The Assailants of John L. Morrison

One hundred years ago the assailants of Duluth Ripsaw newspaper publisher John L. Morrison appeared in court one week after attacking him in his office. The May 19, 1921 Duluth Herald provides an account of the incident.

Assailants of Morrison bound over
Murnian and Cullen held under bonds after hearing.
Dr. Murray says injury to editor’s eye may be permananent.

On the strength of testimony given by Dr. D. D. Murray in police court this morning before Judge Richard M. Funck, Roy Murnian and John J. Cullen, charged with assault in the second degree, were bound over to await the action of the September grand jury. The two men are alleged to have assaulted and caused great bodily harm to John L. Morrison, editor of the Ripsaw, during the noon hour of May 12. Their bonds will be $500 each.

Dr. Murray testified that blows which landed on Morrison’s eyes, causing discoloration, had also ruptured small blood vessels in the eye ball. which might seriously affect the vision. He testified that as yet it was not possible to say whether the eye would be permanently impaired.

The “S. R. O.” sign might have been hung early at the doors of the court room. More than 200 friends of defendants and the complainant crowded into the room and all seats were taken long before the case was called. George D. McCarthy appeared for the defendants and Spencer Searis, assistant county attorney, conducted the prosecution.

Morrison on Stand.

Mr. Morrison, with both eyes still badly discolored from the effects of the scrap in his office a week ago today made light of his injuries. He said that the injuries had not prevented him from continuing his work “after a fashion.” He said he had been busily engaged in his work when the attack first came and that he had immediately grappled with the assailant, but that one or two other men, one of whom he now recognized as John Cullen had also joined in the attack.

Mayor S. F. Snively, who appeared at the Ripsaw office during the fracas testified having pulled Murnian off the prostrate body of Morrison two different times, the second time putting him out of the office. He said that Murnian asserted, “You may be mayor of Duluth, but I am running this fight.”

Stenographer Wields Axe Handle.

Miss Alice Bartlett, stenographer employed by Mr. Morrison, told how she had wielded an axe handle when she found how her employer was being badly beaten by the invaders. She admitted having struck Murnian twice over the head with the instrument but that her blows had not been sufficient to put him out of the fight.

She testified that there had been several in the office, three of whom she had ordered out of the door and closed it and had then turned her attention to the assailants.

“Did you recognize any of the men,” asked the attorney.

“Yes, Mr. Murnian and Mr. Cullen were two of them and I would know the third,” she said. She also stated that the others who appeared at the door with Murnian were of the “pool hall type.”

She testified that when she was told to get out or she might get hurt, she went into the private office to look for some weapon and that the first thing she found was the axe handle, and that she hurried back to use it. She said she had dodged the men after landing the blows and had given the handle to Morrison.

No Comments

Leave a Comment

Only registered members can post a comment , Login / Register Here

Read previous post:
R.I.P. Duluth Electric Fetus

Duluth's Electric Fetus store, 12 E. Superior St., announced today it will not reopen. The store was best known for...