January 1, 1909

Mt. Washington's Bad Boy
Dug Them From Cemetery.

Claude Statzer was the original bad boy of the Mount Washington neighborhood if half of what the neighbors said about him is true. What they said was plenty twice over to send him to Boonville, where the state of Missouri has a reformatory. Judge H. L. McCune made the order in the juvenile court yesterday.

Many of the neighbors said that Claude was 19 and that he had been accepted for enlistment in the army, subject to a physical examination. But the young man said he was 15, and so it was the reform school.

The neighbors began to go into Claude's past. There was the story of many "dime novels," only the matter-of-fact courts refer to them as "5-cent novels," for that's what they cost in these days. There was another tale of how the lad had picked out a box car for his very own, making a home and a fortress out of it. And there was a narrative about how the boy was often seen with a gun.

"Why," said A. P. Fonda, justice of the peace in Sugar Creek, "this boy dug skeletons from an old burying ground near Mount Washington. He took the rings off the fingers. The skulls he set up for targets for his rifle. Sometimes he put a cigar or cigarette in a hole in a skull and then tried to shoot away the tobacco. I have had him in court on complaint of the neighbors."

A storekeeper of the neighborhood related how he was going home one night when the boy halted him at the muzzle of a rifle. As soon as he saw the merchant plainly enough to recognize him, he apologized for a case of mistaken identity.

In sentencing Claude, Judge H. L. Mccune again showed his enmity to the "gun toting" practice. Said the judge:

"It ought to be a crime to point a gun at any one. I'm going to put a stop to this carrying of guns by boys."

"Amen," said somebody in the court room, and the word did not seem to come from the bevy of Scarritt Bible and Training school girls in the jury box, but rather from Mrs. Parks, whose son, John Parks, was shot and killed by Statzer in a presumed accident.

"It does seem," continued the judge, "that there is no well equipped home without a revolver and on a shelf where the children can get it. Of course, it is not believed to be loaded until somebody is killed. I've been here eighteen years and have never found it necessary to carry a weapon."