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A 1919 Double Murder on the Rye Road Part 5
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Trial Day II

The Pueblo Chieftain June 7, 1919

George Bosko Must Hang Until Dead; Tom Bosko Is Sentenced to Penitentiary for Life

‘George Bosko must be hung by the neck until he is dead. Tom Bosko must spend the remainder of his days in the state penitentiary at hard labor. This was the verdict of the jury of twelve carefully selected men who took the case at 6:04 o’clock last evening, and handed their decision to Judge S. D. Trimble at 8:20 o’clock. Two day were occupied in the trial of the most momentous and in many particulars the most spectacular murder trials in the history of Colorado. . .

. . . Comments from District Attorney Charles B. Hughes during his closing address: “I have tried 57 murder cases; this is the one and the only one with absolutely no circumstance that can be termed an excuse for the crime, I know of no parallel in the annuals of criminal history. . .

. . . I have resided in this county for thirty-one years; on after coming here I taught school at Rye, Will Hunter, one of the victims of these two murderers, was one of my pupils. Twenty-four years ago John Bosko sitting there, a brother of these two murderers, was one of my pupils. I knew both the Hunter and Bosko families well. . .

(Mr. and Mrs Charles Hughes were both teachers at the Hardin School. Charles B. Hughes was appointed District Attorney for the 10th Judicial District in 1916.)

. . . And I want to say that I am extremely thankful that the people of this county have gotten their feet on the floor and shown that they are level headed and willing for the law to take its course in the punishment of such criminals. I am much gratified that even in the face of such an atrocious crime the people have control of themselves. The result of this trial affects us all as good citizens; all are vitally interested in seeing the fixing of just punishment.” . . .

. . . He reminded the jury how he had showed the same story with his witnesses as the brothers told in their confession of the murders. “He showed how the two brothers had started out with the deliberate purpose of robbing someone of an automobile or money or both, that they planned robbery before they left Lafayette that they came to Pueblo for that purpose and went out the Rye road with which they were familiar to carry out their purpose”. . .

. . . “Tom the younger robbed the dying body of Parks, and how as Hunter—thinking of his wife and four little children—fled from the car. George Bosko ran after him and shot him in the back and then kicked his quivering body off the culvert into the arroyo.” . . .

. . . An amazing fight for their clients was made by Attorneys A.T. Stewart and Robert Morris. In the face of a stone wall of united testimony against them and with full and complete confessions written and signed together with two pleas of guilty in open court, the lawyers appointed by the court to see that the accused men had a fair trial fought all the time and contested every point from the beginning to the end. For their strong fight District Attorney Hughes complimented them very highly in his closing address.

It was during the touching appeal by Attorney Morris while addressing the jury that for the first time the least feeling was displayed by the murderers. When reference was made to evidence showing how Tom lagged behind and seemed unwilling to follow George when crossing Young’s ranch tears rolled down Tom’s face. However, during the reading of their confessions by Mr. Hughes, both dropped their heads and looked at the floor. . .

. . . Mr. Stewart spoke of Mr. Hunter having been a personal friend, but told the jury they could not convict on confessions alone; he made light of the identifications by Parker and took the position that the only eye witness of the shooting aside from Parker was Read, and that Read did not specifically point out George Bosko in court as the man whom he was shoot Hunter. He also dwelt upon the fact that he had brought out of some of the state’s witnesses whom he put on the stand for defense, that during the taking of the confessions in the El Paso county jail, Sheriff Wier fired a pistol shot evidently to frighten George Bosko, and that someone else tapped a tuning fork on the table and held it to Bosko's ear, he therefore took the position that the confession was not voluntary. . .

. . . Among the admissions in the confession of George Bosko which seemed to impress the jury the most deeply was when he said: “I took out my 45, laid it across the back of the seat next to Park’s back and let it go. I don’t know what got in my head to make me do it.” He also told of how when the shot was fired that killed Parks, Hunter grabbed for the gun, but missing it, jumped out of the car and ran. Bosko following and shooting him, also in the back, and as he fell, pushing his body off the culvert. He said they had both talked over a plan while at Lafayette of coming here and getting money and a car from someone, but hey did not know it would be Hunter. Also George said ‘the kid’ must have pulled or pushed Parks body out of the car, as he never touched Park’s body. . .

. . . Among the witnesses on the stand the second day were Sheriff Thomas, Under-Sheriff Slage, Deputy Sheriff Fiscus, Charles P. Patterson, George Soffa, James Young and Mrs. Julia Ricker, a sister of the Bosko brothers.

When in his closing address District Attorney Hughes referred to the two widows of the Bosko brothers’ victims and their seven little children, Mrs. George Bosko, who was on a front seat between her two sisters-in-law, fell over in a swoon. John Bosko and the women tried to bring her to but failing, Judge Trimble offered her taken into his private office. This was done by the relatives and Deputy Sheriff Fiscus. About a week ago Mrs. Bosko had a similar attack while in the court house and so serious was her condition that she was confined several days in a hospital.

Remark was general by citizens who came into the court room for a look at the murderers, that they did not look like criminals, in fact, some thought they appeared more like polished young gentlemen of modest mean. Some thought them really handsome and some expressed pity on that account until they thought of two widows of two good citizens whose lives had been mercilessly snuffed out without provocation, and the seven little orphans. Some found it hard to realize that two young men with clean faces, well trimmed and combed hair could have committed the most shocking crime this region has ever known, but such are the deceptions hidden from the science of physiognomy.’ (to be continued)

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