January 24, 1908


Edward Horliss Killed His Mother-
in-Law Because She Protected
His Wife -- Baby in
Court Room.

The appearance of a 7-months-old babe, daughter of Edward Horliss, in its mother's arms in the criminal court room yesterday afternoon, probably saved Horliss from being sentenced to hang. He was on trial for the murder of his mother-in-law, Mrs. Susan Selby, in her home at 542 North Prospect avenue, in June of 1907. Prosecuting Attorney Isaac B. Kimbrell was ready to appear before the jury in behalf of the state and urge that Horliss be given the extreme penalty for his crime, which was most brutal. But when he saw the child in its mother's arms, realizing the disgrace it would bring upon it in after years, he recommended, after talking with the witnesses for the state, that the court accept the plea of guilty which Horliss was ready to enter in order to escape the gallows. Judge Wallace accepted the plea, and Horliss was sentenced to life imprisonment.

His eyes were glaring, his teeth set firmly, showing no sign of emotion. Horliss entered the court room about 1 o'clock to await his fate. Beside him was his mother, Mrs. Mary Tribe of Randolph, Mo., a little, bent woman, who showed signs of months of worry because of the disgrace brought upon her by her son, yet standing by him and giving every evidence of a mother's love.

Before consenting to have the court accept the plea of guilty, Prosecutor Kimbrell called the state's witnesses into private consultation and asked what they wished done in the matter. Most of the asked that Horliss be given the prison sentence and stated that the dying request of Mrs. Selby was that her son-in-law not be hanged. Mr. Kimbrell then talked with the wife of the murderer, who was carrying the infant in her arms, and she, too asked that the court accept the plea of guilty and not hang her husband, although she was a strong witness for the state and not willing for him to have less than a life sentence.

Horliss then stood before the court and was asked if he and anything to say before he was sentenced to life imprisonment. He bent his head and answered "no." When the sentence had been imposed he seemed much more cheerful than before and smiled. He later expressed himself as being satisfied that he had escaped the gallows. Not once during the time he was in the court room did he even glance toward his wife and child.

The murder of Mrs. Susan Selby resulted from a quarrel between Horliss and his wife. Horliss was a hard drinker. He was married to Mrs. Horliss eight years ago. They had five children, three of whom are dead. Some time before the murder Horliss began to abuse his wife and would not support her. Mrs. Horliss left her husband and went to live with her mother, the latter not allowing her to return to him. This angered Horliss. He went to the home of his mother in law and fired three shots into her body, two of them after she had fallen to the floor. The infant which saved its father from hanging was born the day after the murder.