She stumbled down the darkened street, her face bloody and swollen. This was an industrialized section of San Francisco and no workers were around at such an early morning hour, particularly on that day because it was Thanksgiving. Nearly two blocks away she found an apartment building on a cross street where she roused a middle-age couple and begged them to telephone the police.
THERE WILL BE PRICES PAID
Series on the 1920 lynchings in Santa Rosa
The woman was 22 year-old Jean Stanley. She had just escaped from a gang hangout where her friend, Jessie Montgomery, had been repeatedly raped. The public outrage following that vicious assault would set into motion the events which would soon lead to six men dead in Santa Rosa, three of them slain by a gangster’s bullets and three hanging by their necks in the Rural Cemetery.
This is the second part of the series, “THERE WILL BE PRICES PAID” about the 1920 Santa Rosa lynchings. Although everything described below happened in San Francisco, this chapter aims to clear up misinformation concerning the crime and its victims, which were the sparks that lit a very short fuse.
For research I scoured all news coverage in the San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Call and San Francisco Chronicle between November 1920 and February 1921. I found almost everything written about the events since then has mostly relied upon the earliest accounts – which often had errors large and small. More trustworthy details appeared in trial testimony and particularly the summary prepared by the state Attorney General’s office (transcribed below for the first time), although even that report didn’t cover some critical and shocking facts that came out late in the proceedings.
A broader goal is to offer context about what else was going on around the time of the lynchings, particularly to show the vigilante act in Santa Rosa happened amid a wave of vigilantism which suddenly swept across other cities in the state. And finally, before we get started, please note the stories about the gangsters who committed the crime and their punishments are not found here; for that background I again point Gentle Reader to the e-book, “The Fall of San Francisco’s Notorious Howard Street Gang.” Only two of the six men are mentioned here by name; from the viewpoint of our narrative, the rest can be thought of as interchangeable, faceless monsters.
IT WAS SUCH A DIFFERENT WORLD
American culture has changed greatly since 1920, and here are some differences particularly relevant to understanding this series:
DANCE HALLS were favorite places for Jennie and June to spend their evenings. The Winter Garden (it was formerly an ice skating rink, hence the name) near Pacific Heights was highly popular and considered a respectable place, complete with a checkroom for babies (!) while the parents were dancing. It had nice floors and live bands, charging admission for both men and women except for Monday and Wednesday being Ladies Night. More controversial were the eight “closed” dance halls in the city, where men bought tickets to dance with women who worked there on commission. In other cities they were sometimes the target of vice raids which turned up wanted criminals, prostitutes and runaway teenage girls.
BOXING enjoyed a popularity in 1920 that’s hard to imagine today. Public interest in boxers went far beyond how well they performed in the ring; prizefighters were regarded as celebrities. Sports writers obsessively reported on where they were and what they were doing, conditions of their health and how they were feeling. Besides being outraged by the details of the Howard street crimes, most people were likely shocked to learn two well known pro boxers were not only involved but the most guilty players.
PROHIBITION and the long reach of its destructive effects play out in every step of this story, including the Howard street crime scene being a safe haven for the gangsters because it was chosen as a secluded location needed to operate a speakeasy. And besides turning bootlegging into a major industry, it sharply increased violent gangsterism, up 25 percent in 1920 alone. Fun Fact: Prohibition not only cost the U.S. economy billions in lost revenue, it even created a tax-free security backed by booze. Since pre-Prohibition liquor was legal, some 69 million gallons of it had been deposited before 1920 in government bonded warehouses, where it could be withdrawn by the person holding the deposit receipt. Just before the events in this story the Supreme Court ruled those certificates could be sold in a manner similar to gold bullion, and as a result most of the receipts ended up held by banks which accepted them as collateral for loans.
Rewind the tape; it is now a couple of hours before Jean Stanley is running down an unfamiliar street looking for someone to help. She and her friend and roommate, Jessie Montgomery, are waiting outside the streetcar transfer station at 16th and Mission to go home, having spent the evening at the Winter Garden dance hall. A man pulls up in an auto and offers them a ride; they hop in because Jessie remembers him as being a nice guy from having danced together earlier.
But he drives in the opposite direction instead, stopping at a poolhall. He wants to introduce them to a pal of his, who also climbs into the car. It’s now around midnight on Thanksgiving morning.
The driver parks outside a café and the four of them go in. They all have a sherry (illegal – this is Prohibition, never forget) and the men order other drinks, which the women decline.
Two other men enter the café and join them. Both are prizefighters, which is to say they are Bay Area celebrities. One is Edmund “Spud” Murphy, a welterweight who could be a boxer straight from Central Casting; he has coarse, puffy features that make his face appear as if it had been recently pounded with a rock. The other man is larger and has movie star good looks – at least, compared to other boxers at the time; he is Edward “Kayo” Kruvosky (as in “Knockout” or “K.O.”).
There is a whispered conversation between the four men which the women can’t overhear. As they leave the café yet another man shows up and goes with them, with all seven people squeezing into the car. It would be uncomfortably tight for a long drive but they are only going about a block away.
The car stops and the three men from the café enter a small nondescript house, leaving the women alone with the driver and his poolhall pal. They entice the women to go in by one of the men saying, “oh, it’s just a refreshment parlor and I know every one in the place” and promising them ice cream. Once they are inside the door is locked behind them.
The little front room is nearly bare, with just a table, a few chairs and a rolled up mattress. A man they had not seen before comes out with a round of drinks. This brings the number of men in the house to six.
Jean refuses the gin fizz but Jessie drinks half a glass. The rest Kruvosky pours down her throat as her head is tilted back and her arms are held. Another glass is brought in and it is done again. And then she is led into the kitchen, where Murphy is waiting.
[I am herewith skipping the rest of what followed – I doubt you want to read the details and I certainly don’t want to write about them. Anyone who just has to know what happened can review the Attorney General’s summary of their testimony. What needs to be known here is that Murphy and Kruvosky used their fists; Murphy hit Jessie and knocked her down twice, then punched Jean so hard her nose was broken. Kruvosky also struck Jean, leaving her with a black eye and a broken tooth. Kruvosky initiated the sexual assaults against Jessie in the bathroom before turning her over to Murphy and the others. Jean managed to escape by breaking a window while she was left alone in another room. Jean was not raped; Jessie was raped by five of the six men.]
During one of the later trials a prosecutor tells a jury, “It was the psychology of the wolf pack that night in the Howard street shack,” meaning the rest of the men understood their lesser places in the hierarchy, patiently waiting for their turn to perform their unspeakable acts.
San Francisco reacted in horror, although it was a city not easily shocked. Every police captain told patrolmen to give highest priority to finding the suspects as a dragnet stretched over the city. Jessie Montgomery was taken by police from her hospital bed that night to attend an amateur boxing match and scan the audience for their faces. The Police Chief assigned Detective Sergeant Miles Jackson and Detective Lester Dorman to the case fulltime. A few days later, both would be shot to death in Santa Rosa by one of the guilty men.
Over that post-Thanksgiving weekend every law enforcement agency in the state received the names and descriptions of the wanted men, even though this info was not released to the public. That was when the (soon to be lynched) group left the city for up here.
Police announced they were investigating claims of more than twenty other women who said they likewise had been gang raped at Howard street, but it appears only two were considered credible.2 A week later they were named as Pearl Hanley and Edna Fullmer from Southern California. They described being similarly attacked on November 10, two weeks before Jessie and Jean, and said they never reported it because they wanted to avoid the shame and publicity.
Early in the investigation Detective Jackson said the police believed the gang maintained the Howard street shack to lure girls there for the purpose of assaulting them. That might have been partially true, but his remarks need clarification on several points.
Detectives later clarified the place was a speakeasy – specifically a “blind pig,” where liquor was usually sold through a walk-up window or via a pass-through. The day before the attacks on Jessie and Jean, the proprietor (who was also among the rapists) spent $1,100 on hootch – the equivalent to over $14k today – to prepare for the expected surge of customers over the holiday weekend.3
Newspapers were quick to call the building a “shack” and that label is still used by modern writers. But today most of us would call 1256½ Howard street a granny unit. It was small but from the photos appeared well tended; it had indoor plumbing, which was no given thing in 1920. The previous tenant was a hat maker and his family. It was behind and to the side of 1256 Howard, which at the time was the Eastern Broom Factory (surprisingly, it appears that building is still there).
Nor was the Howard Street Gang really a gang, except in the sense the men who hung out there coalesced as a rape gang on two or more occasions. Early on the papers took to calling Spud Murphy the gang’s leader, but there was no evidence anyone was giving orders – as the prosecutor said, they were more akin to a wolf pack on the lookout for prey. From mentions in the newspapers it seemed a Runyonesque set of characters drifted in and out of the Howard street speakeasy: Boxers and wannabes, hardened criminals, touts, toughs, hangers-on and every kind of idle, strutting bullyboy loser in between.
“Gang,” however, was quickly becoming the buzzword of 1920. San Francisco and other cities had experienced a significant uptick in all types of crime ever since Prohibition began at the start of the year. Stories about bootlegger arrests were daily fodder (contender for most outrageous headline of the year: “200-Pound Woman, Caught in Act of Making Brandy, Fights Off 6 Officers for Half Hour” – SF Chronicle, Nov. 27). There were an increasing number of reports about groups of men joining together to plot armed robberies, burglaries and commit gang rapes. Besides the intense coverage of the Howard street crime, newspapers around the state (including the Press Democrat and Healdsburg Tribune) used barrels of ink reporting on the prosecution of a particularly notorious gang in Fresno.
Big crime stories always make it easy to sell papers, and the reporting frequently slopped over the line into sensationalist yellow journalism. But a good thing was that it also brought a new awareness that violence against women was horrifically commonplace. As noted in the SF Examiner, in the latter half of 1920 there were 100 men jailed for abuse of women or children in the city, including 56 for contributing to the delinquency of young women, 11 for “tampering” (!) with little girls and 16 for attempted assault – with police saying there were many more but the assailant escaped. Los Angeles began offering police escorts to any women who had to be out after dark.
Vigilantism was in air the air before the lawmen were murdered in Santa Rosa, but it grew worse during the days following. In San Francisco vagrants and crooks were rounded up by police and told to “get to work or get out of town.” Prizefighting was temporarily banned in San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento and other places simply because of its association with Murphy and Kruvosky. The American Legion offered to aid in a “clean-up of undesirables” and the VFW said crimes against women were increasing because of lax enforcement, while pledging “active co-operation in any capacity.”
A Woman’s Vigilant Committee was formed in San Francisco to call for a greatly expanded police presence – although the force was already maxed out, with officers given only one day off every two weeks. The Committee further overreached by insisting the city government adopt their intolerant views of acceptable behavior and morality. There should be a strictly enforced 8PM curfew for children under 16 and a prohibition on “three or more minor youths from causing any disturbance at night.” They wanted the city zoned according to their “vice map” which would establish the degree of policing by neighborhood. They insisted pool halls be shut down along with the “closed” dance halls where they (falsely) accused the women working there of all being prostitutes.4
While this was brewing in December 1920, the Howard street trials were underway, with all five defendants charged with the same crimes.5 Security was tight in the courtroom, with extra bailiffs – Kruvosky’s father had threatened to kill him for bringing disgrace to the family.
The jury trials rolled along smoothly and four were convicted quickly – the exception was found innocent, guilty at his retrial, and finally had the charges dropped in 1922, after having spent a year and a half in county jail (he claimed to have gained 25 pounds behind bars because the food was so good).6 The gangsters mostly offered stupid-criminal alibis; they were at Howard street but left before the women were assaulted, they were there but in a different room in the tiny house and didn’t see or hear anything.
Jean Stanley and Jessie Montgomery testified eight times in all and none of the defense attorneys could shake their stories. Each time they both told exactly same story: the offer of a ride home, the stop at the poolroom, the café, being lured inside the speakeasy, the booze poured down Jessie’s throat, the beatings, the rapes, Jean’s escape.
Then after the trials were over came the real shocker: They both lied under oath, and had conspired to do so.
Let’s rewind the tape again, this time all the way back to the start of 1920.
In January, boxing promoter Billy Murray leased the top floor of a building on E. Washington in Petaluma as a boxing gym with an exhibition ring.
Petaluma could not have been happier; this would surely bring fame and fortune to the town because he was the former middleweight champ and a nationally-known figure. Articles about him appeared in the local papers almost every day that winter, particularly as the date approached for a series of bouts at the Unique Theatre on March 19, “an evening for the ladies as well as the men.”
Living in Petaluma at that time was Jessie Montgomery. Her father had been the Salvation Army captain in the town a couple of years earlier but his current assignment was in Eureka, where the family received a telegram from her in early February: “We are married, forget and forgive.” She had married Arthur Matthias, co-owner of an auto dealership in Petaluma, who she had only known for a few weeks.
She was 15 years old at the time.
After Howard street the newspapers first said she was 20, then began using her stated age of 17. It would be years later before it came out that she was really a year younger than that when she was assaulted (this is verified by census records).
The marriage was a short one. When Jessie was brought to the Sonoma County Jail in December to see if she could identify any of the three men being held for the murders, Arthur tried to see her but authorities would not let them meet, fearing it could cause trouble. The next day the Press Democrat reported,
They were separated in two months, his wife leaving him after Matthias charged her with too close intimacy with prize fighters who were training in Petaluma under the direction of Billy Murray. Matthias charges that she went to San Francisco with Kruvosky…
Was that true, or was it a bitter lie told by an estranged husband? Had Jessie previously known one of her rapists (and having abandoned her marriage to be with him, no less!) it’s impossible to believe the defense attorneys would not have brought that up at the trials. They repeatedly tried to discredit her character with misogynistic attacks suggesting she was “unchaste.” She was badgered on the witness stand for using her maiden name instead of “Mrs. Arthur Matthias” as well as for having left her husband and having “boy friends” in San Francisco afterwards.7
But when Kruvosky came to trial he offered a defense completely at odds with what the other rapists made. From the Dec. 24 SF Examiner:
When Kruvosky took the stand in his own behalf yesterday morning he told a story of advances made by the Montgomery girl and of his final capitulation. He said that when he met her with Thomas Brady, James Carey and Jean Stanley at the Strollers’ Cafe shortly after midnight on Thanksgiving morning she moved over and invited him to take half of her chair, put her arms about him and told him that she liked him. He told of that same arm being about him as they drove in an automobile to the Howard street shack and of how he was followed by the girl into a small room there, where he said he submitted to her entreaties.
“She made me do it” is infamously the go-to excuse for men who abuse women in all kinds of ways, and the jury obviously didn’t believe a word of what he said. They were out only eleven minutes before declaring him guilty – just long enough to elect a jury foreman and take a single vote without discussion.
The last trial wound up in early February, 1921, about ten weeks after the crimes had been committed. But then came the bombshell: A defense attorney produced signed affidavits claiming Jessie and Jean had committed perjury.
Policewoman Kate O’Conner had acted as matron for Jean and Jessie throughout the case, and in early December they had lived at the O’Conner home with Kate, her husband, a San Francisco deputy sheriff, and their married 19 year-old daughter, Anita.
The deputy’s statement noted Jessie had never claimed one of the men was guilty of rape until she testified at his trial. He said he overheard her tell Jean that she was going to accuse him despite his innocence on that charge: “I know he didn’t do anything to me, but I hate him anyhow.” The deputy said he would testify to hearing that in court “to see justice done.”
More damning were Anita’s statements about her conversations with Jean.8 “You don’t know how I’ve shielded Jessie Montgomery’s character,” Jean supposedly told her. “I could go to the penitentiary for what I’ve told on the stand…”
The affidavit also stated Jean confirmed some of Kruvosky’s surprising defense claims: “..Jean Stanley also stated to me that said Jessie Montgomery ‘fell for Kruvosky’ in the Strollers Cafe and sat on the same chair with Kruvosky in the Strollers Cafe with their arms around each other…”
Once at Howard street, Jean told Anita she saw Jessie willingly going into the bathroom with Kruvosky. “I grabbed a hold of Jessie and asked her not to go into the bathroom with Kruvosky, because I knew that he would get the best of her. That was when I was struck for the first time by Kruvosky.”
Besides withholding evidence, they conspired to commit perjury, according to the affidavit:
Jean Stanley said to me, “I shielded Jessie Montgomery because she was a girl. Why, at the hospital, Jessie said: ‘We’ll say that they forced the drinks down my throat so that it will save my character.’ Kruvosky had been so mean to me that I thought it would be all right to say that he forced drinks down Jessie’s throat…whenever Jessie gets into trouble with men she always claims that she was either doped or that she was forced.”
These statements created an uproar statewide, pulling in the Attorney General and the Governor. Headlines suggested Jessie Montgomery was about to be arrested. The District Attorney said he would ask Jessie and Jean for their own affidavits declaring the other affidavits untrue. An Assistant D.A. resigned, saying Jean admitted having “lied and lied” in court.
A Grand Jury was empaneled and they decided – on the narrowest of grounds – “there was no perjury committed by Jean Stanley or Jessie Montgomery on any material point” that would affect the verdict of the single case then before the court. The judge who heard all of the cases said he would not issue a perjury warrant because what they supposedly said was “nothing that has not been whispered into every ear ever since Kruvosky was placed on trial.”
So the consensus was, “the women won’t be held accountable for perjury because it didn’t matter – we know these guys were guilty as hell.”
The obl. Believe-it-or-Not! epilogue to the story is that years later, Jessie wrote a letter to the District Attorney’s office in 1925 to confess that yes, she had lied. She lied about her age and that she was forced to drink liquor. More importantly, she had lied when she testified she was absolutely sure that two of the men took part in the rape.
“All the excuse I can offer for my falsehoods are that I was just a child and I was afraid of their getting free to kill me,” she wrote. (The whole letter is transcribed below.)
Her post facto confession made no difference to the District Attorney or Governor. No retrials were ordered, no prison sentences commuted and no perjury charges filed against Jessie or June, as the statute of limitations for that crime had now expired.
Tying up loose ends:
According to the only interview she gave, Jean Stanley was from Portland.9 But during the trials the Oregon Daily Journal ran a photo of her on the front page with the headline, “Do You Know This Girl?” adding local reporters were unable to find anyone who knew her. (A friend did turn up, and a month later the Portland paper had an item claiming Jean was to appear in a movie.)
In the interview Jean said she left home at 17 and toured around in the Pantages vaudeville circuit on the East Coast, apparently as a dancer. After that she joined the famous Barnes circus (which had a major Santa Rosa connection during the 1920s) where she learned to ride bareback. Jessie and Jean were each given $600 at the close of the trials and Jean said she would use it for tuition at a business school. It appears she did, because she can be found in the 1930 Los Angeles census as an office stenographer for a department store. She died at age 39 on Nov. 11, 1939 (place of death and burial unknown).
Pearl Hanley and Edna Fullmer were never called to testify, although they were brought to Santa Rosa along with Jessie to see if they could ID the three gangsters. Still, the District Attorney wanted them available while the trials were ongoing and under protective custody – members of Murphy’s family (and possibly others) had tried to make contact with June and Jessie. But instead of lodging them with the O’Conners or giving them hotel rooms with police guards, Pearl and Edna were locked in the women’s dormitory at the county jail. No fun that. Shortly before Christmas, Pearl’s husband, Paul H. Hanley came to San Francisco and told a judge she had deserted him along with their 20 month-old baby, but he wanted to reconcile. Moved by his plea and the holiday spirit, she was released from jail and they went home – where he was immediately arrested. Remember how a vicious Fresno gang was in all the newspapers? He was allegedly part of their burglary team, while other members were being held for the gang rape of a fifteen year old.
Another gold star citizen was Arthur Matthias, Jessie’s husband in Petaluma. In 1922 he and his brother, along with two other fine hoodlums, ran a man down with their car and then beat him with brass knuckles before robbing him. They were arrested for that assault plus beating and robbing a Press Democrat linotype operator of his watch. Arthur was released from San Quentin in 1928 and died in a reckless driving incident near Penngrove two years later.
It seems Jessie Montgomery always had trouble telling the truth, even about things that didn’t matter. In her Dec. 17 testimony (see footnote seven) she must have thought the year 1920 had 13 or 14 months in it, because that many would be needed to account for her version of her whereabouts, scooting around between Petaluma, San Francisco and Reno, where her family usually was. Yet she didn’t mention being in Eureka at all – although that’s where the census taker caught up with her and the rest of the Montgomery family – or Seattle, which was where she met Jean.
Jessie told reporters she was going to use her post-trial $600 to study music but in 1922 she married Wilfred E. Miller, a Spokane, Washington truck driver. True to form, she told a string of lies on her marriage certificate – she stated it was her first marriage, that she was 19 instead of 18, her maiden name was June Matthais (yes, that’s how she spelled it), and her father’s name was J. M. Matthais from Kentucky instead of Lee L. Montgomery of Kansas. She and Wilfred had two children; she worked in beauty shops and then always went by the name June J. Miller. Jessie died in 1985 and is buried in Orange County next to Wilfred.
1 Among the errors reported in the Nov. 26-27 San Francisco papers were that nine men were involved; it was implied both women were raped and the attack went on for three hours; that the liquor forced upon Jessie was probably doped; that Jean had a broken jaw and when she returned with two policemen they caught a couple of the gangsters about to assault Jessie again (Kruvosky and another of the rapists were still in the house, but non-threatening at that moment).
|2 Another possible victim named in the newspapers was 17 year-old Thelma Fulton, who said she and another young woman she knew only as “Bobbie” were raped at Howard street by Murphy and other men for three hours on Hallowe’en. Her story closely tracked with Jean and Jessie’s testimony, with them being offered a ride after a dance, liquor forced upon them and Bobbie making a surprising escape. Thelma claimed she had met Murphy at the “closed” dance hall known as the Metropolitan, but the manager there said Thelma and her friend had been barred weeks earlier for disorderly conduct. It appears the police didn’t give much weight to her story; nothing more about her appeared in the papers, other than the Chronicle printing a photo of her on Dec. 12.|
3 While Detectives Jackson and Dorman believed for several days it was the HQ of a major crime gang, they came to realize it was run-of-the-mill speakeasy. The owner of the building was real estate investor James O’Sullivan, who was the brother-in-law of Charles Valento, one of the gangsters lynched in Santa Rosa. The building was rented to Allen McDonald who operated the speakeasy.
|4 The Vigilant Committee’s desire for for a crackdown was supported by the federal Hygiene Board, whose representative stated the city “was so vice-ridden it was an unfit place for a naval base.” San Francisco did shutter the “closed” dance halls at the end of 1920. (The Winter Garden survived, but only after much scrutiny.)|
|5 The men were charged on four counts: Rape of Jessie Montgomery (called “a serious statutory offense” in the Examiner’s prurient reporting), attempted rape of Jean Stanley, assault with intent to do bodily harm and abduction.|
6 For more on this interesting case see “The Fall of San Francisco’s Notorious Howard Street Gang,” which has an entire chapter on it.
7 The full transcript of Jessie Montgomery’s testimony is in the Dec. 17 San Francisco Call
8 The entire Anita Larrieu affidavit can be read in the Feb. 9, 1921 SF Call.
9 “Gangster Victim Tells About Night of Horror,” Press Democrat, Dec. 9 1920. This interview with Jean Stanley probably was not written for the PD, but no other copies can be found in other online newspapers.
The facts of the case are substantially stated in the brief of the Attorney General as follows:
On Wednesday evening, November 24, 1920, Jessie Montgomery (whose marriage name is Matthias) was waiting on the corner of Sixteenth and Mission streets, San Francisco, for a car to take her to her home at 315 Fifth street. James Carey, whom she previously had met and danced with, drove by in an automobile. After recalling himself to her he invited her and her chum, Miss Jean Stanley, into his car to be taken home. They were driven to Clark’s poolroom on Mission street near Twentieth, and there were joined by Thomas Brady, a friend of Carey. The four then drove in Carey’s car to the Stroller’s Café, Ninth and Folsom, where each had one drink of wine. Other drinks were served but were consumed by the men; the girls not partake of them.
While the four were in the café, Murphy and Edward Kruvosky entered. There ensued a whispered conversation among the four men, the nature of which girls do not know. But when the girls and their escorts left the premises by one door, Murphy, Kruvosky and a third man, named Boyd, left by another door and jumped into the machine in which the four were seated. The car was driven to a shack on Howard street and Murphy, Kruvosky, and Boyd alighted and entered the house, leaving the two girls and their escorts in the car. Upon one pretense and another Brady and Carey prevailed upon the girls to enter the Howard street place; they were admitted by Allan MacDonald, who locked the door after them. Carey and the two girls entered a front room, which was furnished with a table, chairs, and a mattress rolled up. Murphy had already gone out into the kitchen. Brady also went out into another room, and returned with Allan MacDonald, who brought in a round of drinks. The Stanley girl took none of them; the Montgomery girl took one-half of her own glass.
Kruvosky in the meantime had come in from the kitchen. With Brady holding one of her hands, Kruvosky put the glass to the Montgomery girl’s lips, tilted her head back and poured the liquor down her throat. Another drink was brought in, and the performance repeated. Brady next led the Montgomery girl into the kitchen, where Murphy and Kruvosky were. Murphy demanded that she sing and, she refusing, insisted that dance for them. Upon her refusal to dance Murphy struck her on the side of the jaw and felled her. Brady went up to her as she struggled to her feet and said, “Go on; take off your clothes and dance for them,” and upon her further refusal Murphy struck her to the floor a second time. This blow was so violent that she did not know what was going on; at times she did know anything, and at other times she knew everything that was going on but could not resist because her strength had failed her. The Montgomery girl screamed when she was hit and the Stanley girl ran to her aid. Kruvosky hit the Stanley girl in the jaw, and Murphy hit her on the face, breaking her nose. Murphy then picked her up by hips, held her on the floor and “binged” her on the floor. Kruvosky then dragged the Montgomery girl, weakened as she was the two fellings, into the bathroom adjoining, where he picked her up by the shoulders, threw her to the ground, and knocked her head against a washstand, pulled her to the floor, tore her dress from off her body, rolled her around upon the floor, soiling her underclothing, and finally ravished her. Murphy repeatedly thrust his head in the bathroom during this time and cried “Hurry up, hurry up!” The girl knew nothing more until she found herself on the mattress in the front room. Here Murphy and Kruvosky pulled her clothes off her in the presence of Boyd, Carey, and Brady, and here Murphy, followed by the others in turn, violated her. These acts were done without her consent and against her will after she could not resist because her strength was gone, and she was absolutely powerless. She was never the wife of the defendant and had never been married to him.
Carey had meanwhile led the Stanley girl into an adjoining bedroom and brought her a wet rag to bathe her bruised face. He left the room and defendant entered. Defendant demanded that she submit to him. She refused and he menacingly brandished a gun in her face. She persisted in her refusal. Defendant then picked her up and threw on the couch and held her legs; MacDonald seized her hands and Boyd her head, while Kruvosky, coatless and with trousers unbuttoned, advanced to the attack. She struggled, begging them to kill her rather than to torture her like that, and finally all left the room save MacDonald. The Stanley girl then got MacDonald to leave the room. She broke the window and jumped out. About this time Carey came to the door of room where the Montgomery girl was lying on a mattress and cried, “Hurry up, your coats on; the cops are coming,” and Murphy, Kruvosky, Carey, Brady, and Boyd left. The Stanley girl returned to the place with two police officers. Her face was all swollen, her eye blackened, and there was blood all over her clothes and upon her wrists.
Entrance to the Howard street premises was effected by one of the officers through the broken rear window. He opened the door for his fellow officer and the Stanley girl. They found Jessie Montgomery lying on a mattress in the front room doubled up a jackknife, her face against the wall and her hands over her face; she was perfectly nude; she was in a very hysterical condition and moaning that she had been raped. Kruvosky, who had returned was standing behind the door and MacDonald was sitting on a chair in the room. The Stanley girl dressed Miss Montgomery; the two were taken to the Central Emergency Hospital where they were placed under the care of a physician and nurse. The doctor found the Montgomery girl’s vulva to be reddened, and somewhat inflamed. The girls were removed before noon that morning to the San Francisco Hospital, where a physician examined the Montgomery girl and found her suffering from bruises over the left eye and in the temple region, and considerable swelling over the malar bone, the bruises extending over onto the upper eyelid. There were bruises on the arms, mostly on the right elbow, a small discoloration on the left wrist, several bruises on the legs, the medial aspect of the right thigh just above the knee, and the left knee, on both lower legs, the tibial surfaces of the legs, and several scratches on the feet.
[…description of the capture of Murphy, and that he and Carey were brought to the hospital to be identified…]
En route from the hospital to the hall of justice, while defendant and Carey were in the police automobile, there ensued a conversation between Carey and the defendant wherein Carey commented on fact that Miss Stanley had noticed his diamonds, and that she did not look to be 21 years old. He further remarked, “Those blondes are my jinx. The last time I got in trouble a blonde got me into that too,” to which the defendant rejoined, “She is a fighting bitch, all right.” Later the defendant declared that the Montgomery girl came prepared for what she got and that she got it.
– Pacific Reporter September 26 – November 14, 1921, pp. 485-487
Spokane, Wash., Oct, 17, ’25.
Dear Mr. Riley:
I suppose you think it queer that I should write you such a letter after such a long time, but it has been heavy on my mind all these years. I suppose after all we have gone through I was tempted to make things stronger than was necessary,
You will remember that I told you I was 17 years of age. I was only 16 at the time. I also said I was positive that Carey and Brady were there at the time I was assaulted.
I wasn’t positive, but my instinct said they were, and at no time did I hear their car start out in front, so therefore I swore I was sure they were there.
I also swore that Jean (Stanley) and I had met Brady before, but we had not. It was the first time, and neither was the booze they gave us forced down us. All the excuse I can offer for my falsehoods are that I was just a child and I was afraid of their getting free to kill me, as they had threatened the other two girls.
So if you want to use this confession for anything you know best. I felt as if I had to tell someone who would understand.
If you can give me Jean’s present address I would greatly appreciate it.
Unless you intend to use this for the righting of a wrong will you please destroy it? Yours ever grateful. JESSIE MILLER.”
Montgomery Girl is Wife of Petaluman
Jessie Montgomery, one of the victims of the San Francisco Howard-street gang, and whose plight as a good girl aroused such deep sympathy, is not Miss Montgomery, but Mrs. Arthur William Matthias, wife of a Petaluma automobile man.
Matthias, 23, and the Montgomery girl, then 16, eloped from Petaluma February 3, 1920, and were married at Novato, Marin county. They were separated in two months, his wife leaving him after Matthias charged her with too close intimacy with prize fighters who were training in Petaluma under the direction of Billy Murray.
Matthias charges that she went to San Francisco with Kruvosky, one of the Howard street gang, and that she has since posed as an unmarried girl.
Two months after she left Petaluma her father, Captain L. L. Montgomery of the Salvation Army, secured a transfer to Reno.
Matthias came to the county Jail Sunday night and demanded to see his wife, but was denied admission because it was feared he would make trouble.
– Press Democrat, December 7 1920
Pearl Hanley, S. F. Gang Victim, Aids Husband in Jail
FRESNO, Dec. 24.—Pearl Hanley, one of the girls who disclosed the brutality of the Howard-street gangsters in San Francisco, has come to the aid of her husband, Paul H. Hanley.
He is charged with burglary and with receiving stolen goods, his case being linked with those of the thirteen alleged Fresno gangsters.
The thirteen, three of whom have been indicted for alleged attacks on girls, are held in ball aggregating $261,000.
Frank Stefanlch, complainant against them on some charges, denies having been in collusion with them in bootlegging.
– Press Democrat, December 25 1920