martin, principle witness for the defense, testified that William Barrett came running down to Haley’s saying "Hide the old man; Mike is coming." That M. Barrett arrived immediately thereafter and made an unprovoked assault on Haley; that he broke the screen door in with the bit of an ax from which the handle had been broken; that he dragged Haley out of doors by the neck; that in the resultant scuffle out of doors Haley stabbed Barrett with the butcher knife.
As yet there is no contradiction of the testimony showing that Barrett used abusive language to Haley that day in Hughes’ joint while under the influence of liquor, and that he there struck Haley with his fist.
James and William Barrett testify that their brother Michael at no time used threatening language about Haley or that he went down to Haley’s for trouble.
The mother of the Barretts is full sister of Mrs. Michael Haley, and the two women are full sisters of John Martin.
The testimony of the surgeons – Newton and Hultner – and other evidence, was that the stab which killed Barrett must have been made with a long-bladed knife. The stab was four inches below the navel and an inch and a half to the right and was directed to the left somewhat. It passed entirely through the bowels and almost completely severed the left iliac artery. Death resulted from internal hemorrhage, not over half an ounce of blood exuding.
Barrett walked toward home about a hundred feet, laid down and died on the prairie within eight or ten miniutes after being stabbed. He made absolutely no outcry or complaint at any time and said nothing. The theory of the surgeons is that he suffered no pain. The row took place between half an hour and an hour after dark.

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