"A Constant Reminder that Innocent Persons Can Be Convicted" [Trial]. Boorn, Stephen, Defendant. Boorn, Jesse, Defendant. Trial of Stephen and Jesse Boorn, For the Murder of Russell Colvin, Before an Adjourned Term of the Supreme Court of Vermont, Begun and Holden in Manchester, In the County of Bennington, Oct. 26, A.D. 1819 To which is Subjoined, The Particulars of the Wonderful Discovery Thereafter, Of said Colvin's Being Alive, And His Return to Manchester, Where it was Alledged the Murder was Committed: With Some Interesting Particulars, Relating to This Mysterious Affair, Disconnected with the Trial. Rutland, VT: Printed and Published by Fay and Burt, . 32 pp. Octavo (9-1/2" x 5-3/4"). Stab-stitched pamphlet in printed wrappers, untrimmed edges. Light browning and foxing, tiny hole to front wrapper with no loss to text. Quite uncommon in the first edition. $1,500. * First edition. As McDade notes in The Annals of Murder, this famous case is a "constant reminder that innocent persons can be convicted. Russell Colvin, the alleged victim, had married a sister of the Boorns and had several children by her. He was mentally deficient and disappeared in 1812. Local gossip credited the Boorns with having disposed of him, presumably because he was a burden on the family. In the spring of 1819 the Boorns were arrested and, either from fear or mental weakness, they told stories involving each other in the death of Colvin--Stephen's amounting to a confession of murder. They were tried and sentenced to be hanged; the state legislature, however, commuted Jesse's sentence to life imprisonment. As a last resort a notice was placed in the papers requesting information about Colvin. A farmer in Monmouth County, New Jersey, believed he recognized a hired man in the vicinity from the description. This man, who was mentally deranged, was enticed to Manchester, arriving...six weeks before the day set for Stephen's execution. It was definitively established that he was the missing Colvin; he had apparently wandered off on his own volition. (...) Though published fifty-four years after the event, the pamphlet was prepared by one of the defense counselors and contains important information on the discovery and return of Colvin" (34). McDade, The Annals of Murder 114.
Book number 69579