A Marion County Murder

The murdered man found in the river near Marion, on the 20th ult., proved to be J.T. Hays, who came from Missouri, a short time ago, with a cousin, J.T. Kelly.  They had engaged to do some breaking for Mr. Forney, living north of Marion.  Forney’s house having been destroyed by fire some time ago, he was not living on the place, so the two men slept in the hay mow on his farm.  The various circumstances connected with the disappearance of Hays all seemed to indicate that Kelly was the murderer and he was arrested and is now in jail.  His examination has been postponed until next Saturday, but so far there does not seem to be sufficient evidence of a kind necessary to convict, although circumstantial evidence has convicted the people of Kelly’s guilt.

It seems that Hays was murdered on the night of the 17th and his body dropped down through a barn hatchway with the aid of a trace chain (taken from the barn) which was afterwards found around his neck.  Then the body was placed in an open buggy belonging to the murdered man, and with his own team, brought from Missouri, taken by Kelly to the bridge south of Marion and thrown into the river.  Kelly then drove back to the barn, to remove traces, etc.  He was seen to carry hay from the barn early in the morning, but traces of blood were still left there.  Kelly took possession of all Hays’ property, saying that he had driven to town with him the night before, to take the train for Missouri.  As his coat was in Kelly’s possession, the story was not plausible.

Kelly is the man who was arrested for stealing wheat from the farm of J. G. Johnson, of this city, a year or so ago, and was arrested in Missouri previously at two different times for stealing.  He seemed to be weak minded, or at least to lack the judgment to make a smart thief.  – The Peabody Gazette.  The Newton Daily Kansan, Newton, Kansas.  Friday, July 7, 1893.  Page 2.  © Transcribed by Darren McMannis for the Kansas Council of Genealogical Societies, Inc.