Just a little cannibalismTalking with my dad yesterday on the phone about law, law school, and humorous cases (he went to law school, too), he reminded me of the fascinating case of Alfred (or Alferd) Packer, the Colorado (or San Juan) Cannibal. That link will give you the short story, including the legend of the judge's sentencing:
The verdict was guilty, with death by hanging. The legend was that Judge Melville B. Gerry, on pronouncing sentencing said..."...There was siven Dimmycrats in Hinsdale County! But you, yah voracious, main-eatin son of a bitch, yah et five of them, therefor I sentence ye T' be hanged by the neck until y're dead, dead, dead!". This was probably not the exact statement made by the judge as he was a well educated man, but makes for good story-telling. Later the sentence was reduced to manslaughter and he was given 40 years to be served at the prison in Canon City.A more detailed account of the case can be found here, and the Alfred Packer Collection of the Colorado State Archives offers great documentation of the case (including what appears to be the more official transcript of the judge's sentencing order). For a more entertaining account of this and other "wild west" 19th century true tales that are stranger than fiction, head for your local library to check out a copy of Timberline by Eugene Fowler, a pseudo-historical novel that the City of Denver website describes as:
A gossipy, not always true, account of the adolescence of The Denver Post, written with as much zest and a shade more accuracy than the former con-man Bonfils and former bartender Tammen ever mustered for their outrageously sensational (and profitable) newspaper.The book is kind of hard to find these days, but it's worth the effort—an excellent read. In its wild stories of the way Bonfils and Tammens swindled everyone they knew (always w/the best of humor), I suppose the book also proves the old adage that the more things change, the more they stay the same... Ok, back to obscure issues of intellectual property...
Posted September 6, 2004 10:10 AM | life generally
At CU-Boulder Alferd Packer is featured prominently in the student union, even to the point of having the main food area named after him. Just an odd thing I thought I'd share.
Posted by: WhyLaw at September 7, 2004 08:47 AM