April 9, 1907

They Will Escape The Gallows

Death Sentences of Myers and Hottman Commuted by Governor Folk.





No Arrangements Yet Made to Send
the Prisoners to Jefferson City to
Begin Serving Their Terms --
Further Story of the Murder
May Yet Be Told.

Governor Folk yesterday commuted the sentences of Mrs. Aggie Myers and Frank Hottman to life imprisonment in the Jefferson City penitentiary. While no formal order was filed with the secretary of state for Hottman's commutation yesterday, the governor said he would do so this morning. The order for the commutation of Mrs. Myers' sentence was very brief, the state's executive explaining his action in the following language:

Believing that the benefit to the public morals of the commonwealth will be greater in confining this woman to the penitentiary for life in place of hanging her by the neck until dead, I therefore commute the sentence of the said Maggie Myers, alias Aggie Myers, from death to imprisonment in the state penitentiary as long as her life shall last.

Aggie Myers and Frank Hottman were tried and convicted of murdering Clarence Myers, husband of the former, at his home in the city two years ago. It was one of the most cold-blooded killings ever recorded in Kansas City. In the trial of Mrs. Myers it was proved that she planned the murder of her husband and helped to cut his throaat during his struggle with Hottman in his own home the night of the tragedy. Hottman made a full confession, pleaded guilty and testified against Mrs. Myers. She stood trial, was convicted and sentenced to hang along with Hottman. The execution of the death sentence has been stayed from time to time on account of legal proceedings which have been filed by her attorneys. The case was carried from the local county court to the state supreme court, the later sustaining the decision of the lower tribunal, and the last delay was obtained by the filing of an appeal to the supreme court of the United States. Mrs. Myers and Hottman were to have been hanged tomorrow and the death watch has been maintained over Hottman for the past several days.


When Frank Hottman was seen in the death cell at the county jail last night and told of the governor's act in commuting his and Mrs. Myers' sentence to life imprisonment, he made no reply, but stood with his hands in his pockets and gazed at the floor.

"Well, Frank, don't the news make you feel good?" he was asked.

"I haven't got anything to say."

"You are not sorry the governor commuted your sentence?"

"No, I am glad that he did that and I feel grateful to him, but it don't make me happy. I cannot talk to you about my case until I see my lawyer. He was here to see me yesterday, but I haven't seen him since. As a matter of fact, I made up my mind to accept any old fate that might come my way."

"Now that it is all over, your sentence commuted to life imprisonment, what about your confession, did you sear to the truth?" Hottman was asked.

"I don't want to answer you."

"Well, you know whether or not you told the truth when you said Mrs. Myers planned the murder of her husband and persuaded you to help her in the commission of the crime?"


"I don't want to talk to you about that now. After I see my lawyer I will give you a story."

"Is there any question about the truthfulness of your statement made to the prosecuting attorney?"

"Now, you musn't get mad at me for not answering your question, but I have been instructed not to talk."

"Will you make another confession before being taken to the penitentiary?"

"I don't know. I can't answer you."

"You don't deny now that you and Mrs. Myers killed Clarence, do you?"

"You musn't ask me any more questions, for I will not answer you until I have talked to my lawyer."

Hottman is still in a very despondent state of mind. He seemed to feel good over the fact that the governor commuted his sentence, yet he showed no particular outward signs of gratification. He doesn't appear to hold out any hope for the future. Had he been informed that the governor refused to interfere in his case and that the death sentence would be carried out Wednesday, the chances are that he would have felt just as he did when told his sentence had been commuted. He appears to have lost all interest in life, and it is possible that he will tell a new story about the murder of young Myers before he is taken to Jefferson City to begin his sentence of life servitude.


It was Sheriff William Thomason, of Clay county, who first informed Mrs. Myers of the governor's action in commuting her sentence to life imprisonment. She is in the county jail at Liberty. She accepted the tidings with little concern.

"I am very grateful to the governor for doing what he did," were her words to Sheriff Thomason.

She did not appear the least bit excited and received the news as though it was nothing more than she had expected. Sheriff Tomason stated that he did not know just when he would take Mrs. Myers to the penitentiary, but said that he would transfer her just as soon as possible.

The appeal of the case of Mrs. Myers to the supreme court of the United States will now be dismissed by her attorneys. In a message to the secretary of state relative to the action of commuting the sentences Governor Folk states that he believes the public morals will be better conserved by commuting the sentence of Mrs. Myers of life imprisonment than by hanging her. In the case of her accomplice, Frank Hottman, he said, similar facts to those in the Myers case exist and for that reason he also commuted Hottman's sentence to life imprisonment.