Coursey Breaks Down While Story of Cold-Blooded Killing of Karl Kellmann is Told by Detective; Two ‘Pals,’ Too, Accused of Crime
Collapsing when arraigned in Police Court this morning before Recorder Stackhouse on the charge of killing Karl Kellman, aged 18 years, of 2919 High Street, at Twenty-seventh and Sherman streets, shortly before midnight Saturday, Fred Coursey, alias “Mexican Pete,” alias “Cowboy Pete,” aged 20 years of 121 North Twenty-first street, who admits firing the fatal shots while committing robbery, and Harry Duffield, aged 21 years, of 407 North Forty-first street, who acknowledged masking his face with a handkerchief and being with Coursey, sobbed piteously, resting their heads on the railing of the dock, while John Painter, the veteran detective, was briefly reciting the story.
When Recorder Stackhouse asked what became of the young man who was shot and Painter replied that he died, Coursey and Duffield sobbed afresh, and when Recorder Stackhouse committed them without bail, Policemen Frost and Kay had to help them.
Linnans Staley, aged 21 years, of 1819 Federal street, who confessed that he was in the robbery plot but later got scared and hid in the bushes was scarcely able to stand, and when his mother broke down as he was committed as a principal he staggered and would have fallen but for Sergeant McClong.
Prosecutor Boyle announced this morning that the Grand Jury will be recalled for Thursday of this week and the case will be made the special order of the day.
Without the slightest clue to start with in the most brutal murder committed in recent years in Camden county, police and detectives under the personal direction of Chief Gravenor in two hours arrested two of the three prisoners and obtained their signatures to confessions and before sunrise the other was lodged behind the bars at the City Hall.
According to their statements to the police the prisoners while drinking on a lot near Twenty-first and Federal streets on Saturday night planned to go to a lone spot near Twenty-seventh and Sherman streets to hold someone up to get money and jewelry to buy more drink. Coursey had a 38 calibre cowboy pistol and Duffield used Coursey’s bandanna as a mask. Staley weakened before the spot selected was reached and at the time of the murder was hiding in a clump of weeds a short distance away.
The murdered boy was the son of Karl and Lulu D. Kellman. He was a member of the Bible class of Grace Presbyterian Church, East Side, and active in church work.
Saturday night was the closing of a carnival given on High street between Twenty-seventh and Thirtieth streets. Karl was there and made several purchases. At one booth he bought a necktie from another some ice cream and a box of candy and spent some time conversing with the young ladies connected with the church.
When it grew rather late he noticed that Misses Bertha and Bessie Skillen, of 815 North Thirty-fourth street, the latter a teacher in Grace Church Sunday-school, were without an escort and he volunteered to see them home. They accepted his invitation to be their escort. He saw them safely home and he was on his way back and had reached a point on the east side of Twenty-seventh street south of Sherman street and near the foot of the bridge that spans the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks when two men jumped out from behind a tree and as one commanded him to hold up his hands the other began to shoot.
The first shot struck him in the breast and turned him partially around. The next ploughed a hole through his neck, knocking him down and the third went wide.
Screaming for help he tried to rise to his feet and was on his knees when Night Yardmaster Albert Ludlow and Brakeman Joseph Wittick, who were on the opposite side of the bridge, ran to his assistance. By the light of their lanterns they saw that he was seriously hurt and they took him to Squire Sasse’s house nearby to await the arrival of the ambulance. As the railroaders sped across the bridge Ludlow saw a man run down the tracks in the direction of Seventeenth street.
In the signal tower at Pavonia station known as C.B. the operator, Thomas Sink, heard the shots and cries for help and phoned to Captain James at Police Headquarters that a murder had been committed. Sink also saw a man run down through the weeds and bushes on the east side of the bridge toward the railroad tracks.
Policeman Hurlock and Schmid, Squire and Mrs. Sasse and several others were out on the street before the railroad men reached the Sasse home and all hurried to phones to notify police headquarters.
In less than five minutes by use of the red light system Captain James had every officer on duty on the East Side hurrying to the scene, officers stationed at every bridge, ferry house and railroad terminal and the downtown auto with Detectives Schregler, Painter, Brothers and Moffett on its way to East Camden.
On information from the railroad men Sergeant Horner took all the East Side officers and the four detectives and they worked westward among the cars while Captain James started Policemen Colsey and Kelly to walk eastward from Fifteenth street until they met the main body.
The search proved fruitless and as they returned to the bridge one of the men picked up a green bandanna with yellow spots and sheep burrs embedded on it on the incline near the signal tower. Later he recalled that the man who went down the slope wore a Khaki shirt and cap.
The handkerchief was recognized as the kind used by “Indian BIll” May and Detectives Brothers and Policeman Abbott were sent to arrest him. They found May and Eugene Cafferty asleep in a moving van in Marlton avenue. “Indian BIll” soon established an alibi.
Detective Schregler and a couple of officers who were sure that the description of the man with the khaki shirt tallied with Duffield started for his brother’s house, but failed to find him there. About this time the downtown auto turned into Twenty-seventh street to get Karl’s father, mother and sister and take them to the hospital. Councilman Finkeldey and a friend shouted to the crew that a woman was down and out on a step nearby, but the crew yelled back that they were on an emergency run and the woman would keep until they returned. Fireman J. H. Vickers walked across the street to investigate and found that the supposed woman was Duffield and that he seemed to be asleep.
Vickers shook him and as he got up he said something about the shooting that aroused Vickers‘ curiosity and he phoned to Police Headquarters. Captain James immediately notified Chief Gravenor, who was on the scene and the latter sent Detective Moffett to investigate. When Moffett arrived he learned that Duffield had taken a Westfield avenue car. Moffett returned to the bridge and he and Detective Painter and Chief Gravenor took the down-town auto for Duffield’s home.
Painter went to he front door and saw Duffield in the active of taking off his shoes. Moffett in going around to the back door to prevent his escape that way passed by the window at which Duffield was sitting.
Grasping Duffield by the collar Moffett pulled him through the window to the ground. As soon as he landed on his feet, according to the Chief and detectives, Duffield said that Coursey did the shooting.
Placing him in the auto they next drove close to Coursey’s home and with Policeman Potter who knew the man wanted, tthe [sic] detectives entered the house with drawn revolvers while other officers guarded all avenues of escape.
Coursey was found akwake [sic] on a cot and while he was covered with revolvers Detective Painter searched his trunk and found the weapon that he later admitted using. It was empty. The detectives late yesterday afternoon found three used shells adjoining the house near a spot where Coursey said he had thrown them.
In order to keep the men apart they were taken to the City Hall separately and questioned and after they decided to tell all Sergeant E. B. McClong reduced their statements to writing and they signed them. it was on the strength of these statements that Staley was arrested.
Young Kellmann was taken into the hospital at 2.20 am. Chief Surgeon Schellenger saw at a glance that there was no hope for him and so notified Captain James and Sergeant McClong was sent to the hospital to get all information possible.
The unfortunate youth could only speak a few words at a time because of the hemorrhages. All Sergeant McClong was able to get from him was that he was told to hold up his hands and that the shooting instantly began. The only description he could give was that they were small men and that the attack was so sudden that he could not tell whether they were black or white.
The injured young man kept asking the doctors if he was going to die, but they did not answer. He was conscious when his father and mother arrived and then sank rapidly until the end, dying at 1.50 o’clock, 90 minutes after he was admitted. Mother and father were prostrated and were taken home by the up-town auto.
County Physician Jones conducted the autopsy yesterday morning. He said that either wound would have caused death. The bullet in the breast pierced the right lung at the top and lodged in the cavity. It is now in the doctor’s possession. The other bullet went clear through the neck.
Coursey and Duffield have been working in the Pavonia car yard. The former was born in El Paso, Texas but has lived East nearly all his life. He is an expert shot and was a member of the vaudeville team of Coursey & Cook, according to their letter heads presenting a fifteen-minute thriller.
Duffield was only recently paroled for robbing Gallagher’s saloon, Nineteenth and Federal streets for a lot of drinkables. Staley has been arrested several times on petty charges but was never convicted of crime. When Duffield’s coat was examined at the City Hall, it was found to contain sheep burrs.
To a reporter Coursey said that whenever he was drinking he had to get his gun and shoot something or somebody. He insisted that they were all in on the job and that they let the man who preceded Kellman go over the bridge without molestation because he didn’t look as if he had any too much money.
Yesterday morning Assistant Prosecutor Wolverton and Stenographer Cleary called at the City Hall. The prisoners were examined by Mr. Wolverton and their statements taken by Mr. Cleary, but there was little or nothing new elicited.