On the 2d of August the demurrers to the several indictments against the Terrys came up to be heard in the United States District Court. The argument upon them concluded on the 5th. On the 7th the demurrer to one of the indictments against Sarah Althea was overruled and she entered a plea of not guilty. No decision was rendered at that time upon either of the five other indictments.
On the following day, August 8th, Justice Field left San Francisco and went to Los Angeles for the purpose of holding court.
ATTEMPTED ASSASSINATION OF JUSTICE FIELD, RESULTING IN TERRY’S OWN DEATH AT THE HANDS OF A DEPUTY UNITED STATES MARSHAL.
In view of what was so soon to occur, it is important to understand the condition of mind into which Judge Terry and his wife had now wrought themselves. They had been married about two years and a half. In their desperate struggle for a share of a rich man’s estate they had made themselves the terror of the community. Armed at all times and ready for mortal combat with whoever opposed their claims, they seemed, up to the 17th of July, to have won their way in the State courts by intimidation. The decision of the United States Circuit Court was rendered before they were married. It proclaimed the pretended marriage agreement a forgery, and ordered it to be delivered to the clerk of the court for cancellation. Terry’s marriage with Sarah Althea, twelve days after this, was a declaration of intention to resist its authority.
The conduct of the pair in the Circuit Court on the 3d of September must have had some object. They may have thought to break up the session of the court for that day, and to so intimidate the judges that they would not carry out their purpose of rendering the decision; or they may have hoped that, if rendered, it would be allowed to slumber without any attempt to enforce it; or even that a rehearing might be granted, and a favorable decision forced from the court. It takes a brave man on the bench to stand firmly for his convictions in the face of such tactics as were adopted by the Terrys. The scene was expected also to have its effect upon the minds of the judges of the Supreme Court of the State, who then were yet to pass finally upon Sullivan’s judgment on the appeal from the order denying a new trial.