September 22, 1908


Slayer Commits Suicide -- Ernest Lee
Was Living With His 15-Year-Old
Sister-in-Law, With Whom He
Had Fled From Oklahoma.

Martin McDonald, marshal of the North division of the city court, Kansas City, Kas., was shot to death yesterday, sortly after 12 o'clock, by Ernest Lee, wanted at Tulsa, Ok., for eloping with his 15-year-old sister-in-law, Goldie Johnson. The killing took place in a boarding house, Third street and Shawnee avenue, while the officer of the court was reading a state warrant commanding his arrest. The murder was witnessed by Humane Officer Festus Foster, who had accompanied Marshal McDonald, and Miss Johnson, the young girl with whom Lee had eloped. After a desperate struggle with Officer Foster, Lee succeeded in freeing himself, and, placing the muzzle of the same revolver against his forehead, pulled the trigger, sending a bullet through his own brain. He was removed to Bethany hospital, where he died a few minutes after 2 o'clock.


Marshal McDonald fell dead at the first shot, the bullet passing through his heart. He fell with his own revolver in his hand, having drawn it at the time that Lee reached for his weapon, which was in a bureau drawer. McDonald apparently realized Lee's intentions and commanded him not toput his hands on the revolver. Even after he had the weapon in his hands McDonald refused to shoot, but again commanded him to drop the gun. Instead he whirled around to face the officer, pulling the trigger of his revolver at the same time. McDonald fell instantly. Humane Officer Foster rushed upon Lee and a hand to hand struggle ensued. Lee's revolver, which was a 38-caliber automatic, was taken from him by Foster, but he succeeded in getting hold of the dead officer's revolver. Foster attempted to use the automatic gun, but being unaccustomed to the new firearm, was unable to discharge it. Lee, taking advantage of the situation, clinched with Foster and beat him over the head with McDonald's gun. He finally recovered possession of his own weapon and while Foster was lying bleeding on the floor placed the gun to his head and fired.


From the evidence obtained by Coronor J. A. Davis at the autopsy held over the two bodies in the afternoon, it seems that Lee had been living at the Shawnee avenue address for the past five weeks, or from the time that he and his girl sister-in-law came here from Oklahoma. From the time he landed here he went under the name of C. E. Lewis. His first imployment was at the Schwarzschild & Sulzberger packing house. For the past week or two he had been engaged in cleaning cellars in the flood district. Sunday night Mrs. Jennie Johnson of Kingfisher, Ok., mother of the girl, came to the city and stopped overnight at the home of her nephew, a Mr. Cathcart, who lives in Argentine, and who had previously located the runaway couple. Yesterday morning Mrs. Johnson went before County Attorney Joseph Taggart and caused a state warrant to be issued for the arrest of her son-in-law, who deserted one of her daughters to run off with another, the latter being a mere child.

After the double killing Miss Johnson was taken into custody by Humane Officer Foster and taken before Judge Van B. Prather of the juvenile court. She will be held as a ward of the court until after the inquest, which probably will be held today, after which she will be turned over to her mother and taken back to the family home at Kingfisher. While in the juvenile court room Miss Johnson made the following statement.


"My sister, Grace, and Lee were married about four years ago, one child being born to them. They lived on a ranch near Kingfisher. They had frequent quarrels, but not serious. About six weeks ago I accompanied my father, Lacy Johnson, from Kingfisher to Tulsa, where we visited Miss Carrie Berry, sister of Mr. Lee. He was there at the time. One night Lee and my father went up town, leaving me with Lee's sister. She went to call on a neighbor, leaving me alone in the house. Lee returned to the house and, finding me alone, threatened to kill me and all of the family if I refused to run away with him. We left that night and caught a train for Kansas City. We have since been living as man and wife here. He has treated me kindly, but I want to go back home to my parents."

When asked when Lee first commenced to make love to her, Miss Johnson said that he never exactly made love to her, but said that he liked her better than her sister, to whom he was married. She said that she never loved him, but was afraid of him. Lacy Johnson, the girl's father, is sick at his home in Kingfisher, and is not expected to live.