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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

The final witnesses took the stand in the murder trial of Mitch Nance, accused of shooting his brother John during a drunken revel at their Mica Peak cabin.

Cyrus Decker, another resident of Mica Peak, denied on the stand that he had been in a blood feud with the Nance brothers, as the defense suggested. He said that he was only trying to calm things down at the Nance cabin.

He said the daughter of “Uncle Joe” Stratton had urged him to go to the Nance cabin after it became clear that the party was out of hand. He said he was approaching the cabin when several shots were fired in his direction, one of which whistled past his ear. He hid behind a stump and then turned around and went home.

These shots were apparently fired by Mitch, who had rushed outside with a gun at some point in the evening after his wife, May, had hysterically warned him that someone was approaching the cabin. Right before this, May claimed, Mitch had dropped the gun on the floor and it accidentally fired. This, claimed the defense, was the bullet that killed John, although no one in the cabin even knew John was dead until the next morning. They just thought he was dead drunk.

The defense and prosecution had concluded their cases and nothing remained except the closing statements.


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