The following article appeared in The Hartford Times on Saturday, December 20, 1890:


Bellware Goes To Prison For Life

Jury Deliberated Eleven Hours

What Took Place in the Jury Room

When the TIMES went to press, Friday afternoon, the jury in the Bellware murder trial was still deliberating, and it was several hours later that the verdict was agreed upon. While the time was passing the attorneys and spectators loitered in the court, expecting every moment that the jury would come in the next. At 5 o'clock there was a knock upon the door leading from the jury room, and everybody was certain that a verdict had been agreed upon. But jury came into court only to bring the information that they had not agreed. They were sent back by Judge Prentice, and after waiting another hour, the court took a recess until 7:15.

At that hour the jury came into court, but without a verdict. This time they asked for further instructions concerning the various degrees of murder. Judge Prentice complied with the request and addressed the jury at some length. Again they retired and were not heard from till shortly before 10 o'clock. Then they came into court and the foreman announced that not only had they not arrived at an agreement, but there was little prospect that a verdict could be reached.

Judge Prentice was resolved to exhaust every resources in order to have a verdict returned, and he directed the jury to again return and make another effort. It was then after 10 o'clock and as it looked as if the jury might be compelled to sleep in the building all night, cots were brought in the Allyn House, and preparations were made for turning the court room into a temporary dormitory. Judge Prentice was about to adjourn court overnight when there was knock on the jury room door that argued well. It was twenty-five minutes before midnight, and when the jury filed into court and took their places the foreman announced that they had reached a verdict.

"What is your verdict!" asked Clerk Johnson.

"Murder in the second degree," was the answer.

Everybody in the court knew that that meant State Prison for life. Bellware did not appear to be moved by the announcement, but his wife moaned aloud. Judge Prentice said that the court had no discretion in the case. The law dictated what the sentence should be. He therefore sentenced Bellware to prison for life. He was at once taken back to jail by Sheriff Moore.





Newspapers or their representatives are almost omnipresent in the affairs of this mundane sphere so let no reader be surprised that the TIMES gives the inside story of the jury room. Suffice it to say this story is true and accurate.

When the jurors assembled in their room the best of good feeling prevailed as they prepared to take a ballot as to whether any offense had been committed. The vote stood eleven to one, one juror being in favor of acquittal, claiming that the evidence was not clear as to whether Bellware fired the first shot or not.

Then a vote was taken on the degree of the crime, which resulted as follows: For first degree, 3; for second degree, 5; for manslaughter, 3 and for acquittal ,1.

Then followed discussion and at times several of the jurors made speeches. The man for acquittal at length agree to verdict for manslaughter, but the first degree men were obstinate.

Time went on and ballot after ballot was taken with no other changes. After a contest of three or four hours, courtesy and genial good fellowship seemed to die out, and in its place a feeling of impatience was manifested. Moreover, some of the jurors were getting hungry.

The first degree men were strong in urging the claim that public sentiment was with them. The second degree men claimed that they had nothing to do with public sentiment, but were deciding the case on its merits. Affairs were getting interesting in the jury room, when finally the first degree men agreed to come down to second degree.

About 7 o'clock one of the jurors who had been for second degree weakened and voted for manslaughter, but on the very same ballot another juror who had been insisting on manslaughter changed to second degree. So the result was not changed.

The jurors then went out for instructions, and after returning all the former first degree men went back to first degree. Whereupon the acquittal man went back to acquittal. More discussion followed and more ballots were taken; but for some time there was no change. At length the manslaughter men went over to second degree. The acquittal man followed suit by changing to manslaughter. And there it stuck and seemed likely to stick, for both sides were obstinate. This was the vote when at 10 o'clock the jurors reported and said it was impossible to agree. Judge Prentice sent them back and then the ten began the work of convincing the two.

When arguments were almost at an end, one of the two acknowledged that perhaps he could bring his mind to consent to second degree. Then it was eleven to one. The lone juror stood it as long as he could but at length, after an hour and a half, and after cot beds had been brought from the Allyn House, he went over and agreed to second degree.

The small pistol taken from Bellware by Sheriff Moore at the time of his arrest, and which was flourished around promiscuously by the lawyers and shown in both the Justice and Superior Courts, on the supposition that it contained only one bullet, was found to contain five bullets, four short cartridges and one long one, having been placed in it by Bellware.

The decision arrived at by the jury was perhaps the only just one under the circumstances...


The page is maintained by Daniel A. Bellware and was last updated on February 12, 2001.