Jacob S. Boreman's charge to the jury during John Doyle Lee's first trial.

Aug 3, 1875
Speech / Court Transcript
Jacob S. Boreman
Scribed Verbatim

Jacob S. Boreman, Charge to the Jury August 3, 1875, Jacob S. Boreman Papers, Huntington Library

Jacob S. Boreman
Jacob S. Boreman, John Doyle Lee

It is not necessary to be shown that the defendant did with his own hands any of the killing; but if the killing were done by those with whom we was co-operating, though his part was not to do any of the killing, he is guilty; and if it has been in your opinion shown by the evidence, that he actually did any of the killing that fact will be taken into consideration. If, however, you find from the evidence that there was no combination, no agreement, no joint action then no act of any of the other parties would bind the defendant unless it was done by his own direction or consent. In ascertaining whether such combination existed, it is not necessary that the evidence should have any express agreement; it is difficult if the facts, course and conduct of the parties charged showed that an understanding existed, and that they were operating jointly for the accomplishment of the same end. And if the evidence, in your judgment, shows that others than those charged, acted and co-operated with these, then the prisoner would be held responsible for their acts as they would be for his acts in pursuance of their common purpose,--the work of any was the work of all—and if the parties engaged were allotted to different parts in the accomplishment of the joint purpose—some to do one thing and some to do another—some to stand guard, some to drive wagons, some to kill and some to do other parts of the common work, all are guilty. The all operated to secure one end—the slaughter of a number of human beings—men, women and children. If you believe from the evidence that the prisoner was at the massacre, then the question arises, was he there for an innocent purpose, and why did he go there? And if you believe from the evidence that he participated to any extent in the accomplishment of the common object, it is for you to say from the evidence why he so participated. It is claimed for the defendant that the Indians were very much incensed at those emigrants who were killed at mountain meadows. If this be true, and that a great number of Indians were engaged with the whites in the massacre (and there is no doubt that very many Indians did participate) it is no defense to the whites for their participation. There is no evidence that any force was used to compel any white man to join in the murders; nor is it sown that any white man had any just cause for engaging in these murders, and the only pretended reason is, that the Indians were greatly incensed at the emigrants. But that is no valid reason for the whites engaging in the massacre, nor does the evidence show any good ground for the Indians engaging in the massacre. But as to that question, you are not called upon to decide. If from the evidence you believe <that> the Indians were co-operating and acting in concert with the whites in the accomplishment of the destruction of the emigrants, it but makes a more vivid picture of the enormity and brutality of the inhuman work . . .

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