Roy Falls at Norris' gravesite

Roy Falls at Norris' gravesite

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Mr. L. H. Nutt's Testimony At Trial

1 comment:

  1. I cover the L. H. Nutt testimony at the trial in depth in my book The Shooting Salvationist -- he never used the phrase "hip pocket move" -- that was an invention of the newspapers -- in fact, Nutt's testimony in January of 1927 at the Austin trial was very different from statements he made to police and district attorney on the day of the shooting - consider:

    Nutt then described the scene as D.E. Chipps reentered Norris' office, and how the lumberman made a threatening move: “He made a motion with his right arm, and when making that motion his coat flopped back so that I could see his—this part of his chest or breast or his shirt and, at the same time he made some motion with his other hand up over his shoulder here—I can't tell you, I can't describe how it was or when it was, because I can't remember, but this other hand had some motion…[page 260]

    L.H. Nutt's testimony featured two crucial parts of J. Frank Norris' defense. First, he shot D.E. Chipps as the lumberman was threatening him verbally while reentering the pastor's office after first leaving. And most importantly, he had made what came to be described by the newspapers as a threatening “hip pocket move” as if to reach for a gun…[page 261]

    McLean quizzed Nutt on various details of his testimony and about his movements in the first moments after the shooting. The witness had difficulty describing where he went and how he got there, using the phrase, “I don't remember” several times. It was clear that at least part of his inability to describe things with precision was that he had been in shock at that fateful moment the previous July.

    McLean pressed Nutt, “Did you look to see whether or not he (Chipps) was armed?”
    “No, sir.”
    “You have testified here a while ago that in your judgment he was going to inflict serious injury or kill Dr. Norris?”
    “Yes.”
    “Then why didn't you look to see whether or not he had anything to kill him with?”
    “That never occurred to me at all.” [page 261]

    In the final minutes of that morning's session, just before Judge Hamilton called for the lunch recess, Bill McLean grilled Nutt about the specific words the banker had put in Chipps' mouth—“I will kill you.” The prosecutor brought out Nutt's original statement from July 17, 1926, as well as his grand jury testimony, reminding the witness that in both cases the dramatic phrase had not been uttered in a stand-alone way, but rather as part of another statement. For instance, when Norris told Chipps that he was going to preach his sermon no matter what, the lumberman had said, “If you do, I will kill you.”
    The idea that Chipps uttered the phrase “I will kill you” while re-entering the office was new ground and had never been attested to by Mr. Nutt before this trial. Why now? Why not back in July when, presumably, the events were fresher in his mind? [page 262]

    One more thing -- I cover Miss Jane Hartwell's testimony at length in The Shooting Salvationist and she NEVER testified about a gun at the trial --- any statement made in a 1948 "affidavit" was very different from her testimony under oath at the 1927 trial -- in fact, NO ONE at the trial testified under oath that Chipps was armed with a gun -- NO ONE. This is clear from the COMPLETE transcript which I have.

    Finally, this thing about an "off-duty police officer" being the "first" to the body and -- as the conspiracy story goes -- removing a gun because he was "anti-Norris" is a complete fabrication -- no such thing ever happened, no evidence whatsoever -- no testimony whatsoever and it is, in fact, the worst kind of "hearsay" to use it, especially when the term "hearsay" is being thrown around so much to criticize others..;)

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