Tama County History


(Tama County Democrat, 16 February 1922)

Jury out Thirty five Minutes Deliberating Evidence in Case Against Defendant


The following article was taken from the Iola, Kansas, Daily Register of February 14 and has reference to the conviction of the slayer of Isaac West, a brother of Mrs. Alice Whitely:

After deliberating only thirty-five minutes, a jury in the district court shortly after noon Tuesday returned a verdict finding David A. Prosser guilty of murder in the first degree. The defendant was convicted of the killing of Isaac West, marshal of Gas City, on the evening of December 15, 1922 (* correction 1921). Prosser will be sentenced to serve a life term in the state penitentiary, at Lansing, under the finding of the jury. The usual intervening motion such as for a new trial may be filed.

The Prosser case set a record for brevity in Allen County, and perhaps in all the history of criminal jurisdiction in the state. All of the evidence, both for the state and the defendant, was concluded in less than an afternoon session of the court. The verdict was reached in only a few seconds in excess of a half hour. Old timers could recall today no previous trial in which a serious attempt was made to press a murder charge that was concluded so quickly as the Prosser case.

It was the contention of Frank R. Forrest, defense counsel, that Prosser shot West while under the impression that the officer was on the way to the Prosser place to enforce his orders even if it required violence.

The state disputed this claim with testimony to show that West while armed had the weapon in his holster where it was found partially protruding by Mrs. West when she approached this prostrate form of her husband.

A witness testified that Prosser stood over the body of the marshal and declared with an oath, "You've got what was coming to you."

Judge Collin's instructions were exhaustive covering every phase of prosecution and defense.

Contributed by: Karon Howatt Mazie

You will find his Death Notice in the Obituary Section.