You can be certain the new Sonoma County Courthouse had never been so crowded: It was the first day of the trial of Dr. Willard Burke for the attempted murder of his mistress.
Our basic story so far: In February of 1910, 59 year-old Dr. Burke, who owned and operated a sanitarium/health resort on Mark West Creek, was arrested for allegedly trying to kill Lu Etta Smith and her infant son by blowing them up. Investigators discovered Burke, who also owned a gold mine in the Sierras, had obtained sticks of dynamite there along with directions on how to use explosives. Smith testified to the Grand Jury she was Burke’s mistress and he was the father of her child. Burke was indicted. Shortly afterwards, Lu Etta and her son disappeared. She was found to be in Japan and returned willingly, telling authorities that it was promised that she would be paid to stay there, but no support payments ever arrived. The Japan trip was paid for by Mrs. Marian Derrig, a friend of the Burke family, who had also asked Lu Etta to sign several sheets of blank paper before leaving. Two weeks after Lu Etta departed, the District Attorney received a signed confession stating she alone was responsible for the explosion. Aside from the signature, the confession was typed. More background is available in the previous article, which contains hyperlinks to the earlier pre-trial coverage.
The trial received day-to-day coverage throughout the West and was reported in some Eastern papers. Interest was boosted probably because the press and public were still lathered up over the Crippen murder trial, which ended just a few weeks before the Burke trial began. Considered the most sensational story since the Jack the Ripper slayings, American physician Dr. Hawley Crippen was accused of killing his wife and burying parts of her dismembered body in their London cellar. Crippen was en route to Canada when the ship’s captain recognized him and alerted Scotland Yard via radio, making history as the first time the technology was used in the capture of a criminal. Every twist in the trial made front page headlines in U.S. newspapers, from grisly details such as the doctor allegedly disposing of her head in the English Channel to Dr. Crippen supposedly making Masonic hand gestures to the presiding judge. (Crippen was convicted and promptly executed but questions about his guilt lingered, and only a few years ago a DNA test seemed to prove the body parts were not from his wife after all – Believe It Or Not!)
Some of of the Burke trial reporting was stained purple; the San Francisco Call, clearly biased to Dr. Burke, covered the first day of the trial by breathlessly introducing the testimony as, “Warped love, lost love and loose love, mingling with a tale of crime abhorrent, with horrible plottings to kill…” But as with the investigation and Grand Jury hearings, the Press Democrat coverage was remarkable, particularly for the day: Unbiased, apparently complete, and concise, a tribute to both the unnamed reporter and the skillful editing of Ernest L. Finley. And as with earlier offerings, the PD coverage is transcribed below almost completely.
This article covers only the first couple of days, with opening statements and the start of Lu Etta Smith’s testimony. Mentioned below are letters from Dr. Burke – some will be discussed in the following piece about his philosophy, but most transcribed by the Press Democrat were mundane cover letters showing only that Burke was giving her money. One letter, however, stood out for its incriminating postscript:
Oakland, May 25, ’06
My Dear Lu,
Your present favor in mind. Things are picking up a little at the Sanitarium…
…The quake and fire did us all much damage, but a better day is coming. I forgot to say Mrs. Derrig went east last Tuesday.
I hope you are getting a little fatter, if not fat, than you were.
Do not hesitate to let me know if you need money, the banks are opening and I will be so I can send you some meet any time now.
With best wishes. Yours sincerely, Dr. Burke.
Address me here. My letters are all opened at the Sanitarium by Alfred and Aggie, and it is non of their business what is going on between us, no, nor no one else.
Such a letter and Lu Etta’s testimony were what the public came to hear: “Stillness that was almost felt came over the crowded courtroom Thursday when District Attorney Lea approached the front of the jury box for the purpose of making his opening statement to the jury as to what the prosecution expected to prove during the progress of the evidence in the trial of Dr. Burke. The spectators had expected to hear something of a startling nature and they were not disappointed.”
LU ETTA SMITH TELLS THE STORY OF HER RELATIONS WITH DR. BURKEDistrict Attorney Lea Makes Opening StatementBURKE’S LETTERS ARE IN EVIDENCESensational Features Mark the Trial of Dr. Burke in the Superior Court on Thursday
Lu Etta Smith, the woman whose tenthouse on the grounds of Burke’s Sanitarium was dynamited on the night of February 5 last, thereby imperiling her life and that of her baby boy, for which alleged crime Dr. Willard P. Burke, head of the well known institution that bears his name, was indicted by the Sonoma County Grand Jury, told her story, or rather a portion of it, Thursday afternoon to the twelve men who are soon to pass upon the guilt or innocence of the man accused.
She told it while men and women crowding Judge Seawell’s courtroom craned their necks and listened intently to every word that fell from her lips. It was natural that the interest should be intense after all that has been written and said about this woman who has figured and does figure so prominently in the famous case. It was a story simply and quietly told.
Shortly before three o’clock, after Deputy Surveyor Tom McNamara and L. A. Wann had been excused from the witness stand. District Attorney Lea turned at the order of Judge Seawell: “Call your next witness,” to Bailiff Donald McIntosh and said:
“Call Lu Etta Smith.”
There was a ripple of subdued excitement in the crowded courtroom which was a few minutes later suppressed when Bailiff McIntosh opened the door near the jury box and ushered in the witness. Miss Smith was sworn to tell the truth by Deputy Clerk Casey Feldmeyer, and at once took her seat and faced the attorneys, jurymen and spectators.
The woman was attired simply, but neatly, and her veil was thrown back over her shoulders, her face being in plain view. She manifested no nervousness while testifying. Several times she displayed emotion when telling some of the unfortunate details of her alleged relationship with the accused physician.
Replying to the preliminary questions by District Attorney Lea Miss Smith testified that she had been acquainted with Dr. Burke for about ten years, although her closest relationship might be said to have dated from the year 1906. She said she was at the Sanitarium, employed in various capacities in that year. Her last employment in 1906, she said, was in the capacity of stenographer for Dr. Burke. She related other details of her whereabouts and her employment before District Attorney asked quietly:
“Miss Smith, have you ever had a child?”
Attorneys Leppo and Cowan objected to the inquiry, and after a short discussion, Judge Seawell overruled the objection. Miss Smith replied in the affirmative, and added:
“My child was born March 12, 1909.”
“Who was the father of that child?” inquired the District Attorney.
Attorney Leppo jumped to his feet with a vigorous objection. “It is not addressed to any issue in this case. It can never enlighten the Court as to whether Dr. Burke exploded the dynamite which he is charged with doing,” he urged. Attorney Cowan joined in the objections. Judge Seawell overruled the objections.
“Who was the father of that child?” asked Lea again.
“Dr. W. P. Burke,” was the answer.
The eyes of the spectators flitted for several moments between the accuser on the witness stand and the accused. Dr. Burke was at the time quietly making some notations in a little book he held in his hand.
This line of questioning ceased and Miss Smith was next interrogated as to where she had been from 1906 to 1909 when she again went to Dr. Burke’s Sanitarium, where her child was born in March, 1909. She told of having been in Capitola, Berkeley, Carmel, and San Francisco. At the home of Mrs. Macey on Laguna street, San Francisco, she said she lived for some time, and was visited there by Dr. Burke. He had contributed to her support while she was there, she testified. She said the doctor began furnishing her money in 1907, and from then on.
District Attorney Lea then showed the witness a number of letters she had received from Dr. Burke, which she identified and which were admitted in evidence and read by Lea, Attorneys Cowan and Leppo objecting to the introduction of the correspondence. Elsewhere in this story some of these letters are reproduced.
From the interrogation as to the letters District Attorney Lea’s questioning turned to Miss Smith’s coming to the Sanitarium, some time prior to the birth of her child. At the time of her arrival, she said, Dr. Burke told her to sign the register as “Mrs. Smith.” She objected at first, but later was prevailed upon to sign her name as Dr. Burke desired.
When the child was born, the witness testified, Dr. Burke attended her. She then told of her removing from the hotel and the annex at the Sanitarium to the tenthouse.
One night in June, 1909, the witness testified, the baby was sick and she was greatly worried. She said she was greatly worried. She said she sent twice for Dr. Burke to come and see the child. He did not come. Next morning, she said, she asked him why he had failed to come at her request to see the baby. He replied that he had been told that the sickness was not of a serious nature.
“I told him that he had time to see everyone else expecting your own child,” said the witness.
She detailed a later discussion which ended in her saying to Dr. Burke:
“You are a coward and you must face the consequences of your own acts.”
Then she told of her desires to leave the Sanitarium and her need of money and her requests of Dr. Burke for the necessary coin.
“I wanted him to provide for my child and that I might go away and live my life in my own way.” This happened just before the dynamiting she said.
The witness related how she had on one occasion packed her trunks and had everything ready to depart, even to the dressing of her baby. She had asked the stage driver to come to the tent and get her trunks, she have determined, she said, to go away without money this time. The stage did not come. When she next saw Dr. Burke she asked him why he had interfered with her order to have the stage call for her. She said he replied:
“My dear girl, you haven’t paid your bill.”
Her response to this sally was, so she replied, “Who should pay my bills?”
A number of these incidents, according to the witness, were in very close proximity to the night of the explosion.
The witness was next interrogated as to the dynamiting of her tent. She testified that she and her baby had retired as usual and she was awakened apparently by a sort of “a sizzling noise,” which she likened unto the sputtering that preceded the setting off of a firecracker. She remembered no more, she said, until she discovered the tent afire and that she was stifling. She said she managed to get to the tent door and then became unconscious.
She detailed other details concerning the explosion which have already been told. Dr. Dessau attended to her injuries on the first occasion that they were dressed, she said, but afterwards Dr. Burke attended her regularly. She testified as to District Attorney Lea having taken a sample of the boracic acid that had been used on her wounds. After he did this Dr. Burke did not use from the box from which the sample had been taken by Mr. Lea, she said. With the change of prescription the witness said the healing process on her left arm was more pronounced.
Then the questioning turned to personal matters again.
Miss Smith denied that Dr. Burke had ever asked her if she was a married woman, and she said she had never introduced any man to him as her husband.
“I never threatened to blow myself up with dynamite,” she further said.
Miss Smith testified that during the year 1909 she had no other gentleman friend than Dr. Burke.
She recalled that on one occasion when Dr. Burke and herself had been arguing matters, he told her: “You’ll end in an asylum.”
She said she once told Dr. Burke:
“You are just as responsible in the sight of God for the birth of the child as I am. You are not doing your part.”
On another occasion when she contemplated going away, he remarked:
“‘You will do as I say,’ and I replied, ‘I will not: I am going away and I’ll sue you.'”
The witness mentioned that she had taken steps to get legal aid by telephoning to an attorney in San Francisco, using the telephone in the Sanitarium office. This occurred just prior to the dynamiting, she said.
At this juncture Court took an adjournment to Friday morning…Lea’s Opening Statement
Stillness that was almost felt came over the crowded courtroom Thursday when District Attorney Lea approached the front of the jury box for the purpose of making his opening statement to the jury as to what the prosecution expected to prove during the progress of the evidence in the trial of Dr. Burke. The spectators had expected to hear something of a startling nature and they were not disappointed. Lea said he did not propose in his opening statement to include all the details and circumstances with which the prosecution were possessed, but would make the course they expected to pursue as intelligible as possible so that the jurors might grasp the situation as fact after fact was unfolded in the testimony that would be introduced.
The prosecutor detailed that the prosecution expected to show that the acquaintance of Lu Smith and Dr. Burke dated back over a period of seven years. About six years ago she had come to the Sanitarium as a sick woman to be treated by Dr. Burke and that he gave her oestopathic treatment. It was during this treatment, counsel said, that the prosecution would attempt to show that their relations became of an intimate and illicit nature and shortly afterwards Burke wrote Lu Etta Smith a letter of considerable length, in which he said that “a woman should live in defiance of the present code of morals”–“obedience to nature,” Dr. Burke called it, “without reference to our present standard of morals, which are superstitious.” Lea also referred to the portion of the Burke letter in which the writer upheld the right of the existence of affinities. The prosecution would show, Lea said, that the intimacy of Dr. Burke and Lu Smith continued at intervals and after she had taken up her residence with Mrs. Macey in San Francisco, Dr. Burke was a frequent visitor there, and furnished money to pay the board bills.
The District Attorney said the prosecution expected to prove Dr. Burke’s relationship to the child who was afterwards born to Lu Smith. Mr. Lea detailed Miss Smith’s appearance at the sanitarium just prior to the birth of her child and Dr. Burke’s introduction of her as Mrs. Smith, accompanying it with the statement that $150 had been furnished by her husband for her care during her illness. They expected to show, he said, that Dr. Burke paid the money for the woman’s care into the institution treasury out of his own pocket.
Continuing, Lea detailed how Lu Smith had publicly proclaimed Dr. Burke at the sanitarium as being the father of her child, and that the knowledge became common property at the sanitarium. “Then,” the prosecutor stated, “We expect to show that Dr. Burke wrote Lu Smith another letter, in which he told her that what had transpired was in accordance with Divine law. After this, according to the information in the possession of the prosecution. Dr. Burke adopted other tactics and explained that Lu Smith’s claims regarding the parentage of the child was a peculiar form of insanity from which she suffered. Lea portrayed Lu Smith in the role of outcast at the sanitarium following the birth of her child. He depicted her change of disposition in consequence, irritability being prominent.
Lea told that the prosecution expected to prove that Lu Smith wanted to leave the sanitarium on a number of occasions and that Dr. Burke had stopped her and had met her demands for money with promises of returns from his mines that would enable him to pay her. He said they would show how she had endeavored to obtain the services of a lawyer in San Francisco. The District Attorney said the prosecution expected to show Dr. Burke had on a number of occasions predicted that “Lu Smith will blow herself up.” He said the state would endeavor to show how Dr. Burke had visited his mine in Butte county where it had been explained to him at his request how to attach a fuse and explode dynamite, how that he had taken several sticks of dynamite away with him, carrying it carefully in a satchel, for the asserted purpose of blowing up a rock in a ditch in the Sanitarium grounds; how that upon a subsequent visit to the mine he had told of the success of the explosion in the removal of the rock.
“We also expect to show,” said Lea, “that at the time of the investigation of this case that Dr. Burke denied that there had been any explosives on the place.”
Dr. Burke’s upbraiding of Clerk Dillard for having informed the officers of the explosion, the doctor’s statement that Lu Smith was so seriously injured that she could not live, when in reality her injuries were not of a serious nature, the ointment used upon her wounds contained a dangerous poison mixed therewith, and other evidence whereby the prosecution expected to prove its case, were outlined by Lea.
Then the prosecutor told of the expectancy of the prosecution to prove the visits of Mrs. Marian Derrigg to Lu Smith in Berkeley, the promise of money if she would go away, arrangements therefor being made with Dr. Burke, the stipulation being that she must sign a letter exonerating Dr. Burke from any connection with the dynamiting. Lu Smith’s refusal to write such a letter, and the final payment by Marian Derrigg to her of $700 or $800. Lea stated that the prosecution expected to prove that prior to her departure on the steamer China for the Orient, Marian Derrigg met Lu Smith in the ferry building in San Francisco and had her sign several blank pages of paper, just affixing her signature, Mrs. Derrigg explaining that these signatures would be necessary for her identification in Japan. Lea said that he would show that he received a typewritten letter, signed by Lu Etta Smith, two weeks after her departure for Japan, in which Dr. Burke was exonerated from connection with the dynamiting. He would also show that Dr. Burke displayed a similar letter, claiming exoneration by Lu Smith.– Press Democrat, December 9, 1910
“I NEVER SIGNED ANY STATEMENT EXONERATING DOCTOR BURKE!”Declaration Made by Lu Smith at Trial YesterdayDID HE LOVE GOLD MORE THAN BABY?Dr. Burke’s Long Letter on Love, Marriages and Families Read in Court–Lu Smith Under Cross-Examination–Theories of the Defense
On the witness stand in Judge Seawell’s department of the Superior Court yesterday at the trial of the case against Dr. W. P. Burke, Lu Etta Smith, the woman whose tenthouse he is accused of dynamiting, told more of her life story, accentuating a number of details that were brought out on the previous day, and adding more.
All day the woman occupied the witness stand answering question after question hurled at her by Dr. Burke’s lawyers. Her answers fell upon the eager, waiting ears of a courtroom full of men and women, many of whom stood all day long to hear her recount incidents of her life prior and subsequent to her acquaintance with Dr. Burke. She unfolded much of her family history, going into details that were both sad and strange.
But for a brief interval during which District Attorney Lea propounded a few more questions, and a longer interval in which Assistant District Attorney Hoyle read the lengthy letter sent Lu Smith by Dr. Burke, setting forth his ideas of love, marriage, families, etc, the witness was in the hands of the defense and was quizzed by Attorney Rollo Leppo.
Some of the pointed expressions of Dr. Burke in the manuscript referred to are printed elsewhere.
If Lu Etta Smith was sure that Dr. Burke had nothing to do with the dynamiting of her tenthouse on that fateful night of February 5, she would still love him. She said as much on the witness stand yesterday. But as things are she does not know whether she likes him or not, in fact she says she does not. She testified that prior to the birth of her child she loved him, but his subsequent actions had robbed her of much of her previous regard for him.
Irrational and irresponsible periods when imagination runs rife and fancy suggests much were charged up to Lu Smith by the defense and will be made one of the contentions throughout the case. This was evident from the proceedings yesterday. Much stress is also laid on the numerous occasions that Dr. Burke gave the woman money, either at her request or hint.Never Signed Letter
At the outset of the proceedings yesterday morning Miss Smith was again called to the witness stand and District Attorney Lea continued the direct examination. The first question asked was:
“Did you ever sign any letter exonerating Dr. Burke from all connection with the dynamiting and blaming yourself for it?”
The witness replied: “I did not; I never signed any letter or statement.”
“Have you a baby-buggy” queried the District Attorney.
“I have,” replied Miss Smith.
“Who bought that baby-buggy?” she was asked.
Counsels Cowan and Leppo interposed an objection to the question but the Court overruled it and Miss Smith replied:
“Did you at any time introduce anyone at the Sanitarium as your husband?” she was asked.
“No, I never did,” was the reply. Miss Smith spoke with some feeling. It was a reiteration of what she had stated on the stand on the previous day.Read Lengthy Document
Overnight the District Attorney had submitted to Lawyers Leppo and Cowan a copy of a lengthy dissertation written by Dr. Burke to Lu Etta Smith, containing some 5,000 words.
It dealt with the evolution of the race, the duties of mankind, the relation of the sexes, a wonderful grouping of ideas.
The District Attorney yesterday morning renewed his offer of the communication in evidence. Counsel for the defense at first renewed their objection to the admitting of the document in evidence, but later withdrew it and asked that it be read to the jury.
Assistant District Attorney George W. Hoyle began the reading, which occupied nearly an hour. The courtroom spectators listened intently to the code of ethics as propounded by Dr. Burke. The doctor himself was one of the closest listeners, once in a while engaging in whispered conversation with counsel.
With her head reasting in her hand, Lu Smith sat and listened to the communication addressed to her by Dr. Burke a long time ago.
At the conclusion of the communication Dr. Burke had added: “Miss Smith, read carefully and return to Dr. Burke.”Cross-Examination Begins
Directly Hoyle concluded the reading District Attorney Lea said:
“That is all.”
Attorney Leppo began his cross-examination by asking the witness whether she was known as “Miss” or Mrs.” Smith.She is Miss Smith
The witness replied that she was “Miss” Smith and had been such ever since she was born.
At the Sanitarium she said she had been known as Mrs. Smith, and it was understood that she was a married woman there.Forty Years Old
“How old are you?” ashed Leppo.
“Forty,” was the quiet response.
“I left home when I was eighteen years old. There were eleven children in the family.”
Leppo proceeded with inquiries from the witness as to the members of the family. The witness gave their ages, names and family history.
Miss Smith testified that one of her sisters, Lizzie, is an imbecile being cared for by her brother, Edgar, at the family home in Upper Lake. Another sister, May, died in the Napa insane asylum. She was committed there from Lake county when she was eighteen years old, and she died at the age of twenty-five. Miss Smith detailed the deaths of several of her sisters.
Once the witness was aroused over Counsel Leppo’s interrogation, whether another of her sisters had been weakminded, and replied to one query:
“She was about as near an asylum as I have been.”
Leppo pressed the witness for an explanation as to what she meant by her being “near an asylum,” and she replied that “some people had wanted to send her there.”
Miss Smith stated that one of her sisters had died in Korea, where she had been engaged in missionary work. She recalled in response to question more of the family history.
Counsel Leppo’s persistent inquiry rather irritated the witness and finaly she refused point-blank to answer a question the second time.
“Would you refuse to answer the question if the Court asked you to do so?”
“No, I would not, but I won’t answer you.”
“Why won’t you answer me?” asked Leppo.
“Because I think you are impudent,” was the sharp reply.
There was danger of some warm repartee, but at this state Judge Seawell interfered and mildly suggested that there was no occasion for any excitement. He told the witness that she need not be perturbed by the interrogation and had better answer the questions propounded.
“we will take an adjournment for ten minutes,” said the Court, with a smile, thus affording an opportunity for the atmosphere to clear.
When court again resumed Counsel Leppo still further pursued the questioning of Miss Smith as to the employment she pursued after she went to Oregon when she was eighteen years old, to be with her sister. She said she attended a business college and when she became proficient in stenography she said she was employed by various law firms in Pendleton, Oregon.
Miss Smith’s father’s illness recalled her from Oregon to Upper Lake, she testified, and she remained with her father for some time. Then she returned again to be with her sister and other relatives in Oregon and she again took up her stenography.
When the witness mentioned that she had been employed on one occasion in a lawyer’s office, Leppo interrogated her:
“What was the name of that lawyer?”
The witness hesitated and then replied:
“I don’t remember the name.”
“Was that the lawyer whose wife criticized him for your relations with him?”
District Attorney Lea objected to the question and Judge Seawell sustained the objection.Had No Trouble
“Did you have any trouble while employed there?” asked Leppo.
“I did not,” replied the witness.
The line of inquiry pursued dated back over the witness’ life over twenty years.
Following her employment in the Portland lawyer’s office, Miss Smith said she entered a nurse’s training school to train as a nurse.
Objections were made as to persistence of details, but Leppo argued that the inquiry was permissible in view of the remarkable story the witness had told and in view of the relationship she had claimed with Dr. Burke.
In Portland Miss Smith nursed at the Portland Hospital and later on she went to the Fabiola Hospital.
She then told of her having gone to the Sanitarium of Dr. Burke as a patient. She went there on January 5 and remained there until April 4. She did not remember the year, but the months, she said. For the attention given her during that period the witness said she paid in money and work. This was about ten years ago. This was her first acquaintance with Dr. Burke. In April she said Dr. Burke told her she could remain and work when an opening occurred. One presented itself and she went to work at a salary of $25 per month. She remained at the Sanitarium for something like five years and then she went to the State University for a time.Courthouse Fills Rapidly
When the doors of the courtroom were unlocked at a quarter to two o’clock for the afternoon session all the seats were taken in about a minute. Men and women jostled with each other in the scramble for seats. There was considerable merriment. Not only were the seats taken but the standing space at the back of the room was also taken.Attended the University
Miss Smith was again called to the stand and was at once questions as to when she attended the State University, and she replied that it was in 1905. She attended one school year.
In response to a question as to whether she had maintained illicit relations with Dr. Burke prior to 1906, the witness replied she had not.
“When did you first had illicit intercourse with Dr. Burke,” asked Leppo.
“In June, 1906,” was the reply.
“Where did that take place?” was the next query.
“In Oakland,” answered the witness.
“Not at the Sanitarium?” queried counsel.
“No,” she replied.
“Where did that intimacy occur in Oakland?”
“At the Golden Rule Hotel,” replied Miss Smith.
The witness testified that on the day in question she telephoned to Dr. Burke to come and see her. He was in Oakland at the time, and he called upon her in response to her message.Did Not Try Suicide
She was asked concerning a visit at the home of Attorney Thomas in Woodland in June, 1906.
“While at the home of Attorney Thomas in Woodland, did you attempt suicide?”
“No, I did not,” replied the witness.
“Is it not a fact that Mr. and Mrs. Thomas observed you druring your visit at their home down on the floor bumping you hear against the floor?”
“If they say I did that, they lie,” snapped the witness.
“They lie, do they?” said Leppo.
“They do,” was the quick reply.
The witness testified that she suddenly lost consciousness and fell on the floor.
“I was suffering from a palpitation of the heart then and had experienced similar attacks.” She detailed them.
An objection was made to the line of questioning by the District Attorney. Leppo replied that the defense desired to examine into the credibility of the witness. He characterized some of her alleged recitals of facts as being unreal.
“Why, your Honor, we expect to show that the woman was discovered pounding her head on the floor at a time when she did not know what was transpiring,” said Leppo.
“Why,” said Leppo, “We expect to show that her relations with Dr. Burke were imaginary. We also expect to show that at one time she imagined she had relations and loved another man, an eminent man in this State.”
Attorney Cowan interposed a further statement. He said the “fainting spells” referred to by the witness was merely her way of putting it. He termed it “mental irresponsibility.”
“We may show by this woman, by her own word of mouth that Dr. Burke was not the father of her child.”
Judge Seawell permitted questioning as to any further spells of faintness or heart palpitation. The witness only recalled two attacks, one of them at home and the other at the Sanitarium.
The questioning was next directed to her whereabouts and the incident at the Golden Rule Hotel. On that occasion she said she made arrangements to go back to the Sanitarium.
“Is it not a fact that Dr. Burke gave you the money with which to pay your father’s funeral expenses?” Leppo asked.
“He certainly did not,” was the reply.
The witness was asked as to any gifts Dr. Burke had given her but she had received none prior to June, 1906. Since then she had.
Miss Smith testified that in June, 1906 she might have told Dr. Burke that she would like to return to her old position at the Sanitarium. At any rate, she said, Dr. Burke made arrangements for her to return. At the time her health was not very good, she remarked.
The witness testified as to a gift of money to her by Dr. Burke. She had not requested the donation, she said, and she could not remember whether she had told him that she was out of funds. Dr. Issac Burke was at the office at the time.
Miss Smith testified as to her having been a guest for some time at Pine Inn, Carmel-b-y-the-Sea, and Dr. Burke paid the bill.
Miss Smith told of her stay at the home of the Rev. and Mrs. File in Berkeley. She went from there, she said, to the residence of Mrs. Macey on Laguna street, San Francisco. While she was at the File home in Berkeley, Dr. Burke furnished her with money. After she left the File residence, she said she did not write a letter to any member of the File family. She said she may have written a note.
“I did not at any time write to any member of the File family telling them that I was married,” asserted the witness.
“I did not see Dr. Burke at the File residence while I was there. I did see him at his office on Sutter street, San Francisco. Dr. Isaac Burke was in the office with him there. So was Miss Lennox, the nurse. I always visited him there, when I did visit in the day time.”
“Why did you go there to see him?” asked Leppo.
“I went there to see him,” replied the witness.
“Why,” persisted Leppo.
I went there to see him,” persisted the witness.
Finmally the witness admitted the reason:
“I loved him,” she said.
“Do you still entertain that feeling for him,” asked Leppo.
“I don’t know,” replied the witness.
“What do you mean by ‘I don’t know?'” counsel asked. “Do you mean that if you knew Dr. Burke had nothing to do with the dynamiting that you would still love him?”
“Yes,” replied the witness quietly.
“Is it not a fact that you have at different times since the dynamiting stated that others were responsible?” asked Dr. Burke’s lawyer.
District Attorney Lea objected to the question and after argument Judge Seawell reversed his ruling and told Leppo that on another day he might renew his question and in the meantime he would look into it.
“Did you within two or three days after the birth of your child tell the nurse in attendance that the father of your child was a mining man and that he lived in Nevada?” asked Leppo.
“I may have said that his father was a mining man; I don’t remember,” was her reply.
“Did you say to the nurse in attendance that within one year you would give birth to another child? This was within a few days of the birth of your first child.”
Counsel was not in possession of the name of the nurse and for the time-being withdrew his question.
The witness was next asked whether she remembered Dr. Burke having exhibited samples of gold–“a great lot of very attractive samples taken from Dr. Burke’s mine?” counsel said.
Miss Smith remembered having seen one sample of gold in Dr. Burke’s hand.
“I had my baby in my arms at the time and I put the baby in Dr. Burke’s lap and asked him ‘is not your baby more valuable than all that gold?’ He walked away without answering my question and I followed him and repeated it.”
“At the time Mr. Watterson and other of Dr. Burke’s friends were sitting with him on the porch, did you not made [sic] the declaration that Dr. Burke was the father of your child in a loud and vehement manner in the presence of Dr. Burke’s friends?” was Leppo’s next question.
Judge Seawell sustained the objection.
Attorney Leppo suggested that the defense wanted to show that at the time Lu Smith made these statements regarding the parentage of her child it was supposed that she was irrational.
“We wish,” said counsel, “To lay bare before the Court and jury the whole story, and the story has not been told.”
“I have sustained the objection,” said Judge Seawell.
“Is it not a fact,” persisted Leppo, “That your first public declaration that Dr. Burke was the father of your child was when you saw the glitter of the gold from his mine?”
An objection was sustained.
“I did not grasp the doctor’s whiskers and hold on until he had to repel me with force,” said the witness. “I did not touch him. He grabbed me by the threat. I said to him again, “Which to you consider the most valuable, the gold or your child? Why don’t you answer me?”
She was asked whether she used profane language to Dr. Burke at the time.
An objection was sustained.
“Did you not threaten at that time that you would blow yourself up?” asked Leppo.
“I did not,” was the sharp reply.
“Did you not say something about destroying yourself then?”
“I did not,” was the woman’s reply.
The witness said the first time she publicly accused Dr. Burke of being the father of her child was in the diningroom at the Sanitarium, when he had failed to come to see the baby when it was sick. On that occasion she rebuked him with “Coward! Coward! Coward!”
Continuing she admitted that she had made frequent declarations to people in the effect that Dr. Burke was the father of her child. On several occasions she took the child up to the doctor’s private residence when Mrs. Burke was present.
The witness testified to Dr. Burke’s having visited her at the Macey residence in San Francisco. He remained there something less than an hour on that occasion. Their intimate relations were renewed there, she said. Leppo endeavored to show that Dr. Burke simply called to give her money, for her support. The witness denied that was the import of the visit.
She testified that Dr. Burke sometimes gave her money in coin or in currency.
Miss Smith testified that when she went to the Sanitarium the last time she was in a delicate condition, she felt somewhat apprehensive as to the manner in which she would be received there. She did not explain what she meant.
She was next asked whether she knew a man named Fritsch. Professor Wilson Fritsch, and she replied that she knew him. She admitted that one time she invited him to come to Burke’s Sanitarium while she was there to deliver a lecture on “The New Thought,” as she expressed it. That what his peculiar beliefs are or the teachings of this “new thought,” were not brought out. It is understood from Dr. Burke’s counsel that Professor Fritsch’s ideas lean towards those expressed by Dr. Burke in his long letter, from which quotations are made elsewhere in this morning’s paper.
Attorney Leppo ventured to as Miss Smith this question:
“Did Mr. Fritsch want to marry you?”
An objection interposed by Assistant District Attorney Hoyle to the question was sustained by Judge Seawell. Attorney Leppo stated that the matter would be called up again later on in the trial.
Counsel Leppo stated that some very important cross-examination of the witness is yet to come and he anticipated that it would take several hours more to finish the cross-examination. At this juncture court adjourned, with the usual admonition to the jurymen by Judge Seawell.– Press Democrat, December 10, 1910