The Caddo Herald
March 3, 1916
McDarment Held to District Court
Wagoner, Okla., March 1- C. P. McDarment, the 24-year-old instructor of the Wagoner High School, was held over to the district court yesterday afternoon by Justice Doggett, on a charge of murdering Edgar Watts, a 17-year-old student, which occurred in the basement of the high school at Wagoner about 3 weeks ago.
Two men and two boy companions of young Watts, four people who knew more than all others of what transpired told their stories and when they had finished the tragedy remained as much of a mystery as ever.
McDarment did not take the stand. Neatly clad, a quiet boy, pleasing countenance, he sat beside his attorneys throughout the day, seldom so much as suggesting a question to be asked; and though not permitted to tell his version of the tragedy, his counsel several times thrilled the court room with dramatic declarations which gave intimations of what the young teacher’s defense might be.
“Who knows,” he cried at one time during the morning session, while young Clark Moss, himself thrice wounded at the time Watts was killed, “Who knows but that this boy himself held the pistol that fired the fatal shot?”
With almost painstaking care, by the witnesses he traced the three wounds inflicted in Moss’ head. One shot grazed the top of his head, a second one struck his head in the back, the third penetrated his face under the left eye. They boy’s face was powder burned.
One shot killed Watts; that Pruitt established through the testimony of the doctor who attended him.
And when Pruitt opened the fatal revolver in the court room, just as it had been picked from the high school basement floor, there were but four shells that had been exploded. There Pruitt was willing to let it rest. Three shots had wounded Moss, one had killed Watts. And the defense has in its possession a shirt that Prof. McDarment wore that noon with a bullet hole in the cuff. One of the shots that struck the two boys must have torn the hole in the instructor’s shirt.
The star witness was “Uncle Billy” Shanahan, 62 years old, janitor of the high school building. It was he who heard the professor’s first words after Watts had fallen, mortally wounded, to the floor; it was he to whom Clark Moss first spoke after he had regained consciousness. “Uncle Billy” burst in the laboratory door and picked up the revolver from the floor. In pleasing voice, often quietly smiling, he told his story with malice toward none. It was a story that favored McDarment and a story that favored the prosecution.
Clark Moss, his head bundled in bandages, with one of the bullets that wounded him still in his jaw, openly accused McDarment of firing the shots at him. He did not see Watts fall, he said. The first shot that struck Moss, from behind, felled him, he declared, but when he regained consciousness he saw McDarment standing over him, pistol in hand.
“Don’t shoot,” he testified he begged.
“And then?” asked the questioner.
Dick Jones, a bright boy, a companion of the two, gave his answers with a pertness that frequently sent a titter through the court room. Both he and Moss admitted that the three had “deviled” Prof. McDarment almost continually.
If there is any bitterness in Wagoner against the defendant it was not apparent yesterday. The crowd was interested and at times the people laughed, but there was no sign of a hostile demonstration.
The hearing yesterday which was little more than a scratch upon the surface, forecasted the bitter legal battle that will be waged when professor McDarment goes to trial. Steel struck yesterday and the sparks flew when Thomas H. Owens, leading counsel for the prosecution, and Moman Pruitt, summoned from Oklahoma City by the people of Durant, McDarment’s former home, to defend him, clashed in court.
Moss’ testimony showed that the boys had given all the teachers a lot of trouble, but otherwise the facts seem to be lost.