Smilk cringed and it was quite apparent to close observers that he was having great difficulty in suppressing his emotions.
The first witness for the prosecution was Crittenden Yollop, milliner, aged 44. A more thorough examination by the State would have disclosed the fact that he was six feet tall, spare, slightly bald, beardless, well-manicured, and faultlessly attired.
“State your name and occupation, please,” said the State’s attorney, advancing a few paces toward the witness stand.
“My name is Crittenden Yollop. I am in the millinery business.”
The State: “Where do you reside?”
Yollop: “418 Sagamore Terrace.”
The State: “In an apartment?”
Yollop: “A little louder, if you please.”
The State, raising its voice: “Repeat the
Stenographer, leaning forward a little: “‘In an apartment?’”
The State: “Were you living in this apartment
on the 18th of
Yollop: “I was.”
The State: “Was that apartment entered by a burglar on the date mentioned?”
Yollop: “It was.”
The State, casually: “Will you be so good as to glance around the court room and state whether you see and recognize the man who entered and robbed your apartment?”
Yollop, pointing: “Yes. That is the man.”
The State: “You are sure about that?”
Yollop: “I beg pardon?”
The State, patiently: “Repeat the question, Mr. Stenographer.”
Stenographer, patiently: “‘You are sure about that?’”
The State: “Now, Mr. Yollop, I’m going to ask you to tell the jury, in your own words, exactly what occurred in your apartment on the morning of December 18th. Speak slowly and distinctly, and face the jury.”
Mr. Yollop, assisted to some extent by the gentleman conducting the examination, related the story of the crime, dwelling with special earnestness upon the dastardly, brutal manner in which Smilk forced him, at the point of a revolver to bind and gag and otherwise maltreat the woman who had befriended him and whose jewels he was preparing to make off with when the police arrived. He carefully avoided any allusion to certain portions of the lengthy and illuminating dialogue that had taken place between him and Smilk; he said nothing of the unexampled behavior of the intruder in telephoning for the police, or the kindness revealed by him in suggesting a means for getting his captor’s feet warm.
Smilk’s lawyer, at the very outset of the cross-examination, clarified the air as to the nature of the defense he was going to put up for his client. After a few preliminary questions, he demanded sharply:
“Now, Mr. Yollop, didn’t this defendant state to you that he had been unable to get work and that his wife and family were in such desperate straits that he was forced to commit a crime against the State in order to preserve them from actual starvation?”