Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Recently a brutal murder committed in the Chinese quarter of Fresno, California. The victim was a Chinese woman. The murderer, Ah Gee Yung, was caught redhanded, and covered with blood of the dead woman. The knife was still in his hand, and after he had made the first dash to escape, when the officers appeared, he resisted no more, and did not deny that he had committed the deed. His only excuse was that the woman had deserted him. The case was plain, the jury foundjhim guilty, and the penalty of death waßpronounced. The usual appeals to the Supreme Court were taken, but they availed nothing. Powerful Chinese companies had stood by Ah Gee Yung through all his troubles, and they showed no intention of deserting him as long as there was any hope, and, with them, ' so long as there was life there was hope. Twice he made his escape with keys conveyed to him, but waß captured. The night before bis execution, the condemned man lay on his bed, and seemed to fall asleep. About 11.30 that night the death watch observed a prolonged silence in the cell, and becoming suspicious unlocked the door and went in. Ah Gee Yung was apparently dead. The froth on his mouth showed that he had taken poison. Dennis, the guard, shook him, but the Chinaman gave no sign of life. The' guard called in the prison officials, and a messenger was sent for Dr. Lewis Leach, the prison physician. Dr. .Leach soon arrived, and, with the assistance of Sheriff Heneley, Janitor Smart, John Dennis, the death watch, and Charles Bond, the Chinaman was treated to revive him, for life was not extinct. It was pronounced to be a case of opium poisoning, and as a further proof of this a horn vial was found between the blankets of the bed. It would contain about an ounce of opium, but was empty when found The odour showed that it contained that drug. All the known antidotes for opium poisoning wero used. Three times the doctor pumped the Chinaman's stomach full of water and thea pumped it empty again. Coffee was given also. At three o'clock in morning life was not extinct, and the doctor left him, and thought it possible that the poison had been overcome and that his life would be saved for the gallows. But in an hour the Chinaman was pronounced dead. Soon after daylight that morning the body was put in a box and sent to the Coroner's office. ' The Chinese were early at the gaol with offers to bury the body as soon as it should be turned over to them. As the burial would be an expense to the country if done by the undertaker, and as the Chinese offered to do it for nothing, there was no objection, and they were told the body would be turned over to them as soon as a Coroner's jury had brought in a verdict of the cause of death. The inquest was held that morning. Dr. Leach said that death was due to opium poisoning. The jury viewed the body and signed a verdict that Ah Gee Yung came to his death from opium administered by himself. This done, the body was placed iv a rough box and turned over to the Chinese who were waiting at the door. The box was placed in a waggon, and the long procession of the Chinese funeral moved out of town to the Mongolian graveyard, two miles distant. No white man accompanied the funeral, for no one had any interest in the dead murderer. The graveyard was reaohed, a box was buried, the ceremonies and usual exercises were gone through with, food and papers were left at the grave, as is the custom, and that evening the delegation of tramps who had heard of the burial wandered out to the graveyard to eat the food left there, and that was the end of Ah Gee Yung, the murderer, it was thought. But it was not so. Fifty people saw Ah Gee Yung alive after the coroner's jury pronounced him dead. Finding that the last hope was gone, a Chinese druggist prepared a potion which would stupefy and, in a measure, Buspend liie. This was placed in the possession of Ah Gee Yung, to be used as a last resort. After his second failure to escape he drank the drug, and to still more simulate death he blotched his skin with a paint prepared for the purpose, so as to give his face and neck a dark purple, like that observed in a dead person, by the blood settling near the surface. As a still further deception an artificial froth was prepared for the mouth like that produced by poieon. All worked perfectly according to design. The rough and poorly- joined box in which the Chinaman was hauled to the grave admitted enough air to keep him from smothering. In the long funeral train there was concealed a second box, in general appearance like the first. It was hidden in the bottom of a waggon resembling the waggon in which Ah Gee Yung was carried. In the march to the grave the waggon with the empty box was driven to the front and the other was kept in the* background, well concealed beneath drapery. The empty box was buried, and the ceremonies were said about it as if it had contained the last remains of the murderer. The waggon containing the body of Ah Gee Yung was driven to a Chinese vegetable garden a few miles in the country and was then opened. In course of time the man who the physicians and the Coroner's jury had pronounced dead was revived, and was none the worse for his narcotic sleep, except that he was sick for a day or two, for the experienco had been a strain on his nervous system. He waa kept in concealment a few days and was then disguised and put on board the cars for the North. Evening Post, Volume XLVII, Issue 135, 9 June 1894, Page 1

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