December 12, 1908

Religious Fanatics Are Ar-
raigned for their crimes.

Murder in the first degree is the charge that four members of the religious fanatics who shot and killed two policemen and a citizen during a riot Tuesday afternoon, will have to answer in the criminal court. Late yesterday afternoon James Sharp, Melissa Sharp, Della Pratt and William Engnell were taken before Justice of the Peace Theodore Remley and arraigned.

William Engnell, Facing Murder Charge
Youth Charged with Complicty in Police Murders Last Tuesday. He Was in the Houseboat With Mrs. Pratt When Lulu Was Killed. He Was Armed With Two Revolvers.

The four prisoners were driven to the justice court in a police ambulance, guarded by twelve policemen. They were later taken to the county jail, where they will be held until they are tried.

After taking the statement of James Sharp, the leader of the band, the prosecuting attorney decided to hold the four on a charge of murder in the first degree, and place the children of Mrs. Pratt under control of the juvenile court. Edward Fish will be held by the police as a witness. He was not arraigned because the other members said he was not of the same faith, but was simply drifting down the river with them.

Submissive and remorseful, James Sharp made a statement yesterday that is wonderful for its sensational admissions. Sharp not only lost faith in his religion, but in his powers of leadership.

The onetime gambler who won hundreds of dollars by showing a bad temper during poker games, is now a tame and submissive man, remorseful and sorry for his last actions, and who expects to be killed for his crimes.


The once powerful leader of the religious sect still hangs to a faint ray of hope that he is not entirely wrong. Expecting to die for his murderous assault upon the police, Sharp has retained some hold upon the belief that when he is killed he will again appear upon earth. But he is growing doubtful of that.

Not so with the poor family of Pratt children, whom he led into so much trouble. All of them have given him up, and his teacher. Their desire now is for the future. Education and the pleasant days of school life is the bright spot in their future. Mary, the brightest one of the family, told her mother yesterday morning that if they had gone to school they would not have been led astray by Sharp.

After taking counsel with her four children, Mrs. Della Pratt yesterday morning asked to be taken to her daughter, Lulu, who had been killed. The police sent the entire family to the undertaker's in a carriage. Kneeling beside the coffin of Lulu, Mrs. Pratt prayed for forgiveness until she was lifted up and taken away by attendants.

The little brothers and sisters broke down and cried. Neither wife nor children were much affected at the sight of Pratt's body.


The children will not have to answer to any criminal charge. Even Lena Pratt, the girl who shot Sergeant Patrick Clark, will not have to answer for her deed to the criminal authorities. Like her sisters and brother she will be taken care of by the juvenile court.

"Wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction," was printed on slips of paper found yesterday in the houseboat formerly used by the Sharps and Pratts. Mrs. Pratt said yesterday afternoon, when shown the paper, that she believed her way led to destruction.

The men and women of the sect were separated by the police and have not been allowed to talk to each other. When placed in the patrol wagon yesterday afternoon to be taken to the justice court was the first time they had been together since their arrest.

The four prisoners were first brought together in the lobby of the station. An officer attended each prisoner, and no attempt was made of any of them to speak to the others while in the station. Mrs. Pratt did not even look at the leader, but cast an appealing glance at Mrs. Sharp.

"I wish I had never heard of Sharp," Mrs. Pratt said yesterday. "But he was mighty gentle with us all and treated everyone with consideration," she added.