Backwoods Barrister

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BackwoodsBARRISTERThe John D. Voelker Collection, housedat Northern Michigan UniversityArchives in Marquette, containsVoelker’s original Anatomy of a Murdermanuscript and his trout net and flies.Photo Tom Buchkoe

byRICHARD D. SHAULHe was knownas the “Bard ofFrenchman’s Pond”and he loved troutfishing, “spinning ayarn,” cribbage andgood bourbon. To thepeople of Ishpeming andMarquette County, he wasone of them—a treasurednative son—and one of theirprized natural resources.

The last of six boys, John DonaldsonVoelker was born on June 29, 1903. Hisfather, a saloon owner, encouraged himas a young boy to fish the streams thatmeandered the woods and fields neartheir home in Ishpeming. His mother, apublic school music teacher, read tohim many exciting stories and instilledin him a great appreciation for words and writing.When the time came, Voelker’s mother expected him toattend college, while his father thought that his son couldearn a respectable living in the family business. However,according to the Marquette Mining Journal, Voelker hadno interest in becoming “a prosperous saloon-keeper.” In1922 he entered Northern Michigan Normal School (present-day Northern Michigan University) before transferringto the University of Michigan Law Schoolin 1924. Because of poor grades, hereceived a letter in 1927 statingthat “the faculty requests thatyou withdraw.” Then, it askedhim to “consider applying foradmission to some otherschool.” In the manner of a seasoned lawyer, Voelker cited the regulation that would permit him to be reexamined. In the time allowed, he raised hisgrades enough to graduate in 1928. He passedthe Michigan bar exam that same year.At the traditional Crease Dance during his senior year,the twenty-four-year-old Voelker met Grace ElizabethTaylor, a nineteen-year-old beauty from Oak Park, Illinois.Almost immediately Voelker knew that “the jig was up forme when I saw this lovely lady.” Voelker remembered thathe followed her around the rest of the night “like aDoberman Pinscher.” By the time he graduated in Junethey were engaged to be married.Graduation brought happiness and despair. Voelker washappy to head north to the Upper Peninsula, but it meantbeing away from Grace. He held a job as assistant prosecutor for Marquette County for nearly two years before packing his belongings and traveling to Chicago. On August 2,1930, they were married. Years later, in typical wry Voelkerhumor, he commented: “So, due to my vast talents and herfather being a banker, I got a job with the law firm for thebank in Chicago.” The three years he spent there were torturous. He hated the big city and the big law firm. Voelkersaid, years later, that he “never did get around to countingall the lawyers in that office, but I met at least forty ofthem.” Perhaps the event that made his decision to returnto the Upper Peninsula easier was seeing a frightened dogget knocked down three times while trying to cross a busyChicago street.The harsh economic reality of moving back toIshpeming during the Depression was not long in coming.The few jobs Voelker held hardly kept the young couple84ıM I C H I G A N H I S TO RYfinancially solvent. Voelker took his eyes off the troutstream long enough to see that the county prosecutor’sjob, up for grabs in the 1934 election, would give them thefinancial security they left behind in Chicago.In politics, John D. Voelker was an ardent Democrat, buthe was no politician. He disdained backslapping and gladhanding for votes, although he managed to pass out a fewcampaign matchbooks and tack up some election posters.When the votes were counted, he became the firstDemocrat to win the office of prosecutor “since Noah’s arkor the flood.” Recalling his first term, Voelker remembered:“There were three grand larcenies, two auto thefts, threeburglaries, a brace of bastard cases, one indecent exposure, one assault with intent to murder, two wife desertions, and one dog-tired prosecutor.” He was reelected sixmore times before being defeated in the 1950 election bythirty-six votes. In 1954 Voelker ran for Congress, butlost in the primary. The freedom extended tohim by the voters gave him several years ofuninterrupted fly-fishing, cribbage at Polly’sRainbow Bar and time to write his stories.Voelker began writing at age twelvewith a story entitled “Lost All Night in aSwamp with a Bear.” “With a title like thatthere was not much story left to tell,” he laterremarked. During the early 1930s, he beganwriting magazine articles and books abouthis experiences as a prosecutor. “I didn’t thinkthe taxpayers would fancy me doing my scribblingon their time,” he confessed, “so I wrote under another name.” He later acknowledged that, “the stratagem wasreally unnecessary because . . . I could have accommodated my readers handily in a broom closet.” Voelker took thefirst name of an older brother who died of influenza whileserving with the U.S. Navy during World War I and hismother’s maiden name. The first of his eleven books written under the name of Robert Traver was Troubleshooter;it was published in 1943.Between 1950 and 1957, Voelker seldom ventured awayfrom his beloved Upper Peninsula. He was making a slimliving from his law practice, and Grace and their threedaughters were there to provide domestic balance to hislife. Most days he left his office around noon wearing hisbaggy uniform and headed out toward Frenchman’s Pondin the “fishcar.”Not even a man as skilled as Voelker could find a way toquench his passion for trout fishing during the long winter months. While many fishermen spent the winter tyingtheir favorite flies, Voelker was deprived of this pleasuredue to his large hands. “Far from being able to tie a fly,”Voelker lamented to Associated Press writer Jeff Mayers, “Iam barely able to unzip one.” So during the winter heworked on his stories. He chose to write on yellow legalpads in order to edit as he wrote. As he grew older and hisvision became impaired, Voelker used pens with green inkto provide maximum contrast. In 1951 Danny and the

N OV E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 0 1ı85Superior ViewBoys was published. Small Town D.A. camethree years later. Voelker’s first three bookswere autobiographical in nature, dealingwith his law practice and familiar charactersthat lived around Ishpeming. None of thebooks sold very well and Voelker admitted“the readers stayed away in droves.”Having been a successful prosecutor anda defense lawyer, Voelker wanted to write abook that accurately described “a criminaltrial the way it really was.” In an introduction to a twenty-fifth-anniversary edition ofAnatomy of a Murder, Voelker later recalledthat he was disgusted by the usual depictionof trials that were “comically phony andoverdone.” The case he chose to use as abackdrop for the novel was a 1952 homicidein which he successfully defended a mancharged with killing a bar owner whoallegedly raped the man’s wife. With anample supply of legal pads, Voelker finishedin 1958, against a field of incumbents andAnatomy of a Murder in three months. An attorney by trade,well-connected downstate candidates whoAfter two rejection notices he received a let- Ishpeming’s John Voelkeroften referred to him sarcastically as “thatter in late December 1956 that his book was a fly fisherman atbackwoods lawyer from the U.P.”would be published. Three days later, heart. Here the one-timeWith the 1958 election behind him,Governor G. Mennen Williams appointed Michigan Supreme CourtVoelker eagerly took his place among thehim to a Michigan Supreme Court position justice is relaxing near onevacated by the retirement of Justice of his favorite fishing holes. other black robes. He wrote over one hundred majority and dissenting opinions,Emerson R. Boyles.reflecting clear, common-sense points ofVoelker did not fly from Ishpeming tolaw. He quickly attained the respect of his fellow justices.Lansing. He hated flying. Years before, while onboard aWhile Voelker was making his imprint on the judicialsmall plane with his fishing buddies going to a remotebench, Anatomy of a Murder soared to the top of The Newpond in Ontario, Canada, he was sitting next to a door thatYork Times bestseller list and remained there for sixty-sixwas carelessly held shut by a piece of baling wire. When theweeks. In April 1958 the famed director Otto Premingerpilot sharply banked the plane Voelker was tipped hardpurchased the film rights and brought a cast to the Upperagainst the door. The door held, but the event terrifiedPeninsula where the 1959 movie was made under Voelker’shim. When the pilot returned a few days later he refused towatchful eye. In late 1959, with no time to write his storiesfly out. Instead, he hiked out to a railroad track and wavedand enjoying financial security for the first time in his life,down a train heading toward the Upper Peninsula.Voelker resigned from the Michigan Supreme Court. HeJustice Voelker barely got settled into his new officetold Governor Williams: “Other people can write my opinbefore he had to begin campaigning for the April electionions, but none can write my books. I have learned that Ito retain his seat on the court. Campaigning had notcan’t do both so regretfully I must quit the court.”become any easier for him. One morning before daybreak,After returning home, Voelker settled into ahe stood outside a Detroit factoryroutine that would last for the rest of his life.handing out his cards to workEvery morning after breakfast he sauntered offers. One man tried to toss theto the post office to get his mail, stopped atcard to the ground but thePolly’s or the Wonder Bar for cribbage,wind kept it aloft. Voelkerdrove out to Frenchman’s Pond to catchpromised the man that if he won the electhe trout rising, had Old-Fashionedstion he would tie little weights to his cardsat 4:00 P.M., returned home to Gracenext time for easier disposal, then he left. Aand the family and then, perhaps,Chicago Tribune article reported Voelker as saymore cribbage in the evening. Asing he abhorred this type of campaigning as “anunvarying as he was about his dailyinvasion of privacy, the final denigration of democracy.”activities, he was even more consistent about theDespite his pessimism, Voelker won the election by a sizclothes he wore. He usually dressed in striped shirts coveredable margin. He repeated his victory for an eight-year term

Northern Michigan University Archives(1964) and Trout Magic (1974)—who triedto locate the famous Frenchman’s Pond. Inthose books, Voelker captured the essence oftrout fishing and the spirit of fishermen, andthey treated him like an icon. But even for hisadmirers, getting to the pond was not easybecause of deep ruts deliberately left in thesteep and narrow logging road that seemedto go on forever. To further discourage trespassers, Voelker let the brush grow up thickagainst the sides of the road and placed oldmufflers and tailpipes and other mechanicaldebris near the turnoff to the camp to warninterlopers to stay away. This was Voelker theCurmudgeon at his best.Frequently, Voelker invited friends and luminaries to his pond. An occasional guest to drinkbourbon “from an old tin cup” was CharlesKuralt of the CBS series On the Road. Kuraltimmediately liked Voelker and was impressedby a tan bush-jacket, khaki trousers—the John Voelker was oftenby the depth of his honesty, sincerity and comright leg always bunched at the top of his described as cantankermitment to conservation issues. They becameankle-high leather boots with the left tucked ous and intolerant, butclose friends and Kuralt said that Voelker “wasinside—and a soft narrow-brimmed hat rest- his wife, Grace was justreally about the nearest thing to a great maning on the crown of his head. His round face the opposite. This delicate I’ve ever known . . . one of the most gracefulwas deeply etched with wrinkles symmetri- balance preserved theirwriters on the American literary scene.”cally placed between his large nose and marriage for more thanVoelker understood the harm brought tobushy sideburns, and his heavy-lidded eyesthe land by unbridled mining, logging andsixty years.gave him a strong resemblance to Johnother population-driven activities. He believedWayne, a comparison that pleased him.that the completion of the Mackinac BridgeWith his fishcar kept adequately provisioned with bait,in 1957 would lead to masses of people coming northnets, creels, poles, waders and ice, Voelker and his croniesand ruining the Upper Peninsula, and he became thespent seven or eight months of the year pursuing the wilyspokesman for his fantasized Bomb the Bridgebrook trout or hiking the woods looking for mushrooms.Committee. In 1958 he complained in a letter that there“For twenty years we fished five or six days a week,”were no FM radio towers in the Upper Peninsula and herecalled Ted Bogdan, one of Voelker’s closest friends.was unable to receive a signal from downstate. “I feel thatBogdan often accompanied Voelker to pick wildflowersthe closer bonds allegedly symbolized by the multi-miland grasses. He was amazed that his friend, at 6 feet, 2lion-dollar Mackinac Bridge,” he chided, “should beinches tall and weighing over two hundred pounds,shown by the dissemination of something more than the“walked like a cat in the woods . . . he hardly broke ahordes of lower Michigan tourists. A little culture andbranch.” Voelker tied the blossoms into little buncheseducation would also seem in order.” A few months laterusing pipe cleaners and handed them out to his friends inhe wanted to get an exact date for the installation of a sigtown on his way home.nal booster, noting: “I’m supposed to be present to helpVoelker’s skill at cribbage was legendary. Bogdan, whoblow up the Mackinac Bridge on Saturday . . . but I willwas often an opponent, fondly recalled: “He was one of thegladly skip that if you plan to begreatest card players . . . he had a mind that would retainhere then.”everything that was played . . . and what might beIf Voelker sometimes seemed canleft and what you could do with it. . . . He wastankerous and intolerant, Grace wasalmost always the winner.” Voelker’s fiercethe pillar of patience. There were occacompetitive style entitled him to displaysions, however, when she would have toprominently a sign above the entrance oftweak him gently by the short-hairs of hishis cabin proclaiming: “The Home of thechin. Bogdan, who knew them well for manyCribbage Champ.”years, said with a smile: “He married a very strong,There were many fishermen wholoving, independent woman. They fought well forread Voelker’s books—Trout Madnessyears. She understood him and he understood her.”(1960), Anatomy of a FishermanVoelker affectionately referred to Grace as “my mother-in86ıM I C H I G A N H I S TO RY

was pronounced dead atlaw’s daughter” and she knew how to express her dissatisthe hospital in Ishpemfaction. Periodically she would complain about how heing. His beloved Gracedressed and would tell him that he looked “like a bum.”survived him by eight years.Another time when irritated by his absence, Grace askedAt the funeral home, thehim why he fished all the time. He replied that he neededdownstate dapper suits and theit for relaxation. Without the slightest hesitation she reportflannel plaids of the backwoodsedly fired back: “Well, you must be so relaxed by this timemingled one last time. Voelker’s comyou’re in a state of coma.” Notwithstanding these jabs,fort at the bar—either arguing a casetheir deep abiding love and respect for each other enduredbefore the Supreme Court or trumping afor over sixty years of marriage.hand of cribbage at Polly’s—earned him admiration fromAlthough Voelker never practiced law again after leavingnearly all who knew him. His death was mourned acrossthe Supreme Court in 1959, he wrote four other novelsethnic and socioeconomicinvolving the legal system Northern Michigan University Archivesgroups, but by none moreand politics: Hornstein’s Boythan the people of Ishpeming(1962), Laughing Whitefishand Marquette County. He(1965), Jealous Mistressembraced their lifestyle and(1967) and his last book,values and never comproPeople Versus Kirk (1981).mised the trust they had inWhile these books were genhim. While he had manyerally well received, theyopportunities to exploit hiswere not as successful aspolitical office, his positionAnatomy of a Murder. In aon the court, his fame as an1991 interview with Detroitauthor and his adulation asNews reporter Thomas Bean expert fisherman, heVier, Voelker recalled that arefused to do so. Instead, hepublisher once asked him tolived an ordinary life in thesearch for material he hadUpper Peninsula and bywritten, material that he diddoing so validated the worthnot want to provide to theof the lives of his friends andman. Voelker wrote back inneighbors, and they lovedexaggerated fashion using ahim for it. Bogdan explainedwide felt-tip marker: “Eyewhy Voelker was liked by soproblems prevent me frommany: “He was a great believlooking, and I lack the hearter in equality among ask my poor, overworked. . . Any kind of prejudicewife, who takes care of memade him angry. He didn’tday and night.” The CurmudJohn Voelker’s Anatomy of a Murderliketoseepeople taken advantagegeon was set loose again.was based on his successful defense ofof. . . . His pet saying was, ‘You are aWhen his health began to fail, Lieutenant Coleman A. Peterson, whosuccess in life if you’ve had as muchVoelker was admonished not towas acquitted by “reason of insanity”fun along the way as possible, andsmoke his favorite black Italian cigars,in the murder of a local tavern owner.hurt as few people as possible.’” Itto put the bourbon bottle back on thePeterson is shown here with his wifewas a goal John Voelker achievedshelf and to keep the fishcar in theand Voelker after the 1952 trial.with perfection. mhgarage. But he did not deny himselfof these pleasures for very long.During an interview in his eighties, Voelker commented onhis mortality: “Death doesn’t scare me. But living with illRICHARD D. SHAUL, who lives in Pickford, is a director ofhealth is something that scares hell out of me. . . . When IPsychological Services with the Michigan Department ofcan’t cast a fly to one of my little beauties, then and onlyCorrections. This is his fourth article to appear in Michiganthen will I consider moving on.”History. He would like to thank Elizabeth (Voelker) Tsaloff, Dr.Before long Voelker’s trips to Frenchman’s PondVictor Tsaloff, Adam Tsaloff and Ted Bogdan for their insightfulbecame less frequent and the elusive trout enjoyed muchcomments about John Voelker; and Dr. Marcus Robyns, Dr.greater safety. On the morning of March 18, 1991, the fishStephen H. Peters and librarians at the Archives Section of thecar gently nudged the snow bank alongside the road. TheOlson Library at Northern Michigan University; Cris Roll, librardriver, slumped over the steering wheel, had suffered aian at Lake Superior State University; and Cheryl A. Shaul formassive heart attack. At age eighty-seven, John D. Voelkerlocating materials.N OV E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 0 1ı87

t has already been sold to the movies . . . I thinkIit might be well if you got more copies than youordered that permits be issued allowing the film to beshown in Chicago.normally might. . . . Better you order a carload,”Anatomy was screened at the Butler Theater inwrote Voelker to a bookseller in Chicago aboutIshpeming and the Nordic Theater in Marquette on Junehis novel Anatomy of a Murder. He was right.29. Because there was only one print of the movie avail-Shortly after its publication, Anatomy sold overable, as soon as a reel was finished in Ishpeming it was300,000 copies. Since then it has been purchased by wellquickly dispatched for showing in Marquette. The worldover four million readers in twenty different languages.premier occurred on July 1 in Detroit.Anatomy was photographed in black and white inMany of the actors signed their names and placed theirMarquette County and completed in two months. Ottohand and footprints in wet cement slabs to become partPreminger, who produced and directed the film, hired anof the sidewalk in front of the Nordic Theater. Cityexcellent cast including Jimmy Stewart, George C. Scott, Leeauthorities, however, taking what they considered to beRemick, Ben Gazzara, Arthur O’Connell, Eve Arden, Orsonthe moral high ground, decided not to publicly display aBean, Kathryn Grant, Murray Hamilton, an aspiring oldertribute to the film and planned to destroy the slabs.ANATOMYMURDEROF Aactor and attorney named Joseph N. Welch and the inim-Fortunately, a local farmer hid the slabs in his barn whereitable Duke Ellington. The movie was a huge success gar-they stayed until 1984 when they were rediscovered andnering seven Academy Award nominations, including bestplaced in front of the Nordic Theater. Normal wear andactor (Stewart), best supporting actor (Scott and O’Connell)tear over the years caused significant loss of the imprintsand best cinematography, screenwriting and film editing.and currently there are fundraising efforts to recast theThe film was previewed in Chicago on June 18, 1959,but because of the sexual content and realistic dialogabout rape, an attempt was made by Mayor Richard J.Daley to have it banned. Judge Julius Miner of the U.S.District Court ruled: “I do not regard this film . . . asdepicting anything that could reasonably be termedobscene or corruptive of the public morals and foundthat the censorship exceeded constitutional bounds.” Heslabs and return them to the sidewalk, commemoratingthe enduring popularity of this American film classic.—Richard D. ShaulOPPOSITE (Clockwise from upper left): Otto Preminger, LeeRemick and Jimmy Stewart lunch at the Mather Inn; filming at theMarquette County courthouse; after filming, the cast signed thiswall in the Roosevelt Hotel bar; John Voelker with Anatomy cast;Voelker teaches Remick fly tying; Anatomy film crew; Stewart andRemick; and Voelker and Duke Ellington.N OV E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 0 1ı89

This story is the result of my lifelong interest in the1952 trial that inspired John Voelker to write hisbestseller, Anatomy of a Murder. I thought the realstory had been forgotten. For example, there is anexhibit at the Marquette County Historical Museumon the movie Anatomy of a Murder. It offers blackand-white snapshots of Eve Arden in a tight babushka eating anice cream cone and Jimmy Stewart intently signing autographssurrounded by smiling fans. Yet, there is nothing exhibited on thetrial that inspired Voelker—the trial’s defense attorney—to writehis highly acclaimed book, except for a small placard giving thenames of the original jury members. Yet, long before the glitz andrazzmatazz of Hollywood collided with the Upper Peninsula, whatbecame one of the state’s most famous trials unfolded whenColeman A. Peterson, a U.S. Army officer stationed at the antiaircraft artillery range near Big Bay, was tried for murdering MikeChenoweth, a local bartender, in revenge for allegedly rapingPeterson’s wife.My interest stemmed in part from the fact that my grandfather,Oscar Bergman, was one of the trial’s fourteen jurors. Myresearch uncovered a 1952 Marquette Mining Journal picture ofthe original jury. I then discovered that three of the jurors are stillliving in the Upper Peninsula. I started with Max Muelle, whom Imet at the Coachlight Coffee Shop in Marquette.“It was so long ago,” he began. “The first thing that comes tomind is how hard those chairs were in the jury box. Eight days onthose hard wooden chairs.” He leaned back, half smiled andpoured another cup of tea. “Sure, I remember your grandpa. Youhave a jury picture? That’s him right there, isn’t it? I don’t remember most of this jury but I remember him,” he said, thumping hisfinger on my grandfather’s face. “I haven’t read the book andI’ve seen parts of the movie but neverwatched it all the way through. I rememberthe film crews being around but I didn’t paytoo much attention.“I was only twenty-two yearsold, and the last juror chosen.They didn’t ask me any questions. They were in a hurry to getgoing and needed one morejuror. They didn’t ask me if Iknew the deceased. I did. Weboth did some pistol-shootingand Mike Chenoweth was realgood. He always took nitroglycerin before he’d shoot in a competition. Said it calmed himdown. But they didn’t ask me if Iknew him or if I knew anythingbyabout what really happened and,I did. I knew right away the nextmorning exactly what happened at the Lumberjack Tavern thenight before, all the details from the state trooper that investigated, but they never asked me. They just said ‘Aw, he’s alright; let’sget on with it’ and they swore me in. There I was, a juror.”I looked into Max’s blue eyes as he lowered them. “I made apromise to myself that I would be fair and not let what I knew getin the way of doing my duty,” he said softly. “We could vote threeways: Guilty, Not Guilty and Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity. Wevoted Levi [Kettunen] the foreman for no particular reason and wedecided to go around the table and say what we thought. ‘Guilty.’‘Guilty.’ ‘Guilty.’ And so it went around the table, until the last:‘Not Guilty.’ It was this guy,” he thumped my grandfather’s imageon the jury photograph. “It took us eight hours to convince him buthe finally changed his Not Guilty vote to Not Guilty by Reason ofInsanity.” Max looked up, “Funny thing, though. About three yearslater, I heard that Lieutenant Peterson was killed in a plane crashin Alaska. I never heard what happened to Mrs. Peterson.”Wahlstrom’s Restaurant in south Marquette was where I metformer juror Roy Oien. “The trial was interesting and got betterevery day. I enjoyed watching John Voelker in the courtroom. Now,there was a man who didn’t take a back seat to anyone! He hadjust been beaten by Ed Thomas for the prosecutor’s job and I’msure Mr. Voelker felt different being in the other chair. Thomasseemed smart and did a good job. They sure went back and forth!There were always surprises with those two.“Everybody complained about how hard the chairs were.Some even wanted to bring seat pads but I don’t think anyonereally did. My wife, Bernice, went to the trial and watched everyday. Every day, before we left [for home], the judge would say wecouldn’t talk about the trial with anyone or read anything aboutthe trial. That was the rule.“When the trial ended [on the eighth day] we had to stay longer.The bailiff walked us over to the Coffee Cup restaurant for supper.Then they walked us back to the courthouse and the jury room totalk about what we thought. I sat next to IsadoreLaCrosse. Oscar Bergman sat at the other end ofthe table. Levi Kuttunen was the foreman and hewas the one who talked the most.“I said and still say, if you did it,you did it—and I kept to that. But,the vote was 8-4. So someone’sdead and nobody pays.“When the Chenoweth trial wasover, I went back to working. I hada wife, a farm and three childrento support. I had to take time offfrom my job to sit on that jury. Theypaid us twenty dollars for the eightdays the trial lasted. Years later,when the notice appeared in thepaper that the movie company waslooking for local people to be inVoelker’s movie, my wife asked if Iwanted to go. I told her that I’dspent enough time with that trial.”I made a short trip to Republic and spoke with the third juror,Thomas Warren. “I was born in Ishpeming and knew JohnTHEREALTRIALSHIRLEY J. BERGMAN90ıM I C H I G A N H I S TO RY

Mining Journalthe bar. He went into the Lumberjack and fired point-blank atVoelker—Johnny, we called him—pretty well. Johnny liked to fishChenoweth. The bartender dropped to the floor. Without a word,and play cards and fish and drink good bourbon and fish. He’dPeterson went to the bar, leaned over and emptied his gun intocall the Ishpeming cab and tell the driver to ‘pick up the bag’the body. When the jury saw the pictures of Chenoweth’s body asand the cabby would go buy the bourbon and drive it on over toevidence, there were seven shots marked—one in the center, surJohnny.rounded by the other six, in a perfect circle.“Mike Chenoweth was a former state police officer and aWhen Mrs. Peterson went onto the stand, I felt like she wassharpshooter. He was known to use the clothespins on the outputting it on a little more than what had actually happened. Butside wash line for target practice, picking the tops of the pins offwhy had she gone to the tavern alone? And what did the lieuas his wife pinned them onto the wet clothes.tenant think when she came back?“In later years, when he stepped behind the bar at the“We knew that we all had to reach the same verdict as we wentLumberjack Tavern, he kept a gun for backup. Everyone in Bigintothe jury room. Levi Kettunen was the jury foreman. He was aBay knew that; it was common knowledge. So, what happenedshort, stern tailor from Ishpeming and wanted the most to haveto that gun? After Chenoweth had been shot, his gun couldn’t bethe lieutenant guilty. He really bucked Not Guilty by Reason offound. Did someone take it, and if that was so, then who andwhy? It was never found.“I was thirty-four years old and thefather of four children when I wascalled to the jury. I was a miner andworked underground for C.C.I.[Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company] atthe time and I couldn’t afford to beoff the job for as long as I was, but Ifelt it was my duty to go. They onlypaid us 3.58 a day for those eightdays on the jury and that was supposed to be for traveling time. I hadto take my lunch pail and eat in thecar every day.“I enjoyed being involved with aInsanity. We voted many times on little whitemurder trial. It was real interesting and I Members of the 1952 trialpieces of paper. The bailiff would get them fromlearned a lot. Whether it was listening to testi- jury included: (front, frommony or watching Johnny and that prosecutor left to right) Archie Connors each juror after each vote. Until everyone votedthe sam

Doberman Pinscher.” By the time he graduated in June they were engaged to be married. Graduation brought happiness and despair. Voelker was happy to head north to the Upper Peninsula, but it meant being away from Grace. He held a job as assistant prosecu-tor

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